Q&A: Aion vs. WoW

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.

  • Thank you a lot for answering my questions.
    It sounds very fun with world PvP being a part of leveling in that way later on.

    The obvious fullow-up question I got is, how much of an advantage do you think guilds will have leveling up, assuming they level as a group?

  • Are you asking about the actual guild’s level, or the level of the players within the guild?

    Guild ranks from what I’ve seen do not make the players stronger. They allow more people to join the guild, customized guild heraldry, and other stuff like that.

    If you mean players leveling up while in a guild, and the benefits that brings (people to group with, etc) it’s the usual importance in a group-centric game. In WoW you could solo quest to 80 and never need another player’s help. In Aion you can level solo from 1-50 the same, I’m sure, but having people to group with will be important and that’ll be augmented by a guild.

    In both games you really need a guild – WoW for end-game and Aion for both.

  • Yea I ment leveling characters. What I was talking about is if you think a hardcore guild, that have all their members level in groups from level 1 to level 50, if they will have an advantage, getting there faster for example or with better loot compared to someone who solos.

  • WoW in its next patch (3.2) will introduce a UI option to display quest objectives on the minimap/map. Also, in the next patch, Blizzard is introducing experience rewards for battleground PvP participation. One could level solely from PvPing, though the developers have said that the gain will be slightly slower than PvE options; the most efficient way to level, at least now and especially at higher levels, would be grinding instances.

  • @Zapp: There will be obvious advantages for the hardcore guilds forming groups and powerleveling together. Much of this game is about having people to group with to do content that simply can not be done alone. Having a group when you want it for where you want it can only help.

    @Sean: In that case WoW’s questing interface is/will be better. Leveling through PvP will probably be like WAR’s leveling through PvP: Possible, but simply not efficient and just a nice side effect of PvPing below level cap.

  • Will be interesting to see how the PvP actually plays out. WoW servers have a ton of PvP when they are first released, it is only after players stop competing over PvE that it stops in general. Instancing pretty much destroys world PvP in general.

  • i dont know how to take this. i played and loved wow for many years, well since beta. i played and loved AoC in beta and i did the same with War.

    i know i have not liked a game as much as i do aion right now, not since wow beta. i think aion could be the next big thing. i just dont know if i can trust what i feel anymore tho. guess it does not matter as long as i am having fun.

    in the end aion is new and fun. i am not sure how i will feel about it once its been out a month or two. for me right now its the best thing out there.

  • @stan – I feel the exact same way. I’ve played every MMO out there but none as long as I played DAoC for. I played DAoC for 6 years, since long before SI and can tell you this game has brought back a lot of fond memories. I’m really hoping it all pans out in the long run. Their RvR theme is quite unique with the 3rd realm being NPC. NCSoft has a winner in their hands easily, I just hope they can pull it off.

  • hey keen, I thought it might be useful to note, that wow’s levelling from 1-58 is now fairly off and vastly accelerated, with greater xp gains, easier mobs etc. It is now not at all difficult for a casual gamer to hit outlands in two weeks, and a more serious one much quicker than that, especially with higher level help. that is the game as it is now for better or worse, and I think it’s better served to compare the more recent WoW expansions with new mmos if you want an accurate look at the relative experiences.

    also, instancing has always been and remains to be, a very good xp/time activity in WoW at any level with competent groups. grinding is definitely a little more class/spec dependent, but the results can be very impressive if done correctly (note that illegal power levellers often do it that way, they must know something right?) i’ve always felt that people hate wow levelling because it’s been out so long and they’ve probably done it quite a few times. for the new player, i know it was by far the most fun levelling experience for me the first time i played, especially with each successive expansion.

  • I like the fact that Aion offers group grinding. Questing shouldn’t be the only viable way to level your character up in a game! To me, questing should be something you can do for a quick 30min play session whilst group play should be the main and fastest way to level up as it helps create a proper community.

  • > “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

    Runes of Magic has these feature too and in fact it is even easier to use there since you can right-click the NPC name in the quest log, choose “go to” (well something like that, I haven’t played with RoM for a while) and your character will start auto-running to the NPC.

  • LOTRO’s quest log tracking is similar. WoW’s adding a rudimentary version in its next patch.

    It’s probably unfair to compare the pvp while leveling in a four year old game, where most of the players are at max level, to the pvp while leveling in a brand new game with very few people at max level.

    That aside, nice summary.

  • I can’t imagine playing WoW without QuestHelper. Blizzard should just pay the developer a few several thousand dollars and integrate it into the game completely.

  • @We Fly Spitfires: Easy, just get into the story and have an adventure. That’s what I did at least. Reading the quests and understanding what’s going on can be a lot of fun.

    And yes it’s true you’ll be able to get experience through battlegrounds. To help the twinks and people wanting to stay a certain level, you can now turn off experience gain for everything. This also helps new players, since turning off your experience gains puts you into your own bracket. Now when twinks go into a BG (assuming they turned off XP gains) they will just fight other twinks.

    Love it. Can just imagine making a classic guild!

  • 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?

    There’s one additional thing I think you didn’t touch on which is the frustrating inability to customize every keybind in Aion. This could very well be a non-issue in the 1.5 release (since we are beta testing 1.0) but it was a huge difference for me since I am extremely adamant about my keybind customization. example: since holding down shift is hardcoded with right click to be a camera movement feature (think holding down left click in WoW) any shift+ becomes a total contradiction to movement.

    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?

    Your answer was mostly spot on, however I was a little disappointed with the variety of quests in Aion. Literally every single quest (save a few quests every level or 2) was a ‘kill/gather X mobs/items-from-mobs’ or ‘travel to Y NPC’. I mean… every. single. quest.

    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.

    You are dead-on with this one and it is a great question to answer…. the combat is so much different to the point that you could actually consider it difficult in many cases (at least it was for my assassin since I was nearly always taking damage while dealing any). You can cycle through abilities with cooldowns several times per mob and skill rotations actually mattered to a significant extent. It was also nice that most every ability that had a cooldown was a short cooldown (6-12 seconds for multiple use abilities per combat….. 30-45 second cooldown abilities usually used once per fight, sometimes twice).

    Q. During the leveling process in WoW world PvP is quite dead, how does the world PvP experience during leveling in Aion compare?

    I really dont think this is a fair question since we are limited to levels 1-20 and the real world PvP starts later.

    Q. Which game would you say has the most dynamic leveling (amount of options you have to level, how linear it is)?

    I think you are right in the sense that the amount of xp for grinding and group grinding are much more valuable in comparison to WoW’s “quest or fall behind” theme … but in general I think the options are still quite limited and linear; nothing new or exciting in Aion.

    Q. Diversity in atmosphere and setting among the areas in WoW is quite big, even at lower levels. Does Aion offer a comparable experience?

    Too early to tell but its great so far… I really feel like I am entering a different ‘colony’ so to speak when traveling around.

  • So reading all this seems to suggest it’s just another eastern grind test of kill X billion mobs. Other than running well and looking pretty in a camp kinda way, is there anything to actually distinguish this from WoW, WAR, AoC, etc?It sounds like it’s gone backwards to dull EQ grinding, but with wings.

  • @ Rufus

    So far, it seems eerily reminiscent of Vanilla WoW within the first 6 months of release but that can be a good thing when comparing it to games that tried too hard to be original and felt like it alienated players. The grind aspect isn’t nearly that bad but definitely seems like 1-50 will be longer than 1-60 was in WoW.

    I think that making any solid judgement about Aion right now is far too early and unfair to the game. Imagine playing 1-30 in WoW for the first time and trying to convince anyone that you know what the entire game will be like.

    While the grind aspect will certainly rear its head in a few areas (it is an eastern MMO after all) it isn’t nearly as significant as previous ones. There really is no way to put the “grind” label on the game since a majority of what the game has to offer, and what players are looking forward too, hasn’t been made available yet.

  • @Rufus: Qpon’s words are wise and I’ll echo them. Aion is actually quite different from eastern grind games. It does feel more like “vanilla” WoW (WoW when it first launched, no expansions, everyone is a noob) mixed with Dark Age of Camelot’s way of leveling. That’s the ‘feel’ that I get when I play the PvE.

    Furthermore, this game distinguished itself from WoW, WaR, AoC, etc., by offering a new twist on the factional PvP mechanic. It’s like taking one giant frontier (DAOC term, it’s the big RvR area where all the keeps are at for a realm) and adding NPC’s as the third faction who live there and want to kill everyone and claim it for themselves.

    We’ll have to wait and see how the game unfolds later on, especially in version 1.5 after westernization, before we pass final judgment on the game. It’s certainly more than a grind game though.

  • @Rufus

    There is grind, but there is grind in all MMOs. The grind is certainly no where near what something like L2 or other traditional eastern MMOs had or EQ, though it certainly isn’t as fast as some of the more recent western MMOs and current WoW. It really strikes a balance somewhere in between them.

    As far a distinguishing characteristics from other games, fundamentally no. It borrows heavily from a lot of prior games across the MMO landscape. But it does it well. The combo system is like but better than some combo systems that have been tried before. The crafting is a streamlined version of the EQ/VG crafting system. The PvP/RvR aspects draw heavily from games such as DAoC. Etc.

    But what it does, is blend them all together, cleanly, polished, and runs phenomenally well. The only thing really new is the concept of a third RvR faction that is game controlled. And they aren’t push overs. If they show up, you never know if you are going after the elyos, the asmodians, or both. And they are very strong. So far no one has taken down a dregion. Its doable, but will take insane levels of co-ordination and co-operation to do. The dropped shock troops range between elite levels to raid boss levels.

    Another interesting aspect is the infiltration quests that are completed in the other factions zone.

  • […] beta y que cuentan sus experiencias, sobre todo cuentan cosas muy interesantes, comparando el juego Aion con WoW y Aion con WarHammer, me gusta creer que este juego tomara lo bueno de WoW y lo bueno de War en un […]

  • “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?”

    Runes of Magic’s UI is ridiculously costumizable with the built in interface tools. Add a few tiny addons, and forget about it, three’s nothing you can think of that you can’t do.

    I personally found WoW’s UI to be very restrictive in contrast.

  • Great summary of the game as we’ve gotten to play it so far. I’ve played wow for years and played the 3 beta’s of aion. Ppl, especially my guild on wow, ask me about aion and I have a hard time describing the differences/similarities. The over all feeling of WoW and AION are very different for me, wow keeps me busy, AION keeps pulling me deeper into it’s world. I’ve prepurchased it, just waiting for sept.

  • Wow has a wealth of addons you can get rather easily and Curse.com has a section for AION up, though none are listed in it presently. I’m curious if anyone knows of addons for aion? Perhaps ppl who are able to play the CAION? I haven’t missed my wow addons but i’d love Recount.

  • I don’t expect UI Mod support. Curse might have that up because it’s what Curse does: set themselves up to be the premier addon site out there.

  • I dunno. I played the beta, and we all need to keep in mind its still a beta, and i found it refreshing in comparison to WoW. I find the combat more of a challenge with mobs being obviously stronger, but the combo system allows you to hit instantly after your first move( as long as its off Cooldown). My druid healer cant combat worth a damn but my healer in Aion was able to hold his own even in duels. i find healing also to be a challenge since there arent too many instant cast that heal for 1000+ points. The 2 main heals take 2-4 secs to cast and aggro hits healers and mages hard so it beckons more “skill” involved ie at what time i should heal, who i shoul heal, and what heal i should use in order not to pull aggro. Also remember UI might not be completely accessible because its in beta. They took away all Trade and General chat because they wanted us to play the game not spam chat with nonsense. Theres still a big patch coming and 2 more betas. its still eary.

  • Edit: i like the challenges it brings to the table im honestly tired of seeing WoW make everything easier and easier. i want the challenge. i LOVED having to fight elites at lvl 15. I got my ass kicked a few times figured out how to kick ass back and finished the quests. Being in a guild is a HUGE advantage. and its early not eary.

  • sorry to say that. but dude… you dont know anything about the game lol…
    seriously. try the game more and read on the interweb

  • about the leveling – theoretically you could also level up due to gathering ressources for crafting and due to crafting itself. especially on lower levels this can be done fast and safe and you’ll also get better equipment. it is kind of negligible on higher levels though.

  • Thanks for that Q&A. I was thinking about buying Aion, but now as i read, that you have to play pvp whether you like it or not (rifts), i know, that that game is not for me. Good to know, could have wasted money.

  • I can imagine that in 2 years, everyone in asia plays aion and the rest of the world wow ^^

    Thats how it mostly looks like, asians defending it, others bashing it.

    All i got to say about world pvp, is that it will be completly dead after 2 years of the release.

  • Q: If I strongly dislike being forced to pvp, and prefer to concentrate on coop questing/grinding, is Aion a game for me? Is there a way to toggle pvp off for my char, similiar to not flagging while playing on pve server in WoW?

  • @Nitecon: I would say that Aion is definitely a game capable of sustaining the PvE player. There are several dungeons of different types, gear progressions, and content. There is no way to disable your PvP flag though. Aion is still, at heart, a game designed to provide an ideal experience to those who PvE AND PvP.

  • Q: Does Aion have a developed transportation system like in WoW? (e.g. flight paths, ground/flying mounts, ships/zepplins etc.) Does Aion effectively balance having a large game world to explore with the frustration of having to run to the other side of the world to quest with a friend?

    thank you for the Q&A by the way 🙂

  • @Voyle: Aion has flight paths and teleportations. You travel to different zones (think Stranglethorn Vale to Ogrimmar) by an instant teleportation (your character jumps into a portal). You travel within zones (they’re rather large) by flight path.

    In addition to those two offered by NPC’s, Sorcerers can teleport players to the capital cities (and perhaps other locations).

    These 3 methods (That I know about) seem to be more than enough, when combined with the speed increase of player wings, to get you around the world without frustration.

  • “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.”

    If you’re comparing WoW’s leveling content to Aion’s leveling content, then this statement is bullshit. Maybe at 80. But at level 20, mobs 2 levels higher can potentially kill you, especially if there’s more than one.

  • Prtty nice read :), for a wow comparisment atleast
    all i wanna correct is one small thing for a future blogpost as quite a few people seem to be watching this:
    you CAN mod/reskin the ui and work is being done on doing so (just ask in #aion on the quakenet irc server and they should be able to direct you in the general direction) having said that it IS against the ToS and you can get banned for it if you get caught

  • @asdf: I’ve played WoW. I’ve leveled in the 20’s probably over 30 times. In WoW, compared to Aion, combat is simplistic and crude. Fighting mobs 2-3 levels above me was not only easy, but it was fast exp and money. For some classes it’s much harder, granted, but I never once felt that in WoW mobs were harder than they are in Aion.

    @ \O/: Well, if it’s against the ToS then I stand by what I said: You can’t mod it. 😉 If you’re going to get banned then why even make it an option?

  • I have two questions.

    1) Can you level up from PvP (killing not quests)? I played WoW for years and detested having to level from PvE only.

    2) Is there seperate gear for PvP vs PvE?

    My ultimate game is character leveling through PvP with some PvE. I want to avoid the WoW arena mess, and WoW BG afk mess. Is this game for me?

    Thank you.

  • @Vicer: 1) I am told that you can. I have no personal experience with this though.

    2) There is gear you can obtain with stats that lower damage players do to you, and that you do to players. This gear is obtained by getting Abyss rank and points. I assume it’s good for PvE too.

  • You have done an awesome thing here Keen for those of us looking for more information. I have already bought a copy of Aion for my wife and I and we will be there regardless of the reply to this post. I personally would like to hear a little more about the crafting system though. From what you have seen, how does the gear compare to quest rewards, common to rare drops (not world epics which in WoW were extremely rare, though I would usually have one drop for every third toon or so lvl’ed to 60). My wife often refers to me as, “her little gold farmer”, are the professions able to to acctual make a suitable income? or is it once again a game where your mats you farm, are far more valuable then the gear you could have made with them?

  • @Death to stale wow content: Crafted gear is better or just as good as quest/drops for PvE. There are certain ‘tiers’ of gear or milestones where you’ll find the best bang for your buck in terms of upgrades…something like level 17, 24, that type of thing. For PvP, I hear there are some items which are better, and some which are not.

    Professions can make money – lots of money. Some are better than others, but all require a little ingenuity (ie. Making level 24 stuff, even when maxed out, may make you more cash than making the best stuff in the game). Potions, food, manastones, armor, weapons, etc all sell from what I have seen and been told.

    In some cases the economy will act in such a way that the materials can be worth more. I was reading an article by someone talking about making money and they said it happens – when it does, raise your prices if you use those mats and if not make something else.

  • Understood, and thanks for the timely reply. I recently found some information, thought it doesn’t relate to my post. These are the patch notes from 1.1 through 1.3 Korean versions.



    It is speculated that the US/EU version will be released with the 1.2 or 1.3 patch already implimented, so to all of those peeps who were cynical or just ignorant of the facts, there will be dungeons, some of them lower lvl, many changes, and really something for everyone.

  • My question is how do or comparably you hold items and the max range you can have, and is there banks and guild banks like in WoW

  • yes their are warehouses for storage, legoin(guild), Personal, and Account storage. It beats mailing stuff to yourself by a longshot. Just give the game a break you will love it i thought wow wast the best one for me until now i have played R online, CoV/CoH, FF,… just alot of time storing calories but i just went back to wow because yes wow does have a compilation of just great stuff, aion is new not a veteran game 4 years running. i think there will be lots of great stuff for this game as the get feedback, complaints, and send out more cool surveys like the did while i was playing the last beta test. maybe thier will be a 14day freetrail for those that think the game is going to be so bad. remember guys when you hate its only fuel to the fire.

  • AION is far better than WOW after 5 years of playing wow I am looking foward to aion. also there is not identical character creation in aion you can do wonders with the creation of you character just use you imagination 110% better than wow

  • If you think about it and take a look at the age differences of both games aion is catching wow. Not to mention that the debugging with Aion is faster than it has been in my 5 years of playing wow.

    also the character creation.. Seriously Blizzard 5 years and all you did is just add a barber shop and give other races access to different races hairs styles >_>

    let me tell you I love beeing a clone of the rest of the race I pick.

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