In keeping with Massively tradition, let's kick off the weekly column with a look at some of the Aion community's best and brightest. You'll find everything from developer news, to game tools, to fan sites listed below (and if you don't find what you're looking for, or we've neglected to mention a valuable resource, let us know in the comments)!
NCSoft's official Aion site is fairly useful as official sites go. In addition to the standard feaure guides, media, and video, the site hosts a wealth of statistical information about players, legions, and servers. At the very least you'll want to use the handy search feature parked front and center on the main page before you attack that red dot on your radar. Knowing someone's level, class, and gear load-out ahead of time might save your pride, keyboard, or both.
The official site also boasts server population breakdowns with regard to race, class, and level, as well as lists of legion members and Abyss (player versus player) rankings. Finally, the official site features the Aion PowerWiki, linked below, as well as the official forums.
In addition to the official forums, the North American Aion web site also houses the PowerWiki, a good jumping off point for learning the basics. When you're ready to dig a little deeper, there are several fan-developed Wikis that provide a wealth of information. In no particular order, Aion Tower, The Aion Wiki, Aion at Wikia.com, and Aion at Zam.com are updated on a semi-regular basis.
Aion's Facebook page boasts a significant fan community (currently over 70,000 strong), as well as official news tidbits, videos, and more.
Aion Community Managers are very active on Twitter. Sebastian 'Ayase' Streiffert frequently breaks important Aion news and community updates via his Twitter feed. Andrew 'Tamat' Beegle, Martin 'Amboss' Rabl, FX 'Arathaur' Labescat, and Chris 'Kinslon' Hager are also worth checking out depending upon which part of the world you call home.
Currently Aion podcasts seem to be few and far between. That said, two of the more noteworthy entries are the Aion Unofficial Podcast, hosted by Slickgreen, and the Aether Podcast hosted by Kenneth and David. Both shows offer a fun mixture of news, personal insights, and game-related banter.
Fan sites are the lifeblood of any MMORPG community, and Aion is no different. Aion Source is the 800 pound gorilla in this particular room, featuring a large, active forum community as well as ties to the Aion Armory database. If it has to do with Aion, you'll find it on this forum. Of particular interest are the game guides and the ongoing discussions regarding mechanics. Written by players for players, there are dozens of tutorials for all eight classes as well as crafting, PVE dungeons, and PVP guides. If you're interested in getting the most out of your Aion time, Aion Source is a great place to start.
Aion's player community features a sizable contingent of roleplayers, many of whom congregate on this active forum focused on storytelling. Whether you're looking to share your fiction and artwork, find a roleplay friendly legion, or learn more about the play style, Aion Roleplayers is a must visit.
Aion section is noteworthy for a couple of reasons. While many sites feature quest guides of some sort, MMORPG-Life.com goes the extra mile and includes screen captures, a real boon for those hard-to-pinpoint quest or NPC locations. Throw in respectable item set databases as well as current news updates and a pleasing visual layout and you've got the makings of a valuable community resource.
Web-based tools are staples of many long-running MMORPGs, and though Aion is a relative newcomer, it already boasts several indispensable sites that aid in planning your character builds, locating obscure quest objectives, and even smack-talk....er, communicating with the opposing faction.
If we had to pick one tool from this list that we can't live without, it would likely come down to the Aion Armory database. Not only does the database account for just about every quest, NPC, and item in the game, it also provides a handy set of tools including stigma calculators, item comparisons, and a level-based experience grind planner. The site also feeds into the aforementioned Aion Source forums, both of which are owned and operated by the Curse Gaming Network.
Aion character viewers for both the iPhone and Android mobile platforms. Most offer very basic functionality or are still in development, but we'll keep our eyes on all of them and bring you an opinion on the cream of the crop as they mature. In addition to the character and stat trackers, NCSoft has released the robust Aion Powerwiki for Apple's iPhone, though it is only available in Korean as of press time. While NCSoft currently has no plans to localize it in the immediate future, we'll keep you posted going forward.
That about wraps up our high level look at Aion's community. You can contact me at jef[AT]massively[dot]com with any Aion-related tips or information you'd like to share. Join us next week as we fly the unfriendly skies of the Abyss and delve deeper into the world of Atreia and as always, keep the blue side up.
Look! Up in the air! It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a snarky Daeva! Join Jef Reahard every Monday for news and views from the world of Aion. Whether he's soaring over the battlefield or hunkered down in the trenches, Jef is your combat correspondent in the world of Atreia.