Instead of laying out a few unique co-opportunities about Aion, this month in MMO Co-Opportunities I’d like to share my history with Aion. This detour from the normal is for a couple of reasons. First, in my opinion there aren’t that many strictly unique co-opportunities in Aion. There are certainly many unique features about the game, but many of these are PVP-centered or do not specifically contribute to cooperating with other players. There are also certainly co-opportunities in the game, but they are of the sort that one would find in many MMOs (e.g. straight-forward group dungeons). My second reason is that I think many others share a similar history with Aion as me, but have not decided to give it a second chance.
In the middle of December, I was between MMOs. I’d stopped playing Runes of Magic back in November, had a brief couple months revisiting some stuff in Guild Wars, but now, with my Winter Break tantalizingly close, I wanted something new to do with my friends. Since I’ve started playing MMOs back in 2003 or so, more often than not I’ve been playing one or another. For me it’s the best way I’ve found to play with group of my friends which often number one or two too many for a standard multiplayer or co-op game. We’d been participating in the Rift Beta, which we are still eagerly anticipating, but the beta is structured as short events (4 days at a time with several days to a week and a half between events), not as an ongoing thing, so that didn’t solve the problem. I wracked my brain for an MMO that I either hadn’t played or wouldn’t mind diving back into for a couple short months, and, much to my surprise, I came up with Aion.
Aion is a subscription-based MMO that originated in Korea. In 2009 it was localized for western audiences and released in the fall. Upon its release, I had less than a zero desire to play the game. I had participated in a short beta event and I found the progression to be slow. I also found it to be disturbingly similar to another Korean MMO I had played a couple years before that had bitterly disappointed me. Much to my one friend’s dismay, I decided that Aion wasn’t for me at the time. Several months after release, I heard stories of flocks of gold spammers clogging the servers and levels without content which one just had to grind through without quests to aid their progress. The economy was messed up as well. One of my friends who played the game for awhile ended up quitting because he couldn’t afford ridiculous price he’d wracked up in XP debt, making it literally impossible for him to level. These stories didn’t exactly make me any more eager to jump into the game.