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.
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?