Today, we will be comparing WAR and Aion, the anticipated NCSoft MMORPG.
I had been playing the beta version of Aion, and after trying out a few classes, and its mechanic, I am deeply drawn into its PvE content and its PvP content (for PvP content, I have only seen discussions about it didn’t really play it, but it seems that I will be able to test that out in a month or so.)
So here is the comparison of WAR and Aion, S.T. style! We will be looking at several categories, and here we go!
WAR IP: Well, we all know that WAR’s IP come from Games Workshop, whom had developed the Warhammer table top games, and stories. The WAR IP is just hard to beat, It has a long history and is well developed. No complains about WAR’s IP, its very good indeed!
Aion IP: Aion’s IP is created by the studio (or Team?). Its a very young IP, and it needs to be polished a little bit, although it has its own unique story settings, it is also lacking a lot of history.
There is no way the Aion could beat WAR’s IP, considered the completeness of WAR’s unbeatable background story. WAR has a very deep story where as Aion doesn’t have that much of a story, even though Aion has the potential to grow their IP, at this point, WAR is the clear winner.
War Graphics: War’s graphic is o.k., compare to most F2P games, WAR clearly have a upper hand, but it has its problems, most notably, the lack of Anti-alias in WAR, even though WAR had developed a very unique art-style, but a lot of time its concept art got lost in the transition phase, and I have to say, WAR is not that great looking, plus it has a lot of animation bugs that really really needs to be fixed, I am sure people are sick of how its so easy to get stuck in a certain animation phase of a skill. Of cause WAR had delivered some pretty cool landscape and skill animations, but still they need to keep working on it. I mean, even GW (guild wars) looks better than WAR, and consider GW came out almost 3 years before WAR. Its pretty clear the WAR need to work on their graphics.
Aion Graphics: Aion is beautiful, I am quit surprised by its beautiful landscapes. You can almost take a screen shot at every corner and feels the beauty within! Aion also created beautiful animations for its characters and skills, but I have to say, the skill animations are pretty standard looking for a low level character (but from what I have seen with high level skill animations, they look really cool!) I haven’t seen any bugs for animations yet, but you do get stuck at weired places, and sometimes it lags a little (for like 1 second which is not a big deal) The wings are something that one really should look at, when a character had their wings at lv10 its just darn cool! One thing about Aion’s graphics that annoys me are the monsters, for some reason, some of them looks ugly and very plastic looking, but some of them are quite beautiful (frightening or maybe cute!).
There really is no comparison between the two, Aion has a very good graphics out there, I think its the best looking MMORPG out there todate! (Well, I haven’t seen Champions Online’s graphics so I can’t really tell) WAR is a little ugly compare to Aion, but then WAR has some pretty unique take on the skill animations where as Aion might not have. Over all, Aion beat WAR on this one.
Sound and Music:
WAR’s Sound and Music: WAR has a very good voice over for the characters and the NPCs, it is always fun to listen to the goblins, and sometimes it gets annoying to listen to the High Elves, but nonetheless, WAR have created a very lively world with the voice overs. As for its sound effects, I have to say its o.k., it doesn’t kill me and it doesn’t make me want to kill myself or anything, its just… o.k. As for the music, WAR doesn’t have that many different back ground music, that is the reason why I listens to Pandora every time I play WAR ( I guess that also made it hard for me to hear any back ground music) but I dont’ think there is anything remarkable about WAR’s music.
Aion’s Sound and Music: Aion is still in beta, and the localizations for the west is not done yet, so I can’t really talk about its voice over, since we haven’t been able to hear them yet. But it is a bit boring though, because they kind of sound the same (I think we will be able to choose different voices for the characters). Sound effects are o.k. too, I don’t think I have been impressed by any games’ sound effects yet (MMORPG wise). Aion’s music is quite good, The intro music if quite phenomenon, the choirs are beautiful, and the orchestras are quite grand. The back ground music isn’t too bad, they changes in each different areas to fit the mood of the landscape or to fit your characters action (in combat or not in combat).
At this point, I will give them a tie, since WAR have excellent Voice overs, but not so good background music, and Aion has no Voice over (still in production) and excellent Background Musics.
WAR starting areas: War excels with its starting areas, its T1 is just something to play and something to experience, with its 6 different races in the game, they easily had created one of the great starting areas of all MMORPGs (the other being WoW, which has 8 different starting areas, i think?) Each starting area has its own style, and the landscape look very distinct from each other, also, the quests that WAR introduced in its starting area are different for each Race, which means that its very much a new experience every time you pick a different race. The starting areas of WAR is very thoughtful, it introduced you to its mechanic, and provide you the chance to participate in the PQ system right away, the SCs experience, and the oRvR experience all in one, and you can participate in all of them within a few minutes!
Aion starting areas: Aion has two different races, and they have their own distinct look to their own starting areas, with its IP, it is very easy to tell the differences between the two races, the Elyos lives in a tropical heaven looking environment, and the Asmodians lives in a very dark places (dark as an no sun and no tropical looking stuffs) The looks of the two races is also different, where the Elyos looks like a normal human race, and the Asmodians look more like a mix of WoW’s Night Elves and Draenei. But with its powerful customizations, you could make your character looks very different from the default ones. Aion’s starting area provides a very casual feeling, and you can quests your way up to lv 10 in less than 6 to 8 hours. One thing to note is that the quests that are provided in the two different starting areas, are almost exactly the same, or should we say they are basically the same its just with the twists of the Elyos characters or the Asmodians characters (this applies to the very early quests, for example the first 10 standard quests). There are a few types of quests, the most notable is the Campaign Quests, and the standard quests. The Campaign Quests are story driven, and are fun to play, they have their own in-game cut-scenes too! As of the standard quests, they are the grinding quests, but they are not as grindy as you think, but they are not as story driven as the Campaign Quests.
With its 2 similar starting areas, Aion is no match to WAR, whom have 6 different starting areas, with quests that is tailored to the races you play, and it is fun to play the T1 of WAR, there is no argument there.
War Customizations: War has little customizations when it comes to character creations, there are different races, and each races have a few dozen different pre-made faces, hairs, and a few little things that can be changed. The armors are very much the same, when if first launched it is very easy to see your evil twins, or sometimes triplets! The armors are almost the same, there are specific armors for each tiers, and a special set for the first three tiers, ones you hit T4 you will be able to get the high end gears that finally have distinction between each characters, but even then, its still possible to run into your evil twin. The trophy system does add a little fun to your character, but eventually they are the same.
Aion Customizations: Aion has a very customizable character creation process, you can almost make your own characters, and it is impossible to find your evil twin, of cause unless you use the premade settings, (it seems that every game after Aion emphasizes on the customizations, like Champions Online, and APB) As for armors, I can’t really tell you much about it because at this point, very ones armor look the same, but I have to say the Asmodians’ armor looks better than the Elyos, (for my tastes anyways.)
Aion’s character customizations is just fun to play, it might take you a while to get your characters ready. As for WAR, it takes about 5 minutes to pick your characters, and other than the pre-made options, there isn’t anything you can do about it.
WAR’s combat system: WAR have 24 different careers, and each of them have their own set of skills and mechanic, WAR have successfully created some great mechanics in each careers that made it pretty fun to play different careers and to experience the “mini-game within a game” moments. Even though its hard to say if each mechanic is as good as the other, but there are some innovation in these different careers.
Aion’s combat system: Aion has 4 classes and 8 sub-classes that you can choose after you have reached lv 10. Each sub-classes have its unique look and fell, but they still fall into the same old MMORPG frame works. But there is a few very interesting things about the combat system, especially for the melee classes, where your movement will slightly effect your stats, for example, if you charge forward, your attack will gain some buffs, and if you charge left or right, your chances of evading enemy attacks increases. Its a small little thing that makes Aions combat a little different, but for the long range DPS classes, those mechanic really doesn’t do anything for them. Another little mechanic that Aion have is the skill chain system, where you are able to chain more than two skills, and its very easy to do so, once you have learned the two skills that you can chain together, all you need to do is push the hot key for the first skill, and then you can either use your mouse to click on the icon for the second skill right next to your character, or you can simply push the same hot key for your second skill. The only problem is that you will have to manually click on the same skill with your mouse, if you don’t want to chain your attacks. The flight system is also something that is very much emphasized in Aion, but since I have not experienced it I will not talk about it that much.
Both WAR and Aion have its own unique way of creating their combat systems, WAR have many different inovative mechanics for each careers, and the numbers of careers that are in WAR is just incredible, even though there are flaws in each careers and sometimes the mechanics favor one career better than the other. Aion have a few little innovative designs, but these designs are not strong enough to really make your game play experience incredible (at least for the first 10 levels)
Both WAR and Aion had been out in the market for about a year now, (Aion was launched in Korea since last October or so). They both had gone through the phases of fixing bugs and fixing the balances of each classes. Many of you might wonder why I am comparing WAR and Aion, isn’t Aion just another Korea MMORPG clone? WAR is very much a game about PvP, why am I comparing them? The fact is, Aion has its own PvP system in the end game, even though one might not participate in PvP activities till later levels in Aion where as one can dive right into PvP game play in WAR, but Aion’s flight system and its PvPvE system had been praised as the next step to the PvP of the new MMORPG. The flight system created a new way to fight, and the PvPvE provides balance among the two factions. Plus NCsoft is trying its best to localize Aion, and its noticeable in the beta, the translation of the quests texts are pretty well done, even though they are not perfect, nor is it as good as WAR, but remember, WAR has a very deep IP where as Aion’s IP is starting from scratch.
Is Aion a grind fest just like most of the Korean MMORPG? I have to say no, its leveling curve is kind of like WoW, where you can lv up to lv10 with just doing quests, and the rumor is that one can level up to Lv50 with just doing quests. I think the Aion team is trying its best to make a Korean MMORPG as friendly to the western customers as possible, and I have to say they have done a pretty good job. As for WAR, I have to say, WAR needs to step it up, Aion doesn’t have a lot of bugs, and its class balance is pretty even, and the game play is pretty pleasant. But WAR still have a lot of issues, yes, WAR have a more complicated system, and its scope is huge compare to Aion, but when players are more likely to play a game that is more polished than the other, WAR still have a way to go before it will be able to catch up with Aion. And again I have to stress that Aion has the advantage of being a new IP and a lot simpler than WAR, but it doesn’t give WAR any excuse not to fix its problems ASAP!
Just like other on-line gamers, I am looking forward to new games, and so far, Aion had gave me a reason to give it a try when it launch this coming September, and WAR had not live up to its name yet for me to keep playing.
A shout out to MYTHIC: hurry up! and try your best to fix the problems that is in WAR, otherwise, you might not survive this coming September.