Although the world of online gaming has
truly become an international phenomenon, trying to gain a foothold in
this overly flooded market is the difficulty for the new kids on the
However, with the
popularity of games such as Everquest and World of Warcraft,
it's always good to see other developers attempt to gain dominance of
this realm in order to keep competition healthy and ensuring that all
developers keep on giving gamers a unique experience.
The latest game to hit
the Western shores is AION that was developed by NCsoft, a Seoul
development company and although it already boasts thousands of Asian
players, it's about to opened for a whole new market. Although
Australian users will not have access to their own servers, they will
have access to North American Servers and thankful internet speed in
Australia is relatively fast.
So what exactly is AION?
Set in a world of magic, more specifically the planet of Atreia, dragons
and other wondrous creatures roam the lands with this planet being
broken asunder by two warring factions, "Asmodians" and the "Elyos".
To compound a situation,
a gateway into the abyss has been breached which threatens to wake an
ancient dragon and both factions are now in danger which is where the
players comes into the story. Thankfully Impulse Gamer was given an
exclusive invite into the BETA testing of the servers and on the 18th of
July 2009, it was time to venture into the world of AION.
The first thing you will
notice about AION is the graphics which are visually quite impressive
and the attention to details is quite surreal. Using the Crytec game
engine (Farcry), the minimum specifications include the following,
although we would highly recommend something slightly more powerful to
play the game in full detail and resolution which I must admit is a
amazing graphical experience. All the characters in the game are very
well modeled with some high resolution texture details, hence the reason
for a high-end system.
Minimum System Requirements:
Microsoft® Windows® XP SP2
2.8GHz CPU or equivalent
NVIDIA® 5900 Ultra with 128MB RAM / ATI Radeon? x700 with 128MB RAM or
15GB hard disk space
DirectX® 9.0c (6/2008 update)
Broadband Internet connection
Recommended System Requirements:
Microsoft® Windows® XP SP2/ Vista
Dual Core CPU 2.0GHz or equivalent
2GB RAM NVIDIA® 6800 with 256MB RAM / ATI Radeon? x800 with 256MB or
15GB hard disk space
DirectX® 9.0c (6/2008 update)
Broadband Internet connection
There are a variety of impressive effects in the game from spells to
realistic weather effects and even the small touches in the game such as
a mage creating a giant leaf from thin air in order to use as an
umbrella makes the experience quite magical.
AION allows you to
explore this giant gaming world, however where the title does shine is
through the ability of flight which allows gamers to fly through the
clouds and reach difficult to reach areas in the game.
However, before walking
through the world of AION, players must create their Avatars and
needless to say, the game boasts one of the best customizations around
that is only limited by the players imagination.
The Thrill of Flight
Soar to great heights and battle in the open skies of Aion. Flying
in Aion is not just a way to travel-- it is a strategic and integral
part of the game adding a fresh dynamic to all aspects of the genre,
including combat, quests and exploration.
Discover a meticulously crafted fantasy world brimming with
otherworldly inhabitants, mysterious enemies and ancient secrets.
Experience captivating and story-driven quests as you play a
critical role in a celestial civil war that has raged for hundreds
Engage in a spectacular and evolving combat system utilizing combos,
skill chains, counter-attacks and spectacular aerial combat. Plan
and execute raids against rival factions, earn special ranks and
rewards through victory.
Take individuality to a new level through an incredibly in-depth
character creation tool, advanced crafting systems, and extensive
Created potent tools of war and defense through a highly flexible
crafting system that extends to hundreds of items, weapons and
Aion introduces a new dynamic to MMOs by combining both PvP and PvE
gameplay into an exciting new style. As player factions fight
amongst themselves and with the AI controlled Balaur, enemies can
become allies in a desperate fight for survival. Join thousands in
the relentless war for dominance of the pivotal Abyss!
Explore one of the most amazingly beautiful and detailed MMORPGs
ever as you fight to save a vibrant world, all brought to life by
the powerful Crytek engine.
The game two factions
that include "The Asmodians", a strong race who have become twisted and
scarred from the cataclysm that split the world. Even though once
human-like in appearance, their disassociation with the world have
caused them to evolve into something "cursed".
The "Elyos" on the other
hand have transformed into something uniquely different from The
Asmodians and have become creatures of light who still believe that they
are blessed by the Creator God, Aion, however their burden has become
their forced superiority.
Apart from these two
races, The Balaur are a threat to everything decent in this universe and
were the creatures responsible for this breach to occur. Even
though they were sealed in the Abyss for their actions, some have
managed to escape and once again threaten the very fabric of reality.
Once you have chosen
your race and one of the classes to play which include Warrior, Scout,
Mage and Priest, you then have the option of selecting a character from
either the Asmodians or the Elyos, thus giving you access to plethora of
customization options from facial appearance, hair, voice etc, giving
you ownership of the character. Of course, the classes represent the
standard Sword and Sorcery archetype characters.
For the BETA tested, we
played A Warrior, Scout and the Mage. Of course each class has their
pros and cons, however our favourite was the Mage who really had some
power behind his spells, albeit his hit points were of course rather
Thankfully once you
reach level 10, you can then customise your classes, giving the player
even more choices in this MMO. When you do reach level 10, you also get
your "wings" which allows you fly in the world of Atreia, although
unfortunately we could not test this feature as our humble Mage
Kalthanan was only up to level 8 by the time we finished playing this
BETA testing weekend. It should be noted that flying has a time limit
and is restricted to certain areas due to key elements in the story.
This keeps things fair as well.
Once in the world with
no manual or instructions, we were a little lost and most testers were
in the same boat as us. We of course started attacking the local
creatures in the game to boost up our experience points.
experience points started going up and upon visiting the local town, we
discovered a mage who assisted us with new spells and spell books. Back
hunting for more monsters and our experience points soon started an
In the mean time, we
chatted to other BETA testers who were thoroughly enjoying this
experience and some of the entertaining emoticons were quite cool. The
battle system was quite easy to navigate, simply right click on your
enemy and viola, it's fight time.
Mages have access to
different spells that in relation to warriors, they have access to
different equipment. Some of the spells lead onto other spells such as
the fire spell which opens up another spell that is timed and is a great
for a final attack.
The menu system in AION
is a little confusing, however after a day of playing, we finally
figured out where most of the information lived. The game is dubbed as a
PvPvE game which allows players to battle monsters and of course each
Thankfully there are
safe zones for players to venture into and you can challenge players
politely as well. Of course the main crux of the game is to join a group
and travel to distant lands in search of fortune and glory plus a
healthy dose of experience points.
Until the release date,
we're still locked by a set number of weekend closed beta dates and
until then, we really cannot comment on the final product, however from
what we have seen, the results have left us quite impressed. From the
highly detailed and amazing, almost stylised graphics to the fun
gameplay, we'll definitely be keeping an eye on AION.