I was referring more to the technical aspect and how well the models themselves flow and animate. Aion's models have a noticeably lower poly count and as a result, quality suffers. The weightmaps could use a bit more work as well, cause they looked a little rougher than they should have.
The animations never particularly bugged me, but I can admit to not having played the game for very long. I will admit to XIV's animations looking fluid enough at this point to blow just about anything out of the water. Also, do they really suffer because they're overall lower spec? I've never really thought of more polys making a "better" model or anything, but.
They're sticking with the 'safer' design choices.
I can kind of see what you mean with their character designs being traditional or safe, but to be honest I've mostly only seen Aion's exact style before in the galleries of some really skilled Korean concept artists whose work never seems to actually make it into their end products. (I suppose Magnacarta might be an exception? Also I've never kept up with Guild Wars/whatever, so I may be missing out on some history.)
But I also personally think their designs border on being cluttered and convoluted at times. So it's not necessarily just 'different styles' but just skillful designwork as well. You wouldn't believe the amount of awful designs I've seen in various studios.
And I honestly think it would work very well if they were much more conservative with placing these designs. (The fact that EVERY armor set is designed to look complicated as **** really takes the edge off of it.) And I mean, while a lot of the designs suffer from massive overflow, (which really bugs me too, but) I hardly think that's a major, debilitating design sin compared to the mistakes 90% of games make
. Of course I'd like it more if this wasn't an issue, but I think it's still much better than, say, WoW. Or, ****, most any ******* MMO out there. (Not better than FFXI or XIV though, alright?) Flawed, overly crazy, with identity issues? Yes. But I still consider them high quality. I mean, come on people. If we're talking about MMO design then we're comparing it to games like WoW and, I don't know, freaking MapleStory?
I identify with seeing crappy concepts. You're not the only one. But really, again, Aion's sins in this department are hardly world ending, especially when compared to said crappy concept art.
This is from all from an artist and modeler's perspective, though.
Hey, coming from a concept artist and character modeler: no offense taken.
Hahah, then I must be on crack I'm going to write as politely as I can about why I don't think it's particularly great design sense, 'cause I like to talk about these sorts of things. If you have Prinny in your name you must like good things anyways :)
Thinking Aion's designs aren't the best, that they could've done better, that they're worse than FFXI/XIV or even, say, that they're mediocre: Probably sane. Informed.
If you seriously think they are crap
(which implies that they are many many many times worse than games with knowledgeably sub-par
design sense) then I maintain that you are on the crack.
Saying Aion has crappy designs and FFXIV has ******-inducing awesome designs is about the same as saying that a decent fast-food joint (JBox? Carls Jr? Whatever, take your pick) has burgers that are made of ***** and that, say, Applebees or Chilis serves up patties that have been flipped by the delicious hand of god himself. Calling it hyperbole would be sort of an understatement.
take a look at this guy http://z.about.com/d/internetgames/1/0/k/_/aion16.jpg
He has cool armor with cool plates and cool designs and big Cool Wings. Everything about him is COOL. But in this effort to be super cool, I feel like it blinds itself. Lots of other valid statements by ogrebattle pointing out countless nonsense details in the Aion armor.
Precisely. The complete and total lack of contrast in the armor essentially destroys the entire design. It's a mistake that a lot of artists really shouldn't be making.
Again, have they made a mistake? Is this stuff waaay too busy? Definitely. Of course. Completely. It has quite a lot of trouble reading correctly. It's still massively better than many other games out there and still in a relatively high quality tier. Traditional design wisdom: "It's much easier to go too far and pull someone back than to try to push a meek designer out further." These guys are good on, basically, a number of design principles, and they're missing out on balance and creating contrast through that. Much better track record than design in most MMOs, that's for sure.
Again, on the "easy to pull people back" topic, these flaws are notable in the fact that they would be easy to fix. MASSIVELY easy to fix. I could spend five minutes in Photoshop with that Aion pic just doing some snips and it would be "fixed". There's enough good in there that shines through the nonsense that you could buff it over and do some cutting and bam!
Whereas if you wanted me to take it to some armor sets from other MMORPGs, well... ****. I'd be practically doing an entire redesign.
And again. Yes. XI/XIV=awesome. If I had any complaints, I'd say that some designs end up getting a bit dumpy in the modeling process. But then it's really hard not to lose a little something in this process when your initial concept art is utterly fantastic