Friday, January 9, 2009

Aion - Too many Eastern influences

Yesterday I made a very random point about Aion, and whether the Western audience could even attempt to accept the title.

Due to it's Eastern influences, the visuals are of Anime based characters, the animation is standard Asian MMO movement and combat, and finally the one dreaded issue that was still out for review...the grind.

This one major issue will be a detractor for the US and Western based audiences...GRIND.
So much effort has been put into Western based games to relieve the stress of grind, and all discussion has led to the belief that Aion would follow a Western culture makeup in regards to XP and leveling (as well as other lesser items like WASD and no point click movement).
Anyways, in a previous post, a comment was made by Lars of MMOment of Zen, where he referred me to a site...
Check the link here
If you review the site, it has various charts showing major discrepencies of quests XP vs Mob XP and trying to reach the next level.
As happens with all MMO's, after level 20, the perceived issue of any MMO rears it's head.
Such is the case for Aion, where the needed XP to level requires more mob kills, and keeps going up as you level.
This arbitrary need to slow the game down to get those monthly dollars is really becoming an irritant.
And Western audiences want more of a perceived value for their cash. Grinding mobs will NOT give the feeling of "This is worth it".

Based on this, I decided to review other discussions about this game or problems perceived, and where it may be headed. I for one am quite interested in the game, as I like Anime (I use to be a huge fan, but have fallen by the wayside recently), but some issues could detract from this.

My first problem is most "In game" videos seems to have a hip hop, disco type feel to the music.

One of my pet peeves for some games is the music sucks (Tabula Rasa) or games have REALLY good music even though the game sucks (Lineage 2 by far has an amazing soundtrack, and I have it in My Music to play with some of the shoddy free games I have played before)
Look at Sword of the New World as an example of an interesting take on the music, that fits the game, but really detracts from playing, that I turn it off.

The next issue arises with a BAD gameplay mechanic.
A forum post located here, discusses how the "Person who deals the most damage, gets the XP".
It does not matter who tagged the mob, etc. Someone can come in and steal that kill, ala Lineage 2, and get all the XP. Also, note, PvP is slightly strange, so you cannot kill the problematic player in the field. I do have to investigate that part of the PvP system more...but it is RvR, so you cannot attack your own race is basically the issue, but your comrade can steall all of your kills.

And the biggest issue right now? You guessed it...BOT's.

Seems there is a major infestation of these on the Eastern servers (note, which are in full release). This goes hand in hand with the most awful "Gameguard" system which some more recent games are going to (Spellborn, which because of Gameguard is being held back, according to The Historian from Acclaim.)
Seems Gameguard and Bots are pretty much a team. Get one, you will get the other (another fine example of this messy situation was Silkroad Online).

And that really boils down the major part of this post.

Where there are Bots...there is Grind. Western audiences...beware.


Tesh said...

Indeed, bots are inevitable in a grindy game. I'd also argue that grind is inevitable in a subscription game. My only hope is that devs and publishers wake up to that, and the idea that people are sick of it, and change accordingly.

Scott said...

Yeah the grind is always there, the main difference is Western devs try various methods at attempting to disguise it whereas Eastern games make no bones about it.

I've *heard* (whatever that's worth) that even the Koreans are getting tired of blatant grinding though.

I always find it interesting when Western gamers *hate* quests and would rather go out and just grind mobs, yet they bash games like L2 that focus on doing just that...

Hudson said...

Great bots...the same thing that makes Lineage II a pile of garbage. Pass on this one