Massively posted a critique of Aion after one month. Most of which I agree with, though I of course didn’t get nearly as far along as author Brooke Pilley. I had exactly the same feeling in regard to the PVE content I had access to, which is to say it was utterly boring and senseless. The type of thing – kill 10 bugs and carry their entrails to Juan over there – that one wants to do if they suffer from insomnia. It certainly doesn’t rise to the level of content available from most MMOs in 2009. As I said, it’s utterly boring and I was completely unmotivated to do it, yet as Brooke’s critique notes, even doing those missions, you still won’t get very far level wise. Also know as the “grind”, you are forced to mindlessly grind (kill creatures you come across) for longer and longer periods of time as you advance through the levels, and that kind of game design is nothing short of retarded in today’s market. I wasn’t taken enough by the game to get truly excited about it, but game design that requires me to wander the lands doing nothing with my time but whacking bugs for hours simply isn’t for me.
The other big aspect, that I found out about only after I started playing, was that around level 25 you are more or less forced into aspects of the MMO that you don’t want to participate in. I’ve said it often enough about WoW–that they were able to dominate in the market because they successfully catered to multiple playing styles. There are PVP and PVE servers, and on PVP servers you are obvious gank bait. But on PVE servers you aren’t forced into PVP unless you want to participate. That isn’t the case with MMOs like Darkfall, which pride themselves with being hardcore, all the time (how’s that working out for ya btw?) and MMOs like Aion, which have very linear game play and play style assumptions. You’re a round ball, and they’re going to fit you in a square hole. I love to PVP in the MMOs I’ve played, but I generally like to PVP when skills and abilities make sense and work well. I don’t necessarily think that is entirely the case in AION. I believe I’ve mentioned my inability to make sense of the movement based buff system.
In any event, I’m happy that some are finding enjoyment in AION. I’m simply not one of them and won’t bad mouth it as an MMO. I just don’t think the type of game-play that seems to be the rage in Asia translates to the American market all that well.