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An Update for Aion: PAX East 2011

Written by Josh “JP” Perault

As far as MMORPG’s go, it would be quite hard to disagree with the fact that Aion has a stunning, beautiful environment to run around in.  According to NCSoft, the game is going to look even better because they updated the graphics engine.  In a side by side look between present game play and how the game will look in a few months, it is a very obvious contrast. AION 1The new environment looks brighter, more alive, and holds a noticeable amount of dynamic shadowing and detail.  In short, it’s beautiful.  Is there going to be anything else with this update?  Um, yes!  Legion features, along with pet functionality, the map system, and instances are all going to go through a couple changes.

The legion system, for those who have never played Aion, is a version of the guild format.  After the update occurs, the legions will be able to customize their cloaks, have a greater ability to delegate roles and positions within the legion, and also be able to have more members (90 to be exact).  NCSoft stated that their users were looking for these qualities, so what better way to show their players that they care and love them so much than doing what they want.

Pet functionality also increased considerably.  What good is a pet that follows you around only looking cute?  Well, besides looking cute, that is about it.  Oh, and to show others their cuteness.  Anyway, why not make them do stuff for you and, more specifically, make them your pet slaves?  For example, your slaves, I mean pets, will now be able to loot for you and also hold consumable items.  Thank you NCSoft for making the useless useful, even more the little things!  Another tidbit they are changing around is the map. Instead of looking hand drawn, they made it an overhead terrain view, making it easier to navigate. You may also zoom in and out while looking for specific items on the map.  To me, I feel like they finally adapted the WoW map and I am not complaining in the slightest.
Enough with the minor changes Josh.  What are the big, heavy duty announcements for the new update? There are none.  I kid, I kid. AION 2NCsoft added a large instance called Drana Esoterrace and a nifty multi-stage instance called Empyrean Crucible.  What is a multi-stage instance you ask?  Well, I was also curious, and quite happy with what I saw.  A multistage instance is, in a sense, an instance with survival mode turned on.  You and your group need to battle through the instance and get as far through it as possible.  The further you get, the higher the reward.  The tremendous difference between a multi-stage instance and a regular instance is that you normally can navigate and traverse through the instance.  This is not the case in multi-stage.  Instead of traversing yourself, you are in a closed off arena and to give you the impression that you are exploring the instance, the arena itself moves and you fight at different locations along the way.  It’s a unique idea to MMORPG’s that I think gives an arcade kind of experience to the game.  I always look for new, innovative ideas that make MMO’s different and this seems like one from Aion.
All in all, the updates look promising for Aion and shows that the game is making headway into the MMO field.

With competition NCsoft’s own game Guild Wars,NCSOFT or needless to say WoW, it is not an easy task to get a solid foundation with gamers when they are already hooked on something else.  However, anyone looking to hop into the Aion world may be pleasantly surprised on what they will find.

One comment

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