A large proportion of my guild are interested in playing Aion. I thought it prudent to do some research on the game to make an informed opinion of my own. While my guildies are enjoying the game a lot of them are looking at it with a non-critical eye and are not the best source of factual information.
I tried the various forums for information and while MMOrpg, Aion Source and the official beta forums have a lot of threads the standard of information is appalingly low for anyone attempting to glean some facts about games.
I will illustrate the character creation system (which is superb) allows you to creat characters that are anything from 4 feet to 7 feet tall, I wished to see if there were any actual disadvantages to being as small as possible or indeed any advantages to being as big as i could be. There were indeed threads on a number of the forums where these questions were asked. The replies given covered.
I am rolling a small character
I am rolling a big character
I am rolling a medium character
Small characters look silly
Large characters look silly
You should not be able to make you character so small
you should not be allowed to make characters so big
The size difference in this game makes it a bad game
Go back to WoW
Aion Will fail
Of the 40 or so posts in the threads two actually addressed the question. One pointed out that the hit boxes are universal for both characters but smaller characters catch the eye less in pvp. The second that a larger character as a tank is easier for dps and healers to find and to interact with in terms of position, healing buffs.
So why are these threads so poor and why are the standard of reviews so poor in terms of actually providing factual information.
Firstly posters in threads for a game that isnt launched are self selecting and in no way reflect the gaming community of a launched game While they are not exclusively fanatics they do have an above average interest in the game.
A large number of these posters tend to break down in to the Fanboi or the Hater.
The Fanboi is magpie like in his love for something new and shiny, he has often left another game and resents that others still enjoy something that they he longer does. His new love is without flaw and vastly superior to his previous infatuation who still casts her whorish wares in front of the unenlightened.
The Hater has invested a lot of time in another game and they see a new game as a threat to their game. The worst scenario for them is that they will have to go a new game and all their time invested in their character will have come to and end and they will be starting as a lowbe again.
Neither of these types offer anything to those of us who want to learn about the game and we have the misfortune of having to try and sort through their dross to get the few gems the forums have.
Having suffered through a few days of forums and finding those who are trying toi provide some real information I came to the conclusion the game was worth having a look at in Beta.
In the past I have played,WoW,EQ, EQ2, CoH, Warhammer, VanguardSOH, AoC so i am comfortable enough with the MMOrpg to at least know what I like. I think i know enough to be able to look at a new Mmo and have some idea if its worth exploring further.
So how did i find Aion?
Aion runs very well it felt smooth and my fps went to around 100 (albeit in a beta environment)I had max’ed out graphical settings at 1920×1200 . Overall the game feels very robust and well put together.
the whole pre-daeva game (that's levels 1 p- 10 before you specialise) feels a little repetitive but this is the case with all Mmos
The quests are mostly kill quests, the skills the classes get are interesting for sorcerer and cleric, but quite boring for the melee classes. The scout has only one attack, which key will be spammed in hope for a crit, to finish the task quickly.
EQ2 learned its lesson after 2 years of constant negative feedback about its convoluted branching system. Eventually EQ2 did away with this system by letting people choose the class they wanted right from the beginning, at lvl 1, without having them go through two separate branches to get there.
Even in the early stages you seem forced to group.Having your campaign quest push you into an area that requires a group and kill mobs that can only be killed by a group is forced. Should you decide to skip this part, for whatever reason, then you are missing out on a portion of the game that pushes your character development along the plot line.
While some players would prefer to do it solo I actually think a return to a more group orientated leveling experience is a big plus.
You SHOULD loose out if you do not group.
You SHOULD get better loot in a group.
You SHOULDN'T be able to get through without groups.
It is also worth considering which class type suits you. I tend to believe the tank healer classes are where groups succeed, dps decides how fast you succeed. Aion also seems to be a game that will need you tank in particular to be very aware. I also suspect that the sorcerer class may have to be like an enchanter in everquest dealing with adds. This is a game that starts at level 20, not at max level. If you pick a healing class, expect to be healing and not DPSing or Tanking, that's just how it is.
I decided that I would spend my time in beta testing the templar class. Templars are the pure tanks of the Warrior class and of the entire game really. Templars use swords or maces as their primary weapon and a shield to go along with it. They are masters at building threat and mitigation. There is not much to say about the class other than what has already been stated, but I will say that if your goal for your character is to tank in all situations and be able to handle incoming damage the best, then the Templar is for you.
Theres is little downtime while grinding and I kill mobs pretty much as fast as the next guy. There are a few issues with multi-mob tanking but the new aoe taunt skills that are coming up seem like it will take care of that to some extent.
Tanking the elite mobs near Altgard was very lucrative in terms of cash and items drops and experience. It was also challenging, the group needs to be awake and on the ball. They can be started by a full group at level 13 but a careful approach is required. The area also has a few named elites which have some nice green drops.
Gathering and crafting are very time consuming
Is it a revolutionary game? Nope but IMHO its on par with LoTRO, AoC with patch 1.5, and EQ2. The game provides people a good experience for those seeking a new world to explore.
The character graphics and customization IMHO is outstanding and so is the armor and weapons designs in game. Quest wise there is nothing new here in this game. If you’ve played WoW, LOTRO, CoH/V, etc..
The game isn't hard , it takes effort. At lvl 10 you get a taste of what your character is capable of, at lv18 it comes to life with the various skills you receive and allow you to familiarize with your character further and develop your playstyle.
Some links I found useful.