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Happy Hallowe’en or Samhain, if you prefer! Have fun trick or treating, too!

For my own part, today marked the final day in Aion as I would have had to pay my first subscription payment tomorrow if I wanted to continue and at this point, unfortunately, I don’t.

I do say unfortunately because Aion has the potential to be a great MMO and, up until the mid-twenties, it certainly is. It can be stunningly gorgeous in every way, from armour, characters, landscapes and architecture. Up until you enter Reshanta (the in game name for the Abyss, the PvPvE area) at level 25, it has plenty of you to do with quests, gathering and crafting.

Unfortunately, soon after hitting 25, the quests dry up to a mere handful per level and the rest of the level has to be obtained through grinding. By the time Wai had hit 31, I’d had enough of that. No matter how pretty it is to the eyes and despite the wrench I felt at leaving the people in the guild, the lack of content was the proverbial straw.

Other straws were the lack of community, the seeming lack of reward for doing an instance and the lack of areas.

Now granted, the lack of community might be down to the fact that the game is new to a western audience. But the other two, I don’t understand. In both the fora (official and unofficial) and in the guild, an answer to the lack of reward has been “welcome to a hardcore game, this is not for casual players. You have to work for your gear”. Excuse me, but what?

I certainly don’t count myself as casual but I do consider myself as time-poor. Therefore when I choose to spend a number of hours in the only instance available at my then-level, I expect to be rewarded for my effort with something more than a repair bill. If not me, then someone else in the six person team. But what did the final boss drop? Nothing. At. All. Nada. Zip. Zilch. I understand that there is a ‘chance’ that it ‘might’ drop something nice.

Nowhere near good enough. I’m not going to invest my precious time for what essentially amounts to nothing.

And it gets better. That first instance. It is level capped and t has a 15 hour lockout. The former means that once you have hit a certain level, you can’t go back and do it. Which means that if the rest of the guild has gone beyond the cap, they can’t help you. And the latter means that when you finally scrape together a group, if said group falls apart for whatever reason, you can not go back to a fresh instance with a new group until the next day.

To those of us that a time-poor, that is about as unfriendly as it gets. Once I’d successfully done the instance, what was the incentive for me to go back? That’s right, there was none.

So if ‘hardcore’ is a euphemism for ‘waste my time’, then I guess it’s not for me.

As for the lack of areas, the game world is actually very small. There are only a handful of areas. However, this is not really all that noticable as the only method of getting about, apart from the couple of transit points, if on foot. So naturally, it takes time to actually get to where to need to go.

What makes me ponder though, is that whilst this game is new to Europe and north America, it was released in South Korea back in November 2008 and I’m sure I wouldn’t be the only one to raise these concerns.

But, Aion was nice, up until a point. It just needed more. Of everything, except sumptuous graphics. Those, as you will see from Wai’s victory shout below, it had in abundance.

Victory!

So, what’s next? For the immediate future, Dragon Age: Origins is due out in a week so am certainly looking forward to that. And after that? Well, with the race change that Blizzard have introduced for World of Warcraft, I’m considering picking that up again and perhaps levelling a mage. My subscription is still active (it doesn’t actually run out until mid-November) so I don’t have anything to lose as the time has already been paid for.

I did log in, briefly, earlier on today, post logging from Aion for the final time to collect the penguin pet that Blizzard have given out to those that have Battle.net accounts, and, to my surprise, Corvai ended up with this achievement:

50 pets!

which means that she not only got the Penguin, but a skunk as well! Although, I had to ask which was the default key for viewing achievements. Amazing how fast you forget something when it’s no longer relevant, isn’t it?

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