Body blow. Funcom announced today that they are delaying release of Age of Conan until March 25, 2008. Good for Funcom, bad for impatient gamers, hopefully good for folks longing for a quality, new, polished MMO.
I’m very glad that game developers (and those who back them financially) have the courage enough to wait to release the game until “its ready.” AoC has been in development for quite sometime now, so slipping the release date by five months seems a small price to pay for long term success. Still, I do wonder how such a monumental decision can be made when “10/30/07” was so boldly hyped. I have to wonder what changed and precipitated the pullback. Everything I’ve seen so far seems to indicate a pretty polished game system, though perhaps Funcom is worried about balance or depth– something that’s been dogging LotRO as more players start to slog into the mid-30s.
Pirates of the Burning Sea, on the other hand, has continued to be vague about release even when its widely viewed to be imminent. All indications are that it will be out at least by the end of the year. Rusty from Flying Labs has continually said it wont release until its ready, a decision which I laud, particularly for a game that promises to bring so much new to the genre.
With less than glowing information starting to percolate out about Tabula Rasa, its seems that PotBS could be the big winner for the second half of 2007 in the new MMO derby. Nothing worse than getting drowned out by another release at or near yours. Just ask Vanguard–or maybe they were hoping they wouldn’t get noticed.