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Aion is NCSoft's MMO With a Pretty Face 89

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the going-for-the-shiny-factor dept.
Eurogamer has an interesting review of a game that you might not have even heard about amidst all the hype for other games coming out in the near future. NCSoft's Aion is taking a stab at dispelling the myth that MMOs can be either beautiful or gameplay-rich, but not both. "Best of all, most of Aion's splendor is achieved through rich color and fine art, rather than particle effects and polygons, meaning it shouldn't be as expensive to run as it looks. NCsoft appears to have thought of everything. That's just as well - if it's going to bridge the abyss between the Eastern and Western MMO, it will need to. The big question is whether Aion can be all things to all MMO players, and still retain a soul of its own. We'll find out when it's released early next year."
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Aion is NCSoft's MMO With a Pretty Face

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  • Dispelling the myth? (Score:4, Informative)

    by TheSambassador (1134253) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @12:30PM (#24481687)

    NCSoft's Aion is taking a stab at dispelling the myth that MMOs can be either beautiful or gameplay-rich, but not both.

    Who ever thought that? I thought WoW was a very beautiful game (though not everybody liked the cartoony style) and the gameplay was very "rich." Where did this "myth" come from?

  • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @12:33PM (#24481759) Homepage Journal
    From what I've seen, a bridge between Eastern and Western MMOs is going to be difficult. Eastern MMOs tend to reward hard work and perseverance, whereas western players tend to dislike excessive grind. Even the business models differ, with a lot of eastern MMOs being "free to play" but having a lot of in-game items that need to be purchased with real money. Western MMOs tend to have monthly fees, but discourage or outright ban using actual money in a way that influences gameplay.
  • by Knara (9377) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @12:40PM (#24481913)

    "Hard work and perseverance" are *not* synonymous with trendmilling/grinding. "Eastern" MMOs (for whatever value that definition even has) tend to focus doing a small range of things over and over again in order to advance in the game.

    While this is pretty much the order of the day for the majority of MMOs, "eastern" MMOs (the term makes me wonder each time if its even accurate -- given that there's plenty of MMOs that aren't even in English) take it to excessive lengths.

  • by TriezGamer (861238) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @12:46PM (#24482023)

    Have you honestly played many MMORPGs? Eastern and Western? WoW is hardly a bad looking game, but I wouldn't place it in the category of 'most beautiful looking MMORPGs'. In fact, many Eastern MMORPGs (though not all) blow the average Western MMORPG out of the water, visually speaking. It just so happens that those games ... well, suck. Very pretty to look at, not really that fun to play.

    I believe that is what TFA (or at least summary) is trying to hint at.

    tl;dr -- WoW isn't a bad looking game, but it's not the greatest.

  • by Moraelin (679338) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @12:58PM (#24482251) Journal

    I think they mean something more along the lines of "between MMOs designed in the West and those designed in the East", rather than what people play there.

    Probably the players are still... players, in all corners of the world. But there seem to be certain assumptions that some major designers make, which are culture related. And are as often wrong in the East as they are in the West.

  • by garylian (870843) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @03:19PM (#24484681)

    This will be the most interesting thing to see if they can overcome.

    Eastern/Asian MMOs are, as a general rule, all similar. It's all about how many potions you can carry, what kind of timers they have, and how much range damage you can produce. Melee combat is a major afterthought, as they tend to serve no purpose in groups. And they often are the "free to play, with an item mall!" model. Ugh! The graphics are often very well done, though the female models all start to look the same after a while. Everyone and their brother has a merchant booth set up in the middle of town or in the pathways in/out of town. Dungeons tend to be few, so grouping is not necessary, except to power level through a zone.

    Western MMOs tend to focus more on grouping, though solo play is supported. Potions are more of an afterthought, though some games like WoW have healing potions, just with much longer timers to keep it from being a potion-based healing system. Classes are more varied, and there are generally accepted rolls to fulfil. (Healer, tank, DPS, crowd control, etc.)

    Personally, I can't stand most Eastern/Asian MMOs. There seems to be so little skill involved in most of them. It's all about carrying a lot of potions, and attacking the mob from range. I've never needed to group in any of the ones I've played, and I find item malls insulting. I'd rather see players earn stuff, and not just buy it. Ebay toons are bad enough, but at least they generally cost a lot more than buying some great weapon/armor piece with cash for a lot less. They all just feel like they are the same game, with slighly different land masses to run over until your bags are full or you run out of potions, then sell, and repeat.

    NCSoft is not having the greatest of luck with its Eastern model MMOs, with Lineage II being the only possible exception here in North America. (CoH/V was done seperately, I believe.)

  • by Draeven (166561) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @05:06PM (#24486991)

    As much as I hate to promote Nexon NA, I really think you should give Mabinogi a try.

    The combat system in Mabinogi is quite different and unique. It takes some time to get used to the click to move system, but you'll soon find it necesarry so that your other hand is free to use skills with proper timing.

    In Mabinogi, a person could make a brand new character, and have trouble completing even the beginner quests. Another person who is skilled at the game could create a brand new character, and be able to take on even higher level dungeons and creatures. Player skill is an extremely important factor in this game. So much so that, to use potions as an example, a skilled player can finish a dungeon without ever needing a single potion. Despite fighting creatures that could kill him in just a few hits were he to do something wrong.

  • Re:Left-Click Doom (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @05:20PM (#24487241)

    A Path To Western Online Games Success in Asia [gamasutra.com]

    The author of this article, Tim Allison, mentions this very thing with regard to control schemes...

    "In Asia the gamers want to have their right hand free to answer the mobile phone, smoke or drink while playing."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @08:55PM (#24489799)

    (CoH/V was done seperately, I believe.)

    It was initially made by a separate company (Cryptic) with NCSoft as the publisher, but now that company is working on Champions Online while most of the developers who worked on CoH/V work directly for NCSoft, which bought the CoH/V property.

    Not many who plays CoH/V has much faith in Champions Online being any good though, the developers who left to work on that were some of the worst that worked on CoH/V, while the best developers stayed with NCSoft to continue working on it and improved the game a lot since the split.

No amount of careful planning will ever replace dumb luck.