Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Aion, the game so far... awesome.

It has only been a few weeks since Aion launched, and so far I've managed to make some very good progress, playing everyday like an obsessed fiend trying to keep up with the rest of the community who are, no surprise, blazing a trail to max out their characters. Currently at a ripe level 27, I think I have a good idea of what this game is all about up to this point; what is lacking, what makes it irritating, and where I think it is pure genius, and a joy to play.

Once this 30 day trial is over, I can say with certainty that I won't hesitate to pay to play further. This willingness to continue past the trial period, was something I didn't feel compelled to do with World of Warcraft, for whatever reason, WoW, and I didn't jive. (To each their own, WoW experience).

I'm having fun right out of the box with Aion. I don't have to wait until lvl 60, or the third expansion pack later to enjoy myself.

Starting a game fresh, on launch makes all the difference. I think any MMO gamer would agree. When you start a game where every other player is discovering the world at the same time as you, players are actually dare I say, friendlier and supportive of Newb-like behavior, because in the beginning, we're all Newbs.

The benefit of which is finding a pickup group to level with who aren't interested in pushing their Guild/Legion on you, many don't even have Legions starting out. You can find players who are more likely to help you out, where asking random players for advice is not a line you never should cross. Rather it's encouraged, as I soon discovered.

Life in an MMO.

I'm learning a lot about MMO rules, thru Aion, but which apply to just about any MMO. It helps when your buddy is knowledgeable in this sort of thing, a person who has played quite a few MMOs in the past, that they have become a jaded mess of online anti-socialism, filled with all these MMO rules (self-imposed, or based on "MMO culture"), that they literally live by. A friend like that can give me the rundown on how to behave in an MMO, but it is equally frustrating, when you can't play the game the way you want, because it violates some rule.

This buddy of mine refuses to ask for advice, they refuse to talk to any other players outside their group, and they almost always have an excuse that prevents them from dealing with other players. They would rather solo than join other players, and when it comes to group quests, they'd rather not. They never use their MP to buff other players, or to even rez someone who needs it. I don't play many MMOs, and Aion is only my second, but I think all these rules can be ridiculous.

It's kind of bizarre, closing oneself off from everyone else. I guess because this friend of mine is afraid of dealing with those online trolls, and the fear of being labeled a 'newb'. True there are jerks in any game, especially MMOs, but if you're gonna be uninterested in dealing with other players, then you might as well be playing an offline game. I guess playing WoW, really drove my friend up the wall, for this sort of thing.

This is an MMO, a social experience. It is also just a game. Some people take things way too seriously that they forget they're not getting paid to play, they're paying to play.

Aion, is its own thing.

But anyway, back to Aion. In a game where, not many things are handed to you the easy way, I've learned that you have to ask for help. It might be because that's the way 'Korean-style' MMOs are, where the things aren't as self-explanatory as they should be for challenge reasons, or it might be because of localization, that certain pieces of information are left out. Or it could just be a game design flaw. This game definitely ain't WoW, when it comes to a lot of things in the game.

Aion is quite 'grindy' as well, and requires lots of killing, and questing to fill up the XP bar. I've been told, that's the Korean MMO thing. Also the NPCs, don't give you directions to every location in a town, which at first was incredibly annoying, coming from WoW, where the locations are all spelled out for you when talking to townspeople. The lack of information, carries on in other aspects of the game as well, (ie. rift locations) where you really have to ask around with real players, or read the chat, to figure it out.

I didn't know what to expect from Aion in the beginning, aside from pretty graphics, and 'wings' that make Aion unique. When I heard you couldn't swim, I was slightly put off. Then I realized that it wasn't a big deal at all, there isn't anything in the depths of the water anyway, that players need to do worry about. All the action is in the air, purposely designed which makes the water irrelevant. Though, it is pretty to look at, you spend most of the time on land, or in the air.

The developers did a great job constructing the environments, to fit with the vertical scheme of things. While flying is reserved for certain areas, gliding, is your next best friend. Rather than the wide expanse of land being relatively flat, the environments in Aion are designed with gliding in mind, with hills, small or tall, for players to jump off of to avoid monsters, to take shortcuts, and to speed up travel in general. It's a strategic ability, that I'm loving more and more. I like to think the ability makes players like Batman, swooping in for a kill. Gliding is so integral to getting around.

Other than that, the game is pretty darn fun. Combat is a joy, and the chain attacks are awesome.

PVP is awesome too, and as a Priest turned Chanter, I can hold my ground. Just the other day, I went on my first trip to Asmodian territory, where I had to complete some quests. All I gotta say it, it was intense, trekking through the dark side. Gliding, and flying extremely important, as to travel undetected.

Oh, and I've joined a Legion, or should I say formed a Legion, of which I am a co-founder in the two member posse 'Pixel Pushers'. A group for digital artists/gamers.

I guess, it was a smooth launch outta the gate. The channel system is still iffy though, in fact they need more channels, because the server I'm on is always packed. There's also a serious problem of Gold Farming, and Phishing flooding in the general chat channels of Aion. Just the other day, there was a massive crackdown on Gold Farmers, banning many players, even those who had nothing to do with Gold Farming, and were caught up in the mess. (Like the RULE ABIDING, MMO expert, friend of mine, I mentioned early).

Not to mention the retards that hawk their items in their private stores, hopefully NCsoft figures out a way to deal with that. There was actually an in-game survey about what players thought about the Private Stores, which I stated I wasn't a fan. Private Selling in Aion FTL!

During the course of this trial period, I realized I don't miss swimming/diving, or even care for it in game anymore. Second, Aion is more than just "WoW with Wings". Third, not every bit of information in the game is handed to you, leaving it up to the players own discovery.

So with that, I'm gonna be playing more and more Aion, even though it's an incredible waste of time, but it's good fun.

Any other Aion players out there? I need to roll with a crew in the Abyss!

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