...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.