I pre-ordered Aion to get access to the NA CB3 round.
I didn’t realize CB3 was only for several days over the July 4th weekend. But I did play for several hours over a couple days to get an impression of the game.
The last game I played was WAR, so here are some comparisons between Aion and WAR:
- in Aion, there isn’t a global cooldown after you use an ability. But there is an “animation cooldown”, which is how long the ability takes to fire and animate. After the animation is complete, you can use your next ability or auto-attack. The combat felt a bit jerky due to the animations; it will take some time to get used to and adapt
- in Aion, if you use a ability, you skip your auto-attack (AA). It’s either / or. Whereas with WAR you can hit an ability and still get your AA. To maximize MP (“mana”) efficiency, you can let your AAs fire in-between uses of abilities. To maximize burst damage, you can spam abilities back-to-back
- in Aion, you can’t turn your character while casting a non-instant ability. It’s really annoying IMO. In WAR and WoW, you can turn while casting without interrupting the ability. In Aion, you can pan the camera while casting, but any kind of player movement will cancel the casting
- the Aion UI had fewer customization options than WAR, and AFAIK, the UI doesn’t support addons. The last game I played that didn’t support addons was LOTRO. At first I didn’t like the LOTRO UI for that reason; it felt stiff and inflexible. But I got used to it, and the nice thing is everyone has the same UI so it’s easy to share tips on UI setup
- in Aion, sometimes if I moved around my mob, my auto-attack turned off. I’m not sure if that is the intended behavior. In the videos I’ve seen of Aion PVE, melee classes were stationary. Maybe that’s why
- Aion has a “Fixed FPS” option that will run the game about about 40-45 FPS automatically. It’s a nice feature, instead of having to fiddle with options to try to get to an acceptable FPS number
- in Aion, questing is very vanilla, but you can grind mobs for XP
- in Aion, I experienced some rubber-banding, which means sometimes I got teleported back a few steps while running. Not an issue for PVE, but for PVP that could be debilitating. That was the only bug I saw. Other than that, the game was quite polished and very stable
- Aion has 4 core class archetypes (mage, priest, scout, warrior) that branch into 8 specialties (sorcerer/spiritmaster, chanter/cleric, assasin/ranger, gladiator/templar). Both factions play the same 8 specialties. This should make classes easier to balance, because if a specialty seems overpowered, players of both factions will discuss that, as opposed to one faction complaining about a class that is exclusive to the other faction (e.g. Bright Wizard in WAR)
- one nitpick is that Aion male characters look rather feminine unless you deliberately give them some ugly, manly features. Yea, I know this is an Asian MMORPG, and the graphics are anime-ish
I wasn’t as blown away from my first impression with Aion as I was expecting, based on watching videos. But then again, in every MMORPG I’ve played, there is a learning curve and settling in period, during which the game and UI feel foreign.
I am definitely looking forward to the next round of Closed Beta.
On a side note, I did re-subscribe to WAR; it’s free for 10 days. And the 1.3 version of the game, at least in T1, looks quite polished now. I do wonder if the game stability and lag in T4 ORVR have been addressed.