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Anyone still playing since Launch?


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So this is my first forum topic, and I was actually wondering if the people who pre-ordered AION or bought it at Launch are still playing the game?
I had the game pre-ordered since I am a massive fan of Guild Wars and wanted to keep supporting NCSoft in their ventures. I remember when the game still cost money to play each month. I played my Gladiator until I was around lv.22 and then just stopped playing the game because my laptop could not handle it (among other things). Now I have gotten back into my old account so was just having a look around and was considering playing again.

Since it has moved to the free-to-play method I have been on-and-ff the game (on different accounts), never really getting hugely into it. But I am wanting to give it another try. So was wondering (for veterans of the game):

  • What are the biggest changes in the game since Launch?
  • How active is the community?
  • What are some of the ways (if any) that the game has improved since Launch?
  • TL;DR- is this MMO worth getting back into?
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I started playing in November of '09. So not launch or pre-order, but I will take a swing at your questions.

Biggest changes..

  • No rifting (PvP doesn't start really until 76+)
  • Leveling is super easy. (You can level to max in 4 or 5 days of casual play)
  • Everything you need to level is given to you through quests. (You don't have to buy anything. Not gear. Not consumables. Not stigmas. You don't have to spend kinah at all on these things until you are max level. The only kinah you have to spend while leveling is to open your inventory and to slot your stigmas.)
  • Max gear is a thing. (.. and many players have it.)
  • Pay2win is also a thing. (You can still get there without paying much or anything but it will take you longer.)
  • Flying isn't as big of a deal any more. (Very little flight left in the game, but gliding is still important.) 

The community is massively smaller than it was. We are down to two servers and they are populated enough to get things done. Populated enough to lag things out in big fort battles, but smaller than any server from launch. Players that play are pretty active and log in daily. If you want to maintain a rank, you sort of have to.

The game is better and worse than it was. Not getting ganked constantly by twinks is amazing. (Though you will get slaughtered in the endgame areas, but you can minimize that by playing smart.) Being able to quickly level is nice. The graphics are better. Some of the old areas (those that remain after leveling was streamlined, that is) have had a rework and look so much better than they did at launch. The events are 5000% better than they were in that first year or so. 

The game is free-to-play. You can get a 7 day free trial of the Prestige Pack (which is like the old sub) to test that out. You waste nothing but time to try it out again.

It isn't GW2, though. Comparing the two is like apples and oranges. 

Is it worth it? Yeah. I think so. 

Edited by Aly-DN
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11 minutes ago, Aly-DN said:

I started playing in November of '09. So not launch or pre-order, but I will take a swing at your questions.

Biggest changes..

  • No rifting (PvP doesn't start really until 76+)
  • Leveling is super easy. (You can level to max in 4 or 5 days of casual play)
  • Everything you need to level is given to you through quests. (You don't have to buy anything. Not gear. Not consumables. Not stigmas. You don't have to spend kinah at all on these things until you are max level. The only kinah you have to spend while leveling is to open your inventory and to slot your stigmas.)
  • Max gear is a thing. (.. and many players have it.)
  • Pay2win is also a thing. (You can still get there without paying much or anything but it will take you longer.)
  • Flying isn't as big of a deal any more. (Very little flight left in the game, but gliding is still important.) 

The community is massively smaller than it was. We are down to two servers and they are populated enough to get things done. Populated enough to lag things out in big fort battles, but smaller than any server from launch. Players that play are pretty active and log in daily. If you want to maintain a rank, you sort of have to.

The game is better and worse than it was. Not getting ganked constantly by twinks is amazing. (Though you will get slaughtered in the endgame areas, but you can minimize that by playing smart.) Being able to quickly level is nice. The graphics are better. Some of the old areas (those that remain after leveling was streamlined, that is) have had a rework and look so much better than they did at launch. The events are 5000% better than they were in that first year or so. 

The game is free-to-play. You can get a 7 day free trial of the Prestige Pack (which is like the old sub) to test that out. You waste nothing but time to try it out again.

It isn't GW2, though. Comparing the two is like apples and oranges. 

Is it worth it? Yeah. I think so. 

Awesome! Thanks for filling me in. 
Yeah, I think the last time I hopped into the game I noticed that leveling went a lot smoother. I remember being level 22 when the game first launched and after reaching that level it just felt like I had hit a wall. All smaller quests didnt give me exp and all higher quests were well over 5 levels above me and impossible to complete. So I am glad to see they balanced that out a bit. I also heard the game had become pay-to-win...so they offer gear for real money or just boosts? I mean...cosmetics are one thing...and I dont mind that so much. I highly doubt I am going to spend any real money. I'm down for a good grind and don't mind it as much.

How are the guilds? Are those still a thing? 

Also, I am not so bummed about flight because it wasn't really that great to begin with. For a game that had the selling point of flight, even at launch I felt they had done it poorly and it was pretty much a glorified glider to begin with lol. But thanks again for all the info!!! :D

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1 minute ago, Aly-DN said:

Legions are actually bigger than ever with the current patch. In fact players created "Super Legions" and those are still going strong.

Ooooh super cool! I know on my main account I had tried making a Legion and in the end just joined one. But I think it would be cool to find an active one once I hop back in.

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Been around since the game launched and still have my shiny jewel case. I don't remember if it was the basic edition or collector's edition or whatever, I'd need to look for it again. Tl;DR to begin with. If you enjoy MMOs of the old days, do not come back to Aion. I do not use the term casualize lightly but they have butchered this game, removed most of the content, and made it possible to hit max level in just a couple of days. It's all about end game PvP now (which you're going to have to grind your butt off for if you don't want to die in a single shot) and you also need to spend actual cash on transformations which are basically a requirement to live as well. Now to go down the bullet points in order.
 

  1. Biggest changes? More than half of the original areas are gone. I speak from an Elyos viewpoint because I don't play Asmodian, but Verteron, Eltnen, Theobomos, half of Sanctum are all gone. The abyss is pretty much gone. Virtually all of the original quests both regular and campaign quests are gone. The crafting professions are gone. A ton of armor and weapons were removed from the game along with the ability to ever get them again. Tons of skills are gone, flying is gone except for in just one or two areas. Basically the game has been gutted of any content that doesn't encourage you to beeline straight to the end game and then spend money on the P2W cash shop. Kinah can no longer be traded, has been massively devalued or inflated depending on what you want to use it on yet can still be worth more as it's so much harder to get now. You can no longer trade with other people or open up a private store.
  2. The community is just active enough to play the game but I'd argue that way over half of the original player base has left and we're still bleeding people. Very few people liked the 5.x updates. Almost everyone hated 6.2 and on wards (which is what completely overhauled the game and gutted most of the content) and 7.x is just more of the same. People are still leaving by the boat load and very few stick around once coming back. The game they remember is dead and gone.
  3. Pros, though? Improvements? We do have new classes, prettier graphics, mounts (that are stupid expensive) some new areas, and the game is much easier now and doesn't require insane amounts of grind to level up. That's genuinely all I can think of. Over half of the game was axed in favor of some shiny things to look at or spend money on, and a 2-3 days trip straight to max level rather than an actual journey.
  4. I TL;DR'd at the start of this post. Me personally? I cannot recommend Aion to anyone or encourage anyone to come back in it's current state. In fact I'd warn people to just stay away. But when it comes to veteran players, or those who left a very long time ago, I think it's worth it to come back and see just what they've turned the game you remembered into. Tourism as opposed to actually playing the game.
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1 hour ago, Jagblade-DN said:

Been around since the game launched and still have my shiny jewel case. I don't remember if it was the basic edition or collector's edition or whatever, I'd need to look for it again. Tl;DR to begin with. If you enjoy MMOs of the old days, do not come back to Aion. I do not use the term casualize lightly but they have butchered this game, removed most of the content, and made it possible to hit max level in just a couple of days. It's all about end game PvP now (which you're going to have to grind your butt off for if you don't want to die in a single shot) and you also need to spend actual cash on transformations which are basically a requirement to live as well. Now to go down the bullet points in order.
 

  1. Biggest changes? More than half of the original areas are gone. I speak from an Elyos viewpoint because I don't play Asmodian, but Verteron, Eltnen, Theobomos, half of Sanctum are all gone. The abyss is pretty much gone. Virtually all of the original quests both regular and campaign quests are gone. The crafting professions are gone. A ton of armor and weapons were removed from the game along with the ability to ever get them again. Tons of skills are gone, flying is gone except for in just one or two areas. Basically the game has been gutted of any content that doesn't encourage you to beeline straight to the end game and then spend money on the P2W cash shop. Kinah can no longer be traded, has been massively devalued or inflated depending on what you want to use it on yet can still be worth more as it's so much harder to get now. You can no longer trade with other people or open up a private store.
  2. The community is just active enough to play the game but I'd argue that way over half of the original player base has left and we're still bleeding people. Very few people liked the 5.x updates. Almost everyone hated 6.2 and on wards (which is what completely overhauled the game and gutted most of the content) and 7.x is just more of the same. People are still leaving by the boat load and very few stick around once coming back. The game they remember is dead and gone.
  3. Pros, though? Improvements? We do have new classes, prettier graphics, mounts (that are stupid expensive) some new areas, and the game is much easier now and doesn't require insane amounts of grind to level up. That's genuinely all I can think of. Over half of the game was axed in favor of some shiny things to look at or spend money on, and a 2-3 days trip straight to max level rather than an actual journey.
  4. I TL;DR'd at the start of this post. Me personally? I cannot recommend Aion to anyone or encourage anyone to come back in it's current state. In fact I'd warn people to just stay away. But when it comes to veteran players, or those who left a very long time ago, I think it's worth it to come back and see just what they've turned the game you remembered into. Tourism as opposed to actually playing the game.

Wow, that was a lot. But thank you for breaking it down for me. It really sucks that they got rid of places. I have the jewel-case too!!!! Mine is in a box somewhere though. 
The few times I came back to it, I did notice the new classes. I have never played Elyos and was always an Asmodian so I wouldnt know what is missing until I level up. 
Hm...but yeah it sucks they cut so much content. I remember seeing private shops everywhere, bu I never used one myself. People have warned me about end-game saying that it's possible but that if I am not going to spend real money it will take me forever to get through it.

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So I finally got to play the game again after all these years and just...wow.
It's bad. So basically they cut out the starting area, took out the gathering, and shortened what quests were not removed by 80% or more. I remember making it to the lake and was like: "Why is it so small? Why am I already here? Where is the tutorial zone?"
The story made no sense anymore...info in the books they had me read were poorly written and there were spelling errors. Then it had me rushing through zones and bosses I had not originally fought until after I ascended. Truly madness. I am already level 9, but without doing the Ascension test, can't keep leveling even though I have tons of random quests. It really is a mess.

I mean...I will keep playing it for now, but it is a shadow of what it used to be at best. But I def see what you all mean now :'D

Also my character from Launch was so old that her name got replaced with random letters and numbers. Her Legion too. It was pretty entertaining.

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11 hours ago, 2sB2C36-DN said:
  • TL;DR- is this MMO worth getting back into?

Ultimately for me to recommend Aion to anyone it would take some big changes from NCwest/NCsoft communication. To me Aion the is not so much the problem as the company behind it and the publisher for our region is. They leave us the community in the dark for way to long.  Some games you can put up with the BS that the developers/publishers dish out but for me while i do still log in to mess around with friends i just can not commit to playing Aion as a main game which hinders the enjoyment+progression severely.

Edited by HealingSquid-KT
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The biggest change is that the game isn't good anymore. Some of the music is still nice, in the areas that weren't destroyed. 

The game has always been grindy and full of time and currency sinks/population imbalance/class imbalance, which I think everyone knows going in. The problem is that even though progression is heavily gated behind certain upgrade materials that mostly drop in pvp instances, some players are able to exploit vulnerabilities in the gating and snowball faster, which has a huge impact on a gear-based game like this. This probably wouldn't be possible on populated servers, but on KT and DN it's rampant.

For example, a premade will queue  some alternate faction characters on another account and then log them out to prevent backfilling. This leaves the other team at a huge disadvantage. If the zone requires a win to gain materials for upgrading your gear, the premade will remain in the zone for the duration of the match. If not, they will kill all the mobs with the materials and then exit the zone. Some premades are fast enough that they can do this before the backfill timer expires, so their side can repopulate and also get nothing for the run.  Another example is (was?) Evergale Canyon, which had a broken reentry mechanic that was abused by players who then geared up quickly and were allowed to keep their ill-gotten gains.

The point here isn't that there is a need for justice or punishment or whatever. The point is that the current progression gating is designed for servers with 50 to 100 times the populations of ours, and when players are allowed to circumvent it, it has a massive, negative impact on a game where gear > all.

Also, the game is full of tunnel-vision bads who have back-peddle mapped to 5 keys and who have replaced strafe with emote or wardrobe macros, so maybe this isn't intended to be a competitive PvP game, wtf do I know. 

P.S. 

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Edited by 1s8B7B8-KT
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6 hours ago, 2sB2C36-DN said:

So I finally got to play the game again after all these years and just...wow.
It's bad. So basically they cut out the starting area, took out the gathering, and shortened what quests were not removed by 80% or more. I remember making it to the lake and was like: "Why is it so small? Why am I already here? Where is the tutorial zone?"
The story made no sense anymore...info in the books they had me read were poorly written and there were spelling errors. Then it had me rushing through zones and bosses I had not originally fought until after I ascended. Truly madness. I am already level 9, but without doing the Ascension test, can't keep leveling even though I have tons of random quests. It really is a mess.

I mean...I will keep playing it for now, but it is a shadow of what it used to be at best. But I def see what you all mean now :'D

Also my character from Launch was so old that her name got replaced with random letters and numbers. Her Legion too. It was pretty entertaining.

Well I did say that leveling was super easy now and you can get to max level in 4 or 5 days of casual play. I wasn't joking. You reminisced about running out of quests and having to grind mobs to level up enough to be able to take the quests at the next quest hub. I remember that, too. That is absolutely not the case now. 

The starting zones are still in the game, but they will only take you an hour or so. You will have "tutorials" (that are actually marked as such) throughout your leveling.

Leveling was streamlined, many areas were removed and quests have been totally reworked. Prior to this leveling was a mess. There were 4 or 5 times as many quests as were needed. Most of those gave rewards that were horribly outdated. There were whole areas on all maps that players didn't need to set foot on. The story didn't make any sense since most people were skipping huge swaths of quests (that were unneeded and had outdated rewards). Leveling absolutely needed to be redone. For those of us who remember these areas, quests and the old storyline this is all rather sad. But that doesn't change that it needed to happen.

Personally I don't really like the new storyline. I don't like that it is the same for both races. I liked the racial differences.. in quests and in armor! It's rather vanilla now. 

Agreed that the spelling errors are nothing short of lazy. But in today's Aion, that's par for the course.

Try not to skip quests. There is an XP buff now and you will be tempted to do that. But current quests will be giving you all the gear and items you need to level. Just do them all and plow through. You won't need to ever grind mobs for more xp. 

Your old character has what we call a "Merge Name". Names have been reset a couple of times since you played. In your inventory you will find a name change ticket to select a new name and another ticket to select a name for your old legion.

It's been 8 or 9 -years- since you played. Things have changed. That's not odd. Instead of comparing, try to take it for what it is now. Otherwise you will just be sad.

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Disclaimer: I didn't start playing Aion until 5.1, so I don't have the intense nostalgia that so many of you guys have.

Aion has been casualized these days, that much is true. However, it's definitely still fun at many times in my opinion. So many people just do nothing but compare it to how it used to be. It's never going to be that again. You can either accept it or move on to another game. (That sounds bitchy in text, but I mean it as kindly as possible.) Those of us who still play can do so because we are able to tolerate the things we don't like about the game. When things break, we have to wait weeks for them to be fixed. There will be people who use real money to go crazy in events, giving them a huge gear advantage. (The most recent event had a vandal on KT-E spend over 2 thousand USD in one week.) Again, we can either accept these things or move on. That's something you'll have to decide for yourself.

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17 hours ago, Jagblade-DN said:
  1. I TL;DR'd at the start of this post. Me personally? I cannot recommend Aion to anyone or encourage anyone to come back in it's current state. In fact I'd warn people to just stay away. But when it comes to veteran players, or those who left a very long time ago, I think it's worth it to come back and see just what they've turned the game you remembered into. Tourism as opposed to actually playing the game.

That is how I am approaching the game now. I logged in for the first time in 3-4 years this week, and just took time to ride through Oriel and see the names of players who cared enough to come back. I'm extremely disappointed in the gutting of iconic maps like the abyss. If it is true that they will bring back the Katalam and Danaria maps, I may reinstall and even update the skills on my bar to functional ones. As the game stands now, once you've taken a look around, you're good to uninstall until the next map drops to explore.

 

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9 minutes ago, 1s214396-KT said:

That is how I am approaching the game now. I logged in for the first time in 3-4 years this week, and just took time to ride through Oriel and see the names of players who cared enough to come back. I'm extremely disappointed in the gutting of iconic maps like the abyss. If it is true that they will bring back the Katalam and Danaria maps, I may reinstall and even update the skills on my bar to functional ones. As the game stands now, once you've taken a look around, you're good to uninstall until the next map drops to explore.

 

Ahh. So you took a comprehensive look at the state of the game. Good good. At least you gave the game a fair shake. I mean.. Pretty sure that if you, 1s214396-KT, don't recognize the names of those home owners they must be nobodies! Good call. Thanks for posting!

giphy.gif

 

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@2sB2C36-DN Been playing since the dawn of time and the TLDR is the game is what you make of it. If you like punishing grinds, those days are over. All content is at max level which you hit pretty fast (a few hours) and the grind is for gear and resources rather than leveling.

People play 1-75 tutorial levels and get the idea that everything is given for free and there is no challenge, that is *definitely* wrong. They just rush you to 80 so you can grind with all your new buddies.

Gearing for PVP is quite achieveable without paying a single dollar as per the recent resources update, it takes maybe 5 days to be full Legendary (midtier) PvP gear which is where the average Joe is at.

 

After many years including a break I took, I still thoroughly enjoy Aion but in new and different ways and for different reasons. I can't guarantee you'll get rushes of nostalgia but there are certainly new things to enjoy and memories to make :)

 

PS. They made about a THOUSAND convenient quality if life changes which brought the tedious level down 300% and I don't even think the hardest nostalgia can argue with that

Edited by AriaTheMelodious-DN
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50 minutes ago, AriaTheMelodious-DN said:

@2sB2C36-DN Been playing since the dawn of time and the TLDR is the game is what you make of it. If you like punishing grinds, those days are over. All content is at max level which you hit pretty fast (a few hours) and the grind is for gear and resources rather than leveling.

People play 1-75 tutorial levels and get the idea that everything is given for free and there is no challenge, that is *definitely* wrong. They just rush you to 80 so you can grind with all your new buddies.

Gearing for PVP is quite achieveable without paying a single dollar as per the recent resources update, it takes maybe 5 days to be full Legendary (midtier) PvP gear which is where the average Joe is at.

 

After many years including a break I took, I still thoroughly enjoy Aion but in new and different ways and for different reasons. I can't guarantee you'll get rushes of nostalgia but there are certainly new things to enjoy and memories to make :)

 

PS. They made about a THOUSAND convenient quality if life changes which brought the tedious level down 300% and I don't even think the hardest nostalgia can argue with that

What type of elitist are you to be able to get that without paying?~1200 fragments for a full set of legendary. @1.5m per fragment. thats close to 1.7b 

 

OR, you can win 60 IB,ID or KB straight and get the set in under a month. That is if you win every game. 7 IB, 140, 3 ID? 60 and 1 KB per week. thats 220 a week. And that is if you win every game you play or you could p2w 1.7b and get it then.

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@Ele-DN Fragments from events, instances, crafting. Also by, you know, playing the game, I am rewarded with premium currency (Luna) like everyone else is. Luna from daily instance, Luna from GP, Luna from Discipline rank -- and I am not even that good. The "good" players get way more than me. And with that currency you just spend to rerun the relevant instances depending on what you need.

If you need fragments, IB.
If you need Etium, AD.

I don't spend kinah on fragments, that's for tuning, manastones, etc etc. Like I said; gearing for PVP is quite doable without spending a single dollar :D

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4 hours ago, AriaTheMelodious-DN said:

@Ele-DN Fragments from events, instances, crafting. Also by, you know, playing the game, I am rewarded with premium currency (Luna) like everyone else is. Luna from daily instance, Luna from GP, Luna from Discipline rank -- and I am not even that good. The "good" players get way more than me. And with that currency you just spend to rerun the relevant instances depending on what you need.

If you need fragments, IB.
If you need Etium, AD.

I don't spend kinah on fragments, that's for tuning, manastones, etc etc. Like I said; gearing for PVP is quite doable without spending a single dollar :D

While this is great information a returning player could not come back and be full legendary in 5 days.

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5 hours ago, HealingSquid-KT said:

While this is great information a returning player could not come back and be full legendary in 5 days.

I agree that full legendary in 5 days is a little fast. But you could certainly be full legendary in a few weeks if you work at it.

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@HealingSquid-KT @Aly-DN Yeah fair I should make 2 clarifications:

1. The 5-day estimate was based on you earning and using luna currency + the help of friends who can mentor.

2. I was supposed to say full armor (chest/hat/pants/gloves/shoes/shoulders) but I said "gear" instead cos dumb. Getting the wings, weapon, and accessories will take some more time, but still it wont be months of face-to-screen endless grinding like some other patches. Not even close

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