I’ve played Last Chaos since January 2007 and I was a GS from October 2008 to September 2009. Once Aeria’s flagship, the game is not as it was. The population has declined over the years but Aeria is now haemorrhaging players.
The developer (BarunsOn Games) published its own, Korean version of Last Chaos which shut down this year. Despite assertions
that BarunsOn would continue to develop Aeria’s version, its future is now in doubt
. Aeria has backpedalled on server merges: it smacks of indecision and incompetence.
My criticisms of AGE’s management of LC can be condensed to four words: instability
- Instability: The publishing team lacks stability. Product managers and game masters tend not to stay long.
- Irresponsibility (The Blame Game): AGE argues that it is not responsible for game content, only customer service and item mall sales. “Gameplay issues are the developer’s fault”, they say. That is of little interest to players. Players don’t care who is responsible for content, only that it’s of a consistently high standard. Publishers are responsible for their titles. If a publisher can’t deliver quality content, they deserve criticism.
- Profiteering: Making tangible progress without buying from the item mall takes years of work. The drop rates are awful so Aeria sells items to increase them. Rates of XP and SP (skill point) gain are awful so Aeria sells items to increase them. Upgrade success rates for gear are poor and there is a very high chance that a given item will break before it reaches the upgrade soft cap (+18). Aeria, then, sells runes to protect gear from breaking and stones to upgrade gear beyond the soft cap (to +28). You need these items to progress, you need a lot of them and they’re expensive.
- Hostility: AGE is hostile to constructive criticism. Staff and volunteers (on a tight leash) are heavy handed in moderating the forums, prohibiting discussion of other games and constraining criticism of policies, staff and volunteers. For example, a recent topic on upcoming content was locked when discussion turned to the merits of a public test server.
Aeria’s competitors (NCsoft, etc.) have proven that free-to-play games can be of high quality and that publishers needn’t resort to item mall profiteering. Further, many subscription based games are not only cheaper to play
than Aeria’s ostensibly free titles but are of superior quality
. I urge Aeria to heed its community. While it would be a shame if AGE collapsed tomorrow, we have elsewhere to go.