A Few Suggestions for Aion
Date: 10-11-2009 Views:
KeyWords: Aion, suggestions, fail, improvement
- Summary: By this time you've probably seen a lot of articles talking about Aion. And if you were me (which you're not, though it would make for an interesting argument if you tried to convince me otherwise), most of the ones you have read choose either ends of the spectrum in terms of like or dislike for the game. And to take this a step further, a lot of them simply list out the Pros or Cons they find within it. But do any of them really dig deep (Disclaimer: I'm sure there are a few out there in which someone will point out, but I'm just saying I have yet to see any)? Uh oh. I think you can see where I'm going with this.
|A Few Suggestions for Aion|
Though a grizzled, old veteran donning war-torn robes and a gnarled staff in the MMOG scene, Allan is more like a level 5 squire in a simple tunic wielding a tin blade when it comes to the realm of writing articles. Nevertheless, he is here to train his typing fingers and bring you news and interesting perspectives on things you might not have known you even cared about.
By this time you've probably seen a lot of articles talking about Aion. And if you were me (which you're not, though it would make for an interesting argument if you tried to convince me otherwise), most of the ones you have read choose either ends of the spectrum in terms of like or dislike for the game. And to take this a step further, a lot of them simply list out the Pros or Cons they find within it. But do any of them really dig deep (Disclaimer: I'm sure there are a few out there in which someone will point out, but I'm just saying I have yet to see any)? Uh oh. I think you can see where I'm going with this. No, this isn't another fan article on Jade Raymond; instead it's...yes, another Aion assessment! What's that? You wish to stop reading now and close the window without finishing? Psh, that's not going to happen! I know how you MMOG players work; you're all completionists! And now that I have caught your attention, albeit briefly, I can count on you reading the first line of every paragraph from here on out (at the least). So without further stalling, on to the show.
I first like to address the finer points in a game, since they are the qualities I usually notice right from the beginning (as it should be, are you listening developers?). When I initially loaded up this game and jumped in to make my first character (mage), I didn't expect to be as shocked as I was at how customizable my Aion counterpart could be. Playing around with it, I realized I could create an old fat guy, a delicate princess...and some sort of grotesque mix between a lizard and a human. I could even make myself if I so desired. Or that beautiful girl that walks in front of my apartment every morning. But I digress, the character creation process appears to be very in-depth, something I believe every MMOG should have. I find that it establishes a close bond between player and character. People can just identify better and feel more connected to something they made from "scratch," rather than lumping pre-determined skins together. Some may argue that this potentially interferes with the lore. Aion's universe seems to handle this spectacularly though, in that even if you make your best friend's senile neighbor, it simply turns into your best friend's senile neighbor vAion.0.
And after all that, after your character has reached it's final stages, and you're ready to unleash this beast upon the unsuspecting "world," another thing hits you. Aion has a visually stunning atmosphere. Trust me, you will be amazed by the first time you walk through its lands and visit its towns and cities (I'll be coming to the city part soon, here). It's like walking into a candy shop. Except this type of candy isn't for eating, it's for your eyes. I must say, I usually only feel excited the first time exploring some new land I've never uncovered before. But here, I get that same feeling nearly every time I come back. It just doesn't get old. Oh, and the thing about the cities I mentioned earlier? When Aion designers make a capitol, they make a capitol. Once you enter your respective faction's heart of their homeland, you will encounter jaw-dropping structures, massive temples, and beautiful decor. And if there is one thing in this game that is worth defending, it's that awe-inspiring city. By this point, you should understand that in the graphics department, Aion has it all.
By now you're probably wondering - hey, wait a second here! Isn't the title of this article calling for suggestions for Aion? Enough with the praise already, where are all the flaws! Perhaps the suggestion is that the graphics are far too pretty, drawing our attention perpetually into the very confines of this subspace to outer reality, notwithstanding any of our attempts to relinquish ourselves? Hardly. I'm going to come clean and say that the aforementioned compliments to the game were there as sort of a pre-emptive strike to you all. I don't hate the game. But by suggesting anything along the lines of improvement, some might see this otherwise. It's a tough life trying to be a mainstream MMOG. I'm sure many of you are aware by now that all these new MMOGs are constantly being scrutinized in light of the beast, World of Warcraft. And for good reason, as no one has quite reached that same success yet. But if they want to survive and be a contender, there are a few trends I believe they should follow.
Before I get to the heart of the matter, I would just like to point out a few things I took issue with. These are considered minor in the sense that, while they were bothersome for me, my opinion was often opposed by the people I played the closed beta with. So I'll make this part quick. The flying in this game, to me, was quite awkward. Not game-breakingly atrocious, but enough to the point where I found myself wondering how I could possibly throw combat elements in there as well. Apparently flying combat is a big deal in this game, and either I would just have to grit through it, or give up on PvP altogether (their supposed end-game draw). It seemed like every time I wanted to dive down (my flying meter was ticking down, mind you) it was rather sluggish to respond to my controls. And I know what you're thinking. No, I left them all my bindings in terms of flying on default. Also, I feel like NCSoft cheated me out of the pleasure of exploring my character's beautiful capitol by not giving me directions to any of the places! My experience was such: OH! Look at this amazing city! OH! Where am I actually going? Seriously, the guards are probably bored enough standing around, give them something to do. I also found the bag space a little tedious to handle, though the sell mechanics they implemented did compensate just a little.
Ok, on to the big stuff. One. Addon support. Now, I know there are some purists out there, and that's ok, I understand where you're coming from. But let's face it, nearly every other MMOG out there has some sort of addon-based community. And a lot of people absolutely love customizing their interface to their liking (guilty). Aion's default is fine as it is, but there lacks a certain flare to it. It looks a little generic, and if World of Warcraft is any testament to this fact, it's that addon and mod creators can do some wonderful stuff in terms of design and layout. I also find that this goes with the whole character creation thing I talked about earlier. Customizing your interface is another step to personalizing your experience within the game, pretty much playing it to your style. Now, I am aware that NCSoft has already considered adding in this capability, and they may have by now, but this was never around in the closed or open betas, so I was a little worried.