Posts Tagged ‘Aion’

Free For All: Aion And Everquest

Aion and on and on
I’m starting to view the paid-for period of an MMO’s life as the pre-pubescent stage: the inevitability of growth into F2P is starting to look like it’s in the DNA. Both Everquest and Aion are noticing other MMOs, worrying about their acne and taking an interest in clothes. Aion in particular is experiencing a growth spurt, finally readying version 3.0 for everyone to play.
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Fly My Pretties: AION Goes F2P On 28th Feb

I think that would make walking impractical.

The last time I mentioned that NC Soft’s sort-of-flying MMO, AION, was going free-to-play I used the phrase, “there’s no such thing a free launch”. However, the accolades, the knighthood, the journalism awards and the general celebrity that came from such an extraordinary joke never materialised. This gross oversight should be sorted out quickly. And here’s your chance, because there’s a date for the change now, and more details of what happens if you were a subscriber. Because come the 28th February, Europeans won’t need one to get in.

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Virtual Kisses: Valentine’s Day Events 2012

Love... well, it is expensive. Maybe I should invest in a bacon sandwich instead...

As RPS’ only painfully single person at the moment, I’m happy to inform you that Valentine’s Day is cancelled. A pox on all happy couples, literally and figuratively. Return to your empty, silent houses with the biggest bag of sweets you can, turn off the lights, and spend the evening sobbing until the sweet, sweet chocolate oozes out of your eyes and anus.

…or alternatively, jump into one of the many Valentine’s Day events taking place this week in assorted games. Almost anything with a cash shop will be running a sale, but many are running special events. (Though not all. DC Universe Online for instance scrapped the Valentine’s content it tried last year in favour of waiting until the team has the time to do something good instead.) Jump in with a loved one, or just celebrate Aching Solitude Awareness Day by ganking any of those pesky doting sweethearts who get too close. Like I care. Sob.

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Aion Flying Free: F2P From February

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.

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Disposable Worlds And Imagining Brink 2


Playing Brink this weekend made me worry. But not about the usual things. I was worried that there would never be another way to experience the details of its world – no possibility for further exploration of the Ark and its precarious situation. This isn’t something I normally think about when faced with a multiplayer shooter. I certainly had no interest in finding out more about the world of Quake III, or Battlefield 2, because nothing in them really inferred anything outside those isolated battlegrounds. Their conflicts were their world entire. Not so with Brink, and, now that I come to think of it, a few other worlds, too. I begin to wonder whether game fictions might be too readily disposable.
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Wing And Prayer: Aion Update Is Quite Pretty


The 2.5 update for Aion, Empyrean Calling, brings in some graphical tweaks and a new character customisation system. It’s really rather lavish, as you can see in the trailer below. It always amazes me to see the amount of content that gets poured into these games, and it’s a strange kind of cruelty that the actual game structure means the likes of me will never actually get to see it. I’d happily wander around as a tourist for a few hours.

Aion players can apparently already access the new patch on the test server.
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Eye On Aion: 2.1 Patch Pt. 2 Live

Patch naming might be a lawless and uncharted field, but this is still the dumbest thing I’ve heard all morning. Back in November, Korean MMORPG Aion received its 2.1 patch. Today, it’s received… its 2.1 patch, part 2. Does that mean we’re playing v2.1(pt.2)? Foolish devs!

(Edit: Aha! RPS commenter and all-around clever human Kitz informs me that this is because us foreign types received the original 2.1 Korean patch in instalments, for some reason. Thanks, Kitz. Thitz.)

What is interesting about both iterations of the 2.1 patch is that they make this famously grindy game less grindy, so if you just wanted to play a fun game where you character flies around on a pair of modular wings, now might be your chance. Back in November the developers “significantly” increased drop rates, and with 2.1 pt. 2 they’ve lowered the quantity of materials required for crafting and increased the rewards you get for finishing campaign quests. Each patch adds lots of new crafting recipes, too. I’ve re-posted the trailer for the expansion, Assault on Balaurea, below. It has many wings in.
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Aion? Anyone? Come On…


There must be some Aion players out there in the seething RPS masses. Hands up – who is still playing? You still getting a kick out of it? Does this new “Assault on Balaurea” expansion tickle your fancy? Seems pretty standard fare for MMO expansions: higher level cap, new zones, new instances, and some tweaks to things like pet ownership, but it could be a big deal. The trailer, which I’ve posted below, is predictably gorgeous.
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Aion “Vision” Trailer Unfurls


Aion, the MMO about warring celestial warrior races, did rather well for NCSoft. The European and North American launch snagged 970,000 boxed unit sales, and probably a few more on digital download. Now though they’re looking to the future, and they’ve released this new trailer to show off some of what’s planned. There’s a graphical overhaul at the front end and – holy shit look at those giant fish – but more beyond that, including some serious boss monsters, underwater stuff, what I assume is player-owned housing, some dodgy-looking ostriches, a dude riding a horned dinosaur, some fighting-game-style finishing moves, and, damn, giant wandering colossi being attack with cannons…

Okay, yeah, that’s actually pretty spectacular.
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Aion Release Trailer, Are You Playing?


Aion is out tomorrow in Europe and North America, and the pre-order has been topping direct-download charts for weeks. But are you going to be playing? Did you get on the beta? Did you pre-order? Have you signed up for the full game? If you are playing, what’s the appeal? Do those wings really make all the difference? Or is this a case of hype over content? RPS communal-voicebrain: speak!

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They’ve Flown: We Have No Aion Beta Keys


We do not have a handful of Aion beta keys to give out, because we sent them all off. You can’t get any now, even by emailing us, because they’re all gone. Any Aion beta-key begging correspondence will now be fed to the bile worms. I’ve edited this post instead of removing it, so you all know what’s going on. If you’ve not received anything by now then you didn’t get a key, sorry!

Aion Open Beta Takes Flight (Nearly)

…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.
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Aion: Ooh, Impressive Developer Blather


Via IGN we get a massive Aion trailer (clickwards below), with the world, background, and factions explained by the American development team. Loads of game footage, plenty of action, and a general explanation of how a few aspects of how the game will play out. Looking up and seeing the other half of the world is a neat visual flourish. In fact it’s all looking rather impressive, and I’m now starting to see see why our Aion beta key giveaway was bombarded with over five thousand emails: the flying looks quite good.
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Euro Aion Beta Key Giveaway

Compo now closed, and winners have been notified. Thanks for taking part!


Purdy-lookin’ forthcoming Korean MMO Aion – the one where flying plays a big role – is having a special European beta event on the 5th to 7th of June.The event will allow participants to play through the first twenty levels as an Elyos. To celebrate this, and, presumably to populate them servers, NCSoft are giving away a whole bunch of keys. Want one? Then all you need to do is email us. All gone, sorry!

Aion’s most recent outburst of prettiness is posted ‘neath the click, and it also happens to be the zone which will feature in the event.
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One Million Play Aion In China


Chinese MMO distributor Shanda have reported that one million people logged on to the Chinese-language version of NCSoft’s Aion in the first four days of play. It’s worth remembering that the Chinese model means that gamers play by the hour, so this could easily go on to become a gigantic success, or just disappear overnight – a distinct possibility when financial type sources (via GI.biz) suggest that many gamers came away from their hours of Aion with some rather negative feedback. Aion is scheduled for release in Europe and North American in the autumn. (At which time I expect we’ll have to pay by the month.)

Aion Zone Trailer Loveliness


NCSoft’s MMO-with-wings, Aion, has been showing off its floaty environments with quite spectacular results: lots of floaty things, both animate and inanimate. The flight aspect makes this rather more interesting than your normal MMO world, because there’s a whole lot of vertical detail to deal with. Oddly, NCSoft recently announced “flying transformations” for the new continent of Lineage II, which seems a bit like stealing their own thunder. Surely you keep the best for your big launch? I suppose Aion has been out for ages in Korea already, but still… Anyway, prettiness below. How I envy the environment artist.
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Aion: CryTek-Powered Celestials


NCSoft was hit rather hard by the failure of Tabula Rasa, and they’ll be looking for their next big title to do a little better. Despite being another fantasy MMORPG Aion is actually looking pretty interesting, with its scenario of war between angel and demon analogues, it’s ludicrously spectacular environments, and its aerial combat. It’s also visually splendid, being powered by CryTek’s CryEngine technology. You can see that in action, with some flying manta-rays and floating castles, after the jump. Aion is already making waves in China and Korea, and we’re expecting to see it roll out in Europe and North America towards the end of the year.

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Flying Blind

So why do we still know so little about Aion? Is it because the impending Tabula Rasa is currently eating all of NCsoft’s focus? Is it because the now-cancelled Auto Assault was a catastrophic failure, so this next MMORPG is getting a rethink? Is it because it still hasn’t escaped the conceptual stage?

What we do know hits some of the right notes – a modified Far Cry engine means a certain degree of pretiness (though that’s what I thought when I first heard of Aion a year ago, and since then I’ve feasted my eyes on all number of incredible ocular sweetmeats). And it has flying – not on the back of a poxy animal of some kind, but you, the character, actually flying, with big giant wings on your back. Ooh. I like flying.

There are also bum notes, specifically every single screenshot. MMO developers, if your characters look like this:

then I am immediately 25% less interested in playing your game. I’m sorry. I know it’s a horrible prejudice. Really though, I’m as sick of seeing that soft-focus Asian medieval fantasy look as I am seeing men called Jack with giant forearms in Western action games. Stop it. They can throw as many pretty pixel shaders as they like at it, but it won’t stop Aion looking forgettable if that’s the approach they’re sticking to throughout. The point of an MMO is that it makes you want to live in that virtual world, not to be reminded with every single character you pass that YOU ARE PLAYING A VIDEOGAME.

I’m sorry. I’m angry because I’m still desperately seeking the post-WoW MMO that I want to swallow my free time, and I get frustrated when one I was curious about starts looking like it won’t scratch my particular itches. I look forward to finding out more about Aion, and hopefully being an impressed wee laddie.

Much more positively: cities in the sky and flying dragon-rhinoceros thingies. That I’m down with.