Some of the readers of Bio Break have wondered why I grouse in the direction of Aion, especially since I don’t play it. Partially, I enjoy tweaking the nose of other gamers who hold their favored pet up as nigh-perfect, because if they’re going to be so critical of games I play and oblivious to anything faulty of their own, then they’re asking for it.
But that’s not it, not really. You see, if you’re having fun, enjoying Aion, then I am pretty happy for you. Truly. I think that bottom-line, we all just want to find a game or games where what we need is laid out for us, and another successful, popular MMO can only help the genre. Plus, as my mom once told me, you don’t make a lot of friends by trashing what other people like. Aion is not for me, personally, because I don’t like the look, there’s absolutely nothing new that’s attracting me to the game, and I have quite a lot of other things to keep me occupied. But that’s me, not you.
What worries me, and why I couldn’t let this go, is that Aion’s launch and rise to fame seems indicative of our current MMO culture that seems to prize familiarity over all else. That we are more willing to reward developers with our subscription dollars for returning to well-trod territory than to take risks, to try something new and different, to add more variety and challenge. Of course, I bagged on Darkfall earlier this year for almost the exact opposite reasons, so maybe I’m a cantankerous old man who just needs a punching bag now and then (and let’s face it, it is darkly gleeful to not like the “in” thing now and then).
I think the telling point will be, as it always is, about six months from now, once the shiny gloss has worn away and players determine whether they’re trying to resurrect their WoW career in another game, or if they’re still thriving on Aion for what it is. I still don’t think that NCSoft should get a free pass for its server queue snafu (it really irked me that people were willing to let this slide if it didn’t affect them, even though there was tons of evidence that queues were incredibly out of control for lots of others), but that will indeed settle down with time.
So I guess I’m just going to put this out there and say that I’m going to let whatever misgivings and Scrooge-like feelings against this title drop, barring any notable news, because it’s in bad form to close out a month of great new releases by trying to pick a fight where none is to be had. Aion players, enjoy your ride, and never stop demanding the best.