in the recesses of NCsoft lies a schedule
outlining the rollouts of the Aion patches, live events and some future
expansion. We know it’s there, yet half the fun is letting
them open that
present and seeing our reaction. Some of you may be saying,
“Dude, we’re not even
level 30, let me get to max level and catch my breath before you start
screaming for an expansion.” I hear you, but I also know that
the MMOG crowd is
a restless bunch. We want to know what is out there just over the
all we see is darkness, then we lose some of that drive that makes us
poster children for OCD completionist pamphlets. With this is in mind,
I say we
start evaluating some of the design issues and guesses as we march
expansion number one. I’d say there are always two major
issues and impacts of
any expansion, the content and the lore.
src="/image/view/75669/preview"> class="MsoNormal">Plenty of space for expanding the
current map. style="">
style="">Content is King
using the word Content, I’m referring to the actual
gameplay areas and new player experiences. Content is what gives the
achievement, progression and a reason to improve their characters.
more levels typically, more skills, and continents, quests and
providing a feedback mechanism for players to increase their enjoyment
game. The maps of Aion already have some open areas that could be
filled in for
starters, but the meat of any expansion will surely be another
Aion the expansion options are fairly wide open. Using
teleports as major transportation mechanisms means that adding
other land masses is fairly straight forward. The question becomes,
gets more land – Elysea or Asmodae, or does the Abyss grow?
The answer could be
one, or the other or all three, or a completely separate land mass. The
answer will result from how the new content is explained in the lore.
style="">More Lore or is it a
lore of Aion does not enjoy the years or decades of
build up like Lord of the Rings, Everquest or even World of Warcraft.
heard the lore referred to as “paper thin”
providing barely enough reason for
two races to hate each other. I won’t argue over the validity
or depth of the
existing Aion lore, but enough backstory has been written to offer some
style="">Option One: Back to
the Future, or Won’t that thing ever die?
constant refrain of the fantasy genre is to have an
ancient evil spring forth and threaten the very existence of all in a
it with me, “You shall not pass!” With that out of
our system, let’s review how
an ancient threat may come back to haunt the factions already in
Atreia. The Drakan seem like the likely candidates that might want to
as pissed off previous homeowners. I can see them saying
“When we handed this
place over, it was in great shape, what have you morons
done?” Well the Drakan
aren’t clean in the whole deal, some of their more motivated
types created the
Dragon Lords and set into motion the Balaur. I can imagine the Drakan
out of the ashes of their previous existence and starting the march
power and fame once again. We know how that story ends, the Drakan and
have superiority complexes and decide that all the pretty people should
and that’s where we come in (since we’re pretty and
style="">Option Two: Young
Upstarts get too big for their britches.
worlds are made, old traditions are buried and new
factions emerge. Another route that we may see Aion expanded is the
band of Lephar who struggle to count higher than 7 (they have 7
their Code). The socialist crew that follows Lord Lephar want everyone
treated equally and share equally in their desire to make Atreia one
Lepharist colony. The religious Lepharists are massing and they
won’t go door
to door handing out flyers. It would be up to us to crush this
and bring disorder back to the world(s).
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.
NCsoft doesn’t go after Option One (something old), or
Option Two (something new), then they may still go after something
(like maybe portals to different worlds, we could call them planet
Stargates), or if all else fails they could create another race of
crash land on the planet and they’re blue (we could call them
they want to take over. Stranger things have happened.
style="">Even if we guess the
What, the real question is When?
game just came out (duh?), so expecting any news on an
expansion is very premature. Looking over the MMOG landscape and
history of expansions (Guild Wars), it is probably safe to say we will
an expansion in the spring of 2010. I would further expect that
ship prior to World of Warcraft’s Cataclysm (late 2010) or
maybe even Star
Wars: The Old Republic (this is probably not a 2010 release, but who
Any developer trying to ship an expansion just after a WoW expansion is
not giving its game a fair chance, so the goal would be to ship prior
Cataclysm or 45+ days afterwards. Those are all fuzzy numbers, but if I
put a fine point on the date, I’d guess somewhere in the fall
of 2010, probably
an anniversary type expansion.
style="">Stop Smoking That
way too early to be looking for an expansion and we
won’t see one in 2009, but NCsoft must have at least one
expansion in the
works. What direction will the game move into next? Will they heed my
go with a tried and true formula or is there a completely different
maybe something I missed? What do you think?
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