Funcom has provided an explanation for the ongoing male-female attack speed bug in Age of Conan via a post on the official game forum.
In the post, discovered by Ten Ton Hammer, Funcom designer Svein Erik "Sharum" Jenset explains that while one aspect of the bug was a fairly simple matter to patch, the game's "combo damage" system is far more complex, requiring considerable effort to correct. Combo damage involves several factors when determining damage, including stat/modifier/multiplier, which themselves can be affected by class, level and weapon, length of attack animation and more.
"The main reason for the discrepancy in damage output that you're seeing is that the length of an animation isn't equal for both male and female characters in many cases. This is what we're currently fixing, but there's roughly 800 to 1000 animations in total that are involved here, and that they are significantly more 'complex' than the 'white (standard) damage' animations mentioned above this naturally takes a lot more time," Jenset wrote. "Of course, once the length of the animations have been fully corrected/tweaked either by an animator or BCC designer then every rank (of every combo for every class) has to be rebalanced by the System Designers because, as I mentioned above, one of the factors that come into play when determining the combo damage is animation length."
Jenset said that Funcom is currently aiming to have the problem largely rectified and tested within two to three work-weeks, although QA verifications could delay the process as the company takes steps to ensure nothing else ends up broken as a result of the changes. The game will not be patched on a class-by-class basis, he said, but rather via a single major upgrade that will fix all classes simultaneously.
"I know that many of you will probably be disappointed to hear that it might take us as much as another three to four weeks to solve this issue, for which I can only apologize, but we want to make sure that we devote the amount of time that an issue of this magnitude and importance deserves rather than rush out a 'quick fix' that might not work as well," he added.
The bug was first discovered in June, when users noticed that female characters were dealing less damage than their male counterparts. Further investigation determined that the "swing time" of weapons in the game are determined by the swing animations; females swing their weapons roughly 25 percent slower than males, according to a YouGamers reviewer, resulting in 25 percent less damage over time. Funcom said the difference was entirely unintentional and promised to look into the issue.
More information is available on the official Age of Conan forums.