Aion Open Beta Takes Flight (Nearly)

By Alec Meer on August 29th, 2009 at 1:07 am.

…in that you can now download the open beta client for this famously winged, Cryengine 1-powered MMORPG, but the servers for said beta don’t open until 6th September. Getting a key to turn that client into anything useful may be a bit of a fight, alas. Unless you’ve already got one from the closed beta or have preorded the game, your best bet is bloody Fileplanet, who are planning on their usual insidious trick of only providing them to paid subscribers. Which does rather mean this is not, in fact, an open beta, but instead a closed one with a pricetag. Growl. We’ll have a word with NCSoft next week and see if we can perhaps sort out a few keys to give away to RPS readers – no promises, but we’ll try.

The client will be available from the agreeably fast and free servers of Gamershell in a few days (watch this page for it, and be sure not to download the now-useless closed beta client by mistake), but if you can’t wait for 9.4 gigabytes (!) that you can’t use for a week, Fileplanet’s yer man. Yer site. Whatever. Alternatively again, there’s an official Torrent for it, but currently it’s 500 seeds to 11,000 leeches so don’t expect bandwidth miracles just yet.

Stuffily-written bonus! The official blurb about the impending beta’n’that:

Within the next four weeks, NCsoft will treat European and North American gamers to two opportunities to jump into the world of Aion and explore Atreia as Asmodian or Elyos characters ahead of its release in Europe on 25nd September and North America 22th September. Aion’s Open Beta Test featuring version 1.5 will take place 6-13th September and will include numerous Western enhancements, including improvements to Aion’s innovative character customisation with a host of Western styles, as well as new zones, instances, skills, quests and continued game balancing and improvements. Open Beta will retain a level cap for both Elyos and Asmodians characters at 30 allowing players to focus on getting to the same level so they can explore the lands of Atreia together, as well as the Abyss.

Players who have pre-ordered Aion will be treated to a Pre-Select and a two-day Headstart period giving them the opportunity to explore, organise and progress through the game prior to the official launch. Pre-Select will take place on 18th September, while Aion’s Headstart will begin 20th September. Players can still participate in the Aion’s Pre-Select and Headstart programs by pre-ordering the game through several participating online and brick-and-mortar retailers. For a complete list please go to www.aiononline.com.

Unlike any MMO before it, Aion is a uniquely crafted online experience where flight offers much more than just a way to explore the landscape – it is a strategic and integral part of combat, quests, and exploration. Players will dive into battle and plunge through thousands of unique, story-driven quests, all while trying to save a world literally shattered in half from centuries of brutal conflict. Using one of the most flexible and in-depth character customisation systems ever featured in an MMO, players will be able to create genuinely distinct characters and explore a visually stunning world of ethereal beauty brimming with otherworldly inhabitants, mysterious enemies, and ancient secrets.

Extra bonus -A preview I wrote a little while ago, detailing some of the good (very pretty, very PvP) and the bad (ridiculously harsh restrictions on the flight).

Right, I’m going camping. AND YOU CAN’T STOP ME.

, .

45 Comments »

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  1. Zyrusticae says:

    Yeah, the whole “open” thing is a whee-bit of a misnomer.

    I suggest the term “slightly-more-open-than-ever” beta.

    Or “SMOTE”.

  2. Cedge says:

    If I’m not mistaken, it goes actually-free, as in, no paid Fileplanet subscription required, from September 6th to the 13th, does it not?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Yeah pretty sure Subs can start @ the 1st, non-subs @ the 6th.

  4. Chiablo says:

    My wife played it during the closed beta. She loved the art style, but realized that it’s a very shallow game with a tiny game world. Especially when she created a character on the opposite faction and the storyline, zones, and quests are mirrored.

  5. Terribad says:

    I don’t understand how Aion is getting such great hype and the pre-order manages to be one of the top selling games on Steam for WEEKS in a row. When I first saw it, it seemed to be just another Korean MMORPG, except with wings. Playing this did nothing to assuage these doubts. It’s a fairly decent MMO, with nothing too amazing about it. But people are acting like this is the second coming and are already deep in planning their virtual lives.

    Look, the game is decent, even good, but it’s not polished and especially not original enough to be a WoW-killer.

  6. lePooch says:

    While waiting for Aion, I highly suggest a little
    Air Rivals to get in the whole grind-till-you-bleed(while FLYING!!) Korean MMO concept if you have been away for a while. Considering its an NC Soft game, it should be less grindy than average.

    I haven’t played myself, but watching my friend play it, the flying seems cool, but there seems to be the same “go kill 80 Koofloos” quests that plague games like this, which means I will probably skip it.

    Because of that, and every time I see a screen shot I am reminded of Harvey Birdman, attorney at law.

  7. Zyrusticae says:

    @Chiablo
    Buh? The only thing that’s mirrored is the general zone makeup (both sides start on a small island zone, both have one zone for 11-20 and two zones for 20-25, etc.). Maybe the quests have you do similar activities, but the actual story is quite different between the two sides.

    I’m getting really quite sick and tired of people calling Aion a “Korean grinder”. Obviously, if you ever tried a Korean grinder in the past and then played Aion you would know that that’s a terrible misnomer.

    Y’know. Just like the phrase “Open Beta”.

  8. Zyrusticae says:

    I just wanted to add that, besides my sorrow for the lack of an edit function, Aion starts like every other MMO in the biz: Slow. It assumes you’re a n00b and it’s going to make damn sure you know what you’re doing before it starts throwing you into RvR combat.

    If you never made it past level 20, your experience is going to be skewed. Just sayin’.

  9. Jayt says:

    Very interested to see how this game pans out

  10. abhishek says:

    I’m going to wait till the torrent has a slightly better seed:leech ratio. I really do hope that open beta keys will be available to everyone though… I’d hate to download 9gb on my slow connection only to find out that it’s for FP subscribers only :(

  11. abhishek says:

    One more thing which people should be aware of… the game apparently uses an anti-cheat system known as GameGuard. If you are not aware of this, check it out on wikipedia. It is virtually a rootkit, and people might not like the thought of one being installed on their system without their knowledge.

    In a story about this open beta on Slashdot, someone has claimed that the open beta and final release of Aion will not be using the GameGuard system but this has not been confirmed by any source.

  12. Heliosicle says:

    I won’t be getting this, because the NCSoft Client + Downloader hates me and never lets me download, well that was when I was trying to.

  13. morte says:

    Bemused at the hype around this game. Played closed beta and it was ‘another korean mmo’, of which I’ve tried to play a few in years past. Quite a shallow ‘world’. I quite enjoyed the combat and it’s pretty etc. But biggest dissapointment in gaming possibly ever; flying.
    It could’ve been so much more, instead it’s horribly crippled by insane restrictions making it all but a gimmick. The problem with that is flying could be it’s oinly saving grace; take it out and it’s another identikit grind-world.

  14. Lewis says:

    I’ve been given a key for this by three different sources now. I probably should sign up with one of them.

  15. Kits says:

    So many people making assumptions and judgements based on the ‘tutorial’ stretch of the game.
    Yes, your flight is limited in the earlier levelling zones, but it’s more of an introduction to it so when you actually get to the abyss, the main areas of the game and can fly about much more freely you arent plunging to your death between floating islands and such.
    The lore and world are amazing, the quest text’s well written and it’s just generally beautiful..there’s nothing ‘shallow’ about it at all. There’s very little grinding; even the quests that ask you to go kill a bunch of some critter aren’t, generally just asking for a couple, as opposed to the 20 or so other games would ask.
    Combat’s made more interesting with the smooth chain skill system, linking together combo’s on the fly dependant on which skills you open with, and increasing attack, defense or avoidance bonuses depending on your movement.

    Sure, it’s not the second coming, to steal the phrase in an earlier comment, it’s not perfect, but it’s a far sight better than anything we’ve seen for a long time. The naysayers should stop making baseless accusations of nonexistant flaws and maybe even give it a try.

  16. Cycle says:

    Reminds me of the unreleased Skies… anyone remember reading about that? SEE HERE:

    http://img112.imageshack.us/img112/8105/page123ya.jpg

  17. Shadow says:

    9 gig download…. holy bajebus, thats bigger than most peoples ISP imposed bandwidth caps

  18. We Fly Spitfires - MMORPG Blog says:

    Looking forward to Aion. I’m curious though – will our beta clients be the same version used for the final game? I have a EU account yet my client is shown as Aion – US in the NCSoft Launcher.

  19. Kits says:

    Sounds like your patcher picked the wrong region then…follow the instructions in http://www.aionsource.com/forum/aion-discussion/15694-guide-turning-aion-us-into-aion-eu.html and it should switch itself to using the european ones.

  20. Hermit says:

    I’ve always assumed the difference between closed and open betas is the lack of an NDA on the open beta, rather than OB being open to everyone.

    Anyway, PCG gave away some keys with sub issues of the mag, so I’ll check it out on the sixth.

  21. qrter says:

    We’ll have a word with NCSoft next week and see if we can perhaps sort out a few keys to give away to RPS readers – no promises, but we’ll try.

    .. which you’ll then offer to RPS subscribers/donaters first, I’d assume?

  22. Zyrusticae says:

    @morte
    Shallow? By whose standards?

    The game has excellent writing by any standards. I do mean any standards. NCWest worked their asses off in making sure the quest text is actually interesting to read, and if you’d bothered to read the lore you’d know that the world has quite a bit more depth to it than the current juggernaut of MMOs (yay for shades of grey!).

    Also, it’s pretty damn obvious you never made it past level 25.

    The Abyss is half the damn game. Making assumptions based on the first 10-15 levels is terribly baseless.

  23. BigJonno says:

    By Korean MMO standards, it’s bloomin’ revolutionary. It’s clear that someone sat down and decided to take the aesthetics of the better-looking Korean MMOs and add a solid quest-based levelling.

    The character creator is probably the best one I’ve seen outside of the “create your character AND your costume” superheroness of Cox and CO.

  24. rei says:

    …and if you’d bothered to read the lore you’d know that the world has quite a bit more depth to it than the current juggernaut of MMOs (yay for shades of grey!).

    When you say “juggernaut” I’d expect you to be referring to World of Warcraft, but that doesn’t hold up to even cursory scrutiny considering there are very few games—MMO or otherwise—that have such a detailed history. Four games and their expansions, two pen&paper RPGs with countless source books, not to mention… thirteen (?) books and several comics. Your claim seems a bit bold, all things considered.

  25. Kieron Gillen says:

    BigJonno: Not having played it, that was the impression I got too from the demos I’ve seen.

    KG

  26. PHeMoX says:

    @Terribad: “Look, the game is decent, even good, but it’s not polished and especially not original enough to be a WoW-killer.”

    Right.. are you saying WoW is very polished and original?

    Wake up, it’s not. It’s very much like Everquest II and especially at launch it was anything BUT polished, let alone playable. If any game ever got kickstarted by an insane hype, it’s World of Warcraft.

    In my opinion, it’s still not a good game.

  27. Zyrusticae says:

    @rei
    Content =/= depth.

    I don’t even know how you could possibly argue such a thing.

    When I say “depth” I am referring to things like moral quandaries, well-rounded characters, and a world that manages to maintain verisimilitude throughout.

    Hell, the fact that they built the lore to support the game mechanics – rather than building a world and then arbitrarily slapping them on top of a massive collection of old MMO tropes – is quite impressive on its own. To wit, note how you no longer have to explain away the fact that every PC and every important NPC just keeps coming back, again and again and again – because they’re all immortal, and reincarnate every single time (with consequences, naturally).

    But wait! This immortality is not a free ticket to eternal life! Just like the Highlanders, there is a catch – Daeva can only reincarnate when they are within the range of an obelisk, meaning permanent death is quite possible (though not within the game mechanics, because obviously very few people would enjoy a perma-death mechanic). And every time a Daeva reincarnates, they suffer side effects – most notably a temporary “illness” akin to a very heavy flu and some short-term memory loss. Some suffer even worse side effects in the case of glitches in their resurrection – such as the loss of limbs, which Daeva must live with for the rest of their very, very, very long lives.

    I love stuff like this. I no longer have to ignore the fact that my PCs die and resurrect all the damn time, and there’s tons of RP potential in the very nature of Daeva immortality. After all, once you’ve died for the thousandth time, wouldn’t your perspective on life and death be… a little different?

  28. BigJonno says:

    KG: At the shame of being a self-promoting attention whore, the last thing I wrote on my blog was my impressions from the beta weekend I played in. I need to get started again, as soon as the little’un gets back to school.

  29. Yghrt says:

    “The game has excellent writing by any standards. I do mean any standards.”

    That part alone was so fanboyish it discredited anything else you might say to defend Aion.

    Most published books are poorly written, yet the writing in these same books is far better than in most games ; even the best books, which are miles ahead of any video game, period, aren’t considered great by any standards ; and you’re expecting anyone to believe the writing in a korean grindbased (as soon as there’s levels and bashing critters for Xp there’s grind, don’t even try to deny it) game is better than the best books in the world ?

    Get real. And, if you truly believe what you said, turn off your computer and read some books.

  30. Yghrt says:

    The following crap you mentioned is also enough to tell Aion’s story is garbage, by the way. You probably think the Drizzt Do’Urden saga was the best thing ever and that Final Fantasy storylines are deep, too. Heh.

  31. Zyrusticae says:

    Oookaaaaay… Someone woke up on the wrong side o’ the bed this mornin’, methinks.

    No, I am not a big fan of Drizzt (not a fan at all, actually…), and honestly, the only FF games I’ve played are 7, 8, and 9, and I will freely admit that they’re more long-winded than they are “deep”. And if the inclusion of immortality (with restrictions) automatically = a trash story… well, I don’t know what to say to that really. Maybe you need to take a step back and realize personal bias =/= a measure of quality.

    I also can’t help but find it entirely disingenuous to compare writing in novels to writing in video games. They’re two entirely different mediums. The “writing” in Half-Life 2 shares nothing in common to that of a long novel aside from the fact that there is writing involved at all!

    I believe the writing is quite well-done considering the medium. NCWest did a damn good job of grabbing some of the most prolific fantasy authors in the business to write for the game, and while that is no guarantor of quality, the results speak for themselves.

    Again, I usually skip through the quest dialogue in every MMO I play. The fact that my attention was maintained throughout, alone, is a very good sign.

    Mind, the game’s writing is not meant to be deep and thought-provoking in the same way a classic novel is, and that’s perfectly fine for what it is. But even considering that, there’s a number of fascinating quests that delve into the nature of Daeva and the world they inhabit, including such lovely subjects as the relationship between immortal Daeva and very mortal humans, the question of how and why ascension occurs (likely to never have a concrete answer), and, of course, the question of which side was “right”, if there’s even a right side to begin with. It’s the first game that grabbed me enough for me to actually read every tidbit of in-game lore I could find, and even out-of-game, for that matter.

  32. Dan says:

    Don’t want this, want The Secret World. Tell me more about The Secret World. Now please.

  33. abhishek says:

    In case people are having trouble with the speeds on the torrent, the client is now also available to download from –

    http://games.on.net/file/29152/Aion_-_Tower_of_Eternity_Game_Client

  34. Caiman says:

    There’s a massive MMO audience out there that want something new and different from WoW – burn out is rife, new expansions can’t come fast enough but never last long enough. Conan and WAR also had huge interest because of this, and they were very successful… until people hit the higher levels and realised that such relatively young MMOs have very little interesting high level content. So what do they do? They go back to WoW. It’s a real challenge for any developer to create enough content to maintain a large audience indefinitely. I think WoW did it because even though it grabbed a huge audience at first it was tiny compared with its audience today, and they had time to catch up. You can’t do that these days without a monster budget. I fully expect Blizzard have been working away on their next MMO for several years already, with several more to go. Good luck Aion, you’re going to need it.

  35. Wulf says:

    @Zyrusticae

    I saw his straw man, and I’ll bet others here may have too. He took your comment completely out of context and substituted his own version of it to make his proposition of the superiority of books seem relevant.

    Interestingly enough, I read your statement to mean as “the best standards offered within the field of videogames”, too. He just saw a vague statement and jumped on it, milking it for all it’s worth.

    I’m just adding this anyway as sometimes it’s nice to have someone say “Hey, I spotted that too!” so you know you’re not alone.

  36. Alex G says:

    Anybody who had a subscribers edition of PC Gamer Issue 205 got a free guaranteed closed beta slot.

    I haven’t tried it out yet, but i might now.

  37. Tei says:

    The type of gameplay of AION is very wow like. With this PvP, that could be cool If you hare in a group of players that make it fun, else, you will get abused and bullied everywhere (in mmo terms: ganked).

    Abused as in… this guy, that is your racial enemy, and 4 levesl higuer than you, is unkilliable, you, and all your friends, can stay all day slashing a sword in his face, and he will not notice: evade, evade, evade, evade, evade… on the other part, he can nuke us in the blink of a eye.

    I have played Darkfall, and I think the ganking is less severe in darkfall than in AION. In darkfall you could have a fair oportunity to deal some damage, maybe even kill some ganker. Often not, but you know is your mistake. On AION you just are there, and are meaninglesss farmed by a group of people that just farm you in a meaningless way.

    AION played as a SinglePlayer Online games is good, till a point. I planned to play 1 month of AION. And I have already played long enough, to no need to play it more. It may release, and I may not even create a first character. The game is not bad, and I recomend it to most people. But not tryiing to advance the genre (on something else than polish, AION *IS* polish everywhere and on all things) would pay.. these guys will lose my subscription money, because AION don’t seems to give me a meaningfull PvP, and the Hack&Slash stuff is fun for 1 month, top.

    I hope AION has success on europe, because deserve it, based on Graphics alone.

  38. Z says:

    Nothing deserves success based on graphics alone.

  39. aion kinah says:

    Since, I’ve heard that aion won as the best online game at Gamescom recently. It really piqued my interest to try it. Actually, I really loved how the game looked originally. Added to it, I’ve heard that aion has a great gameplay. Now, I’m really excited to get my hands on this game. I hope I can also participate on its open beta this coming Sept. 6 – 13.

  40. jezgamer says:

    Since, I’ve heard that aion won as the best online game at Gamescom recently. It really piqued my interest to try it. Actually, I really loved how the game looked originally. Added to it, I’ve heard that aion has a great gameplay. Now, I’m really excited to get my hands on this game and explore its world especially the aion kinah questing and aerial combat. I hope I can also participate on its open beta this coming Sept. 6 – 13.

  41. noobsauce says:

    If u hate Aion so much then don’t read a freaking article about it! You WoW-loving/Aion-haters (extreme generalization) are so annoying.. do you get a kick out of ranting on a forum comment? You’re not HELPING anyone.. or “warning” them about anything..

    Personally, I WAS an Aion fanboy 2 years ago.. but was kind of disappointed during Korean CBT, it wasn’t as epic and insane as the videos let it to be.. but think about it.. what is? I mean I still enjoyed the game, and i WILL be paying for it, but that’s just me..
    If you hate it so much stop wasting your own life and all of our lives (Aion interested people) and go play your own MMO.. or do whatever you actually enjoy doing instead of bringing hate upon yourself and others..

  42. Whakziboh says:

    Your access to the open beta event has been denied due to Country restrictions.

    Gotta love Fileplanet

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  44. Internet Hosting says:

    I suggest the term “slightly-more-open-than-ever” beta.

    Or “SMOTE”.

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