Elliot in aion, A BLog

I am so in Aion.

Aion VS WoW, A Conclusion

Really long post :D you’ve been warned.


It seems like this is the hot topic in Aionsource these days. An ex-WoW player tries Aion, gives his opinion in comparison with WoW… because.. well because he played WoW? One of the best ways for us to understand something new is to look at it in comparison with something that we already know.

While the actual review in debate had some bias leaning toward WoW, I think it represents the eyes of a big majority that’s going to be hopping from WoW to try out a new MMO. When we’re talking about within Aionsource, it’s probably of little value other than to just create brainless flaming- inducing our beloved community into an ugly Kindergartner shouting match arena. However, when we’re looking at the MMO community as whole, Aion / WoW comparison is ‘important’ for a lot of people. And I’m going to end that argument right now for you guys; you can’t compare Aion and WoW- NOT because WoW had 2 expansions, but because they are two very different games with different gameplay goals in mind.

I played Lineage 1 and Lineage 2 in my earlier years before moving onto WoW, which I ended up playing for half a year before I quit and came back here. I had three 80s (druid, warlock, DK) with epic flight on all of them. I ran a little raiding guild and had my share of Naxx and Ulduar. With a modest ‘Challenger’ title on my lock, I think I had experienced a fair share of its PvP too.

If there’s one thing I can tell you about WoW, is that WoW is a PvE oriented game. A vast majority of top ladder PvPers in WoW are also involved in serious raiding guilds. This is not just because you need the some gear from PvE to PvP, but because there’s only so much time you can really spend on WoW PvP. Of course, this will differ on each players’ playstyle; casual or hardcore, but ultimately, WoW has far more PvE content than PvP content.

Battlegrounds feel very lackluster and boring because of the fixed maps and unlimited respawns. A lack of consequence for your death results in somewhat lack of a thrill in PvP. Why should I put in my best efforts when I can respawn right back in 30 seconds? This contrasted sharply with L2, where a death meant evaporation of an hr worth of experience depending on your level, or even a loss of your gear. Everytime there was PvP in L2, it made you go full-alert mode. Every kill also felt a lot better because you know you really hurt the other guy :P that little sadist inside you approves.

Arenas provided a setting for players to battle with best of their abilities at the stake of their Ratings. While arenas truly tested your mastery of your class, it also lacked the ‘random PvP thrills’ of field PvP and L1 and L2 had.

WoW definitely had the race/class diversity. I mean each class had 3 talent trees :P Although the talents usually were marked for a specific role(heal, tank, dps), each player had freedom to make their character talent unique. (Before anyone gets tempted to point out how wrong I am here, when I quit, warlocks had 5 different PvE specs with different skill rotations that could pull 4k+ dps)WoW classes are fairly balanced. I mean there’s always going to be some class that’s a little stronger than others at something, but balancing is a never-ending homework for devs. Nothing game breaking so far.  But sometimes, people prefer simplicity, rather than spending hrs and weeks trying to figure out the best spec :P I know Kiyumi does.

Raiding was probably the biggest content WoW had. Blizzard truely deserves praise for the amount of effort that they put into designing instances. Let’s just say WoW raids require a smart group of players with a plan. As an Ex-L2 player I had never experienced dynamic PvE encounters.  It was always smack and heal with NCsoft games. L2 raids involved nothing more than everyone standing on the same spot pushing 2~3 buttons for hours. The bigger the boss, the longer you had to push buttons with a lot more people. (a first kill of Antharas in L2 took 800 players and 14 hrs) A lot of hardcore WoW players will tell you WoW raiding is mind numbing, but then they probably never experienced L2 raiding. The problem with this is that after your 19th adventure into Naxxramas, you start to experience Nausea at the very sight of it. PvE encounters are programmed. They are always the same and will get boring after a while, and when the major content of a game is static, people get bored pretty quick.

A lot of ex-WoW players wil tell you that there’s nothing to do other than just sitting around in town in WoW. This is indeed the case after a while. You hit 80. You do some raids. Get decked out. You’re sick of the same instance over and over so you try some pvp. You farm honor religiously to get some PvP gear, do some arena, and find yourself sitting in town running in circles. Time for an alt? Do I really feel like doing the same quests I did from 1-80 again? Maybe yes for the 2nd time or the 3rd time or even 4th, but eventually you get sick of it. It took me only a week to lvl a toon from 1 to 80.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed my time in WoW and every penny I spent on it was worth it. I also have nothing but praise for Blizzard’s excellent customer service. After dealing with NCsoft answering machines for years, I was amazed to meet a GM that actually did things for me like ‘recovering accidently spent tokens’. While WoW was great, it also burnt out pretty quick.

WoW achieved something that most other MMOs failed to do. It managed to appeal to the vast majority of the players; the casuals. I still remember what this one player told me on my first week of WoW; “In WoW, you’re never forced to do anything you don’t want to do.”  If you like lvling solo, then there’s the thousands of quests for you to do from 1 to 80. If you’re into grouping then hey! these quests also support group questing and tens of instances that cover every level. Don’t like field PvP? then try out PvE server! With 10 million subscribers worldwide, no one can deny Blizzard’s success.

NCsoft is not trying to mimic Blizzard’s success. It never did. NCsoft is still walking its own path. This is why WoW cannot be directly compared with Aion. NCsoft found its own style of games with L1 and L2 and Aion carries over a lot of distinct characteristics from them; grindy lvling, simplistic PvP with thrill, and most important of all; an infinite possibility on each and every player. In WoW, no matter how much time you put into the game or are good at it, you’ll never ever be the ‘hero’. Even in lore, you’ll always find yourself following a true hero’s footsteps; even doing ‘quests’ that involve aiding a faction that is bigger than yourself. However, in L1, or in L2, if you put in more effort in than everyone else, more passion than everyone else, then you’ll find yourself as a hero that WoW didn’t let you become. You’ll come to realize that the concept ‘survival of the fittest’ is more prominent in Aion than WoW.

However, such ideas in L1 and L2 didn’t fit the majority of NA audience. NCsoft did put alot of thought into this. This is why they made so many beginning quests for 1~20. (also to prevent another fail L2 review where the review couldn’t get past lvl 5 :P) NCsoft tried to find the just the right amount of harsh reality. The grind in Aion is definately much less than grind in L1 and L2. NCsoft is hoping to replace experience loss factor with AP gain and losses.

My god look at the time :P I think I wrote too much without organizing them first =[ Anyway, if you couldn’t hit 80 in WoW, then you’ll probably fail miserably in Aion. If you hated Lineage2, then you’ll hate Aion too. But if you’re exhaused from WoW like me and is looking to play something different or even fresh, then Aion is for you. (or just a really shallow person who’ll be happy at staring at hot characters)

Written by elliot

June 4, 2009 at 1:53 am

2 Responses

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  1. Reading this as a WoW player, this is a very interesting read.

    The thing I’m most afraid of is not the “grindy” nature of Aion but the customer service, bot and hack problems, being far behind k-Aion in terms of patches (which in turn will create hack/exploit problems).

    Let’s just say that there probably isn’t many (if any) game companies that listen to their userbase and respond at the level that Blizzard does.

    Well, I guess there’s not much else to do than to try it out when It’ll be available here in the west.


    June 4, 2009 at 3:07 pm

  2. I thought this was a good post but I couldn’t agree when you claimed that the class balance was good (or well at least decent). Maybe in PVE but not in PVP. I used to play in both Cyclone (top EU bg) and Misery (2nd) and it’s always and only FOTM setups. I guess that’s why I got tired of WoW. Why spend time on one character that will get screwed over in one patch, only to get love 3 months later. Either you leveled an alt and went with the flow or you had to work harder than anyone else to work your way up in the ladder.

    But yeah, WoW no longer keeps me entertained. I’ve tried and I’ve wanted to play the game again but it’s like you say, stuff gets boring fast, way too fast. Hopefully Aion will keep me entertained for a long time (:


    June 4, 2009 at 9:58 pm

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