Aion: Post Mortem

October 14, 2009 at 6:32 am | Posted in Aion | 6 Comments
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Wotcha everyone,

I’ve always felt that if a game took longer than a couple of weeks to really grab me, then it’s probably never going to grab me.
Aion has not grabbed me.  But why?

It looks gorgeous.  I am not alone in saying it.  In fact, just as everyone who plays Fallen Earth calls it “Niche”, everyone who plays Aion says it looks gorgeous.  But a game needs to be more than just gorgeous; look at Age of Conan.

In no particular order, let’s see what’s stopping me from loving Aion;
Gold Spam.  Did you know that my first received whisper in game was from a gold seller?  It wasn’t long after I started.  I think I had enough time for most of the first level before his happy little message popped up on screen.  For a while, that little chap was my only company through the early levels.  I normally shut off public channels because player spam is quite off-putting enough for me, but there is a lot of gold spam, and unlike the queues there’s no sign of them abating.  Despite official announcements to the contrary.  I didn’t think there’d be any game to rival World of Warcraft for gold spam, but here is me holding up my hand and saying I was wrong.  I was wrong.

The Queues.  I don’t mind the queues.  I do my chores whilst queueing.  My lovely lady loves that.  Makes me look good too.  My Xbox loves all the attention that Mass Effect is getting.  But there’s the thing; I should be antsy to play, and I’m not.  That makes me think my sub-conscious is telling me that this game is not singing to me.  Yes, I enjoy it when I get on, but there are other games I enjoy, that I don’t have to pay a subscription for.

The PvP.  Where is it?  It’s at level 25?  One of things that Warhammer Online got spot-on right was the ability to jump into PvP at level 1.  Fantastic.  So for a game that’s marketed at the PvP market, it seems daft that the only PvP I get to do before level 25 is dueling people on my own side.  That gets a somewhat sarcastic little “yay”.  I’m not sure I can wait for level 25; I don’t get that much time to play, so every hour I spend levelling to level 25 is another hour of me thinking I could (should) be levelling Minstrel Hawley, or finding a PUG for Shaman Herewerd.  The PvE experience just isn’t that challenging, or even exciting;  Aion needs PvP a lot sooner than it gives it out.

The Alt situation.  I like my alts.  I usually start off two or three characters when I first get a game, and level the alts when I fancy a bit of a rest from levelling the main.  And Aion is no different, but this time I’m spending time in other games rather than levelling an alt.  This is possibly because of the nature of the game; there’s not much for me apart from more killing.  And whilst I’ve no problem whatsoever with a target-rich environment and carte-blanche to murderlise as much indigenous life-forms as I want, the regions are very close and channelled.  Either I’m messing up completely, or I’m doing a lot of running around through long-cut channels to get to where I need to, because the zone won’t let me go in a short-cut straight line.  I hate pointless running.  In real or fake worlds.  So doing it more than once is a painful thought.

Kinah.  What a name.  If we’re going to rename Shiny Gold Coins, can we call them “Feeeelthy Lucre”?  Please?  Because Kinah’s…  kinah rubbish.  Especially for a game that is so cash based.  I have to pay to bind.  I have to pay to recover lost xp when I die.  And then I have to pay for all the other things that you pay for in MMOs; crafting, items, skills.  If World of Warcraft is obsessed with equipment, Aion is obsessed with cash.  You don’t even get equipment falling from monsties, or from quest rewards all that often; just more…  Kinah.
There are good points to the game (more than documented elsewhere), but nothing that is outstanding.  Yes, it has those looks, but they’re skin-deep, and let’s face it honey, they’re not fulfilling my emotional needs…  Ahem.

Aion isn’t broken.  It’s very nice.  And I can’t find anything to actively hate.  And for once I’m finding it difficult to put this into words; It just doesn’t sing to me.  That little siren song that calls to me, that makes me want to see what’s over the next hill, that makes me want to see more is missing.  And without that, it’s hard for me to be fully enthused.

If friends asked me about Aion, I’d tell them to try it out and see if it’s for them.  The legion I joined is lovely, and I’d recommend Vaatyrium to anyone looking for a semi-casual guild to join.  But Aion isn’t for me.  And I think that the worst thing about it is that, for me, the game is just…  bland.
Shame.
Cheers,
Hawley.

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6 Comments »

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  1. Seems a shame that, for you at least, it’s missed the mark. That said, I suppose it is once again proof that we need there to be choice in the mmo market.

    Now dust off that Shaman!

  2. Wotcha everyone,

    You’re right, Alex. More choice means more chance of a “great” game. “Great” being defined as a game that the individual really, really enjoys playing.

    Cheers,
    Hawley.

  3. I agree with your assessments of the game. I’ve only been playing about 2 weeks and my interest is starting to wane. Flying wasn’t as cool as I thought it would be, in fact it has gotten me killed more than anything. I’m not really looking forward to being dumped into PvP at level 25 when there are much higher levels running around in the same area, and as you said, you have to wait so long to find out if you are even going to enjoy your class at 25. With all classes starting in the same area and it being the same game play up to level 10, where is the motivation to make an alt?

    It is a pretty game like everyone says, but I was afraid there would be very little underneath and I think I’m coming to that realization and wishing I had save my money. 😦

  4. Kina is the monetary unit of Papua New Guinea. I guess that is where they got it from.

  5. I can agree with your sentiments. Aion isn’t busted in any significant way, which means that there aren’t major annoyances that cause rage-quitting. What it doesn’t have, however, is innovation, which means that we’re looking at a slow decline from the initial high of subscribers over the next few months.

  6. Last week I wrote a huge, in-depth reply to this article and then managed to crash out of the window rather than post it. Probably for the best.

    In short I said: “This accurately reflects my own sentiments”.

    My Aion subscription has now expired but not before my interest waned (14) and then collapsed (26). Ultimately I stopped playing because I … stopped playing.

    It’s a shame, but time to start looking “The (Next)One”.


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