Aion and why I like it (and you should too)

September 13, 2009 at 11:01 pm

Ever since I first heard of MMORPG's I always thought that the pricing plan was crazy from a consumer point of view. You pay $50 for a game and then pay another $15 a month to play it. Obviously it's good for the game maker, that's why a lot of places are trying to be "the next warcraft". Originally I said I wouldn't pay for a game and then pay again to play it. Later on, mainly once I got a good paying job, I changed my mind that I would get a game if I found one that was worth it.

I've played a few RPGs, all free. First notable one was called PlaneShift (fun fact: took me a good 30-45 minutes of searching to find it). Probably early 2000's. I never really got into it though and played it off and on for a couple years. The one I really got into was rappelz. This is a korean MMO. There are a bunch of these. A common thing with these is something called grinding. Basically you have no real quests to do and just kill monsters to get a higher level. That is another common thing with korean RPGs, extremely high levels that takes forever to achieve. Rappelz is "free to play, pay to win." Meaning while you could play for free if you wanted to get anywhere fast you'd need to pay. You would buy various items, usually they were timed so you have to keep buying them. This helped you level faster, which was really the only motivation in the game. Also the in game economy was highly inflated. A common way to make in-game money was to buy an item from the cash shop and then sell in-game at ridiculous prices. Even then there were luls in the game where the only thing you could do was attack monsters, grinding. In short, it got boring.

I then finally tried World of Warcraft. I really wasn't that impressed with it. It was like how I'd imagine a paid MMO would be. Obviously money wasn't as big an issue since you already paid to play the game you're not really gauged on in game items. I didn't find it all that interesting. Quests didn't seem to have a plot to it. You were just a random person that helped out random people and no real cohesion. I only played on a one week trial but I didn't really feel it was worth the price.

I've heard of Aion for a while now, mainly from people in rappelz who were annoyed with the money gauging in this "free" MMO. Initially I was drawn to it mainly because it looked pretty--what can I say, I'm a sucker for aesthetics. Also the flight mechanic and PvPvE aspect. PvPvE stands for player vs player vs enemy. Without getting too far into the story, there's 2 player controlled factions, Elyos and Asmodian. They are sworn enemies and are unable to talk to each other, similar to warcraft. There is then a third faction called Balaur that is entirely computer controlled. In between each of the player-controlled factions is an area cheerfully called the abyss. In this area both player-controlled factions and the computer controlled one battle each other in a king-of-the-hill type match. There are several structures in the abyss that all three factions are trying to conquer. Whoever controls the most structures gains benefits by taxing the other factions and several other things that can start getting complicated. In short, your faction wants to control as many of these towers as possible. During these battles it could just be the two player controlled factions. Other times the computer controlled one could swoop in. Some interesting scenarios. Let's say you are part of the Elyos faction. You are trying to take an area controlled by the Asmodians. You start attacking when the Balaur come in and start attacking the Asmodians as well. You could help the Balaur in attacking the Asmodians and then attack the Balaur afterwords. You can help the Asmodians attack the Balaur and then attack the Asmodians.

There are a few things I like about Aion. First is the concept of storyline quests. Instead of just helping farmer joe kill some monster that's messing with crops, you are doing things that help progress your own plot through the game. Even in warcraft I never really got that feeling of being anything more than a single person doing the dirty work of people without any real plot to it. Next is the PvP aspect. I usually stayed away from PvP in games but it was mainly because it sucked. Various classes were simply more powerful and matches were done and over pretty quick. The couple times I did duals in Aion there were enjoyable and I felt like things were more even. If you search on youtube for aion you'll see plenty of duals and in one you'll see one class dominates another while in another video, even with the same person, they can be demolished. It comes more to the skill of the player and not just mash attack keys.

The open beta of Aion ends Today with the full game starting next week. I'm excited about it and if I seem to fall off the grid next week you'll know where I am. Now how I'm going to juggle this with all my other hobbies like photography, gaming on ps3, watching tv and movies, working on this website and other internet things, and trying to keep my house clean still remains to seen.

Once I get into the game I'll add what my main server/character name is below.

Posted in Gaming.

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