Yes, It’s True….I Have Faith In NCSoft

Going into Aion one of my biggest concerns was always the company that was making it.  I had heard the horror stories about NCSoft, I had seen the debacle that was Tabula Rasa and I had talked to a few friends who had played Lineage 2.  Going in I was very, very skeptical that NCSoft would allow any input from Western players and I was very hesitant to trust them

A couple of months of beta and the first month of live and I ampolitical-pictures-pope-benedict-xvi-faith-bulletproof now at a point where I have nearly absolute faith in NCSoft and their decisions when it comes to Aion.

So, what has changed my mind?  Simple.  Their track record so far when it comes to Aion.  Let’s take a look at what NCSoft has done thus far with Aion in the West, starting with beta.

The first major concern that everyone had after beta started was the issues with Gameguard.  Every time beta went up the beta boards were inundated with anti-Gameguard posts and with good reason.  It caused players to crash, blocked legitimate programs and was an all-around nuisance.  NCSoft listened and upon release we found Gameguard removed from the client.  NCSoft has said that it may come back but only after it is in a state where it does it’s job with a minimum hassle for legitimate players.

Score 1 for NCSoft.

The other problems that players had in beta were mostly about the User Interface.  We tend to control MMOs differently here than in the East.  We use WASD, they use click-to-move and that sort of thing.  A couple of days before the release we were introduced to a patch that added the much asked for features of inverse mouse and left button camera control.  NCSoft listened and added that functionality to the game.

Score 2 for NCSoft.

The release came and we found a stable game that we couldn’t play because of queues.  Much gnashing of teeth ensued on the forums and on blogs.  Bloggers who didn’t like Aion made a point to make fun of the situation and used the queues to “prove” that NCSoft was a bad company and couldn’t manage a game in the West.  More rational bloggers and players pointed out that the hard population controls and less servers were a pain in the short term but would pay dividends in the long term.  NCSoft stuck to their plan, despite the griping, moaning and threats of doom, and we now have 14 servers with balanced population.  No server has more than a 2% population difference between Asmo and Elyos.  No server is dead.  Contrast that with WAR.  One month into WAR and the population imbalances were already a detriment to the game.  Now a year later WAR is still struggling to keep a balanced pop and will probably always have that problem.

Score 3 for NCSoft.

The next issue we came across in Live was the s0-called grind.  Quests, some say, seemed to disappear at later levels and players were forced to grind mobs.  Many said that quests didn’t give enough experience.  Again NCSoft listened. They are now testing a patch that ups quest experience by as much as 500% in some places.

Score 4 for NCSoft.

Gold spammers and bots were always my biggest worry going into Aion.  Lineage was infested with them and so was the chinese Aion servers.  Sure enough they came in droves.  My block list was full in a matter of days.  The LFG channel was useless because of all the spam.  It was bad.  Then came a mass banning and it was alleviated for awhile but did not go away.  However, in the latest patch NCSoft introduced a chat filter and 95% of the spam is gone.  I see a couple of spams every hour or so but nothing more than what I saw in WoW.

Score 5 for NCSoft.

So far NCSoft has been very quick to answer and address our problems.  There are a few outstanding issues that NCSoft needs to address.  The bot situation is ridiculous.  The Crytek.dll error is getting bad for alot of people.  Things are not 100% rosy in game.  But I have faith in NCSoft.  They have addressed nearly every issue the player base has brought up and they have done so in a timely fashion.

Contrast this response to WAR.  Mythic took months to even acknowledge some of the issues players had with WAR.   Server balance has never been addressed.  The AoE issues took forever for them to acknowledge and address.   Players griped about a lack of RvR and Mythic introduced the Land of the Dead which brought more PvE…

Not everything is perfect in Aion but NCSoft has made sure to address the issues as quickly as possible.  They have turned a skeptic into a believer.  I have faith in NCSoft.



14 Responses

  1. Damn good article.

    Like you have found out for your self, don’t trust the rumors. I have been gaming with NC Soft for several years and they have never failed me.

    Tabula Rasa was a very sad loss for me and several friends though. However it wasn’t do to game not being fun or having enough players. It was the games graphical distance was far before its time and the software engine couldn’t make up for it. The also admitted that they are not abandoning TR, only putting it on a back burner hopefully.

  2. Couldn’t have written it while gathering Aether better myself. ^_^

  3. I too truly hope for a swift resolution for the Crysystem.dll problem. But once that’s fixed it looks like clear skies ahead

  4. I just wish the quests weren’t so dull. They don’t even *attempt* to hide its kill 10 rats / repeatable 100 times.

    Theres someone in every zone who has a cold and needs herbs and so on. Its just unimaginative, but then I’m someone who likes the journey through a game and not just focussed on end game and so far the journey isn’t that fun.

    • Man do I agree. Aion is my first mainstream MMO so I don’t know if the other big MMO’s out there are the same, but coming from Guild Wars, a campaign-oriented MMO, I feel pretty underwhelmed by Aion’s quests (campaign and otherwise). I guess it’s what an end-game oriented game is supposed to be. Boring trip, cool destination.

  5. They have fixed alot of things rather quickly. Of course we usually want immediate fixes, but those usually end up being bandaids which end up failing.

    I like how NCSoft responds, and goes to work behind the scenes, and surprise us a week or two later with a patch…more like a hotfix that solves the problem the right way.

    I will take a permanent fix over a bandaid fix any day of the week.

  6. To be honest I’ve never minded the ‘kill 10 rats’ type of quests and I’d simply ask what kind of quests would you prefer?

    The ‘kill ten rats’ style gives you exp from the kills, a chance to get lucky with loot and of course your reward at the end, its a constant gripe for people but its just not one I understand. Put it this way I’d rather do ‘kill these’ than ‘find this’ type quests, but hey that might just be me

  7. Very good question from pitrelli.What quest would you expect?
    I mostly hate those when you re required to run back and forth from npc to npc and at the end you just feel like u had done nothing.
    And if you are looking for journey there is one i say.All campaign quests are some kind of story to follow. every location has its more or less specific `bad guys` be it undead,black claw ,ice claw etc. Although the truth is it is nothing unique ,original or even new to mmo.Still it is not in a state to actually complaign too much about it

  8. I agree with almost everything this post states.

    The one thing that I would give a “score 6” for which is only lightly noted in the last point:

    Bots. You would have probably out leveled me if you had stuck to the Ranger but I am at 31. Out in Herion I sometimes feel like I am the only player controlled avatar out there. It feels like every 10 yards down the road and another /autoreporthunting. A lot of times there are no quest mobs to kill since there are 5 bots all competing in the same area. If only I could kill my own faction…

  9. Good article, until I had seen it written out I did not think NCSoft was doing anything really. Seeing it like this tells me they are doing something.

    Bots are my main issue more and more players are starting to bot because they know they can get away with it, for now. To tell the truth I have stopped reporting bots like I was at first it is not our place as players to do the job of the game makers.

    They need in-game GM’s to handle the problem.

    • Sorry, I need to add something here.

      They need to get off Twitter and focus on their website they only focus on the positive remarks on Twitter while the forums on their website are completly ignored.

  10. I have faith. I appreciate you laying your thoughts out in such a structured way, but I have to say I agree thoroughly with the majority of your points. Sure, there are things with the game that still thoroughly bug me, and I tend to be on the optimistic side as it is, but I feel that overall they are listening, and that’s something I can appreciate.

  11. I’m curious if you’re still playing?

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