“The new service for the vaunted MMORPG Aion provides a fresh start as the game originally was when it launched in the Americas back in 2009, with some additional quality of life improvements. Players new and old can take flight to explore the massive, unique realm of the god Aion, hunt and venture on quests, or take a side in the battle between light and dark and fight other players. […] Aion Classic will see the return of some of the games early, iconic dungeons, and only the original four character classes will be available to players (each with their two original subclasses). Keeping with the ethos of classic MMORPG experiences, the player progression in Aion Classic will be moderately paced, to increase opportunities for players to explore the world of the Asmodians and the Elyos.”
The official site is up now with founder packs, and players will notice right away that this is going to have a free-to-play and a sub-based payment option along with a battle pass; you’ll be able to buy Siel’s Aura with cash and pick up passes in 3-, 30-, 90-, and 365-day increments, while the freebie option is basically signing up for a much slower experience grind.
Finally, we note that NCsoft specifically refers to this as a launch “in the Americas,” so we’re assuming NCsoft will be handling both North and South America here. However, Europe is not mentioned, likely because Aion is licensed to Gameforge there. We don’t yet know when or whether it’s launching in Europe, although it seems like an inevitability given how well Aion Classic has already performed in South Korea. [See update below for more clarity and more confusion on this.]
Update: The newly posted FAQ has more details.
“Aion Classic is a server which has restored the contents of the original Aion service that began in 2009 so that they could be enjoyed again. It operates on a separate server from the currently Live server and will be provided as an official, ongoing service rather than an event. […] The content of the Aion Classic we are introducing is based on the original 1.0 update. This server features PvE content up to level 50 as well as Rift and Fortress Battles for PvP. However, there are many players who experienced difficulties in the original Aion due to the high EXP required to advance. These issues have been corrected in Classic and adjustments have been made so that the highest level can be reached in a shorter amount of time. The contents are 1.0, but the implemented client system is version 2.7 so you can expect to see a more balanced and optimized version. For example, Remove Shock Skills and the Two-Handed Weapon Integration System that allow Altered State escape have been applied.”
The FAQ calls this a “global service” and refers to it as a “Western” launch rather than a launch specific to the Americas, though Europe is still not expressly mentioned. The version will basically be in line with the Korean version, with a similar cash shop too, minus “BMs that affect combat balancing” so as not to disrupt PvP: “Korea is currently servicing the updated 1.7 version. Likewise, West will begin with 1.0 then provide the 1.5 update / 1.7 update based on how quickly players progress through the content, among other factors.”
Character creation and name reservations begin early on June 16th. The preorder founder packs run $20 and $50, though again, this is playable for free, so you don’t need to buy anything to play it.