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.