Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Initial Aion Impressions

I had no idea yesterday's post was going to be so popular. Apparently, many of you are anxiously awaiting what I have to say about Aion.

I'll keep this post relatively simple, to expand upon my thoughts later.

Beta

Fist of all, Aion is not undergoing a full Beta. The game has been out for some time overseas, so NCSoft knows the game works. The NA Beta is more to stress test the servers and test out the localization.

It's not 24/7, but rather a small selection of days every couple weeks. Last week's event ran from Friday-Sunday. The next Beta event is July 2-6.

Technical

This game is gorgeous. It runs on a version of the CryEngine. However, it is no Crysis. If your PC can run WoW on anything other than bare minimum settings, it can run Aion.

Even at very low settings, I've been told the game still looks stunning. I'll try to provide some screenshots in the future.

You can "fix" your FPS. In other words, when entering a crowded area, the game will automatically scale down the graphics to maintain smooth performance until everything can load fully. A very nice feature. No major city graphics-lag lockups.

Customization

The main draw of this game is customization. The character creator gives you free reign to design your character any way you want. Skin tone, hair color, hair design, facial structure, height, build, you name it.

I have heard that there is a robust crafting feature that can create mind-blowing armor sets. I have seen the images, but not tested the system yet, myself. Dyes exist so you can customize the appearance and be somewhat unique.

Now, let's say you LOVE the way your level 30 armor looks. (And you will) However, you get an item at level 38 that has better stats. For a fee, you can transfer the stats from the new armor ONTO the old, and keep the appearance. If you cannot grasp how brilliant this is, I feel sorry for you. Imagine how happy Paladins would be running around in full T2 at Level 80.

Classes

At the start you select from 4 Archetypes: Warrior, Scout (Thief), Mage and Priest. These lower-tier classes allow you to learn the basic gameplay mechanics of the full classes.

At level 9, you unlock a quest to choose your ACTUAL class. These are Gladiator, Templar (Paladin), Assassin, Ranger, Sorcerer, Spiritmaster (Shaman/Summoner), Cleric and Chanter (Some sort of super-support class, I believe)

Each class is varied and unique. While Gladiator and Templar both stem from Warrior and do share some skills, they are nothing alike once you get your hands on them.

Combat

Combat starts off awesome at Level 1. You gain several cool skills early on. While the total number of skills isn't as high as in WoW, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

You can combo your skills together. Unlike other games *cough*FinalFantasy*cough* Aion shows you in your skillbook which skills Chain. For example, on my Scout, Quick Slash combos with Soul Slash.

Let's say I place Quick Slash on my hotbar at number '2.' I press or click 2 and Quick Slash goes off. The game automatically moves the next skill to your bar. I can then simply press 2 again to finish the combo. Quick Slash will then return to its place, awaiting its cooldown.

Additionally, Scouts learn a skill called Counterslash, which can be used after a Dodge, similar to skills like Rune Strike. The nice addition, though is you don't have to watch your combat log and action bars like a hawk waiting for the skill to proc. After a Dodge, a button appears RIGHT ON THE SCREEN letting you know the attack is available.

Flight

At level 10, you earn your wings.

Let me repeat that:

WINGS

Yes, you can fly in Aion. It helps with travel exploration and...

COMBAT.

Aerial combat is a major selling point of the game. Imagine a Ranger raining arrows down from above, or a Gladiator knocking an enemy to the ground to get wiped up by an Assassin. Aerial combat looks to be a major focus in the PVP game, but very integral to PVE, as well.

I think that's enough to whet your appetites for now. I'll give more detail as I play more of the Beta.

Until then, here's some links:

Aion: The Tower of Eternity - Official site for the game
Aion Source - A great fansite
djjdiss - Youtube channel for very in-depth coverage.

5 comments:

Syrana said...

Yay for customization. Love it, love it. And the idea of transfering stats in order to keep a set that looks cool... omgwant.

Aerial combat sounds cool as long as it is better than "jousting." (Since, y'know, I thought mounted combat sounded cool once before)

"they are nothing alike once you get your hands on them."

*giggles*

/ahem

Great review, keep 'em comin'. Oh and what I forgot to say in my comment on the last post is this... no matter what game you play, at least you know you can blog it here. :)

Fulguralis said...

Two questions...

1. Is everyone on one server or is it sharded wrt NA?

2. Have you heard of them offering some sort of trial apart from the beta, or how easy is it to get into the beta (I'm a see it for myself type of buyer when it comes to games)?

Samodean said...

@Syrana: Well... somewhere. I'm hatching a plan.

@Fulg: Not sure about the servers, but anyone who preorders at Gamestop, Amazon or several other places gets a Beta key! I have HEARD you cannot cancel your preorder once you receive the key, but even then, it's only 5 bucks. I would assume they'll offer some sort of demo or open Beta once release gets closer, but they have not yet announced anything.

spinksville said...

They are also doing some beta key giveaways on twitter (if you use that), so follow the aion devs if you are interested.

http://eu.aiononline.com/en/news/article/closed_beta_event_2_ends_looking_ahead

Anonymous said...

If the "main draw" of the game is customization, you might want to keep an eye out for Champions Online. ;) But there were some other parts of your description that sounded interesting and unique, so I'm going to guess that's not what you REALLY meant.

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