Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Aion NDA dropped

A reader informed me that the Aion NDA dropped. Nice, but that doesn't change anything for me, as I'm not in the beta. Guess I'll have to wait for September for the release, or the open beta.

Not that I'm holding my breath, really. I've informed myself a bit more about the game, most notably by watching the Aion Video Tutorials to learn about gameplay. And it appears that apart from minor features like being able to fly without a mount for a short time, the gameplay is pretty much identical to that of World of Warcraft. I hunted down some crafting info on YouTube, after hearing that crafting was so much better in Aion than in WoW. Unfortunately it turned out that this statement applied to the crafting *animations*, which are much better in Aion than in WoW. Crafting gameplay appears to be similar, except for something that looks like a fail bar under the progress bar, opening up the possibility of failure in crafting. Not a huge revolution.

Aion appears to be a solid mainstream MMORPG. But as I said yesterday, that isn't exactly what I'm looking for at the moment. I'd prefer something with more different gameplay, even if its not quite as polished.
it's a very pretty game though and I'm sure that will attract alot of people to it. Plus that and it's not WoW will give that game a fairly popular debut.
The immense hype of Aion is really interesting. It is not so much marketing, it is almost exclusively player generated. It shows that quite a lot of MMO players yearn for something new.

Maybe it appeals to many people because it is a prettier WoW with wings.

For everyone else, take a 2nd look: It has nothing over WoW but a beautiful and different art direction and winged combat. Which is not that cool, experts pick the smallest char size possible to make targetting them harder. And this is not going for a minimal advantage, it really helps a lot.

I personally want something else and more, not a polished Asia style standard run of the mill MMO.

Yet it seems that "pretty + standard gameplay" sells well...!
Perhaps you should look into "The secret world" Not much "proper" info about it, but they will use a lot of known myths and stories (lovecraft, hollow earth, zombies ;) etc.)

in the meantime we are getting riddles via the official forums, twitter and more, so they keep us entertained.

Crafting can fail its more of a game of chance the higher your skill the more successful you'll be. You also have chance to craft a higher quality weapon or armor. Crafting imo is much better than wow. The movement and skills are very fluid like wow but the style of play feels different. You can chain skills (skill x unlocks skill y). This is a very good game minus some grammar errors thats in the beta build.
Longasc comparing this to wow is like comparing apples to oranges. Other than there both mmos there no more similar than Daoc and wow.
From my experience with the (Chinese) Aion beta, it's a reasonably well done game, and at this point in a better position for launch than WAR and AoC were at a similar point. The engine runs beautifully too, high detail with no slowdown.

That said, it suffers from two critical problems. The first, mainly, is that a lot of the features feel more like "Lineage 2+" than "WoW-clone", and make the game feel a bit more archaic in design than it really is. The second, and bigger, is that it's really totally unnecessary. Beyond pretty Korean-style art it treads no new ground and has little innovation, and is completely and utterly forgettable.
I agree with the above posters, I played in the Chineese beta, I was impressed with how well the game ran, It looked good seemed relatively bug free, no lag and I was surprised how well done the English translation was.

That being said after getting 2 or 3 characters to level 25ish I stopped playing. It just wasn't very compelling. The combat while well animated didn't do anything new, the classes didn't seem all that incredibly well balanced, and the flight system seemed gimmicky and controlled poorly.

I didn't get a chance to try crafting, because unless a game has a nearly entirely player run economy (As in no supersword+1 being dropped from a mob) then I typically avoid crafting completely.

All in all the game felt like a very competent game, good at everything it does, polished and great looking, its just that a game needs to do something, even if its just one aspect, better then current mmo's for me to consider playing it, and I don't consider shiny graphics or a largely irrelevant character customization system compelling reasons to play.
Longasc, you are wrong about the targeting size advantage. It doesn't exist. NCSoft adjusted all target boxes to be medium, regardless of the size of your character.
While WoW may be an "apple" and Aion an "orange," they are both fruit, and I've been eating nothing but apples for the past 4 years. Maybe what I need is a big hunk of red meat :)

Thats what she said....

Sorry couldn't resist! : )
You should at least try the PvP in Aion before claiming that Aion is just another WoW clone, Tobold.
But then, you're not that interested in PvP anyway, are you?
One possibility for new combat systems would be to reimagine the healing-tanking-dps triad and try to come up with in-game ways to encourage similar types of behaviour.

For example, in WoW, tanks do less damage than DPS, but have a threat modifier so that their attacks are more threatening than the average DPSers. Why? Because that makes it easier to hold aggro.

What if instead, a "tank" type character did about-average damage, but if they were attacking the back of a creature, they'd have a chance to apply all sorts of nasty effects like knockdowns, hamstrings, etc, which would make it much harder for their target to reach anyone else. From the front, their damage would be the same as anyone else, but from behind, they'd be a large "threat". So the challenge would be to get around or through the "tank" type character to get to other DPSers if that's what the mob thought was most effective, while the DPSers would be trying to avoid the mob.

Some other possibilities for casting-type systems (which might or might not go over well with melee-type systems): everytime you use an attack of one type/school/whatnot, that resource becomes a little exhausted, and you do less damage with it. On the other hand, you "get into a rhythm", and you can do it a little faster. You'd have to balance out speeding up your attacks (but losing damage) with changing to a different style or taking a rest (only possible in group combat, or between fights when soloing).

I can imagine some other interesting mechanics like damage taken in the last 10s reducing the amount of damage you can do... when fighting a boss, you might need to coordinate all your attackers when he starts doing a really dangerous attack so that you can "throw him off balance" and reduce it's effect. This would also make AoE a lot more of a threat to players than it is right now -- if everyone takes damage, their damage output is lower, etc.

Anyway, in this sort of system, I can imagine a role for "tanks" or other incapacitators, "melee dps" who might have more mobility or special attacks, "caster dps" which would mostly fight from ranged, but might have some strong but slow defenses if they are closed on. (e.g. a ring of fire that takes 4s to cast, but knocks back every within a certain range) You could either have a dedicated healer class, or give everyone some limited self-healing and have a more challenging setting.
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