Archive for the ‘Aion’ Category

Inbreeding In Aion

Next time you’re playing Aion keep your eyes open for signs of inbreeding. You’ll probably be surprised at how abundant and rampant it is. Typical signs of inbreeding include avatars who are exceptionally large and brutish or utterly minuscule and tiny. These represent the two extremes of inbreeding known as gigantism and dwarfism. The more ugly and disturbing form of inbreeding though can be seen in a few cases when the avatar is fantastically deformed with hugely disproportionate limbs. Their name may also be rather strange and be either an attempt at comedy or reminiscent of redneck America.

A classic example of inbreeding can be seen below.

Inbreeding In Aion

Inbreeding In Aion

Unfortunately this sort of thing is inevitable when there are so few races available to encourage inter-breeding. Without the option to select an Ogre, Gnome or Dwarf, avatars are forced to be created in their desired style which often goes against the nature of the race in question. The result is of course is an immediate break from whatever immersion is currently being felt as one is reduced to fits of laughter over the poor, disfigured soul.

In all seriousness though, if you wish to see an example of a heathly, non-inbred population even when faced with limited race options, travel to Hyboria in the Age of Conan. There one can witness a diverse culture that has managed to thrive in the face of endogamy and produce attractive offspring and a large variety of uniquely appearing avatars.

P.S. Just in case you’re into this sort of thing, best check if marrying your cousin is legal in your state before booking the venue.


Aion – Levels 1 to 10

Eventually this weekend I managed to ascend in Aion and hit level 10 with my now Asmodian Gladiator, Mantooth. It took me a while to get there due to the fact that I’ve been busy in real life as I’m in the midst of moving apartment and also that I found leveling in Aion to be pretty slow compared to other MMORPGs. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, except that in this case it does seem to make the whole experience even more tedious and dull than it already is. Yeah, as you can gather from that statement, I’ve been kinda disappointed with the “newbie experience” of Aion.

Maybe it was the fact that I’d already experienced the game in beta but I have to say that I found my progression through the gated, newbie theme park to be boring, grindy and repetitive. I think this is mainly due to the fact that I haven’t able to buy into the lore behind the game and feel any sort of connection to the world and it’s setting. It also doesn’t help that the storyline is very dull and the quests extremely uninteresting and sometimes even downright poorly designed (I thank God I never have to visit the Odella Plantation again). Although one could argue that all quests in MMORPGs follow a similar vein and none tend to offer anything new, Aion just doesn’t seem to want to try. Everything is very by-the-numbers and it makes for an incredibly bland introduction to the game.

Witness The Belly That Belongs To Mighty Mantooth

Witness The Belly That Belongs To Mighty Mantooth

Aion also manages to commit three of my most despised sins in MMO design. Firstly, there are only two races, secondly, there are only two starting areas and thirdly, you’re lumbered with that awful staged archetype class progression which just annoys the pants off me. Why would anyone want to play a generic Warrior for 10 levels? If I want to be a Gladiator, I want want to be a Gladiator. Playing for six hours with an archetype class is not going to change my mind, it’s just going to irritate me. Overall, I can see these factors really hindering the replay value of the game.

It’s all a shame really because Aion does offer some nice things and I’ve heard a lot of good stuff about the later levels. Unfortunately the introductory stage of the game fails to deliver and has put me off a bit. Compared to Tortage in Age of Conan (which ironically also suffers from the issues I outlined above yet still manages to provide an engrossing experience that oozes immersion and sex appeal), Aion’s Asmodian newbie theme park is bland and unimaginative, failing to invest the player in the virtual world and their character. Maybe the Elyos one is better.

I haven’t given up yet though and still intend to play on and see how things pan out. Hopefully my initial experience will just turn out to be a minor hiccup along the road although right now I can’t help but wonder if I should’ve bought Champions Online instead.


30 Seconds of Darkness

After I launch Aion, just after the small screen that sits on your desktop disappears, I’m subjected to an agonising 30 seconds of black screen before the official NCsoft Aion welcome image comes up. Presumably this moment of darkness is due to the game loading it’s memory core and base classes into my CPU’s kernel via the flux capacitor, bypassing my computer’s deflector dish (my mum is gonna think I’m so smart when she reads that). Either way, it’s darn disconcerting.

Maybe my computer isn’t good enough to load it all fast enough although it’s pretty high spec so I hope that’s not the case. I had a similar issue with EQ2 which makes me wonder if it’s more of a design issue than anything else and that the developers just neglected to put up a holding screen or loading bar. I’m definitely one of those guys who likes to see something on my screen at all times, otherwise the little voices in my head start whispering that my computer’s going to explode or melt or something.

Anyone else get the same thing with Aion?


Aion Character Pre-Selection

So I had fun with my Aion character pre-selection this morning. Finally finished patching the game, ran it, and was presented with a nice helpful screen of Korean. Awesome. Now, my Korean is a little rusty so I wasn’t able work out much beyond accepting the Terms of Service and randomly clicking on servers. However, it turns out I wasn’t the only one having this problem.

Mantooth, Asmodian Warrior

Mantooth, Asmodian Warrior

After checking the Aion Source forums I found a solution to this issue. Basically you have to rename your Aion installation folder to “AionEU” – my original folder was called Aion (US) – and then chose to install it again via the NCsoft Launcher. However, before you run the installation, right click on the tab, select Properties, and point the Install Location to your newly renamed AionEU folder. Doing this correctly will result in a minor 380MB download but if you don’t, the launcher will try to download the entire game again at it’s whopping 6GB.

Suffice to say, everything started to work and I was presented with my native language of English. I cancelled my order of Teach Yourself Korean from Amazon. Whew. I’ve absolutely no idea how a bug like this occurs as I used my installation for the betas and it ran fine. Very strange but at least it was easily fixable.

For those of you interested, I’ve created an Asmodian Warrior on the Perento server called Mantooth. Feel free to look me up either to say hello or engage me in brutal, manly combat. In line with my fetish for fat old men, I tried to make my avatar as old and grumpy as possible. Not bald this time but his beard is truly magnificant.

If you’ve got access to the European headstart, I’ll see you online tomorrow. If not, it will be Friday.


Aion Beta

As pretty much everyone on the planet knows, the 3rd Aion Beta event is underway this weekend but maybe what they don’t know is that I happen to also be partaking in it. I don’t really want to go into huge detail about it all because almost every other blog out there has already either summarised or reviewed it in some form so I’d just be repeating stuff they’ve already said. Plus I haven’t played it nearly enough to pass any concrete judgement on it other than my initial impressions. However, if you want to find out more information about the game than I can supply, I can recommend Keen and Graev’s Aion vs WAR and Aion vs WoW comparisons, they are quite informative.

Initial Impressions

Mantooth, Warrior

Mantooth - Fat, Beared, Sexy Warrior

Aion is impressive. From the moment you download the game to the moment you log out of your first play session, it’s slick and steady with a style and form that walks up to you, slaps you in the face and yells, “you’re gonna like me, sucka”. It’s absolutely nothing you haven’t seen before but I don’t consider that to be a bad thing. People deride it by saying that it’s just a WoW clone but then I say WoW was just a clone of Everquest. Almost every MMORPG that comes out is similar to the last set except they have a couple of new features or do something a little differently. It doesn’t hamper my enjoyment of the genre – although I’d love to see some more innovation and drastic changes, it’s what I’ve come to expect. However, being a good game doesn’t necessarily mean doing something new, sometimes it can just mean doing something the best.

The combat in Aion is fast, fun and funky and the music and environment really come together to form a cohessive experience. The controls are a little odd to me, just like Lineage 2, and I constantly find myself trying to move the camera around my character but accidentally using the wrong mouse button. It also has the Korean movement technique of clicking somewhere on the ground to make your character run to that spot. Although quite useful it’s very alien to me and slightly off putting. I’m sure they will let you disable the feature at some point though.

The Beta

The beta is running smoothly, very smoothly. In fact, I haven’t participated in a beta this well run in, well, ever. The game feels completely finished and polished so it gives me high hopes for it’s release in September. Yes, September. Three months away. If I’ve got any problem with the beta is that it’s so far away from the final release of the game and I find myself resisting the urge to log in and play it simply because I don’t want to spoil myself so soon. I know, I could’ve waited – should’ve waited – but curiosity got the better of me.

Conclusion

Hard to really conclude anything and I don’t want to give the impression that I’m reviewing the game. I really haven’t played it enough and, if games like Age of Conan and Warhammer Online taught me anything, it’s that longevity is the real stamp of success on a MMORPG. Aion may well turn out to be hugely fun for four weeks and then become utterly boring with absolutely no end game. Still, it’s first impressions are very good and it definitely feels like a grade-A, heavy weight competitor in the MMO market.

So am I going to buy it? Yeah. But I gotta because I ordered it from NCSoft so I could play the beta. So I guess a more telling question would be, “do I regret buying it?”. The answer to that, is no.