Aion Flying Free: F2P From February

By John Walker on December 14th, 2011 at 11:02 am.

Barf.

The next MMO making its inevitable way to being free-to-play is NCsoft’s Aion, the flying game that does its best to never let you fly. Come next February and you’ll not need to pay to get into the game, via the powers of Gameforge. This is, say Eurogamer, NCsoft’s plan to “boost player numbers in Europe”. In other words, people aren’t playing the disappointing Western incarnation of the MMO, and they want to reawaken the servers. And this is a long-proven method.

Of course, there’s no such thing a free launch, and there will be opportunities to pay for things. For instance, there’s a Gold Package which will secure you everything in the game, along with “bonuses”. In other words, you’ll level faster, as well as have shorter queues for instances and better loot. But they promise these are only time saving measures, and won’t imbalance things.

Those who already had subs will become Veterans, even if their sub already expired. You’ll get the whole game, forever, just for having ever subbed. Not bad.

In fact, non-payers will have all classes, areas, quests, equipment, individualisations, professions and PvP. So what don’t you get?

“To protect our players against bots and gold sellers, several game options such as chat and trading will be restricted for starters.”

Other than that, it really does just seem to be a slower XP climb. People who’ve already paid beyond February will be refunded, so it’s worth chucking in any pre-paid codes you may have now, as they’ll be useless after the switch from NCsoft to Gameforge.

Unfortunately the idiotholes have put their promotional advertising trailer for this news on their site in an unembeddable format.

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27 Comments »

  1. The Pink Ninja says:

    Those are some really nice wings.

    • Kdansky says:

      Too bad you can only use them for 20 seconds once every 30 minutes (or whatever the current cooldown is), and they are mostly for gliding.

    • Network Crayon says:

      they’re a pain if you need to get on a bus to.

      or even go into any room smaller than a warehouse.

    • Jae Armstrong says:

      This, good goddamn. I’m not a fan of these grind-em-up MMOs at the best of times, but that pic is doing an absurdly good job of selling this game to me.

      I want DEM WINGS.

      EDIT: Actually, you know what? Downloading trial now. It’s got to be good for a couple of hours.

    • Zyrusticae says:

      For the record, it’s really trivial to get over 3 minutes of flight time (you’re generally only using it for traversal anyways, AS IT SHOULD BE) and it is equally trivial to get a pile of flight potions that let you stay in the air almost indefinitely.

      But for me, that was never a selling point of the game. I was more or less suckered in by the excellent character creation, and the PvP convinced me to stay (though I know that it is very much NOT everyone’s bucket of joy).

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Flying ‘over 3 minutes’ isn’t very impressive for an MMO whose main selling point seems to be flying, though. I mean, I’m playing WoW in another window as I type this and I’m in the air right now.

      LOOK MOM! NO HANDS!

    • Chris D says:

      For a game that’s main selling point is characters with wings it sure involves a lot of walking.

    • Jae Armstrong says:

      Well, that was a passable ten levels.

      Though if I’m taking anything away from this, is a fresh appreciation for just how good EVE is. Even the PVE, god help me. I’ll take a ‘ganza or Worlds Collide over any of these quests.

  2. Chalky says:

    I wonder if the bonuses mean that you’ll level faster than you currently do, or if free accounts will be gimped and the bonuses will just re-set you back to normal.

    I stopped playing Aion very early on due to grind, but I hear it is much better now. I may give it another go, assuming that free accounts get the “better now” levelling rather than a “give us money to avoid pain” version.

  3. Jumwa says:

    My partner’s quite excited for this. She’s been asking me on average about once a month “Has Aion gone free to play yet?”

    But lovely game, we had some fun with it for our trial month, but justifying monthly subscriptions is so not practical for us, we don’t have the time to commit to making it worth it.

    • f1x says:

      Same here I liked it, played a couple months but indeed nothing to really justify the monthly fee
      Also by then the amount of times you would get ganked by groups of max level + max pvp set players while questing at levels 30-40 was pretty annoying

      Not that I have anything about outdoor pvp or even ganking but when you cant really fight back at all… :(

  4. Serge says:

    Those who already had subs will become Veterans, even if their sub already expired. You’ll get the whole game, forever, just for having ever subbed. Not bad.

    This is VERY clever.
    I wonder if Trial accounts will work. Because I liked it but never actually bought it.

  5. Crius says:

    Unfortunately the idiotholes have put their promotional advertising trailer for this news on their site in an unembeddable format.

    I perceive a little grudge in this sentence.

  6. Hobse says:

    Is this only in Europe?

    • tungstenHead says:

      Although it could change, right now this is Europe only.

  7. Kollega says:

    When the developers expect you to pay in order for their game to be less of a time sink, there is something fundamentally wrong with the design of the game in question.

    Who else agrees with my sentiment?

    • Kollega says:

      What word does not mean what i think it mean? “Design of the game”? No, i’m pretty sure that it does mean what i think it means.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Once they have your money, they want you not to play as that means they can save on server/support costs.

    • absolofdoom says:

      Unfortunately, I would have to disagree with you there, bud. I could agree that most MMO’s are a little too much about grinding and a little too not about doing, well, anything. I highly applaud the ones that actually try to have some meaningful content, or at least gameplay, and this doesn’t really look to be one. But honestly, nothing’s wrong with the design. They just wanna hook people, and this kinda thing works, and works well, plain and simple. Right now my roommate’s picked up runescape that he used to play in gradeschool and man I can’t believe what’ll entertain some people.

  8. Dakia says:

    I played it at launch and was incredibly disappointed. It was supposed to be less grindy than traditional Asian MMOs, but still made me want to blow my brains out.

    Also, the wings are largely worthless. They do almost nothing in terms of effecting the overall game play.

  9. Oneironaut says:

    I bought this at release, and that was the experience that completely turned me off of paid MMOs. I will be interested in trying this again now that I’ll be able to get that veteran status.

  10. Kuroko says:

    I will go back once its free to play, I miss my character and her sexy wings.

  11. Tei says:

    The joy of gliding easelly allows to ignore the gring of the game for about 20 levels, after that you get crush by the weight of it. Is a nice game, …

  12. Parrk says:

    Bought this on steam sale for $10 I think. I enjoyed it for a bit but stopped playing once overcome with a feeling of hopelessness as the grind ramped up and I learned more about the gaping hole that should have held those activities one might enjoy should the ever actually finish leveling.

  13. mmalove says:

    May your downgrade remind future developers that MMOs should be about enjoying a massive world, not killing the same shit 100s of times in an average one.

    Also, LOL at flight. I remember their original marketing campaign was pretty much “LOOKIE: WOW with better graphics and FLIGHT! ZOMG WINGS!” And on playing you’d quickly realize you could fly more places in WOW than in Aion (especially post cataclysm).

    I still shudder remembering flying around underneath this one fortress in the Abyss, farming abyss crystals because you had one of these tiered gathering systems where you mathematically had to gather 100s of one type of ingredient to “boost” your gathering skill enough to get the next kind, but this particular tier was rather uncommon except for a few spots. You had to fly under the fortress to get them (kinda cool), but of course flight time was limited, and you weren’t so concerned about enemy players as much as friendlies pitted against a similar conundrum. You’d fly up to the rings to recharge flight time by gayly strafing back and forth a dozen times in the ring, then swoop down to the crystals, hoping to reach them before the other half a dozen farmers. I believe it wasn’t too long after that experience that I quit. Pearl diving online just wasn’t worth 15 bucks/month.

  14. Chris D says:

    In other MMO news the final Guild Wars 2 class has been announced. I’m sure RPS are on the story as we speak.

  15. Skusey says:

    That “free launch” joke was very good.