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MMORPG.com Staff Blog

The staff of MMORPG.com gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

Author: staffblog

Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

Aion Anew

Posted by BillMurphy Wednesday September 8 2010 at 6:00PM
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I’m going to admit something here… until yesterday, I’d never played Aion. Gasp!

I know that as a writer for this site I’m supposed to on top of every major MMO release, but Aion was one that just slipped by. My work never required me to look into it, and I was too busy with other games to really give it a look. I was okay with this when, after the game’s first month or so had flown by the general consensus seemed to be that the beginning was great, but the middle and later parts got bogged down by a long leveling grind via killing mobs. And as an admittedly slow leveler who prefers leveling via quests to the old school ways of monster farming, I felt like I’d dodged a bullet.

But then the swag came. At PAX this year players, fans, and press who attended the Aion: Assault on Balaurea panel were greeted with a nice surprise on their chair… a newly minted retail copy of the game in its Assault on Balaurea packaging. It seems that Aion is really trying to rebrand itself as the free expansion launches by putting new boxes on store shelves and letting the press and players know that they’ve been listening to their complaints since the game launched.

Now whether or not those complaints really have been addressed is yet to be discovered. I know from talking to friends and fans that in the late teens is when players first run into content gaps, and then again in the late twenties. I’m going to be putting my all into playing Aion for the next couple months, and hopefully even though I’m a newbie I’ll be able to stack my experiences up with those of the game’s initial reviews and see if NCSoft has indeed improved the experience for the Elyos and Asmodians of the world.

Plus, really, what excuse do I have anymore for not having tried Aion? Best swag of PAX 2010? The free game of course! Now if only I could have convinced the guys at the Duke Nukem Forever booth to give me the same. Maybe next time.

What about you? Have you spent time in Aion? Did you leave, only to come back with the launch of 2.0? Share your thoughts on the game! I’d love to hear them.

Synthetick writes:

Enjoy yourself! :)

Wed Sep 08 2010 7:28PM Report
Madimorga writes:

There's no free trial available on their website, hence, I haven't tried it.  I'm always suspicious of established, long-out-of-beta games that don't offer a free trial.  It makes me wonder what's wrong with their game.

Wed Sep 08 2010 7:38PM Report
Qazz writes:

Aion has vastly improved on the 2 "G"'s...the Grinding and the Griefing.  

Grinding: Now, I don't mind grinding, but it was just silly that I could get the same xp killing 4 mobs that I got for a quest that had me kill 10.  It wasn't even worth tracking down the quest givers.  Not that I was able to survive long enough to find them, which leads me to...

Griefing: With the ability to see players on the mini-map and maps full of narrow roads, and precious few flight-paths, there was no escape from those to got their entire $14.99 worth by destroying the experience of others.  And the roads were full of them.  Every few minutes people were killed and camped at or above level 25.  People would try to escape to a new spot, just to be destroyed on their way there against players that were fine-tuned killers, with a level 50 funding the entire gig. Many players were forced to huddle into the corners of the zones, unable to explore and experience Aion's beauty.  Most of them eventually unsubbed.

Me...I was done after 3 months.  

I recently returned to Aion and the game has been revived in my eyes.  People aren't able to grief as they once did - if they want to PvP in my lands, they better bring friends.  The quest xp has been shockingly increased.  I'm stacking quests and doing them now...I'm getting more reward for my time spent.

Aion's lore, combat and design have been solid from the start: they've now raised the bar on what were game breakers for me and many others.  Aion is in good hands. It's a good time to join Aion folks.

Wed Sep 08 2010 8:08PM Report
lilwins writes:

THis game is still terrible and still has massive amounts of grind, I can tell you from a non-biased stand point as I have an active account until January 17, 2011; that I regret paying for.

Wed Sep 08 2010 9:09PM Report
vack writes:

I played from it's release, the mechanics, player connection with their toon, the world, the dungeons, the Challenges are all very well done, and really they did raise the bar. 

Playing as a Templar, I felt intuned with my character, and styles and taunts etc felt intuitive, and it was fun to play......Then I hit lvl 50.

This is when you think, great I'm at end game lets do some PVP, and some end game PVE stuff.  Well I got slapped in the face with reality.  The gear disparity is so great, that you have 0 chance against someone who out gears you.  Then the crafting system of pot luck.  I took up weapon crafting, thinking I could make my guild and myself weapons.  First of all the component drop rate was super rare, for basic items you need to make things, let alone the items you needed to make your trial quest items that allow you to Master the craft and make the next stage.  Oh by the way, you must master a craft in order to get your Fenris armor, which at the time I stopped playing was pretty much top dog armor.

However, it's just pot luck to get all this stuff.  I know many people that got their Mastery on First attempts.  I however was not as lucky.  Hundreds of hours spent farming Kinah and flux, and ore, just for attempts.  After my 27th Failed attempt at the Blue level sword for my mastery, I just quit the game. 

Playing a Templar was slow going as is for 50 levels, then I get smacked by the crafting........and on top of that Super Low Drop rates on anything good, had players who bought gold, or had nothing else to do in the entire world, kings of the hill, while those of us that worked for what we got, were left wanting.

One other thing was the Lock out timers caused many clicks within guilds.  If you ran Poeta with a set group, you could not help out other guildies that might want to experience that part of the game later on.  Hell the drop rate was soo bad in there at times, that I would think they could have dropped the lock out timer all together and still had minimal people Geared up.

 

In the end, I liked the Game Engine, the Storyline, the Zones, the basic raw idea of it, but the Eastern Grind will never work in the west.  Our culture just doesnt' mesh with it.

 

P.S.  Oh yeah one last thing, The Flying PVP, was implemented poorly, and there are a ton of hackers that played on it's inception......not sure about now.

Wed Sep 08 2010 9:58PM Report
Paragus1 writes:

The grind in this game had my guild members dropping like flies.  Th exp curve gets stupidly steep once you hit around level 37.  Bosses in dungeons that don't drop loot, silly exp curve, bots and gold sellers, really put most of my guys over the edge in record time.  A lot of people who went back said the grind is still as mundane and boring as when they left for the most part.

Thu Sep 09 2010 12:22AM Report
Synthetick writes:

@Paragus- I promise this isn't intended to be sarcastic or smartass, but doesn't your guild play Darkfall? Each has their own opinion on what grind is and what grind implies, but out of my 5 months subscribed to the game I can say it has just as much grind as Aion did. And I like Darkfall, by the way. My "grind" to 50 and to get decently geared took a lot less time than it has to get my character at Darkfall playable. And we're not talking 1on1 playable, I'm a realist, I know I'm behind the curve. But out of 6-7 guilds I was in (And on NA-1, there's not thousands and thousands of guilds to choose from) I still had a ways to go before they'd even let me participate with them in anything worth mentioning.

But Paragus, I've read a lot of your stuff, and while you're reply is on point and truthful to how it stood at launch, the game has went significant changes, changes you'd need to experience first hand instead of taking it from others.

The grind is greatly reduced, you get more XP from everything now, and 2.0 raised the quest turnins again.  The XP curve isn't all that noticeable anymore after 35, and the bots and gold sellers are gone. I see as much gold selling spam as I do when I log into WOW now. One every now and then, but I probably see one once a week, and they're shut down mostly before I can even report them.

Is it a complete 180? No, but it's getting there. And this expansion is a step in the right direction. But please don't encourage people to write it off from experiences from a year ago. It has changed, maybe not enough for some, but they are improving it.

They also stated recently they're changing more things for the Western audience now instead of just language and minor localization changes, we should start seeing more changes brought to how the West embraces the games.

Thu Sep 09 2010 12:29AM Report
Shadanwolf writes:

I played Aion for the RVR,since I love faction conflict.I am a 5+ year vet of the best rvr game ever made...Dark Ages of Camelot.I drove several characters to level 25...and yes there was a LOT of grind.At 25 I got to experience the absolute mess that AION devs wanted to pass as RVR.I could not believe how awful it was.I will never go back .The game is an insult to anyone who actually pays money for the experience.

Thu Sep 09 2010 6:22AM Report
Mogcat writes:

Its a bit better now but i dont agree with the level ranges on some of the solo dungeons.

Thu Sep 09 2010 6:55AM Report
Akais writes:

I played the game during Beta and Launch through February of this year. I have not returned at this point.

Qazz commented that the grinding and the griefing are issues that have seen vast improvements.

I had heard about Quest XP reward changes, but not about any changes to their rifting, death penalty, armor/weapons drop mechanics (this is what allowed for the griefing in the first place).

How exactly has the griefing changed in this game ?

Thu Sep 09 2010 7:29AM Report
solarine writes:

The main problem I had with Aion was that killing a single mob was a boring, boring thing. And you had to do it over and over and over again, there was almost no context to it; it was like looking at the gameworld and seeing right into its bowels. Yeah, most MMO combat is not renowned to be fun, but it usually has some context to make it bearable. Nothing in Aion gave me any context whatsoever, so it came across as some form of pure mediocre grinding. You almost had to group-grind to make it bearable, but oddly I found it was hard to get groups going when your friends weren't already online. 

I'm totally OK with griefing in PVP games, but the mechanics of the leveling process should not be so visible. I wonder if that's changed. Actually, I even wonder if questing would help with that at all.  

Thu Sep 09 2010 8:53AM Report
Orious writes:

I played in beta and the first month it was out and I had enough quests until level 22ish? I'm not sure what people are doing to not have quests in the mid teens... but they were there when I played, they should be more than their now.

I quit because I'm busy. I'm not going to play an mmo regardless of how little or much the "grind" is if I have a life knocking at my door.

By and by, I liked it. I actually don't really enjoy questing as much as just grinding on monsters :P. 

Thu Sep 09 2010 11:06AM Report
Nodeghost writes:

I played beta and some time after release. It was fun for a while but then the Grind and Griefing hit like a train. I quit and never looked back.

Thu Sep 09 2010 11:57AM Report
tehlorri writes: I played Aion in beta and have played it this entire time. So far, I've found it to be one of the more enjoyable games that I've played. I've heard a lot of complaints on grind, but I played the original SWG and this grind has nothing on the original SWG grind. XD As far as those content gaps you mention, sure, they are there, but they are covered by repeatable quests that now give you an extra reward when you repeat the quest a certain number of times, so it's not entirely like you are going out to find random mobs to bash. Also, the game expects you to run some instances, so at 25 you are supposed to do the abyss entry quest and run the Training Camp at least once, and that will give you a full level of XP easy. Ganking does happen (duh) but on the servers I've played, there's a pretty good player base that goes out to hunt gankers. Rifting mechanics have changed a lot with 2.0 also, and I don't think we've had enough time to see the effects of that on the ganking situation. >.> I prefer solo playing and the game is not overwhelmingly difficult for the solo player who takes their time to learn their skills appropriately. You do have to group up for certain quests, but I've only been caught in a "bad" group once or twice. And while I'm not normally a PVPer, I do PvP in this game. Something about that red diamond makes me just want to go kill it. XD My only real complaint about the game is that I find the crafting system dull, but then part of what I enjoyed about the original SWG was the complexity of the crafting. ^.^;; Anyway, it's a great game and don't keep the nay-sayers from checking the game out. :) As for the fellow up there who fussed that there wasn't a trail available, PM me your email and I'll send you a Refer-A-Friend trial. :) Thu Sep 09 2010 12:08PM Report
xjum52 writes: You level twice as fast now, there is no grinding, and you only have to PvP when you want. NCSoft is a powerful company and much has changed in a year. Thu Sep 09 2010 12:27PM Report
Asleep writes:

Aion is a good game straight up, said it before I will say it again. There are problems ofcourse, not sure which problems remain. For me, I played for like 7+ months, capped 2 toons, maxed gear on a clr, and had some seriously great times doing stuff that was insanely fun, including sieging, rifting with a full alliance looking for the ooposing factions rares, fighting for hours over Menotios, and playing a ton of dredge and DP.

The main issues we had then was just that it felt after we did all that, the lack of motivation to do it again and again. At the time it felt like they should have had 2raids for alliances to PVE, at least another dredge type instance, and atleast 2 other DP type instances, and a ground abyss.

While the grind or griefing could be balanced here and there, there simply wasn't a reasons for a person to do it, cause in the end you would be simply grinding fort instances, dp, dredge and pvping when you could find it, and during sieges, every single day.

While other issues like ranged classes being powerful in the abyss, and zerg wins again could eventually be balanced, there wasn't enough to do to outwiegh all the issues for me.

I see they added a raid, and new zones and PVE instances, I think its a strong start, and I am interested but I'm not sure I can make the leap back in, I kinda feel like maybe in another year lol, after another big expansion.

But to those who haven't tried this game, its actually really good if you just enjoy it for what it is, and find a good solid group to play with.

Thu Sep 09 2010 2:32PM Report
shoziku writes:

I also unsubbed after I couldn't take the pvp and griefing any longer.  the grind was ok, didn't bother me to hunt random kills between quest vacation periods.  It was fun actually, until I got killed for the hundredth time by someone many levels above me, who I rarely even saw. (grief killing goes too fast to even bother finding out who killed you, or to even turn fast enough to see).

 

the game pre-pvp (lvl 1-20) is by far the VERY BEST GAME EVAR!!  but even that can be dashed to bits by the realization that you're simply providing fodder for someone already seasoned in the game.  The design of the game itself is what defeats itself.  you get a new player, he levels up to pvp status, he dies repeatedly, he quits playin.  Some players will weather past this but not many do.  the shock is so hard that it makes people walk away from a game they actually enjoyed.

The other thing... botters.  there was too many of them.  I was around to see many get removed but only to see twice their numbers come back the next day.  they were allowed to run for too long before ncsoft addressed the issue.

I played from beta to about 4 mos.  then I cried and left the best game in the world.  Really wish there was a pve option.

Thu Sep 09 2010 4:12PM Report
xvalkyrie85 writes:

I've played from beta til now, and I have to say the game has gotten better and worse in different respects. The leveling process is still an elongated thing, but now there are so many quests or instances to do that fill the gap, that it feels like it goes by faster. The bad, the server population is severely imbalanced right now on a lot of servers. Primarily in favor of elyos. If more people would play asmodian and even out the factions, it would be more enjoyable pvp wise. 

That said, the expansion has been enjoyable for me, even though it's all pve and barely any pvp. The solo dungeons were a great idea, especially for the lower levels where it's sometimes difficult to get a full group, now that all the servers are mature (ie, most of the player base are 40+) and lowbies are often alts rather than new blood.

Thu Sep 09 2010 8:21PM Report

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