Thursday, October 22, 2009

Aion 1 -25 Part 2

I creep ever closer to 25. This is a continuation of yesterdays post.

Combat: Combat versus regular monsters in Aion is fairly typical to most MMOs. You have a task/action/ability bar that you can bind keys to or click on with your mouse. Certain abilities will allow you to chain another ability immediately after it; for example a certain arrow shot will allow me to follow that ability up with a rapid arrow shot. Other than that there isn’t much difference from Aion combat than there is from EverQuest 2, World of Warcraft or Warhammer Online. If you have played one you have played them all.

Difficulty: I would say over all Aion seems to be on a medium difficulty setting. Over all the game isn’t difficult but depending on what level of monsters you are fighting dictates the level of difficulty. It’s not that the higher level monsters have better tactics; they just hit hard and have more hit points.

It’s one of my biggest complaints about MMO’s and really RPGs in general. If you increase the amount of damage a monster does and increase the amount of hit points he has… then increase our stats equally you haven’t changed the game at all. It’s just inflation. If something hits me for 10% of my health it doesn’t matter if that 10% is 50 damage or 500 damage because it’s still only 10%. Anyone who has ever played a MMO before will find Aion very inviting with enough difficulty to keep you entertained.

Questing: I hate quests. These tasks that game developers present us with as an excuse to kill 10 Foozles are not quests, they are chores. I haven’t done a real quest since I did my Necromancer’s epic quest in EverQuest, just chores. The bright side is Aion doesn’t focus on quests. Don’t get me wrong they are there at every point of the game but they are not the only method for leveling.

In World of Warcraft and Warhammer Online the fastest way to earn experience was to solo quest. In Aion the fastest way to level is by killing monsters. Nearly every quest that has sent me out to kill 10 Flubbergasts has ended being that those 10 Flubbergasts were worth more exp than the quest turn in… drastically more. Once that realization is made you find yourself killing any and everything you come across. The quests tend to guide you to the appropriate area for your level but the heart and soul of leveling in Aion is by killing things… be it solo or in a group.

Interface: The interface is wonky… but it’s only wonky because it’s new. I really wish NCSoft had stolen a page from Mythic and made the default User Interface completely customizable. The UI isn’t bad but it doesn’t feel natural. You can move some windows around but not all of them. The default hotkeys leaves a little to be desired and you can feel that the games interface was heavily influenced by Eastern MMO’s rather than the Western ones. I’m really just nitpicking though because at this level of the game it works fine. I’m sure with more Western feedback we will see the UI shape into something we can all love.

Graphics: This one will be short. The game feels like a Final Fantasy cut scene. It has a very strong Anime feel to it. The graphics are amazingly done though and complement the environment and feel that NCSoft seems to have been going for. I will say again though that a lot of the detail is lost because for the sake of efficiency you operate most of the time with your view as far away from your character as possible to increase your range of vision.

This concludes Part 2. Tomorrow will be my summary.

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