Aion: Tower of Eternity Preview

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Publisher: NCsoft
Developer: NCsoft

Platform: PC
Official Site:



Projected Release: 2008

Kyle Ackerman

So far, NCsoft hasn't let people learn much about Aion: Tower of Eternity. The company just claims that it is "the most visually stunning MMORPG ever made." Despite the fact that the name of the game and that claim have been floating around for some time, only recently did NCsoft show anything of Aion. The game is primarily being developed in Korea, with a localization team working on a North American version in parallel.

One thing can be said for certain concerning Aion. My god, is it spectacularly beautiful! Really. It's hard to say whether this will be a runaway hit in North America, or fail to connect with the sensibilities of local gamers. But I can say that it is gorgeous. Jaw-droppingly so. I could have sat at the NCsoft demo for hours – even if the team was simply killing the same monster time and time again, I would have sat watching the world of Aion rendered on the screen before me, wiping drool from the corner of my mouth.

The world of Aion is like the interior of a sphere. Once, one half was occupied by the Asmodeans, with the other half hosting the Elyos. The two are humanoid peoples with demonic and angelic facets, respectively. At some point, the tower holding the two hemispheres together shattered, fracturing the entire world and creating the Abyss, a surreal realm of floating fragments resting between the two realms and gently orbiting the tattered tower.

The developers were reluctant to part with details on the Asmodeans, but were showing off the vivid world of the Elyos, and aptly described it as more dream-like than high-fantasy. The realm of the Elyos is filled with gossamer castles and airy constructs that highlight the beauty of the scenery. The game is being built on the Crytek engine (the engine used for Far Cry), but the elegance comes from the artistry. The artistic design in Aion is simply unparalleled. That should do wonders for combat, if for no other reason than the monsters look really fresh and new. Instead of rats, I saw characters doing battle with a land-walking nautilus, and you can see the elephant/dinosaur beasts in the art on this page. The important thing as that the beasts are new and different from any you've seen before.

Aion is going to be centered on Player-vs.-Player combat. But rather than emphasizing the PvP focus, the developers want to dub it PvPvE. The main PvP area is the Abyss, inhabited by a non-player race known as the Dragons. And those Dragons are all too happy to get involved in PvP battles, following their own mysterious agenda to get involved on one side, the other, or just hack everyone to pieces. Besides, the glorious thing about the Abyss is that it can manifest in any form, so adventures and battles in the Abyss can be anything.

Aside from the visuals, the main hook for Aion appears to be flight. At level 10, characters get wings and become a Daeva. Some areas, like the Abyss are "full flight," meaning that you can always fly, striking enemies from high above, performing swoop attacks or just battling other aerial enemies. Other regions are "partial flight," meaning that you'll only able to fly in certain areas. In any case, players can only fly for a limited time before needing to rest, and the developers claim that learning to use that limited flight time to the utmost will be the secret to success in PvP(vE).

It remains to be seen exactly what it will be like to play Aion. But it's certainly a pleasure to watch.






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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on July 17, 2007 6:23 PM.

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