Funcom has just launched Update 5 - Gangs of Tarantia for their massively multiplayer online roleplaying game Age of Conan, introducing a whole new area, new storylines, and fundamentally changing how the game is played.

Yes, along with the new areas, which can be seen in the lovely screenshots here, Update 5 is another step in Funcom's continuing effort to make Age of Conan the sort of MMO that keeps old players and brings in a steady stream of new ones. This main focus of this update is item statistics, specifically how they affect a player's performance. Starting today, players should notice a much more significant change in the effectiveness of their skills by wearing items with stat-enhancements, which in turn makes finding and creating new gear that much more rewarding.

The update also adds more life to guild cities, allows players to gain PVP experience through mini-games, and perhaps the most compelling new feature for those who migrated from World of Warcraft, social pets. See? Funcom totally knows what players want!