At the height of wow’s popularity around 2007-09 during the Wrath of the Lich King expansion and beyond, NcSoft debuted Aion, a game whose claim to fame was aerial combat.
At first glance there is very little originality to this Asian style mmorpg, but if you scratch below the surface, you can find some aspects to the game which made it worth playing. I think even 7 years later, the game still has a following primarily due to its pvp system. There is something engaging about this old game, although it has clunky tab target battle system and aging graphics, there is something I can’t put my finger on about its linear themepark questing which seems to improve in higher levels. There’s a certain je ne sais quoi sensibility to it, or maybe it’s the fact I thoroughly enjoy old mmos.
I was amused for quite a while this evening seeing the myriad of comments defending the game after youtuber Lazy Peon seemingly bashed it in one of his First impression videos nearly a year ago. I guess anyone can justify their dislike for anything and his claim that it was a first impression video meant to represent the viewpoints of a new gamer versus a seasoned player has some validity. The distinction between a first impression versus a full fledged review is central to a discussion of the merits of the game. Too bad for Lazy Peon that a majority of the Aion Regulars found his analysis lacking and he got flamed for QQing about the game’s failed mechanics.
This also brings a good point to light which probably has been explored elsewhere: The differences between gamers who prefer new flashy and modern mmos vs. the classic feel and sensibilities of a game like Everquest or in this case, a game like Aion.
Personally, there are some things I really like about this old mmo. For instance I appreciate that the developers put in some cut scenes in between leveling to make the grind seem less tedious. I realize that was the trend back in the day and games like SWTOR took it to a whole other level.
Make no mistake about it, at least in the newbie zones, this game is very very grindy, but I enjoyed the questing. There is also a “Fast track” server which the game defaults to for newcomers which makes the early levels super easy to go through. I was close to level 10 in just a few hours of play and I am sure anyone can dedicate an afternoon and see a lot of content quickly due to the fast track system.
I think I am going to make Aion my go to retro mmo when I can’t find anyone on the LOTRO servers or when I get tired of grinding on Kronos wow.