Friday, August 14, 2009

Aion, Closed Beta 6

I'm playing a little of bit of Aion this weekend. I don't know what to think of this game. The graphics are great except whenever water is on the screen I get some weird affects, and there is usually water on my screen in that game. It is impressive though that the graphics are so much better than Runes of Magic and it seems to run much smoother at the same time.

I like to solo, especially at low levels and soloing is much slower in Aion. This isn't exactly a bad thing. I realize that although you may not kill things quite as fast in this game you get relatively more experience for everything you kill so progression isn't necessarily slower. It just feels slower. One good thing about this is that grouping will probably be more common.

This game has made me realize how absolutely useless "story" in an MMO is. People complain all the time that the quests are so simple, that all these games make us kill 10 of that, and collect 5 of those. Developers seem to put a lot of effort into creating interesting stories and dialog to dress up these tasks, but I just want to know where to go and what to kill. The cinematics and cut-scenes add nothing to the game for me. Tobold recently wrote a great post about this dichotomy.

Skill chains. I love that Warriors have a skill for a automatic block and a reactive skill for a successful block. Similarly Scouts have an evasion skill and a reactive skill based on evasion. The skills feel good in this game (although the long cooldowns sucks). I'm sure that at higher levels when you have more skills these cooldowns make more sense. Also, for PvP, you will know that once somebody uses a skill it will be a while before they can use it again. Overall there is much less "skill spam" in this game. I like that.

Flying is great. Even in zones that don't allow you to fly you can glide and pick up a lot of speed. I absolutely love the mechanics of this. I imagine that at higher levels taking full advantage of the flying mechanics will be very important. I'm looking forward to that.

Even with all of the good stuff that Aion offers I'm not 100% sold on the game yet. I find myself playing for short amounts of time and then needing to log off and take a break. MMO's that I have played for a long time have always made to feel like I have a million things to do, and when I log off I don't want to.

Perhaps because I know my characters will be wiped I haven't become attached to them, and I don't feel like investing too much time in them. I have pre-ordered the game and that comes with a free month at launch so I will give it a month to hook me. If at the end of that month I'm not attached to the game I will just have to give it up no matter how good I think it could be. There are just too many other options out there right now for me to be playing something that doesn't grab me immediately.

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