One can find my previous article on AION here:
Now is the time to write a review of the game AION. I will also provide its latest status. Finally, I will give a prediction on the popularity of this game going forward.
Firstly, this review is not a review for computer game players. This review is purely for investment purpose only.
I have no idea how many parts this review will have. But I will just keep on writing until I run out of things to say. In the first part of this series, I will talk about the basic game play of this game.
The game is developed by a South Korean company named NCSoft. They definitely spent a long time and lots of effort to make this game. Starting the game players must choose between one of two factions, the Elyos or Asmodians. One faction are basically angels that live in regions comprised of forests and deserts while the other side are vampire-gargoyle’s that live in the twilight lit regions containing forests and frozen wastelands.
After choosing your faction you choose one of 4 classes which fall into the basic fantasy archetypes of warrior, scout, mage or priest. Each class branch’s off into 2 more subtype’s at level 10 ensuring at least a modicum of variety. The following are the two races and the 8 subtypes.
Heaven = Elyos race (race that is angel like)
Devil = Asmodian race (race that has black raven wings)
Gladiator - Close combat person who does alot of damage
Templar - Close combat person who uses shield and tanks monsters (holds aggro)
Ranger - Ranged person who uses bow and arrow
Assassin - Close combat person that uses daggers
Sorcerer - Magic user that uses fire
Spiritmaster - Magic user that has spirit pet
Cleric - Primary healing person with few buffs
Chanter - Primary group buff person with few heals
Character creation itself is very well done. There are sliders for both the face and body allowing you to customize every part of your characters appearance.
The craft systems are pretty standard affairs. It can’t get simpler. The NPC's actually provide you with "Crafting Work Orders" that give you items to make stuff over and over and over again. Again, the game gives you the stuff to make for free to get your crafting up...for free... The crafts are listed as follows:
* Weapon Smith - Swords, Dagger
* Alchemy - books, and Potions
* Jewelry - Bows, Stave, and Jewelry
* Armor Smith - Plate armor, Mail armor, Shield
* Tailor - Leather armor, Cloth armor, Belt
* Cooking - Food
* Gathering - Obtain resources
Once in game the player will follow a linear mission line much like other mmorpg’s before it. There are missions and quests. The quests are stand-alone quests while the mission is just several quests stringed together. The missions are about 80% “go kill x monsters” with only 20% of the quests actually doing something interesting outside the scope of killing monsters.
They are taking a lesson from WOW (World of Warcraft). While the quest system may be nothing new it’s still a nice improvement over other popular Korean games that contain no or little quests to keep the player going. While the quests and missions are interesting, what is most interesting is the overall story line. All the missions and quests are part of a very engaging story line.
It was definitely a very pleasant experience for the first 17 level. Some people did start to complain afterward. But I think the reason is because NCSoft wants the players to start joining the groups. For players who like to go it alone, the game could get very difficult after level 17. But for most other players, the game is still fun afterward.
At level 25, players can enter the abyss where the coveted PvPvE is supposed to take place. Abyse is the name of a special area in AION where PvP (Player vs. Player) is allowed. All areas outside of Abyse are PvE (Players vs. Environment) areas. Therefore, after level 25, players who like to fight go to Abyse while players who is into role playing stay outside of Abyse. However, players will quickly find that the abyss for the large part is a few quests and then grinding with the option to be ganked by enemies 5 to 10 levels higher than you. This leave’s players with the option of grinding monsters in the abyss who give abyss points that raise your PvP rating or going back to the normal PvE maps and doing quests there to level up.
One unique feature of this game is the PvPvE. While other games have both PvP and PvE, NCSoft went one notch further. In this game, there are actually three races. But the third race can’t be controlled by players. Therefore, when you are combating with another player, the third race might just join in. This creates much uncertainty. The computer controlled players are not as intelligent as a real player. But the AI (Artificial Intelligence) of the computer players is definitely not as bad as some other games.
Combat in Aion is a twist on the classical mmorpg combat system. Players have their standard auto attack along with skills that are used by clicking on them in a hotkey bar or pressing the hotkey for that skill. The one unique feature of Aion is the ability to fly and fight in 3 dimensions. There is a time limit on flying that is supposed to make flying a more strategic aspect. The time limit in reality just penalizes players who are too poor to pay 50k an hour to fly permanently during combat.
There are castle sieges in this game. The castles or fortresses can be attacked through the strategic points. The castle siege can be done much more often than most other games that limited you to a certain time of the week or required you to register a week in advance to siege a fortress. This means that there are a lot more castle sieges happening. Of course, the down side is it is impossible to hold a castle.
Graphically Aion is a step above current mmorpg’s in some cases and below in others. The landscape and character details are stunning. However, the terrain looks quite bad. The terrain itself is very low poly. But really, not too many people are going to staring at the ground. This is probably not a big deal.
Some graphical special effects are just gorgeous. The weather effects in the desert, as well as snowy areas are awesome. I love the heat hazing over everything in the desert.
Besides the glaring graphical weakness in its terrain system Aion has otherwise impressive graphics. Many little critters wander the land and NPC monsters such as wolfs will actually eat the smaller critters. The landscape’s are almost never the barren wastelands you see in other mmo’s and are populated with tree’s, NPC characters and many buildings or ruins. Lighting is well done; many times you can see rays of light passing through trees at certain angle’s. All in all, I will say graphics is definitely the high point of this game.
And what is the most impressive thing is that all these eye candies can be run from some 3 years old computers. NCSoft had accomplished a very difficult balancing act, a great looking game yet it doesn’t put too much strain on users’ computer.
The sound in Aion is very well done. Shields clank when you block an attack and for the most part weapons sound at least like some sort of weapon. The background music in Aion is extremely well done as well. Each area has many different tracks all of which fit with the theme of the area very nicely. Music ranges from your standard classical to guitar driven battle music. In the desert maps Middle Eastern inspired music play’s and in the abyss fast paced techno can be heard in areas. All in all, the music and sound of the game definitely adds a lot to the atmosphere of the game.
Finally, let me put some in-game graphics to illustrate what the game looks like: