It's extremely tough reviewing MMORPGs. We're aware that no review this soon into the game's cycle is going to be able to objectively encompass the sheer volume of Age of Conan – both at the higher end of the levelling spectrum and with respect to future content that will presumably smooth out the experience for everyone involved.
We don't mind admitting that we've only reached Level 25 with our main character, and are currently scrounging around the beginning area with a few alts, but we think we've experienced enough of the game to be able to fill you in on most of the ins and outs of this WoW alternative.
A large part of Age of Conan's appeal is its mature rating (Australia received the US version of the game, so the rating is 17+). Indeed, directly after your character is thrown into the game, having just survived a shipwreck, the first female NPC you meet is a victim of abuse – tied up for the pleasure of the rapscallion pirates occupying the nearby jungle. No, you can't engage in 'sexy time' with her, but there's a real undercurrent of debauchery and violence in the game, which is a refreshing change for the MMO genre.
This mature approach is maintained throughout most of the game's quests, with violence being the best way to solve a lot of problems. But beware the authorities; the starting city of Tortage offers a kind reminder to those who break the law: the bodies of traitors, thieves and rebels hang in front of the main gate, a warning that you'd better watch yourself. Quite frankly, it's awesome having these little touches in the game, as they act to immediately distance Age of Conan from other high-fantasy themed titles such as WoW and Lord of the Rings Online.