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Greetings all. I figured I would chime in and give my opinion on AA after a month of Patron Status Play. I wanted to point out some of the good and the bad with this review. So grab up a chair, and I hope you enjoy, or at least find something usefull.
To start out let me tell you a bit about me and what I look for in a game. To start I enjoy PVP and PVE, I have to be honest though and admit, that I find myself PVEing more than I do PVP. I enjoy participating in group oriented gameplay and especially raids. However I am fairly casual in my gaming habits. I work 70 hours a week. Normally in games crafting would be a way for me to kill small bits of downtime. In this game however crafting can definitely be a grind and takes a lot of time if you want to get anywhere with it.
So I will start with Crafting/harvesting. Starting off crafting in this game can be very useful right up front (well at level 20 anyway) I started off trying to skill up in both weaponsmithing and Armorcrafting (Plate). However It didn't take me very long to realize how insanely expensive it was going to be do this. I ended up dropping weaponsmithing for plate armorcrafting. (even that is expensive on its own.) Mats just cost a fortune, making it hard to keep up. Armor smithing thru the 20s is great and easy with what you are making actually being useful. Then the 30s and 40s I almost found it useless (but still expensive) since dungeon armors are better than crafted armors. Then finally top tier armor is good. However good luck getting there.
Tiere is so much more they could have done to help Crafters, like maybe instilling something along the lines that Vanguard had where you could craft work orders to level up, then sell those work orders to vendors. Something Along the lines of trade runs, but just using crafted items instead. No one is willing to spend any in game gold for lower tier crafted items, so its use it or its wasted.
This leads me to another point in Crafting. AA is a game that has the claim that Crafted gear is the best gear you can get in the game at the high end. I think this is the wrong way to do things in a fantasy game....PERIOD... sandbox or not. I am of the opinion that crafters should work hand in hand with adventurers and their dropped items from raids and events. Offering different ways of improving those itemsOr repairing item damage, not competing with those items. As I said above I enjoy my PVE. I want there to actually be a point to it at the top end. I want that dragon to drop uber gear. let me then take that gear to master crafters to make it even better, or possibly even change the weapon type or maybe what stats it effect. I mean whats the point of taking the risk to raid if the reward is worse than what you can just pay a crafter to make, or make yourself.
Ok on to PVE. The mobs in the game are fairly dumb. BAF radius in most areas are miniscule making outdoor adventuring dull and lifeless. There are some decent dungeon battles though, however nothing groundbreaking or new. Open World raid mobs tend to be a zerg fest from the lack of healer support, or even true tank support. This is due to the very poorly designed healing abilities. Healing is mana inneficient, they take to long to cast, and have have long recharge timers , and until you get to the high end of the game healers don't heal for very much. They really need to make more adjustments and buff up healing. As for Tanks.. They get better at high levels. But agro management can be a pain with long cooldowns on taunts and agro builders. This is especially true due to the fact that 95% of the players are playing DPSers, and most only seem to know how to Zerg. I play a paladin (occasionally switching to abolisher) So I am experienced in both the tanking and healing department,
This takes me to PVP, which is where the game does seem to shine. PVP can actually be a lot of fun at times, it also spices up some of the bland open world PVE. I do feel however that there are quite a lot of imbalances that need to be worked out. Stealth is a bit to powerful, and Stunlock, and CC effects are a bit over abundant, which can be very annoying. I get my PVP in Spurts, as I am not a PKer, However I will attack Reds when I see them or (Purple/grey).. As a Paladin as my main build honor points can be hard to come by. Fully dedicated healers get screwed even more on this. This also needs to be adjusted. I also feel the justice system needs to have harsher penalties (longer jail times) for friendly PKers. Making the decision to grief other same faction players hurt a bit more.
Ok class design. While fun. The cookie cutter builds are starting to rear their ugly heads. DPS is king in this game, which is unfortunate. I also dislike the skill rank system. Which you have no control over how they rank. I mean seriously with all the hoorah about designing your class. you cant even choose how to rank up the skills associated with that class. it makes no sense and seems like a huge oversite in overall leveling mechanics.
Things I have not done much of, are trade runs. Just don't have time for it. I have however escorted some friends on theirs. And land ownage. lets face it. Its hard to get.. even though land is starting to open up on my server. As it stands right now. I don't know if I am going to even bother. I already have a lot on my plate when I get the chance to play. Owning land is just going to be more things to do I don't have time for.
OVERALL. The game is fun, but grindy. As a casual player it took me about the full month to make it to the top level. That doesn't put me in the high end of the game by a longshot. PVE needs a huge shot in the arm. I was hoping for open world dungeons Akin to Vanguard or EQ. Unfortunately I got uninspired instances. So much for fully open world. As I stated above. I enjoy the fact there are Open World raid mobs to take down. Its a shame as the game progresses that most likely no one will be doing them for 2 reasons. 1. The lack of healers and 2. the fact whats the point when better gear is to be had from crafting. PVP is definitely the highest point of this game. Especially if you like being a stealthed range weapon wielding DPSer. Unfortunately Tanks and healers while present are underwhelming and waste their skill points on skills that do nearly nothing for them in PVP.
Do I think I will stay with this game for the longhaul? Its to soon to tell. I am interested in seeing what changes may be made to it. However. I know when EQN comes out I will be there to try it out. As it stands right now. Its keeping my interest somewhat. However it has left me feeling fairly disappointed on several fronts where I felt a game of its design should have shined it fell kind of flat.