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Hudson's Hideout

Ramblings of a MMO player and Miniature wargamer http://1angrygamer.blogspot.com

Author: pvthudson01

Aion: when is a beta not really a beta?

Posted by pvthudson01 Monday June 22 2009 at 1:01PM
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Originally posted here: http://hudshideout.com/blog/?p=2759

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Aion beta weekend shut down (at least for us working stiffs. I may get one hour in tonight hopefully before the deadline) and afterwards the World of Warcraft players invaded the Aion boards with several “not as good as WoW” posts, which I found interesting.

One thing I noticed on every forum, and I know that in my rant the other I said I had to stop reading these places, is that no matter what people tend to post the same thing over and over. No matter the game you see the same posts put up consistently. I do not know where these people come from but in EVERY game I see the same exact things typed up. Honestly it has gotten so bad that you could literally cut and paste the same response and just change the name of the game.

One thing to temper ourselves with about the Aion hype is that NC Soft and the Seattle office (I think that is where Aion is headquartered here) are simply doing a massive translation of a game that is already underway and proven overseas. Technically, how could it really be a “beta” if we are simply testing a few cosmetic changes? Correct if I am wrong on that one but I am not sure how long the Asian version of the game has been up and running. So here we have a game that has been out and proven to work unlike the Warhammers and the Champions Online type of MMO’s that have to undergo new development and have not launched. So of course the game seems polished and is working. While in the literal sense it is still a beta, I know in the back of my mind that they have been given success on a platter for the most part (3.5 million subs overseas). Unless they REALLY screw something up. Some of us MMO players are very picky about our end game content and that could be an Achilles’ heel for some new subscribers.

Either way that is NOT the sole reason I ended up liking the game. Usually I do not do these ports because I cannot stand the universe or the wacky cuddly creatures and such. For example NeoSteam almost made me puke, as while I played it I realized it was one of the worst piles of garbage I had ever loaded on my hard drive. Going into Aion I did not expect much but now I know. The lore grabs me, the graphics (much like Guild Wars), the classes, the combat and most of all the atmosphere. When my character stands AFK in a lake or pond, he looks down and grabs a fish out of the water. As others stated, the game is rich in making you feel like part of the world. When it rains, he pulls out a leaf over his head. When he sits, he materializes a chair. Little things like that and not so over the top on the Asian anime influence. Make no mistake though that you WILL be killing a lot in this game. Every single quest is kill this, bring me that or activate this although not as bad as Wrath of the Lich King. You will be killing and killing and killing in this game and you will do it over and over and over again. Not much originality but honestly I didn’t mind it so much. This is because it is new. Would a player want to level alts consistently in this environment? I am betting they would because it is mindless and that seems to be what sells in today’s market. The quests are well written but again nothing jumped out to me as “wow that quest was awesome!”

So while Aion grabbed me right away, I have to remember that it is INDEED like a lot of MMO’s, I just happen to like the lore. We have a world torn asunder, clearly defined good and evil sides, something nasty lurking in the middle, and the ability to pick a class 10 levels in which forces you to really weigh your decision. I have decided I will be rolling Asmodian since the Elyos side is a bit too cheery and such for me. That is how it is supposed to be however and instantly it really causes a division among the players that I think spawns great PVP scorn. You need that in a game, you need that clearly defined I think. I felt it in Warhammer Online but not so much World of Warcraft, and in Everquest 1 and 2 well who cares. In WoW I simply hated Alliance players because they were seemingly the dumber players. That is a stigma the Alliance has never lived down, and I am not the only one that shares that sentiment. Yet there I was , my mains all pimped out and on the Alliance side because I went where the people were. That and at the start of the game the horde side was incredibly boring.

So while Aion is the hot ticket right now and yes I was quite addicted to it this weekend ever without getting to see the Abyss and PVP, we have to remember that many of you will simply see it as a WoW clone, not get into it and go back to Blizzard’s bosom. This will prompt a slew of new blogposts that I myself have done when I left Warhammer Online (a game I might add I have never returned to which says how much I ended up hating it). For me though it is just the break I needed because the game is so much darker and up my alley.

I would like to point out that once again I am having issues with the slow pacing of Everquest 2’s combat. This happens every single time I play that game. Taking a 42 Inquisitor to Everfrost and trying to kill things is a lesson in patience that I just do not have. I may have to switch back to my coercer or troubador. I got spoiled this weekend playing a beta for once I haven’t felt that in a long time.