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No Prisoners, No Mercy
Host: Julie Whitefeather & Frances Kosac
There comes a time, friends, when your favorite MMO ceases to sparkle, when even new videogames lose their luster, and the computer room becomes a prison; and all that is left are two gamers (who happen to be nuns) with a very large axe to grind. Come join Julie Whitefeather and Frances Kosac as they go to War - and along the way discuss the events of the week in the MMO industry.

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Related site: http://www.virginworlds.com/blog.php?cat=julie


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No Prisoners, No Mercy - Show 46
Fri, 16 Oct 2009 14:12:00 GMT [download/play]



Welcome to Show Number 46! The week we talk about Aion Online.
Following that we sit down for a little chat with Giskard, of The
Engineering Guild modding community, about multiplayer games and the
upcoming game Dragon Age: Origins.  After that we are pleased to bring
you the first in a series of interviews with none other than Dr.
Richard Bartle (to whom I give a long overdue on air apology).

See you online,

Julie Whitefeather

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Episode 46 Discussion Thread

'Aion updates' by Celestian
Submitted on 2009-10-16 20:04:34 CST
Last night Aion updated and the spam has pretty much stopped 100% for me. Not sure what they have done but I've very happy for this turn of events.

Now if the new patch they are testing in Korea would go live and give the exp boost to quests so I don't have to grind out mobs I might recommend the game. Supposedly the exp is boosted 4 or 5 times as much in some cases.

One thing I've learned from Aion is that if a game doesn't allow me to quest to the level cap I won't bother playing. I enjoy Aion, almost all aspects except for the fact you have to grind out mobs to level. Some people might enjoy this but based on the popularity of some games not many people do.

I describe Aion this way to my friends. The engine itself is state of the art. Great graphics, customizable characters... the only thing missing really is the modern "mod" like WoW/WAR have. The game mechanics though are retro... about 6 years or so. It's like they took the mechanics from EQ1 and DAoC from 6 years ago and ran with it. EXP loss, grinding to level, huge EXP curves and a lot of time sinks. That being said I like the crafting system but it really is just a massive gold sink.

Over all I like Aion but unless I can level up just questing I won't keep playing. So I hope for the miracle patch!



'Yes but remember' by Julie
Submitted on 2009-10-16 20:41:29 CST
Yes but it is important to remember one of the quotes we discussed with Dr. Bartle (I don't recall at the moment whether it is the interview on this show or a future show). Here is the quote:

“I urge you, if you see something you like, that takes MMOs in a new direction, that says something that makes you think (you don’t have to agree with it - so long as it makes you think), then please give it publicity. Then, you’ll have people who genuinely deserve your praise, not someone who is merely where they are through an accident of history. I’d much rather potter away in the garden shed of my blog than have scorn poured on me every time I open my mouth on the subject of MMOs, I can assure you..!”

- Richard bartle, comment on “Richard Bartle Encourages New Writers and Offers New Insights May 21, 2009”

Aion Online has used several inovations that are new to gaming for western gamers. If for no other reason than that, the game deserves praise. I could go on at length about this, but I already did that in todays entry over at www.noprisonsersnomercy.com

Julie



'more on Aion...' by Celestian
Submitted on 2009-10-17 02:49:15 CST
Oh, I think Aion is a pretty decent game don't get me wrong. The only issue I have with it is the "grind" which is hardly new or innovative. After playing EQ1 for 5 years and DAoC for 3+ years I've learned that if I can't level up doing quests (some would say disguising the grind) then I won't play the game.

I don't have a group every night to get going on elites for good exp and killing mobs repeatedly is just dull and boring. WoW, LotrO and WAR gave me quests to level and I really enjoyed it.

Other than the setting I'm not really sure what Aion's innovations are to be honest. As I said I like it for the most part but other than sprouting wings it's just like any other MMO since EQ1. The mix is different and it's entertaining and the PVP so far has been better than WAR... though the PVP could turn into crap when a lot more people are 50. I just don't see it bringing anything new to the market like EQ, DAoC or WoW have done.



'aion' by Token
Submitted on 2009-10-17 16:50:18 CST
So what we need is a game where you can grind to level cap, quest to level cap, or just make a new character at level cap and skip to endgame immediately. I wonder if Blizzard or 38 studios are working on this.


'GW?' by Celestian
Submitted on 2009-10-17 23:38:02 CST
I think Token want's to play Guild Wars ;)



'GW' by Token
Submitted on 2009-10-18 00:37:25 CST
Haha yeah Guild Wars was quite fun and had some good ideas. Actually what I want to play is PlanetSide, but it won't work on my Vista machine and is full of hackers, fortunately Smed has answered my prayers.


'Generic Post title' by Julie
Submitted on 2009-10-18 14:49:34 CST
As to Aion:

As to innovations I am willing to hail even the slightest differences...in this case that would, if nothing else, be pvp by air (and I don't mean spacehips, airplanes or helicopters). I also appreciate the fact that I get experience points for gathering. I know it isn't really an innovation but where the combat is concerned the animations alone would keep me playing the game.

I think there is a good chance you will be able to quest all the way up to the level cap. I am level 23 and haven't come close to running out of quest. Their producer claimed, in an interview, that there was 1,500 of them. This is the first time I have really enjoyed a repeatable quest as well. I know some people hate "dailies" in wow but to me repeatable quests keep a game alive. As to grinding I only found it slow or grindy between levels 15 to 19.


As to quild wars:

I originally played the game but hated the fact that the entire world was instanced in such a way that I was alone in the world when I wasn't in a city hub. I would much prefer it the way Champions online does it - which is also the way some games like Everquest 2 does it for their cities. - that is have instances for large groups of people that you can chose from when you enter a city. I don't like having the place all to myself when its an mmo.

But that's just me.

Julie



'Aion quests...' by Celestian
Submitted on 2009-10-18 19:50:12 CST
Believe me you'll run out of quests. It'll be more of an issue at 25ish I think. At 30+ quest exp is so small it's hardly 1/4 of the level.



'AION' by Token
Submitted on 2009-10-18 19:53:29 CST
I've got a lot of friends in their mid 40's in Aion and it seems there's a quite a lot of grind up there. What bugs me is how many of my friends really love it that it takes ages to level up because it gives them more to do. Then they ask me when I'm gonna jump in and play with them, they can't have it both ways.


'Aion' by Julie
Submitted on 2009-10-19 03:16:46 CST
So far I haven't found the game to be grindy. In fact I have found it to be quite enjoyable. I do understand, however, the "double standard" of it all if you will. On the one hand there is a bit of a push to get ahead and reach higher levels for the pvp but on the other a design to make it take awhile to get there.

One train of thought, however, would say that this makes it more meaningful to actually hit the level cap.

Fran and Keen and I talk about this at the top of the next show which I am editing now.

Julie



'Leveling pace...' by Celestian
Submitted on 2009-10-19 04:23:02 CST
I don't have a huge problem with leveling pace. My problem is of me leveling by grinding instead of questing. It seems people are confusing "quest leveling" with some sort of easy mode. I just find grinding extremely boring. so much so I will probably not play to cap because the level pace is so huge in Aion.

If there was something that would fill the middle areas other than just being ganked by people higher level it might not be an issue for others but I can see why people are going to complain about the level pace. That however is not why I am complaining. I just want to quest to cap.



'Tab Targeting' by Tron
Submitted on 2009-10-19 14:17:27 CST
Sister, as you were introducing that story it made me think of a time when I did that exact same thing on my mage. During the Rend Blackhand fight right as he jumped off his dragon I used Tab to select him as my new target. I let fly with a frostbolt. I was really confused when my spell didn't fly straight to the boss but instead shot off to the top right corner of my screen. I looked up to see the whole balcony clear out. It was at this moment I exclaimed over vent, "Oh sh#%,... sorry guys."

Somehow I don't think our two groups are the only ones to wipe that way.



'Whipe out' by Julie
Submitted on 2009-10-19 14:47:16 CST
@Tron: No doubt. It is probably quite a common error at that particular point. In this particular instance I recognized the pseudonym the podcaster used. I still use a roughy equivalent of tab targeting...I set the "c" key for "target nearest enemy". I do have to be careful but in some games (like crowded battlefields) it is essential to have. I have also used "target nearest friendly" back when I was playing Warhammer.

In Aion I will still keep using it because of all the munchkins who will be playing in the Abyss in an attempt to make themselves harder to target. "Tab targeting" works esepcially well in Aion because the system moves you toward the target automatically.

Julie



'Haven't experienced those problems...' by Saylah
Submitted on 2009-10-23 03:05:47 CST
My nephew is playing Aion and he got to level 30 doing hardly any quests and opted to skips the Champion quests completely because he doesn't like quests in general. For me, I've leveled to 20 doing quests 90% of the time. The other 10% I stop to grind mobs if I find an interesting spot with items dropping that I need/want.

Since coming back in town, I've had almost no spam. It's gone from trade chat and no whispers. I don't know what they did but it worked on our server. I still hear about people seeing bots but we're no longer seeing the chat spam.

Personally, I'm not finding it grind yet. It's more like leveling in the earlier MMOs which doesn't really bother me because the quests are direct and story interesting. I'm also not in a hurry and don't have much time to play anyway. I've wanted a "longer haul" game for a while now and hoping this is it.

Our legion is part of an alliance already heavily into PVP. They've been doing fortress raids where there are 200+ players. They are having a blast but I'm too low to partake in the fun. :-(

My biggest complaint is that the flying is a bit tedious to setup for fluid access when in combat. I glide at every opportunity, especially as an escape mechanic. It took me several hours to come up with a keyboard scheme for flying that didn't impede combat since it's not naturally mapped to the mouse like flying mounts in WOW. And i wish they hadn't done the pre-combines for crafting ala EQ2. It makes inventory mgmt a huge pain in the butt.

Re small chars there is an advantage of making it harder for people to target you. I keyboard select as do you from what you said. however, MANY players are clickers - they click chars to select them and small chars will give them a hard time. In massive battles, you also can't rely on tab-targeting because you'll have to cycle around to get to exactly who you want so clicking is faster/easier which will make being small an advantage.

Great show.



'Time warp' by Julie
Submitted on 2009-10-23 14:34:24 CST
@ Saylah: The big difference is the bit of lag that it took for the show to go online once it was ready for the "big push." In between then there was some maintence and patching that had a big effect. In fact I did an article or two about it for the www.noprisonersnomercy.com web site. I agree with your findings. Except I haven't reached pvp level yet (it appears you have to be level 23).

Thanks for the enlightenment by the way. I was under the impression that the campaign quests were required. I only had problems with the level 19 and 20 quests. That is mostly because I am an Amercian in a primarily Australian guild.

As for small characters it seems that those of us who "tab target" (or in my case "c" target") to target nearest enemy are at an advantage over those who click target where smaller characters are concerned.

You seem to have alot to say. Perhaps you say so on the next show.

Julie