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Funcom talks siege warfare

Age of Conan shapes up.

Funcom has cried havoc and let slip details of the siege warfare in Age of Conan.

It will let you and your guild members take part in massive battles in the Border Kingdom area, earning prestige and bonuses for yourselves, as well as venturing down a separate player versus player progression system.

Those of you with lots of members in your jolly old throng will want to go for the bigger battlekeep structures. Within these will be stables, blacksmithing equipment, alchemist workshops, universities, and more - each designed to give your guild a bonus in a certain area. You might be able to travel 10 per cent faster when you have a stable, for instance.

You'll have to keep hold of the resources around the map if you want to maintain your grip over these, and fight off attempts by other guilds to gain control.

Other people in smaller guilds will be able to take over forts, which will require less man power to hold on to. And if you're not a member of any group but still want in on the action, then you can be drafted in using a mercenary system, where guilds agree to pay you a fee for fighting on their side.

Smashing someone else's creation to pieces, on the other hand, will mean getting hold of some siege weaponry like trebuchets. This will be linked to a crafting skill, where more powerful and better quality machines can be built as your skill increases.

But you won't be able to attack keeps at any time you please, thanks to the introduction of attack windows. These will stop people rampaging late at night when there's usually significantly less opposition. You can specify when you want your battlekeep to be vulnerable, although you will want to make this as often as possible so you can maximise your rewards.

Those of you doing this a lot will start earning points in the player versus player progression system. It's made up of 20 levels and will reward you with new skills and impressive titles (something like "The Ultimate Slayer of all Men", joked product manager Erling Ellingsen) the further you get. Funcom is even talking about an immortality quest for those of you hardcore enough to chase it, although it won't tell us much more about it.

Siege warfare joins drunken brawling and instanced capture the flag or deathmatch battles in a three pronged player versus player approach. It makes up a key part of Funcom's end game, along with raiding and epic boss encounters, but is said to be designed with everyone in mind, not just the hardcore.

"Age of Conan is designed with that very clear idea in mind that it should appeal to both casual and hardcore players. We want you to feel rewarded even if you only have the opportunity to play for a short amount of time each week. If you want to solo, then go for it," said Erling Ellingsen, product manager for Age of Conan.

"Many of us at Funcom are family men and women, and we know very well that you can't pour endless hours into a game each night. You'll see this reflected in all the different aspects of Age of Conan."

Age of Conan was at the recent Games Convention in Leipzig, where it was hailed as the best online game of the show.

It's due for release on PC next March, with an Xbox 360 version to follow.

Head over to our Age of Conan gamepage or pop over to the official website for more information - including details on how to get hold of your drinking cape.

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