I was typing this up to send to my friends and realized that I could share it with all of you as well. A little about me, I've been visiting Destructoid almost every day since it was launched, I listen to all of the RFGO's, I just don't post much. Figure I'd give the c-blogs a go. There are a couple of other things I want to write up, I just need to find the time to do them.
Anyways, enough of that, here are my early AoC impressions (as compared to WoW).
I just picked up Age of Conan and I must say it's a pretty cool MMO so far, it takes a beast of a computer to run though.
The combat system is way better than WoW (in my opinion). In WoW I would just hit the same button and watch as stuff slowly dies, not very exciting and I got bored of it real fast. In AoC it's an action RPG, you have to command each swing (there is no auto attack) and you have three different angles you can choose from. Why three angles? Because everything has a 'shield' (including you) so if something is shielding its left side you don't want to attack there, so you either swing head on or from the right. Hard to explain without an image since it's not an actual physical shield, but all you need to know is it's cool and it works.
You also have combos you can perform by pressing specific button sequences. These combos are especially brutal and if you finish a creature with a combo there's a chance you will do a finishing move which will give you a short buff. Also there are chain kills, but I don't know how those work yet. Again, the combos finish at one of the three attack angles so you have to plan accordingly. Ex. You have a brutal middle combo but the creature is shielding middle, so you keep attacking left until the creature switches its shields left opening it up for your middle combo to do maximum damage.
If you need 10 alligator tails every alligator will drop one tail... makes sense and I love it. No more hours wasted on low quest drop rates.
Group questing on alligator tails, one tail will drop for every member of the group, so if you need 10 and you have 5 people you still only need to kill 10 alligators not 50.
Bags. So in WoW you put everything into the same bags, quest items get mixed in with loot and crafting supplies. In AoC you have 3 bags (you can expand these) and they are all separate from each other. Basically all loot goes into your first bag, all quest items go into the second bag, and all crafting supplies into the third bag. I like this better because it provides a certain order I felt was missing from WoW's bags. I never have to worry about quest items as they're placed in their own bag, I don't really ever need to open that bag actually. Same goes for crafting supplies.
If your main bag is full and you get a quest reward you don't need to make room for it right away. It will save up to 10 quest rewards for later so when you do have room you can accept them no matter where you are.
I feel like there is an actual story, in WoW it didn't feel that way to me. Perhaps its just the way they present the quests, it's more like KotOR where you talk to the person and you can choose what you want to say and once you're done talking to them you have a quest! I didn't like the brick of text quest logs from WoW, felt to impersonal and I didn't feel compelled to read 99% of them.
All of your quests are displayed on the map, no need to hit up thotbot because the game will display where you need to go. You can also double click on any quest on your map to make it your current quest. This is actually much cooler than I can describe it.
You can have as many quests active as you want (no silly 20 quest limit).
It's new so it's nowhere near as polished as WoW is. There are still some bugs, the bank, AH, and mail don't work at the moment which is a pretty major con. Although the game is compelling enough that I really don't care about them.
Technical bugs, water always goes back to reflect all whenever you switch zones (happens a lot).
No 3rd party support. Again, it's new so there is very little in the way of cool custom mods.
It takes a pretty current rig to run this game, an extreme rig to run it smooth. I'm getting anywhere from 8 to 50fps (on low settings), I'd say I average about 20, if not a little more, and I have a pretty nice rig (DX9 though). Once they fix some of the bugs it will smooth out to about 30 I'm sure.
I don't know what some of my talents will do until I put a point in them. Most of them say exactly what they do like +5 fire damage to all melee attacks, but some are very vague and say things like adds a chance to give you fire damage... well, what is that chance %, what is that granted from, and how much fire damage? I don't know. Again, game is new and there is no online database yet so it's kind of frustrating to figure out what I want to spend my talent points on sometimes.
I don't know what some stats mean, you have (on items) a defense modifier and a heroic defense modifier... whats the difference? I don't know and have no way of checking currently.
So as you can see the biggest pro is the combat, it's fresh, every fight plays out differently, and I'm addicted. The biggest cons are that it's buggy, demanding (system wise), and its new so I can't really look anything up or get mods.
You can't craft until level 40 so I don't know how the crafting compares. Also I haven't done any instances yet so I can't compare that either, but I will say the grouping I have done was really sweet, if not a little chaotic. I'd say all in all it's a pretty solid MMO launch. Will it topple the mighty WoW? No way, but it doesn't need to to be successful and that's the key.
Anyways, those are my first impressions.