Friday, 2 October 2009

AION - Continued..

Continuing with the assessment of AION, i am delighted to say NCSoft have addressed the Q'ing issues from the weeks before, launching new servers, and compensating those willing to move with a XP bonus item which has a couple of hourly charges.
My own waiting time has been reduced from 2 hours, down to 1 hour, and they have implimented a disconnect relog feature that skips you out of the Q and striaght back into the game..awsome!!
So what have been up to? Outside of tweaking my PC to get the best graphics out of my midrange PC, i have been looking at the professions. Tailoring mostly, although i picked up Alchemy for making mana potions too.

As you can see, there are similar thngs to warcraft. However there is a addition work order quest, which the NPC provides you with a item to make unvaluable things like underwear..helps to increase your profession level also, although i have started it yet! but i will give details of it later. However you can fail to craft something, apparently also at top level too, to make rare items, but i will confirm that later. Crafted items also are more prominant relative to your level, and more practical to you in the here and now, rather than the warcraft system of tailoring crap until you get to the level cap epic items. You can only use your profession (IE create something) by going to the capital and using the loom, or Anvil (Like warcraft)

When i started AION, i had a bonus XP item, like i mentioned above, which i have been using to level, its down to its last charge now, but i have made level 15 without much fuss. I havent really being paying attention to the time it takes to level, as im only logged in for maybe 1 or 2 hours a night, so you can get an idea of how long its taken me so far.
The Sorcerer's spells continue to get better, and more animated. But theres something im not used to, or something that doesnt quite qork with it? maybe im used to warcraft global cooldown or something but clicking on the next spell seems to have a delay, or lag, its not clear what. But if you ignore it, its not much of a problem and you have to pace yourself with the abilities. everything else movemt wise, is fine. However i do think NCSoft will improve this.
Flight is a mis-conception, if you believe you can fly all the time in the world of AION, you cant. Only designated areas where magic resides are flight areas. However you can glide, if you jump and then jump again while in the air. Flight time, whether gliding or not, is limited to 60 seconds. However you can wear items that extend that time by a few seconds more.

Flight paths, and Teleports. You can move between one land and another by these two methods. It costs money, but not all that much. Teleport is the quickest, but costs a bit more, and the spirit bird is slightly less.
The games graphics continue to make me smile though, heres me standing next to one of the city guards.

Gaming PC

I had to upgrade my computer after a week of AION. However it was something i needed to do with Warcraft also. I stuck with 1GB (x2 512MB sticks) of RAM for a long time, running at DDR333.
I went and bought x2 1GB sticks at DDR400, and the difference in AION is very significant. However i have not yet tried Warcraft, which will be interesting to see, especially places like Dalaran.
There is another graphics card much better than the Sapphire HD 2600 XT, the ATI Radeon HD 4670 which is nearly double the FPS in performance. However i have to watch my wattage. This PC is a midrange PC and not an ultimate gaming machine. Built on a budget, so any upgrades done to this machine will be done over a long period of time. Tested..trialed..overclocked...tested, and trialed again. My main problem at the moment is the noise the current graphics card has when warmed up, and i started considering a passive card like SAPPHIRE HD 4670 ULTIMATE Edition, its also had some good write ups, and is silent, yet maintains its operating temperature comfortably. While im at it, i would need to upgrade the CPU aswell...but thats something for next year..prehaps
Temperatures running AION;
Case 34 Degrees C
CPU 45 Degrees C
GPU 58 Degrees C (peak)
RAM 1678 in use. (peak)

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Semi Retirement & the AION assessment so far..

Well my blog has been pretty stagnant for the last month, the reason being I have gone into semi retirement in warcraft.
RL is pretty busy outside of the game with our new baby Charlotte, so at best, I’m able to get online somewhere after 8:45pm UK. This reason, along with my need to unwind from a day, including work has left me wound-up more than anything else. However, taking a complete break from wow has made a huge difference these last few weeks to my personal life and frame of mind.
That’s not to say im ready to come back, I’m far from that. The first thing I know when I log in will be “right, what needs to be done” and that’s what’s got me into this situation in the first place. I also have the issue in my head which is..Warcraft itself. Blizzard’s got lazy, for me..It feels for me anyway..The common saying, “same **** just different smell”
It was perhaps the 4 years of constantly playing warcraft that’s made it turn a shade of magnolia for me, a game shouldn’t be a heavy sigh before you double click the wow shortcut. And the announcement of the re-facing of Azeroth and the re-introduction of Onyxia. Heroic version of Deadmines…..tell me there’s going to be a heroic Molten Core too?......please no. I have spent 4 years playing this game seeing and hearing about the same things..Repeating them in an expansion or patch would be like listening to George Michael on CD rather than a cassette tape.. Interesting & quirky, but quickly worn off. Some have said, that Blizzard made the game too easy, in some cases they have, but as the post before…what do we do now? I’m at a complete loss with no direction.
I was asked if I would roll an alt and level that up, but the thought of that almost made me sick. Another questing alt, in the same content, that’s looked the same for the last 3-4 years? I wouldn’t even be reading the quest txt, but marching through them as quick as I could to ding as much as I can to get any kind of fulfilment out of the game, which wouldn’t be much.
I had to think back to what I originally loved about the game, in my original guild I loved the PVP aspect of the game, and the world raiding,..back at level 34+ and there’s basically next to no hope of getting anywhere in that side of the game with those that are. Dedicated players geared and pre-focused on PVP of me standing any chance of competing. I guess along with the break from warcraft I needed something to bounce my *in the habit* brain out of wow and try something new.
Now, you’ll notice, way back I posted a link and some you tube links to a developing game called AION. And since im not committed to anything online, and apart from designing a depron foam F14 tomcat (RC) and my online time is about 9pm onwards, I decided to give it a shot while it was still in its infancy stages of launch.
Ok, let’s get this out of the way first, this is not a Warcraft Vs Aion blog, first and foremost. I have a solid understanding of WoW, and something that’s just launched will NEVER compete with warcraft which has developed itself over 5 years..Seriously. AION, while it was in open beta in Korea is nothing compared to the North American and European markets.
There are two areas’ I will discuss separately, the game, and the service.
The Game.
Its solid, no bugs (as yet) and the game play is alike wow in its player movement controls. Spells and abilities have a UI much like WOW’s standard, and abilities like fireball, with progression in levels links to activate a chain spell with half the casting time of the main spell. The Auction house doesn’t have you running back and forth to the post-box either, but its still needing refinement. All gear has sockets, which you can insert manastones into, which have HP, MP, and Accuracy etc into, your class determines what you put into them, and you can also ask a vendor to extract them so they are not destroyed. The game IS pvp based, with some PVE content, the main endgame content is the Abyss, where both factions, call it horde and alliance converge in a big landscape along with a AI 3rd faction which charges in on the faction loosing (some kind of trigger goes off, I don’t know what though as im not level 25+ yet)
I could go on, and on, and as I said the game is still in its first month of launch, and there are loose ends which they need to tie up, which im sure will come in time…much like Blizzard.
Ok, this is where the horse has had the proverbial bullet shot up its ass. Since going live there have been 2 hour ques to get into the game, and some technical issues along with it. Getting into the game at present, is the issue. However NCSoft stand by their comments that each server needs a balance of both factions to work for each server so that the game works for both sides. Which in the long run is perfect (think Alliance vs. Horde ratio per server) however in the short term, it’s killing the game softly and flamed the players wanting to get in and play it. “You are 2348/2350 in the Queue, approximate time 2 hours 30 mins”, they have recently launched some servers to ease the problem, however they do not have a character transfer in place, which is also aggravating the situation, there quote “will take a few months to put this in place” … need it NOW people! And make it free while you populate your servers as required. At the moment they seem to be depending on the players shuffling over to newer servers, however guilded players and those as groups of friends playing on the server of choice…aint moving.
This week will show the worst of AION…what they decide to do this week, will determine its long term future success. However, do not under-estimate, HOW popular this game is..

It’s not a warcraft killer, nor is it competing with Blizzard at any level. However in time, development and some steep learning curves, it will be a great alternative to warcraft, but let’s say..for this week…NCSoft need to pull it out of the bag to save themselves.
Great game, bad..terrible preparation for the mass player base that expected to play the game in its first launch week. I will write more, and further posts this month while I trial this game for 4 weeks free subscription.

Oh, and dont come anywhere near this game unless you have 2 GB RAM, and a half decent midrange graphics card, and a processor over 2.2 Ghz, if you can converge Stormwind, Ironforge and Dalaran into one city, its called Pandaemonium for a reason the Captial of the Asmo's