Saturday, December 26, 2009

Aion: Oh, what a shiny empty game

From the title, you can probably guess that my time with Aion is over. My sub still has a few days left, but even with the current double XP weekends, I can't get motivated to play. I'll login, look at some stuff on the Broker, check my active quests (or lack thereof), check LFG, and then logout.

At the point my Chanter is at, there's little/no solo quests available. What ones there are give minimal XP, and only contribute to about 1/4 of a level. Solo grinding 3/4ths of a level (~ 29.5 MILLION XP! at level 37) is not something I want to do. What does that leave me?

Group grinding in elite areas, over and over. Until I hit level 40 that is, so that I can grind in the Steel Rake instance /over and over again/. Which, by the way, is a 4-6 hour long instance. Ugh ...

After doing Fire Temple about a dozen times, I'd had enough of it. We must have killed the one mini-boss Rotan 10 times and he dropped no gear at all. Most times there wasn't even kinah. That's just crappy game design. At least for a Western audience.

Another issue with Aion is that my levelling has never been constant, nor have I kept up with guildies. So the ones I did match up with in FT, all out levelled me, or quit playing. So I've been stuck in a seeming level void in the guild, with either 40+'s doing Steel Rake (the core guildies, as I call them) and some low 30's and below (alts and new recruits). There are some near close guildies, who will probably catch me with the Double XP weekends, but we are missing the one key component of the group: a Tank. It seems that no one wants to play a Templar anymore. Our highest level Temp, one of the core guildies, stopped playing his Temp and switched to a Spiritmaster (mostly to play with his gf). The other Temps either have quit/disappeared, or are never online when I am. There is a complete lack of Temps in my level range, so even if we got guildies in a group, we're still PuG-ing for a Tank. And since Tanks are a key component in group content, winding up with a bad one (high chance when PuG-ing) can become a horrible experience.

Another major gripe I have with Aion is the PvP is crap, overall. I know I've talked about some of the great PvP on my blog already, but that was before, when the server was more populated, and I was still in the honeymoon phase. After seeing some more fort fights, and especially upper Abyss forts, I've decided that they are garbage. There's simply no reason to PvP in the Abyss. You're better off killing guard NPCs in the Abyss for your Abyss Points (AP) to get gear. And when people hit high rank, they stop going to the Abyss since one death will cost them tons of AP. It's a pretty stupid mechanic, really. In WAR there was no penalty for dying in PvP, so people PvPed all the time. In Aion, the Abyss has pretty much become a ghost town, as everyone is PvEing, or you see groups of 40-50's ganking solo 30's fighting Abyss mobs.

Rifting has become the same thing. All I see are over 40's rifting into Beluslan and Morheim and killing low levels PvEing. It's stupid. I'm okay with the occasional gank, mind you. But when all the bored 40+ players have nothing better to do but gank lower level players over and over, there's something wrong. WAR was much better for PVP in this regard, as PvE areas were safe, but the RvR lakes were tiered so higher tier'd players couldn't gank you. Plus WAR's system of bolstering lower level players to within 3 levels of the tier cap made running into a higher level opponent in the RvR lakes not an instant death.

Also, Aion is missing the PvP from level 1 that WAR has, as well as instanced battlegrounds (ala WoW and WAR) so that you can break up the monotony. All there is to do is grind crappy PvE over and over. Rifting isn't always viable (as it's random) and fort fights are only during scheduled times, as well as only random forts go vulnerable during these times. Many days nothing goes vulnerable. At least in WAR you could try for a fort at any time of day, as long as you had the manpower.

Aion also lacks real benefits to taking forts. The victors get some kinah every day, IIRC, as well as AP and medals to get Abyss gear. Your side gets access to the fort instance, really only good for some AP and XP (drops suck), and a minor reduction in NPC vendor costs. In WAR, your side got all kinds of bonuses for locking down a tier, as well as lots of XP/Renown/Influence for taking a fort. You could get a gold bag from the fort take, giving great gear, or max out your influence to get awesome influence gear. More Renown also led to Renown pts for abilites. There were /rewards/, unlike Aion's weird "let's PvP for some stupid reason, cause it's actually less rewards than just PvEing instead." /facepalm

I dunno, maybe I'm just bitter that Aion was touted as some great PvP game and has wound up as a crappy, grindy PvE game. I can simply look at a lot of my guildies overall kills, and most of them haven't broken 100. We had a Cleric who hadn't got any kills in 37 levels until we formed a guild group to fight off some rifting Elyos. That's pathetic. I have 400+ kills in 37 levels in comparison, and I haven't killed anyone in almost a month. I think I had the Mauler achievement in WAR (kill 100 players in PvP) by level 10.

Simply put, Aion's PvP is shit. There's the odd glimmer of fun in a sea of mediocrity. Kinda like EVE's PvP.

I'm really going to miss my guildies, as they were the reason I stuck with Aion so long. But it's only the core guildies that have really stuck with the game, everyone else has quit. War Seekers has become a guild of all new people (low levels) or displaced people from other guilds. It's not quite the same. I've had fun with some of the new people (on my alt) but I doubt they will stick around for long. The 35+ game is the make it or break it part of Aion. If you can adjust to the grind and enjoy it, you stick around. If you're like everyone else and want your games to be FUN, then you find something else to play.

So long Aion. If you get your shit together and decide to become less grind, more PvP gimme a call. But I doubt you'll do that. Korean developers and all. *points at Lineage 2*