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On Transitioning To an Asian-Style MMO, Such As Aion 256

A. Harvey writes "Ten Ton Hammer has an interesting article about the transition to Asian-style MMO games, specifically Aion. 'In many ways, the West is catching up to the East in terms of gaming. Per capita gaming ... and broadband proliferation is markedly higher in Asian markets. Gaming is much more social in the East as well; many players gather together in internet cafes to spend their game time with each other. Another surprising difference in most Asian-based games is that most functions of game control are mouse based.' I think the author hit the nail on the head that Aion will be a big success in North America and will introduce a lot of players to games with an Eastern feel."
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On Transitioning To an Asian-Style MMO, Such As Aion

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  • by blackraven14250 ( 902843 ) on Thursday August 13, 2009 @11:39PM (#29061623)
    You'd need a separate account, as in, if you roll an Asmo, you can't roll an Elyos on the same server. So, it's possible, but costly just for the buff. Plus, PKing is such a huge problem in the Chinese Aion, it's ludicrous. Capped chars (45) run into lv. 20 areas all the time. They needed to do something, and I hope it works out. I don't know, as they haven't rolled out the patch with this upgrade to all the Chinese regions yet.
  • by blackraven14250 ( 902843 ) on Thursday August 13, 2009 @11:42PM (#29061653)

    their popular culture lends itself to the cartoonish graphical descriptions of games.

    Yeah, you'd definitely know this game is Asian based just on the style of all the armor and weapons past about 25. The equip for Templars/Gladiators looks straight out of RFO. Everything else looks totally unnecessary, highly colorful, and actually really cool.

  • Re:sweat shops (Score:2, Informative)

    by blackraven14250 ( 902843 ) on Thursday August 13, 2009 @11:43PM (#29061663)
    Sweat shops are how companies gold farm in Asia.
  • Re:Aion will Flop (Score:5, Informative)

    by blackraven14250 ( 902843 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @12:05AM (#29061791)

    Have you played the Chinese game? How about the Closed Beta? I have, so I'm going to comment from actually playing the past 2 months, both in beta and on Chinese servers.

    Speculation on numbers is rubbish if you don't have any reason for them other than "it happened to every WoW-clone before it". This isn't quite a WoW clone. It's familiar, but no the same.

    Aion is actually very well polished compared to AoC. It's at 1.0.12 in China, and it's supposed to be at 1.5 by the NA release. That will make it much better than it already is, which is on the level of good. AoC fucking BLEW at launch. Completely.

    I never played warhammer, won't comment.

    You negelct to realize that every day brings WoW closer to it's death. You know how many people jsut get so damn bored of it already? Do you think eternal life is possible, even for a given product?

    Granted, reinvention is usually the winner during a change between generations. But you don't need to reinvent the Corvette to sell more; you need to give it a bigger engine. Then, when that doesn't catch people atttention anymore, change the body. Then, some large number of years later, scrap it for a new kind of car.

  • Re:"Asian Style"? (Score:5, Informative)

    by blackraven14250 ( 902843 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @12:34AM (#29061991)

    They usually let you use the keyboard alot too. I dunno what the mouse thing is about.

    There really isn't much of a difference between Western and Eastern MMO's IMO. There's the difference in raw ridiculousness of the graphics, and sometimes the quality because if you target China, the shittiest MMO will bring in some players. Sometimes there's a difference in ridiculousness of story and various mechanics, such as Aion's flying vs. WoW's only-walking. I don't know what else is really different between the two. Maybe level of grind is one thing, and wether grinding PvP or PvE is better for equip at endgame.

    The biggest difference wouldn't be in the game itself, but in the players, IMO. Chinese players on Aion don't give a fuck about killstealing or anything. Ganking is ubercommon. One time, I was gathering some oysters, and a guy running up to me says stop, so I go to type "Why?" (I was in Asmo territory, in an area where Elyos were common and there was a rift open for them to get there). As I hit enter, I get back to him gathering the last oyster right there, and he sends a message going X-P. That would definitely empitomize the difference in culture when it comes to playing MMO's.

  • Re:Aion will Flop (Score:5, Informative)

    by dnaumov ( 453672 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @01:03AM (#29062165)

    Aion will have a couple hundred thousand subscribers if it's lucky, and those will churn out in a few months, the numbers will stabilize somewhere around 80K, and NCsoft will still be scratching their heads wondering why they can't publish a GOOD MMO.

    You do realise that the game has been out since November 2008 and has millions of active subscribers in Asia?

  • Re:sweat shops (Score:5, Informative)

    by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @01:23AM (#29062257) Homepage Journal

    To better answer your question - online games are "gamed" for in-game currency, which is converted into real life currency, by one means or another. There are companies in poor countries that employ dozens or hundreds of people to farm MMO's for ingame currency, to be sold on the black market to wealthy gamers. It is a lucrative business for them, considering that most come from poor countries, and they can pay people a bowl of rice of two for a day's work in front of the computer.

    The same guy might be logged into 4, 6, or more online games, and he has a quota of gold, or whatever, to harvest before his shift is over. He never gets to adventure, or explore - he performs rote actions, with the purpose of increasing his bank.

  • Re:Aion will Flop (Score:3, Informative)

    by dnaumov ( 453672 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @01:36AM (#29062307)

    There are plenty of Asian MMOs that have plenty of players in the Asian market that just can't compete in the West. Oh, and WoW kicks ass for player numbers over there as well as here, but no Asian MMORPG has yet to achieve the same kind of crossover success.

    Since The9 and Blizzard became entangled in a web of legal disputes, China doesn't even HAVE official WoW servers anymore. Some chinese have flocked to the Taiwanese servers, but judging by the amount of players chinese Aion has managed to gather all out of nowhere, a lot of them didn't.

  • by countvlad ( 666933 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @04:01AM (#29062885)
    When UO first came out (almost 11 years ago now) there was really very little grinding. Things got harder as the in game mechanics were adjusted, but macroing took a lot of the monotony out of the repetitive tasks required to raise skills.

    Of course when UO came out, it was raw, untamed, and breaking new ground in gaming. There was a lot more risk involved and a lot less rules enforcing any kind of social behavior; looking back, I miss watching the enforcement of social order by the players and not the game. It was an exciting if sometimes frustrating time in gaming. As "hardcore" as games like EQ and WoW turned out to be, they don't even compare to UO in a lot of ways.

    In the end, it was crushed by its own popularity - things have a way of inevitably declining into mediocrity as their popularity explodes, only to die a slow death as they breath life into new stars around them.

    But if there's one phrase I would never use to describe UO, it would be "monotonous grindfest."
  • by aepervius ( 535155 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @04:53AM (#29063087)
    I started playing WoW in march 2009. I kept hearing stuff like I am "faking being a newb" that I am a "fucktard" for not knowing what to do or not to do during boss fights, I was disbelieved when saying I had no alt (shortly after they laughed at me because I did not know what an alt was or an "owl" or a "dudu"). When i reached the burning crusade floating island this went even worst so I decided to stop, and I will only flock to new MMO now. So I am pretty sure everybody is about as newb as I am.
  • Re:Aion will Flop (Score:3, Informative)

    by montyzooooma ( 853414 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @05:51AM (#29063339)
    I played the first EU Beta weekend - for a couple of hours. I don't have great hopes for the game at release. There's much made of the quest system, but it still comes down to grinding monsters for experience. I actually had more fun with Runes of Magic, for the also couple of hours I played it.
  • West vs Asia? (Score:5, Informative)

    by andersh ( 229403 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @05:58AM (#29063363)
    What a bunch of nonsense. The "West" is not exactly lagging in broadband, however the US is. The West is not synonymous with the US. Europe is doing quite well in the broadband ratings, especially Western Europe [or Northern Europe].
    Furthermore Asia as a whole is not exactly leading the broadband race either. While Japan and Korea are of course very well developed, try making the same comparison with India or other large nations such as Indonesia.
  • What transition? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Tridus ( 79566 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @06:30AM (#29063465) Homepage

    I've played in a couple of these beta events. Far as I've seen, no transition is required. It's the same game.

    - Combat: You stand there pushing buttons to activate abilities, same as every other MMO on the planet. Some skills can chain into other skills, but the UI puts the next skill in the chain on the same button as the first skill, so you can really just mash that button and make it work. If you're playing the healing class (Cleric), the number of offensive skills you get is pretty small and they're boring as shit (primary nuke with a 2 second cooldown, yay autoattack?).

    - Flight: Flying around is neat. But for some reason, you can't use it in Sanctum (one of the capital cities). You can't use it in the zone immediately after the one where you are first allowed to use it. Flying as a part of combat is mostly... floating stationary so you can cast spells. It probably becomes more important in the Abyss, but from as far as I got it was a gimmick.

    - Quests: Kill 10 of these, go collect this, go talk to this guy and report back. Nothing you haven't done in every other game. In the beta there's no particular etiquette regarding gathering, people will run up and try to take nodes that you're already working on. Gathering itself actually uses some weird random system with two bars (pass/fail) dueling that takes far too long and is like watching paint dry. They could have added something interactive here to improve it considerably over WoW, but they didn't.

    - Grouping: Remember "LF1M, need healer"? It's back. Only two classes can heal, and only one of those is "the primary healer". That class is incredibly boring if you're not healing, which is great since you can't heal mobs to death in the soloable areas. Is it some kind of design law that healing classes in MMOs must be designed to be mind numbing to play when grinding? There's no option for dual spec like WoW has to turn yourself into a DPSer and make the suck stop.

    - Graphics: It looks really nice, if you have the hardware. High end performance is better then WoW, considerably. Low end performance is non existant on a lot of hardware that will play WoW. Which isn't surprising since WoW is optimized at the low end and totally CPU bound at the high end.

    I cancelled my pre-order this week. May pick it up in a few months if I'm bored, but right now I'm not bored of WoW, and Aion pretty much plays like the same game.

  • Re:Aion will Flop (Score:2, Informative)

    by MogNuts ( 97512 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @07:49AM (#29063805)

    The problem with /. groupthink is that since you read it everywhere, you assume it to be true. Case in point: Age of Conan.

    Age of Conan is actually a really fun game. I know /. loves to bash it left and right, but this is a case where they're wrong. And it's one of the few MMO's where there is actually a story and the quests aren't "kill X monsters and fetch X roots."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 14, 2009 @10:41AM (#29065511)

    Its understandable. Blizzard keep increasing experience gain for new characters so they get to level cap sooner. also they've shifted to solo focused play for 1-60. so a new person can get 60+ easily w/o having to group or fight bosses

  • One word, GameGuard (Score:4, Informative)

    by nsanders ( 208050 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @02:10PM (#29068659) Homepage

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GameGuard [wikipedia.org]

    nProtect GameGuard (sometimes called GG) is an anti-cheating software

    Because of the way that GameGuard hooks into core system DLLs and interrupts[6], it is impossible (without hacking GameGuard and violating the TOS) to run games protected by GameGuard under Windows API Emulators, such as Wine under Unix-based operating systems[7]. The key issue being that GameGuard bypasses the OS safeguards in order to:

            * Hide the game application process.
            * Monitor the entire memory range.
            * Terminate specific applications without the user consent (sometimes tries to disable Kernel hooks).
            * Block specific calls to DirectX or the Windows API.

    Don't try and compare this to Blizzard's Warden, which no longer scans out of game memory, doesn't kill process as it wishes, doesn't actively block API calls, nor does it imbed its self into your OS only to be removed via a reformat and reinstall.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982