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Aion game overview

Platforms:
Game genre: MMORPG
Available regions:
Game setting: Fantasy
Release date: July 1, 2009
Game class / Title: A
Game engine CryEngine 1
NCSoft
Free to Play
Released

Aion Game Review

Aion, the MMORPG developed by the renowned company NCSoft, is a captivating experience that has left a significant mark on the online gaming industry. Often associated with the "Korean syndrome" and "WOW-clones", Aion incorporates vibrant colors, attractive heroines, imposing swords, intricate armor, grind mechanics, and a multitude of quests. While these familiar elements initially draw players in, they sometimes lead to a mass exodus and server depletion. Despite this, Aion distinguishes itself with its quality and meticulous attention to detail, securing a high position in markets across Korea, Europe, USA, Japan, China, and Russia.

Launched in 2008, Aion has continued to evolve, adapting to the changing landscape of online gaming. The game is available on multiple platforms, including PC, and supports both Windows and macOS operating systems. Developed using the CryEngine, Aion offers a visually stunning experience that remains impressive despite the engine's age. The development process spanned over three years, targeting a global audience with a particular focus on fans of high-fantasy MMORPGs. With a daily player base of approximately 100,000 and an annual count reaching close to 3 million, Aion has amassed a loyal following. Since its release, the game has garnered around 30 million players worldwide.

The game's success can be attributed to its immersive world, extensive character customization, engaging PvP-oriented gameplay, and intricate crafting system. Aion's attention to detail and the captivating universe it presents set it apart from other games in the genre.

Graphics and Immersive World

Aion is built on the renowned CryEngine, which, while considered somewhat dated in the world of video games, still delivers a visually stunning experience. The world of Aion dazzles with a wide array of vibrant and pleasing colors, captivating players from the moment they enter the game. The meticulously crafted environments and character animations draw players into the game world, momentarily eclipsing concerns about the story or character development. The sound design further enhances the immersive experience, with rustling leaves in the evening breeze, the murmuring of water cascading down a waterfall, and the sudden flapping of wings signaling imminent danger.

It is important to note that the idyllic landscapes featuring towering trees, exotic flowers, and realistic flora represent only a portion of what Aion has to offer. The Elyos nation settled these lands after a devastating war between humans and the Balaur resulted in the planet's division. In contrast, the Asmodians occupy a region scarred by loss, featuring a gloomy, cloudy sky, lifeless deserts, snow-covered plains, and somber cities. The heart of this divided world, known as the Abyss, is controlled by the Balaur, tasked with maintaining a delicate balance between the opposing factions. The combination of the versatile game engine, meticulous world-building, and deep lore results in an atmospheric universe that captivates players.

Character Creation and Progression

Upon starting the game, players must choose one of two playable nations: the Elyos or the Asmodians. Character creation in Aion is akin to a game within a game, offering an extensive array of tools for crafting a truly unique avatar. Players can customize various aspects, including body shape, eyebrow curve, lip fullness, nose size, chin sharpness, hairstyle, color, and even add freckles, scars, or tattoos. The level of customization ensures that encountering two identical heroes in the game is a rare occurrence unless they deliberately choose pre-made templates. This option is also available for those who prefer a quicker character creation process.

Furthermore, players choose one of seven archetypes for their character: Scout, Mage, Priest, Warrior, Artist, and Engineer. Upon reaching level 10, players are presented with two distinct development paths, expanding the available classes to a total of 13 (note that Artists can only become Bards). Each class offers a unique play style with its own strengths and weaknesses in solo play, as well as in PvE and PvP group scenarios. At level 10, players also unlock wings and the ability to fly, which remains one of the game's standout features.

PvP-Oriented Gameplay and Crafting

Given the divided nature of Aion's world, it comes as no surprise that the game is heavily focused on player versus player (PvP) combat. PvP battles become available after reaching level 25 when characters can venture into the Abyss, the primary location for intense battles, including aerial combat. Additionally, portals periodically open between the two halves of the world, allowing players to infiltrate enemy territory and sow panic among their foes. Defeating players from the opposing faction grants unique points that can be exchanged for powerful equipment.

For those inclined towards peaceful endeavors, Aion offers an engaging crafting system. There are six professions to choose from, including alchemy, cooking, tailoring, blacksmithing, weapons and jewelry crafting, and gathering. While it is possible to learn all professions, focusing efforts on a single discipline allows players to become true masters of their craft. It's worth noting that the leveling process for crafting can be lengthy and expensive, adding an additional layer of depth to Aion's gameplay.

Business Model and Availability

In terms of the business model, Aion transitioned to a free-to-play model in North America and Europe in 2012. However, the Russian servers employ a freemium system, offering the game for free up to level 50 but with certain restrictions.

Editorial Review by MMOTOP.ORG

Aion is a visually stunning MMORPG that has stood the test of time. The game offers a rich and immersive world, thanks to the powerful CryEngine, although the engine does show its age in some aspects. Character customization is one of the best we've seen, allowing for a truly unique avatar creation experience. The game's focus on PvP combat is well-executed, providing thrilling and intense battles, especially once players reach the Abyss.

However, Aion is not without its flaws. The grind mechanics can become tedious, and the game's reliance on microtransactions, particularly in the Russian servers, may deter some players. Despite these drawbacks, Aion remains a solid choice for MMORPG enthusiasts.

Overall, we give Aion a score of 65 out of 100. While it may not be a top contender in the MMO genre, it offers enough unique features and a dedicated community to make it worth exploring.

FAQ

Can I play Aion for free?

Yes, Aion adopted a free-to-play model in North America and Europe in 2012, allowing players to experience the game without any upfront cost.

How many playable nations are there in Aion?

Aion offers two playable nations: the Elyos and the Asmodians. Players must choose one of these factions when starting the game.

Can I fly in Aion?

Yes, Aion features a unique flying system that allows characters to take to the skies. Upon reaching level 10, players unlock wings and the ability to fly, adding a new dimension to exploration and combat.

What professions can I pursue in Aion?

Aion offers six professions: alchemy, cooking, tailoring, blacksmithing, weapons and jewelry crafting, and gathering. Players can choose to specialize in a single profession or dabble in multiple disciplines.

How is PvP incorporated in Aion?

Aion places a strong emphasis on PvP combat. After reaching level 25, players can participate in PvP battles in the Abyss, engage in aerial combat, and occasionally infiltrate enemy territory through portals for strategic advantage.

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Game information last update: 07.05.2024

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