Thoughts on the Positives and Negatives of Aion

I previously posted my initial impressions on Aion, but that post contained only text, and if a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a million. So I made a video to show some of the differences in player control in Aion compared to other games:

I did want to elaborate on a few things about Aion:

  • I think it is wise to “limit” the game to the same 8 classes for the both factions. Why? It should make the game easier to balance. If a particular class is over- or under-powered, there will be complaints from players of both factions, which should help the developers figure out what needs to be adjusted. There are some differences for the same class across factions, but from what I’ve read, most of those differences are very minor. The game I’m currently playing, Warhammer Online (WAR), made the mistake of having too many total classes and major differences between mirror classes. It creates too many opportunities for class imbalance, real and perceived
  • There is very little “role” overlap between different classes, which is a good thing. You have 1 archetype (warrior) that can tank PVE content. You have 1 healer archetype (priest). Role overlap tends to create angst in a player base. For evidence, look no further than the forums for World of Warcraft (WoW). In WoW, there are multiple classes that can tank and multiple classes that can heal. And what happens as a result? You have fighting between classes about real or perceived imbalance in filling  a particular role, and players of some classes get left out or discriminated against. It’s simply bad for the community. After playing WoW for 18 months, I switched to The Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO). A big plus for LOTRO is that there is only 1 clear cut tanking class. Several classes can heal in LOTRO, but they do so so differently that they complement rather than compete with one another
  • Going back to leveling via PVE is going to suck. I’ve been playing WAR since last September, and I’ve loved being able to partially or fully level characters via PVP only. In every game I’ve played, PVE questing is simply unchallenging and repetitive. I’m not sure if players can earn experience via PVP in the Abyss, but I really hope so
  • The UI feels very jerky. I don’t like that some instant-cast abilities require that I stop moving. If you’ve seen my YouTube videos, you’ve heard me talk abut how important movement is in PVP
  • The concept of a single PVP zone, the Abyss, should work out well. Having 1 zone where people fight is a great way to centralize the action. I thought that WAR’s many zones would be fun, but in practicality, it tends to split up the action, and sometimes people deliberately avoid one another to farm keeps and battlefield objectives (boring!).

I’ve already pre-ordered Aion, primarily to get into the North America Closed Beta. I don’t plan on grinding levels during the CB, as I find PVE leveling to be tedious, and the characters are throwaway. Once Aion launches, I am planning on rolling a Chanter (melee buffer/healer) as my main, and I’ll post videos as I level him up.

Aion right now is receiving a lot of hype, as players look for the “Next Big MMO”. I’m not sure if Aion will meet players expectations. I’ve seen some of Aion’s simple game design concepts (e.g. same 8 classes, 1 PVP zone) work well in another game, Knight Online.

I should state that the arrival of Patch 1.3b for WAR has lowered my interest in Aion, at least in the short term. WAR’s Patch 1.3b has vastly improved the quality of PVP action. Good for Mythic! Right now, I’m planning on continuing to play WAR even after Aion launches.

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Posted in Aion, Video
6 comments on “Thoughts on the Positives and Negatives of Aion
  1. taugrim says:

    A message I received from lankyfella on YouTube:

    “Have played Aion in the past, and the experience comes VERY slowly, hopefully they have adjusted it to keep the people playing and sane, but if not then your in for a shock.”


  2. raggok says:

    You pretty much have the same criticisms I do of Aion. The main thing being the restriction of movement. The game was made for point and click movement. This can be disabled, but you lose all functionality of your mouse 1 button which is typically used for mouselook.

    Instead you have to hold you mouse button down for mouselook and that removes that button from being used as an ability bind.

    Furthermore in the most recent patch notes you see this: “Jumping during a skill animation no longer allows that skill’s combo chain to activate”

    What? No jump casting? That is a deal-breaker for me. Jumping and movement are key to my enjoyment of these types of games.

    Keep up the good work.

    • taugrim says:

      The point and click movement thing was one of the things that threw me off when I initially tried Aion. I would try to target a player / enemy / NPC by left-clicking but if I missed my target, I would click on a part of the screen, which caused my character to run there.

      I skipped CB4, and I only played CB5 for an hour or so to record the FRAPS footage in the video in this post.

      During CB6 I am going to test player movement a lot more.

  3. Asherony says:

    Wanted to post this in Youtube’s comments, but they don’t allow for much verbosity :)
    Despite all Aion’s (perceived) disadvantages, the idea of 8 classes with 2 paths each is pretty nice, as opposed to Mythic’s “let’s see how much Warhammer lore we can cram here” approach to class design. I’ve played many MMO’s with faction-specific classes (Vanilla pre-BC WoW, Rising Force, Warhammer) and in all of these this served as a source of frustration for players, rather than something interesting and original.
    As for the cons, I’ve played an MMO by the same developer (Lineage 2), and I must say that Aion looks like a spiritual sucessor to that. As mentioned in the previous comment, Aion feels like it is designed for mouse movement rather than keyboard. This is going to suck if you enjoy kiting and classes with mobility…
    On a side note – your priest seems to be a partially melee class. As a fan of these – how do the melee mechanics function? Does your character automatically stay on the target and follow when it moves (like in the most mouse movement MMOs), or is it like in WoW/Warhammer where you move your character manually? Is there some sort of melee radius or your character has to stay precisely on top of the target to be able to melee it? Thanks in advance :)

    • taugrim says:

      Agree that YouTube’s comment functionality sucks.

      Also agree with you that having 8 classes is the way to go. I always thought that Mythic was nuts to go live with 20 different classes; it dramatically increases the complexity of the code, which means more bugs. And having that many classes creates real and perceived imbalance, which frustrates players.

      IIRC in Aion, if your target moves, you can use an ability, which will automatically chase the opponent to close into range to fire it.

      This kind of stuff is unfortunately not easy to test on PVE, where mob movement is usually very predictable.

      The melee radius feels a bit smaller than WAR, which has a fairly large melee radius. It’s probably closer to WoW’s from what I remember.

  4. Sheep says:

    I feel the game looks like one of those crappy free MMOs, were the money you spend is in trying to get the good items.

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