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Yes I am done with Aion.
I really tried hard to like it, but it is just not my kind of game (yes I know you like it.........calm down and sip your coffee).
I ve been always a bit sceptic toward eastern MMOs, or what I call the "kill 2 million rabbits to gain a level" games, but being an optimistic I really hoped Aion could be the exception.
So I preordered the game few months ago and played beta.
Wasn't extremely impressed with beta, but having a free month included (but mainly because I could not get a refund) I decided to give it a go after release.
I have to say that actually the art style of the world (I am not talking about graphics itself) are rather good, it does deliver a sense of fantasy world which many other fantasy MMO fail to deliver (Warhammer).
The scenaries in Aion are quite amazing at times, until Mech Warriors apperars (explanation on this further down the thread)
But that is the only positive aspect of the game.
The negative issues on the other hand, are quite many.
Let's start with the smaller or trivial issues:
1- The character Armors.............just too Korean (you know what I am talking about, pointy sharp stuff emerging from your body with not actual functionality whatsoever)
I would rather see the classic fantasy Armor set, ala Lord of the Rings (the movie) not the pointless Turbine game.
The characters in Aion looks more like Mech Warriors (see, I told you I would explain it), rather than fantasy heroes.
Also almost all the armors looks pretty uber starting from level 10 (so you feel a hero at level 10......OMG I am a hero, a HERO!), but worst of all they all look similar or rather undistinguishable from one another.
They are different and well detailed actually, but only if you really look at them very close.
But from medium, long distance I hardly can distinguish the classes from one another, let alone a player from one another, is he a warrior is he a chanter......ohhh actually it was the letter box, my bad
Plus, artistically they are ugly.
They are well done but not attractive at all, fairly out of place with the scenary, they are just way over the top (my own opinion)
Those armors would look good in Anarchy Online, I can see my Enforcer wearing with pride one of those Aion warrior shiny armors (Funcom take note for AO 2, I want a set of blades on the shoulders of my Enforcerer please)
2- The flying ability
Well, where do I start..................I ll start from the beginning I think.
Flying seems like a good idea, I hear you thinking, and I agree with you......if it only was true.
Problem is that in Aion you don't really fly.
80% of the map is offlimit, and where you can flight, you already forgot of being able to do so and you just don't do it.
But here is also another twist.
Because NCSoft gave us the "gift" of flying (thank you lads, french kissing later), they thought it would make sense for characters not being able to swim, which actually make sense if you were able to fly, although ducks do fly and swim at the same time, so it is not impossible to do both, but let's pretend ducks never existed for the sake of arguing.
The final result though, is that not only you can't fly but now you are not even able to swim, and there is not trace of a mount either, not even a donkey always useful to climb mountains and harsh terrains.
They say you will be allowed to fly more at higher level, fair enough, but I can't be bothered to get at 40 before I can use my wings.
Just let the character "ascend" at level 40 rather than level 10, having wings but not being able to use them is just frustrating and just bad design.
I have a suggestion actually, since we are allowed only limited fly and the armors look like Mechs suits, wouldn't make more sense having some rockets mounted on your back instead of having wings?
At least you can pretend you run out of fuel when you can't fly, but what is the frikking excuse of not being able to use wings most of the time, if we exclude those few unlucky ones affected by acute arthritis?
3- Fucking personal shops
Honestly this is the most annoying thing you can ever put in a MMO, I am aware some likes them (otherwise there would not be so many around), but I just hate them.
When you enter in a city or village you have to get through the sea (if not ocean and sometimes galaxies) of people sitted on a stool selling shit, considering there is a perfect functional AH which does the job 10 times better than a personal shop I demand to know what's the point of it.
Now I understand if people set up a stall in front of a dungeon or close to a leveling area where AH nowhere to be seen, but what is the frikking point of sell stuff in a city when the AH is just few yards away..........just pathetic.
4- LAG (see above)
No, I don't have a C64 which runs on oil, I have a 6 months old DDR3 ram based system, yet as soon as I approach a city or a village I have the time to take a shit, have a shower and drink a coffe before my character reach the planned destination (just few yards away by the way)
Fact is that actually the engine is quite good (considering the good graphics) and when you are in a reasonably populated area the engine works flawlessly.
But when you approach areas invaded by the above mentioned parassites, everything goes tits up.
Just bloody annoying.
With the above issues I could actually live with, if it wasn't for the more serious problems.............
To me is too solo oriented
The first dungeon is at level 25..............WTF
Up to level 20 you can easily level with quests, boring but at least they do the job.
Once you hit 20 is like hitting a wall (actually it was 18 when I run out of quests) , and the game enters in complete Korean mode (the no fun mode, just to make it more clear)
You start wondering around looking for things to kill without reason and by then you start feeling the grind (there s where the famous 2 million rabbits come in action).
Problem with Aion is that it has 4-5 dungeons in all and the first one is available at level 25.
In other games if you run out of quests or you got bored of grinding you can enroll yourself in a group and pass few hours killing shit in a dungeon until you fight the final Boss who hopefully drops uber stuff (which regularly people ninja from you.....but at least you have a glimpse of hope)
None of this luck in Aion unfortunately, if you run out of quest to do, it s either grinding or log out, I usually choose the helthier option...............the second one
2- No community interaction
During my time in the world of Aion I never felt the need to /whisper anyone nor to get involved in general chat, not even to insult people.
I think the last game I played without the need to communicate whatsoever was Warhammer, although the chat is not dead unlike Warhammer (but do not expect any intellectual discussion going on, Barrens talk more likely)
But again, a game where there is no real need to communicate with others is not a well designed MMO in my view.
And the solution of finding a guild is not actually a real solution (I know some of you was thinking it ).
I tend to join guilds at higher level, while I prefer to do PUGs and socialise with the whole server during my leveling.
So a game that force me to join a guild at level 10 in order to enjoy the social part of a MMO is not good enough for me.
You should be able or encouraged (not force) to interact with people in a MMO without the need to join a guild.
That's why I play MMOs and not Multiplayer games.................
3- Too few dungeons
Personally I prefer a group oriented play style, so this is a personal preference.
While I can put up with the odd solo quest and the odd grinding session, my main activity in MMOs is dungeon crawling with a group of friends or even better with complete strangers.
In Aion you will have to wait 25 levels before you can group in a dangeon, and the number of dungeons after that is quite limited.
Of course Aion is about PVP(sort of), but the lack of PVE variety just killed my enthusiasm, hence I could not bring my self to try PvP, shame.
But if the game wasn't so repetitive I would have done that, so it is not my fault.
In conclusion Aion is not actually a bad game (believe it or not).
Compared to other recent AAA games is rather good, unfortunately not good enough to keep me interested.
It is just average.
If you like WoW you could safely try Aion, although as much as I hate to say that, WoW is still a far better game than this one, but if you want different settings and you are bored with WoW (and you love Mech Warriors), this game can entertain you for a while.
But a WoW killer it ain't.
This is quite clearly Lineage 2 plus quests, Aion brings nothing new to the genre and certainly does nothing to address the issues Korean games have in the western market.
Shame, that is a missed opportunity from NCSoft.
Bring on Guild Wars 2 guys........that's more like it.
Although I didn't like GW because it was a multiplayer game disguised as a MMO, I believe Arenanet finally understood what MMORPG means.............so I am confident they will show their Koreans collegues how to make a good western MMO
I hope you enjoyed my wall of text