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Reader Comments (36)

Posted: Jun 23rd 2010 11:24AM NeoWolfen said

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Aion for me was a frustration. I liked the concept, and lookswise..well noone would despute the attractiveness of the game, visually it is just stunning.

Sadly however, for me..the appeal ended there. I was a beta player I tried all classes, both factions and a number of things just didnt gel with me.

It has a distinctly "eastern" feel to the kind of game it is, and I do not mean that in a derogatory manner, but simply to express that it holds to certain gaming ideals that are more commonly found in an Eastern mmo than a western one.

It is also incredibly Grind heavy. I read the text, I looked for the immersion but it still comes back to kill x of that, collect y of this..

Also for me it was somethign I'd categorise like EVE, on the surface very appealing, it has aspects that are great.. but despite being advertised for ALL, it is really "just" a PVP game. Any real gameplay only comes once your able to partake in the PVP.. and if your a PVE'er, well your fairly screwed.

Also the whole "you can fly" schtick.. is radically misrepresented, because until you are at a PVP level, you cant really for for anything more than a few minutes at best..what you can do is glide, which isn't the same.

I wouldn't say its a bad game, but for me it simply wasnt an appealing game. I beta'ed it, I was excited priot to release enough by the subject matter to order the CE edition, but never activated it, which was probably just as well as my Aion account (even though inactive) was hacked shorlty after, forcing me to go through the hassle of resecuring my master account etc..

Posted: Jun 23rd 2010 11:38AM Super Nerd said

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No one is two words.
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Posted: Jun 23rd 2010 4:55PM Bezza said

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Gotta agree, i felt pretty much the same. The whole flying thing was a motivation early on and then once you ascend and discover you can hardly fly anywhere at all I just felt ripped off.
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Posted: Jun 23rd 2010 11:44AM (Unverified) said

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Well, I think that is a fair and balanced look at Aion.

I really do think one of the main problems, aside from the various untruths told by NCSoft prior to release and their brain dead way of running things since, is so many people were expecting WoW with wings. I wasn't. Instead, I checked out reviews of Lineage I and II (massive grind, same programmers), as well as Final Fantasy Online (a game requiring grouping). Based on those games, what I was expecting was something that would not have everyone leveling up in a few weeks and then nothing but grinding for gear in dungeon raids, like Wow. And pretty much that is what I got.

I'm in the kinda of weird mindset that when I'm playing Aion I have a great time. I enjoy the world, the land, the music, the armor, the weapons, the tiny little players next to the giants. The combat is a bit slower than I expected and the world itself is far too closed in, as Shawn mentioned, too much like GW1 in that regard.

When I'm not playing, I really am like, 'bleh, I'd rather do something else'. Much of that is the fact that 2 hours spent in Aion usually will not reward you much as far as character advancement compared to other games. It really is something when you get that next level, craft that special piece of armor (or the final piece in the set) or double proc to get that great weapon. That is what keeps me going back. But it happens so seldom that I can see why so many people left the game.

Posted: Jun 30th 2010 11:54AM kalipou134 said

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Aion is a big Korean money trap.

The set it open at release and are still catching idiots.

Yes, they don't care about the american playerbase one bit.

This game is one the best exemples of why americans should stick to american games, with people who will actually pay attention to the needs of its playerbase *cough* Blizzard *cough*

Aion had one bright side, it made me think back and realise that Blizzard's customer service and dev team, despite being brash at times, is at least there and doing a good job.

I got swooped into Aion because I got bored of WoW until Cata and wow(no pun intended) was it a big mistake.

Sure, its a grindfest, but its not a rewarding one, the PvP system is broken and the korean devs have NO INTENTION of fixing it, because apparently, the korean playerbase like getting bent over and pewpew'd up their asses.

---- > Avoid Aion, it'll save you months of wasted hardwork.
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Posted: Jun 23rd 2010 11:54AM Crsh said

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I gave Aion two shots already, seperated by 5 or 6 months; I didn't make it past lv30 on my single character. The game is indeed gorgeous, but I found the decors didn't make up for the dreadful leveling experience; I didn't find it hard, just way too time-consuming and (above all) completely mind-numbing.

PvPvE is a nice idea on paper, it only works as long as you have a healthy population balance. While at launch plenty jumped in, when I returned 6 months later not much was happening on my server. This sadly reminded me of WHO, when your server becomes low-population, the whole idea of PvP combat to control PvE points completely falls apart.

Last nail in the coffin for me: NCsoft. Slow to respond, they got stuck in mindless PR mode for too long instead of facing the music and communicating with the players, they just kept promising stuff that will never happen (aka smoke-screen).

Posted: Jun 23rd 2010 12:01PM Tom in VA said

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Thanks for these articles, Shawn.

I must confess that I have zero interest in playing Aion. The grindiness, the PvP orientation, the overall "pretty" look of the game were all kind of a turnoff for me from the get-go. Even so, I still enjoy reading about the experiences of other players in other games.

Here's to hoping AoC (or STO) wins the next round for "Choose My Adventure", since those are two games I am genuinely curious about (though reluctant to try). I'd particularly enjoy hearing what AoC is like *now* as opposed to its general state at release.

Posted: Jun 23rd 2010 12:44PM (Unverified) said

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"Overall, I don't think Aion is half as bad as many people make it out to be."

Considering you only played half of the levels and most of your positives are assumptions about what levels 24-50 will be like, I think this pretty accurately sums up Aion.

-SirNiko

Posted: Jun 23rd 2010 1:17PM octoberasian said

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"Since everyone is used to easy leveling (thanks Blizzard), Aion is a bit jarring for those scared of the G word." -Shawn

Reading that, I always get that inevitble feeling that every MMO regardless of genre will get compared back to WoW because of its success. However, I somehow feel that Blizzard and WoW, in a way, ruined MMOs in general. Due to its ease of leveling and accessibility to players, do you think the same way? It's as if players expect everything to come to them easily, and I fear developers are going to dumb down the difficulty and accessibility in future MMOs.

If a developer removes the difficulty, there isn't any fun in it. Look at how fast you can get to capped level in WoW.

If a developer makes it too difficult, there isn't any fun in it either. Players will complain and complain about its difficulty and compare it back to WoW again because of its easiness.

What's the right balance then? Little grinding? No grinding? Give players everything on a silver platter?

I've been on other forums where WoW is lambasted for repetitiveness and Blizzard dumbing down the difficulty in certain areas like in Icecrown Citadel. And, I've read complaints where Blizzard over the years, patch after patch, have reduced the difficulty in the game over and over again.

I've played WoW myself for a while but I got burnt out from questing so much and the quests really was something you just skip over the story written in them. The quests felt shallow, no substance. It's just kill or gather this amount, then come back. It didn't seem fun after a while.

I've also played FFXI for six years and I've enjoyed the leveling and questing, and the story itself. The story always drew you in and made you want to read every line of text and dialog. You felt as if you were connected to the story, and part of a grander plot. However, players inevitably compared it to WoW again because of the lack of PvP, and again its difficulty at obtaining certain armors or weapons compared to WoW. Not everyone enjoys PvP, especially if you have to deal with jerks and assholes in PvP-centric games. APB (from closed beta) and EVE Online (PC pirates) tend to be good examples of the "being-a-dick" MMO player attitudes.

It's as if WoW has become the so-called "standard" by which MMOs will be compared back to. It's sad, honestly. Players expect things to be easy because of WoW now. I'm the kind of person who has grown up by this one single fact: "If you work hard for it, you have earned and deserved it in the end." I carried that into FFXI and I have a very well-equipped character, but I worked hard at it over six years. In WoW, it took no more than a two weeks after starting and I was already level 67 with a very well-equipped Warlock.

I've also played various South Korean MMOs and the grind is there. The Asian MMOs compared to Western (Americanized) MMOs seem like a drain to typical American players, like AION is being compared to. The one Korean MMO I still play from time-to-time though is Mabinogi, since I've been in it since closed beta. You don't have to go out and level all the time, you can do other things in the game. For example, I had the most fun just sitting at some riverbank and just fish, if I didn't feel like dungeon crawling.

But, is this comparison to WoW always going to be there when Star Wars The Old Republic gets released?

Or TERA? Vindictus? APB? Black Prophecy? Heck, Lego Online?

It's as if players don't want hard work or not wanting to put effort into anything and want something as easy as WoW. But, what's the right amount of difficulty and accessibility?

It has to be a game first and foremost, and at the very least fun but what's a game when everything comes to you too easily? WoW has probably made players expect too much from future MMOs to be easy for them regardless of the genre, but where is the fun in that? There has to be a story, and a feeling of substance and something concrete that makes you feel like you are a part of the MMO when you play as your alter-ego.

Posted: Jun 23rd 2010 2:18PM (Unverified) said

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Although I'm not a WoW player, I'd say the game brings more people into the MMORPG sphere than if it was not a success. The game shed more positive lights on mmo gaming in the west that older games could not achieve.

On the other hand, it would be a gross (and misleading) simplification saying WoW's success is only because the game is "less grindy" than Korean games. What is and what is not a "grind" differs by person and by cultures. clearly WoW has a "winning formula" does not mean that every variable in that formula should be the de facto industry standard for any coming MMO to be released to the western audience.

To me, the "winning formula" breaks down to personal tastes, which is easier to observe than to analyze.
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Posted: Jun 23rd 2010 1:18PM Skolia said

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Aion failed for me on two levels.

1. The story arcs abruptly vanished at around level 20, replaced with endless grindy "kill X" "gather X" missions.

2. I'm not much of a PvP person these days so the "second half" the game being PvP-centric holds little to no appeal.

I feel like I'm the victim of a "bait-and-switch" scam with Aion. It's like they made one third of a RPG, threw in PvP for levels 25-50 and called it a day.

In retrospect, I should've realized it during the beta when NCSoft did all of this mission localization testing and capped the levels to 20.

All in all it was a very disappointing experience, I made it to level 27 and gave up.

Posted: Jun 23rd 2010 1:39PM Valdur said

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It's so unfortunate that you won't experience level 50 stuffs like fighting in a Dreadgion or instances such as Dark Poeta or Fortress instances.

As you said the game is not that bad but the quests are so generic that most of the time you skip reading them.

Posted: Jun 23rd 2010 2:46PM (Unverified) said

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My best friend loves Aion and can't get enough of it. I simply can't get into it. I played late beta and bought the collector's edition on launch. I leveled 3 toons to 25-30 and eventually stopped playing.

I recently went back prior to 1.9(xp boost) hitting and started yet another character, a chanter. I really like the chanter class and the "grind" wasn't that bad because the class has zero down time. I still only played for a month and canceled my account. The reasons?:

1. Leveling isn't "the" game, but it still takes hours upon hours. Even with the double xp weekends and the repeatables, the leveling takes a while. I actually think the leveling speed is ok at this point; but your level is only part of the game.

2. Gear. Aion is extremely gear dependent, and even after max level, you're farming/buying/crafting/grinding to upgrade your gear. You grind to level 50, then you grind pvp to get gear, just to... pvp?

3. Economy. Aion is an RMT(real money trading) game outside the US. You buy kinah with your cash so you can buy what you want in game. NCSoft bans for this in the US, but the economy is so inflated, you will not be able to afford anything unless you're buying kinah. This is further compounded by the fact that crafted items "proc" the better version, which you then "proc" for the best version. You could spend millions trying and not get the item you're after. Even when you do, you're buying enchantment stones for it, which can fail so it's even more of a money sink. I don't mind a money sink as long as I can make the money. In Aion, you can't. You kill a mob that drops 100 kinah, yet it costs 3,000 kinah to port to another zone.

In the end, I quit over the economy. I was willing to grind the levels to pvp, but when a level 30 staff costs 500k that you would not legitimately have, I wasn't interested. Sadly, I'm not playing anything right now. :(

Posted: Jun 23rd 2010 4:33PM (Unverified) said

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If you approach making kinah like most games (selling drops) you will indeed be broke most of the time, unless you get lucky. The drop rates are bad and 1.9 seems to have made them slightly worse as far as general mobs go (which is so stupid).

There seem to be three ways to make your way in Aion. One is to hit level 25 and then PvP for your gear. Or at least grind mobs that give Abyss points. Probably the easiest method, if you don't mind spending all your time in the Abyss (yawn) and getting ganked a lot.

The second is the way I went, gather like crazy and sell the mats to others, then use the kinah to level up a crafting profession, watch the market and sell those items you've made for a profit, while hoping nobody undercuts you. I went from always being broke to having millions of kinah. It takes awhile, and depends a lot on the server you're on having a decent economy (so-so on mine), of course. But so far things have greatly improved for me. I still gather and sell sometimes, and gather a good deal of what I need to craft. But if the price is right I'll buy the mats instead, then craft what I need for my characters and sell the rest for a decent profit. But I can quickly find a use for the kinah (Aion being the gold sink that it is) and only manage to keep 1 to 2 million on hand most of the time.

Third, level up 5 characters to level 30 and get the Daevanion armor and weapon. I'm just about able to do this now, so not quite sure how well this works, but supposedly the gear will last you into the mid 40 level range, so that will be a huge savings.

I have tried a fourth way, mainly just PvE and buying almost everything I need, while still having to gather and sell mats when the drops are poor. It is working fairly well on that character / server (I got really lucky with some nice blue drops that sold for a lot), but decent armor and weapons are getting hard to buy now that the character is level 35. The rental gear might be an option, but only as a supplement to what you have managed to buy.

Ah, if only real life were so easy to make money in. But there are no nodes to gather from, becoming a master craftsman makes the grind of Aion look easy, killing animals does not result in them dropping anything and PvP is not only against the law but very likely fatal. :)
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Posted: Jun 23rd 2010 2:15PM Shadanwolf said

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The game was sold on fantastic Abyss faction conflict.That was the promise.The Abyss and the faction conflict was one of the worst executions I have ever seen.

Posted: Jun 24th 2010 2:03AM Distaste said

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Yeah even worse than WAR and that was pretty bad. The whole PvE to get PvP points was stupid and then to top it off the amount of points you lose for PvPing makes people avoid it.
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Posted: Jun 23rd 2010 2:54PM Crode said

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So you didn't get to fly around the Abyss? That's where you really get to use your wings. And you also didn't get a chance to try the first dungeon, it's quite fun and challenging.

But I agree with all the gripes people have with this game and I quit it after 3 months.

Posted: Jun 23rd 2010 4:25PM (Unverified) said

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I am the leader of the legion that invited Mr. Schuster during his time on Lumiel. We are an established multi-game guild, going on six years old. I mention this because we have played several MMO's together; AION is not our first game and it will not be our last game. So I have no particular reason to be biased.

With that introduction, I have to say that I couldn't be more frustrated with the author. The reason we invited him to our legion was specifically because we saw that he was getting terrible advice from his readers; he was "doing it wrong". Once in our legion, he had every resource at his disposal - a ton of information, as well as an army of friends who repeatedly offered to group with him, teach him the nuance of his class, guide him through the game's complex economy, or at least demonstrate game features to him that he was too low to see for himself.

Mr. Schuster took advantage of none of these things. During the course of this "six week" adventure, he spent only *a few hours* logged into the game. There is a three-page thread on our message board directed at him, created by one of his fans in my guild, urging him to take some real advice and actually experience some of the game. I'm not sure he is even aware this thread exists..

I don't mind if you dislike the game, Mr. Schuster. I'm not an employee or shareholder in NCsoft; it doesn't bother me. But for us, it has been revealing to discover how little effort you apply to your craft. It makes us question the credibility of any future review you may write. You didn't actually try to *learn* this game, or what makes it different (good or bad) from others. You just logged in for a few hours, tried to play it as if it were WoW, realized it wasn't, then quit.

Needless to say, I will be removing you from the legion tonight. =)

Posted: Jun 23rd 2010 5:55PM (Unverified) said

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Fair enough. I don't think this is the place for guild drama, so I've left a proper response at the guild forum.

The bottom line is that I'm very grateful for the help I've received from members of SoH, including advice, materials, items and companionship. I don't get a chance to play very late at night with the rest of the legion, so I can understand why Ashin might believe that I'm never around. I honestly thought I was welcome in the guild and was having fun with the people I played with during the mornings.

It was clearly stated that I play each of these games in this series only 6 weeks. My impressions, as stated several times, were based on those 6 weeks. This write-up, as well as others I've done in the series are based on 6 weeks of play.

The folks in SoH have gone out of their way to make me feel welcome and they made sure to always let me know that they can ask me any question at any time. I took advantage of that kindness on several occasions, but just not at the right time of day, it appears. I understand how you (Ashin) could feel let down after offering so much help, but I feel that you're undermining the efforts of your fellow legion-mates by saying that I never got help from anyone.

Anyway, as I said, I look forward to playing the game for another 6 weeks, but I'll most-likely need to do it on an alt now.
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Posted: Jun 23rd 2010 5:55PM (Unverified) said

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Also, I wanted to say that with Aion, I recognized just how much time is needed to do this CmA series properly. The game is not meant to be looked at a few hours a week. This is the sole reason I passed it on to Krystalle, as stated at the end of the article. I don't think it's fair for me to complain about how little time I have to play these games, and although I'd love to keep up as the one doing the series, it's literally impossible when you work 16 hours a day, have a family, etc.

So here's to hoping Krystalle has the time to do the series justice :)
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