Aion: A New Adventure in a New Year
As another gaming year comes to a close and MMOG fans prep their fan power to cheer in another stream of new games in 2010, this years releases are clamoring to keep gamers interested.
Established games, whether they launched years ago or months ago, always find themselves competing with the new kids who come onto the scene and this coming year has some huge games making a show giving games like Aion a run for their money. While fans line up for the launches of Star Trek Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Final Fantasy XIV, and a slew of other impressive titles that make up the 2010 gaming year, the folks at NCsoft will be working hard to keep us interested and playing. What will it take for this game to compete?
More than just a pretty face
So much about the world of Atreia is good, let's make it great in 2010!
There is no doubt that NCsoft makes a beautiful game and nothing shows this more than Aion. With a gorgeously vibrant and beautiful world, there is almost nothing lacking in the gaming environment in which we play except variety.
Aion reminds me much of what EverQuest II was at launch; a good solid game but lacking in choices for the veteran player. Much like the newbie areas for Freeport and Qeynos were for starting characters, Elyos and Asmodian characters have no choice as to where they start and this becomes downright painful for players who are on their 3rd, 4th, or more in alternate characters. To ease this, adding various starting areas would be a wonderful addition that would not only give new players a choice but would also give loyal players a reason to try out new classes without feeling like the first 20 levels were a déjà vu of drudgery.
Content, Content, Content
Did I mention content? Aions biggest downfall has been lack of quests, particularly between levels 20-40. It is this lack of content that has players feeling every single level they grind through and a good part of the reason players have dropped off to await future game releases. While it is clear that NCsoft understands this is an issue and has content in the works, if my opinion matters at all, Id suggest getting in sooner rather than later and making a big splash across all mid-levels before the new games move in and enthrall waning players.
If fluff is wrong, I dont wanna be right
Aion is a genuine role playing game that with the pretty graphics and elegant characters inspires those who care about the finer aspects of gaming. I am referring to the fluff: player housing, casual clothing, social hubs, special events, and all the other little things that allow players to log in and do something other than actually kill things.
PvPvE could use a bit more balanced vP.
Many game makers seem to under estimate the power that these little things hold and while they arent technically game breaking, they can certainly be game making. In a game such as Aion, these things can be just the thing it needs to set it apart from the new games, especially since this year will be more focused on the sci-fi genre with only a few selections for the fantasy fans. Filling in these gaps would not only be valuable for the players of the game, but more so for the company who is looking to keep their game on top another year.
PvP or Bust
Appeal across player types is essential for any game and while the fantasy fans and role players are enjoying the new features from my above wish list, the PvP players should get a little something as well.
Balance is never perfect and while it should always be something that we strive for, I think most players realize that PvP balance is an ongoing challenge and never a true state of being. More hardcore PvPers (which I am not) may have much more in depth ideas, but my hopes for Aion PvP is very basic I desire a level playing field and more reason to kill other players.
I dont mind getting ganked through open rifts and actually find excitement from the possibility of fighting for my life against other players while Im out adventuring. My only wish is that if my young and nubile level 32 Elyos is taken out by a hairy level 40+ Asmodian that the attacking players not get any reward for taking the cowards route to fame. Its a simple thing adding a griefer penalty and definitely should be on the to-do list for this game.
Another PvP feature Id love to see takes a page from Warhammer Online. If nothing else can be said for the Mythic creation, I can say that the instanced battlefields across all tiers were one of the most innovative and truly fun aspects of any game Ive played. While Aion PvP starts a little later in the game and Battleground Dredgions are available, very few actually utilize these and they just arent as accessible as they really should be.
As the Aion Visions trailer showed us, many of these features are already in the works. Will they be ready in time to beat the 2010 gaming launches? To keep players attention across North America and Europe, I certainly hope so! Heres to a fabulous first year for Aion and to the competition that keeps existing games on their toes. *cheers*