One of the interesting things that happens when you introduce people to games is that they return the favor later on. One of my friends from work recently bought me a copy of Aion Online as a way of saying “Thank You” for introducing him to World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King. As a result I lost quite a few hours of my life yesterday installing the game and completing the starter area. I now have a level 10 warrior.
It’s a little too soon to decide if this game will hang around long. I have tried other NC-Soft games before (e.g., Guild Wars) and found myself bored with it pretty quickly. Sony MMO titles (Everquest, EQII and Vanguard) held my interest longer but did not have the same player base as WoW and required a significant commitment of time just to level up. I like online games but not enough to forego “real life” simply to play them.
I’ll follow up later with my thoughts on playing Aion Online. There are a couple things I have noticed so far that I wanted to share with you:
First, some of the in-game sounds used to represent combat and crafting are rather annoying. For instance, striking an enemy sounds like somebody hitting a drum and crafting sounds like hitting a metal pipe with a hammer. After a few minutes of this I’m ready to mute the sound for everything but cut scenes. On the upside, some of the visuals are incredible, the interface is thoughtfully designed and the game play is enjoyable. I find the chained combat system particularly refreshing as it allows you to select a default rotation of attacks while making it possible to select alternative actions should the situation warrant it.
Secondly, there is not a native Mac OS client, which means I cannot play when traveling. Yes I know I could use Apple’s Boot Camp, but honestly I don’t feel this game is compelling enough to go through the trouble of partitioning my hard drive, installing Windows, and then installing this game. The fact that NC-Soft will not support their game running in a virtual machine or in boot camp further discourages me from going to all this trouble. I hope that they realize there is roughly a 10% (and hopefully, growing) share of the computer market that they are missing out on by choosing not to release a mac client.
Well, that’s all I have for now. Good luck and happy gaming! -“Beazst”