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A Reply to the Producers


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Introduction

First of all, thank you for your time reading these words. It's important to mention I'm just a humble player, thus my opinions and suggestions don't necessarily represents the Aion community, even though as a player, some might relate to the following words. Also, the main goal of this topic is to offer positive and constructive suggestions to the game, especially now with the new patch.

 

Predule

Without further ado, let's dive into what matters; game quality. NCSoft built its reputation on previous game, in previous years, which was fundamental for Aion. At its release, and even at the release of Classic recently, the success was huge. Taking in consideration Classic is a dated game in matters of engine and graphics, it's astonishing how the community supported and still supports the game. That's something to take in consideration, and from the producer letter, it seems they recognize the importance of their player base, even though within the game, there're some policies or approaches that would indicate the opposite.

To explain the "opposite", I would take as an example a game I liked, from a company I'm pretty sure doesn't exist anymore. I used to play Priston Tale 2 before Aion, from Yedang Coorporation. Priston Tale was and still is a success from what I know, and people were really into Priston Tale 2, expecting something bigger and better. Unfortunately, the game didn't last for long, since it already started with a predatory system, and at its end, the predatory system just increased to the point nobody was buying anything, neither playing anymore. Don't need to explain what happened to the game and company, since they just don't exist anymore (even though there're private servers of this game still operating).

When we look for a game in order to play, usually we search it in order to have fun, since most people have obligations. Even though there're competitive games in the market, it seems our society is somehow evolving from bestiality to a more organized thing, where competition is slowly giving room to cooperation. If you take huge success in the past, such as StarCraft 2, you gonna see that what keeps the game alive until now are the community, and how community interact with itself; through cooperative games. Lots of people just don't want to compete, since they're already competing in life in order to get marks at school, or at their jobs in order to get a promotion.

That's when some huge successes comes in mind, such as Apex or Fortnite etc. Those games have their competitive environment, but they aren't that abusive, since it allows people to actually have fun with their friends. People turn on the computer nowadays, get their friends in discord and start chatting while playing a game, a if they were in a pub or something. We can see it on Twitch, for example, and how our society is adapting itself to the modern age. Companies as well need to adapt, because if not, they will lose audience and income, thus losing profit and influence.

 

Marketing Approach & Business

Most companies that don't invest on audience, such as Twtich, Youtube etc., or promote their content on social media, are faded to be forgotten. We're in a time people want to communicate, they want to know who they're dealing with, talking with, playing with, doing business with etc. So, in case of NCWest, it's mandatory that you guys get a pretty face, put some make up on them, and make them interact with the audience. Or get some GMs and put them interacting with the community both within and outside the game. If you guys had it done before the lunch of Classic, I'm pretty sure the success would be much bigger.

You guys have the opportunity to change how people see Aion and NCsoft. But that will just happen if you all are willing to make the changes needed. You don't need to wait on Korea Office in order to do something, I mean, of course there're some limitations NCWest would face, but still, you guys have, or should have the personnel and infrastructure to make changes, to be proactive. There're several things I'm sure you guys do behind the scenes, but still, sometimes when we look at Aion and other games, it's just sad... a lame. So much potential lost, and not because of incompetence of the staff, but due lack of attention from the company itself.

It's alright paying for a service, it's already paying for costumes, paying for stuff that wouldn't influence the gameplay, but when things start getting pay-to-win, and you star abusing the success rate and drop rate of specific items, then it becomes predatory, like a gambling in a casino. A big company and a company of respect wouldn't need such approach in order to make profit, since their product would be good enough. That's when that previous mentioned company, Yedang Corporation fits in this subject, since Yedang probably didn't have the influence NCSoft did, and was just trying to make quick profit.

As I often say, NCSoft usually gets drown themselves into their own greedy. There're different marketing or business approach that would reflect our century much better than old post-war gambling system that tries to suck people's money. That might work in other audiences, such as in Korean, Japan and China, but to the rest of the world, people are culturally different, and they need better adaptation. Here in West, for example, people give more value to the personal relation rather status, titles, or how good they are in abusing of low geared players.

 

Improvements

Then here we get to the points suggestions are needed. It's easy to point out issues without solutions, and say to someone else fix it for you. Usually you pay hundreds of people, and they can't come to a solution, because they're simply not capable of that, since they don't either play the game, nor they are putting their heart into it. I mean, it's your company, your job, the way you earn your money, and if you can't do that with love, at least do it right. Not saying your guys, the staff, people who are reading it, aren't doing it right. Just saying that NCSoft as a company lacks proper leaders. They might have bosses and directors, but they're just people paid to do their job, nothing more, they're not leaders who often get engaged into their work, if they were, things would be so much different, at least here in West.

There're some easy things to fix that would change the entire game, for example, there's something in the community known as the "raper party". The raper party is a 50e geared group composed of 2 Gladiators, 1 Templar, 2 Cleric and SM. They just take on pretty much everything, not allowing under geared people to even do their quest. When you back home from job, and want to have fun, and get into the raper party, you just turn off the computer or go play another game. NCSoft is losing audience, is losing profit, income when that happens. How to prevent that? Easy, allow us to enter in either Premade parties or Random groups, or allow just PvP geared players to play against PvP geared players. If you want to go further, you might change how the system identify winning and loses, basing things not on Level, but Gear points.

For example, a PvE player, the best of them would be considered having 100 PvE points. The same with PvP players, that would have 100 gear points. Those players would never face each other in PvP activities, since they wouldn't have the recommended sets or specifications in order to do that. So if you want to go Fortress Siege and EARN ABYSS POINTS, you would need a soft cap of gear points. For example, a Rank 1 Soldier could kill a 1 Star Officer and earn points, but a 1 Star Officer would get half of its points by killing a Solder 1. Now, if both tried to kill a player without PvP status, then they wouldn't earn anything at all, neither the one killed, neither the one who killed. This way, you would not only stop abuses, but also would increase the difficulty of geared players to achieve more points, rather encouraging nyerk parties.

 

Clerics

Another things I believe it's important to mention is how Aion was designed based on a competitive and toxic mentality. People or parties would get more points based on the amount of damage or kills they had. But and the Cleric, who are often healing and support their party? They would get 5x less Abyss Points and a couple of Silver Medals, while other people would take 40k Abyss Points and 5 Gold Medals. If you guys want to improve the community and the game, it's important to know what's your focus; competition or cooperation. Few would be able to compete, but majority would be able to cooperate, thus increasing the income, the profit, more Siel Aura, more Daeva Pass etc.

More you frustrate people nowadays, easier to lose them. In other times, that might have worked on weak minded individuals, and even nowadays it might work upon some psychologically fragile people, who take the game and depositing their frustration, abusing weaker players. But majority will just search another hobby or game to play and waste their money. This might be cultural, and we see on some drama and series how Asian social relations are ages behind modern society by the way they treat women etc. and other topics that would rather not touch here (I'm half Asian, I know what I'm saying because I saw how my grandfather treated my grandmother etc., so it's not racism).

So, the same way people base their characters on Damage/Second, base the earnings on Healing/Second. There're some good Clerics out there that I know, that are always supporting their parties, but didn't get what they deserve. You need to have good friends and a good Legion in order to be supported and even carried before you get your stuff done. Then we enter into another issue; how under geared players suffer in order to get their sets, especially PvP sets, since geared parties would just accept geared players, and under geared players would take months in order to get their sets, especially earning 4x less of what geared players won.

In the end, the way the game works, works pretty much like the government of a corrupt country who abuses its population, where just a few sit in their chairs, with tons of medals that means anything at all, clapping and smiling, thinking they're something, when in reality everybody just hate them, but aren't fool enough to express that directly. That's how people feel when someone get Governor for years, just stacking AP, not giving the opportunity to others achieve their goals. So, in the end, NCSoft is supporting nyerk parties and corrupt governors.

 

Conclusion

Sarcastic jokes aside, it's at the hand of the Staff and Company to change the game environment. When you encourage competition rater cooperation, you're not only influencing the game, but how people behave, and how people would bring such behaviors into society. Something the community was talking about was related to hacking. Someone said; "everybody does, so I'm doing". Then, the other person said; "just because others shoot someone, would you stab them, then"? When we see people abusing their power within Tiak or Dredgion, we're just watching deep inside their inner personality. This would explain why, at war, so many people nyerk, abuse, torture others. When NCSoft allows people to abuse their power within game, it's influencing their character, thus harming society in several ways, or different types of individuals in different societies.

That's why I'm so against the business approach the company has, not necessarily against the game, the community or even the staff. There're ways to make things competitive in a good way, would just require more effort, more time and investment. I believe you guys are doing your best, and this producer letter meant a lot for some of us here in the community. I really hope at the time of the release of AION 2, not Classic 2.0, we might have a beautiful, positive and constructive game, that encourages people being better to their friends and community.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Greetings,

After a week into the new update, I just want to come back to this post and read it again, also share my thoughts about the changes. Gladly, keeping huge text-walls would filter the majority of people, allowing these words to reach the ones that really cares about the current state of the game, or in other words, NCSoft Staff, the ones who keep the game alive.

I'm often harsh in my reviews, to the point I might offend someone, but please, don't take this personal. It's a mere psychological strategy in order to generate impact, and carve a mark within the subconsciousness, to the point you would keep doing your normal routine, and what you read in the forums would suddenly pop up in your mind, like that Dredgion/Tiak moment sign.

 

Bots/Hackers/Cheaters

Since the last update, playing with other players we hear that abusing some system mechanics aren't as easy as it was before. In other words, it seems Aion is not a fertile soil for others to explore in matters of making real money. If this keep in such fashion, most people who don't respect or care about the game will just leave, leaving the core community that still plays with their friends, and have some appreciation to the game.

Also, following the AP gain of several players, it seems it's much harder to make the same amount of AP some players were able to make before the update. In other words, with the weekly reset in AP chambers, even if people would fill up a party with bots in order to get all AP to themselves, still, it's just a run, in a week, not influencing the overall AP gain. So people now are not climbing 200 positions in a single day, even if they trade their relics etc. (At least from what I could notice)

Broker wise, it seems harder to get some crafting materials, but it's encouraging people to actually gather materials, rather using bots. The farming bots are the worse, and as stated, it seems NCSoft is properly taking care of them this time. It's a good things, since would prevent people to abuse their privileges, if any, and sell kinah to other players in order to increase their monthly salary as well.

 

Beginner Pass/Store

A huge thing was the benefits in the beginner pass, such as the 40e gear, not mentioning the full Anuhart set. That was a smart move from NCSoft, since it's offering what the game has to offer in a convenient way. In other words, you can still play DP and drop your stuff, or you can just toss your credit card number and get it all at once. Doesn't matter, people are aiming Beshmundir stuff now, so nobody cares if you dropped or bought your gear.

Still, it doesn't spoil the fun, or break the game, actually eliminates the silly elitism Aion always had, allowing more people to just play and have fun. It encourages players to improve, develop their characters, in a way or another. It's not a pay to win approach, but a pay to follow progress, or a catch up program that you pay for convenience. What surprises me is the good drop rates of Dark Poeta.

I myself liked so much this approach, changing the original image of NCSoft marketing approach, that I just bought my accessories and wings. I still have other goals to accomplish, and now I keep watching the store for more interesting and useful things. I'm really glad the staff is helping out new and returning players, and this approach is definitely a success, both in matters of money income, but also in matters of player base cultivation.

 

Tiak/Dredge Groups

Might be only the fact people are retuning the game, but now it's hard to get an empty Dredge or Tiak, which is good. We still get super geared groups to fight against, but the new level cap allowed us to train those super strong mobs into super geared pvp parties, just to watch them being smashed and destroyed by level 55 mobs. I never laughed so hard playing Aion.

Not only that, but 2.0 update, since past years, was one of the best updates, because it fixed several issues we were having in the first version, also brought completion to different areas of the game, such as crafting. Even though I'm not sure why we can't relinquish our Expert/Master status yet in order to get expert in another profession. Maybe it was a 3.0 update, can't remember.

Ah yeah, and gladly, we can now complete our daily quests in Dredgion in an easy fashion. Nobody would deny our prisoners, since now it's just supplies, and the poor shugo slaves delivery it to our hands. Also the key thing in order to access captain bridge avoid unnecessary confrontation and massacre in matters of geared/ungeared groups, which encourages people to keep farming and playing.

 

Promotions/Twitch/Youtube

Twitch month, with that werehouse expansion slot was awesome, I honestly didn't expect that. I'm still hopping to see some faces streaming Aion, some staff making jokes and interacting more with us. Aion is an awesome game, aside all the nasty gambling we already discussed about, the predatory practices and the dated elitism and toxicity.

But all those things aren't staff's fault, I mean, it's not the poor GM we need to blame, the guy just get up every morning like us, get his breakfast and run to the office, or get their breakfast in the office, while organizing the weekly meeting etc. All the fault is based on greedy, ignorant people, who see player base as mere numbers, not respecting their intelligence, trying to suck the last penny of their pockets.

You know, we see this approach often, in different companies. It's like a modern violation, where criminals disguise themselves with beautiful suits and explore people like slaves. When those companies mix things up and get involved into political business, then it gets uglier and lower than we can imagine. What's fun and sad, is the simple fact that it's just a facet of us all, I mean, the dark side of human personality.

Just take the example we had with Blizzard, censoring people, not allowing them to manifest opposite opinion, and how even the US Congress entered into the mess. Doesn't seem much, but there're some vital, some essential values we need to respect in order to keep up Democracy, our values, or the values that makes US and our Western society what it's, or should be.

And I'm not even American, but I do understand a country is made of people and values, and that every country made its mistakes, but people are the ones that keep writing the story in their daily lives, being taking care of a restaurant, a marketing or gaming company. So, for those in US and South Korea, as a citizen who values democracy; watch your work, respect it, keep your values within it, then nobody would mess up, manipulate or control your lives. (Aion saves Atreia, lol).

 

Conclusion

I feel the game is getting better, toxic people are leaving, because they can't explore others, neither the game. Just people who want to have fun keep playing, and day after day we get to know each other better and better, to the point we remove our sets in arena, just to help each other completing our daily quest. Lot of us don't even care about being "good" in the game, we just play in order to have fun and build up ties with people from different countries.

That's the bright said of massive multiplayer games. While countries are making silly wars, based on ambitions and greedy, common people like us are just trying to make our living, GMs as well, since you guys also need to eat (Aion 4.0 joke you guys made in the website at that time). Anyways, everything has the value we give upon it. Aion for me was always a game of overcoming, effort, dedication.

Might be only me, now finding the right people to play with, or might be Aion's blessing showing a bright future. But you guys have so much potential, also the game and the company. Don't allow nasty greedy Shulacks take over and sell out everything you guys worked for just for the feeling of "being better" than others, like those stupid Balaurs that just know destruction. 

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  • 1 month later...

Greetings,

Due the recent events in Aion Classic, also the new letter released by the staff, I came back in order to update this topic. As always, keep in mind this is just a perspective of a player, based on personal experiences, and the experienced within the game. You might disagree with those, but it's mandatory to keep the expression of your opinion in a civic manner, at least if we want keeping any conversation as something constructive.

 

The News

Summarizing, the new trend in Aion is the new unofficial server, since most players and bots are unable to play and make profit out of the game. In other words, new players are struggling to leave their capital city, struggling to buy skills and level up, while bot owners can't make proper profit and sell kinah in order to earn real money. In one thing we must agree, NCSoft is indeed trying to protect their own interests, but at the expense of player's base interests.

Then, a new server emerged, with different features, a fee of 5$, lots of skins and costumes, also anti-cheats and ways to prevent people abusing the game by opening two clients, or having multiple accounts in order to trade AP etc. Their site and server is so well-made that would make us thing someone from NCSoft created the server in order to actually do something, since the HQ didn't give much attention to our region.

The producer letter actually expressed how NCWest is actually tied to the Korean HQ, and how Korean HQ is just focusing on their interests, at the expense of even NCWest Staff needs. In other words, HQ asks NCWest to apply things that don't fit our region, and then NCWest need to answer why there is such low income in matters of players and Dollars.

 

The Sorrow

I'm really sorry to see this happening with NCWest Staff. I mean, it's a company, and everything is based on profit and income, and if a sector of the company doesn't deliver what it's supposed to deliver, then they start cutting expenses, firing people etc. So, more NCWest is tied and unable to handle things at their region, more in risk their own jobs and careers are.

I'm glad though NCWest was opened about the issues towards their administration and HQ administration, since it shows they want to work and care about the game and player base, but unfortunately, they are tied to incompetent people at HQ, that somehow are their overseers, but have no idea how to properly deal with Western audience.
Luckily, now we have some reference of business model that might work in the West, and also a direct affront to Korean HQ.

When everything revolves around money and interest, the best way to improve service is by competition, the same way works within game, where you need to gear up in order to earn more stuff. So it seems that more NCSoft make people and staff angrier, more they turn their head to NCSoft, and as stated in previous texts, more NCSoft get hurt due their own incompetency. 

 

The Solution

Time will be the solution, not only that, but the so called competition in the market, being such competition based on private servers, or games from different companies. If I was an investor, wise enough to actually bother and play NCSoft games, I would definitely know I shouldn't put my money in such company. It's really sad to see competent staff in NCWest tied and unable to help out their own player base.

At least thank you guys for caring about us, and to try to improve the game talking to people from HQ. I really hope those people might understand how Western audience is different from East, and that there're better ways to offer NCSoft services to their player base, being lowering the subscription, offering more items that players need in the Season Pass, or mere skins or events.

In the end, what we all need is an environment where players don't feel abused, where people don't abuse game mechanics not only in order to make more AP, but also avoid this Kinah Black Market, where bots spoil the economy. A solution to it all would be making things more accessible to everybody, then nobody would need to waste real money in order to take advantages, but that would be against NCSoft core values, which revolves around exploiting abuses.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Greetings,

As always, I'm back to this thread in order to give a feedback, especially based on the recent drop rate changes. I believe most players were surprised about what NCWest achieved with the Korean HQ, giving us the drops back, helping out players in order to make kinah, thus allowing us to have enough resources in order to build up our characters.

 

Drops, Kinah, Pass

Drops that give us kinah are given within end-game instances and group activities such as LUT, BT, alongside Tiak and Dredgion, which helps people farming their kinah naturally, without the help of bots or suspicious activities. World drops also increased, but giving resources for crafting and also skills and stigmas, which helps immensely, but also aren't seem as an easy way to abuse.

Fortunately or not, bots will always be present, and people willing to buy kinah as well. Blade & Soul, I believe, had an interesting option where players could trade NCoins for HM Coins, and those for Gold, if I'm not mistaken. Something similar might be used in Aion Classic in order to allow players to buy kinah directly from NCSoft, beyond the NPC caps etc., giving us a reliable kinah resource.

Or, since the pass was improved, more manastones could be offered, alongside skins and enchantments stones for those willing to make easy kinah while opening their wallets. Anyways, there're several ways NCSoft could manage the bots, by intelligent drop distribution and offering items players could trade among each other in order to help them out improving their character.

 

Population

Unfortunately, even with those improvements, it seems the player population kept at the same amount it was not long ago. Most people checked out what 2.0 could offer and already left the game, giving us the same people in order to play and keep doing end-game activities. Which is fun, especially when a sin kills a commander in one hit while he is doing his medal quests!

A small population help out people in order to make friends and get used to the community, in a good or bad way. The usual Elyos vs Asmodians drama in sieges and all the people complaining in the LFG chat. People that hate each other, but still, can't stop playing with and against each other. Less than 500 players that keeps the server alive, somehow.

But it was always like that, in other words, people always come back to check out an event or update, then they just leave. If NCSoft want to keep players attention, it's important to give us constant and different types of events, such as, but not limited to double drop, double AP etc. GMs could join the fun sometimes, dressing up as Empyrean Lords, helping out the faction, or just throw a NPC there to help out the faction, such as Veille, Mastarius, Kaisinel or Marchutan.

 

Aura

For most people, especially in underdeveloped countries, Aura price is just too high. Comparing the game to modern games and franchises of success, 15USD is just too much for Aion. I just finished building up my Cleric, and was happy with that, till the point I wanted to reroll to another Class, and get unmotivated, since I know I'll need to spend more 3 or 4 months farming Medals and Ap all over again.

IF we could at least trade our items, accessories for example, among our characters, it would help immensely, and maybe, would keep people motivated in order to build up different characters, testing out different classes, thus keep the interest in the game. Would definitely help us out the opportunity to keep our progress, not throwing everything away in order to start another character, and get our progress delayed by months.

There're ways to keep an influx of new players coming to the game, another way would be improving graphics, investing on streaming and social media etc. Unfortunately, NCSoft never bothered much about that. In the end, the feeling I personally have is; the company offers too little, charge too much, for little joy from the community, but I understand the fault is upon Korean HQ.

 

Conclusion

I personally can't keep on the Aura and Pass, and I don't want to waste more time and money farming things I already farmed with one character. Then, it's easier to move to a private server, or just play another game. I believe that's the same feeling that motivated people to leave Classic for private servers. There're so much NCSoft could do, but based on the producer's letter, NCWest is as tied up as we are, as players, so we can't expect lots of changes.

I just hope people in NCWest keep up the good work, helping out the player base, supporting us and our interests to the Korean HQ, and maybe showing to them that our audience is indeed totally different, also our goals and marketing approach. Well, you guys already did that, by standing by our side while getting our drops back, and distributing it in an intelligent way, so can't complain about the Staff... only when it doesn't drop from Triroan or SW (jokes).

Anyways, Aion was and somehow still is my favorite game, and hope watch its improvement. Hope getting better graphics, more players to play with, cheaper Aura and the opportunity to keep using the same account without the penalties we see, such as not being able to trade items among characters in the same account. I know the game wasn't designed for that, but it requires adaptation, and intelligent ways to catch audience's attention.

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