Being an MMORPG, it would be a sin for Aion to lose emphasis on the multi-player aspect of the game that drew so many to it based on the promise of PvPvE. Aside from the typical group content that we already discussed including the elites in the overland zones and the challenging dungeon content, a new Dredion is welcomed with this expansion which encourages Elyos and Asmodians to battle it out in a PvE landscape.
For those looking for more hardcore fun, a 12 person instance has been added that pits two groups against raid quality mobs that will boost legions into fame for having conquered it. Of course, there are also two new fortresses for the Elyos and Asmodians to fight over that wield the unique potential to unite a faction in a server wide frenzy of multi-player fun. All of these features allow players to work together for conquest, gear, and entertainment in a way that only Aion could bring to the table.
One of the cuddly pets available when you buy the expansion
There is no better value that getting something for nothing which is exactly what you get with Assault on Balaurea. Being offered as a free expansion, players can return to Atreia and experience the latest additions with nothing more than a re-sub and a patch.
For new players and current players who want the extra fluff and goodies, you have the option of picking up the expansion box copy or the downloadable version for $39.99 in order to score the updated game and expansion, 30 days free game (applicable to current subscribers as well), and exclusive pets for each of your characters.
There is plenty of content for players gunning for the new level cap once again. The average player will be working on those five levels for a couple of months and by then, NCsoft will likely have something new cooking in the dev studio. Hardcore players however, will blow through this content in no time and may be left twiddling their thumbs (or grinding for gear until the next big thing lands on the radar). This is where compelling new low level content would have been handy as incentive to keep players occupied even after the first character is capped.
Luckily Aion has never been a purely PvE game so there is still new PvP challenges that await those dedicated players. Once the PvE realm has been destroyed, I expect focus to abruptly change to PvP as veterans wage war against each other for fame, glory, and hot chicks.
Pros and Cons
- Free Expansion (yay!)
- Quality high end content for capped players
- Sprinkles of solo content for casual players
- Pets for fun and function
- Not enough new content for lower level players
- High leveling curve - it may just take you until the next expansion to get to 55
- Some group difficulties for returning players who haven't geared up effectively
You really can’t go wrong with a free expansion. You receive a high level of quality and entertaining content for the low cost of a re-subscription which makes Assault on Balaurea extremely tempting. With a unique PvPvE experience that feeds a gamer's need for diversity and excitement coupled with an unmatchable value, high level players can reap the rewards of their ongoing support of Aion. Although lower level players are mostly left out of this expansion, the updates that have gone in game over the past several months have been paving a more pleasant path to high end content with a much smoother (and quicker) progression and far more content than what players experienced at launch. It is a glorious improvement and one that makes Assault on Balaurea worth checking out.
- Game Name: Aion
- Review Date: September 22nd, 2010