After about 10 days of playing Aion for 2-4 hours a day, I’ve decided it’s a waste of time and money.
- The world feels claustrophobic. No sense of exploration whatsoever. The world doesn’t feel big, open, and full of interesting nuggets to discover. It feels small, and cramped.
- There is one leveling path. No fun for alts. I can’t go through the early levels the few times I need to see a few different classes’ capabilities. I’m not going through the mediocre starting content more than twice. After the first time I never wanted to see it again.
- Leveling is slow. Whether you’re grinding mobs or turning in quests that forced you to grind mobs, leveling starts to drag. I find myself not wanting to log on because I’ll just be grinding the same boring tasks yet again with no variation.
- The game is a combination of naked grinds. Grind quests. Grind mobs. Grind tradeskills. Nothing innovative or even particularly fun there. Unless, of course, your a masochistic EQ nostalgiac. In that case, I pity you. This world is nowhere near good enough to make mob grinding seem anything but a trivial treadmill of meaninglessness.
- Combat is boring in the early levels. This game expects me to fight thousands of monsters over the course of 30-40 hours without any real strategic thinking or skill needed. Awful. It might have a chance at not completely sucking if there was ANY significant character customization or gear selection prior to level 20.
- Crafting is always boring. Once you’ve got the mats, click a couple of times and you’re waiting for your work to finish. For hours. No thanks. This is doubly bad because you can use the “work order” system to completely trivialize leveling crafting. The designers literally are telling players that this is just a matter of spending 20 hours waiting for progress bars to fill.
- Character creation is all flash. You can customize your character’s looks to a very pleasing extent. Too bad you can’t actually customize your characters capabilities in the game at all. Aside from picking your class, you have zero character build decisions to make and maybe one or two gear decisions to make in the first 40 to 60 hours of gameplay.
- It’s clearly not made for this market. The world is so odd—and I’m not saying that in a positive way. It’s like Ryzom decided to take all of the character out its world, then spend a few orders of magnitude more on texturing. The interface is also quite strange at times; it’s like they tried their hardest to westernize the game, but no matter how hard they tried they couldn’t find a word for four-sided circle.
- Flight is a flighty novelty. Awesome! I can fly! WHEEE—oh wait, why am I hitting an invisible wall? Oh. I can’t fly in this zone. And I can’t fly in this one either. So, for no apparent reason I can’t fly in most of the zones I have access to? Great innovation, guys.
So after playing Aion for 20-30 hours, I’m done. We’ve seen this before. Novelty is seductive at first but turns out to be a nagging hag not worth the shoes she walked in on. I’m done with theme-park pay-to-play MMOs. I’ve yet to find one that is worth my money. I’m not going to spend my money in the future if the game isn’t obviously a significant departure worth supporting.