Aion Beta Weekend 2: Arena PvP

The last thing left on my to-do this beta weekend was to experience pvp in the arena with my friends.  This would be the first real time that I was able to do any real organized pvp at the current level cap.  To quickly explain the arena, think of it as the Stranglethorn Vale Arena inside of a capital city.  It’s a rather small area where players of the same race/faction can go in and ffa pvp.  There aren’t any rewards, incentives, or any real reasons to go in here and fight other than having a place to test your abilities.  For this beta weekend it’s the only form of pvp so it will have to do.

I’m playing a Templar.  It’s a tank class and like most tank classes it has little or no ranged attack (none in the lvl 10 Templar’s case) so it was a bit rough going against so many ranged casters.  Being a tank type meant that I got rooted and disabled quite a bit, but I didn’t feel useless.  At level 10 I have two stuns which were really the only way to take out a healer without focus firing from everyone.  My damage, as you can probably guess, was low but my survivability was top notch.

Like I mentioned yesterday in my combat commentary, it doesn’t feel like I’m only level 10.  With the number of useful abilities that I can use and the way combat feels it’s almost as though we’re a bunch of level 50’s.  If this were WoW we would all be in leather armor smacking each other with auto attacks and sinister strikes, but it was far more dynamic.  There were parts in the video where, for some reason, I wasn’t attacking even when really close to the enemy and I thought for a bit that you couldn’t auto attack while running but it turns out that you can… so I’m not sure what’s up there.  Maybe my auto attack kept turning off and I didn’t notice; chalk that up to still being a noob.

Flight was the most interesting part of the pvp.  It’s going to take a lot of practice as a melee to get good at this (for me anyway) because of the three dimensions.  Players can really avoid being hit by flying up, down, left, right, and juking like crazy.  Being rooted in the air is a huuuuge problem because your flight time is being eaten up and you can’t do anything about it.  Lots of CC in Aion and it really shows even at level 10.  DAOC players will feel right at home here but those who hate CC will loathe it.  A group of 6 utilizing crowd control will easily stomp 2x+ their numbers like the oldschool roaming 8-mans in DAOC.  Anyway, back to flight.  This is where ranged really shines and where I hope that melee’s get more useful abilities.  The crafting professions will be crucial with their increased flight time pots and (if they exist) root breakers.

Overall, all of us in the arena really had a lot of fun.  I kept hearing “this rocks” on vent and “jeez I can’t wait for the Abyss now”.  I walked away feeling all the more sure of my decision to play a Sorcerer at launch.

  • Okay now that does look really good, for PvP combat it looks very immediate especially.

    I did chuckle a bit when you were stunned mid-air with the dozing Zzzz but yet your wings are still keeping you up there. Hah.

    The arena itself has a nice Greco-Roman look about it.

  • Wow! That video really makes me want to play. I hope they implement pvp more than the arena for the game because that looks incredible and fun.

  • You commented that DAOC fans will love all the CC….I think thats one of the things we hated in DAOC. We complained CONSTANTLY about aoe mezzing. Maybe people who played Healers or any of the other mezzing classes will hehe.

    Anyways, im just happy that it looks to run so smooth in PvP. Even though I dont think it will be my cup of tea, its refreshing to see after looking at WAR (granted, there was alot more going on in WAR)

  • It was sorta a joke. You either love it or you hate it when it comes to CC. Those that run in a group loved it because it is what helped them survive. Most people bitched about it all the time.

  • Hmm, I’ve pretty much been shrugging off Aion, but if you say it reminds you of DAoC maybe I’ll give it a good look at…

  • The Spiritmaster is Aion’s pet class, so I’m willing to bet that the pet belonged to the SM.

    Are you set on rolling Sorc at release? I was planning on that class as well. A few Sorc vids would be nice….

    Also, could you comment on character customization abuse? I hear a lot of people are making their characters as small as possible for PvP advantages.

  • To be honest, from that video, it looked like every other game I’ve seen recently, but with flying. The game looks pretty as hell, but another ho hum fantasy MMO with slightly different mechanics isn’t going to particularly pique my interest in a saturated market to be honest. The early videos made the combat look much more interesting, but when I’ve seen honest to goodness gameplay videos, it could be any fantasy game.

  • @FenixStryk: I’m fairly sure that I’ll be a sorc. I want to teleport places, be ranged dps, crowd control, and use magic.

    The vast majority of the people are not making themselves as small as possible. Many have, but not enough that I have ever thought “omg there are so many small people”. Tab targeting small people works perfect. Clicking them is easy too because their targeting box is the same size – with wings out it’s even easier.

    @Malakili: That’s what Aion is though. It’s just another fantasy mmo…. another fun fantasy mmo. If you’re looking for something else then stay far away from Aion.

  • Played the beta this weekend as well, lvl 8 Priest, and found the game to be visually stunning but in the end I felt a bit bummed.

    Like you say Keen it’s just another fantasy mmo…it does it very well, but the same none the less. I actually had more fun with Darkfall. Have they opened up NA servers yet?

    There is also a linear feel to the game, at least at my level. I feel as if they are guiding me along a path that I desperately want to veer from.

    Think I need an mmo in another wheel house…Champions Online may be the one for me, I hope so. May stick with Aion since I have a blast playing with you guys, that may make it more enjoyable.

    Cheers and great info/reviews Keen!

  • I really enjoyed the cleric class. I will roll one at release. The animations were the best I have seen in an mmo to date. I was very impressed with the polish of the game.

  • What actually does it better than WoW or WAR.

    I mean I am so done with both games, why should another offshoot of the same formula pique my interest with a new flavor+wings. Plus the creeping suspicion that it has some asian influences to its game design that would not be to my liking.

  • Looks very cool. I’m happy with the CC in PvP, it makes the game more interesting and startegies more complex.

    Do you know anything about PvP rewards? Can you gain exp and special items by doing it?

  • I notice that you can actually see the ability that the enemy is using, a la Guild Wars – this pleases me.

    Snares/roots/stuns etc are not a problem if removal is more spammable than the debuffs – do you have a feeling for whether this is the case?

    I am moderately excited about this, keep up the good work 🙂

  • I see so many people brushing off the “Wings” aspect in regards to PvP. Not sure how many of you ever played Tribes before, but tell me the ability to use jet packs in combat didn’t help make that game the amazing experience that it was?

    Seriously, it adds a totally new aspect to combat. One that you have to now think in 3 dimensions. It totally changes everything about standard MMO PvP and something you can not dismiss until you actually tried it.

    To just poo poo it as being some small “fluff” to the game is a HUGE mistake. Hey, the game might not be for everyone and like Keen said, it still is a fantasy MMO and does have some issues but the arena video was just a small taste of the PvP action this game appears to offer.

    We’ll know a ton more when we’re able to get into the Abyss, but the small taste I got this weekend makes me very interested to see how full scale open zone warfare will be.

  • @ We Fly Spitfires

    Yes you can gain XP and the best items in the game are gained through PvPing.

    Crafted items come close.

    What’s cool is that the game is designed and balanced from the ground up according to it’s PvP mechanic and not PvE.

    Anyone that thinks this is a PvE game with PvP tacked on is mistaken. But back on point, I’ve heard and read that it is possible to level your character strictly by PvP once you are able to enter the Abyss area which happens around level 25.

  • But you can earn abyss points by killing npc’s in the abyss… so really no pvp is necessary. It may make it quicker, but people love to avoid fighting.

  • “If this were WoW we would all be in leather armor smacking each other with auto attacks and sinister strikes, but it was far more dynamic.”

    Honestly Keen you can give Molyneux a run for his money sometimes. This is typical combat. No more, no less.

  • My point was that the game was designed and has been balanced for PvP abilities and not PvE. So it’s true that Yes, you can PvE the whole game from what I understand, that does not a carebear game make. (Not your words, but I’ve heard that said on numerous times about Aion)

    Hell, in DAoC you could level to the cap without RvRing either, but that still didn’t make it a PvE game.

  • The abyss is designed RvRvE. It’s a 3 faction system, with the third faction being the NPC faction. They exist solely to balance the open warfare and create some chaos. Basically, when one side starts crushing the other (ala the problem with 90% of WAR servers), the NPC faction will come drop the bomb on the side thats winning more regularly.

    They can capture the artifacts and fortresses (DAoC style layout for this stuff in the Abyss) too, just like the player factions. The entire abyss was owned by the NPCs during the beta weekend because players couldn’t get high enough leveled to go challenge them 🙂

    In so many ways, this game will be the superior spiritual successor to DAoC than WAR is. Think DAoC, in three dimensional combat, with WoW quality polish.

  • With CC being so ubiquitous in Aion, I’ve crossed it off my interest list. Has there EVER been ANY pvp game where massive CC was welcomed?

    I’d rather they strip CC entirely away from pvp games. Or maybe give it to one utility class that does low damage, but contributes by inflicting debuffs/CC. No aoe CC though.

    This will be the last post I look up on Aion in any blogs. Thanks for the heads up, Keen. I appreciated the updates on Aion. Now go post more on Star Wars, Star Trek, and Jumpgate. =D

  • I love how so many people write off a game before they try it themselves… make your own judgement on personal fact and feeling and live with it.. dont go on assumptions you here from others based on a weekend of play… ffs…

  • The game just doesn’t appeal to me. It looks alot like WoW with some refinishing and a new twist… which isn’t bad. However it doesn’t do or have anything that would make me want to quit my current MMO. If it fell in my lap I would probablly try it but I just don’t see what all the hype is about with Aion.

  • After playing almost all the MMO’s released in the last 3 years; I have to say that this is the most entertaining, addictive, fun and cool looking game of them all.

  • keen,

    i would very much hope you make a feature by feature comparison to you experience in WAR and in AION..

    – Graphic & Animation
    – Graphic style
    – Texture
    – Landscape
    – Frame-per-second
    – Smoothness in large scale PVP
    – Smoothness in Keep / FOrtress Siege (assuming AION got some kind of castle siege)
    – CC impact in group PVP
    – What WAR did right compared to AION
    – What AION did right compared to WAR
    – PVE Questing variety and fun
    – World PVP (random pvp) fun
    – Hows the End Game ?

    this is asking a lot i know, but since i know you are a fair reviewer of WAR and AION, your opinion matters as a benchmark 🙂 🙂