Aion (Korean: 아이온: 영원의 탑, also known as Aion: The Tower of Eternity) in Japan, is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) released by NCsoft, a major Korean game developer. The game combines PvP and PvE (a concept the developers call PvPvE) in a fantasy game environment. As of May 20, 2009, Aion has 3.5 million subscribers in Asia. AION's first major expansion was released to North America and Europe on September 7, 2010 under the name AION: Assault on Balaurea.
Many of the skills acquired as characters progress may only be performed in a certain order, or chain. Generally the skills located farther along in the chain are more powerful than those at the beginning, or those that have no prerequisite.
The end game of Aion revolves around battles within the Abyss (PvP zone). Within the Abyss are fortresses which can be controlled by individual Legions (Aion equivalent of a guild). Battle for control of these castles involves combat against players of the opposing faction and computer controlled NPCs at the same time, using siege weapons obtained from end game PvE raid content. Legions in control of a castle are entitled to funding from taxes and players within the faction get specials from NPCs and discounts for travel and vendor items. The game currently does not allow factions to fight against those of their own race, except for casual duels or practice in the Arena.
Aion was first announced and previewed at the May 2006 E3 Expo. It was developed at NCsoft's software design studio in South Korea. The Korean closed beta test began in late 2007, followed by an open beta test in November 2008. A localized Chinese version began closed beta testing in December 2008, with open testing beginning on April 8, 2009.
The game was then localized for Western markets, including North America, Europe, and Australia. NCsoft held six weekend long closed beta tests for North American and European players beginning in June, 2009. An open beta began in September 2009. During the course of this open beta, the anti-cheat program GameGuard was removed. GameGuard is used in many Asian-market games to stop botting and cheating, but was abandoned for Western markets due to a range of issues experienced during the open beta. GameGuard is still used in the Asian markets.
After the release of patch 1.5 NCsoft began opening up Public Testing Servers for NA and EU users. Since Korean players had this ability at launch. Players can experience the new patches with slight increase of exp and drop rates before they're sent off to the live servers. NCsoft offers no In-game support for PTS.
- Aion: Assault on Balaura - September 7, 2010
- Aion: The Promised Lands / 3.0 Ascension - Octobber 19, 2011
- Aion 4.0: Dark Betrayal - June 26, 2013
- Aion 4.8: Upheaval - June 17, 2015