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A look back at Aion's first month and impressions

Brooke Pilley

43,829 minutes. That's roughly how long Aion's been out in the West. Depending on your tolerance for grinding, it may or may not have felt like that amount of time passed. There's no doubt it's been a busy month full of ups and downs, so we'd like to take an extensive look back at the last 30-days and give our impressions on the game.

Smooth criminal

Aion experienced one of the most technically smooth launches in MMO history, which was the result of hard work, innovative design, tough decision-making, and of course nearly a year between the Eastern and Western releases. Anti-cheat software, GameGuard, was stripped from the client in the 11th hour. This no doubt eliminated most of the open-beta issues that would have sent a lot of potential players packing shortly after release. Players just aren't as forgiving as they used to be.

Login queues

The number one complaint in Aion's first two weeks revolved around the login queues present on many servers. Some unlucky players were faced with up to 7-hour waits just to be able to play the game. Many players were critical of these queues, but others felt they were a necessary evil. Not having such a measure in place would have likely had disastrous stability and performance consequences. There was a sentiment that NCsoft should have been better prepared for an event like this though. Opening the lines of communication much sooner could have properly dispersed players on day one.

Spammers and the grind

There were many reports of players being battered by a barrage of poorly-grammared gold spam in Aion's first month. In fact, most public chat channels were rendered useless by these pesky salesmen. Things have improved a lot since release but the spammers are adapting. The latest workaround is setting up a private store full of yellow smiley icons bracketing their sales pitches.

To be fair, NCsoft never hid the fact that Aion had a grind; it's just that most players didn't grasp how big it would be. Compared to other grinder MMOs, Aion can probably be considered a lightweight. It was still a shock to many Westerners to only get half their level from quest XP and the rest from setting up camp and killing the same beasties over and over again for the remainder. Again though, NCsoft has been listening to player concerns and the latest patch notes indicate a massive quest XP boost coming soon.

Still topping the charts

Let's end on some more positive stuff. Aion was highly ranked in many PC game sales charts throughout its first month and came out top cheese for NPD Group's September chart despite being released in the tail end of the month. NCsoft seems be responding quickly to most issues releasing a number of hotfixes and a patch. The game has also seen favorable reviews, new servers, its first level 50s (despite that grind), and a holiday event.

All in all, Aion has hit some bumps on the road in its first month but nothing seems unfixable. It wouldn't surprise us if a number of the bigger issues were resolved in its next month.

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