The wait is over: Aion's 3.0 and F2P conversion announced

Aion screenshot
Over the weekend, a dramatic change in the official website alerted astute Daevas that something was up. Well speculation be gone: All betting pools for the anticipated announcement of Aion going free-to-play in North America are closed! Today, NCsoft revealed not only a time frame for the much anticipated 3.0 patch -- dubbed Aion: Ascension -- but also the news that the title will convert to F2P in at the same time. Already free-to-play in Europe, the game will have a model that is "truly free," according to NCsoft, giving all Daevas the opportunity to experience all content, including lands, dungeons, quests, and levels.

Ascension will bring with it the long-awaited housing and mount systems shown in the visions trailer many moons ago in addition to two new zones, six new instances, and an increased level cap (60) along with many tweaks, fixes, and other features.

NCsoft will also be hosting a Rallying the Troops event to give new players a head start in experiencing the game. This event is an extended trial with an increased level cap of 40 and no time limit. Veterans will enjoy a head start as well with free reactivation for 14 days. Need an extra incentive to check the game out (again)? A permanent boost in XP will also be implemented to help Daevas prepare for the upcoming new lands that can only be accessed by levels 55+.

Eager Daevas and Daevas-to-be can expect these changes this spring. We will keep you posted with more details as they become available! In the meantime, the full press release is behind the break.

Aion: Ascension Debuts with Innovative Truly Free Business Model and Epic 3.0 Content Update
North American Players to Experience Full Game Features and 3.0 Content Free of Charge this Spring

Seattle, WA – February 21, 2012 – NCsoft®, the world's premier publisher and developer of massively multiplayer online games (MMOs), today announces Aion: Ascension, the Truly Free evolution of Aion, the award–winning fantasy MMO that rivals other MMOs with its stunning graphics, fierce PvP and customization. Aion: Ascension brings players unrestricted access to a world filled with deep lore, exploration and epic faction battles free of charge. Coupled with the change in business model coming this Spring, players will experience everything in the highly anticipated 3.0 content update, including housing, mounts, increased level cap (60), new zones and instances.

Aion: Ascension's Truly Free business model gives players access to the entire game, including the two major expansions, 3,000+ quests, 30+ instances, 18 zones, three instanced PvP games, pets, classes and key social features like the auction house, chat, trade, crafting, gathering and forums. And with new content from the 3.0 update, which provide several new gameplay systems that Aion fans have been asking for, Aion: Ascension will be one of the most compelling MMOs on the market.

Players experiencing the world of Atreia for the first time will be welcomed into the game with a refined starting area with ample content engaging players from the beginning of their journey with guides designed to assist their current efforts and advise them on where to go next. Returning and current players will not only be able to jump back into the game for free, but will find the new content coming in Aion 3.0 a great addition to the already strong offering.

For players wanting a head start, NCsoft is hosting a "Rallying the Troops" event which will give new players an extended no time limit trial with an increased level cap to 40, whilst returning veterans will have their accounts reactivated free for 14 days. In addition, everyone will enjoy permanent increased XP as well as other boosts to help level and gear up to experience the new content faster.

A sample of features coming in the Aion 3.0 content update include:
Housing System – Everyone gets a home. Decorate and party in your new home.
Mount System – A new gameplay system which lets Daevas speed around the world of Atreia in style.
New Instances – Six new instances including a challenging 24-player raid.
New Zones – Two stunning new zones in the Balaur homeland.
New Level Cap – Five new levels bringing the max level to 60.

In addition to the new business model and Aion 3.0 content, NCsoft will implement new RMT countermeasures to ensure a safe and secure gaming experience for all of its players. These highly effective, proprietary methods will specifically target fraudulent transactions, bots and spammers and the confiscation of goods that have been acquired through RMT activities so that players can experience a no hassle/no harassment MMO experience.

Aion: Ascension with the innovative and improved Truly Free business model along with the 3.0 content update is scheduled to launch this Spring. More information can be found at
This article was originally published on Massively.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.