I received another request to expound upon Aion by comparing it to another game. This time the questions are very specific and provoke some thought and quite possibly a good discussion regarding World of Warcraft and Aion. I will do my best to address these questions and provide insight and perspective from my beta experience.
Q. In WoW questing was initially placed in few but huge quest hubs and later into several but small quest hubs. How has questing been done in Aion and how is the pace (smoothness, speed) compared to that of WoW?
A. Aion uses quest hubs like World of Warcraft. In the 1-20 game thus far I have seen very large quest hubs, like the crossroads in Barrens, and smaller ones like NPC’s standing in little groups along the road or in camps off the beaten path. The pacing in Aion from just questing has been comfortable. I’ll do all the quests from one hub and then I’ll be tasked with going to the next one, where the quests pick up right where the last ones left off (in terms of level, sometimes story). This may change higher up, but I see no reason why.
Q. WoWs standard UI is considered quite horrible, how does the UI of Aion (without any customizing at all) compare to that of WoW?
A. It’s a standard UI. It offers a map, a layover map, a mini-map (with mobs and things shown), hotbars, additional hotbars, the ability to switch between top or bottom (ui moves to top or bottom), standard charater frames, inventory, group, etc. It is essentially your very basic and standard UI. I have yet to feel limited by the UI, but I can’t speak highly of it as being anything new.
Q. WoW has probably the most customizable UI of all MMOs. How much can you customize Aions UI compared to that of WoW and in which is the result favourable?
A. You can’t customize it at all to my knowledge. As I mentioned above, you get some options to add more bars or switch locations of a few things but that’s it.
Q. You said the quests were the normal fetch and kill quests. In which game is it easier to quickly identify the objectives of the quest?
A. I like WoW’s default quest journal more than Aion’s and I feel that the quest text and general user friendliness is better in WoW. However, Aion has this feature where you click on a quest and objectives or names are highlighted in blue; Click those names and you’re given a direct location on your map of where the objective/person is at. It takes a few extra steps, and that is perhaps why I feel WoW’s descriptive text is better, but Aion is ultimately easier if you discount WoW’s quest UI mods.
Q. Which game has the smoother transitioning between combat and non-combat?
A. Aion has a timer that keeps you in combat for a few seconds after the fight. The transition isn’t noticeable though. I would say they are equal.
Q. How does the pace of combat compare between the games? Which one is faster, better balanced to the amount of health and abilities etc.
A. WoW is much faster in terms of time it takes to kill something. Mobs take me perhaps 2-3x as long in Aion. I use more abilities at level 15 in a fight than I have time to on my character in WoW because of this additional time. Fights are harder in Aion too. A mob 2 levels above me could pose quite a challenge and feel like it takes more effort. I never felt this in WoW while soloing because I just smashed my sword into the mob’s face a few times and it died.
Q. During the leveling process in WoW world PvP is quite dead, how does the world PvP experience during leveling in Aion compare?
A. I can’t speak from personal experience here, but my friend has told me great stories about his experience with the Chinese version (or Korean, I forget?) of just how alive and well the open world PvP is in Aion. There are these portals called “rifts” that open up and allow you to leave your lands and be transported to the enemy lands – their PvE places. You’re free to kill anyone you see. Killing other players gives you Abyss points – far more than killing Balaur – and this is apparently a great way to earn them. Level 20+ you should never feel totally safe while out hunting. The fact that Aion has designed it directly into the game for world PvP to occur, and encourage it, is more than Blizzard has ever done in WoW.
Q. Which game would you say has the most dynamic leveling (amount of options you have to level, how linear it is)?
A. In WoW it felt like questing was the absolute best way to level. Nothing rivaled it or even came close. I stacked my log full of quests and leveled faster than any MMO before. Early on (I hear it sorta changes later) Aion is the same way. However, I found that grinding was actually just as effective or more effective than questing for some levels. I spoke with someone who has played higher levels and they confirmed that that it stays this way. In fact, leveling in groups (group-grinding) in the Elite outdoor areas (they exist 15+) is faster than questing or soloing. So you have Questing, solo grinding, group grinding, and dungeons to level in Aion. I won’t deny that those exist in WoW, but they seem more viable in Aion.
Q. How much do you enjoy leveling in Aion compared to WoW?
A. About the same right now. There isn’t much to get excited about in the 1-20 range. I hope to write a lot more about this when I get to play 20+.
Q. Diversity in atmosphere and setting among the areas in WoW is quite big, even at lower levels. Does Aion offer a comparable experience?
A. Yep. In fact, it’s better than base WoW. I really, really liked WotLK areas though and I have yet to see anything that trumps those, but I haven’t seen even 90% of the game. This is another area where I look forward to taking video and screenshots to compliment writeups.
If you have more questions you would like me to answer then please feel free to post them in the comments. If you have enough questions, like the ones above, then I will create a new blog post for them. If anyone else wants to answer these questions feel free.