Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Aion: Fighting in the Abyss

As a fan of PvP and RvR, I can't help but keep an eye on Aion. Today I did some reading and watching about life in the Abyss. It has similarities with other games like WAR, but is also different.

Keep Sieges. The keep siege system looks very similar to WAR. The door is the main line of the defense. Attackers must break down the door using their abilities or siege weapons. The door is healed through a device inside the keep. Flying into the keep is generally a bad idea as there is a damaging field. This field can be turned off once you break through the doors. Once in you kill a boss and the castle is yours. To watch the tutorial video's, check out this thread.

I've also read that there are no incentives for holding a keep, so keep trading is rampant on existing servers. If it is true, that would be a real shame.

Artifacts. There are a number of area effecting artifacts in the game. They are captured from special npc-guarded locations throughout the abyss. It almost sounds like some of them are 1-time use, tough to tell right now. They don't seemed to be tied to keeps/forts at all.

Mobile Rez. You can carry a kisk (mobile obelisk) around with you that will act as a respawn point. Only a limited amount of players can bind to it and it can be destroyed. No more long walks back to the fight, but it could also mean perpetual life in a way. I'd have to see it in practice, but it is interesting.

Hero System. A select amount of players on each side will be able to become Guardians/Heroes. This turns them into a raid boss with special skills (and some restrictions). Only the top tier of players will be able to turn into these of course. These players will be worth more Abyss Points, but will be able to take on many players by themselves as well. I don't know how well this will work out but it's something different. See this thread for more info.

For a video of a Cleric as a Hero/Guardian, check this out. They get a powerful heal... so you can imagine what happens.

Zerg On. One of the biggest complains about WAR is that it is all about the Zerg. Nevermind the fact that all PvP, except those who activly choose not to, degenerates into a zerg. Aion's engine seems to allow Zerg on a scale yet unseen. See this video. Names are still on, but characters are not visible. We'll have to wait and see what it will be like in game.

Collision. Aion doesn't appear to have any player collision detection. It probably helps their engine, but I liked it in WAR. It gives tanks a good purpose in keep defense.


The game looks great, but I refuse to beta anymore. Gets me to hyped up. I say that now, but I know if offered STOR beta, I'll jump at the chance.

Bottomline, I'm holding off with Aion

I'm holding off too, as I'm not sure I even want to play it yet. If it was PvP from level 1, I'd be there.

I like the look of Aion's game performance, it seems to run very well and some of the things you mention sound interesting, but I just can't get past the cutesy camp graphics and grind fest style.

The zerg point is interesting if you compare it to DAoC. In DAoC enough of the players decided that zerging is annoying and pointless so didn't and avoided it. And then it worked. I still maintain that the only game to get MMO PvP (RvR) right is DAoC.Which is a result of the player base and the developers working together.

@Anthony: Yep, players need to decide they don't want to zerg. It isn't something the developer can do on their own (other than instancing).

@Bootae: They are interesting, but I'm not sure they are good things. New gameplay ideas are always welcome to me though.

This mobile rez sound like a great idea and might yet be a way to discourage zerging - a smaller amount of players can bind to a stone, against a zerg that has to keep going from the warcamp.

There are always something to learn from other MMOs. I don't know why people have such strong reactions to using other mmos' ideas, as long as it's done well.

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