To be great is to be misunderstood

Aion: Beta impressions

without comments. What is your opinion?

Well, the first 2 “Closed Beta” Events for Aion: The Tower of Eternity are over, and a few of us spend some time in the World of Atreia. We mostly focused on playing the different classes, trying to figure out wich classes each of us might play in the future.
For the most part we like what Aion is as a MMO/RPG – a pretty much straight forward gameplay targeted at a more wider casual playerbase, unlike Lineage 2. Before getting to the BUT section, some small sidenote about Aions production and marketing from a global point of view. Aion as an IP gets developed and produced by korean based NCsoft. Theyr focus is on the korean market and to be in competition with World of Warcraft over there – Aion is not following the traditional korean grind scheme but more orientating on the quest system WOW has. Outside Korea Aion gets distributed by different licensees and joint venture offices (NC Japan, NC Taiwan, NCwest). The role of these companies can basicly be described as a marketing and support job. They have no call in the production of new features or fundamental game changes and so on – even so some die hard fanboys think otherwise. So all they have todo is come up with a translation for theyr territory, promote the game as good as possible and provide a working support. That all within an appropriate timeframe – aka not being too much off from the launch of any update in Korea.



For the european and american market we have NCwest being responsible for that part. The EU/NA launch is expected for late Fall 2009, nearly 1 year after the korean retail launch. The ‘excuse’ NCwest brought up for this has always been the hugh amount of translation work todo and the needed ‘culturalization and westernization’ of the game content for the EU/NA market.
For the first Beta Event we got version 1.0.2.10 of the Game client. From the translations and texts this one seamed more or less equal to the leaked one. Lots of grammar, spelling errors and (for NCwest common) NPC & location mis-matches between quest texts and what you actualy found in game. Add lots of texts not fitting into the UI, skill, item descriptions being written too complicated when they could have been shortened and simplified easily (as various beta testers pointed out in the beta boards over at aiononline.com). So NCwest got tons of feedback from suggestions to change this and that within the game mechanics (sorry fanboys, but thats the wrong address your crying too) up to very detailed text & translation related issues (incl. screenshots, suggestions  for better translations, …). Now all they would have todo is take this and put it in production.
2 weeks later, the 2nd Beta Event is about to start and we are making fun of NCwest stating that they will not launch with version 1.0 on retail. So we assumed that first beta event using the v1.0.2.10 might just have been couse thats maybe what they used during various demonstrations in the past, having it up and running.  In Korea Aion is currently at version 1.2 on retail servers and ver1.3 being in preperation/finalization. The  retail launch of ver1.3 will also mark the last major patch for the initial game start. After that the first major upgrade/addon is expected. Not just alot of issues have been fixed in  1.1 and  1.2 also some game mechanics changed or got expanted. So will NCwest repeat the mistake NCinteractive made with the launch of Lineage 2, not being based on the most up-to-date version?
Back to the 2nd Beta Event, the last  comment  about the next version for the upcomming BEta Event is: ‘Being NCwest, we will get 1.0.2.11.’ … & hours later the update servers get online and Aion pacthes to ver1.0.2.11 along with the announce of updated culturalized content – i am sorry, but comparing what we got presentet with the original korean version, ain’t letting me spot any westernized differences. The quests and stories are equal to the korean one. Did they fixed most of the easy to fix grammar, spelling & UI text related issues? Of couse not, well they managed to get ‘Login’ and ‘password’ being aligned correctly on the login screen – Hurray! Besides that not much differences can be found – the chat window remains a wall of text, skill & item description are still formed to complicated, … Yea! thats the NCwest we all know, at least no disapointment on that part. I could take the client files, unpack them, do needed changes, repack them and get a part of NCwest’s job done — but i hope we are safe from having todo that in Aion too, just like we have to in Lineage 2, to actualy make use of that presented mess. So if there really is a QA department at NCwest it sux at correcting the korean-english translation (wich i doubt have been made in the EU no NA) and forming them into a proper english. We will see what quality the  french and german texts will have (at least it is still announced that the retail game comes in english, french and german. And that this are the 3 supported languages for Aion by NCwest).
So fare for the translation part here. About the customer support we cant say much … yet. But seeing the same faces within the GM and Support staff, that already failed at Lineage 2, let us fear for the casual gamers that might need a hand.
Remains the marketing … it never has been a strong part of NCinteractive, time will tell if NCwest at least learned from its mistakes here (WOW is still running daily TV-ads here at the major stations).
If you want to give it a try for yourself there are more Beta Events sheduled. You need to get your hands on a pre-order key or be lucky enough to get a Beta key from NCwest (Word is that long-time NCwest customers getting direct invites from NCwest. So fare only the Tabula rasa players got pre-order keys and gametimecodes for Aion from NCwest):

  • Closed Beta Event #3 – July 2-July 6 – Focus: Asmodian levels 1-20
  • Closed Beta Event #4 – July 17-July 20 – Focus: Elyos and Asmodian levels 1-25
  • Closed Beta Event #5 – July 31-August 3 – Focus: TBD
  • Closed Beta Event #6 – August 14-August 17 – Focus: TBD

Written by admin

June 22nd, 2009 at 3:34 pm

Posted in Aion