Aion Analysis: Character Creation

Character creation in Aion was one of the most involving aspects of the game itself.  It starts off by presenting two faction options: Elyos or Asmodean.  In vanilla Aion, this had a large impact on your gameplay, as your faction would determine some of the abilities you would get access to later.  While this was eventually changed, there remained a factional imbalance with how the maps were set up.  That aspect will NOT be covered in this article.

After that, you are presented with 12 options for classes to play.  In vanilla, there were only 8 options.  There aren’t 12 classes to play, though.  The game presents male/female as different versions of the classes, although there is no difference in gameplay between the two.  The differences are purely cosmetic.

One of the more confusing aspects of this window is that you are presented with 6 stats in the lower left: power, health, agility, accuracy, knowledge, and will.  There is no explanation what these stats are for, and it is entirely up to the player to learn.  There is no equipment within the game itself that has these stats on them either, as HP is the stat that appears on gear NOT health.

These stats cannot be changed in any way, shape, or form until 5.0.  In 5.0, players are given a talent-point style system (called Essence Allocation), and I will cover this system in great detail in the future.  Before the Essence Allocation System, though, these stats were completely immutable, and they also did not indicate what they were for.

After a lot of experimentation by the player base, it was discovered that these stats indicated how well this specific class scaled with stats.  If a character had 100 knowledge, they gained 100% of the value of every point of magic boost.  If a character had 95 knowledge, they only gained 95% of the value of every point of magic boost.  If a character had 130 knowledge, they gained a whopping 130% of the value of every point of magic boost.

While I do view more knobs to help balance a game as a valuable tool, these particular stats always puzzled me.  They were presented to the player at class selection, and seemed to be of vital importance.  While they were very important, the way they were presented always made it feel like they were a stat that could be changed, or a stat that would come into direct play later.

But neither of these things are true.  These stats were always hidden in the background, and it was never something that factored into gameplay decisions later.  In fact, at 10, when you ascended to become your true class, these stats changed again.

This gave character creation in Aion a confusing feel, as it would sometimes present you with information that was neither important nor relevant.

Then comes the cosmetic portion.  I am sure virtually everyone has seen pictures of hideous and beautiful Aion characters, so I will not cover those here.  Instead, I am going to talk about the armor and ability showcase mode.  In this mode, you can view 4 types of armor:

  • “Naked”
  • Low level armor
  • Mid-high level armor
  • High level armor

You can also view 6 different abilities.  Of these 6 abilities, some may not actually be in the game, though.  This was one of the odder realizations I had when I bought a plastic surgery ticket (a character appearance modification item).

While this may not seem major, one of the cooler abilities that it showed for sorcerers was an ability that didn’t even exist within the game, at least not for sorcerers.

In conclusion, the game’s creator has a lot of cosmetic options, but it also has a bunch of information that only serves to confuse players (or simply be forgotten).  The stats, along with the sometimes missing abilities, are a confusing combination of things to present the player with that seems to serve no actual purpose in the game.

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Aion Analysis: Introduction

“Aion Analysis” is a series of articles I’m going to be doing on the game Aion.  This article only introduces what the series is going to be about, and it will not do any actual analysis.

Aion is a game developed by the Korean developer and publisher NCsoft.  It was originally released in South Korea in November 2008 and quickly became NCsoft’s flagship product.  It released in Japan in July 2009, and was subsequently released in North America, Australia, and Europe in September 2009.  The game was advertised as a PVPVE game.  One of the core focuses of the game was for PVP and PVE to often intermingle instead of being separate subgames.

In South Korea, the game experienced an incredible amount of success.  It surpassed Lineage 1 in terms of financial success, and it was the most popular MMORPG in South Korea.  Despite being wildly successful in South Korea, the game was not immensely popular elsewhere.  It saw massive initial success, but the success tapered off and, as the game was westernized more and more, the game continued to do worse and worse financially.

In spite of Aion’s tapering popularity globally, it is still rather popular within South Korea, often being ahead of World of Warcraft in LAN cafes in terms of popularity.  Outside of South Korea,

Before I go into analyzing the game, I feel that I should discuss my own background in Aion so that you may understand the context I am viewing the game through.  I am from North America.  I hit level 50 as an Elyos Sorcerer in patch 1.5.  I played sparingly during 2.0 and 3.0, but I came back and played again during 4.x and 5.x.  During 4.x, I got an Elyos Songweaver to 65 as well.  Most of my hours played are in 1.5-1.9 and then 4.3-4.5.

This is going to be a long series of articles and sometimes I will discuss very specific aspects of Aion.  The first article should be up on May 29th.

List of all articles to date:

Character Creation [May 29th, 2017]