Saturday, April 18, 2009

Back in the Beta Saddle Again

After a relatively long drought of not participating in a Beta of any kind, I found myself playing two high-profile ones over the weekend. The Chinese Open Beta of Aion Online and Sony's Free Realms. I got an invite to Free Realms and sneaked into the Chinese Beta through nefarious means.

There's one piece of advice I would like to give to NCSoft: Please change your mind about not having a North American/European English Beta for Aion Online. You might not feel you need one for technical reasons given that this game has already been released in Korea since November of last year and the various other Betas since then. But the buzz surrounding such Betas can't hurt especially given the unique combination of early level gameplay in this title. Seriously, CoH level of character customization, gorgeous graphics and animations based on the Crytek engine, and engaging quests with cutscenes is a potent mix. I don't know if you have enough to keep people around for the endgame and reports are a lot of grinding will be needed to get there in addition to the quests provided. But a NA/EU Beta would hook an awful lot of people for a couple of initial months at least.

As for Free Realms, I can't say a lot about it. SOE has a chance to reach the rest of the world's gaming population that doesn't really think it likes MMO's. Plus it has enough fun activities for jaded MMO vets as well. It will make SOE money but how much depends on how free Free Realms turns out to be.


  1. I also played the Chinese open beta for Aion and completely agree with you that not having an EU/NA beta is a big mistake. I was hoping Aion would be good, but I didn't expect it to be as great an experience as I had. Gorgeous, gorgeous graphics that ran smooth as butter on high settings (AA enabled), okay quests, awesome animations... seriously, eye candy all the way. :)

  2. i'm interested in seeing what free realms will be like ^____^

    hoping to play a more lite mmo right now as well