Aion – The Tower of Eternity

Aion – The Tower of Eternity

The last weekend we finally got our fix of Aion, the US and EU beta/preview event.
I was lucky enough to get a beta key. So client download and go!

The following is my review and personal opinion.
During the beta I played three characters up to the following levels:
– Chanter 17
– Summoner 14
– Templer 10


The installer

The installer and setup is straight forward.
However, the installer doesn’t care for remaining disk space
and is not checking for your temporary directory.
It is forcefully using your user directory instead of using the set
temporary director from the environment.
During the setup the installer is trying to decompress some files.
Again there is no check for remaining disc space.
You’ll wait several minutes until he notices it.

NCsoft Launcher

The launcher is simple and easy.
No issues experienced.

In general – the good

From the first second the game just feels good. Controls are easy, simple and mostly intuitive.
The soundtrack is awesome and currently the best any online game has to offer.
Quest NPCs can easily be noticed by their signs above their heads divided into normal quests and missions by blue and gold symbols respectively.
Getting a quest and reading up on information is very good. The quest system offers in most cases a huge amount of information. Any text that is blue can be clicked to receive more information like locations of an NPC or a certain monster.
Buying new gear is also very convenient: If you hover with the mouse over a new item you’ll see a comparison between the item you might want to buy and the item you currently have equipped.

In general – the bad

When it comes to bad things I have to say I’m a little bit disappointed in this beta/preview version wise.
There are some typos, quests not working properly or not working at all, misleading quest texts and the often appearing hint in the quest-helper “it is a hard-to-find location”. Latter happens too often in my opinion.

Especially sub titles from cut scenes contain typos. A game that is Live in two countries and where the localisation has been oh-so highlighted by the European CM Amboss it is surprising to see such a state. Yes I am so picky here because the level of polish promised was very high.

Player bazaars. Very known and hated from most “free to play” MMOs. The game features an Auction House so why do we need player bazaars?
Sanctus main entrance teleport point was plastered with them lagging the hell out of the entrance.
Why does the game feature them? We got an Auction House so all it will do is causing lag, crowded places and causing difficulties in finding NPCs in such crowds.

In some beginner areas the re-spawn rate is too high and can cause trouble levelling there or doing quests with some jobs.

The conversation system is inconsistent. You often click on “Keep listening” or similar while the conversation goes on. If you want to accept a quest you have to to use the button at the bottom of the window instead of getting a choice made like the rest of the conversation style. After that you get again a conversation dialogue to close it similar to the close button on the bottom. This is inconsistent design or called design-break.

About quests

Level 5 Nymph fairy quest is not working. You cannot collect the item to conclude this quest. You can click it but nothing does happen.

Level 7+ Wolf hunt quest: Hunt “Hungry Zaifs” and “Violent Zaifs”. If you kill “Violent Zaifs” where the “Hungry Zaifs” are then the “Violent Zaifs” are not counted. You must go behind the hill at the farm and kill “Violent Zaifs” there. Very illogical.

Level 10 Language Potion Quest
1. The Sanctus map shows the respective NPC (the Shugo with the weird name in two locations with an asterisk to his name. But what does the asterisk mean? A new player doesn’t figure out so fast that he has to go somewhere else to fly to the lower deck. This should be adjusted.
2. Level 10 is the level where you might begin this quest but I recommend to raise this because it is not possible to finish the quest before you hit Lv. 13/14+.

Cooking initiate quest (Starting to become a cook): The quest text says something about “Cheris” which is wrong/misleading. This should be fixed to the correct corresponding item name.

The Chanter

The Chanter was since the beginning my highest interest and I was very positively surprised. He is fun to play,
has a variety of spells and can do some decent melee combat.
I enjoyed the chanter very much from the first second. I got to level 17 so far and the only thing I felt missing was a distance spell/Range attack beside the beginner earth based attack spell.I look forward to play this class to its fullest.
Only one thing really surprised me: You get early in the game your second HoT-Spell. Why do those two not stack?

That’s really disappointing. That would be a very helpful and strong option in party-play. I hope they adjust this a little bit.

The Summoner

I always love playing mages so I wanted to check a full Mage class too.
The first five levels were a breeze. Level 5 to 9 however is painful as hell in my opinion.
You are physically very weak and susceptible to surprising re-spawns which adds to the earlier mentioned issue of sometimes too high re-spawn rates.
I had to skip the final two quests in Poetas and grind until I got access to the Ascension quest.
Once I got my Fire Avatar and vent to Verteron Citadel it got easier. having an avatar made it so much easier.
Not the easiest class to begin with I’d say.

I also agree to the issue of non-flying avatars. In the beginning its not a problem. But in the later levels and especially the Abyss (PvP) this is a huge disadvantage.

The Templer

The last class I tried out and I only got to conclude the Ascension.
He is very strong, killing enemies quite fast and a good power output.
You have to rest quite often thou.
The Templer gets a good amount of defensive/shield skills. Looks like a good tank.

Soundtrack

The soundtrack is awesome. I look forward to get the full O.S.T.
It adds to the great flair the game has. Whenever you enter a city or store the music changes. From soft to ancient to strong based battle music.

Conclusion

The game is absolutely great. I really like it and I look forward to play it for real. I got my pre-order already up. The game tells many nice stories with good short cut scenes.
There are many minor issues. And we all know many minor issues add up to one big problem.
The game needs here and there minor tweaks and polish.
Via their CM’s NCsoft often let us hear about a great localization, game polish and good service.
I expect for a game that is already live to be polished and the minor issues fixed until US/EU release.

Currently the best MMO out there.
In 2010 many new MMOs are set to be released and Aion will get a fierce competition.
Hopefully NCsoft will use the time wisely.

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