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Aion (Aion)
NCSoft | Play Now
MMORPG | Genre:Fantasy | Status:Final  (rel 09/22/09)  | Pub:NCSoft
PVP:Yes | Distribution:Download | Retail Price:n/a | Pay Type:Free | Monthly Fee:n/a
System Req: PC | Out of date info? Let us know!

Aion Interviews: Associate Producer Interview

By Jon Wood on July 20, 2009

MMORPG.com:

There are those who say that Aion has the potential to be the much-foretold WoW Killer. What are your opinions on this?

Lani Blazier:

World of Warcraft has certainly changed the face of the MMO industry and has brought a new audience of players into the genre. That said, with Aion, our focus from the very beginning has been to create a fun and unique MMO that appeals to a global audience. We're launching with an extremely polished game; with a ton of PvE content (over 1500 quests on day one); and we're launching with a more western style of combat and gameplay. Combine those elements with Aion's unique world and deep storyline, stunning visuals, and its innovative features such as flight and PvPvE, and I think you truly have an experience that will have broad global appeal. That being said, we're very happy with the momentum we've seen building behind the game as we look toward its launch in North America and Europe and do appreciate the enthusiasm our fans have for Aion!

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MMORPG.com:

Are you currently planning to have an open beta prior to the NA / EU launch?

Lani Blazier:

Yes, we are. We haven't released any details yet but our closed/open beta schedules can be found on the main page of our official website: www.aiononline.com.

MMORPG.com:

Based on player feedback from the last few beta sessions, can you give us an idea of what might be changed before launch?

Lani Blazier:

The beta community has done a terrific job of posting their feedback on our beta forums. Between each event we spend countless hours reviewing and compiling comments/suggestions for the Korean dev team. So far we've made changes to the UI, grammatical errors, glossary term fixes and NPC dialogue. There are still more events to come though, so changes/fixes will be an ongoing thing until launch.


Screenshot

MMORPG.com:

What, specifically is Aion doing to appeal to both PvP and PvE style players? How do you plan to keep one side from being disadvantaged?

Lani Blazier:

Even with well balanced PvPvE gameplay, we realize that there will be some players who prefer PvE over PvP and vice versa, and those folks will definitely have the choice to lean towards one play style over the other. The benefits and challenges from PvP and PvE are very similar - this allows players to transfer back and forth between play styles without feeling like they're missing out on big rewards by only focusing on one.

MMORPG.com:

What, if anything about the design of Aion changed from the Asian market version to the NA / EU version?

Lani Blazier:

Because the game was designed for a global audience, we haven't had to change much at all. Our biggest effort and the most obvious changes will be in the localization/culturalization of the game. We have a talented team of published fantasy writers who have spent an incredible amount of time reworking the lore and NPC dialogue so that the content is culturally relevant to the Western market. Gameplay and all core mechanics will remain the same.

MMORPG.com:

In an article at IGN, they tell us that Aion has reached 3.5 million subscribers in Asia. Is this number accurate and how is this number achieved? Active, paying subscribers?

Lani Blazier:

We have yet to release official numbers, however we are pleased with how the game is doing in eastern territories and players reception to the beta in the West.


Screenshot

MMORPG.com:

Many freshly-launched MMOs have recently done well in box sales, but suffered from severely flagging numbers in terms of retaining subscriptions. What about Aion will make players want to continue subscribing?

Lani Blazier:

Aion can have killer graphics, an interesting and well developed story, the most robust mmo character creator system ever seen, endless gameplay customization, and it's still going to come down to the most important question, "Is the game fun?". Players are going to keep coming back to Aion because at it's core it's a fun game to play with rich beautiful graphics, solid and stable game functionality and a compeling storyline. There's something for everybody: if you love spending hours in the character creator, you can. If you want to focus on PvE only, you can. If you want to get down and dirty in the Abyss for some PvPvE action, you can. If you're all about numbers, there are plenty of items in game that will allow you to enhance and tweak your stats. We are launching the game that in less than a year has already had 2 large updates - we are constantly updating that content to keep it new and exciting.

MMORPG.com:

Some early user reviews of the game have called it "grindy." Can you speak to the nature of "the grind" in Aion?

Lani Blazier:

From conception the designers of Aion realized that "grind" was a major issue in games and knew it was particularly unpopular amongst Western gamers. They placed a lot of emphasis on addressing this in Aion - they understood how important it was to have tons of interesting and diverse quests accompanied by deep, fun and immersive lore. Players are going to experience everything from quick stand-alone quests to interconnecting story-arching campaign quests. We recently announced that we're launching with version 1.5 - which means players can expect even more content than was available during our closed beta events, including many more quests at all levels.

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