Wednesday, September 23, 2009

One Paragraph To Describe Aion

I found this over at Massively:
Aion is the vanilla of MMOs. It does things right but it doesn't do them spectacularly. It targets everyone, but it simultaneously targets no one. It doesn't take risks. It's fun, but it's not endearing or memorable. It simply is.
With all of the launch day hype and coverage flooding in, this single paragraph describes almost all of it. Aion is the ! to the Diku-inspired sentence that Diku MUDs started, EQ brought to paper, and WoW wrote. The model can not be improved any further. New Diku MMOGs are all about polish and execution.
This game is solid. Period. If games could be graded on polish and polish alone, then Aion is one of the most polished games I've come across in a while
Of course they did have a year-long headstart on polish with the Korean launch.
This is, of course, due to the fact that Aion has had a year to work all of these problems out in Korea, and the fact that NCsoft's localization teams have been so absolutely thorough with the game.
Ok, I lied. Three paragraphs to describe Aion. None of them talking about server queues!


  1. Maybe that's because they're not relevant to the gameplay.

  2. @Fink - that's what I'm starting to think too but I wondering if it's a cultural thing. Asian games focus more on solid game play and performance - the activities the players actually DO in the game. They aren't so heavy on the IP and back story. The characters don't have or require the melodramatic story arcs like Illidan and Arthas. Perhaps Western gamers are more into the "feel" of the game which is a very intangible experience to create. So we release with strong story, background, lore and NPC persona angst, while they focus on the tangible - physical aspects of games. Dunno. Just a thought that has been knocking around my head.

  3. @laurenmichele63

    I've played a lot of Asian MMOGs and I would disagree with your blanket statement. A lot of them are pretty terrible as far as playability and polish (especially some of the more popular games over there). It's not any better or worse than games from the West.

  4. I gotta agree with Heartless here. I've played a LOT of Asian MMOGs as well, and there are some really rough gems out there. Check out the just-gone-live Dungeon Fighter Online if you want a good example; great game, fun, totally unoccupied genre niche, nice art direction, but more than a little lacking in the polish department.

  5. I think that Champions and Aion are good examples of why you should have a longer open beta test period.

    Champions continues to recieve game changing patches and it's only the first month of release. Aion had a super rough open beta with server issues, and it's no better with the ques.

  6. Yup, comparing Champions Online's game-breaking bugs and development decisions to Aion's queues is a very internet-sensible thing to do.

  7. @Dr Fink

    And arguing just for the sake of arguing, and NOT actually providing a counter argument is?


    Open beta is too late. Open betas are rarely, if ever, used to test. They are marketing ploys. The game needs to be release ready at open beta. Open beta, at most, only tests server capacity and clears out any cobwebs for the tech teams.

  8. Wait, queues? Why hasn't this been mentioned at all on the MMO blogosphere? WHOSE, as those wacky kids are saying these days, RESPONSIBLE THIS?

  9. Anonymous7:27 PM

    Someone like Heartless finally sees the light that aion is, the same shit just in a diffrent package.

    Is that really what we've come to? It just has to be polished and well automatically play it?

  10. @Anon

    Pretty much yes.
    Fortunately, the free-to-play sector is getting better, allowing some of us to smartly choose where our gaming dollars go.

  11. You're right Heartless_, NCSoft should have had more that just closed beta weekends every couple of weeks.

    What I don't understand is all this hate towards Aion. If it is just the same old thing in a pretty package, then why continue playing WoW, LOTRO, WAR or EQ2? Why no hate for those games, or any other MMO for that matter.

  12. Anonymous9:09 PM

    The only bad thing I can say about Aion so far is it has the worst, absolute WORST 1-10 experience of any MMO I've ever played. But then at level 10 you step into this beautiful capital city crawling with activity and then into another beautiful zone for your flying training/first real quests. Every blogger that has posts about Aion either played for 2hrs in beta and drew all their conclusions from that, or are basing their opinion off other blog posts.

    And know as much as everyone else how much "FTP" games really cost ; )


  13. Well, I wouldn't agree that it's the worst, Champions two tutorial zones are not all that great. But I will say that it seems kind of pointless.

    One thing WoW does well, among other things, is the starter areas. EQ2 does a decent job, but Qeynos and Freeport really need an overhaul at some point.

  14. (original anon)

    I play champs and love it, yes the tutorial sucks, thak god there implementing something to skip it.

    I just recently cancelled WoW, I was in the DDO ftp beta, it seemed kind of cool, but again you need friends to play with.

  15. Anonymous10:27 PM

    @Jay - pointless is even more insulting so yeah even a better description.

    It's a game that will prove it's worth over the next few months though. The little things will make it stand out over the competition - the biggest being meaningful PvP.

  16. @Fathom
    I'm glad about being able to skip the tutorial too, will be nice.

    I actually wasn't trying to be more insulting, but it fits.

    This game that will prove its worth, are you talking about Champions?

  17. Anonymous11:19 PM

    "This game that will prove it's worth, are you talking about Champions?"

    If Champions is worth the box price in 6 months I'd be impressed.

  18. Lol, well I can't argue with that. So then you must be refering to Aion.

  19. Every game should allow you to skip to level 10 (or whatever level is just outside the true newbie zones). TCoS annoys me for this, because every new character has to do the tutorial. Let me just get to the game.


    Yes, F2P games aren't free (read my no such thing as a free game posts - NSTaaFG tag).

  20. Anonymous2:28 AM

    For the record I really enjoyed Champions at beta. I would buy a character maker/Power room (or whatever that area is called to test new powers) if it were available for a non-sub 1 time price - just enjoy fantasy games over superhero ones.

    Heartless - yes that was the post I was referring too. I have spent at least 5$ in Perfect World, Runes of Magic, and Atlantica Online, and for the time spent worth every penny of it. I just find that I get most of what all those games offered in a single MMO now - Aion.

  21. I don't think comparing a cow to a spaceshuttle needs a counter-argument. It's ridiculous. Period.

    I also think trying to mix Aion's gameplay aspects with NCSoft's lack of response is also ridiculous. What other counter-argument do you need? It's in the realm of common-sense.

  22. So, your argument is that cows and space shuttles are not related? Internet arguing at its finest I see :)

    And does it really need to be said: common sense is NOT common.

  23. Internet arguing at its finest indeed.


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