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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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  • sweat shops (Score:2, Insightful)

    by timmarhy ( 659436 ) on Thursday August 13, 2009 @11:12PM (#29061469)
    i'm sure sweat shops are very social - all day farming gold leaves time to talk.
  • by Guppy ( 12314 ) on Thursday August 13, 2009 @11:35PM (#29061593)

    From the Article, concerning killing a PKing player (a "slayer"):

    6. If you or someone else kills a slayer, 12 nearby players of the dead body will receive buffs.

    Is the buff substantial? It sounds like it may be possible for players to use an alternate char to PK deliberately for the purpose of getting themselves killed, to buff their main characters. This might have the unintended consequences.

  • "Asian Style"? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by countvlad ( 666933 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @12:15AM (#29061853)
    Can someone explain to those of us "stuck in the west" exactly what an "Asian Style" MMO is? Is it a game where the men look like women and the women are hot? Mouse-driven gaming sounds scary, kind of like using Macs before the switch to OSX and multi-button mice.
  • Re:Aion will Flop (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blahplusplus ( 757119 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @12:36AM (#29062009)

    "To make a new MMORPG be massively successful, it's going to take a re-invention of the genre..."

    I'd like the see the MMO genre die, single player RPG's have all but been abandoned in an attempt at a cash grab for monthly fee's from MMO's.

    The real problem is RPG's can't evolve within an MMO framework since the gameplay is ALWAYS the same in every god damn mmo, it's ALWAYS auto controlled and non-action (twitch/full control ala God of war) based.

    That's one of the things I can't stand about MMO's is the focus is on a single character and yet everything is automated out the ying yang and there is barely any skill involved. Not only that, the lag prevents certain kinds of design in terms of action and effects from happening due to latency.

    I hope all MMO's start to fade away as players get sick and tired of their monthly fee's. IMHO I've hated the MMO trend since the beginning how gamers can stand to get dinged $15 a month on top of full price for a game is pure insanity.

  • Re:"Asian Style"? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Undead Waffle ( 1447615 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @12:37AM (#29062019)
    I think it means you spend a thousand hours picking grass so you can raise your grasspicking skill 1% which increases your rabbit faction by 0.001.
  • Re:Aion will Flop (Score:3, Insightful)

    by blackraven14250 ( 902843 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @12:43AM (#29062049)
    Every MMO has been the same old shit, including before WoW. I'd attribute it's success more to being contagious and being able to attract a large crowd at the start due to known IP that I would nearly anything else. The contagious factor can be brought into any game, and so can the crowd. It's just a matter of marketing, and getting word out to every last person possible about the awesomeness of the game before launch. I don't think enough people will be fickle enough to go "oh damn, they don't have a stun at level 15 on my warrior-type, back to WoW". Oh, and one thing Aion has far above and beyond WoW: it forces you to meet people within 15 hours of starting. At lv. 18, you stop getting quests except for ones that are for elites. You don't get another till 20 (ok, so you get like 2. Not nearly enough to level up). It forces community building, which is one of the main reasons people turn to MMO's, and by far the main reason people stay in MMO's for so long. They're really shitty games in general in terms of raw fun level that's built-in. Do you think anyone would play an MMO if it were single player?
  • Re:Aion will Flop (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dnaumov ( 453672 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @12:59AM (#29062143)
    You are confused. Not reaching the userbase of WOW does not make an MMO a flop. EVE has been thriving for years with just ~250,000 users.
  • Re:Aion will Flop (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 14, 2009 @01:10AM (#29062191)

    Do you think anyone would play an MMO if it were single player?

    I thought that was 80% of the population in WoW.

  • by Cordath ( 581672 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @01:33AM (#29062293)
    One thing that I think the article is absolutely wrong about is that Western RPG's or MMO's are in any way behind Eastern ones. From Baldur's Gate to Planescape: Torment to the KOTOR series, single player western RPG's have really pushed the boundaries and given us compelling and unique experiences. While the West churns out fewer RPG's than the East, they tend to be much more varied and innovative, especially in terms of characterization and plot. When a good Western RPG comes out I can look forward to a fresh experience, while most Eastern RPG's feel annoyingly familiar. Playing them, I always experience deluges of deja vu and have to carefully switch off parts of my brain. (e.g. The part that doesn't want to play a bitchy adolescent male prodigy saving the universe... again.) The things that appeal to Eastern audiences, like those fucking chocobo's, aren't what float my boat. Likewise, to say that the West is behind in the MMO department, with WoW absolutely stomping Eastern MMO's in their own bloody markets...

    Aion looks like a solid eastern MMORPG, but nothing compelling enough to dethrone WoW. It's artwork also feels distinctly Eastern, which means it will flop in the West. Lots of people in the West love anime, love Kurosawa, love Chan-wook Park, but they're still a very small minority. The majority of people will not go for something that feels too Eastern, just as Eastern audiences flocked to Lineage but not to western MMOs. Cultural barriers definitely do exist between the East and the West and Aion doesn't look like a MMO that transcends them. It really is extraordinary that WoW has somehow managed to appeal to both the East and West, and I'm not sure even Blizzard knows how they managed it.

    So, what's going to dethrone WoW? Slap me silly with a mackerel if I have a clue. Probably WoW2. It's not really a terribly interesting question. What is an interesting question is when we're going to see hugely popular MMO's on the scale of WoW in genres other than fantasy. There are a lot of people out there who love sci-fi and not fantasy, or who love historical settings and not sci-fi or fantasy. These are largely untapped markets. There is probably room for several big MMO's to do well at the same time, provided they target different genres. (another reason why Aion is probably doomed.)

    Bioware's KOTOR MMO looks promising. It's sci-fi, which hasn't really been done well in a MMO sense except possibly for Eve Online, but the space-sim market is arguably a different genre from what KOTOR targets. Bioware has a long track record of excellent single player RPG's, but it remains to be seen if they have what it takes to put out a MMO, especially now that they have their own sort of "imperial entanglement" predicament now that they're under EA's umbrella. (You can bet there will be pressure to release early coming from EA, no matter how much Bioware claims they are the master of their own domain!) A lot of single player RPG fans are up in arms over KOTOR being turned into a MMO, since KOTOR's strength was it's compelling stories, which are remarkably hard to do in a MMO that is more about player dynamics. Bioware claims they've found the holy grail of MMO's though, a way to bring single player plots to massive online environments. That's a bold claim, if ever there was one. I wish them luck.
  • Re:Aion will Flop (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ghostdoc ( 1235612 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @01:40AM (#29062323)

    Like I said in another post, MMO's are about community.

    Not any more.
    I played DAoC, then switched to WoW at launch and watched my guild fall apart because they could solo in WoW.

    People's preferences are clearly and absolutely:
    1: Group with a small number of very good friends
    2: Solo
    3: Group with guild mates (or people they know a bit and trust a bit)
    (and way down there)
    457657465674: Group with strangers

    For some people, 1 and 2 are interchangeable. I know people who play WoW daily and have *never* grouped to quest, only to pug instances.

    I think that part of WoW's huge success is because you can solo effectively in it, and that suits a lot of people just fine. I don't think any MMO that forces you to group up will get anywhere near WoW's numbers.

    It's sad, because my best memories are of times spent grouped up and laughing in either game.
    On the other hand my worst memories from either game are from other people too. I can understand not wanting to risk the bad stuff to possibly get the good stuff.

  • Re:sweat shops (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 14, 2009 @01:53AM (#29062357)
    Flamebait? For real? How the fuck do you think anyone can accumulate that much gold in any decent amount of time?
  • by PsyQ ( 87838 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @01:56AM (#29062369) Homepage

    Most Americans (at least judging by American MMO bloggers' postings) don't really like the concept of MMOs running on RMTs, but if you want a preview of the Asian style of MMO, try Runes of Magic []. You'll notice that most Asian games come with a lot more convenience features than you'd find in e.g. WoW, where basic things turn into a chore. In RoM you have auto-walk, auto-find-NPC, your quest journal's important words are linked directly to an auto-walk path to the monster/person you need to find, there are many methods of instant or fast transport, free player housing from level 1, permanent mount available for purchase from level 1 etc.

    If you can for one second swallow your hate of mouse-based walking (there's WASD too, for chrissakes) and RMTs, you'll see that a game doesn't become stupidly easy just because it is convenient to play.

    You can find some of that in Perfect World and Jade Dynasty [] or any of the Aeria games [] as well, but I wouldn't recommend those. Runes of Magic is very well-adapted to the Western audience. Many other Asian MMOs are endless grindfests, because it seems that people there don't mind grinding to achieve things in a game. Radiant Arcana (as the original Runes of Magic is called in China/Taiwan/Japan/Korea) is a much more grindy game than Runes, since Frogster figured that Western players don't have the patience for a grindfest. I think they may be right.

    So before someone writes an article about Eastern vs. Western-style MMOs, they should perhaps look at deeper game design elements rather than just imply "oh wow, mouse control is so you can smoke with your other hand". Also, I think the author of TFA didn't even notice that Aion's Western version had a lot of grind removed and is faster to play than the original. If he thinks the leveling curve is bad here, he should play the Korean one.

    Someone get a Taiwanese, a Korean, a Japanese, a British and an American game journalist to work on an article, that way they'd talk to each other and debunk some of the myths :P

  • by magamiako1 ( 1026318 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @02:04AM (#29062387)
    A) I'd rather pay a monthly subscription to a game than enter a game that has micro transactions for items. The potential for impulse buying is way too high. Yes, players should be more responsible with their money blah blah blah......but you tell me that impulse buying isn't going to be a significant problem for the players (obviously not for the company).

    B) I don't like grinding--period. The only time I ever grind in wow is on the very rare chance I am bored and have nothing better to do. My grinding lasts no more than 30-45 minutes at a time. Grinding being: killing the same group of mobs repeatedly, flying around a zone mining, etc.

    If the game requires any of these two elements, I just am not going to play it. If anything, I'd rather WoW become more difficult and skill-based to play. I'd rather the higher end content require more effort, coordination, and dedication than it takes now. Grinding for hours on end is not my kind of fun.
  • Re:Warhammer (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FreonTrip ( 694097 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (pirtnoerf)> on Friday August 14, 2009 @02:19AM (#29062437)
    I don't have any personal experience with the game, but are you really concerned about a few mouseclicks before jumping into a game driven almost entirely by mouse-driven activities?
  • Re:Aion will Flop (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 14, 2009 @03:11AM (#29062663)

    You are so off it isn't funny. The Lineage series is vastly superior in terms of longevity when compared to western mmos. Conan is a bad analogy because the gameplay is horrid at best. Aion may stabilize at 80k North American subs, but it will rival the numbers of wow world wide.

    Your asseveration of what is or is not a wow clone is flawed. Wow is a clone of every game before it. The small minded, crack head gamers that think it was the first and only are the ones that make even playing an mmo horrible at now. Wow is the clone, not the games that came after it. I sincerely wish that you half retarded wow fan boys would stick to wow and never play another mmo ever. It would make the experience much better for the people that actually want to play the game.

    Wow is an itemcentric grind fest. You do a dungeon to do another dungeon to do another dungeon to do another dungeon to wait for an expansion to do another dungeon to do another dungeon to wait for another expansion. fun eh? How is a game that is build around pvp even remotely similar? Because it has an interface and is fantasy based? You are a fucktard at best. And don't even bring up the fact that wow has SOME pvp It is the worst pvp since guild wars, and has no substance. There is no war in Warcraft.

  • Re:Aion will Flop (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Exitar ( 809068 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @04:18AM (#29062939)

    "Oh, and one thing Aion has far above and beyond WoW: it forces you to meet people within 15 hours of starting"

    Forces you? Who want to play a game that forces you to do something if you don't want to do it?

    If a MMORPG can't be soloed it will fail.
    A percentage of people like to quest alone and maybe instance in groups, so Aion would piss them off.
    But, more importantly, after some months a new player will find hard to be accepted in groups by more experienced players ("Hey, you're such a noob").

    The reason for WoW success is that it allows a large number of play styles (questing, raiding, pvp...)
    Games not so balanced will only satisfy a niche of population, so maybe people will start to play, see they don't really enjoy the game and leave.
    When many players leave, others will follow as the servers will start to look empty. Empty servers must be merged.
    Server merges helps the playing population to continue to enjoy the game but from outside it's seen as "ok, another failed MMORPG, I won't even try it"

    And I'm being optimistic, regarding Aion, as in all my reasonings above I assumed it won't be bug filled or with huge imbalances...

  • Re:"Asian Style"? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 14, 2009 @04:59AM (#29063113)

    As of 3.2 patch, you can learn flying in Outland when you enter it around 60. Also when you have one level at 80 (2nd expansion max), you can buy a book you send to your alt to learn cold weather flying at 70 instead of waiting to 77.

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

    by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @06:43AM (#29063507)

    If a MMORPG can't be soloed it will fail.

    Explain to me why I should pay 15 bucks a month to play a solo game? I can do that for free (after paying the initial price for the game, which I'd have to play for an MMO as well as for a "normal" game).

    The "solo-able" appeal of MMOs has always puzzled me. I'm all for games offering some sort of solo activity, so you can remain busy and active even when your friends aren't around or your class is currently not in demand, but making it a sensible way to spend your game time is certainly a way to drive me away from it. I do not pay 15 bucks a month to play a solo game.

    Yes, yes, just for the level grind... Huh? To quote you, "Forces you"? Forces me, in this case? I am forced to do something I don't want to do to play the part that is finally to my liking? It's probably not going to take long, these days leveling is done in a matter of weeks. Yet I am supposed to play a game I don't want to play for weeks to finally get to play what I want?

    Sounds insane if you ask me. It's like having to play through stages and stages of RTS game if you hate them so you can finally get to the FPS game part you want to play in the first place.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 14, 2009 @06:53AM (#29063527)

    Asian style MMO = grindfest.

    I rofl at the WoW players that have never played another MMO (besides briefly the OTHER "WoW killers" there have been in the past) who think that Aion will be ANY different from the hundreds of previous Korean MMOs that have been released in the past.

    You. Will. Have. To. Grind. Your. Ass. Off.

    90% of the American Playerbase will quit after hitting level 40. I guarantee it. (And then come back to WoW, lol.)

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

    by Impeesa ( 763920 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @06:58AM (#29063549)
    If a game doesn't allow solo play, then the corollary is you need a group to do anything. Groups can be hard to assemble and coordinate - sometimes it takes a while to get going, and sometimes you just don't feel like dealing with it, even if you normally enjoy it. If you can't do anything useful ungrouped, then why bother logging in for anything other than a scheduled guild raid? And if you're logging in that infrequently, why keep logging in at all? This is the downward spiral of a strictly group-only MMO.
  • Re:Aion will Flop (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lonewolf666 ( 259450 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @08:09AM (#29063909)

    Every MMO has been the same old shit, including before WoW. I'd attribute it's success more to being contagious and being able to attract a large crowd at the start due to known IP that I would nearly anything else. The contagious factor can be brought into any game, and so can the crowd. It's just a matter of marketing, and getting word out to every last person possible about the awesomeness of the game before launch.

    If "the same old shit" is all a game has, it is not surprising if it fails in competing against WOW. Because in terms of large crowds and buddies already playing the game, nothing beats WOW.

    IMHO a new MMO should have something that makes it different. It could
    -have strategic components to gameplay
    -require more and different player skills in combat (twitch based?). Mere button mashing gets boring fast. Tactically clever use of skill combos is better but also done to death by now.
    -be focused on empire building, with players controlling territory in game
    or something else NOT found in dozens of existing MMOs.

    EVE Online, for instance, has some of the first and last in the above list, and that gives it a depth most other MMOs cannot match. Subscriber numbers have constantly grown over the years and are over 300k now according to CCP. While not at WOW size, that is a nice success.

    Back to Aion, the TenTonHammer article mentions a system for conquering villages that brings the "empire" aspect into game, and there seems to be an unregulated area as PvP free fire zone. Sounds like Aion has a chance to find its own crowd, but it would need to be more innovative to draw me away from EVE ;-)

  • by Tony Hoyle ( 11698 ) <> on Friday August 14, 2009 @08:51AM (#29064277) Homepage

    Something doesn't ring true here.

    You started playing your first ever character in March and by July you're level 60+ and haven't yet learned even what an alt is? An experienced player can level that fast, but a new player would struggle.. and as you level you learn now to fight bosses etc. that's why levelling is supposed to be hard.

    You do see real newbs at level 60-70.. those are the ones that have bought accounts and don't have the first idea how to do their job as they didn't level with it. They generally get ignored.

  • by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @10:10AM (#29065071)
    Ohhh.... trolls have evolved! This troll uses whole sentences, attempts to establish cause and effect, has an introduction, main point, and a summary... and yet is as much a troll as "Asians are fags, kekeke". Just to demonstrate the scope of trolling, solipsism a philosophical concept that argues that only the mind can be proven to exist. It has nothing to do with remote kills being easier to perform than a personal stabbing.
  • by badness ( 78200 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @10:25AM (#29065277) Homepage

    Thanks for proving his point.

  • Re:sweat shops (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jurily ( 900488 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <yliruj>> on Friday August 14, 2009 @11:02AM (#29065795)

    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.

    All I can say to that is: demand and supply. In a game where not every raptor drops a raptor head for a quest, what did you expect?

    WoW is specifically designed to rob people of their time with all the farming required. The very existence of the term "farming" is telling, too. Now, if some people decide their time is worth more than $5, who are we to judge if they outsource the boring parts?

    I think this should be a feature of the game, not a form of cheating. That way they could put a cap on it, while remaining the only ones who make money on their game, and also keeping some of the notion of every player being equal.

  • Re:sweat shops (Score:3, Insightful)

    by blackraven14250 ( 902843 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @03:06PM (#29069365)
    If by "paid" you mean around $3 a day, for a 12 hour shift.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling