Don't get me wrong, I like the way the MMO genre has grown in the last decade, but there are things that I do miss (call me old fashioned, but back in my day we had to get forty people to slay a dragon and it took us two hours to do it, uphill the whole way, and we had to kill and skin it with a plastic spoon ....blindfolded). There are several things that I miss about the genre. I honestly miss the loss of experience, I miss the difficulty of soloing, and I do miss the length it took sometimes to accomplish anything in games. I don't believe that especially in this gaming age the casual gamer should be kicked to the curb or anything, heck I probably fall into that category these days, but I do miss feeling like I achieved something, even if it was just a time sink.
One thing I miss the most from the good old days, call me nostalgic, is the downtime. In EQ especially it took me 5 minutes maybe 10 to recover my mana after a nice battle. During that time, I had to pick a safe spot to hide, and I had to watch my butt for that time period or any passerby would pick up a rock and bash me over the head, like a caveman picking a bride, and before I knew it I would have a mob metaphorically dragging me to their cave to make little squishy babies as ugly as sin that cry a lot (when full grown) and hate heavy lifting. To me, the fact that you were vulnerable for an extended amount of time made you think about where to camp yourself (is this place really safe?) and it also added to the feeling of danger you received from playing the game.
Another thing it did, was to give you time in between killing something to turn around and pet your dog, put in a load or laundry, read a few pages from a book, or watch your favorite show. Maybe it is just the attention span issue, but now that the genre has moved away from that style of play I find myself having a hard time playing for extended periods of time. The little things in life keep pulling on me until they can't really be ignored any longer and I have to take a break. In some ways it is better, but there is still a part of me that misses that.
Enter Aion, and their generally dull crafting mechanics. Nothing revolutionary by any stretch, but what are they? TIME CONSUMING AND MINDLESS YAAAAYY!!!! To me this is a direct return to the semi-afk moments from older games, and personally I love it really for that reason only. I never powerlevel my crafting if I would rather be fighting, questing, or PvPing. But on those off moments when I really want to stay in the game, but don't really want to do much of anything...crafting is my very best friend. I have a friend that does it at work because he can't afford the attention it would require to do anything else in game. I do it when I want to tidy up my living area, in the morning when getting ready for work, or as aptly put by a fellow guildie "When there is plenty of beer demanding my attention". Note: this is also the same guildmate that a few days later said "Woah, I really need to stop crafting or I am going to be way too drunk to get up for work tommorow morning". Just thought I would put that in perspective.
Another thing that this semi-afk state does is force me to watch my legion chat and take in the world around me a little more. Since sitting by the computer watching myself craft is very anticlimactic, I actually pay a great deal more attention to the chat windows and I end up talking a great deal more than when I am furiously grinding mobs or questing.
Am I saying Aion has the greatest crafting system in the whole world, HECK NO! But one positive about it is that I do get to catch up on my reading/favorite shows/xbox library. To me, it is probably the last chance I will ever get to chase butteflies in traffic while playing my favorite MMO. And that is very sad, albeit much safer.