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Posted by Mirandel Saturday April 28 2012 at 8:18AM
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Tera, Tera, Tera... Every gamesite is talking about it. Yet, I have a feeling gamers care less about that game then about GW2, for example. And there is a good reason for that: Tera is a year old, many players had a chance to at least see it on Korean servers. And we do know in Korea they closed half of the initial servers after 2 months of game existence. So, it’s not very popular even in the country where it was supposed to be a bomb. 

I am one of those who tried the game in Korean beta. Just could not wait for release here and very glad I did not. Cannot even call my experience “a disappointment” – I did not expect anything beyond pretty graphic. And as ridiculous as it sounds to game fans – I did not like graphic there. 

I am used to Asian eclectic. They put beauty before style and way before sense. If they think night-club dress looks pretty in medieval battlefield – they will add it to the game. I made my peace with that long ago.  But what we have in Tera is not a beauty, its ridiculous grotesque. The difference is like between classical statue of naked Venus and common pornography. And it’s too obvious, pornography here was a sale point.

Anything you dream of – super sexy girls and boys, boys and girls with horns, huge mountains of muscles and little girls, even cuddly fury animals if that is what turns you on. Oiled muscles, shiny strings, cute furry tales and ears - it's all there. You know, “the internet is for porn”. Well, some erotica was always there in the games, no doubts, but never before so obvious. Actually, Tera was the first game for me where I admitted – pathetic excuse “I play girl characters because I want to stare at girl’s butt during game play” is relevant, after all. Before I was always thought it’s a weak cover for loot whoring. 

Add on top of this static background, inability to go anywhere you want, same skins for different mobs, animation underlining pornographic element and looking ...well... far from motion capture or typical Asian fluid beauty – and you get the picture. Oh, I am sure because of everything I said before, it will sell well. But it’s not what I am looking for in the games.

Some can say, gameplay makes it up for everything. Well, it’s not. Non-targeting system, everyone is so excited about, is negated by tons of AoE abilities. More interesting and less mentioned ability to avoid mobs attacks and counter attack them – is something you can play with. But only for a while, since it turns every single encounter in to “PvP with mobs”. Fine if you have to kill one mob, way to tiresome if you have to eliminate hundreds (which you do). Typical “collect 10 rat tales” quests do not add any joy to the game either. I was bored to tears in 2 hours. 

No, Tera is not something you buy for gameplay. Aion still offers more (if you like Asian style), as any other game. The only reason to buy it is looks, and only if for you there is no such thing as, let’s call it, “too sexy”. 

Not saying you have not to buy it, just be prepared.

Farewell Aion!

Posted by Mirandel Saturday February 27 2010 at 12:15PM
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Today I finally quit Aion... As a dedicated payer who has been with the game since first open beta I really wanted to stay at least half a year (yes, those wings were very tempting). I simply could not make myself to log in. I felt sick from very idea of it. And still not sure why...

There is a nice saying about beautiful picture – “eye candy”. I love this expression. Though I use it a bit broader when talking about games. For me every game is like a candy store. Some can offer you just a few varieties of sweets. They are really high quality and you enjoy every bite. But one day you want to try something new. AoC was that type of a game for me. Others, like WoW – several store building full of all kind of candies, very colourful, in all shapes you want and – as you think – all tastes you can imagine. But one day you understand that it’s the same sugar in disguise. Colour and shape IS the only difference. You get tired of it and leave for something less sweet.
Interestingly, I cannot really find a place for Aion in this system. It is very sweet and shapes and colours are there – yet, it does not feel like a real product. Something like an artificial sugar for those who wants to lose weight.

There are many things Aion get right. Character customisation is almost perfect. Skills animation (and animation in general) is great. Itemisation is wonderful and the ability to use any skin your like for you armour/weapon must become a standard in any game. Very convenient GUI (except chat, but it’s a general problem of Asian games). Classical RvR with a fun rifting system, typical quests and interesting story-line, and so on and so forth. However, every nice feature has some flaw in it. And the more you play the more you feel it. Like you have wings (LOVE this feature) – but can really use it only in one place. Customisation of anything is not really free – you choose from what is given to you and some things (like best dyes) are not even available. Well designed Auction House with great navigation system has very limited amount of slots for sales. Unpredictable, level and players amount restricted rifts become very annoying pretty fast. I can continue, but you’ve got the idea. And my main pet peeve – artificial time-sinking features. You have to get some boss. The only interesting fight in that dungeon is with him and the only loot you expect is also from him. Yet, you have to spend hours sometime to get to that boss trough countless amounts of useless mobs. Same with rifting with searching for the right rift and inability to play when YOU have time. In order to have fun or get what you need you have to go through hours of something so boring that cannot be called “playing”. And without any reason but for time-sinking purpose only.

I tried to entertain myself with other stuff besides pure grind (take my level 43 after playing from early start as a proof). It did not help. Artificial sugar does not taste like one. Back to EVE – quality is better than quantity.