There are a million reviews out there comparing virtually every MMO with World of Warcraft. Yes, World of Warcraft is the 800 lb. gorilla in the room, but some players have elected to try other titles that don’t have any direct association with the Blizzard giant. Two of these MMORPGs are RIFT and Aion Online. After Cataclysm, many users have opted to explore alternative virtual worlds in which to spend their time. For the sake of keeping this post somewhat brief, I’ll refrain from going into too much detail about either game and focus more on what makes them different.
Aion Online is a solid MMO that features an interesting combat system and a gorgeous set of graphics. One of the biggest draws of Aion is that the player characters have the gift of flight. Combat can happen on the ground or in the air, giving another dimension to an otherwise typical MMO. Gameplay is smooth and lag is actually somewhat rare.
RIFT, on the other hand, is a pretty standard MMORPG that features a unique class system that allows players to mix and match their classes and skills in various ways. Unlike most MMOs, RIFT players have more control over the development of their characters and their abilities.
Both games offer a similar challenges during gameplay. In RIFT, rifts open in seemingly random locations and NPCs appear, requiring some action on the part of the player base to seal the rift and stop hordes of enemies from passing through. In Aion, portals open in seemingly random locations that allow for PCs from apposing factions to pass through and cause havoc in the area. Both titles allow players to play for either side, a similar setup to that of World of Warcraft.
PVP in Aion Online is fairly open, with portals appearing in various places that allow players to pass through from one PVE world to the other. The primary arena for PVP takes place in the Abyss, a strange space between worlds that contains several control points that can be captured and held by various factions. These factions include the player-based Asmodian, Elyos, and the NPC Balaur. Based on which faction has the most control points, several bonuses are given during gameplay. In addition, you earn points, standing, and a type of PVP currency that can be redeemed for powerful items.
Rifts is similar, but instead of vying for control of the Abyss, players can compete across what’s referred to as warfronts. Also like Aion Online, you are rewarded for PVP with loot, a special PVP currency, and more.
Crafting is virtually the same in each game, with instantaneous crafting possible at various crafting stations throughout the game. Components and recipes need to be acquired by the player in order to craft various items, and the range of things you can make grows as your character increases its skill level. Aion has a great NPC support system, allowing you to take crafting jobs from an NPC that supplies the primary component for you. You can repeat this process as much as you’d like, but the extra required components do cost money and will drain your character’s bank account very quickly.
Over all, the decision between these two games can come down to a choice between advanced character customization and flight. While each MMO has its own storyline, style, and race structure, they are incredibly similar in virtually every other point.