#900 Aion: The Tower of Eternity

Posted: 4th April 2013 by Jeroen in Games
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229th played so far

Platform: PC
Year of Release: 2009
Developer: Aion Team Development Dept
Publisher: NCSoft

 We’ve already covered several of MMORPG publisher NCSoft’s games in the past, with our first MMORPG Guild Wars and more recently the ill-fated City of Heroes. As that last game partially inspired our drive to complete these online games, our quick selection now brings us to one of NCSoft’s more recent offering.

Aion: The Tower of Eternity (or, from now on, Aion) is a more recent South Korean MMORPG. My thought is (based also on earlier bits and pieces) – lovely graphics, trying for bits of JRPG type story… but mostly lots and lots of grinding. That, after all, is what they seem best at.

Our Thoughts

Let me check… okay, Peter managed to get away from the game to do some work. That’s good this time.

There are some similarities here to Guild Wars that will have helped here, as well as some added feature.

Let’s start with the first part that they’ve taken advantage of – graphics. Though not as natural as Guild Wars, the environments are detailed, lush and gorgeous. Added to this are lovely character art and wonderful creatures. I’m not sure how Peter managed – there were too many cute critters around that you had to kill because they were supposed to be evil or annoying – really, just move your farm, right?

The quests are mostly fairly standard – kill five of this, collect eight of that, you know the drill. There’s a few exceptions – one involve you waking up tree guardians, another stealing a nymph’s clothes – but it’s generally quite straight forward quest fare.

That nymph’s quest shows the game’s roots. As suits a Korean RPG (and its players), there’s a lot of grinding. Leveling starts quick but starts to go slower soon, from level six or seven on. It gets a bit tedious and a lesser game would probably struggle to keep your attention through it.

Luckily, the story, as it’s told through the quests, the graphics and environments and all the available options make it bearable, making for an intriguing experience.Add to that the background notes, explanations you can access by clicking on keywords in a dialogue, that may not always be relevant, but add a bit more to the world and a sense of it being alive. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t seem to change much in response to your actions – there’s just not the interactivity other games allow – but it’s engaging nonetheless.

When you leave the first area the game opens up immensely and you gain access a whole new area of expertise and ways to expand your character. One of the more noticeable things is the presence of pets, your first being a cute little frog thing. If you gather enough money (or get even further) the options of pets and familiars increases to include anything from a miniature cow to a strange circular knife thing. These pets have different uses depending on what type of pet they are. Some are able to act as an extra inventory, some eat junk and crap better items, others are just there to be cute and to give love. The final ones are the cutest of them all… apart from the donkeys.

Another big development is the wings. This ties in to the elevation of your character’s status and means that for a limited amount of time you (and your pet) don some wings and can fly high above the world. The best part of this is not just the sense of freedom this affords but also to see the number of weird pets sprouting wings.

This longevity is also achieved by all the options you can see around. One big thing that’ll intrigue you for a while, for example, are the higher level characters flying around. While I’m not sure how it works or where you do it, it’s a promise for a larger intriguing game.

Final Thoughts

By now we have made our way through a large number of MMOs but this is the first one since Guild Wars to really impress us… and considering the next game we played this list of great MMOs won’t be increased for a while.