As I mentioned in my previous post, Vivid and I have a chance to beta test Aion today. The test server went up at 3pm EST on the dot! Someone decided to come visit like 20minutes before and refused to leave until like 3.30 or something -_- but at 3pm I was able to sneak away and login with Vid and create our characters.
I pretty much sped through the character creation, will play more with it later, but wanted to see the meat of the game, and I had to afk on and off a whole bunch due to guest >.>;; When the guest finally left, thank goodness great timing because Vid was then ready to start questing as well Hurray!
I am now a level 7 Priest and Vid is a level 8 Warrior. Buf if anyone else is beta testing this, look us up on Elyos side, Siel server! 🙂
Update: Level 10
So Vid and I reached level 10 around 10pm tonight, and we took at least two long breaks one for me to be on the phone and then dinner break and then we pretty much just went about the questing etc at what I feel to be a laid back pace. Pretty easy to exp so far!
Anyways, without further ado… my 2 cents about Aion!
I had a lot fun and to be honest it’s because I was playing with Vivid again XD If I had been alone, I’m sure it would have been fun just to poke around something new. It’s definitely not a game that I’m planning on picking up just to play for myself. But who knows I might get super bored some day down the road after this retails, and get too antsy waiting for FFXIV and pick this up just to see later contents.
Questing and Storyline
The quests are run of the mill between 1-9. Interspersed with some ‘character story advancements’ as I’d like to call it. Then at level 9, the quest for ascension opens up and this whole questline etc. and quest to complete the beginner zone quests opens up, and will take you to level 10 just by that alone.
Ascension is pretty much the typical ‘rite of passage’ quests that appear in MMOs whose propellant is mainly questing/story telling. It will take you out of your beginner area, open up new class specialization choices and of course… take you to the “Jeuno” of the gameworld. I’m using Jeuno because I’m sure many of you remember that feeling 🙂 Aion gameworld has it’s equivalent and it’s very pretty!
Which brings me to something really interesting.. We played till level 10 and I still can’t for the life of me call Aion anything but Aion. In FFXI, I called the world Vanadiel, in WoW I say Azeroth, or Outland or Northrend. It becomes a part of the knowledge we subconsciously pool for each game. This I believe comes from the desire to know more about this new world we’re exploring.
I started out in Aion (And I think Vid shares this same viewpoint), and I didn’t care. I was curious about it because it’s a game. I was curious about how it stacked up to other games we know. I was curious if it’d suck. I wanted to see for myself what other players said about this game. I realized after I did all the quests that curiously, despite other reviews saying the quests rocked etc. I didn’t for a second thought “wow I want to try Aion because the story looks amazing.”
It’s hard for a game that’s coming out of the blue, with no previous incarnations or years worth of gaming lore to precede it. So then I would think that the first 10 levels must be critical for such a game if they’d like tout their story. Yet, all we did were fetch quests, kill this thing, find this thing and report back. I could count maybe 3 quests that had anything to do with me as a character in this vast world and my story.
Why are the Asmodians and Elyos fighting? What is the Abyss? Why does the Abyss exist? Why is the world torn asunder? What does the world look like? Why does my limited map show other areas but it’s rarely mentioned? Why does it seem like this tiny little newbie zone is all there was to the world?
Now I’m sure that as you gain in level, as evinced by the Ascension questline, that you will see more ‘epic’ storyline. But why save it till later? Why not start now at the very first login. Perhaps this is beta so they didnt bother with an opening movie, but I love opening movies, it sort of draws me into the world that the game is set in, creates a mood for me, a desire to want to play or to explore this story. Yet the first 10 levels of beta testing left me without any of this feeling.
And in lieu of the previous comments, it brings me to the point I think a lot of people have made about Aion. It’s technically a complete game. It’s been out since last year in Korea (which is now several patches later but this NA Beta is about 2-3 patches behind the Korean one, and supposedly things have improved).
Regardless though, it just makes it seem more irksome that some things were never address or some decisions about UI and game playability that makes me question… WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT???
Here are my specific rants, let’s see if I can remember them all:
1. Chat Bubble: there is no known way to remove this (that I could find and I even googled it and I found that others share a similar dislike of this)
2. Minimap: If they wanted to copy WoW, then great go ahead and copy ALL of it. Not just some parts of it. WoW did an amazing job as far as minimap, party member real time location etc. etc. Aion needs more work in this area, for some reason Vid and I kept seeing each other lagging behind on minimap even when we were next to each other. Hopefully this gets fixed in retail.
3. Chat Box: The design is again pretty much a copy of WoW’s chat box (which may have copied others I have no clue, do point it out in comments if you know!) Except that I could not find where to change the opacity of the chat box, which wow does and it really does help a lot being able to change it on the fly. Hope this either gets added in or I find my brain and locate it.
4. Chat Commands: so… for some reason unless I’m just retarded which is probably true so again point this out if you know… to chat in group the command is techinically /Group. Which you hit the enter key to open the chat entry box just like WoW then click on the ‘chat bubble’ and select a channel you want to set as default. Which is fine. but if I wanted to set it so my default is something else, then everytime I need to chat in party, I have to type /Group instead of say /g. This was a tinge of an annoyance to me lol coz I’m lazy and I want to type as little as possible.
5. Targeting and Automatic Reactions by Character: To target a mob your tank is on, you basically just right click it to engage, just like in WoW, but theres a major difference in Aion. There were multiple times where we’d engage a mob and I’d situate myself certain way as to be able to watch Vid, the mob, our surrounding as well as being able to engage the mob easier with right clicking. However, the game is so helpful that everytime I hit the engage button it resets my character sends her running forward to I presume a spot it thinks is better? At one point out of curiosity, I completely let go of my W button and left her at a stand sitll and right clicked to engage a mob really far away and she auto ran to it, and I kept her running that way by clicking mobs further away etc. etc. Now some might find this useful, but it was a hindrance to me. I had to target between the mob and Vivid pretty often to heal and to DPS as well. but everytime I engaged I somehow ended up right on top of Vivid… you’ll see in the photos I posted to the gallery in some combat shots it looks like Vid and me melded into one. I had to consciously move my character away again and when I clicked engaged after targeting her, then back to mob it just did it’s thing again. The problem is, when I’m on top of vid it’s hard to target the mob without doing fancy crap with the camera so that it doesn’t just keep opening the right click on party member to get options menu thing.
I’m sure over time I’ll get used to targeting etc. but right off the bat in party play I found this to be irksome. I do not like that my character moves without me telling her to, I just don’t. I hope future games don’t do incredibly mechanized stuff like this.
Enough Whine Aque? Want some cheese?
XD yar yar I know a lotta rants, but I’ll stop at 5! If I have to sit here and dig around for a rant then it probably wasn’t that important. So let’s move on to some things I do like about the gameplay and world of Aion.
1. Graphics: Incredible graphics! But to be completely honest not my cup of tea. But it’s still amazingly gorgeous! The water is fluid, the sky is kinna clippy and weird and pixelly but the environment is lush and absolutely gorgeous and it appears to be HUGE, which is actually interesting because it actually isn’t that big.
2. Music: Very nice cinematic style music, I didn’t feel like it grated on my nerves at all and I do drown out even WoW or FFXI music after a few hours lol but for some reason on Aion it just seemed to blend in? I can’t quite describe it.
3. Smooth: This game is so amazingly smooth its… amazing >.> I was completely blown away when I first logged in and the area was chock full of people and their names and npc names and birds and animals and treees, so much so muchhhh stuff on the screen, and I wasnt even graphically lagging at all. I did have some warping around type lag but I am sure that’s just my connection. But graphically I never noticed any kind of stop motion picture show or slideshow like I’ve seen with FFXI and WoW and Earth and Beyond and any other MMOs/P2P or F2P that I’ve tried. This fact in itself is amazing and ground breaking and I sincerely hope Square Enix take note and learn from this… because if FFXI didnt lag so freaking much their larger events would have felt more epic. But since you have 700 people in the zone fighting and You can see maybe 1 person and 1 mob at a time wow that takes the epic away real fast >.>;; (besieged anyone?)
4. Laid back: I didn’t feel pressured to do anything and the surroundings felt so idyllic that I wanted to just kick back and enjoy the ride and enjoy the scenery. Which is sorta counter productive to the actually fighting going on and as Vid mentioned “are all monsters pandas?” because sure enough the creatures that are creating havoc in the starter zone seem to come from pandagenes in cuteness and what not >.>;;
5. Cutscenes: I do love that they have cutscenes for the different parts of the quests/missions. But I come from playing RPGs that have cutscenes that make me cry. So when Aion cutscenes showed enemy mobs scampering around for no apparent reason I just go… huh was there a point to that cutscene? Some of them are amazing! Like the main story ones rock, but the others just really felt like it was put there to be put there lol. But all in all the fact that they even bothered with cutscenes gets a thumbs up from me!
Conclusion of Day 1 of Beta
So to conclude this long winded rant, all in all I enjoyed the experience. I won’t mind picking up retail if I feel like playing the game for real down the road. We have not yet had a chance to do pvp and I don’t enjoy pvp in general so I don’t really care if the pvp is good or not. But at some point all characters will have to enter the open pvp zones if they want to progress adequately and in the end that’s all there is to do for now other than dungeons etc. This does dampen my desire for the game, but that’s why I have FFXIV to look forward too! So we’ll see how the next two days of playing if we go the whole weekend or maybe just call it done after tomorrow, will let you know!
An update on the Asmodian side will come probably after tomorrow with new screens etc.
In the meantime, enjoy the gallery of photos I put up (click on image for gallery)!
Warning: Hi res photos if you click on them individually, BE WARNED!