Aion – My opinions

With China having a long National Day celebration period, you guys can notice the lack of MMO news. Well, I think too many MMO news actually got reported prior to this really stagnant period. Luckily, I have Aion to tide me through the boring days (when there’s no school of course). I actually wanted to get a copy of Champions Online, but it was nowhere to be found. Almost all the gaming stores were stacked with Aion, so… Yeah, I hate to go home empty-handed when its obvious I am out buying something. So, let’s cut the crap and start.

My system – Its nearly 2 years old, but it still can run the game on High for every options. Parts are Quad Core 2.4ghz, Nividia GeForce 8800GTS 512mb and a 4GB ram. The OS I’m using is Windows XP Home SP3.

My character – A low level (23) Elyos Templar. You can stop reading now if you think this is a review by a level 45 pwner.

Graphics – I’m starting with graphics as its actually… well, one of Aion’s main feature. The game is made with the slightly old CryEngine, but of course, its heavily modified by the developers.

The character models (including mobs) are all very nicely textured, but there’s this thing with the environment which kinda disappointed me. The view might look good from afar, but once you close in on the plants and mountain slopes, you can tell that the developers didn’t took much effort in optimizing them. I guess they didn’t think that any players will have enough free time to zoom in on such objects, lol.

Questing – For me, I have done 2 types of quest, the Campaign and Normal ones. Campaign quests (highlighted by Yellow pointer on NPCs) follow the storyline, while Normal quests (blue pointer) are the side quests. I am too lazy to get the Work Order quests.

Quests give nice EXP and items to help players get along with the game. I wouldn’t say the EXP given is alot, but still, it helps when you’re bored of grinding for it. Some quests give nice Blue items, while some must be completed to advance into the storyline (Campaign quests are a must-do). The thing which irks me, by lvl 20, you need to be in a nice legion, or guild. A huge part of the campaign quests by then needs you to be in a group. You can’t actually solo any of the bosses required at that level, or even mobs. The Tuskin campaign quests, especially, is in insane mode. At level 23, I couldn’t solo a level… hmn, level 18 Tuskin Scout. Its either I’m bad (no u) or the mobs are just too hard.

However, players can go near to the required bosses’ spawn points and hope some other stray players will be around and group up. Its not really a bad thing, but I would like to have such hard-to-solo quests only after level 30, not before that.

Grinding – Well, the grind is not that bad, not that fast either (personally), but its still tolerable at my level (23) to say the least. And there are enough quests to fill up the EXP bar too, so everything for now is considered as “normal”. At level 25, players are supposed to go to Training Grounds in a group to grind, but from what I read, you will meet the enemy faction. I hate the idea of solo training and all of a sudden, a group of 5 enemy players sneaks up on me and begin ganking. Yes, I’m a carebear player =,=

Community – The gold sellers’ spams are ridiculous, and it took me by surprised. NCsoft is doing something about them, or players can block their spams manually, which I did.

From what I can see, I am certain quite a load of people really did bought from them, hence the high prices (personal opinion) in the Auction House (Broker here), even for low level items. While that’s a turn-off, there are cheap steals from time to time. Or buy it from a guild mate. Or settle for something cheaper, which was what I did. No point to go bankrupt with no money for skill books while I look awesome, right ?

And do note that even if Aion is a P2P game, I have personally encountered a fair amount of ***holes, most of them ranged characters, doing what they love most – KSing. Okok, I won’t be crying over it so much, but as a Templar, its already hard to deal damage even though I receive almost none. *Rage*

Skill Chains – There is this feature which some players might have seen it in other MMOs. The skill chain feature basically means some skills can only be used after certain skills are unleashed as a prerequisite.

Flight – I love flying, I’m in love with it. But the 1 minute base flight time really pisses me off. Its just a personal rant. There are items like rings which will increase the flight time, but from what I see, ain’t that much at my low level. Not all PvE maps allow flying, so if you are wanting to fly back to a certain training area a few maps away from town, you got to use the Flight Transporter / Teleporter instead. For me, these NPCs charge way too much for their services.

I have not gone into the Abyss or done PvP yet, so sorry for missing the part out. At level 23, I will just be food there (I think Abyss can only be accessed at level 25 eh?). But this post is mostly about the starting curve, so, yeah. And personally, I am more of a PvE than a PvP guy. So, what else is there to share ?

– There is no swimming in the game as far as I can tell. You get obscene amount of damage as you stay deep underwater too long.

– F12 is to turn off the UI and take a clean screenshot for those who are MMO newbs.

– For me, the default control when I started was in WASD mode. You can turn on Point and Click to move in the Options window.

– Templar is a really easy class to start if you don’t want to be sitting down to heal HP/MP every 3-4 kills.

ConclusionAion, while offering nothing totally refreshing or unique, is a solid and polished P2P MMORPG. For me, the clean cut character graphics is the main standout point. Players can either bitch about how this game looks similar or plays similarly to most F2P games out there, but I will still advise people to give the game a shot for at least a month. And please, get yourself a guild. I find that most of the players whining about the game are usually those without an active guild, or not even in one.

Update: The midget now has a new shield and helmet ~!!!