The Alien Adoption Agency, or A3 for short is a game that has an established community, however, that community is highly influenced by primarily the older players who have been around for ages. At first glance, new players aren't quite accepted into the community, and more times than not, I could see new players receiving no help, being harassed, or simply just ignored. For the first week as an anonymous player, it was fairly evident that the only way to get welcomed into the community was to make friends with someone who had been established. After the first week however, people started to be more friendly and offer assistance when I had a question. They were also willing to loan me items, or even give me items.
The true community aspect lies in the guilds, which are sub-communities within the game. Once in a guild, it's a lot easier to have questions answered and receive actual help within the game. The only issue I found within the guilds was the lack of participation and activity. If guilds had some way to push further interaction within them, it could have a much better impact on community involvement. But overall, guilds were definitely the better part of the community as they offered far more help to those trying to understand the game.
For a text-based game, A3 definitely has an assortment of graphics that help make the game more entertaining and appealing. From aliens you're capable of customizing and outfitting with various articles of clothing, to fully customizable game schemes, the game definitely holds a surprising amount of graphical quality. In my opinion, there's not much more that can be done in terms of graphics to enhance the quality of the game, however, more graphics could be added to allow for a broader explanation and description of items.
There are various ways to seek out help inside the game, provided you're patient enough to wait for an answer. There's specific boards you can post on asking questions, however, the general response time can take as long as 2 days if people aren't feeling entirely helpful. Along with that, there's a very basic help guide on the site which helps you with basic concepts and terms within the game. If you're looking for administrator assistance, you can post on their customer service board, and a response is generally received within 24 hours. However, the best help I managed to obtain was from an external help site located at http://www.aaahz.com. The site is not associated with A3, however, the help areas there are extremely in depth. Overall, there are plenty of ways to get help within the game, it's just a matter of patience and persistence in looking in the right places.
The game itself is well-designed, however, it is also fairly basic as are most browser-based games. There are various tasks you can do during the day, but for the most part, the game is fueled on forum and chat room activity. I personally feel that this game is better suited to those who have a couple hours to kill on a given day. However, the game is also situated so that those who have money are capable of gaining a very large advantage over everyone else. It's because of this, that I feel the game lacks integrity as people no longer have to play and work in order to get ahead; all they need is a credit card or a money order.
Overall, this game has shown me just how much of an affect paying for in-game items to get ahead can have. When you remove the necessity to work hard in order to be on top, and situate it so people can simply give you money to get a massive jump on the other players, it completely destroys the integrity of the game. Along with that, the daily tasks eventually get boring and repetitive to the point of being a chore. The only thing I could see keeping the game alive was the activity on the forums and in the chat rooms, and in order to be involved, you need to either know someone inside the game, or not be a new player. If the game shifted, and the players started accepting new players, instead of shunning them or simply ignoring them, there could be a possibility for this game to get larger and most likely allow for better game play.
Overall Rating: 66.0/100
Remove the ability for those to pay and get ahead.
Possibly add in more item graphics.
Make it easier for new players to be welcomed into the community.