Aion? Anyone? Come On…

By Jim Rossignol on May 25th, 2010 at 10:57 am.


There must be some Aion players out there in the seething RPS masses. Hands up – who is still playing? You still getting a kick out of it? Does this new “Assault on Balaurea” expansion tickle your fancy? Seems pretty standard fare for MMO expansions: higher level cap, new zones, new instances, and some tweaks to things like pet ownership, but it could be a big deal. The trailer, which I’ve posted below, is predictably gorgeous.

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44 Comments »

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  1. Choca says:

    *Snore*

    When does Guild Wars 2 come out again ?

    • Wulf says:

      This was pretty much my reaction.

      Sorry Aion, but you’re just not interesting to me. It’s very generic, and its choice of races seem exceedingly dull to me. I want my home city to be a marvel of industry in that world, constructed by very big, angry cats. Cats with explosive guns. And I’d like to play as one of those big, angry cats, simply because they don’t really fit into any of the traditions of fantasy games.

      Guild Wars 2 will be such a breath of fresh air, for me, at least.

      That’s one thing I never understood about fantasy games, yes, they’re fantasy, but do they have to be so generic? There are examples of how not to be out there. But I guess it works for those who like this sort of thing, and more power to them. Me, I’m waiting for Guild Wars 2 for my fantasy fix.

    • jsdn says:

      My reaction: God this is so boring, and definitely not “gorgeous.” Flying ships, how original. Yeah right, like I can really pick up a demon and slam it into a wall. Please stick to actual things I might see in the expansion. …. so boring … OH GOD LITTLE PUPPIES AND DANCING PANDAS! I WANT OUT!

  2. Magic H8 Ball says:

    Anonymous Coward said:
    *Snore*

    When does Guild Wars 2 come out again ?

    Whatever, but they could at least UPDATE THEIR GODDAMN PAGE ALREADY!

    • pabswikk says:

      @ Magic H8@: What do you mean update their goddamn page?

      I still play Aion. I figure at least GW2 will be buy to play, so I can waste a tenner a month on this game, so it’s ok. Well anyway, back to grinding and waiting for a long time for this expac

    • Barman1942 says:

      Interestingly enough, ArenaNet has made several new posts on their blog with a ton of new info about GW2, but I haven’t seen RPS report on any of it. Really odd, considering it was big news around here a while ago.

    • Wulf says:

      @Barman

      I don’t know if it’s that necessary, a bunch of news sites all ready cover all the relevant info. My favourite of which being Sabre Wolf’s YouTube channel. By watching SW’s videos, one is generally appraised of everything that goes on with GW2, since he includes every possible tidbit of information in them, gathered from interviews, blog posts, things that are slipped on community forums, and so on. Every time he has enough info to make creating a new episode worthwhile, he puts out a new video.

      This is why I haven’t bothered with my Guild Wars 2 news thread, because Sabre Wolf’s videos, which are grand, makes it all redundant. If anyone wants to know everything there is to know about Guild Wars 2, just click that link I’ve given, watch all the existing episodes, and then subscribe.

    • Wulf says:

      This is something I feel I should bring to the attention of RPS Guild Wars fans, though…

      http://surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=Y0pLJ5vtf%2fPhdE24tSW6KNxjDPOVoWX7m8kyAurR0T0%3d&

  3. Simon Dufour says:

    Me, I’ll probably go for APB (All Points Bullet). It’ll be releasing soon and from what I heard from someone in BETA, it’s just pure awesome.

    • dethgar says:

      So it’s more than just a big lobby system like Global Agenda and Crimecraft? Those two are glorified match making services.

  4. Psychopomp says:

    I’ll start playing again, the second the community stop gouging tanks like they don’t need them.

    Yay for one tank class!

  5. Crescend says:

    Tried beta of this, but was too grindy for my tastes. Can’t wait for GW 2 tho :D

  6. Chris D says:

    I played Aion for about a month when it was released and enjoyed it. After that it started to feel too much like a job and I never went back.

    Mostly I think it was the fact that the game charges you for everything. Travelling to another region costs money, levelling up costs money, dying costs money…. It got to the point where I always felt broke, and I don’t need to play a game to do that.

    There was also the revelation that the numbers would get higher but everything else would stay exactly the same.

    It was fun while it lasted but I’m not going to go back. Actually I’d sworn off MMO’s but if Guild Wars 2 can deliver then I could be tempted one more time.

    • bob_d says:

      Yeah, everyone I know gave up on it after a few months because of the grind… and they realized there wasn’t that much content, either.

  7. robrob says:

    Cool video, could I just dick about on this as a level 1 character? The flying / exploration looks great but I have zero interest in combat or grinding.

    • Chris D says:

      Unless things have changed since I played you don’t get your wings until about level 10 and you’re pretty limited in where you can fly until you reach the abyss at about L25 (I think), which is a PvP area so mostly you end up scanning the skies nervously for any sign of trouble rather than enjoying the scenery.

      Aion: the game with flying characters who have to walk everywhere.

      That said it’s not an unfun game but you need at least a little interest in levelling to make it worthwhile.

    • Doggy says:

      No, for these two reasons:
      You get your wings at level 10, which may be ~4 hours of gameplay (if you are new).
      You can’t fly in the majority of places, the only place you can really fly to explore in is the abyss, which you must be level 25 to enter and isn’t exactly the best place for sightseeing.
      Flight is initially limited to 60 seconds but can be extended by flight pots, flight rings, and so on.

    • robrob says:

      Ok thanks guys. Wow what a wasted concept.

  8. The Great Wayne says:

    The best thing about Aion was the metal box it came in. Fantastic packaging.

    The damn thing is still mocking me from the shelf it’s currently taking dust on.

  9. Premium User Badge

    Lars Westergren says:

    Wow, Aion. I had completely forgotten about it. So much media coverage before launch, and after launch it just disappeared *completely without a trace*, at least from online media.

    Judging by the initial sales numbers there seems like there is a large MMO audience hungry for new things, but so far nothing is filling the void for long. Of all the ones in development, The Hidden World and Star Wars Old Republic are the only ones that interest me – but I’m going to try my damnest to stay away from them since I have an addiction problem. Losing 6 months of my life to Everquest and one year to World of Warcraft is enough, thank you.
    :)

    I’m happy it seems the trend of every damn PC development team and their grandmas announcing they are making MMOs is finally slowing down a bit though. Strong narratives (which tickles my fun zones the most) works best in single player (or possibly cooperative multiplayer) I think.

    • bob_d says:

      I suspect the press coverage for Aion followed the path taken by all the people I know who played it. Attracted by the shiny, pretty graphics, they bought into it without knowing much. After playing it they discovered it was a fairly generic WoW-like game, only with more grind and less variety and gave up on it.
      I too look forward to The Hidden World and Star Wars. Mostly out of curiosity, though. The Hidden World sounds really intriguing, but I’m afraid it’ll use generic MMO gameplay; it would have to be pretty revolutionary to not disappoint me after hearing the developer descriptions. Star Wars is going to have a hard time of it. I suspect it will be generic MMO gameplay with a few new additions (e,g, cover system). That they decided to voice act all dialog means that there will be less content, and expansions will be few and far between.
      “I’m happy it seems the trend of every damn PC development team and their grandmas announcing they are making MMOs is finally slowing down a bit though.”
      Yeah, and that’s because hundreds of millions of dollars were wasted on games that never even got finished, not to mention the money spent on games that were released but failed. All the venture capitalists saw dollar signs when WoW came out, but MMOs are expensive to make and difficult to do right, so it resulted in a huge number of failures that has cooled the enthusiasm (now there’s a Facebook games gold-rush). A number of Chinese and Korean companies set up western studios recently to make online games, though (since that’s what the market is there), so we’ll be seeing the results of those ventures starting in a year or two, unfortunately.
      “Strong narratives (which tickles my fun zones the most) works best in single player (or possibly cooperative multiplayer) I think.”
      Absolutely, and I think MMO designers feel the same way about narrative, but haven’t so much figured out it doesn’t work the same way in multiplayer games. As a result there are all these MMOs with strong narratives which then require static worlds, where players are essentially impotent – completely unable to permanently change anything in the world. So the narrative exists, but not in a way that characters can meaningfully interact with. Very unsatisfying, but I have yet to see any MMO deal with the issue in a smart way.

  10. Kits says:

    Reactivated my account yesterday actually. More out of a lack of roleplaying in anything else than a desire to go back to the grind though. Thankfully there’s a patch next month which should make levelling somewhat less painful too.

  11. malkav11 says:

    While Aion certainly looked like it was going to be gorgeous, in practice it turned out that it didn’t actually look all that good when I played it. (And yes, my settings were well up.) A combination of uninspired art design (and rest-of-the-game design) and wonky technicals, I guess.

    I think WoW looks substantially better in real play. Hell, even EQII, frequently a bit ugly, looks better to me.

  12. ShowMeTheMonkey says:

    Sorry guys, I won your Aion:Collectors Edition back in xmas.

    I just can’t get into MMOs, they’re too…. “Gamey”.

    £60 to a ginger fellow with glasses from Droitwich enabled me to buy Stalker: CoP and Napoleon though! Thanks Aion geeks!

  13. Bascule42 says:

    Aion…got 30 days of play time with my GPU. They could have just give me 4 days and got themselves a chippy dinner.

  14. Red Avatar says:

    I was playing Aion until last weekend actually, when I canceled my subscription out of frustration.

    Let me paint you the picture: every two weeks, me and a girl I’ve known for years play 6-7 hours during the weekend. Before Aion, it was WoW until I got so tired of it, it became painful to play (at just level 30). With Aion, I lasted until level 35. The only reason I’ve been playing so long, is because there’s been two weeks in-between each session. It goes to show the game never really grabbed me because I never played on my own.

    Anyway, Aion started out with a dozen densely populated servers. We started on one with a high population but quickly found that there were dozens of people taking your quest kills which soon became highly frustrating. So after the first weekend, we decided to start again on another server. Now, the game has two factions fighting each other. You can invade the other faction’s lands and kill people by running through rifts. It’s an interesting idea but in practice, it only works if both sides are balanced. Over the past few months, our faction has been slowly dwindling until last weekend where our faction power was 0%. Not just that, where the cities used to be packed, there was only 1 or 2 people to be spotted during double Xp weekends! The amount of auctions dropped spectacularly and with it, the prices and nothing you put up for sale got sold.

    The worst of all, was how painfully slow gaining levels was. During double XP weekends at level 35, you needed 16.000.000 experience points and each creature of your level would give you 30.000. Considering it takes a minute to kill a monster and more if you include looting, wait for powers to recharge, etc. it means it takes you 14 hours of constant playing to gain a single level. Outside of Double XP weekends, it’s 28 hours. It just kills the enjoyment especially when you keep getting killed by your enemies who way out-level you.

  15. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Aion never grabbed me. Back when I was still playing Warhammer online lots of people were talking about it.. but I didn’t quite understand why. I mean, it’s a bit of a cross between WoW and your standard asian grindfest, or at least that’s what I got out of that. And it looks good, if you like the artstyle.

    • bob_d says:

      I think you neatly described both the appeal and the problems of the game.

  16. Thunderkor says:

    I will try just about any MMO if there’s a free trial. I’d be willing to give this one a go, despite the bad parts I hear about. I think they all get grindy and samey after a while, but I do usually enjoy them for a bit before that sets in.

    I do agree that having a game where the draw is to be able to fly, and then severely restricting that ability is pretty lame. Really, what were they thinking with that?

  17. jva says:

    Honestly, I don’t see where it’s as bad as you think it is. My buddy and I leveled from 41 to 44 in about 14 hours on double exp weekend. The game as a whole is solid, just needs more dedicated gamers for the community. Everyone’s looking for “the New WoW,” but in all honesty, WoW spoiled everyone with their overall childishly simple gameplay.

  18. cpy says:

    I play wow and i’m a lvl 80 paladin, what’s your game? Try to beat this game. :)

  19. Aufero says:

    Meh.

    I loved Aion in the beta. The game was gorgeous, I liked the crafting, and I had fun with half a dozen different characters up to about level 40 after it went live. Then the grind got boring, and I saw no prospect of it becoming less boring. I don’t play MMOs to be bored.

  20. Eggy says:

    …then why on earth do you play mmos at all?

    (trollface)

  21. Zyrusticae says:

    I think Aion was horrifically damaged by the attempt to cater to both PvE and PvP sensibilities.

    The PvE seriously hurt PvPers by allowing them to get gear as good or even better than that which PvPers could get (and PvP gear gives PvP-specific bonuses, to boot), as well as allowing people to get AP (which were supposed to be gained through PvP) entirely through PvE, which means they take no risks to gain it (which also meant the Abyss doesn’t see much activity on most days).

    The PvP hurt PvEers by allowing people to run around enemy territory killing everyone they come across, get wiped, and then do it all over again. Many, ahem, “carebears” got sick and tired of this and stopped playing as a result.

    They should have focused on either PvP or PvE. Considering how mind-numbingly boring the PvE can get after extended play sessions I’d personally have suggested more focus on PvP, but obviously that’s not the road they’ve taken. Such a shame, too. I still have fun with it… but there’s little time spent where I’m not thinking about all that could have been.

  22. Collic says:

    I’m convinced I lack the MMO gene. Probably a good thing – although Eve came close to snaring me.

  23. Tim says:

    I’m beginning to feel that the image a whole bunch of dudes whacking away at the ankles of some humungo-ice-dragon-thing is getting a bit old.

    seriously, the game’s graphics and visual style are so polished, but it’s like they set themselves up to make a generic game int he first place. think of what they could have done had they been more adventurous, flavour-wise as well as in terms of gameplay. I picked up the original guild wars after i played aion and i have to say that GW had more innovation than it….

  24. Qefx says:

    Well, Aion isnt bad. I have no problem with grinding, slow leveling or something else, I play RPGs!!! for the “system” of it. for the rules, the leveling, the skills, races and so on. I play Aion unitl lvl 30. And the skill system sucks, the PVP system sucks. (Every RPG will fail when it will has levels and no rules)

    People will alway try to get the maximum out of everything, so they gank, overpimp low level chars and so on to kill people. Well, sure you can ( Or will?) do the same later. But thats not the point in a game.

    Or would someone play Quake, (and keep playing) When the enemy has Full armor, full weapons and quad damage? and every time you spawn back you meet him again. At start this could be fun, even for a few hours while you try to kill him ( At least in Quake you have a small chance to kill him with skill, movement and so on) But not in RPGs where you have “Numbers” which decide the outcome of a fight, not the skill (Ok on same equipment same class situation it would be skill, but this is VERY RARE!)

  25. Terramis says:

    Play it often. Have enjoyed it since launch. Looking forward to new expansion. Can’t get me off my EvE but that’s ok, I can handle both :P

  26. Magic H8 Ball says:

    After watching few Aion gameplay videos I decided to boycott all MMORPGs from asia which have character voices.

  27. dude says:

    the only good mmo i remember now coming from Koreans/Asians in general is Shattered Galaxy until they canned it. But probably the best MMO so far. As for korean grind fests, they should really hire some European, even US game designers, since they clear suck balls. They are making D2 clones online in their 1000s games release every year, one worse then the other.

    Played Aion 2 months, incredible world graphics, memorable locations, horrible gameplay, streamlined, fun but no tactic in combat, dumb quests, bad character customization, scope, about everything. Interesting crafting but grindish..

  28. Eric says:

    I played Aion for two months when it came out. The game had some good concepts that panned out to be pretty much impossible to utilize. For example:
    1) Rifts – quick jump to the other faction’s land, required for several high-XP quests, but impossible to pull off since you need a very large group to stay alive. The other faction WILL be waiting for you.
    2) Questing – you do a quest that requires you to kill 30 creatures, each worth 10k XP. Then you run (no flying) for 5 minutes back to the quest giver to get a whopping 20k XP. It takes longer to get back to turn in the quest than to kill the 2 creatures to make up for the XP. Other quest rewards were equally disappointing. Then there is the follow-up quest that wants you to kill 30 more of those same creatures, but THIS TIME you pickup an item that didn’t drop last time. Fun right? Lather, rinse, repeat.
    3) Flying – yes it will save your butt when you fall off a cliff on accident and just spread your wings. But then you can also accidentally retract your wings and encounter a timer to fly again. Here I come ground! And then you can only fly near major cities or in the abyss, so your wings get dusty from lack of use. Flying PvP is a very cool concept, but when you’re chasing a runner or fighting a group in midair, 60 seconds of flying is not enough.
    4) Explorable Area – there are some very diverse landscapes to see, but when it takes 24 game hours to go up a level and 5 levels to go up before you can move on, that one 20 meter^2 area gets a bit…familiar.
    5) Higher Lvl Mobs – if a creature is 2 levels above you, be prepared to lose a hefty amount of life and time bringing it down. You could kill 3 mobs that are you level in the time it takes to kill one 2 levels higher, and the XP difference is almost negligible. Happen to run into one on accident? Be prepared to die quickly.
    6) Death – when you die, you get dumber. Seriously. You lose XP with each death. On top of that, you can buy back the XP, up to 25% of your level. After that, you cannot by back anymore and it is permanently lost. Then there is the resurrection sickness that makes you useless unless you wait for it to wear off (don’t recall the time) or you pay to have it removed.

    Want a better option? Try Fallen Earth. There is a lot of PvE, you don’t need a group to survive, you can craft everything you want, crafting occurs in the background while you fight, and you can even have PvP Clan Wars. The graphics on Aion were supposed to be stunning, but let us down. Not Fallen Earth. Character and environment details are exceptional. And the best part – 10 day free trial. I liked it so much I subscribed for 3 months on day 2.

  29. Mike says:

    I played aion for a while, but then it seemed like it didn’t go anywhere, and I got into WoW. Honestly, I think if you want to really grab the attention of the people, you need to create extra ideas, like some sort of fun stuff in between questing that you could do. To me it seemed abit to linear also, not to open until lvl 25 or 30 to go into the abyss. But once you go into the abyss your facing lvl 45s and 50s to go against you on PvP and cant even get any questing done.

    I honestly think you guys that develop aion need to think of something extra to put in, not just grinding and all that jazz. I read your add-ons for the new expansion and it seems like you guys are taking it on, maybe give us a free trial to screw around on to see whats new to figure out if we pick it up.

    Also, one last thing. To me these types of games that have nothing to do but grind, quest, collect and create weapons shouldn’t be a pay to play type game. You would gain more people to play if you would not make it a pay to play, rather a free to play instead.

    • Mike says:

      One last thing, I also thought that the way you guys advanced classes idea was a really REALLY profound idea that kept people hooked, but once you hit lvl 10 your stuck as a cleric or whatever.

  30. Nethala says:

    Aion’s not a terrible game: I am playing it now (Crafting as I write this as a matter of fact…) and there’s enough there to keep me entertained, for now. Most of what has been said here is correct: there is a lot of imbalance right now between factions, and with the upcoming server merges it has the potential to either become very bad or even out somewhat. Levelling isn’t all too bad now that they fixed the quest experience, and even added more quests for those of higher level where before there was nothing to do but grind.

    Still, despite the fact that I do enjoy the game, I know that it has problems, most of which has been covered by the people here. Still, a lot of these complaints are pre 30 it seems: Once you hit 30, you get new wings, and if you’re smart and have leveled up professions you will be raking in cash.

    Of course, a lot of my Aion addiction comes from being addicted once to WoW, and quitting in digust after finding out I could get to level 60 in a couple of days. Most of the challenge was lost in that game after vanilla. At least in Aion you actually have to work for something. Blehg. If only it actually had some content. Guild Wars 2, you better be awesome…

    Also, main problem with Aion: Rangers. -Shudders.-