Aion Soars Free of Subscription Fees

| 14 Dec 2011 23:05
image

Yet another MMO catches the free to play bug.

Back in 2009, Aion's winged combat was the latest killer feature of an MMO that was going to unseat World of Warcraft. Even though Aion had some pretty backgrounds and innovative gameplay, it of course didn't fare very well as a WoW-killer. Today, Korean MMO company NCSoft announced that as of February 2012, you will no longer have to pay a monthly fee to access nearly all the content on Aion's servers. Oh, and NCSoft isn't even handling publishing anymore, Aion will now be run by Gameforge.

"Switching to free-to-play opens the lands of Atreia up to new adventurers," read the announcement. "As more Daevas take to the skies, the increase in population will make for a more diverse and expansive community for newcomers and existing fans to enjoy." Read: We think this will make us get new customers so we can turn a profit here.

The Aion website has a handy FAQ that will answer all the nitty-gritty questions about the shift to free to play, but basically the every quest, zone and feature is 100 percent available for free. There will be three statuses of players: Starter, Veteran and Gold. Starter characters are the full free-to-folks and they will have restricted access to chat and the selling of items - ostensibly to cut down on gold spammers - while the Veterans are those players who used to have a subscription and they will enjoy extra character slots and better commerce options like opening your own store, etc. Those who fork over an as yet undisclosed amount of actual money can buy a Gold Pack, which will give more perks like faster leveling and quicker instance cooldowns for a set amount of time before the account automatically downgrades to whatever (Starter or Veteran) you were before.

It sounds like a decent setup, honestly. You'll have to switch your account over to Gameforge, but otherwise it looks like the transition should be painless. And if you've already paid money to continue your subscription past February 2012, NCSoft said they will refund your money. So you've got that going for you, which is nice.

At this point, I assume that every MMO will be going free to play in the next few years as it seems to be the only model that works for anything with out "Craft" in the title. I'm looking at you, The Old Republic.

Source: Aion website

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Greg Tito:

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Except this isn't for Aion globally. It's only for the European version of Aion, and nothing has been said about the NA version going free to play.

Thinking about finding this cheap (5ish) and being veteran for when it comes out.

I love when nothing is restricted in gameplay models, after hearing about hell of a lot of grind I'll try the trial first though.

I really hope this happens, I've been waiting for a while. I played it for a month or so mostly because it was so very darned pretty, but the game itself wasn't enough to get me interested. If free, though, sure, I'll muck about with it again. And to get another crack at that glorious character creator... I'd love to bring a few more Asmodeans to life.

I played Aion a wee bit after release...it was kinda fun... Played a Warrior w/ my friend playing Cleric...it was fun..the combos were cool..Spiritmaster was FUN as hell...but...the damn thing said I could fly...You could only fly in X area for Y seconds (the Y being alright) and then FUCK YOU GLIDE LIKE A DANDELION SEED....and after that just retreated back to WoW...

Glad to see it going free (in Europe) perhaps we can see some "mercy" in North America...or is NCSoft making some decent green?

I played this game for about 6-8 months and had a maxed level(level 50) ranger. Absolutely gorgeous game, and, being a fan of anime and manga, I absolutely loved the overall aesthetic. However, the grind was insane(I heard from many players that the grind in Lineage 2 is worse), the crafting system was extremely punishing(according to others, this was also worse in Lineage 2), the rewards from dungeons were lacking compared to the effort required(as in the bosses, quite often, would actually drop nothing at all), and there was an inherent imbalance in the progression and item availability between the two player factions of Elyos and Asmodian(which allowed the Elyos faction to dominate across every server). It was just frustrating to play.

The domination of Asmodians by Elyos became so bad that it was impossible as an Asmodian to obtain gear upgrades on parity with that held by the majority of Elyos. The Elyos were able to keep Asmodians out of dungeons by blockading. The Elyos even went so far as invading Asmodian territory to run Asmodian dungeons for additional gear. There was also gear available to the Elyos for which there was no equivalent on the Asmodian side, and some of the special gear quests for the Elyos were much easier than the equivalent gear quest for the Asmodian side.

The PvP system was designed that you obtain points for buying gear by successfully killing enemy players in PvP battles, but you lose points if you get killed in PvP battles; naturally, if you are getting killed more than you are killing, you won't be able to get points for gear upgrades, which means you'll fall behind the power curve and never be able to kill anyone at all. Since the Elyos were inherently able to gear up faster than Asmodians, by design of the game, this means that, in general, Elyos were able to obtain a better kill-to-death ratio over Asmodians, which allowed them to further gear faster for PvP. After a while, it became nearly impossible for Asmodians to ever win over the Elyos.

Naturally, Asmodian players began to leave the game, and this left a severe imbalance in the population between the two faction, only exacerbating the already inherent imbalance between the factions in the design of the game. This only caused more players to leave; Asmodians left out of frustration, and Elyos left out of boredom(there just wasn't a single Asmodian that could sufficiently challenge them or wanted to).

The game simply collapsed, and it's a shame, because I really liked the look and feel of the game. For one thing, there was no such thing as a global cool-down. You simply ripped off your spells and abilities as fast as the animation allowed, which was why it was critical to get a weapon with a lot of speed built into it. The combat had a really nice visceral feel compared to WoW, and the PvP battles were epic, at least at the beginning before Elyos simply started having runaway success. The PvP battles around the forts truly did require a lot of planning and coordination. Simply zerging didn't always work.

It is possible NCSoft has improved the balance problem somewhat and all the epic power players, against whom a newbie has no chance to ever gain against, have left due to boredom to give the faction balance a chance to even out. I can't really say, since I haven't really looked back at the game in quite some time. If they have made such significant improvements, the experience of newcomers may be much more pleasant than the eventual experience I had with the game.

By the way, just reference, I started with the game during the beta trials here in America and was among those playing at release.

ADDENDUM: Oh, I forgot to mention, Aion has an awesome character creation system. You can make anything from a 12ft. giant to a pint-sized midget. Your character can be super-model skinny, Fat Albert obese, or built like the Incredible Hulk on steroids, or you can make it much more normal. You could adjust the relative proportions of every body part. Coupled with a good selection of hair-styles, colors, and skin tones, it was impossible to find any two toons that were exactly alike. Your character was quite uniquely your character, and you could spend hours just in the creation process perfecting the look you want(I spent roughly 2 hours on the appearance of my ranger). Add to this the fact you could remodel the appearance of your gear, you could obtain gear upgrades and customize your character precisely the fashion you prefer.

Korten12:

Amnestic:

LegoDudeGuy:
then WoW went(somewhat)

Uh, what? When did that happen?

The first 20 levels are free forever.

You may as well claim that any MMO with a trial in place is 'Free-to-play' :/

LegoDudeGuy:
Hmm, interesting development.

First DC Universe went F2P, then WoW went(somewhat) F2P, then TF2, APB, Everquest II, and now Aion?

I sense a trend, as Rift I believe is going F2P soon.

Looks like I have alot to play in the new year!

You forgot LotRO, the best of them all ;)

Oh, and random brain click says you forgot Age of Conan too.

Axyun:
I signed up for this game when it first came out. Was decent enough but once you get to level 15-16, leveling sloooooooows down dramatically. I wouldn't mind checking it out again when it's free to play but, free or not, if the leveling is still just as slow as I remember then I'll ditch it again.

I wouldn't mind slow leveling if the quests are interesting. Sadly, I remember only a few interesting quests amidst a million kill X number of Ys. While WoW does largely the same thing, they at least disguise it a bit better. Especially with the changes made in Cataclysm. Gliding with the wings Soul Reaver-style was pretty neat though.

All MMOs are grind sandviches when you get down to the bone, but Aion was definitely an Eastern MMO, aka they didn't even disguise the grind with delicious mayo.

I played it at start as well, and while flight was pretty cool, I looked out into the Abyss (I think that was what the global PvP area was called) and thought "This is all there is? Uch".

OT: On a note, are we sure that this is global? PC Gamer reported it as only in Europe.

(Source: http://www.pcgamer.com/2011/12/14/aion-to-go-free-to-play-in-europe-in-february/)

EDIT: Also, moving back to the main page on a US IP prompts you to go to the North American site, http://na.aiononline.com/, which has no mention of F2P.

Furioso:

Kitsuna10060:

LegoDudeGuy:
Hmm, interesting development.

First DC Universe went F2P, then WoW went(somewhat) F2P, then TF2, APB, Everquest II, and now Aion?

I sense a trend, as Rift I believe is going F2P soon.

Looks like I have alot to play in the new year!

EQ2 has been F2P for a long while now actually.

OT: this is .. interesting, the game was pretty and the flying was cool but :/ nothing remarkable about it sadly

EQ 2 popped up on steam only about a week ago proudly trumpeting its new F2P model, with trailers about how it was going to be free released on the 6th, the version your thinking of was EQ2: Extended which was a weird browser based thing, while the one just released is the actual game

meh, I'll stick to DCUO in any case, its more fun, though i have to admit the EQ2 holiday events where pretty awesome

Greg Tito:

At this point, I assume that every MMO will be going free to play in the next few years as it seems to be the only model that works for anything with out "Craft" in the title. I'm looking at you, The Old Republic.

So what you're saying is they should change the name to Star Warcraft: The Old Republic?

Kitsuna10060:

LegoDudeGuy:
Hmm, interesting development.

First DC Universe went F2P, then WoW went(somewhat) F2P, then TF2, APB, Everquest II, and now Aion?

I sense a trend, as Rift I believe is going F2P soon.

Looks like I have alot to play in the new year!

EQ2 has been F2P for a long while now actually.

OT: this is .. interesting, the game was pretty and the flying was cool but :/ nothing remarkable about it sadly

EQ 2 popped up on steam only about a week ago proudly trumpeting its new F2P model, with trailers about how it was going to be free released on the 6th, the version your thinking of was EQ2: Extended which was a weird browser based thing, while the one just released is the actual game

I guess Ill have to try this again, it wasn't good enough for monthly but it could be fun to play till guild wars 2 blows every other mmo away.

Amnestic:

LegoDudeGuy:
then WoW went(somewhat)

Uh, what? When did that happen?

The first 20 levels are free forever.

Huh, cool, I always wanted to try this but I lacked the necessary disposable income to pay for to monthly subscriptions on a whim, Now I have nothing barring me from trying it out.

I for one, welcome the move from Subscription to F2P, as for every one game that shoots themselves in the foot by doing the system wrong, there's always a goodly number that do it right.

LegoDudeGuy:
then WoW went(somewhat)

Uh, what? When did that happen?

LegoDudeGuy:
Hmm, interesting development.

First DC Universe went F2P, then WoW went(somewhat) F2P, then TF2, APB, Everquest II, and now Aion?

I sense a trend, as Rift I believe is going F2P soon.

Looks like I have alot to play in the new year!

EQ2 has been F2P for a long while now actually.

OT: this is .. interesting, the game was pretty and the flying was cool but :/ nothing remarkable about it sadly

Hmm, interesting development.

First DC Universe went F2P, then WoW went(somewhat) F2P, then TF2, APB, Everquest II, and now Aion?

I sense a trend, as Rift I believe is going F2P soon.

Looks like I have alot to play in the new year!

I signed up for this game when it first came out. Was decent enough but once you get to level 15-16, leveling sloooooooows down dramatically. I wouldn't mind checking it out again when it's free to play but, free or not, if the leveling is still just as slow as I remember then I'll ditch it again.

I wouldn't mind slow leveling if the quests are interesting. Sadly, I remember only a few interesting quests amidst a million kill X number of Ys. While WoW does largely the same thing, they at least disguise it a bit better. Especially with the changes made in Cataclysm. Gliding with the wings Soul Reaver-style was pretty neat though.

Aion Soars Free of Subscription Fees

image

Yet another MMO catches the free to play bug.

Back in 2009, Aion's winged combat was the latest killer feature of an MMO that was going to unseat World of Warcraft. Even though Aion had some pretty backgrounds and innovative gameplay, it of course didn't fare very well as a WoW-killer. Today, Korean MMO company NCSoft announced that as of February 2012, you will no longer have to pay a monthly fee to access nearly all the content on Aion's servers. Oh, and NCSoft isn't even handling publishing anymore, Aion will now be run by Gameforge.

"Switching to free-to-play opens the lands of Atreia up to new adventurers," read the announcement. "As more Daevas take to the skies, the increase in population will make for a more diverse and expansive community for newcomers and existing fans to enjoy." Read: We think this will make us get new customers so we can turn a profit here.

The Aion website has a handy FAQ that will answer all the nitty-gritty questions about the shift to free to play, but basically the every quest, zone and feature is 100 percent available for free. There will be three statuses of players: Starter, Veteran and Gold. Starter characters are the full free-to-folks and they will have restricted access to chat and the selling of items - ostensibly to cut down on gold spammers - while the Veterans are those players who used to have a subscription and they will enjoy extra character slots and better commerce options like opening your own store, etc. Those who fork over an as yet undisclosed amount of actual money can buy a Gold Pack, which will give more perks like faster leveling and quicker instance cooldowns for a set amount of time before the account automatically downgrades to whatever (Starter or Veteran) you were before.

It sounds like a decent setup, honestly. You'll have to switch your account over to Gameforge, but otherwise it looks like the transition should be painless. And if you've already paid money to continue your subscription past February 2012, NCSoft said they will refund your money. So you've got that going for you, which is nice.

At this point, I assume that every MMO will be going free to play in the next few years as it seems to be the only model that works for anything with out "Craft" in the title. I'm looking at you, The Old Republic.

Source: Aion website

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