Over the past few years, the Ten Ton Hammer team has been eagerly
scooping up every piece of Aion: The Tower of Eternity
development news that we could get our hands on. There hasn’t
been much officially released for the US public, but we’ve
done our best to give you the scoop on this epic game. But since the
grand public unveiling of Aion
to North American audiences at 2008’s Penny Arcade Expo, the
US developers for NCsoft’s upcoming high fantasy MMO have
gone relatively quiet. Thankfully, Ten Ton Hammer's Reuben "Sardu" Waters was able to
nab a few answers to some nagging Aion
questions from Associate Producer Chris Hager, and if you’re eagerly awaiting this beautiful MMO,
make sure you check out this interview!
Ten Ton Hammer: For such
a visually stunning game, the system requirements for Aion seem fairly
modest all things considered. I know this is one area that
can make or break new MMOG launches, at least in terms how accessible
the game is to a larger audience. Will the system specs
remain pretty consistent for the North American launch when compared to
the Korean open beta?
Chris Hager, Associate Producer.
The system specs will remain very similar to the Korean
service. Each territory has different standards to determine
their system specs so it might vary a bit. The important
thing is that Aion was built from a stable engine, the CryTek engine,
which has been through many revisions since its initial
release. This gives Aion a solid foundation that allows the
game to scale to many different machines.
Ten Ton Hammer: Aion's PvP sees
players siding either with the Elyos or the Asmodians. Will
players be able to create characters from both factions on the same
server? If so, will there be a similar factional approach to
WoW's where there's limits on cross-factional communication in
will be limited to one faction per server. Communication
between factions is also limited to your own. Players will be
able to make characters on multiple servers so they can experience both
of the factions in Aion
Ten Ton Hammer: From
screenshots I've seen of lower level characters, it looks as though
you'll be starting out with some fairly nice looking equipment rather
than the usual stumpy clubs and ratty leather armor. Will
higher level characters still be easily distinguishable as they
progress? For a lot of players this can be somewhat important
- no one wants to look like a noob at the level cap after all!
level characters will have nice looking equipment.
One of the major goals of Aion
was to make sure that everyone looks good at any level and with any
assortment of gear. High level armor will have some surprises
as they transform when you enter combat. This can be anything from
particle effects to actual transformation of the materials.
New players that see veterans around town will certainly get the
gimme’s for high end loot.
Ten Ton Hammer: The
archetype approach for character creation has been attempted before to
mixed results, most notably with EverQuest
2. In that game the system ultimately didn't go
over so well as it left players feeling a bit disconnected from the
class they ultimately wanted to play, so was later dropped
altogether. How has player reception been with the archetypes
in Aion so far? Will there be a more seamless progression
between archetype and main class that helps ease players into specific
Chris Hager: Aion’s
class system is designed to be intuitive. We want players to
make an easy first decision and enter the world to learn about the
story, the combat, the questing, and general game mechanics without
having to worry about whether they picked the right class. By
providing four general choices at the beginning a player can get in and
learn the game before making game altering decisions. The
second class choice you make is fairly early on, within the first 10
hours of gameplay. The classes to choose from are familiar to
the player so that they do not need to log out and scour the web to
look up some obscure word describing what is essentially a Ranger.
Ten Ton Hammer: Apart
from the obviously major task of translating Aion for a western
audience, will there be any other special considerations with your
approach to localization? For example click-to-move may be
popular in other regions, while here the standard tends to be a WASD
The work we are doing on Aion
goes well beyond just translation and localization; Aion
completely globalized for the Western market. We strongly
believe that it is not enough for a particular quest or reference to be
just be translated correctly—it must be culturally relevant
for our audience. So it is up to us to make sure that we
implement this culturalization into Aion and allow western players to
be immersed in a world to which they can relate.
main form of movement is WASD!"
designed from the beginning to appeal to a global audience, and I think
the development team has really succeeded in accomplishing
this. As for specific game mechanics and additions, we are
evaluating these both externally and internally to make sure that the
game is tuned well for the western market, but does not lose the
essence of the designers’ intention for Aion
And yes the game’s main form of movement is WASD!
Ten Ton Hammer: It's
becoming more common to see an increased focus on guilds by developers
since they can really augment the social backbone of an MMOG.
What type of special considerations can players expect to see for
guilds in Aion?
Will there be any kind of guild-centric content, event planning tools
or even customization options such as cloaks or
Chris Hager: Aion
guild system is referred to as Legions, as this is the military make up
of the two factions at war. Legions can be leveled
by accomplishing certain tasks or completing specific quests within the
game. Rewards can range from the ability to create a custom
cloaks to pet’s to aid in battles to entirely new abilities.
Ten Ton Hammer: Flight is
one of the more interesting mechanics players will be able to explore
This obviously has the potential to dramatically alter the combat
dynamic in some significant ways. How would you characterize
aerial combat in Aion?
Will it be a more controlled experience ala City of Heroes, or
is it a bit more action-oriented?
Aion keeps players on their toes.
Flight in Aion
keeps you on your toes. You need to be aware of your
surroundings in all directions, while at the same time managing your
time left to fly. Aion
treats flight time and flight speed as stats, so players will be able
to choose armor, buffs, or enhancements to increase these
two. Players will have to balance their combat stats and
their flight stats to suit certain situations.
combat is fast paced and movement / positioning are very key.
How you move effects your stats in positive and negative
ways. In addition to this you will possess skills that will
throw your enemy in all directions. The old way of combat in
MMOs, where players stand toe to toe and not move is not how Aion was
built. It is much more strategic and engaging in terms of combat.
Ten Ton Hammer: Is there
anything else you can tell the Aion
fans and Ten Ton Hammer readers?
think we have a great game in Aion
that is going to really surprise some people. We have a huge
beautiful world, with more than 1500 quests, a unique setting, and a
development team dedicated to making Aion