Champions Online vs. Aion: Battle of the Year

When it comes to MMO gaming, all good things come in pairs.  We've seen some great titles duke it out with launches that land close enough to the same date that gamers have to pick one or...

When it
comes to MMO gaming, all good things come in pairs.  We've seen some great
titles duke it out with launches that land close enough to the same date that
gamers have to pick one or the other to play.  There was an epic battle between
EverQuest II and World of Warcraft, and a bloody PvP-ridden struggle between Age
of Conan and Warhammer Online.  As another September rolls in, gamers get to
enjoy another big title beat 'em up with Champions Online and Aion.

So which
game will you cast your lot for?

It's not
an easy choice.  With Champions Online already on shelves as of September 1st
and Aion close on its heels with a September 22nd release, gamers could buy both
games and try both, but in these tough economic times, that may not be a viable
option for many.  So how do you know which game is more to your tastes?  Ten Ton
Hammer details some of the features of each game and splays it out so you can
make an informed decision.  Will it be the Asian smash hit Aion or the dashingly
heroic Champions Online that you pick up and play this fall?


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Champions Online boasts nearly endless costume options

Aion and Champions Online have good customization in character creation but they
do it in different ways.  In Aion, creating your character means adjusting and
fine tuning nearly every part of the head and body, allowing for characters that
can be any body style you want.  The character creation tool can make avatars of
the same race look as different as a dwarf does to an elf.  With that in mind,
armor tends to be fairly similar between the same class at any given level. So
while your skin may look very different, you may end up at the prom wearing the
same dress your friends are.

in Champions Online the opposite is true.  The creation of your character's
actual skin, facial features, and body shape is relatively limited, so the focus
shifts to costume design.  Here you can go nuts, and you'll find yourself
spending hours creating every kind of costume you can think of.  This makes each
character in the game as unique as you choose for them to be. So while looking
at a groupmate may be like peering into a mirror from the neck up, the only
thing really limiting your costume choice is your own imagination. Simply cover
your face with a cool mask, if it bothers you.

At First

Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle touched upon the importance of graphics as first
impression in one of his daily Loading... newsletters. Aion and Champions Online are very different in their
art styles and may appeal to completely different types of gamers.  Aion was
created for Asian players who tend to appreciate more of a high fantasy and
stylized approach to their game graphics.  Tall, lithe creatures of great
beauty, bright and vivid world colors that are just too pretty to stay within
the realm of realism, and sweeping landscapes that look like something out of a
watercolor art book are all features of Aion's visual experience.

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New graphic touches makes Aion more NA friendly

Champions Online stays true to the comic book style of graphics, giving
Champions a unique feel.  The comic book cell-shading and bright coloring offers
the player a vibrant, straight-from-the-comic-pages world to play in that draws
comic fans into places they could previously only imagine within their own
minds.  If you aren't into the comic book art style though, you can actually
turn some of those features off.  In fact, the graphic options in CO allow for
quite a bit of tailoring, so if you don't like the graphics right out of the
box, you can play with them a bit to find what suits your tastes.

Places to
See and People to Slaughter

big hook for players is content.  Gamers look for different things when they log
into game.  There are soloers, groupers, raiders, and PvPers, all of whom are
looking for a good time. Very rarely do we see a game that caters to all of
these types of gamers with lots of quality content. So where do each games'
strengths lie?

offers soloable and raid content with a focus on group and PvP content. The
North American launch is getting quite a bit more content than what was offered
during the closed betas, much of which is additional PvE and contested mob
bosses.  This closes some holes in content, but Aion will still offer the best
experience for small groups playing in overland zones and PvPers battling in the
Abyss.  PvE soloing, while completely viable, will be challenging and leave solo
players out on much of the better game content in Aion.

Champions Online offers much of the same content that Aion does, but in varying
amounts.  CO has PvP and raid (boss) content, but there is a clear focus on solo
and group gameplay.  Solo players will find plenty of missions to do that will
take you through the world at a fairly steady pace.  Some of the better content
of CO though is in the group content.  Group focused missions and instanced
lairs make great content for those who prefer to work together with others, but
just because there is a lean towards group content doesn't mean other content is
completely lacking.  Raid quality boss mobs will be in game and CO does have a
nice PvP set up that allows champions to go toe to toe with each other in
various forms of arena style gameplay.

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Flight in Aion...

feature that puts CO a notch above the competition is the Nemesis system.  This
innovative system allows the player to create their own nemesis and play through
storylines with that creation.  There is really no better content than the
content that is completely customizable to the player!

Progression Progress

Character progression is quite likely the only thing Aion and Champions Online
have in common.  Both utilize linear leveling that allow players to quest and
grind their way to the next milestone.  At each level, skills or powers are
purchased and both games encourage further customization with powersets or
stigmas.  The new wave of MMO games really has gotten the importance of
customization and these two games really show that off!

The Final

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not sure which game is for you?  Here is the breakdown:

If you
enjoy a more realistic fantasy setting in a "sword and sorcery" backdrop with
solid small group play and compelling player versus player experiences, then
Aion may be the game for you.

If you
prefer solo and structured instanced full group gameplay that encourages you to
dive into a comic book world full of mayhem and evil, then you might be better
off giving Champions Online a try.

game did you choose and why?  Let other players know why you picked your game in
our forums
!  For those still deciding, we hope we eased the pain of choice a
little and whichever titles you pick, happy gaming!

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Aion Game Page.

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