Swamped at work. Here are some brief things I've been wanting to get down, but haven't put in a post yet:
Aion, overall: Best described as "satisfying" and "pretty". If you like to play WoW, and you look at pictures of this game and like the asthetic, then I recommend it. It plays well, is serviceable everywhere that isn't impressive, and actually works this early in the beta process (owing much to already being out in another country). I had fun with it.
Champions, Online: I'm worried about two things about the publicized powerset system:
1) Will it be too easy to "gimp" a character? I know they are keeping this in mind, but it still worries me. It would be very comforting to see some sort of recommendation stuff in place. Like, "it's highly recommended that you take a defensive power at level 5" or "block replacers may not look like much, but they are actually usually one of the most powerful and useful abilities you'll have" (I don't know if those are true, just making up fake examples). This goes hand-in-hand with:
2) It's dangerous to have each powerset have "hidden purposes". What I mean is: I recently read an interview with one of the CO designers about powersets, and he starts talking about how "such and such is actually a tanking set in disguise" and "this powerset won't do as much damage as this other one, even though they both look like basic blasting powers". This seems like a really dangerous route to go down. It's going to be all too common for someone to pick a powerset because it looks cool or goes with their character, then find that the higher in level they get, the more they fall behind because the powerset was designed for some other role without any indication before you select it. If you are going to design the powersets around roles, then you NEED to tell the player ahead of time what those roles are.
Hopefully these will be addressed before the game hits. If not, the open beta is going to be a clusterfuck as a massive number of people find that their character is nothing like they had every reason to expect it would be.
PuGs, being douches: I ended up the de facto raid leader for my guild because no one else felt like doing it. When I pug things like VoA, I purposely refuse to lead the group. PuGs are my time to be just another member of the raid. You know why?
Because leading the raid is more effort than just being a member.
Let's keep that in mind as we go forward, shall we? This is the reason why your entire faction can stand around the Wintergrasp portal spamming "/inv plz" when there is no raid group, and none of those 50 people will form a group themselves. It takes one person to finally give in and be the one to do the work of inviting people, just so that things will finally happen. These are the people whose impatience outwieghs their laziness. I would normally be this person, except I already lead raids for my guild for pretty much that reason.
So when someone else forms a pug, remember that they are volunteering to do an unpaid job that you aren't willing and/or able to do yourself. If you don't like the way they run the group, then that's fine. Constructively criticize, offer to help (and I do not mean "pass lead plz" after they've done all the work starting it up and you just want to invite your undergeared friends), or leave the group. But give the raid leader at least a tiny token of respect, or else they are going to feel like even more of a sucker for being the one to take on the extra work for your benefit. And pragmatically, that leads to there being fewer suckers on the server who will start a raid for you. Even if your impulse is to be a douche, or you really are just such a waste of a human that you can't be even halfway nice, at least try to stretch your tiny brain to think one step ahead to realize that the worse you treat pug leaders, the fewer of them there will be. And since you aren't willing to start a pug, that means less loot for you. Think about it, random childish pug douchebag who I'm sure doesn't read my blog. I'm sure I'm just preaching to the choir.
I say all of this because enough of my guildies and friends were all standing around WG together just after a victory, spamming "LFG VoA 10", and they started suggesting that I put one together. Which is the biggest curse of being the raid leader: people expect you to be the one who assembles pugs as well. You have members in your guild who will say "we should do ____ ", but they almost never actually put a group together themselves? They leave that up to the one sucker who got in the position of raid leader? Yeah, thought so.
So I finally got tired of waiting and just put together a pug myself. When I make a VoA 10 pug, I aim to get as close to one of each class in there as possible. Murphy's law dictates that if you don't bring a class, all of the loot dropped will be for that class. This way, everyone has a better chance of getting a drop. I was playing my resto druid alt. This becomes important later.
So I'm forming this group, and we need 2 more dps. So I say in chat, "LF2M DPS VoA 10", and am immediately inundated with tells. To be fair, the majority of them are perfectly nice. But most of them are classes we already have, so I decline, and keep advertising. One of the people who whispered me is a douchebag and someone I had recently had a fight with in a pug. I wasn't going to invite him, and it amazes me that he even bothered to try to get into a pug I was running, considering what I had said to him. I don't respond.
After a bit, he whispers me saying "Why didn't you invite me?"
"Don't you remember how a week ago I left your group because I didn't like you?"
His response was "Baby gonna cry?" which borders on nonsense. I promptly put him on ignore.
Then, I get a whisper from another druid. He says "why didn't you invite me?"
"Because I'm trying to get one of each class"
"Aha! You just don't want competition!"
"That's right. :)"
"Don't smile, that's fail!"
"Of course I don't want competition. I'm not going to apologize for it. It's not just for me, every person in my raid is happier because they don't have to compete. If you don't like it, make your own group. If you can't be bothered to do that, then you don't get to complain."
And it went on like that for a bit.
People were such entitled dicks to me that it made me never want to lead a pug again. And I'm pretty good at it. So good job, douches. The funniest part is that you don't even realize this is 100% your loss.