Aion: Tower of Eternity (아이온: 영원의 탑) is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) in development by NCsoft that combines PvP and PvE in a fantasy dream setting. Touted as a PVPVE, Aion: Tower of Eternity will feature flight as well as aerial combat in a shattered fantasy landscape.
In May 2006, NCsoft announced the development of Aion and that the game would be featured at E3 2006
. NCsoft has confirmed on October 31, 2007 the Korean closed beta will start. According to the European Community Coordinator the game will be making an appearance at the Leipziger Messe Games Convention August 23-26, 2007 Germany. It has been confirmed that NCsoft will not be at the Tokyo Game Convention in 2007.
Actually, the Korean Open Beta is announced to start on 13 November 2008. Aion will be also presented at GStar 2008 in Korea.
Based on an interview with Ken Choi recorded in October 2007, this is the background story of Aion.
In the beginning, the Balaur, a powerful race of servitors created by the god Aion roamed the world of Atreia. However, their own will led them to disobey Aion's wishes and they rebelled against their creator. Aion then created another race, the Daevas, and even though they were less powerful as individuals then the Balaur, Aion gave them a sense of loyalty and worship towards himself so they would obey him in all matters.
The Daevas fought with the Balaur and expelled them from the world Atreia into a different dimensional plane. For a time there was peace. But the Daevas, though all loyal to the god Aion, had different views regarding the Balaur which ultimately led to them splitting into two different Factions. One part of the Daevas wanted to end the eternal war with the Balaur and try to make peace, while the other side wanted to fight until the end.
The Balaur offered a peace treaty but through a betrayal (that has not yet been elaborated on), the Balaur were led to attack the Tower of Eternity, the physical representation of the god Aion, and destroyed it, causing a catastrophe that brought destruction upon the world and split the Tower of Eternity into two pieces. Now Atreia is separated into two halves with one remaining half of the tower on each part of the world.
The lower part of the world is inhabited by the Elyos and is blessed with sunlight; the upper half, inhabited by the Asmodians, only receives a fraction of the sunlight. Because of this separation, both factions have become bitter enemies, blaming each other for the destruction of the Tower of Eternity and their world, and each side believes they have to destroy their opposition to ensure their own survival.
Now, a three-sided war is waging between the Elyos, Asmodians and the Balaur, with the main focus for each faction being the control of the Tower of Eternity. Communication between the god Aion and the Daeva has ceased, and while nobody knows what happened to the god Aion after the tower was destroyed, both factions know they have to prevent their part of the Tower of Eternity from being destroyed in order to ensure their survival.
The players take the role of leading characters of each faction, starting out as lowly soldiers, eventually realizing their power and potential, becoming more and more powerful and rising in the ranks of their race's military to eventually become Generals of the army they fight for in this three-sided war.
Aion features two playable races, the Elyos and the Asmodians. Both races have the same origin, which explains the fact that they are not that different in their appearance. The most distinctive differences are the skin color and the wings.
While many player refer to the two races as "Good" and "Evil" respectively, the developers explicitly pointed out that they can not be categorized as simply good or evil, but that their motives are much more complex.
The Elyos live in the lower half of the world and receive the majority of the sunlight. Subsequently their world is bright, colorful and filled with green plants, lush green woods and tropical beaches. The sun also influenced their appearance. The Elyos are very much like humans with light skin and no extraordinary characteristics.
Once an Elyos becomes a Daeva, he/she can make use of feathered wings.
The Asmodians inhabit the upper half of the world and receive only a small fraction of the sunlight. Consequently their realm is quite dark; blue and dark green dominate the colour palette, while the flora comprises exotic plants that can deal with the little light they get.
The lack of sun also influenced the Asmodians' appearance over time. They developed a darker skin in blue tones and grew claws on both hands and feet.
Once an Asmodian becomes a Daeva, he/she can make use of batlike wings. This was later changed to a ravenlike appearance to attract more people to the race.
The Balaur are NPCs and cannot be chosen at the character creation screen. They inhabit the Abyss, have artificial free will, and are designed to be unpredictable when they appear. For example, they may side with you during a skirmish with the opposing faction, but afterward they may decide to turn on you. They are described as draconic beings (which is also suggested by their name, as "Balaur
" is the Romanian term for a multi-headed dragon).
There are eight classes currently in development. Each faction will have a slight variation in class skills once they reach the first promotion at level 10.
Higher-level players can tailor their character further, with each profession offering two advanced classes, bringing the total number of character types available up to eight.
Bold, brave and possessing immense physical powers, Warriors excel in close-quarter combat. Strong performers in a wide range of situations, Warriors are relatively easy to master and when fully realised can unleash a spectacular range of physically devastating skills.
Depending on how players prefer to approach combat, Warriors can specialise as either Gladiators, who concentrate on dealing damage through brute force, or Templars, who combine fierce fighting with defensive chants and techniques.
Fighters are skilled in using a variety of weapons, ranging from swords to halberds, their ultimate goal being to master a wide variety of fighting techniques tailored to the characteristics of their weapons.
- Special ability: Close combat
- Play style: Gladiators prefer to defeat their enemies through brute force power and devastatingly accurate blows as opposed to fancy sword play and trickery.
Fighting with a sword in one hand and a shield in the other, the Templar is both guardian and fierce combatant. To remain effective, the Templar should stay on or close to the front firing line.
- Special ability: Protection chants
- Play style: A warrior that fights with his head as well as his heart. The Templar provides shelter from enemy fire, absorbing much of the brunt in battle.
The Scout combines great agility with swift attacks. Scout players require a deft and accurate touch to get the most out of this tricky class, however the rewards are great and offer the greatest variety in play style of all the basic classes.
Scouts that specialise in ranged combat develop naturally into Rangers, an advanced class equally adept in the use of blades and traps. For those Scouts who prefer to stay hidden and strike from the shadows, the Assassin class is the perfect choice of advancement.
The Ranger lives by the bow and is a naturally talented archer. However, the bow is not the only weapon for Rangers, for they are also masters of the sword and dagger and adept in using traps.
- Special ability: Range diversity of attack
- Play style: Rangers need to make predictions for combat situations and adapt their tactical decisions to cope with rapidly changing circumstances.
Assassins are experts in deft movement and the silent termination of their target. Employing a simple but deadly strategy, there are endless tactics with which to exact a swift and soundless blow to unsuspecting foes.
- Special ability: Striking without detection
- Play style: The main combat strategy of this class is to approach the enemy stealthily, then deal high damage with one mighty blow, targeting the enemy’s vital areas.
Mages compensate their weakness in physical combat with the ability to launch devastatingly powerful magic attacks. In addition, Mages must learn to divert and evade the enemy so that they’re able to attack from the relative safety of range.
As Mages advance, their mastery over the elements of water, air, earth and fire increase, their choice of advanced class determining how that mastery is manifest. Spiritmasters can summon and control elemental spirits, while Sorcerers channel elemental power into fearsome magical bolts and missiles.
The Spiritmaster follows the path of magic, mastering the elements of water, fire, wind, and earth. Sorcerers call on the strength of their spirit to issue bolts of fire or to freeze every bone in the body of an enemy.
- Special ability: Summoning powerful elemental Spirits
- Play style: A true commander of the elements will know how to engage in combat, practice magic, and choose the perfect moment in a given situation to summon spirits.
The Spiritmaster’s chief responsibility is to summon and control elemental spirits, powerful forms of nature incarnate. This is done through a series of specific commands, such as attack and defend, that can be given via a simple onscreen control system. Other, more specialised and yet to be revealed commands exist beyond these basic controls, with each form of elemental spirit having its own unique skills and abilities.
The challenge for the Spiritmaster comes from recognising which element to call on at any given time. Earth spirits are strong in defense abilities, Fire spirits specialise in ranged attacks, Water spirits concentrate on healing powers while Wind spirits are best utilized in melee attacks. While it’s not possible to control different types of elemental spirits at the same time – Spiritmaster’s cannot control both an Earth and Water spirit simultaneously, for instance – by summoning the correct spirit for the situation in hand, Spiritmasters have the power to turn even the most desperate battles into a complete rout of the enemy. A situation that could prove immensely useful when adventurers come up against some of the more powerful rogue elemental spirits(...).
Official NCsoft description:
(...) Using powerful magics derived from the forces of nature, Spiritmasters will find themselves an integral part of any adventuring party due to their ability to summon and control fierce creatures based on the four cardinal elements of Earth, Fire, Wind and Water.
As well as using the power of the elements to strike fear into the enemy’s heart, the Sorcerer can control Water, Fire, Earth, and Air Spirits with ease. A Sorcerer's skill set becomes very diverse as their combat ability evolves.
- Special ability: Long-range damage-dealing spells
- Play style: Concentration during spellcasting is key, hence the reason Sorcerers team up with defensive classes for protection.
Spiritual warriors, Priests can use healing and self-protection spells to excel in melee combat, and launch powerful ranged magic attacks too. This makes them not only useful support characters in a party of adventurers, but also powerful combatants in their own right.
Priests that specialize in healing and protecting their allies naturally progress to the advanced class of Cleric, the ultimate support class. Alternatively, Priests can become Chanters, pious warriors that boast both healing and ability-boosting powers.
Following the path of healing, the Cleric uses the power of magic to fortify an ally’s body and heal their wounds, or even resurrect a Daeva whose soul is separated from its body.
- Special ability: Healing and protection
- Play style: The main role of the Cleric is to provide support to allies through healing or fortification. They can also be formidable soldiers in battle, using a mace and shield.
The Chanter’s specialty is in healing and fortifying magic, but they can also use a magic staff to great offensive effect. The Chanter uses mantras to strengthen allies and raise their morale..
- Special ability: Fortification magic using healing and mantras
- Play style: While fortifying allies is its greatest strength, in an emergency a Chanter can transform into a powerful soldier and can fight in close range combat using their magic staff.
Elyos and Asmodian classes are the same, though racial differences are planned. Balaur classes will be announced at a later date.
A distinctive feature that this game will have is the concept of flying. This will be a limited [active skill], during which the character will be able to perform various exclusive skills against ground and air players. It will also be used to find higher elevation areas or materials that are not accessible through walking. Initially when you receive the power of the Daeva at level 10 you'll receive a flight indicator with a 1 minute timer. Later the game will come out with items to upgrade your flight time.
The game uses the first generation Crytek
. This same engine was used in the development of the first person shooter FarCry.
The game will be inspired by multiple themes and has a distinctly unique atmosphere which can be described as ethereal or dream-like. Environments depicted in screenshots and videos display soft, vibrant colours and light bloom.
At first glance the character creation system is not too dissimilar to mmo's like World of Warcraft
, Final Fantasy XI
, Ultima Online
, etc. It shows the character, class and other information to one side while having the player's avatar on the other. So far there are preset appearances that can be used if a player does not wish to go more in depth, for those that do, the system offers sets of sliders that can modify facial features and height, similar to the system seen in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
The game will feature a system to allow a player to reuse the graphic of the weapon they like and craft it with the stats of another. This adds another layer of customization and strategy and allow players to adapt their looks without sacrificing better stats. With this system you can put some colours on some of your armors.
The music has been created by Ryo Kunihiko
. A sample of the soundtrack can be heard in the background by visiting the official Korean site.
Depending on the weapon you use, you'll have access to its skill chains. Skills can be purchased from Markus (name may change) and must correspond to its appropriate slot in the chain. The length of the skill chain can not be modified.
The end game of Aion will revolve around battles within the Abyss (PvP Zone). Within the Abyss are castles where large scale battles will take place. The game currently does not allow factions to fight within their own. Guilds in control of a castle are entitled to funding from taxes and players within the faction get specials from NPCs.
The participation in PvP is rewarded with PvP "Points". The game ranks you as you win battles against fellow players. At certain ranks your wings will change in appearance to show your status. Also certain items can be purchased with these points like high end armors and weapons.
Raids will consist of up to 9 parties with up to 6 players per party (54 players).
At the moment the game is priced in South Korea, at $14.99/month. Europe/North America has not picked a business model at the moment, this may be subject to change.