Aion Beta Review From a WoW Player’s Perspective

Aion Beta Review From a WoW Player’s Perspective

Mage

I feel like I should put a disclaimer on this article for WoW fanboys and fangirls, because I am about to shower some praise (and criticism, of course) on a different MMO. I pre-ordered the regular edition of NCsoft’s Aion a couple of months ago, and I’ve been participating in some of the closed betas. Today I’m going to share with you my impressions of the game and speculate about its future playability. I’ll say upfront that I’m not planning, at least for myself anyway, to replace WoW with Aion. I’ve promised Matticus that I’ll stick around in WoW at least long enough to kill Arthas, and I hold to that. However, if Aion is as good as I think it might be, it might become the focus of some of my “casual time.”

The Art of Aion

The number one draw of most games for me is their art. WoW has largely been an exception to this rule. I would call the WoW graphics pleasant, even charming, and I certainly appreciate the ease of running WoW on my machine, but I’d never say that the WoW visuals are breathtaking. I gravitate toward strange, beautiful, and strangely beautiful images, and I was quite pleased to find that Aion has something of the look of a Miyazaki movie. In particular, the pastel desert style landscapes in early Elyos zones recall the visuals of his film Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind–a longtime favorite of mine. Below, you can see a screenshot of my character hovering over Verteron, which is an early quest hub. I like the mountains and glacial valley in this particular scene, especially as it’s punctuated with prehistoric-looking animals–it gives the world an ancient feel that I appreciate. Some zones are much more pastoral, but in general, the color palette is more muted that WoW’s–it uses more pastels and seems to prefer yellow and brown over blue and red. This look gives an overall impression of age and decadence, which fits the story quite well. After all, according to the game’s lore, we’re supposed to understand that the once-flourishing world was literally split in two by cosmic warfare. The game’s visuals, on the whole, support that claim. I have played mostly Elyos side, but poking around about in the Asmodean starting area I can say that the cooler palette of Asmodae continues the eerie feel of the game as a whole.

hovering

Character Customization

Aion’s spectacularly sensitive character generation tools have probably gotten more press than any other aspect of the game. Unlike WoW, which essentially gives a player a few pre-determined models to choose from, Aion lets the user play with proportions of face and body and minute differences in color to render truly unique player characters. I will say that I still like WoW’s character creator. I’ve logged lots of hours creating my alts and then testing their hairstyles and movements. I also spend much more gold in the barbershops than anyone ought to. However, my need to create compelling characters was not really satisfied until I found Aion. I spent at least 6 hours on character creator, making one unique face at the start of each of my beta gaming sessions. I wish I’d taken screenshots of all the characters I created and destroyed, but I was able to make a mixture of face and body types that referenced different ethnicities. I’ll show you my three favorites: my sorcereress, my cleric, and my ranger.

char creator
This is my sorceress, whose name I won’t reveal because I intend to use it when Aion goes live. I created her to look like the main character of the novel I’ve been working on for longer than I’ll admit. So what I have here is a character who’s supposed to look innocent despite a rather odd appearance–prematurely white hair and goth makeup. I couldn’t resist adding the elf ears as a nod to my favorite characters in WoW. The result is more eerie than a generic Galadriel elf type, and I’m very pleased to run around on this character. The character animations and movements have a sort of dainty quality to them that I’ve enjoyed immensely. The picture below is the resting (restoring mana) animation for my character, and I have to say, she looks a bit like Alice in Wonderland in that pose.
resting

The next character is my cleric, which is the game’s main healing class. I couldn’t resist giving her Syd’s parsley-colored hair. She may be the most beautiful of the three characters I made, but I will have to say, of the three her face is closest to the preset values and thus there are probably many others like her out there.
Cleric

My third character, a ranger, probably took the most time to create, because I used a photograph of a Civil War general to help me approximate the look I wanted. It’s possible to spend hours and hours tweaking an Aion character to look like a photograph. Not all faces can be imitated, and the basic faces do have a certain similarity to each other. I’m not sure how good a job I did with the limited options, but my ranger does have sort of an archaic look that I just love.
Ranger

Basic Gameplay

So far, so good, right? Well, if one never looked beyond the quality of the art and character customization in Aion, it would be easy to say that it’s a great game. However, the finesse of the art is not matched by smooth gameplay. I found the basic controls in Aion to be similar to WoW and pretty workable, but I also made extensive use of macros and remapped most of my basic abilities for easier reach. I’m used to dpsing with a certain set of keys in WoW, and I made similar bindings for my sorcerer. However, Aion is certainly playable out of the box. The only exception to this is that the flight controls are automatically mapped to Page Up and Page Down, which are two keys I simply can’t reach if I’m using my mouse. Other than that, the only thing that’s truly egregious about the controls is that the left mouse button is used for click-to-move. Thank goodness that’s easy to unbind. I miss holding down left click to look around as I do in WoW, but that’s a minor thing. My Razer Death Adder mouse with its two thumb buttons simply doesn’t work with Aion, and that’s a pretty big disappointment. I had planned to put my health and mana recovery functions over there. From what I’ve read on the forums, the Logitech gaming mice do work. Sigh.

There are a few other little annoyances related to moving around and doing things in the world. I’m used to WoW, which has cleaned up its interface considerably, so I get frustrated with Aion’s more primitive system. In general, I would say that the controls in Aion are slower. The global cooldown occurs after, not during, a spell’s cast time, so to a WoW player a rotation will feel slow. Gathering also takes a considerable amount of time and uses a clunky animation, as does resting. Picking up quest items can be frustrating because of the game’s phasing system. While questing, you can change channels in order to better share the space with many players. However, I think this causes problems with looting quest items on the ground, as very often your character can’t interact with an object that you can see. In addition, every time you loot a quest item, you have to click a dialog box that says its ok to loot an untradeable item. This gets very annoying while solo questing.

The other thing that bothered me during questing had to do with my character’s voice animations. My sorceress talks too much, and she utters nonsense phrases that unfortunately sound a bit like words in English. I didn’t play the last closed beta, so I have no idea what the North American/European vocals for casting, resting, and hp/mana recovery sound like, but from what I’ve read, they use the same nonsense syllables as in the Korean version, just pronounced in a less “Asian” style. I hate to say it, but I made fun of my character all throughout the betas for her gibberish. For example, when I casted a nuke, my character said something that sounded like “Kick in the PANTS!”, and when I used a bandage, she declared that she was “shittin-n-pissin.” It’s too bad that I need my game sounds to play well. Here’s hoping that the character voices were localized for the NA audience in a thoughtful manner. We’ll see when the final version of the game is released. I don’t think I can play a character that constantly needs to relieve herself (and tell me about it).

I’ll also mention a couple of minor gameplay issues that certainly aren’t game-breaking but might be off-putting to WoW players in particular. When it’s time to learn new skills in Aion, bring a notebook. They are learned on a system similar to Warlock pets’ old grimoires, using spellbooks. It’s easy to miss one or buy the same one twice. I haven’t leveled a character enough to get into the stigma system, which is analogous to specs in WoW. It seems pretty strange and exotic to me.

The other thing that might discomfit WoW healers in particular is a combination of a poor healing interface (think Vanilla WoW) and a lack of support for mods. You simply can’t modify the interface, except with macros. I think mouseover macros would work for healing, but I didn’t try them. The interface made me glad I’d decided to play ranged dps, which even in WoW is not heavily dependent on UI mods.

I’d have to say, though, that the biggest annoyance for any WoW player will probably be the chat commands. They simply aren’t the same / commands that we’re used to, and I end up doing a lot of right clicking and menu searching when I want to say something to a party member. I’m sure I’ll learn the system, but from what I’ve seen talking to others is simply not as easy as it is in WoW.

Flight

Besides the character creation engine, Aion’s biggest selling point is its flight mechanics. At level 10, your character ascends as a Daeva and receives a pair of spirit wings. The drawback is that these wings sometimes work and sometimes don’t–and mostly, they don’t. Many players will use The Lore to explain why flight is sometimes not allowed. There’s some mumbo jumbo about how I have to have pieces of aether nearby to pop my magical wings. I am highly cognizant of the arbitrary nature of The Lore, and I will tell you now that the reason that flight is so severely limited while leveling in Aion is lack of imagination. It’s simply easier to design a ground-based game than one that uses vertical space. I get it, but I end up feeling very ripped off by the limits on flight. First, you can fly for only one minute at a time, and the takeoff animation is going to take up 6-8 seconds of that. Second, gliding, which is basically flying downward with limited use of your controls, only extends this time slightly. Third, once you land, it takes another full minute to restore your flight time. One minute of flight on, one minute off.

I can tell already that flight in Aion is going to be primarily a combat technique. It’s far too limited to be used for travel purposes, even with the flight time extensions that are available in potions and upgraded wings. I wish that the developers had decided to keep combat on the ground (especially PvP combat) and let flight be used as a convenience. As it stands now, flight in Aion doesn’t feel like freedom. It’s actually more efficient to run on the ground if you’re trying to get somewhere. If you want to feel truly free in flight, there’s nothing like the druid flight form, which I’ve been enjoying in WoW for quite some time. I love to shift and reshift, falling in my elf form and catching myself in bird form. That’s just not as easy to do in Aion. I’m hoping for future changes to this aspect of gameplay as it’s one of the most common complaints from North American beta players. However, as the game is already up and running (and wildly successful) in Korea and China, I don’t expect changes before the NA release in September.

One thing I will say about flight in Aion–it’s pretty stylish. Here’s a screenshot that captures the elegance of it. My character uses her extended legs as a sort of tail when she floats, and it reminds me of Nausicaa on her glider.

nausicaa_imitation

Factions

Aion has two factions, the Elyos and the Asmodeans. Some call them angels and demons, but both groups are perfectly good and perfectly beautiful. I focused on Elyos for my own beta gameplay, but it was a difficult choice and I may revise it later. If I wanted to, say, make a character that looked just like Syd, I’d go Asmo. In the end, the choice will be mostly aesthetic. Do you prefer a white/blue wing palette or a black/purple one? Would you rather look more or less human? Elyos is kind of a vanilla choice, I admit, but I chose them primarily for their resplendent white wings. However, as I’m planning on being a casual player, I’m pretty sure I’ll check out both sides. My guess is that Elyos will be more numerous when the live servers open up, but I could always be wrong.

Classes

There are eight classes in Aion, but there are only 4 starting classes: Warrior, Mage, Priest, and Scout. Each of those classes subdivides into two specific classes at level 10. Essentially, a player’s choice of role is deferred for 10 levels.

In the beta, I’ve played Sorcerer, Cleric, and Ranger. I liked all three, though I’m going with Sorcerer for my main. None of the leveling content is going to present much difficulty for WoW veterans. There are slightly different mechanics. For example, all classes depend on chain attacks for much of their damage. A chain sequences my spells for me. When I hit one of my nukes, I have an option to follow it up with a second special attack. I find the chain attacks really useful. The special abilities are on a cooldown, and what happens over time is that the chains themselves push the player into a rotation that looks something like 1-1-2-2-1-1-1-2-2 without theorycrafting it out. It’s a very tidy way to do things.

As far as class choice goes, I’m going to try to match up Aion classes with their WoW equivalents. Be aware, though, that I’m mostly going by forum posts as I haven’t personally played everything.

Warriors

These guys are your typical buckethead plate wearers (I kid) and the tanks of Aion. The two subtypes are Templar and Gladiator. As far as I can tell, the Templar is the most like a traditional tank, like the warrior of Vanilla WoW. The Gladiator seems to be a bit more like a Fury warrior in tanking gear. However, I haven’t played either of these. The only thing I’ve learned from grouping with them is that the taunt function (called provoke I think) actually raises threat with a mob when it’s either crowd controlled or already focused on the tank. That’s pretty different from WoW.

I have a feeling tank characters will have no trouble getting PvE groups, but I will warn that PvE is not the focus of Aion. Tanks may be fairly strong in PvP, but they’re not widely considered OP in that capacity at the moment.

Mages

The mages divide into Sorcerer and Spiritmaster at lvl 10, which seems to correspond pretty well to WoW’s mage and warlock. I love my sorceress. She is a true glass cannon and comes equipped with multiple means of crowd control and several heavy nukes. I will warn that magical damage can’t crit, so sorcerers should expect to do heavy sustained damage without any spectacular bursts. Sorcerers are strong in all aspects of the game, but they are also delicate. In PvP, they are heavily dependent on getting the jump on opponents, and in PvE groups, they will pull aggro early and often with their CC spells. Only play this class if you’re good at making money and patient when you die.

Spiritmasters are much more durable than Sorcerers and thanks to the cute pets, probably better at soloing. I also hear they’re strong in PvP. I’m not interested in this class myself because I detest controlling my warlock pet in WoW, and from what I read, the Spiritmaster pets take even more micromanagement.

Scouts

Scouts divide into Assassin and Ranger, roughly correspondent to WoW Rogues and Hunters. Assassins (surprise, surprise) are strong in PvE solo content and downright dominant against some classes in PvP. From what I read, good assassins are pretty much a hard counter to the sorcerer. Like any other class, they are dependent on surprise for an easy kill. Rangers are far more delicate than the WoW hunter, but they have the potential to be great in PvP. They are less desired in PvE groups than the Sorcerer, and they also tend to be a bit of a glass cannon in that environment–but this game isn’t really about PvE. The Ranger can stealth, and the ranger can crit–so he or she is a force to be reckoned with in PvP. I’ve played a ranger a bit, and I will say that the one thing that will keep me from making one my main is the movement buffs and debuffs. The ranger doesn’t kite in quite the same way as a WoW hunter. Moving forward will give me a damage bonus, while backing up or strafing will give me a speed/damage debuff. A ranger also can’t really toggle autoattack to weave between shots–I keep having to spam it, resulting in a sore left wrist. I would say that sorcerer and ranger are very similar, but sorcerer is a bit easier (for me anyway) to learn.

Priests

I bet you thought I’d play a priest, didn’t you? So did I. I have to say that I like both the Cleric and the Chanter, the two flavors of priest, pretty well, but I need a change. Cleric reminds me of a holy paladin, which chanter could best be compared to enhancement shaman. The Cleric has a smite spell, which I find pretty funny, and they do low damage while being very survivable. My fiance played a cleric in beta, and paired with a sorcerer, a cleric is definitely a force to be reckoned with. However, he got a little frustrated at the slow pace of soloing. The chanter is quite different from other classes in that it’s primarily styled as a buffer. Now, that’s supposed to make a chanter very desired in groups, but there’s not that many of them around and I’ve never played with one. I’d say the chanter is the closest thing Aion has right now to an underpowered class. If healing floats your boat, go with the cleric. From what I’ve read it seems like playing a chanter would be somewhat like leveling a druid in Vanilla WoW–cast Rejuv, and then melee stuff in cat form. I hope it would be more fun than that, but I’m pretty sure it’s not for me.

Professions and Gear Augmentation

Unlike WoW, Aion lets players level up all the crafting professions, which run the usual gamut of armor and consumable making, almost to full. You can only Master (i.e. max out) one profession. Leveling a crafting profession is quite costly, and the economy is harder to “read” than WoW’s because the currency, Kinah, is exchanged in such high numbers. A calculator is necessary for would-be crafters and Auction House speculators. I think the AH is called the Broker in Aion, but I have trouble remembering. In any case, Aion crafting will be slow to level, because all crafts have chance to fail–and if they do, you lose your materials. I’m a very patient person when it comes to grinds, so I’m looking forward to tougher profession leveling–but I am going to bar my hot-tempered fiance from going near the crafting district. Oh, and you can fail at socketing gems as well, destroying millions of Kinah-worth of mana stones. . . and from all reports, chances of failure actually increase with higher-level items. This is a very hardcore crafting and item enhancement system, folks, so be patient with it.

PvPvE

As I’ve said at least twice, this is not a PvE game. The whole purpose of leveling is to get to the Abyss, where you can earn Abyss Points for participating in kills on enemy players. The best armor in the game is earned exclusively through Abyss points–so you tell me where the focus is. From what I’ve read, the Abyss is less like a formal battleground and more like the old epic battles at Southshore. Opposing armies zerg each other, and strength in numbers is the way to win. Aion’s neutral faction, the NPC demon Balaur, always come to the assistance of the outnumbered side. I’m reserving judgment on this one until I see how it works. It could either be great fun, or it could be buggy and easy to exploit. In any case, if I play Aion for any length of time, even I will have to PvP.

Game Economy

It seems to me that most things in game–from great craftable gear to mana potions–can be bought pretty easily either from the Broker or from player stores (the equivalent of trade chat). The values for Kinah seem really inflated to someone used to either United States currency or WoW currency. It wouldn’t be strange to see an item sell for, say, 10 million Kinah. I think the choice of “Kinah” is unfortunate because of the ambiguity with the abbreviation K for thousand. We’ll see how the game and game terminology shakes out. Players may end up abbreviating Kinah KI or KN to disambiguate.

There are certainly gold sinks in the current game. Crafting is probably #1. I am planning on mastering alchemy, as sorcerers are really dependent on mana potions, and I’m usually good at selling things. However, it’s unclear whether selling will ever be profitable in Aion as, over time, players can become self-sufficient by leveling all the consumable professions almost to the max. We’ll see. My darker prediction is that with high prices and few ways to earn, gold buying will become really common.

The other gold sink is death–analogous to repairs in WoW. Each time a player dies in PvE, experience is lost unless you’re willing to pay…and I always am. As a sorcereress, I die a lot. I’m just going to have to find a way to make the Broker system work for me because I’m simply not going to either buy gold or stop dying so much.

Conclusions

Aion is not a perfect game. Neither is WoW. I’d say on the whole that WoW suits me more as a player–large scale PvE raiding is just something that Aion doesn’t offer. I’d also say that I vastly prefer WoW’s interface and mod-using capability. But for PvP or leveling content I might go with Aion. It feels like time for a change, at least for a couple hours a week.

Error, no group ID set! Check your syntax!

Comments

  1. Thanks for posting this. I’ve been considering buying this game, and it’s good to see another WoW player’s perspective on it, because I know I bring the same ideas to a game when I play.
    .-= Fuyuko´s last blog ..I’m not dead! =-.

  2. Awesome write-up. I’m going to try Aion as I’m very curious about it and it looks very cool and slick. I also like the focus on PvP as it offers something WoW doesn’t in that respect.

  3. Great writeup, I’ve forwarded it on to a couple of friends. Two things that you pointed out as annoyances are getting changed in the 1.5 patch, which will be what we get to play in open beta. They’re changing the click to move and turning it off by default, and they supposedly haven’t finished the voice acting for the NA client yet, so that also may improve. NCSoft is trying their damnedest to get this one polished for NA, and I myself greatly enjoyed a chanter in the CB, so I’ll probably be playing one on release.

  4. If I may believe your (very nicely written) roundup of the game it has a lot of Lineage II feel to it (for the short time I played it in Beta). Lineage felt klunky as well and it could just be the startup problems are I hear nowadays it’s a lot better. This game is out on retail already though in some parts of the world? Doesn’t sound too good.

    Won’t check it out either way as I like to prio PvE over PvP 😉 Fun read none the less!

  5. The game sounded good until I heard 90% of the endgame would revolve around PvP of some sort or other. For that alone it’s not a WoW killer that this cycle of doom and gloomists keep predicting. None of the vast legions of “carebears” would ever leave for this game.

    Regardless I say have fun and play in the moment no matter which MMOG it is or how long it’s around for.

    Cheers.

  6. Notice I never said Aion was the “wow-killer.” I’m pretty sure that only WoW can be the WoW-killer–as in, if they turn out crappy content patch after patch, the players will leave (and maybe not even replace WoW with another MMO).

    I think this is a very particular game best suited for someone with a particular mindset. If you love to grind (and I do), it’s fun.

    If you have nostalgia for big anarchic PvP battles, it’s fun.

    If you’re the E-sport type? Not so much.

    Raider? Not really the right game.

  7. Kirstimah says:

    I have been in a couple closed betas (Elyos Chanter) and I am very happy with how they are polishing it up for NA/EU release.

    As someone mentioned before, the mass amounts of Non Pvpers may not like what Aion has to offer.

    Heck, I don’t even pvp in WoW but I will be giving Aion my “off” time for when I need a change of pace from the raiding.

    Good write up and thoughtful comments on what may or may not turn a WoW player off.

  8. Excellent overview – thank you for these insights!

  9. Nicely written article.

    A couple of the things are being changed, as Athryn stated, in 1.5. Which will be up for Open Beta (I’m pretty sure of that, not certain, and Open Beta starts Sept. 4 I think was the announcement).

    It’s definitely not WoW, the focus is on the PvPvE – the Abyss as you said. I think that allows for a more… less time intensive crush, you can put in a few hours at your convenience without needing to raid ready. But if you want to group up with friends and take over a fortress, you have that option as well.

    Asmodian ftw 😛
    Been playing a little of everything, mainly Cleric to get a feel for live so I have a leg up I guess. But played a Spiritmaster (Lots of micromanagement for your pet indeed, but you get endless leveling with it), Assassin (zomg she levels fast!), Templar (definitely not to be overlooked for PvP, quite fun), and Sorcerer (Bada BOOM!).

    Just playstyle should be people’s focus I guess is the only advice I can give for those interested in playing. Seriously sit down and think what you like to do in a group environment if you’ll be grouping up a lot, or if you prefer soloing, what would work best in that department.

    Factor in buffing, debuffing, crowd control, snares, stealth… the whole deal. Sure you can be a top damage dealer, but there is more to the game than just doing the most damage. Sometimes the clutch-the make it or break it move- won’t be how much damage you do, but stunning the opposing healer at just the right time, or blinding that assassin so none of his physical attacks land. 🙂 It’s really different than the stunlock gankfest that is pvp in WoW… Imho of course 😉
    .-= Middea´s last blog ..Cleric vs. Chanter, Which Should I Be? =-.

  10. Thanks for the article. Aion has been a game I have been following lately and it was nice to see a write up from a fellow WoW player. Although the game as some elements that will turn off players so used to the casual friendly nature of WoW, it is also a nice change. I look foward to the challenges that the game provides and hopefully things like max level professions and full-epics (unique/orange in Aion ) might actually mean something like it did in vanilla WoW. After playing WoW on and off since release, I welcome the change in MMO’s.
    .-= Warcraft Econ´s last blog ..Patch 3.2.2 Preparation: Abyssal Shatter and LW Drums =-.

  11. It looks interesting, but the lack of moddability sounds bad 🙁 (Yeah my UI looks nothing like what came out the box, I think there are at least 4 cast bars on my screen from various mods :)). One thing WoW got right was giving us flexibility and a reasonable keybindings to start (pretty much an FPS ported to an RPG style which works nicely), I see breaking that as being one of those little niggly things that makes you want to scream when learning a new game (has any RTS actually changed what buttons seem to do generally?).

    Does it focus on end game like WoW or is it more focused on the levelling process (I used to be a leveller but WoW turned me into a raider :P).

  12. This is a really great and comprehensive review thanks!

    I too wanted to play Aion when it is released in September but they’re not releasing it for Macs and they’re not releasing an Oceanic based (or even a server based in Asia) that Australians can play on. So I’m going to give it a miss.

    Didn’t realise the focus was so strongly on PVP battles at end game. I can’t imagine giving up raiding all together – it’s the thing I enjoy most in WoW.
    .-= Cassandri´s last blog ..Patch 3.2 Shadow Priest Gear for the 25 man Raider =-.

  13. @2ndNin: If you go on the aionsource.com forums, you can get a more full answer, but the endgame seems to be minimal PvE plus the Abyss.

    There are some world bosses, some in the Abyss itself, and a handful of “raid dungeons,” which in this game means 6 players. I have no idea how things will develop but the UI as it stands is absolutely not supported for healing groups larger than the 6 party members. As such, I’m really glad I decided not to play a healer.

    I think this game will be more casual friendly in that you’ll be able to choose when to put in your time. However, any success in PvP seems to depend on superior numbers, so Legions (guilds) will be important parts of people’s game experience.

  14. Thank you for this thorough review 🙂
    .-= Shy´s last blog ..Sarcastic Shy in a Blergh Mood, beware! =-.

  15. 🙁 That kindof sucks. While smaller raids can be more tightly defined and fun, it is nice having the huge 25 man raids (actually a 10 man tightly rigged like ZA was for the proper gear level of T4+T5) would have been nice.
    .-= 2ndNin´s last blog ..On Thinking about death knights =-.

  16. Great article! I’ll be playing arond with it casually as well when it is released. One note, I’m pretty sure mouse-over macros are not supported. I haven’t played the chinese or NA beta but from what folks on the aionsource.com forums are saying it will not be supported.

    I plan on playing a cleric and am definitely looking forward to playing a “head’s up” healing game. I love healing in WoW, but it is tuned to have to play the UI instead of healing people’s avatars. I’m assuming Aion is tuned so that even without an amazing raid frame and mouse-over or click to cast, healing will still be viable in PvP and workable in PvE. From all accounts Clerics are OP, so I think this is likely. It will be a learning experience but it defintely sounds fun.

  17. Clerics are very personally tough, but picking up healing targets is way harder than it should be. For a comparison, they’re as durable as my holy paladin used to be in Vanilla WoW battlegrounds–which is to say, they do really well in PvP because they’re hard to kill.

    Battles are very confusing and misclicks are constant. Some players claim they can heal out of party by clicking on friendlies’ avatars, but it seems like that’s not the norm for how people play. There’s no PvP credit for healing outside your own party (no proximity HKs like in WoW), so what’s done is that clerics always group with 5 others and heal only those players. It’s not really heads-up healing at all. It’s mostly healing your own 6-person party with an interface that looks very like the WoW standard.

    There’s actually some complaints about this if you read deep enough into the class and PvP forums.

  18. “In addition, every time you loot a quest item, you have to click a dialog box that says its ok to loot an untradeable item. This gets very annoying while solo questing.”

    I’m confused. I did get this popup box only when I was in a group. When i was solo i never had to confirm any quest item pickup.

  19. @Lowtec: Maybe they fixed in the last closed beta?

  20. I want to apologize for not being able to link a source but I do believe that there are actually 24 player end game instance raids. It is true that there is 6 player instances but I believe that with the 1.5 content patch that they have made a major effort to have a lot more PvE content. I will try to find a link as soon as possible.

  21. 24 players would be a huge improvement! Hopefully the UI can keep up with that.

  22. Open beta is coming up soon, September 6-13th. Along with pre-selection on the 18th, head-start program 20th, and official North America launch the 22nd.
    .-= Warcraftecon´s last blog ..Patch 3.2.2 Preparation: Abyssal Shatter and LW Drums =-.

  23. Ok here is a link, make sure to scroll down a bit as the OP doesnt have much information but another poster links a bunch of youtube vids and has a little more information. You can see on the 24 man raids that there are quite a bit of unit frames on the UI. I am at work otherwise I could find more.

    http://www.aionsource.com/forum/pve-discussion/17028-list-dungeons-raids-currently-aion.html

  24. Thanks for the review, the character creation options sound awesome but I’m really wary of PvPvE. I love WoW because of raiding and I’m not too sure I’m going to like Aion’s PvPvE. Aion’s leveling interests me though, I enjoyed guild war’s story content very much. Can’t wait for the open beta to start so I can see if I want to buy the game or not…

  25. 1.5 added some new instances. Source: http://www.aionsource.com/forum/aion-discussion/20946-patch-notes-v1-5-update-shadow-balaur.html

    Also all the dates for open beta, head start, pre-selection and launch are out: http://quirkyquiescence.wordpress.com/2009/08/30/official-dates-meanings/
    .-= Middea´s last blog ..Asmodians vs. Elyos =-.

  26. Thank you for posting this, it’s very interesting to see it from a fellow WoW players point of view 🙂
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..Updates =-.

  27. Great Review! Character customization sounds really cool to me. I’ll be keeping an eye on Aion. By the way, Thank you for giving some ideas about this new MMORPG. LOL 🙂

  28. Thank you very much for your review. I love your first char and im looking to create one by myself. I think its great to be able to create unique chars. Wow has kept me up for a long time but to be honest the game is not cutting like it used to. The content is to easy, and it doesnt matter if they introduced hardmodes, once you kill a boss, you kill it and thats it. A lot of people do not want to keep killing the same boss. Also I dislike that you get to do the same version of the 25 in a 10 man. Their expansions seem to be the same and the same. Its not “Wow” anymore.

    + I love the wings on your char too :o)

  29. I’ve been playing WoW for approx 3 years and do like the game however I’ve gotten pretty bored with it. Played Aion during CB and OB and have to say it’s a really nice change of pace. Maybe it’s just because I haven’t done the same quests on 30 different alts. lol I hate pvp in WoW but did go into the arena in Aion and had so much fun! Being able to fly during combat is very cool and the classes do seem alot more balanced. The UI is fine for me so far but I only got my highest toon to 18 which was a cleric. Mobs are harder to kill than in WoW it seems but even from the beginning I never felt like my character was weak which is very nice. I am definitely playing Aion and canceling my WoW subscription (at least for now).

  30. Although i do get bored of my Tank/Melee Dps Paladin sometimes, i gotta say, it doesn’t sound like Aion is the game for me. I’m not really a pvp person, i pretty much exclusively play WoW for endgame PvE content. I play Halo 3: ODST when i feel like PvPing….

  31. Thank you for this excellent review! It’s really rare seeing this kind of review from a WoW player I must add.
    I’ve been playing Wow for 2 years, then switched to Warhammer for a few months (good but not “breathtaking” as Wow) and now I am going to start Aion soon( will get it in 2 days!!)
    From what I read though, I believe that I am going to like it!

  32. Before people cast judgment let me lay down some history about WoW and MMOs in general….

    I played WoW before day 1, was a closed beta tester in the summer of 2004 and played it up till basically the end of TBC. I love Blizzard games since they turn-out a good product. The fact is though WoW in the beginning had a lot of problems, problems that most people never experienced since they came to the game 1-2 years after the release. People mention they love raiding, while raiding really didn’t take hold till 6-12 months on most servers and there was 2 raids – Onyxia and MC. I played on one of the forerunner servers and after 12 months in there was still only 2-3 “good” guilds on each server. And remember, it was 40 man raids so that’s very different from the 5/10/25 man choices WoW has today. Also, until 6 months in people rarely customized their UI since the developer community was non-existent. There was no healing bars, threat meters, etc that there is today. Also, up until 3-6 months after launch there were horrible server issues such as 30+ min log-in times, lag spikes and crashes. WoW is a polished game, and it took 5 years to get where it is today. Also, WoW is for most the first MMO they ever played which leads to biased opinions on quality.

    Now about Aion, I’ve been playing over the last few days and compared to the first few days of WoW they have done a superior job I think.

    1) The questing system is leagues above WoW, with individual and ‘zone-long’ quest chains and a well designed system for tracking and working on quest chains.

    2) The combat mechanics I find are better then WoW since they involve more interaction with the use of combinations and movement and not just spell spamming with timers. The system they use (which in a way is comparable to talent trees) offers a fairly customizable setup for your character.

    3) The art work is superb, with not only customizable characters but the weapons from level 1+ look unique. WoW rarely has done this, only reserving good artwork for epic and unique items.

    4) I think the classes are a little bit more hybrid then WoW, with each offering several possibilities depending on the setup. This has yet to be determined in a raiding scenario though, which will be offered in 6 and 24 party instances.

    5) The in-game interaction such as banking, crafting, travel, action house are better then WoW on launch.

    Now obviously the developers of Aion have taken the best-of-the-best from WoW and implemented it in their own game so it isn’t totally unique. But I wouldn’t count Aion out only after a few days after launch. Just like WoW, if play Aion, enjoy it and talk around the water cooler at work and to their friends it will take off (this is why WoW took off in the spring / summer of 2005). I defiantly think they will eventually develop a PvE raiding element to similar to EQ over time, just like WoW did since this is where customer retention comes in (i.e. character progression).

  33. I almost wish WoW would die already since I’ve been playing from the beginning. I tried City of Heroes, Guild wars, EQ2, and debating on Aion. WoW gets boring but it is so easy to play and level that trying something different will always draw parallels to WoW.

    The flight mechanic sounds gimmicky but character creation sounds awesome. My wow account ends in 5 days which means I have to decide on 2 more months or a new game. This blog helps with that.
    .-= Dave´s last blog ..Halo 3: ODST completed. =-.

  34. Thanks for your insights !

    Great review from a perspective I can relate to. I also play/ed Wow ( and EQ / EQ2 )
    and wondered many of the things you covered in your article. I am definitely ready for something else and may try Aion. I’m not much of a pvp person though, which may make the journey to endgame kind of pointless for me. I spend way too much time crafting, and losing all my materials on a fail would drive me insane, so that would be a sticking point as well. Wows crafting is a little too easy by contrast, imo. Maybe I’ll wait for a free trial ( if and when that happens 😀 )

    Thanks again –M–

  35. I have played WoW for almost three years, on and off between expansions. I also did end game raiding but my focus has always been on pvp, reaching 2k arena in different brackets in different seasons.

    I played open beta Aion and decided to try it out by preordering and playing in the headstart, which was on Sunday (it is Friday now). My warrior is now level 17 and i have been having a blast.

    1) PVE questing – is in my opinion better than WoW. Unlike some posts i have read around the interenet, I have encountered no grind in these early levels….my quest book is overflowing. Posters have mentioned this changes after 25 so I can not comment on that yet.

    2) Refined – the gameplay is very refined and all the little touches demonstrate how much care and effort has gone into this game. The environments are beautiful and char customization is very well done.

    3) PVP – can not commment accurately about this, there is no pvp until the 20s so I will know soon. I don’t see this as a problem even though I love pvp… the questing experience (unlike warhammer) is fun enough.

    I played AoC and Warhammer when they were released. Both games were great for the intial period but failed when entered mid-game (and end game was an even bigger failure if you got to that part).

    I need to see Aion from level 20 onwards before i start recommending this to my friends, but i really hope this game does well. Another successful MMO will be very good for the industry… it will make blizzard stop ignoring their customers and get back on the ball with wow, and it will allow other companies to get funding more easier by showing that mmo’s can be profitable if done well.

  36. Thank you for posting this helpful review of Aion from a WoW player’s perspective. I am very curious about this game and want to try it, but I’m waiting just a bit to see if they offer a free trial after the initial sales period is over.

  37. Great! thanks for that… i certainly wont be hanging up my wow coat any time soon. I hate PvP.

    The character customization looks really cool but not enough to make me want to play.

    Thanks for the review though… you ohave saved me £40 🙂

  38. … game is pretty tho which wow does lack in some areas.

  39. catbatbat says:

    excellent review! very thorough.

    I have been a WoW player since just before TBC and have gotten i little of the time constraints of raiding lately so thought I’d try my hand at Aion after giving warhammer and the awful experience of FFXI a go 🙂

    Aion looks beautiful in the videos and screenshots so i’m hoping it’ll have enough staying power to take over from the grip of warcraft, very interested to see if it has an enjoyable take on the healers classes as after 3 lvl 80 i finally found that a priest in WoW is my favourite style of toon/play.

    the only gripe i can say so far is that I CAN’T PLAY AION YET!!! 🙂 annoying bug means that if your PC is region set to NA (brought my PC back from the states this year) and you install the game, it confuses where you are and defaults the game language to korean!!!! no work around has solved it so I came across this review as i’m reinstalling windows then the game on the desktop right now >.<

    Here's hoping its a WoW beater or i've wasted 40 quid 😛 thanks for the review again tho!!

  40. Hello, very nice review ive been contemplating giving the game a shot or not. Good to see a review from a wow player and i think ill end up sticking with wow in the end. I like to raid so this game being pvp centered is unfortunate because it does look pretty nice. The combat animations from what ive seen look pretty awesome which that and the character customization is definitely what drew my attention the most.

    Again thanks for the positive review.

  41. Nice review. Looks like this is the first big challenger to WoW for WoW players. I played WoW for 3 years or so and really love the game, but I’m a bit tired of it now. I find I am playing a UI mechanic with loads of addons, rather than a game or virtual world.

    Anyone coming to this game from WoW will feel right at home. I enjoyed the start zone (L1-L10 Asmo) so much I have just levelled 4 characters to 10!!! I’ve done no PvP – unless u count the odd duel. So I’m enjoying this game just for PvE content so far.

    As far as I can see all elements of WoW are here and work smoothly – not bad as the game is not that old. The play speed feels more refined than WoW and all actions are animated – I so love hacking and slashing through mobs with a sword & board and several different abilities. Even when ur not doing anything your character carries on various animations. I notice too that even the clothes and armour are animated. Impressive. And metal stuff is shiny. Going back to WoW everything seems more static and robotic.

    There are fewer quests but these seem to level you more and last longer on the whole – and they are more story driven. Levelling feels slower, but it is certainly much faster than old WoW. Rather than quest last night I joined a group working to a challenging elite – took a long time and was great fun.

    I’ve not even looked at crafting yet. Sounds interesting that recipes can “proc” higher quality items. The economy will take some time to stabilise I think. Too many people trying to sell poor stuff for high prices and wondering why it won’t sell.

    Provided the game stays this stable and smooth and they keep adding new stuff (like they do, and Blizzard do) I’m finally off WoW and I’ve found a new timesink.

  42. Excellent article.
    Is nice to see a wow player’s perspective. Im going to give a try to aion cause i could find in aion what i didnt find in wow.
    I got bored of wow

  43. As with many ppl, Aion first caught my attention for the angelic character flight; but before going out and buying, I’ll want to compare it to Perfect World International. Thanks for the in-depth review because it sounds a lot like Perfect World International a Free 2 Play (F2P) Chinese MMORPG. I expect the graphics are much better in Aion, but PWI’s graphics aren’t bad and they include a winged race that can travel for several minutes at level 1. The character customization is extremely detailed as well and all the crafting professions can be learned by the same character. I haven’t played Aion, and I’m not partial to either; but if anyone has played both, I’d like to hear what you think. FAQ on PWI can be found at http://pw-wiki.onlinewelten.com/FAQ.ashx.

Trackbacks

  1. […] up inspiring me to start writing about Aion was an article over at WorldofMatticus.com titled: Aion Beta Review From a WoW Player’s Perspective. Have no idea what Aion is? Check out these two HD videos from the […]

Speak Your Mind

*