I tried Age of Conan's new Blood and Glory, ultra pvp server tonight and had a really fun time. The server was due to go live earlier today, was cancelled, then got green lighted after 3 hours of downtime. I logged on with a friend at about 8.30 UK time and have played for 5 hours, reaching level 14.
For the first few levels the main difference to regular AoC is the chat. It's jocularly obscene with lashing of extra smack. We were chuckling quite a few times although it's not for the delicate. It's really not like any other chat in any other MMO I've seen. People take the M rating to heart even after the game has gone Unrated (or maybe especially because it's gone unrated).
I could have quaffed a 100% bonus exp potion at level 1 that's some kind of veteran reward but I didn't because my friend didn't have one. Otherwise I would have, this is not a server on which one wants to stop and smell the flowers. It's a server where the higher levels crush the lowbies the newbies the noobs and the freeps and hear their lamentations in General Chat. It's interesting that the game is available free to play, I'm looking forward to seeing how non payers get on. I suspect they will do well before max level.
We managed to get to about level 14 solo then we had to dip our toes into our first pvp zone: a choice of White Sands, Underhalls or the Acheronian Ruins. We wanted to avoid getting too badly murdered so we debated which would be the tamest. White Sands was out - it was a notorious gank zone early in the life of AoC and is no doubt full of nostalgia tripping serial killers. Underhalls tends to be vicious, we'd poked our nose in at level 9 to grab a couple of bottles of wine and there was a fight in progress at the entrance. So it was off to the Ruins.
The entrance wasn't camped when we got there. Let me rephrase. The entrance wasn't camped until we got there. As stealthers we were able to move into the mobs by the start which meant solo players zoned in, saw a pack of 2-3 mobs, pulled them, got to half life then discovered us. We enjoyed that situation for a few minutes chalking up 3 or 4 ganks.
We then decided our next objective was the graveyard about 200 metres away. We made our way over but my friend fell off the ladder and died so I charged over past a brutal fight at the bottom of the stairs, just reaching the graveyard before random passers by murdered me. We then lurked around the graveyard for a little while making the acquaintance of the local gankers. We snuck out of the gank zone, got spotted by mobs and killed, snuck out of the gank zone again and found a nice quiet questing spot where solo players were free to indulge in a little productive pve.
Until we got there.
Murdering some kind of warrior and a rather impressive caster (who still should have known better than to aoe grind 5 mobs at a time in a zone full of hidden Rogues) we pacified the area sufficiently that we were able to get our quests done. We then snaffled another tasty couple of morsels from the Great Gods of Ganking before the locals sent a bait warrior in followed up by a large angry and rather high level posse.
I ressed by the entrance, my friend ressed in a different place, in the graveyard gank zone we mentioned earlier. He snuck to me but was pursued by a level 17 Warrior up the long long ladder out. I found an angle where I could snipe him as he climbed which made him rather panic - he almost fell off in his shock. He went down, changed his mind and climbed up, then bottled and climbed down as fast as he could. I got him to 60% before he got out of range, Warriors are tough!
We zoned out into the safe zone and agreed to call it a night.