Aion Classic review in progress
Classic Aion launched last week, announcing a return to the original 1.0 version of Aion which was released in 2009. It takes Aion back to before one of its expansions, all of its content added as new classes, and when the upgrade was much more laborious. I remember playing Aion on launch day, and its flight system and flashy combat hooked me in a way that the likes of World of Warcraft, Guild wars, and Warhammer Online at the time, I just couldn’t. Unfortunately, I remember that the work had become too hard for me at the time and I quit the game a year later when Final Fantasy XIV originally launched.
But this fiasco is a whole different story! Today I am here to regale you with my experiences of the past week playing Classic Aion again – almost 12 years later. While Classic launched for South Korea last year in November, but we have not received any official western announcement up to two weeks before launch day, which isn’t much of a warning to prepare. I knew I was going to do it all over again on day one, especially since it was mentioned that the leveling process would be easier and that “adjustments were made so that the highest level could be reached in one step. record. less time. “Let’s drink this! So, after a full week, how Classic Aion?
First of all, like any new MMORPG – even if it’s just a classic server launch – there are bound to be some hiccups on launch day. Classic Aion was no exception, but I feel the issues he encountered were relatively minor. The initial server launch time has been pushed back by 30 minutes from extended pre-launch server maintenance, which is good. Then the Siel server seemed full and no one was able to connect for a while, including myself. I tried to connect to the Israphel server and I was able to join a queue. Unfortunately, this queue was more than 9,000, and it took me about 30 minutes longer to get in. So in total, it was about an hour late.
Personally a minor problem. I’m at a different time in my life than I was 12 years ago, where I don’t plan my whole day around an MMORPG launch – although, to be frank, I wish I could still have the power. The queue thinned out after a few hours and the servers seemed stable throughout the day. I consider this a win for any MMO, in my book. Finally, logging into the starting area on the Asmodian side again hit me with a wave of nostalgia that I haven’t experienced in an MMORPG since replaying Final Fantasy XI few years ago. I was overjoyed to experience this journey once again, and a flood of emotions washed over me as I picked up the start quests and began to cry over unsuspecting crowds. There was no misunderstanding with what Classic was going to be: I was in a grind.
The combat takes place at a decent pace, although there is only a standard auto attack and an attack skill at the start. I like that skills have a cooldown per skill, which means there is no global cooldown like in Final Fantasy XIV. Additional skills – both active and passive – are purchased from a class trainer when you’ve reached a certain level so you can unlock them. I’d forgotten that this system existed – although there’s a quest that literally explains it to you – so my first few hours might have been a bit more bumpy than the others. It costs kinah, the in-game currency, to buy expensive new skills at higher levels. Some skills can also only be obtained as a random drop by killing mobs in the field, which players will often sell for extravagant prices in the market.
The quest structure has been brought back from the original launch, including all quests and side quests that have been removed from today’s version of Aion. It also meant that a large influx of starting characters made it nearly impossible to complete the start missions, as everyone was fighting for the same mobs and quest objectives. Which, again, really struck me with nostalgia since I remember this same problem from before. Fortunately, if you were to create a new character now and jump in, you’ll have no problem logging into a server or completing those starter quests. The population flow leveled off last week, which means you won’t have thirty other players competing for the same two monsters.
Classic Aion still looks great, considering its age. I think the character models hold up and the player character and NPC animations look smooth and exude personality. Let’s be realistic ; Aion has one of the greatest character creators of all time. Player character designs can range from wonderfully beautiful to horribly appalling, and even comical extremes when it comes to body shape and size. Unfortunately, I wish more attention was paid to the environment and flora. At maximum settings – which isn’t difficult on modern PCs – pop-ins and texture effects, such as shadows and lighting, would only render about 6 yards from my character. Even with all of the autotune graphics settings turned off, I still felt like they were on at all times.
The leveling rate doesn’t seem any faster than I remember in 2009. As of this writing, I have leveled my Gladiator – the mighty Hrothgar – to level 21 and am currently exploring the Ice Fortress of Morheim. and its surrounding communities. This area has been suppressed in modernity Aion, and it’s bittersweet to come back to this place. I don’t remember so fondly spending ridiculous amounts of time in this area to finally get enough to the level where I could finally travel to The Abyss, which is really where Aion starts to get good – or, at least, where I remember it got good.
One of the whole gimmicks of Aion is able to fly and fight in the air. Unfortunately, this ability is largely locked out, except in special areas or in The Abyss, which is a completely free flight area to move around. I always wished you could fly in any area of Aion, and it never made sense to me why this mechanic was almost limited to those higher level areas. Flight time is limited, however, so aerial combat can often resemble hit-and-run aerial combat. The Abyss is a contested PvPvE area where the two factions – the Asmodians and the Elyos – fight for control of the region, as well as fortresses scattered across the map.
Unfortunately, play Classic Aion mostly solo means upgrading is still a largely slow and arduous process. Fortunately, all this week everyone got to experience Classic Aion the insane subscription benefit called Siel’s Aura which maintains a 100% experience rate for fighting mobs. This perk ends after June 30, which means after the first hour of play per day the experience rate is cut in half – unless I pay. This will only lengthen the time it takes to reach the max level of 50. In a chat with NCSoft West Senior Producer of Classic Aion, Mike Shreffler said that “these restrictions are really meant to limit bots.”
Sorry Mike, but I regret to inform you that Classic Aion is already overrun with bots and gold sellers (or “kinah sellers”, I guess that’s the correct term for Aion). While walking around the Asmodian capital of Pandaemonium, I saw several player stores set up by bot accounts advertising their websites. They’re also in the chat, spamming huge chunks of text with the website and any “deals” they come up with. I even got a private message from an intrepid bot with its ad. Reporting them doesn’t seem to be very helpful, as you can only report them as spam and there isn’t even any verification or acknowledgment that the report was made.
NCSoft appears to be trying to cut out the middleman by selling kinah themselves – albeit in a very roundabout fashion. You can purchase their premium Quna currency with real money, which is then used for items in the Quna store like cosmetics, name changes, appearance changes, or gender reassignment tickets. Packs of Pink Tiger Candies are also available and can be sold to vendors for 100,000 kinah each. It’s a lot of money, especially at the first levels. For $ 10, you can buy enough candy to sell it for 2.4 million kinah. It almost begs the question – why do these robots even exist in Classic Aion?
This candy business, in tandem with Classic Aion the new premium ‘Daeva Pass’ is a very bad look. Essentially, it becomes a circular way of paying to win. You can pay money to get candy to sell for kinah, then use them at the trading broker and buy the best equipment available in the market at a given level. This cuts down on your kill time making it easier to grind and level up, and also ensures that you have an advantage when accessing PvP content. The only limit to this is that there is a daily sell limit to NPC sellers, so you can only sell 1 million kinah of items per day. On top of that, the candy itself offers a one-hour buff that increases both max HP and MP as well as flight and race speeds.
I don’t even want to cover the Daeva Pass, Classic Aion take a battle pass system because it makes me feel dirty. For the low cost of just $ 30, you can unlock premium level rewards for Classic Four week battlepass. That’s right, $ 30 per month and you can get perks like: even more candy for sale, experience amulets, consumable scrolls that increase your running speed or attack speed, temporary titles with stat boosts, coins to use for high-level gear that you won’t have to fight, and thousands of Power Shards that make each of your attacks more powerful. This Daeva Pass, in conjunction with Classic An “optional” subscription service so you don’t get penalized for grinding (in a dedicated grinding MMO), means you could pay $ 45 a month – for a 12-year-old game.
As much as I liked Aion, and honestly, I quite enjoy my time so far in Classic Aion despite the grind, I don’t think I’m going to stick around with these kinds of business practices for long. As soon as Siel’s Aura Free Week ends and the experience drops in half after the first hour, it will be difficult to keep players like me motivated to keep playing. It’s already taken me that long to level up, and I haven’t even hit the best parts of Aion again. From today, it’s going to take even longer for me – and any new player – to get there. Stay tuned for my continued adventures next week, and together we’ll see how far I can go before the grind grinds stopped.