Aion CBT#5: Testing English Voice Overs

The focus of this weekend CBT has really been all about the first implementation of English voice overs.  Before this weekend the NPC’s didn’t have any greetings or goodbye voices and none of the cutscenes had voice work.  Honestly, it wasn’t too bad without them but at the same time it was definitely missing something and the Asian influence was all that more obvious when characters silently stared back at you blankly with those cold lifeless eyes.

Now that the English voices are in, at least for the NPC’s, it definitely helps.  Being completely honest though, the quality of the NPC voice overs isn’t that great.  The cutscene voice overs are a bit better than the NPC ones and they definitely add to the understanding, presentation, and overall effect they should have on the player.  Unfortunately, just like English dubs on movies, the mouths of the NPC’s will be moving a mile minute and well past the time the NPC stops talking.   When saying something as simple as “Greetings Daeva” it looks like the NPC is saying 3 sentences of dialog with his mouth moving constantly [You will see this in the video]. It’s better than having no voices though, and hopefully it gets better as they patch.

Voices for player characters are not in yet.  They can be selected at character creation, but my character still sounds like he belongs in The Sims when he casts spells or attacks.  I’m somewhat disappointed with the selection of English voices.  They’re either too old, too young, too high pitch, too quick, too deep, and never just right for the voice I want. I’m picky.

Overall, I would rate the current voice over implementation, generously, at a B-. Needs improvement.

And lastly, it can’t be beta without bugs. This one made me do a double take.

  • Poor text translation is a gamebreaker for me. Poor voice acting is less important, although still annoying.

    Even most Western games that I’ve played barely rate a B-. EQ2, which made a HUGE deal of its voice acting at launch, was barely adequate. I can only assume that, to an American ear, the laughably inept “Scottish”, “Irish” and “English” accents that are, inevitably, given to Dwarves, Barbarians and HIgh Elves sound ok. To anyone from the U.K. they are either amusing or embarrassing and often both.

    My favorite voice acting in any MMO so far is actually Vanguard, where they only use short phrases and mix them quite low. Apparently those were mainly done by Sigil employees and friends, which, if true, just goes to show that less is more.

  • they should let us use custom wave files for voices, so we can record our own

  • I want to slap whoever put the “once you go Shugo” line on every single trade broker. In fact in general I think the Shugo are voiced way more obnoxiously than I was picturing them.

    I can see giving the voices a B-, if you grade on the usual westernization curve. A lot of the voiceovers are pretty solid.

  • I agree Nissl.

    I think a lot of voice over are pretty solid. They add a level of immersion to the experience.

    If the characters mouths not matching the words is throwing people off, maybe its time to take re-access what exactly you’re looking for in a game.

    If people want to find something to pick at, they can find a least one thing, ANYWHERE.

  • Some of the voices themselves are good. I know they used a few very well known and skilled voice actors (one of them is the voice of Wolverine in a few tv shows).

    Some of them though are quite mediocre. The shugo people and some of the trainers/shops are coming in at weird volumes and don’t feel like they match the person speaking.

    There’s also not a lot of variety. Sounds like 2-3 people did the voices for all the NPC’s.

    Is that nit picking? Absolutely. I’m going out of my way to find problems, and thing I like/don’t like about this particular part of the game. That’s why these are my thoughts solely on the voice implementation in the game, and not on the game itself.

    North American testers get to test very little. The content is worthless to test. The stress testing is on their end, not ours. Reading their quest text (which I admittedly only did for Campaign quests) and giving feedback on the voices are among the very few things we can possibly speak to that would matter.

  • The guy who is supposed to talk about “Kisks” in the Abyss babbles about the Dreadgion.

    And they still have two different writings for Dreadgion, Dredgion and Dreadgion. In most sequences the battleship is called Dredgion.

  • I walked around and talked to every NPC I could find in Sanctum (Elyos capital). There was more variety there than out in the questing areas and the quality was better on those. I’d give the voices in the city an A.

  • I think they are perfecting the city before anything else since it seems to play a large role in the game. Several quests bring you back to the city, almost all crafting is done in the city, there are several merchants that you can only find in the city such as buying new wings or emotes (or at least as far as I currently know), so I can definitely understand why they put more work on the city than other areas. I’m not complaining too much. I just wish I could of made it to level 25 for the abyss this weekend. Doesn’t look like I’m going to make it. I’ve been having too much fun exploring all the other aspects to level up quickly.

  • The player character voices are just so over-the-top American accented. It sounds like if you were to give a 10 year old a foreign language and asked them to pronounce the words.

  • Honestly, B- is way too high here. I would give them a firm C-. After playing C-Aion and the NA beta I believe I would rather turn off these voices. To be completely truthful, I desperately want an option for English subtitles and the original Korean voice work. I do not speak Korean, but at least they sound cool.

    Making matters worse is that there are so many customization options for creating your character. Something like 40 different hairstyles, 15 or so different base faces that can all be changed so completely that there are huge amounts of diversity in character design. Yet we get 4 choices of voice? What I call Normal, Brute, Sultry and Cutesy for the girls (I didn’t bother checking the men). None of which are very good.

    There is a lot to be said about the old school methods. I know that we expect more from our games now and “full voice” is one of those. Yet there is a lot to be said for the old school MMOs that did everything with text and left things up to your imagination.

    I mean come on… who here didn’t cringe the first time you heard Jaina Proudmoore speak inside Mt. Hyjal? Who hear would not want to put an ice pick through their ears if SE ever put voice acting in FFXI for a Tarutaru? (Any cutscene with Shantotto in it would make me want to thats for sure.)

  • After looking at the list of voice actors, they have some incredible talent there. I think it’s just poorly directed and implemented into the game.