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Reader Comments (37)

Posted: Oct 26th 2009 12:15PM agitatedandroid said

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Really appreciate your take on the game Brooke. You've somehow managed to become the most balanced reviewer on the site. Thanks.

Posted: Oct 26th 2009 12:26PM Holgranth said

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Very very good review. Your dislikes are the things that are keeping me and quite likely a lot of others out of the game.

I'm sorry but to a western gamer like myself a bald sit in one spot camping mobs type grind is five-seven years behind the times. I did all the grinding I ever want to do in the early-mid 2000's tyVM. Kill ten rats style quests while still acceptable as filler content are quickly becoming out dated as well.

I don't mind having to spend time doing stuff to get levels or gear or whatever but I want to have fun doing it.

Basically Aion needs to clean up its act the devs need to realise that with games like Cataclysm and TOR in the tubes Aion is going to have a very short run if they don't start giving players more fun ways to level and progress.

Posted: Oct 26th 2009 11:10PM (Unverified) said

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Be aware that until you have actually played the game yourself you still can't base your decisions on what other people say.

I also heard horrible tales of 'grind' and pain and suffering. I'm almost at L25 and have loved every minute.

WoW and games like it have conditioned us to sprint to the end goal ignoring everything in our path.

With Aion I took the time to experience everything at my pace. I spent hours crafting, which was fun and also gives you XP. I walked around and explored. I met groups and helped other people with quests. I read the quest text that everyone ignores and really enjoyed it.

I was actually leveling up so fast form every random thing I did that I simply didn't notice a grind. Maybe there is a monstrous and painful grind after 25, but I've experienced nothing like it before that.

Take a step back. Meet some folks in game. Talk, learn and explore. Just play the game for the fun of playing it right now, not because you need to get somewhere else right this minute and chances are you'll enjoy yourself immensely.
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Posted: Oct 27th 2009 9:30AM Snichy said

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Couldnt agree more with Plastic Rat. If people would stop to smell the roses they would realise it isnt such a bad game.
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Posted: Oct 26th 2009 12:31PM Distaste said

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25? Abyss doesn't change anything really. It just gives you another zone that gives 25% more XP for PvE kills and a extremely high chance of being ganked. The only thing that changes at 25 is getting the first instance, training camp, that gives 50-60% of your level in XP but its 15(?) hour lock out and you can't go after hitting 29.

Once you hit 29 it's back to everything you mentioned above but now the grind is getting exponentially worse and you need to compete with bots in the PvE zones.

You should also make mention of Bots and the economy. Not only do the bots annoy people because you have to fight them for good spawns, quest mobs, etc but they are ruining the economy. I know on Lumiel they have started crafting now! They fill the AH with cheap potions/etc that you cannot hope to compete with since they have multiple farmer bots going to get the mats.

Posted: Oct 26th 2009 12:39PM mode7overworld said

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This isn't necessarily abou Aion specifically, but since it's mentioned I kind of wanted to discuss quests in MMOs. Everyone likes to cap on kill/collect quests in MMOs, but they're generally what I prefer - within reason. Kill and collect quests are more often than not simple and self contained. You go to one or two areas and you get EXP for the actual mob kills themselves, then go back to the quest giver and get more EXP on top of that. When these are well balanced, with steady drop rates and clear mob locations, I'm always glad to be doing them in any game.

Completing many of the well-praised quests in WoW's latext expansion - particularly the Icecrown zone - was an agonizing experience for me. I groaned everytime the questgiver would drop another gimmick quest item into my inventory so I had to tag/mind control/locate/fly on/shoot/blow up/stun/drop bombs on/capture/throw pizzas at some sparsely placed mob group. "Can't you just give me a kill quest," I pleaded helplessly to the monitor.

I'm not a grinder at all. I can't stand grinding. But I also can't stand ridiculous gimmick quests at every turn, either. When quests get praise for doing "something different" in MMOs, it's typically something I find really annoying and jarring. While I'm not sure I'll be picking up Aion because it sounds similar to L2 in that there was a really directionless feel to it, I'm also wary of WoW's approaching expansion and all the stupid, clunky extra stuff I'm going to have to do just because everyone is so desperate to do anything but gather a few rat tails.

Posted: Oct 26th 2009 12:51PM Holgranth said

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Well we are just going to have to agree to disagree there I happen to love the gimmick quests. I find them to be a step above kill X which is a step above contentless grind.
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Posted: Oct 26th 2009 12:40PM phairoh said

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I just canceled my Aion account yesterday. I've played from release and I've actually really enjoyed the game. I love the gameplay. I love the chains. I think the PvP is done quite well and will only get better over time. I even enjoy the "grind," both quest and mob, as both the environments and gameplay were enough for it to be very enjoyable for me. In fact my only criticisms would be for the gold spam which has been largely taken care of and that replayability is hampered due to basically having to do the exact quests over again.

The reason I've canceled has nothing to do with Aion. It's just that I've just started playing Fallen Earth which is just fantastic! I love how it's just so different from any other MMO I've played (I played SWG during beta many moons ago but I did not get very far) and the crafting / advancing is so fun! I'm only level 10 but I know this will be my MMO of choice for quite some time.

Posted: Oct 26th 2009 12:52PM Lethality said

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Here's the question you need to ask yourself: Is it worth investing time in for the long run?

The answer is probably no.

MMOs are more of a hobby than a game at this point, and if you are going to be doing something for several years, you don't want to look back and view that time as wasted... NC Soft isn't likely to embrace this as "their baby" since they have so many other irons in the fire.

With Blizzard and WoW, or BioWare and TOR, or even Turbine with LoTOR... it's their first priority. NC Soft? For them it's just an Asian port.

Therefore, this game is not worth investing my time in.

Posted: Oct 27th 2009 8:36AM Crsh said

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Well, with that logic in mind, you should never buy any sort of video game, ever (*especially* not any kind of MMO).

Not sure what the "Aion is just an Asian port for NCsoft" is about, as if games don't get ported/localized for other markets.
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Posted: Oct 26th 2009 12:55PM Daegalus said

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I agree with most of this review, but I do want to comment on the grind part. Yes this game does have quite a bit of it, but if you play it right, you won't see much of it.

1-24, I had maybe 20 mins of grind on 1 of my characters (I have 3 characters 20+, 1 of which is 30+. ) The first issue, is people don't keep up with their gathering, and usually skip all the "Collect X herb/ore/etc." quests. While this isn't a major issue, since you can just buy the materials for less than the reward money you get for the quest, the minor exp you get from gathering can really add up, plus the exp from all those gather quests. 1-17, while the quests are pretty straight forward kill X, collect Y, takes this to Z, they give lots of exp, especially campaign quests. Most of the time, I have a campaign quest give me 40-70% of a level. Once you hit 18, gather up all the group Krall quests (for Elyos, forgot the names of the Equivalent for asmo when i played those in beta) find a group, and pump those out. They take about 1-1.5 hours (no more than any casual instance run in other games) and you get an entire level from just the killing since they are all Elite mobs. Once you finish those, (lv 19 by now) turn them all in, and you get to maybe 90% of 19. Do the left over quests and you should be well over 20. From there do all the Eltnen quests, once you run low on those, head over to Theobomos and do all those quests (including the repeatables, but do them just once), head back to Eltnen, do some more, then back to Theo for the final few. That gets you to like lv 24 -24.5. Here is where you have to do a bit of grinding. Some people get lucky and manage to skip it, but jsut head over to Theo and grind out the repeatables (Asmos do the equivalent for your zones, I just forget names and quests).

25, you get to the abyss, do all the introductory campaigns and quests, and unlock Training Grounds. From here, i recommend doing this. Do training grounds, there is an 18 hour lockout timer. If you wish, you can grind on abyss mobs (good exp, abyss points, and stigma shards) or go up your gather, work on Aether gathering (people neglect it, but can net you quite a bit of Wind Serums, 3 per Aether Powder/Crystal/Gem), make some money during the lockout. Once the lockout is up, run it again. TG gives half a level per run. and an entire level the first time cause of the group quests and campaigns you get for it. Do this till you hit 29 (you cant do TG after lv 29) Once tehre, you have quests all the way from 25-28 still to do, plus all the 29/30 quests that unlocked. My main character is 32 (waiting on friends and giuldies to catch up by making alts) and I have a full quest log of non-repeatables, 3 campaing quests netting 900k+ exp per turn in, and a bunch more quests to pick up which can last me till 35ish, by then I can run some high level instances, or group areas. Also by then, the exp patch will be in and quests will be even better.

Also don't forget ot grind up your Fire Temple key at 30 (about 10 min-an hour depending on how lucky you are with the drop) and do Fire Temple runs from time to time, 1-2 bars of exp per run, tehy take 20-30 mins on a 30 min lockout that starts on entering the palce, so you can chain run it. Lots of green/blue/material drops, plus a chance for yellow weapons from the last boss.

THis is how I avoid the grind on all my characters. I have literally spent maybe 3 hours TOTAL across all my characters on grinding. You just have to focus on all teh aspects of the game, except the RUSH FOR 50. This not only lets you enjoy the game, skip teh grind, but also lets you keep your crafting up, keep you with the curve or a bit under it, and by the time you are 50, it well be well populated that you can immediately start doing end game content.

Just remember, if you do stuff in the abyss, get ready to be ganked by roaming groups or high level players. And watch out for 42+ sorcs, they can pretty much 1 shot you if you are on the low end of the abyss (25-35)

Posted: Oct 26th 2009 4:11PM (Unverified) said

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Heh. Watch out. At 32-35 the grind kicks in full gear. Hope you look forward to spending countless hours grinding out Molars and spending day after day killing thousands of the same mobs.

I made it level 37. Couldn't take it any more. As much as I loved the PvP, I was spending 90% of my time leveling and the grind from 40-50 is HORRIFIC from what I've heard.

Made me nostalgic for WAR. Despite all it's flaws it put PvP into your hands any time you wanted. Much better than AION, and that's a criticism of Aion, IMO.
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Posted: Oct 26th 2009 4:56PM Laren said

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I agree with your post in that you don't 'need' to grind for a while in this game. I've played two characters, one is 32 the other is now 26. I did a lot of traditionally 'grinding' on my first character, but the second time through I did not need to. Just a matter of completing all the content, which is easier when you know where everything is. =)

However, with that said, the quests in this game are pretty 'grindy'. So regardless of you deciding which mobs to kill vs. an npc asking you to kill particular mobs... you are gonna be killing mobs over and over again in this game. So if that isn't your cup of tea, then this game might not be for you.
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Posted: Oct 26th 2009 1:00PM (Unverified) said

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Aaron guess you are a fan of crafting and didn't have the misfortune of picking a starting town where the first quest is in fact completely bugged. It just befuddles me that anyone can actually like such a poor designed game. I like the genre and the ambiance, but the game play is appallingly bad.

Posted: Oct 26th 2009 1:24PM phairoh said

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@Lagwolf

I actually began playing prior to the tutorial quests being introduced so I did not get the pleasure (or displeasure) of those quests being bugged or not, although I do intend to do that when I begin my second character in earnest.

The only annoying bug for me right now in Fallen Earth has to do with gathering where the mini map shows a resource to exist in the world and even graphically it shows up but in fact it is not actionable by a player. Other than that I have seen very few bugs and only one involving a quest and all it did was give me the quest a second time after I completed it.

I'm quite sorry you had a bad experience Lagwolf, but if you're at all interested in this type of game I'd give it another shot as I feel it is unique in the world of MMOs in many respects. It is created by an indie company (with a not so indie price, unfortunately) so personally I can look past a few bugs when the content, at least to me, is so absolutely enjoyable.
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Posted: Oct 26th 2009 1:17PM (Unverified) said

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What a thorough guide Daegulus!

I am finding myself enjoying the game more and more. Between the crafting, the PvP (and I normally HATE PvP), the quests, even the occassional grinding with guildees...it is VERY fun.

However, this game is NOT good for the solo player who does not enjoy grinding, or the person who does not have a good group of friends to play with. Last night I went to a rift for the first time with some fellow guildees (ok, legion-ees, but that just does not sound right!) and it was SO fun!!!! We got completely wiped out, but it was really, REALLY fun...a rift is a 'tear' in the world or whatever..lore aside, it is basically a swirly tunnel you go into and pop out somewhere on the opposite faction's side. You do not know what level or where until you cross over.

So you grab a bunch of friends and jump through....VERY fun. You run around trying to avoid the monsters, trying to find real players to kill...it is all good sport... and yes, we ganked a few lower levels, and yes, we got ganked ourselves, but really, this is a GAME, and that is just part of it. You just hit the respawn button and away you go!

Highly recommend experiencing that with a good group of friends before you write the game off....

Have yet to try the Abyss, but for me, the rifts are a serious win.

Posted: Oct 26th 2009 1:26PM Keen and Graev said

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PvP is gated even further than level 25. To actually PvP now you really do need to be closer to 40 to not be obliterated. Eventually it will be a max-level only activity. That's how it was in DAOC which used a very, very similar concept.

You CAN go PvP, but you WON'T. The PvE from 25-28 is fantastic. The PvE from 28-30 sucks. The PvE from 30-38 is "Meh". The PvE from 28-4x is great.

The problems I'm running into are that the 1.0 content sucks, the 1.3 content is good, and the 1.5 content is amazing. Falling into those 1.0 content ruts blows.

Worth the push though.

Posted: Oct 26th 2009 1:29PM (Unverified) said

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Aion has a community that has been in pretty much every MMO that has come out that I've played in the last few years (AOC/WAR) and from what I can tell most have settled here.

My advice play this like it's old school and you'll do ok. Play it like it's WoW your gonna end up broke with crappy gear.

Best reason I can give to try Aion: The classes are tight. 0 Indication that NCSoft plans any massive balance adjustments in the future either.

If your tired of playing MMO's with sweeping class changes that alot of new MMO's have this one what you see is pretty much what you get. From the class forums no one really seems to be horridly unhappy either.

Game is good enough that when I have time to play I hardly view the forums unless looking for something specific. Far cry from AOC and CO where the issue's in game required reading the forums to figure out if I was going to keep subing.

Posted: Oct 26th 2009 1:31PM (Unverified) said

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i didnt like aion, and just canceled my account fater reaching level 19, so i will be going back to wow, my beloved gave in over 4 years.

The problem was that aion didnt had the same RPG atmosphere as wow, i still cant find a game that can give me the epic rpg feeling, i love azeroth and i love the wow lorem its one of a kind.

Also, i cant stand manga.

Posted: Oct 26th 2009 1:57PM (Unverified) said

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You must be playing a different game than we are.

There is little to no role-playing in WoW, either character based or player based (let alone of an "epic" variety). The communities on most realms I was on were horrible. They were much better back before cross-realm battlegrounds. And now with cross-realm LFG in the works, you'll have even fewer opportunities to get to know your fellow players (on your server).

And which version of Azeroth do you love? For that matter, which version of the lore? Blizzard changes the lore in Warcraft to better meet the latest financial goals as Activision sees fit.

"One of a kind"? Far from it. The original IP of Warcraft: Orcs v Humans was a blatant rip-off of the Warhammer IP (just as Starcraft was a rip-off of the Warhammer 40K IP). Yes, Blizzard has developed it a great deal since then, but not exactly with original ideas. A great number of the changes announced for the last few expansions have all been ideas that they've ripped from other games.

I'm not faulting them for that per se -- if it's a good idea, it's a good idea. Just don't come on here and try to present Blizzard or Warcraft as though it's some great innovator of the genre.

As for the review itself, thank you Brooke. You really have become one of the best writers here and I really appreciate your work.
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