Tag: aion

Starting Over Is Hard To Do

Bloof Huntard

So my wife and I have returned to Azeroth. Kinda. Starting brand new characters on a brand new server is a great idea on paper. But there are a few issues with it that are making things, for my part, somewhat confused. Since this is a blog just as much about gaming as it is writing, here’s the latest haps in our Warcraftian lives. It’s this or a bunch of petulent whining in my LiveJournal about how all the energy I had yesterday for writing non-stop seems to have slithered away to hide under a couch in Burundi somewhere.

Highs and Lows

When we left World of Warcraft, we had top-level characters. We delved into dungeons, slugged it out in arenas, the whole nine yards. I participated in daily quests to earn some cash while she wondered why in hell anybody would bother role-playing with somebody who thinks being the bastard offspring of the Lich King and Sylvanas Windrunner is an innovative idea that’s bound to get them immortalized in the constellations of Azeroth, or maybe just some cyber-sex. Anyway, what I’m driving at is being maximum level in an MMO tends to spoil you.

Not just because it’s easier to find something to do that isn’t questing or grinding to the next level, but also you can help other characters you create in various ways. Gold, heirloom items, raw materials for crafting, you name it, a character with nothing to do but beat up boss monsters and pounce on unsuspecting members of the opposing faction is likely to have extra resources on their hands. Those resources can easily get funneled into an up-and-coming character that’ll play a different role in group endeavors, have a different story or just be a change of pace.

While starting over on a new server allows you to try a different play experience, find new people to play with or disassociate yourself with bad memories or people made of fail, it also means you’re starting literally from scratch. Doing things the hard way isn’t necessarily bad. I mean, my wife leveled her paladin on the Protection tree, so she seems to thrive on doing things the hard way. But spoiling characters on one server can leave the new one on another feeling like an unwanted step-child. Without a high-level character’s support, a low-level character can feel quite low indeed.

Pee Vee Pee

We rolled on an RP-PVP server. For the uninitiated, that’s “role-playing player-versus-player”. From what I understand, most of the servers of Aion fall into that mold. I’m going to paraphrase my wife’s take on the experience of being on those servers in that game.

Epix: I would be going along doing some kind of quest or gathering X amount of flower Y for NPC Z or some shit, when half a dozen Asmodians would pop out of nowhere and pound me into a quivering mass of bloody Elyos gibblets. That was so much fun! It was challenging and made it feel dangerous for me to even think about leaving camp! I miss that!

I suspect that being on an RP-PVP server, she’s looking for something closer to that experience, being interrupted in handing in a quest by some Alliance jerkoff stabbing the quest-giving NPC, laughing, and then stabbing her for good measure.

Yeah. Sounds like a real treat.

Epix: If you’re going to complain, why don’t you go fight Professor Coldheart with the rest of your Care Bear friends?

Grumpy Bear

She probably wouldn’t actually say that, as I said I’m paraphrasing, but it seemed funny at the time. I love you, darling.

The problem with this is that Blizzard has introduced a system that bypasses needing to quest out in the world pretty much altogether. The Random Dungeon Finder, or whatever it’s actually called, matches your character with a team of others from throughout the various servers clustered in what’s called a ‘battlegroup.’ You can stay in your home city, wait for the system to match you with a group, and work on your tradeskills or roleplay or go get yourself a snack in the meantime. You’re surrounded by high-level NPCs who will flatten any individual opponent looking to shank you on sight, and a concerted effort to break through the guards in order to down the boss-level administrative character means you’ll just get steamrolled while you’re waiting for your metal to smelt.

It seems to defeat the purpose somewhat.

What Is Your Quest?

The question I ultimately have to ask myself is, “What do I want out of playing WoW?” Getting my hunter to 80 was kind of a big deal for me. I worked hard to earn him titles, rewards and sometimes just the notion of “I survived this dungeon with the highest DPS output, and I wasn’t a dick to anybody in the group so they’re bound to invite me along for bigger challenges.” Do I just want to do that again, perhaps with a magical cloth-wearing finger-wiggling class like a mage or a warlock?

Maybe.

I mentioned in the Cataclysmic discussion that I’d be rolling a Forsaken mage, and that’s what I did. I’m liking it, but in the back of my mind I know I’m filling another DPS role. I get some great crowd control and everybody loves a mage’s conjured food & water, but how different will it ultimately be from a hunter, other than not having a furry friend to take all that nasty damage for me? Unless my wife’s playing a tauren or is in bear form.

I’d be waiting for Cataclysm to come out for my blood elf warrior spell breaker which I’d be aiming for a tanking role. Maybe I could roll a warrior on another server to learn the ropes in the meantime? I haven’t played a dedicated tank since before Burning Crusade came out – my first Horde character was a Forsaken warrior. The death knights I’ve played tended towards tanking, but I never got one to max level.

I’ve done a bit of healing in the past, and I’ve enjoyed it. Maybe I should give a hybrid class a fair shake, such as a paladin or druid. And there’s the question of where all of this would be taking place – which server, which environment, etc.

I guess my problem is I’d like to try a bit of everything. Doing that means not sticking with something long enough to get it to max level. And my max level character, whom I like playing both from a gameplay and roleplaying standpoint, has to wait until we decide to play on his server or we get enough disposable income (HA!) for a transfer.

I like contributing to the success of a group. I like getting the kill shot in on a nasty boss. I like people feeling like they can rely on me. And I like helping people not suck. Does that mean I’m better suited for a tanking role than sitting in the back dumping damage on things?

Help me, Intertweeps. I’m having trouble deciding, here.

Recovery All Around

Ubuntu, Courtesy feeblemind.org

I’m still a little sore and feeling somewhat post-op after yesterday’s wisdom tooth extraction, but two side effects have emerged. One is the occasional nosebleed, but I haven’t had one since yesterday (or last night, I think) and the other is these fucking hiccups.

Seriously, hiccups annoy me. It makes it difficult for me to maintain the line of a conversation and sometimes even a train of thought because of these irregular and somewhat random spasms down in my diaphragm. I’ve tried holding my breath and drinking water, as well as this cure and so far have only had mixed results. On to a spoonful of sugar, I guess.

Anyway, my computers seem to be faring better. A little Systems Restore magic on the main desktop got him working again, and I’m currently working around the various little bugs that emerged from upgrading the Ubuntu version on my laptop.

I love Ubuntu, by the way. It’s a great introduction to Linux. The OS is flexible, the community’s friendly & responsive, stuff looks pretty damn good on it and if I can get Wine working again, I might even be able to run games on it. Like, modern ones. I doubt it has the graphical oomph for, say, Aion, but it might be worth a try.

With these problems fixed and updates underway, I figured I could finally get around to recording this week’s ICFN, even if it means using the sub-standard microphone on the webcam. But guess what happened as soon as I settled in to do that.

The fucking hiccups came back.

So, tomorrow, maybe. For now I’m going to stop stressing and do something relaxing, like write, or shoot Collectors in the face with a shotgun. Maybe download Perfect Dark on the XBLA. I hear it’s “a stupid good time.”

Aion’s Allure

Pandaemonium

My wife has a blog and it’s going to be mostly about Aion. She’s been playing for a while and really enjoys it. Since I’ve been doing things like writing, prepping an entry for the Escapist’s video contest and playing Dragon Age, I haven’t yet started my own adventures in Atreia. Should my wife acquire a rig of her own, however, I’m more than likely going to start up my own account, and not just because I enjoy playing MMOs with her – after all, that’s how we met.

No, there are several reasons why Aion really does appeal to me.

It’s absolutely gorgeous.

No, seriously. Aion uses the CryEngine meaning that the landscapes are rendered with an attention to detail that would make Church tear up. It definitely appeals to my desire to explore new lands and interact with strange creatures. Right before I smack them around for their pants.

Balanced PvP

I was operating under the false assumption that “end-game PvP” means “grind yourself some decent armor in a battleground made mostly of fail, tweak your toon specifically for defeating exactly two types of opposing characters, then grind some more in an arena setting while those who’ve been at it for years abuse you like a pretty boy in a prison and laugh at how much you suck.” This didn’t really appeal to me. However, I’ve been informed by someone quite brilliant that the player v. player action takes the form of faction v. faction action taking place in the Abyss, kind of like the aforementioned battlegrounds, only huge and rendered with the same breathtaking gorgeousness I just talked about. When you go into something with 24 other people on your side, the intent is for overall victory, not necessarily individual achievement. If they’re interested in continued success, they’re going to help you improve your skills. If someone’s berating you on your side for being new or missing something, they’re probably just being a dick.

Also, “24” is an arbitrary number. The Abyss really is huge. HUGE. You know that feeling that Warhammer Online tried to capture of desperate large-scale combat between powerful armies, which failed because not many people were playing the game? Yeah, Aion gets that right.

Completely custom characters

Say what you want about every MMO that comes out having the same amount of sliders. Aion’s character creator is insane. Doctor Frankenstein couldn’t have developed a better way to put together an artificial construct. You could spend hours in there alone, tweaking the shape of your eyes, the cropping of your hair or the exact tone of your skin. It’s attention to detail is as deep and complete as the landscapes, meaning that your toon is going to be gorgeous and that is going to make the next few dozen hours that much more appealing. I don’t know about you, but the better my character looks when running from place to place or standing and talking to people, the more interested I’ll be in getting to the next hotspot.

Aion gives you wings

Why walk when you can fly?

Okay, you need to get past the first ten levels (“of boring“), and even then you can only fly for a little bit. But still – wings. Without spending any in-game currency, without grinding up a skill or farming materials, your character can fly. Now, you can pick up upgrades for your wings through various means, but instead of making you spend money on training and then on the wings themselves, you sprout them in the course of your character’s natural development. I know there are some people who consider this just a gimmick, but if that’s the case, it’s a damn good one.

The usual MMO appeal

There’s loot, there are titles & achievements and there’s even role-playing to be had. Now, there are some of the grind problems you’ll get with any MMO and some of the drop rates for quest related items can be a little Tourette’s-inducing, but if you can take these things in stride, Aion will definitely keep your attention and gobble up your free time. It’s balanced, it’s innovative and it’s jaw-droppingly stunning to look at. And the visual appeal can count for a lot when you’re talking about something you’ll be staring at long into the night.

Did I mention my wife plays it? And she has a blog about it now?

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