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Aion: hands on preview

By Michael | September 8, 2009 at 4:20 am

Aion is NCSoft’s newest, upcoming MMORPG for PC. Aion’s world of Atreia is divided into two halves, with a chaotic Abyss between them. The two factions, the Elyos and the Asmodians, are enemies of old. They have deep seeded hatred and distrust of each other based on a past event known at the “cataclysm.” The time in which the two halves of the world where divided and separated by a chaotic area in-between. In recent time they have begun exploring the abyss. Within the Abyss, the once-lost power of flight is now commonplace. The Abyss is where the two factions fight each other for supremacy.

The gameplay in Aion is standard MMO fair. Not many new or different ideas have been shown in Aion, with their marketing’s big push being the ability of flight and integrating the third dimension integrally into combat. However, other than that, the vast majority of gameplay is very formulaic. You have your standard, “Get (#) (Noun) from (Mob/Location)”. They have also integrated a PvPvE feature where gamers may be fighting NPC encounters or spawns while simultaneously fighting or defending against the other faction with similar goals. There is nothing bad about the gameplay, it is quite fun and fairly well polished, just don’t plan on groundbreaking.

Screen Shot
RPGLand makes a character.

Players begin with one of 4 basic classes, Mage, Warrior, Scout, or Priest each taking on their expected roles. At level 10 players are able to further specialize their characters by choosing one of two subclasses. Combat is your standard, target unit, and press 1-9 to use your powers to combat them, wait for recharge, rinse, repeat. There are some spells that chain and build on one another that do add a slight extra depth of strategy.

The artwork and graphics is where Aion truly shines. The game is truly beautiful to look at. Even on my less than stellar gaming laptop I was able to appreciate what I was seeing. The vistas and terrestrial landscape are just gorgeous to look at. However, you will want a decently powerful machine to fully experience this. I also found the music in the game to be both appealing and relaxing. It was never a nuisance and blended well with the action. I couldn’t ask for much more.

Screen Shot
RPGLand makes a character FLY.

So, bottom line: Aion is a well polished excellently built MMORPG. But there is really nothing here that hasn’t been done over and over before. Their big “unique” experience of flight and combat integration is hampered once one learns that there are only special areas in which this is allowed, and its limited to approximately 3 minutes. So if you’re looking to jump on the ground floor of a new fantasy MMO, Aion may be a good choice for you, just don’t expect real innovation.


Topics: Aion, NCSoft, Previews