Aion now F2P
It is being very low key, but public free to play access to aion went live when it patched its servers over a week ago. The april 11th launch date is window dressing only. So I stepped in for the first time and it was pretty nice. As far as a leveling game goes it is now pretty descent, in one of the last couple of patches they bumped experience up alot to remove the grind. However I kinda stopped playing for I have several fears that I will list below. One thing of note, unlike most other F2P conversions, aion is a %100 conversion where nothing in the level 1-60 game is blocked from the free player. You can be any class and do all the content, get all the gear. It is how f2p should be done.
- Character designs look great. Like most Korean MMOs the armor and character looks are attractive and top notch.
- Quest system is fairly polished and as good as WoW's built in one, even better as new quest givers will be marked on your large map so you never miss them. Navigating quest windows took a few more clicks though which was annoying.
- UI was pretty good, again its up to spec on WoW's basic UI. Have not looked to see if custom ones could be loaded.
- World was overall pretty nice, it is using the crysis 1 engine and the water effects were great. Unfortunately I didn't notice any tree movement which harkens back to old games and their snapshot fantasy look. Good use of particle effects.
- The lack of talent system is a throw back to Everquest. This is bad, worse then Guild Wars. You choose 4 starter classes when you level 1-9 and then choose 2 main classes that branch off from that starter class. Also like everquest, once you choose a class you are stuck with it for life. Without different talent specs, each class has one roll and the same set of spells. This is easily the worst part of aion. Also, like everquest, apparently even cleric's are expected to melee/close range when soloing which is wrong on so many levels.
- To add insult to badness... Aion has a heavy pvp element and despite the fact you have 8 classes with no room for alteration of your class subtype, there is still bad imbalances in the pvp system. This is inexcusable really. Also because pvp plays a big role in pve areas, people are blindly forced to gem magic resist/boost for spell resist protection, and HP so they can live long enough to do something. So BORING.
- Lack of endgame energy on the developers end. The game has been out for quite some time and not much has been introduced into the endgame over that time. A lot of things changed and got introduced in the leveling game but the endgame has little additional content, lacks a lot of gear, and is actually where the large pvp imbalances take place.
- Responsiveness for casters. This has been a long bane for players of casting classes, and even more so for clerics. There is a delay of about 1-2 seconds before you start casting as part of your animation, this is made worse when you are not in combat and you need to draw your weapons first. What makes this more hilarious is apparently Melee attack haste stats will decrease this delay because it is a blind increase to the character animation (which means the behind the scenes attack/dice roll system is linked to the animation system). So the healer class, clerics, are sometimes tasked to stack some melee attack haste stats to reduce this cast delay.
I also found that rotating interrupts casting. You cannot twitch a muscle when casting, so it is much harder to make sure your target does not get out of your field of view when you finish casting.
- No option for healing and tanking, clerics are the main healer and warriors are the main tanks. Again this harkens back to the ancient archaic system of everquest. You could try and do some 5 mans with a super geared druids/SKs/Palis, but the warrior has more hp and armor then everyone else, and the cleric does way more healing.
Well that's enough from me, I am probably going to delete the game as I have better things to spend my time on. Id rather spend time leveling in a game that doesn't end when I hit max level. Also I feel I would get bored with the restrictive class system.
Mobo: EVGA 122-ck-nf68 680i sli, CPU: C2D Quad 6600, Video: EVGA GTX 460 1gb SC, Sound: X-fi gaming, Windows 7, Antec P180b,Thermalright Ultra-120 HSF, Antec TruPower TP3-650, 4 Gigs RAM