Aion: An initial, and totally unimportant review

le suckAs promised, I am going to provide you some of my insight on the game Aion from the experience I’ve had in the beta testing. A couple people asked for a couple of things, so I’ll address those things here, and I’ll also post a video later this week of some game-play, character creation, and screenshots I took over the weekend when I get a chance to work on it some. So without further ado here you go.

Rivs, yes there are “Hawt Asian Chicks”, everywhere. Enough to feed even the basest of the yellow-fever, hentai loving teens that run rampant over the internet. There’s even a special slider that’s available when creating female characters called “chest”. This option is greyed out when creating a male. Expect those 36-24-36s to be running everywhere. In heels.

PvP in a general sense was still prohibited to us, as the cap went to 20, and you can’t reach the PvP zone until 25. That said, I know that toward the end, a portal did open up between the two sides and warbandsof from both sides were fighting through it. I wasn’t there, so I won’t comment on how much fun it was. I just know it did happen, and think that can be a pretty interesting aspect and twist. I don’t know how random these portals are, or if they are player initiated or somehow managed in another manner, all of that can help play a big factor in how “fun” these events can be.

The combat system itself is fun. It uses an incredible, yet simply brilliant interface of skill chains to drive the combat forward. At certain levels your character gains skills. Many of these skills are the second, third, fourth, etc… step in a skill chain that needs to be done in order, and in series of the whole. If you played City of Heroes semi-recently, and tried out the dual blade power-set, you’ll be familiar with the base concept. That said, they evolve it to the next level with a great tie-in to the interface. The only skill you need place on your hotbar is the chain-starter. After you use it, your hotbar button will update to the next skill in the set AND your screen will display the next skill as a clickable button just to the right of your character. This is handy for skill chains that can branch into multiple directions. This interface design greatly reduces hotbar and screen clutter, as you only have a set amount of time to initiate the follow-ups of a chain. Combat as a whole feels very smooth, extremely well orchestrated, and you don’t find yourself feeling as if you’re fighting against the game to kill things.

That said, the last comment is the one that hurts the most for me. The Ranger class, particularly in comparison to the Shadow Warrior. Well, as you probably saw in a postfrom the other day, I do not have any hopes for the Archer of Aion. Killing anything takes an incredibly long time, kiting is easier in this game than in WAR for the SW as the back-peddle speed is pretty close to the speed you run forward at. I played up to level 14, and then had to quit. I FORCED myself with every ounce of will that I had to get through level 13. 

In this game, you achieve new skills at certain level intervals, say level 1, 3, 7, 10, 13, 16, etc… The scout class, the base class for the ranger before ascension, has no bow attacks, it’s all melee. At level 10, when you become a ranger, you get two bow attacks, Sniper Shot, and a Snare. The Sniper Shot you have to stop, and it has about a one second cast time (no timer displayed), an the snare can be used on the move, and it has a variable duration (oh joy!). At level 13, you get…an upgrade to your stealth melee attack, a trap, and a skill that increases your dodge for a short duration. So, at level 13, 3 levels after having gotten your bow, you still have only two attacks with the bow. You won’t get your third shot until 16 (at which point you get another trap, and another melee skill).

Traps I didn’t get to play with at all, they have a reagent requirement. Yes that’s right, we’re mages now that have to carry around items to use our abilities (did I also mention arrows need to be bought in this game). This would be fine by me for the most part if money wasn’t already a giant sink in this game, or if you could improve the base functionality of your skills by buying/crafting improved reagents/arrows, but nothing I have read of suggests that as a possibility. No, we’re back to having to carry around more items just to perform at a base level and use all our skills, and then that diversity is used as a balancing factor for why the class does so much less damage, and trust me when I say, that yes, it is a hell of a lot less damage. I’ll use an example to highlight my point.

At level 13, I was exploring a bit, and doing my quests. My current quest had me looking for a carriage that a smuggler group of pirates (or something) was usingto transport supplies (or whatever). The point was, I had to find this carriage, and inspect/destroy it. Of course, the carriage was in the middle of a camp of these said pirates, and I had to kill my way too it. On the way there, I met up with a sorcerer, who was level 12. The creatures at the time were levels 14 to 15. We weren’t grouped up, but it was clear we both had the same objective in mind, so we worked in concert a bit. What I noticed was distressing to say the least. I would pull a mob, then maybe 5-10 seconds later, so would the Sorc. His mob died first. Every time. Without fail. Remember, he still hadn’t got his 13th level spells yet! He was still using his base level 10 abilities, and easily outpacing the Ranger that should have had every advantage in the world.

The Shadow Warrior in WAR has a lot of problems, a clunky stance system, riddled with bugs, poorly thought tactic synergy between stances and specs. But at least we can still kill things and perform our basic duty. The Ranger in Aion is hands down, the single worst class I have every played in any MMO, and I played a non-healing Paladin in WoW.

About Shadow
Making serious business out of internet spaceships.

5 Responses to Aion: An initial, and totally unimportant review

  1. Oaktown says:

    “…the single worst class I have every played in any MMO, and I played a non-healing Paladin in WoW.”

    Whoah, whoah, whoah.

    I’ve been reading your site for a while but this comment actually is making me spout off. You are making it sound like Prot/Ret pallies are the second worst class(es) ever. I strongly disagree. Current WoW Paladins are by far the best, most fun, well rounded and robust class I have ever played in a MMORPG (and I’ve played many).

    My Shadow Warrior made me want to go into the garage, get my 12 gauge and take out my computer every time I tried to play her. I get warm fuzzies every time I down a Ally on my Ret pally and when I switch him to Prot, pallytanking is a blast. If you still have your WoW toon and a few spare hours, you should reactivate your sub and try out Ret again. It is crazy fun.

    • shadowwar says:

      Yeah, I’ve heard all about how great paladins are now, and that makes me very, very happy. I played my paladin as a tankadin, and when I quit, they were just beggining to be accepted as MTanks. So yeah, my experience of people’s perceptions probably differs greatly from what is current in the game.

      Maybe my quitting games it what causes the class I’m playing to start rocking face. After I quit, Tankadins were loved by all, and the WotLK made Retadins bring the pain. Just heard about 4 months back or so that in EQ2 Shadowknights were stupid overpowered now. What did I play there? A Shadowknight. If I stay gone from WAR, expect SW to start melting face in about 2-3 months 😉

  2. naamah88 says:

    Rangers truly suck until level 30 or so. After that they start to shine. At level cap they are one of the best solo PvP’ers and valuable to a group. You just have to go through 20 or so levels of hell to get there!

  3. John says:

    Rangers at lvl 13 dont get any bonus from skills really, Once out get your chain 2 move, and stunn shot you start to deal damage. Ranger is the hardest hitting range burst dps in Aion, the own in PvP and PvE because the dont use MP like sorcs which often run out during fight,a nd have to stop and use a 5 second pot. Ranger can keep their damage up durring the fight, and have the ability to save a group (use stealth and rezz healer) IMO I would prefer ranger over sorc in a party anytime.

    • shadowwar says:

      Lot of people are saying similar things. But from my experience, the ranger is hands down the worst class I have ever played in ANY game up to level 14. The entire experience up that point completely killed any desire I have to play the class or the game. Those levels are the entire reason I canceled my pre-order.

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