Many years ago, years before Age of Conan was released, Funcom made a ton of promises about it. They told a tale of an MMO of unprecedented freedom, hardcore consequences, a direct combat system inspired by Severance: Blade of Darkness and Mount & Blade (in stark contrast to the MMO-usual target-based one), character collisions, formations, mundane survival aspects and free player housing.
However, all of these aspects wouldn't cater to their publisher I suppose, I assume there was a lot of internal struggle, resulting in one of the game design directors (I think? Writing purely from memory) quitting during development. While AoC featured the most beautiful environment I've seen in an MMO, all the other aspects were watered down to the point where the "direct combat system" ended up having buttons 1-3 on your quickbar as left, up and right attack. Basically classic World of Warcraft "Skills" disguised as a pseudo direct combat system. There wasnt even hitboxes iirc. In fact I was so disappointed that after the years of Hyping AoC pre-release, I did only play the game briefly and very late after it was released.
All of these promises were broken, and AoC mostly failed from a sales point of view (and I highly suspect because almost nothing of the original vision made it into the final game, the result was a watered down MMO). I was never as disappointed as in the case of this game I looked forward to more than ever. In fact, this case remained my prime example as to never trust developers on promises they make before release to this day.
Now, Exiles was released, and while in part in a rough shape, it is already more formidable and complete than the majority of other early access titles out there. And what can I say, it delivers on all these promises of old. The story I told was when I was a young teenager, I am now an adult.
Why am I sharing this? No real reason. I just wanted Funcom to know: I remember.
For my part, you have cleansed your name with Exiles and I am thankful that this time you delivered. Just do me one favour: Stay true to your vision this time and you will succeed.