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Paragus Rants

Rants, reviews, and interviews from an MMO veteran and guild leader.

Author: Paragus1

Review: Aion Beta Weekend

Posted by Paragus1 Monday June 22 2009 at 12:02AM
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Review: Aion Beta Weekend

After my last entry about some of the upcoming MMOs, luck would have it that I was able to get a chance to play Aion during one of their recent beta preview weekend type events.  Today I am going to try to give you my impressions from playing during the recent weekend event that had a level limit of 10, but did allow players to make characters from both of the game's factions.  While I will be the first to admit that 10 levels is hardly enough to review much of anything, but I think I got a chance to sample the game and take a look at various aspects that were present.

Just to recap quickly here before I get started, I went into this with a few preconceptions about the game in terms of graphics, polish, and whether or not the game would be bringing anything new to table.  I have seen some pretty remarkable screenshots of the game, so graphically I set the bar pretty high.  The game has also been out in a foreign market for a while, so I expected a fair amount of polish.  In terms of innovations I approached Aion with fairly low expectations.  As soon as the log-in screen popped up as seen above, I felt somewhat reaffirmed that graphically I would not be disappointed. So with all that being said, let's get started!


Character Creation

Before we can do anything, we have to create a character.  The game is based around 2 main factions that are to be pitted against each other akin to what we have seen in Warhammer and World of Warcraft.  One of the main differences with Aion is that the game only features 2 races to chose from, the Elyos (Angels) and the Asmodian (Demons).  If your used to some of the other RvR MMOs out there where each team has several races to chose from, this might concern you as it did me.

As soon as I saw the actual character creator, my concerns about character customization for my appearance pretty much vanished.  I have to say in all honesty that Aion sports one of the most customizable character creators I have seen. Aion gives you infinitely more options than many of its competitors, and rivals and possibly exceeds Age of Conan.  For starters, the creator has a color palettes that enable you to make almost any part of your character into any color you can imagine.  This opens the door for some very creative and also very silly looking toons.  Hair, skin, and lip color can be anything from standard colors to wild shades of green and purple.



Sliders and more sliders.  This creator has sliders for everything you mind can think of, as well as stuff probably wouldn't have considered.  When you make your character, the 2 main aspects are designing your face and your body.  The body creator has 12 sliders alone, one of which includes a height slider that can make your character as small as a child or a tall as an ogre.  As if that wasn't quite enough, the face customizer has another 25 sliders!  It's very easy to lose yourself at this point, and if it wasn't a beta, I might have been there for quite some time trying to sculpt my guys face.  In conclusion here, there are enough options to make your character look unique despite the fact there are only 2 races to chose from.

The other decision you have to make is what archetype do you want your character to be, as well as the gender of your character (this is actually done before the customizing step).  This probably where my first beef comes into play.  I am the type of person who would rather pick a class right out of the gate, rather than an archetype.  My concern with this route is that you do not actually get to play the class you want until you have put in 9 levels into your guy.  While this is not really a large time investment by any means (took me 90 minutes my first time), I'd like to find out sooner rather than later if the class I am going to be is to my liking without having to invest the time to find out.  I don't want to put in the time and finally get to my class only to find out it's not a good fit for me, then have to reroll and repeat the early content again just to try again.

 

User Interface

The Aion User Interface is pretty much the cookie-cutter UI we have seen from most of the traditional style MMOs in recent memory.  If you spent any time at all playing WoW, EQ2, AoC, or WAR, you will pretty much feel right at home instantly.

You will find most of the standard UI elements here along with the ability to customize it a bit.  Aion gives you 3 rows of hotbars to be stacked on top of one another, but they remain completely invisible if there are no abilities dropped into them.  Aion also uses the same exact keyboard buttons assigned to some of the basic functions from previous MMOs as well.  Again if you have played a recent traditional MMO, you will find yourself open your inventory, character window, map, etc. without even having to look up the predefined assigned key.


The character window itself is broken into several different tabs of information.  The main screen features the standard equipment paperdoll which is accompanied by all of your characters primary stats, defensive skills, and resistances.  Below that you will find your backpack contents and gold totals.  One confusing things for me was the fact that instead of using the term backpack, Aion calls it the "Cube".  The cube initially only has a limited number of slots, but there is an NPC who will expand your cube for a fee.

Another interesting aspect is that much like Warhammer Online, Aion also features an unlockable title system. It seems that by completing certain quest or quest chains you can unlock new titles to be displayed next to your name.  What makes this system a bit different than WAR's title system is that the Aion titles actually have different bonuses associated to them.  I was able to unlock Tree-Hugger by completing one of the early quest chains that gave me an accuracy boost.  The list seems to have 50 hidden titles in total, so most likely there will be certain titles that end up being favored by certain classes in the game because of the bonuses they give.


Combat

Aion's combat style follows the traditional MMO style combat from games like WoW, EQ2, and WAR.  The game features the standard tab targeting system, and activated abilities that are on various different cooldowns.  The game's mini-map color codes aggressive monsters as red, and when you target them you even see their aggro radius as if it were a tiny radar.

The combat sounds and animations struck me as being pretty well done. While the combat seems to be in many ways the same recycled form of combat we have seen in the last few MMOs, it does feel responsive and look well.  The game's combat does feature positional attacks and a combo type system for chaining weapon attacks together.

They really seem to go out of their way to make the skill chains easy to learn compared to some other MMOs.  As an example, the character I picked was under scout archetype.  One of my stun attacks can only be performed directly after my character evades an incoming enemy attack.  In some previous games, it would be up to the player to watch the combat very closely for the evade message or animation. In Aion, when my character evades I get a visual flashing effect on the ability that pretty much screams "press me!", that get accompanied by another visual in plain view near the center of my screen.  This makes it fairly user-friendly for even new and inexperienced players to know when to seize the opportunity to use a situational skill.

One final quick note here.  This game also seems to feature items that can be socketed with other stat boosting items to give very specific effects much like the Warhammer talisman system.  The stones can be popped into both weapons and armor and seem to drop fairly regularly off of mobs I fought.  They effects I saw ranged from adding HP and MP, all the way to boosting crit chances and evade percentages.  This gives a little bit of room for the player to mess around with various set ups, and the stones can be removed from a special NPC in case you want to try a different stone.

 

Quests

Questing in Aion is pretty lame to be honest, there just isn't really any other way to say it.  You can tell as soon as you talk to your first NPC that your questing career in Aion will pretty much consist of the same drab recycled kill and collection quests that we have seen in WoW, EQ2, AoC, WAR etc. Quest NPCs can be spotted by the usual floating icons over their heads to indicate quest offerings or turn-ins.

This is yet another game where the work of a hero is to collect flowers, kill animals, collect dingleberries, and do some part time work for Fed-Ex.  I won't harp on this too long as I have already ranted on this countless times in the past, but there really isn't much anyone can write at this point in a quest box to make collecting sacks of grain into something heroic.  I didn't really care for it in Warhammer, but at least Warhammer mixed things up with their public quest system, there just isn't anything along those lines here to help break up what will be a long chain of tedium.

The one thing Aion seems to do a little different in the quest department is their campaign quest system.  The quest journal is divided into normal quests and the campaign quests.  Each of Aion's major zones seems to feature a campaign series of quests.  These are pretty much a long series of quests that chain together that help walk you through the area and give you a little story at the same time.  The initial level 1-10 noobie area campaign seems to revolve around the fact that you have lost your memory and need to try to recall it.  The bad news is these quests pretty much are the same exact kill and collection quests you will find in the other part of your journal.  When the campaign starts, you will see all of the quests listed with the recommended character level for it, although at the start you can't see the specifics of the quests.  As you start to progress through the campaign, you will unlock the ability to see quests further down the list as well as their reward.

The one saving grace about the campaign system is that they do seem to go a little out of their way to help drive home the story element that comes along with some of them.  A lot of these quests will reward you with cutscenes at various stages to help give you an idea of what is going on.  Not all cutscenes seem to be created equally though.  In the quest to recover your lost memory, the final stages have some pretty impressive and entertaining ones (as seen above), but at the same time there are some that tell you a farm has been pillaged that seem unnecessary.  I'll take anything that helps break up the tedium though I guess.

 

The World

I wanted to devote a section here about some observations I made about the world and some features it has.

The first thing I want to touch on are the graphics and the games performance.  This game probably has the best graphics of all the traditional MMOs on the market with the exception of Age of Conan which I think has a completely different art style.  Performance wise, the game runs great on a wide variety of systems.  I also have to say the sound and music seemed pretty well done as well.  A lot of the musical scores I heard in some of the various areas seemed to be professionally composed and helped add to the immersion factor.

There are a lot of familiar features to Aion that seems to have been copied from other games.  I noticed right out of the gate that they have flight masters for flying you across a zone the same as found in WoW, EQ2, and Warhammer.  The only difference here is that instead of riding a flying animal, your character uses a special pair if wings to fly himself over to wherever he is going.  Aion also seems to have a working mail system and auction house system in place much like its competition.  One good feature that I think is new to this game is a fast way of selling vendor trash type loot at the merchants with a single button.  One thing that I did find somewhat annoying was the fact that binding to a new location costs money.


 

One of my biggest concerns regarding the world is the layout of it.  The world is divided into 3 parts, one of the Elyos, one for the Asmodians, and the Abyss PvP area in the center.  Each of the race's section of the world map seem to be divided into 5 main zones and a city.  After leveling from 1-10, I had completely exhausted the first zone, leaving 4 more to be explored.  Given the amount of areas remaining, and the number of levels I have yet to climb, I suspect that the game is extremely linear in terms of how you progress through the content and the map.  In a lot of other games, you are given choices on which zone you want to spend your time adventuring in at any given level.  Since other games have multiple races and multiple areas to go with them, in WoW for example if you tire of the human areas, you can head over to the elves for a change of scenery and content.  I fear that Aion will send you down a very narrow set of rails in order to reach the max level with little room for deviation.  This can be worse if you decide to level up an alt because you will be forced to do all of the exact same content you did the firs time around in all of the same places, including the campaign quests.


This leads to me another concern regarding how someone will experience PvP during the leveling process.  In Warhammer Online, each area you level up is connected to an area controlled by the enemy.  This means that if someone really wants to experience the games PvP at any stage, they only need to wander over towards the local hotspot.  While I haven't seen this during the preview weekend, I have heard there are portals that can open up randomly that send you to the enemy area for PvP.  Depending on how rare these occur, your exposure to the PvP side of the game could be very limited initially.  I like to have an opportunity to test my character in PvP even at the early stages so I can see how well the class I picked handles itself in a variety of situations.

 

Flight

No doubt one of the main selling points and innovations of Aion is the flight mechanic.  Initially you can't fly right out of the gate when you start, but once you reach level 9 and complete the campaign to get your class you will be able to glide and fly after a ceremony.

The flight system seems to work very well and I found the controls very easy to get a handle on.  In the bottom right part of user interface, there is a little flight indicator that tells you if you can fly in a certain area, and how much flight time you have left.  If you are in a flight-enabled area, you simply press the "Page Up" button for your character to sprout their wings and take off.  Once you are in the air, you can press "R" and "F" to fly up and down respectively, or you can hold your right mouse button down to tilt your altitude.  The meter will start to tick down and when its out your wings will vanish sending you plummeting.  You can manually land or turn off your wings by pressing the "Page Down" button. Sometimes I found the fastest way to get back to the ground safely from high up was do turn off my wings to fall, then turn them back on right before I hit the ground (use this method at your own risk). 

Having a third dimension to the game is definitely a very interesting feature, and flying was genuinely a fun experience. Having that third dimension made finding some quest locations tougher though, as on several occasions I reach the quest waypoint only to realize my real destination was actually high above me on some floating island.  My only beef is that the PvE areas I explored have certain parts you can fly, and others you can't, so you will find yourself hitting invisible walls that force you to land when transitioning to a no-fly area.  I would love to see more areas be flight enabled.

 

PvP

Unfortunately the limitations of the weekend didn't give me a chance to really be able to check out the PvP.  This is what will inevitably make or break the long term playability of this game.  While I was unable to participate in any PvP, I did notice a few features related to it.

For starters there seems to be a tab on your main character window dedicated to your PvP stats from the Abyss.  The window seems to keep track of your PvP rank, as well as your kills and points earned broken down into various time frames so you can monitor your progress.  Everyone seems to start out as a rank 9 Soldier, and by earning points you can advance through the ranks.  There is also a rank window that breaks down the point totals needed to reach certain ranks, as well as which players on each side are at the top of their game.  Points are earned by killing players in the Abyss, and unlike other MMOs, they are lost when you are killed.  This is one aspect that makes Aion stick out from its competition.  Warhammer and WoW were both notorious for treating people with kid gloves by rewarding them with points even for a loss, while Aion seems to have some sort of consequence for a loss.  This will undoubted stop competitive players from just rushing into fights without any fear of death, which is a good thing in my opinion.

The abyss seems to be the focal point of the Aion endgame and its PvP.  By looking at the map, we can see that it has 3 different layers, and assorted keeps to fight over in it.  I am not really sure how this endgame will stack up against what we saw in WAR, but this is going to be what makes or breaks this game.  The area looks to be a decent size by looking at the maps, and I hope that is the case. If all of the endgame PvP is going to be in this area, it will need to be very large to stop it from getting old.  Despite its flaws, Warhammer had a variety of areas and fronts for people to fight on to add a little variety to the PvP endgame, hopefully this area will offer enough to keep people entertained for a long time.


Conclusion

Aion is a graphically stunning game and has tons of polish.  The game has been out overseas for a little while now, and I think that ultimately that fact will be a large benefit to the North American fans.  Since the game has been out and patched for a while in other markets, NA players will be getting a game that is polished and feels complete.  There are not that many MMOs that have come out in the last few years that players have been able to say that about.  The game has a real focus on endgame PvP, and the patching the game has gone through already has no doubt made class balance less of an issue.  I am glad to see that there is a loss for death in PvP, as bind and zerg rushing seems to plague a lot of other traditional style MMOs that have tried for the same goal.

On the flip side, Aion strikes me as very linear game.  The way the overworld is layed out has me worried that in addition to being constricted, players will be forced to stomach through the same content over and over again every time they level up another character.  Aion also is not a game that is oozing with innovation.  Outside of the flight mechanic, I think a lot of people will legitimately be able to criticize this game for being somewhat of a clone in some aspects of some of the more recent traditional games.  The endgame PvP is going to be the real test of whether or not this game breaks through to people and distinguishes itself from the rest, or if it gets written off as another MMO using an already exhausted formula.  I think despite that, this game will appeal to a lot of people who might be current WoW and WAR subscribers.  The game already has a huge following overseas, so it should be interesting to see how it fairs in a completely different market.

 

Paragus
Co-Leader of Inquisition
www.inqguild.com

Inktomi writes:

Great post Paragus. Hit the nail on teh head, endgame pvp is going to be the tell all for Aion, they seem to  love it overseas. But will it do as well in NA, good question.

/agreed

/bumped

/wave

Mon Jun 22 2009 12:08AM Report
sanders01 writes:

How would you compare it to L2?

Mon Jun 22 2009 1:00AM Report
daylight01 writes:

 Great post Paragus(as always),

I played the 1st beta preview and said to my online mates that the game did not do much new,but what it did do was take most of the best things from other mmo's and bring them into 1 mmo,they then added better graphic's and better preformance.

My mate's had a chance to play this beta preview and they all agreed that was the case with Aion.

I see myself subbing to Aion for a long time,it has everything I need and also enjoyed the little crafting I got to do,I cant wait to make some of the higher end armor sets,though 1 down side to this is the gathering,which does get boring very quickly.

Mon Jun 22 2009 5:32AM Report
Paragus1 writes:

I never really got too deep into Lineage 2, so I really can't make any kind of valid comparisons.

Mon Jun 22 2009 7:30AM Report
Tekaelon writes:

I wish Aion the best of luck. It sound like a very polished, and promising game. ATM though I would have to say no to another game that is exactly what I've been doing for the last 4 years. :) 

Mon Jun 22 2009 8:09AM Report
marcust writes:

Its very different to L2 in those early stages, as anyone could kill anyone in L2 and this added the element of risk that is missing in those first 10 levels of Aion.

My thoughts on the little we have seen to date match almost exactly those of Paragus.

I had 3 years in L2 and loved it, I'm not so sure about this.

Mon Jun 22 2009 8:56AM Report
Holymonk writes:

Solid Review.

Flying Pvp looks like fun, espicially with that added element of when to fly and when not to waste your flight time.

However I dont think I will be playing it just because Im sick of this exhausted formula. Just feels like Ive been here done that.. But I guess I may just be getting older and becoming jaded. ^.^

Mon Jun 22 2009 9:10AM Report
sfraden writes:

Meh, review was ok, nothing special, no real revalations, nothing more than everyone else already knows.  I love it when you make it seem that you 'got into' beta, when you merely did like everyone else and bought your way in thru a pre-order.

Still, I find your reviews very one sided, shifting from fanboi to troll in the same paragraph, and you have failed to mention the changes that are coming, or how much of what you saw was not yet 'americanized' and still very asian in its delivery.  But then again, I expect nothing mroe than your slanted viewpoints and half the information.  Perhaps I should just follow your blogs with the missing half in mine, as you just cant seem to get it all ...

Blog Fail - Again.

Mon Jun 22 2009 9:14AM Report
cag1980 writes:

The flying PvP is great, you can participate in the arenas in both capital cities....basically just mass pvp brawl in the beta weekends but it allows you to try the pvp whilst flying.

Overall i have had great fun playing the game and already ordered the CE, i have not really played WoW just te trial but i didn't like the art style and Aion has just sucked me in.

Mon Jun 22 2009 9:15AM Report
Ugottawantit writes:

The begining of this article hits the nail on the head. Aion is easy to pick up, because it takes the best elements from all of the popular MMo's out there, then add beauty. Beauty always wins.  Lets face it, there will never be an mmo based on George W. Bush.

Mon Jun 22 2009 9:24AM Report
Fury24 writes:

sfraden, who peed in your cherrios this morning?

Mon Jun 22 2009 9:26AM Report
Paragus1 writes:

Sfraden get over yourself FFS.  I have no idea where you are getting ones-sided from?  What you cann shifting from fanboi to troll in the same paragraph, other people call objectivity and showing both sides.  

f you want to ride my coat-tails to get people to read your blog again, that's your business.

Mon Jun 22 2009 9:43AM Report
sfraden writes:

Ok Paragus, I'll call your bluff.  I have close my blog here.  No more 'riding your coat-tails'  I'll now direct my attention to picking you apart, and exposing the single sided-ness you call a blog.

Oh yeah, I payed to get into beta just like you did.  I saw the same things you did.  But you seem to just show the better parts. 

Where are your pictures of the disgustingly 'cutsey' anime girls?  How about a shot of the toon in the little dress that pulls out a giant leaf to stand under when it rains?   Or a shot of a female character doing a 'cheesecake' when she sits down?  Nope, dont see any of that kind of thing here.  You seemed to have left that out.  Hmmm...

Why dont you mention how the pretty-cutesy anime is enough to make one barf.  show that side, then maybe I would have nothng to complain about.

Mon Jun 22 2009 10:02AM Report
Panossian writes:

NJ Paragus.

ROFL sfraden, you seem to have an axe to grind when it comes to Paragus. You seem like a grumpy, angry little fella, why don't you tell us whats really bothering you champ.

Mon Jun 22 2009 10:02AM Report
Mastrshadow writes:

Although the world may seem small at first because of the starting areas, the other zones are rather large. I won't say the game isn't on rails for a while though. Up until about level 20 your following teh rails pretty tightly. After you hit 20 though you options start to branch out a bit. At 25 the Abyss opens up to you. This is not just a PvP area, there are quite a few quest hubs and the mobs here seem to give extra experience as well as Abyss Points. It's difinately a nice and tempting area for PvErs as well as PvPers.

I've been playing the Chinese version for a little while and have a lvl 33 Assassin. Rifts do indeed exist and will take you to your enemy factions matching zone. They pop up randomly in set locations, once you know where to look you can usually find them fairly easily if one is up. There is a level limit and number of usage limit on them to prevent high levels from zerging low level areas. Rifts also won't be seen before the level 20+ areas.

Death in PvP cost less than death by PvE in that it only costs 1 Kinah (money) to soul heal from a PvP death, however you still have the movement reduction until you soul heal as well as you will be returned to your bind point. You can bring along portable bind points called "Kisks" that aliviate the hastle of making a long or expensive treck back to the battle, but those also have a time limit and number of uses limit. Zerging may not be completely dead, but Aion takes some nice steps to make the Zergs think twice before needlessly rushing to their deaths.

Mon Jun 22 2009 10:04AM Report
Panossian writes:

holy moly...sfraden.

 

If thats how you pick somone apart then I think Paragus, and the rest of the universe is safe from your wrath.

what the shit are you even talking about?

Mon Jun 22 2009 10:11AM Report
Wycliffe writes:

As always, a nice detailed, informative article.

Aion is wrapping up nicely it seems. While I can identify with gripes about linear level progression, overall I can't help but feel games these days are going to be linear in one way or another. Even Vanguard, which had a fairly massive open world, people were pigeoned holed by the quality of gear offered at each lvl opportunity. First it was the URT chain, then the hunter chain, then Coterie... etc. Back in EQ there were tons of options for lvling but people still waited an hour or so for an opening in certain groups, like the treants for example, just because loot/xp was superior to alternatives.

I'm not excusing linear progression by any means, but in MMOs its the rule not the exception so I won't fault a particular title for doing so. Long as the leveling content is compelling enough to keep logging in i'm willing to overlook this flaw. TOR seems to be the only game on the horizon which looks to really challenege and innovate this shortcoming of its predecessors.

Mon Jun 22 2009 10:14AM Report
Paragus1 writes:

Thanks for the info mastrshadow.   I do wish in some ways they took WAR's approach to letting you jump into PvP a bit earlier, but it's good to know you don't have to wait until end game to be able to get some action.

Mon Jun 22 2009 10:14AM Report
BadSpock writes:

Thanks for letting me know exactly why I'll never play Aion.

Another linear quest/level grinder from overseas with a focus on end-game PvP?

OOO but it has pretty graphics! And they are using the same interface/accessibility of western MMOs... how quaint.

But you can fly!

No thanks.

I'm waiting on FF XIV, I have faith that they'll break the Eastern MMO mold and do enough differently from the Western MMO mold to make a game that is actually original instead of this crap.

"Aion, exactly like everything else with better graphics and the +1 of wings (it's our gimmick!"

I'll take real innovation and a new direction instead of another game sold/hyped on gimmicks.

Still, well written and par for the course Paragus... you seem to have a gift for typing out exaclty what the unwashed masses at MMORPG.com want to hear...

I can't say that's a good thing though.

Mon Jun 22 2009 10:23AM Report
pompey606 writes:

I think Paragus you where mean to that child in a former life! Either way its a great blog, and makes me want to play Aion even more.. Why cant us EU players buy the game for a beta key! Lifes unfair eh!

Still, keep the blogs up.

Mon Jun 22 2009 10:29AM Report
Nadril writes:

This game has really sparked my interest as of recently. One thing I should say is that you mentioned the game has 2 playable factions, when it actually has 3 (like in DAoC)

http://www.aiononline.com/us/game_guide/factions/

 

I kind of like that the end game content is focused around the abyss. While having all those areas were nice in WAR (and it would be nice to know if you can level while engaging in pvp in aion) I found that for the most part the low level RvR areas in WAR were totally empty. The problem was that since there were so many of them people were so spread out that hardly anything happened.

 

 

Mon Jun 22 2009 10:33AM Report
Sovrath writes:

It compares to L2 in that the fighting is the same sort of fast and "flourishy" affair.

There are castle sieges though it seems that they will take place more than once per week. At times I would  see (during the beta) a message indicate that "x" fortress is now available for sieging.

It is more of a rvr game in that one side against another. So you can't take out your own people. There are portals that will open so you can make it to the other side but once you are there a while then that side will be made aware of your presence. You can't live over in the other side though I'm not clear on what the debuff is that you get once you have been there a while.

The quests are more like WoW or LOTRO and NOT like L2 quests (which I hated with a passion but that's my opinion).

The armor and weapons are as intricate and involved as L2.

The initial world does not seem as open as L2 (well, actually it just isn't) but it does open up a bit. Having said that, the reviewer seem correct in that the more open parts of the game will be the abyss and the rest seems more linear.

Essentially if you are looking for an L3, Aion is not it. If you are looking for a mix of L2, WoW/LOTRO/ insert whatever other game you can think of that fits then it might be for you.

The classes are fun and even crafting seems more palatable (to a person who hates crafting).

Mon Jun 22 2009 10:41AM Report
Player_420 writes:

Sfrad I think I speak for most people here when I say two things.

1. OPINIONS are NOT FACT (which just shows how immature you are)

2. Get over yourself, your posting on a MMORPG.com blog.

Mon Jun 22 2009 10:46AM Report
ForcePunk writes:

For A Limited Time Only!

Each Paragus blog now comes with a free attention-whoring session from sfraden!

Good while supplies last!

(it's tough writing "Look at me!" while clinging white-knuckled to those coat tails.)

Don't stop short Paragus, gonna look like you grew another pair of legs.

Dude seriously, did we not pay enough attention to you last time? Oh, and as far as blogging/opinions go...you couldn't be more of a non-factor. You want people to pat you on the head and tell you how special you are? Go write something that doesn't suck. Thx.

Mon Jun 22 2009 10:50AM Report
Jupsto writes:

lol @ sfraden

Mon Jun 22 2009 11:51AM Report
EricDanie writes:

 Nice review.

And sfraden, you fail.

Mon Jun 22 2009 1:41PM Report
Kolapz writes:

Nice one Paragus. I may or may not agree with some of the opinion based claims you make, but that doesn't matter as it really was a nice read.

Just one thing though, it isn't a NA beta. It's a NA/Europe beta. You know, the continent you spawned from? :D

Mon Jun 22 2009 1:56PM Report
Uzza writes:

A nicely written blog which touched on some things I havn't thought about (limited zones.)

Noticed that you missed some stuff though like the importance of movement in combat. For example, moving forward while in combat gives you an attack bonus while lowering your defense. Moving left or right will help your evasion, but lowers your attack. And finally, moving backwards gives a defense bonus to you char while also lowering your attack.

 

Also, a service that becomes available at level 30+ will give you the option of transfering the stats of an item to another one, effectively changing the look of your weapon or armor. Nice if you have for example the most awesome looking sword ever (in your opinion) but happens to find a butt ugly sword with just better stats. No need to throw away that awesome look just for some better stats.

 

And answering Nadril, in the up to date Korean version (1.2) players gain experience for killing other players, and loose some if they die.

By the look of things 1.2 will also be the version that ships with the wester release of Aion.

 

As a side note, China is still stuck at release version (1.0).

Mon Jun 22 2009 2:04PM Report
Paragus1 writes:

Thanks for the info Uzza, I wasn't aware of that.

Aren't they up to 1.3 now? I'd be curious to hear what the major changes are from what we played over the weekend compared to the newest build.

Mon Jun 22 2009 2:09PM Report
Kolapz writes:

Oh, forgot to say one more thing. You completely ignored to mention the Balaur, an NPC race that helps balance the RvR in the Abyss, so situations that happen in WAR don't happen in Aion. I do understand this is a review based on first-hand experience in the first 10 levels, but it certainly wouldn't hurt if you actually did some reading on what's to come and what's already in but you couldn't experience yet.

Mon Jun 22 2009 2:18PM Report
daylight01 writes:

 For patch 1.2 and 1.3 

http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/thread/239603/Patch-12-and-13-details.html

As far as I know 1.3 had yet to go live in the East,I may be mistaken though.

Mon Jun 22 2009 2:19PM Report
Tsukano writes:

basicly what mastrshadow said, the game gets a bit unlinear after 20-25. I played the chinese open beta awhile back with a friend and you can choose where you level after the 10-20 zone (tho i think you can start a little earilier then 20).

 

One thing i did like about this game that no one really mentions (or possibly likes) is the fact that you can grind, or quest. Both can be as profitable as the other. For grinding you do need a group, but thats one thing i loved about older MMO's like DAoC, when you get together with people and just level up. Im sure alot of gamers dont like this, but from time to time i enjoy it. It cuts away from the constant run back and forth of questing.

 

neway good blog paragus, glad some people are objective about reviews

Mon Jun 22 2009 2:36PM Report
DAVIDMINDY writes:

 WRONG your not god or bad just light or dark. There is no such thing as a evil character, just how you play i play the Chinese beta and you goody two shoes quest on both sides

Mon Jun 22 2009 2:59PM Report
RiSqU3 writes:

http://img141.imageshack.us/gal.php?g=aion2009061914584046.png

Mon Jun 22 2009 4:29PM Report
Azntranc3 writes:

"

Ok Paragus, I'll call your bluff. I have close my blog here. No more 'riding your coat-tails' I'll now direct my attention to picking you apart, and exposing the single sided-ness you call a blog.

Oh yeah, I payed to get into beta just like you did. I saw the same things you did. But you seem to just show the better parts.

Where are your pictures of the disgustingly 'cutsey' anime girls? How about a shot of the toon in the little dress that pulls out a giant leaf to stand under when it rains? Or a shot of a female character doing a 'cheesecake' when she sits down? Nope, dont see any of that kind of thing here. You seemed to have left that out. Hmmm...

Why dont you mention how the pretty-cutesy anime is enough to make one barf. show that side, then maybe I would have nothng to complain about.  "


Lol, paragus is the one-sided one? All the things you just mentioned were all OPINIONS. Atleast in his blog he isn't a blind fanboi nor is he a blind hater.

What some people might find disgustingly "cutesy" others might find a nice change. Get over yourself, atleast Paragus can tell the difference between opinions and bad/good.
 

Mon Jun 22 2009 6:35PM Report
Reinier001 writes:

good article, I think I will wait for Star Wars TOR though :-)

Mon Jun 22 2009 7:36PM Report
lilmark_utsa writes:

Nice review. And really didn't occur to me, until I read your article, the game does seem kinda linear and I'm not looking forward to repeating the same quests through the same exact areas.

But, it does seem like you need to do a little more research on the game aside from just playing it.

As Kolapz mentioned you didn't mention the NPC Faction known as the Balaur.  They're supposed to bring the PvPvE to the game by adding balance between the Asmodians and Elyos.  Supposedly they may take the side of one faction (Ex. Eloys) and help them fight against the Asmodians and quickly turn on the Elyos after.

Another thing NCSoft has mentioned is that coming soon is Localized Voice Overs for cutscenes and in game pre-rendered movies.  And that's just news they announced about 2 days before the recent closed beta.

While your review on actual play was spot on in my opinion, it needs a little more research on the game.  At first guess, as a person that follows Aion, I would have assumed you've never even visited the offical website.

Mon Jun 22 2009 9:35PM Report
Cursedsei writes:

I remember reading about Patch 1.3. The list is right here

http://www.aionsource.com/forum/news-announcements/16696-content-update-1-3-semi-official-content-news.html

they have a nice bit of variety, not only compared to each other, but compared to other game's ideas of dungeons and raids.

As for the review, I believe it was rather good, you can't really hold it against him that he didn't cover something not shown in the beta we have.

As for SFR, weren't you that one guy who was crying to have Paragus Rants removed from MMORPG.com? Seriously? Just chill dude. I don't know if Paragus raped your father, killed your mother, and made your siblings work in his coal mines, and I don't care. Its the internet, and just because we don't know who you are in real life, doesn't give you an excuse to act like some know-it-all prick. So just pop a few pills, and play whatever game you like and next time you decide to post something, turn the other cheek.

Tue Jun 23 2009 12:14AM Report
Thornwolf writes:

It is a simple case of jelousy and difference of opinion. Just because there are more than one Aion blog does not mean you two can not play nice and get along. What your blog is closed... I feel a sense of loss already what will we do without your opinen minded reviews? Your charming personality? Yes indeed this day we have all lost something.

Maybe some people like cutsey anime in their MMOs and that is why it was ot mentioned. Just because YOU hate it does not mea it needs to b mentioned here.

I thought it was  well written review, and I appreciate the effort.

Tue Jun 23 2009 12:16PM Report
Herithius writes:

I don't usually like your blogs(but I still read them!), because I feel you often spin Darkfall in an insanely better light than it currently is.

That all being said, I thought this was a great preview and for those fans who follow a game but are unable to play it, a long, detailed review like this is exactly what they arelooking for.

Thanks for it.

Tue Jun 23 2009 12:57PM Report
Fr0z1nDuDe writes:

paragus is not one sided... he's just... too old... but definitely not one sided...

Tue Jun 23 2009 3:13PM Report
Paragus1 writes:

I'm 30 :(

Wed Jun 24 2009 7:46AM Report
snoopykoo writes:

Honestly... I'm kind of disappointed in all of the presumptions made in this 'review'. A lot of your complaints start with 'based on my experience playing the noobie levels, I am now qualified to speak on end-game content'... and the fact that you couldn't find the PVP is worriesome to me, from a reader perspective. In each town there was a big area called "ARENA" on the map. That was open PVP. There was also a duel system, and people were fighting each other pretty much 100% of the time whenever I went to any of the level 10+ towns... where were you, dude?

After reading a lot of comments from people playing the Korean and Chinese retail versions, I can tell you that there are a few other ways to level, but yeah, it looks like it's mostly linear for now. You can also move on to the Abyss and kill the Balaur (the third non-playable class) to get experience and Abyss Points at level 25, I believe.

As for the quests... there were some interesting ones. You had to steal the clothes of a nymph as she bathed in a pond, for example. The level 13/14 quest for the Elyos had me going through a strip mine, kill the guard, steal the key, kill the foreman, sabatage the operations, and as an added bonus I got to jump off the mountain and glide halfway back to town without having to fight my way through. Granted, it was far more strategic since I was soloing the quest at a lower level than was intended, but it was a hell of a lot of fun doing it. Quests are what you make of them, and you clearly didn't try very hard.

Really, I guess my big complaint is that it doesn't look like you even played the game... you spent 90 minutes to get to level 10, flew around a little, made some conjectures based on the tabs in the player menu, and then wrote an article.

Wed Jun 24 2009 8:34AM Report
Paragus1 writes:

Do you see me anywhere presuming to know how the endgame content plays out?   No.  In fact I specifically said that I did not sample it because the cap was level 10.   Instead of pulling shit out of my ass, I showed people the in game functionality for the PvP ranking system to show that there is indeed some form of a PvP system with reward and consequences.   I think you are reading into things too much, but I am used to that.

In terms of dueling, I don't consider that real PvP.  I am glad it was in there, but let's be honest, dueling is not going to be the leg that this game stands on, it will be the real PvP in the abyss.

I played this game for well over 90 minutes.   I took a character up on both factions, and explored the entirety of the overworld zones.  I spent an hour or 2 just walking around in each zone on the Elyos side just exploring and looking at the world layout.

 

The quest argument is debatable, I'm sorry.   The overwhelming vast majority of the quests involve killing X amount of some creature, or collecting X amount of items on the ground or from killing the same creatures.   There isn't anything here that has not been beaten to death in the last 5 MMOs that used this formula.   I won't hold it against the game because it has pretty much been par for the course in this genre.  Hell, even Darkfall quests are kill X amount of this or that. 

What it does do however is reinforce the point that Aion is not innovative in any real mean in the PvE department.  This is going to be one of those games where you will probably want to blow through the PvE as quickly as possible to get to where the real game (PvP) starts, which apparently is around level 25.

Wed Jun 24 2009 9:28AM Report
snoopykoo writes:

I think my comment came out more negative than intended... anything that I didn't comment on, I agreed with. But you could have researched for 10 minutes to find out exactly what end-game content would be like instead of making presumptions based on the map and the info tab. The Abyss is explained in great detail, as are the death penalties and the uses for Abyss Points. From what I've read, the end-game seems to be far more indepth than WAR in regards to PVP (less of the pointless 'I take the castle, then you take the castle without me bothering to fight you because I don't gain anything from KEEPING the castle' nonsense) with an added element of the computer-controlled third race... which is apparently actually working pretty well. It scales up in strength to counteract one of the player races overpowering the other, so that no single race controls the entire game for very long at a time.

My comment on the Arena was that it's intent is like a beginner Abyss... at least in the beta when everyone was stuck at level 10, that was the purpose (although most people unfortunately used it as a big gank tank). You could test out how you played against groups, etc... the ability to get a feel for general PVP mechanics was certainly there, if not a little bit watered down by the lack of high leveled skills.

For the quests (above level 10), they seemed to go further and further away from the standard 'go kill 100 beetles and talk to me again' routine. Most of them started with "get me a mob drop and come back" but ended with "make your way through this army and kill the leader" or something of the sort. At a higher level, those quests would have been steamroller quests, but at 2 or 3 levels below the marked level, they required some stealth and strategy. For the next beta, I recommend that you really look into doing the higher level campaign quests once you reach max level (in this case, level 20) and see if it changes your opinion. But really, they'll always be accomplishment-based quests... do this, bring me that, find those... the man who thinks of a system of tasks that isn't based on specific or general accomplishments will make a fortune on his game. Right now, the best we can ask for is entertaining accomplishments and quests that involve some thinking instead of the usual extermination variations. Personally, I think Aion is doing this better than most (at least it is past the level 10 areas)... not perfect, but certainly the best that I've played so far.

Wed Jun 24 2009 12:58PM Report
ravorn87 writes:

awesome review and very fair criticism.

Wed Jun 24 2009 2:24PM Report
bloodsick writes:

Good review, but i won't be picking up this game.   The character emotes are little to... girly / juvenile for my tastes. (seriously what straight man would stand with his hands on his hips/buttocks; as seen in the fifth pic from the bottom). Or throw tantrums like a 5 yr old.

Wed Jun 24 2009 4:41PM Report
johnhailston writes:

Very good review and does look like a good game, will it do anything that the likes of WoW and LOTRo cannot do will be interesting, especially with SW-TOR and FFXIV on the horizon.

Thu Jun 25 2009 11:57AM Report
xAlrythx writes:

Nice review, pretty much how I saw the game.

About the class thing, that's a problem with all MMO's, you really don't know how good or how much fun your class can/will be until you give it a good go.

The PvP looks like it will be a crap load of fun so until I participate in that I cannot say whether or not I will buy this game however I have the CE preordered because they have done a great job so far even if the leveling is "cookie-cutter".

Fri Jun 26 2009 1:51AM Report
Neosai writes:

The race thing is not a problem because Aion allow you to make a huge variety of characters.  You can adjust both character color, height, thin/fat, shape, and a variety of options.  Other than the fact your character will remain humanoid, the way you can make it far surpass a simple race system.  However, some does like designer races, but that is another topic all together.

Fri Jun 26 2009 7:35PM Report
Neosai writes:

A note about quests, ok so you want a quest that does not involve killing mobs, collect anything, or talk to any NPC.  What is your idea of a quest? Stand still and get exp? Unless you have 3 examples of quests that does no involve any of the above, this is moot point, most ppl that complain about quest system are just criticizing it without offering any better alternative.

Fri Jun 26 2009 7:39PM Report
TheKronos writes:

 Nice review, I enjoyed reading, thanks.

Sat Jun 27 2009 6:19AM Report
DrSpanky writes:

so I finally got to reading your take on Aion (wanted to do it when your blog first was posted). I kinda agree with everything you said. Nothing is really all that new about this game, and at least for the little I got to play, it did seam very linnear. I did enjoy the game though. As I've posted before, I hope it's not just because of the newness factor. Time will tell.

 

Nice read and, as usual, nicely written.

Sun Jun 28 2009 4:08PM Report
Wharg0ul writes:

Good read, man. Thanks for taking the time to put this together.

I don't personally know if I could ever stomach another quest grind, no matter how "pretty" it is. Was kind of hoping for more innovation from Aion....guess it's kind of a one trick pony atm.

Mon Jun 29 2009 12:32AM Report
pr0xsaint writes:

Great reviev in my opinion . As every Game, Aion can't be perfect, but I'm sure it will give many players unforgotable memories ;)
From what I know in my country there isn't option to buy Colectionery Edition pack already...and it wasn't cheap . ;P

Mon Jun 29 2009 7:23AM Report
HueyLewis writes:

I registered with this website solely to post the following:

Sfraden, your observations about this review were uneducated, conflicting, and uninformative. Nothing which you attempted to point out in this article was actually true; some of your arguments conflict, and some establish you as a hypocrite. Actually, the flaws in your arguments occur in that exact order.

My first example is your argument of a one-sided aspect to this article. You followed the term one-sided with "shifting from [one side to the other]". Just as two bodies of mass cannot occupy the same space, these two aspects of writing cannot occupy the same prose. In my opinion, the author does a good job of neutrally raising a point and following up with a "both sides of the argument" approach, which attributes scientific objectivity to parts of this article. Scientific objectivity, as your luck would have it, happens to be my well-paying career.

After accusing Paragus of harboring one-sided biases within his writings, you proceeded to exclaim that he had left the "disgustingly cutesy anime girls" out of his review. However, their is a reason for any wise, budding writer to leave that nonsense out of a review: this type of information is exclusively subjective and bias. This part of your post established you as a hypocrite. If I were you, I would change my online identity and try to start anew with an unsullied name. Maybe then someone would read your blogs.

Good job on this article, Paragus, I will read your reviews in the future.

As for Sfraiden: Criticism Fail

Fri Sep 25 2009 11:52AM Report
ChrisPaeyn writes:

 I thought this was a great review, exactly what I was looking for. All reviews are, by their nature, subjective. People talk about what most interests them and leave out what they consider to be irrelevancies. This review was well written and interesting. I read it from beginning to end, while there were other reviews that lost my attention less than half-way in.

I have happily completed a year in WoW and have started a new class. I am looking for a reason to leave, but if the competition isn't better, I’ll stick with what I’m doing. I saw some movies on YouTube about the character creation and I was in love! But that alone is not a good reason to pay the money.

I hear a lot about “same old, same old.” I’ve only played one MMORPG, so I admit to being comparatively inexperienced. But it seems to me that since they all share such similarities, there must be a reason. I am curious, how do people think a MMO could be done differently?

Sun Sep 27 2009 7:17PM Report

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