games have attempted to capture all of their initial
sales as continuing subscriptions, many have failed. Thus is the saga
subscription based games. Few games enjoy numbers that increase month
month like World
of Warcraft
. One
notable exception is EVE Online that started slow and has continued to
momentum over years of interaction with a very robust player base. The
of the equation is Age of Conan and Warhammer Online, both
enjoyed incredible
robust initial sales, only to see their number plummet after the
initial month.
Aion’s fate is yet to be determined, but there are some
interesting patterns
developing that may give us some insight of how Aion will fare compared
previous games.

class="MsoNormal"> style=""> style="width: 375px; height: 210px;" alt="Aion_Screen"

style="">First the Good News

has an excellent head start on other games because it
has been available for public consumption longer than its predecessors.
Thousands of people have been hammering away at the game, so the game
worked well from launch. The server queues were a big issue at first,
but as
NCsoft predicted, they are a thing of the past (I haven’t had
a queue in while
on my server). At this point there is no fundamental reason for a
player to
cancel a subscription.

addition to making sure the game works well, the game
drives players to the end game. Previous games such as Age of Conan and
Warhammer had excellent early game experiences only to fall flat. Aion
has its
sights set on players from level 25 to the level cap. This means that
player below that level does not get the feeling of seeing the whole
game, and
thus a carrot to stick around and see it. City and Keep Sieges were
supposed to
do that for Warhammer and Conan, but the game fell off so dramatically
players could even get to that point to enjoy it. MMOG players are
motivated by
leveling and achievements, so putting a goal out there for us to attain
highly motivating.

class="MsoNormal"> style=""> style="width: 230px; height: 240px;"
alt="Aion - Good News Bad News"

style="">Now, the Not So Good

games have the staying power to overcome the doldrums of
the mid-game. The mid-game also arrives right about the time players
determining whether or not they want the monthly subscription to hit
credit card. If those levels are uninspiring then so will the re-sub
Aion is well rooted in the high risk, medium reward camp that some
might call a
bit grindy. If the mid-levels don’t provide enough fun factor
for the average
player, then the populations will be tapering off severely. Hopefully
all the
hype about the Abyss and href="">Rifting
is well founded and allows players outlets to have the fun they seek.

class="MsoNormal"> style="width: 350px; height: 277px;" alt="The Clash"

style="">Should I stay or
should I go?

being a Clash song from yesteryear, staying or
leaving is always a fun topic. The good news about MMOGs is that you
can leave,
then come back and then leave again. Of course that is not what the
developers want you to do, and if you stay away too long and take all
of your
friends, the game may fold (see Tabula Rasa and Auto Assault for
details). An href="">interesting
poll was taken
about whether or not people planned on re-subscribing when the time
came. The
poll was on a fansite and taken within a week or two of the game
Regardless of the timing or the source, the results from the poll in
conjunction with evidence I’m witnessing in the game leads me
to believe that
Aion will enjoy a healthy re-subscription rate. style=""> 
The guild I’m in
continues to grow, the players are leveling up nicely
and the overall feeling is a sense of permanence, or maybe
it’s one of
investment. I’m not getting that transient MMOG player feel
like I have in some
other games at launch.

class="MsoNormal"> style=""> style="width: 595px; height: 277px;" alt="WoW Factor"

style="">The WoW Factor

Aion, the players I’ve interacted with for the most part do
not consider themselves WoW players. In other games I’ve
heard some mantra of
“I’m playing this until <insert game or
expansion on the horizon here>
comes out. I have not heard that at all in Aion. I’d expect
to hear “I’ll play
this until Cataclysm,” or maybe even Star Wars: The Old
Republic, but neither
of those have been mentioned. Maybe Aion is enjoying the mass influx
Vanguard, Conan and Warhammer (which seem to be the three common games
mentioned when asked “which game did you come
from?”). Of course Cataclysm and
Star Wars: The Old Republic are both a long ways from launching (2010
beyond?), so maybe a lack of alternatives is also helping Aion. World
Warcraft is experiencing an interesting period in its product lifecycle
now. Never has gear been so easy to get, yet so unrewarding. Whether or
people see Aion as a way to show true achievements may be playing a
factor in
Aion’s early success. The question is whether or not WoW
players have the
stick-to-it-ness to get into the end game and enjoy those achievements.

style="">Group Decision

is solo friendly early on, but the challenge really
ramps up without bringing some friends along later. I
wouldn’t say players
can’t solo to the end game, but the wear and tear on your
psyche might be a bit
high. It’s just a hunch, but I’d bet a lot of Kinah
that players active with a
group are much more likely to stay with the game than those choosing to
alone. I’m sure this is a constant among MMOGs, I would give
it more weight in
Aion than I would in more solo friendly games like WoW though.

style="">Marching On

offers a little something for everyone and allows
players to level up via questing, crafting or gaining resources via
Whether or not the midlevel content is compelling enough to keep
occupied through to end game is the big question mark right now.
reports are positive, but there will always be flame war just over the
as people decide whether or not they are staying. So far the
discussions have
been fairly calm, but we’ll take another look prior to next
re-subscription and see how the temperature is then. style="">  Is
your guild going to blow apart after the
first 30 days are up, or is your permanent group remaining permanent?

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Aion Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016