E3 2007: First Look at Aion
NCSoft has several MMO projects in the works. One of the most interesting, and most secretive, is Aion. While we weren’t able to see a lot of the gameplay, we were able to get a look at where things stand with the upcoming title.
Players will choose between two factions, the Asmodion and the Elios. In addition to the player factions, there will also be a faction populated entirely by NPC’s, known as the Baalor. Aion takes place in a world that has been split in two by cataclysmic forces, leaving the two halves connected by the Tower of Eternity. There is a dark half of the world, so called because the sun rarely reaches it; and a light half below. In the area between the two halves, know as the Abyss, the Baalor reside.
Right of the gate, Aion’s visuals are stunning. The game looks gorgeous, and honestly, looks ready to release graphically. There is a lot of detail utilized to give the game atmosphere, and to make the world seem immersive. It’s not surprising, since the title is running on a heavily modified version of the CryEngine.
Aion takes a slightly different approach to the traditional character development system as well. Instead of the player choosing a class when they create their character, they will choose a basic class. While these classes have not yet been named, we were told that they would basically be warrior, scout, cleric, and mage. This class will remain until the player reaches level 10, at which point, two specialties will open up, allowing the player to choose the exact path they wish to follow.
The most original idea Aion presents is the use of flight as a combat mechanic. While it won’t be available all the time, any player above level 10 will be able to fly, using wings that apparently sprout from their back upon reaching level 10. However, the use of flight in combat (which we were not shown) definitely has my interest.
Another interesting feature is what Aion is calling PvPvE. Basically a blending of PvP and PvE, what it basically means is that Aion will have no instances, and all raid areas will be accessible by both player factions. Players will have to deal with not only the raid enemies, but other players as well. In addition, the Baalor NPC faction may decide to help out one side or the other as they see fit, adding yet another dimension to concept. Again, we were not able to see this in action.
One last thing that was mentioned that I found interesting was that players will have the ability to customize the way their armor looks. For example, if you have a high-level piece of armor, but like the look of a lower-level piece, you can use the graphics of the lower piece on your high-level piece. The stats don’t change, but the look does.
All in all, Aion appears to have a lot of potential. This is the title’s second year at E3, and unlike last year, we didn’t get to see it played on the floor. However, we did get a decent look at where the game is now, and if it continues on this path, it should be something worth checking out.