aion

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Official Site: Aion
Studio: NCsoft West
Launch Date: September 22, 2009
Genre: Fantasy Themepark
Business Model: F2P (Cash Shop)
Platform: PC
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Perfect Ten: Endless dungeons in MMOs

Most MMO dungeons are normal songs. You start out and you have a pretty clear picture of the beginning, middle, and end; they don’t really change up much. But the endless dungeon is like improvisational jazz. Sure, there’s a beginning and often a fairly reliable end, but the space in the middle can be filled with all sorts of things. You don’t even know what’s going to be there until you’re already in the thick of it. It could be filled with creme! (Probably not, but hey, life is weird sometimes.)

Our reader Arsin asked us a while back about MMOs with endless dungeon modes of some sort, and well, we do our best to find these things out. The goal here is to have an online-only game with randomly generated content between the start and end. Arguably some of these might not fit your personal criteria, but that’s all right; there’s plenty of variety here!

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Perfect Ten: Best MMO debuts by year, 2007-2017

Continuing from my previous column, I’m going to be running through the second decade of graphical MMORPG launches and picking the best title to debut in any given year. From doing the first decade, I know that this thought exercise isn’t always fair; some years have several great contenders, while others see one mediocre one rise due to a lack of competition.

Still, it’s kind of fun to look back at MMO history and to see which game was really the best of that year. And if you ever felt sore that a particular title got overlooked, well, consider this a retroactive awards ceremony of some sort.

Let’s dive right in where we left off with 2007!

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Battle Bards Episode 122: Happy town

In peaceful villages and bubbly burgs, you just know that there’s bound to be an abundance of happy music! Whenever the Battle Bards regroup to lick their wounds and drink the terrors away, they often find that happy town music is perfect to soothe jangled nerves and re-center one’s heroism. There’s plenty of those tunes in today’s episode, so recoup with them as they listen to the songs of the common folk.

Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunesGoogle PlayTuneInPocket CastsStitcher, and Player.FM.

Listen to Episode 122: Happy town (or download it) now:

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The Stream Team: Celebrating a Massiversary in Aion

Massively OP’s MJ just celebrated her eighth Massiversary yesterday, so she is celebrating in the game that brought her into the fold: Aion. There have been a few changes and updates since she last spread her wings in Atreia. Perhaps she’ll poke her nose into the Shugo Kingdom Adventure. Tune in live at 2:00 p.m. to celebrate MJ’s milestone with her.

What: Aion
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 2:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, June 11th, 2018

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Aion’s Egyptian-themed event returns for a limited time

You may be able to walk like an Egyptian, but can you fight like one? You’d better if you’re going to venture into Aion this weekend, because the Egyptian-flavored Secret of the Ancients event is back for another run.

Players will be trying to capture the spirits of monsters while participating in an array of quests. These will reward Ancient Shards, which can be turned in for a goodie chest, XP, a key bundle, or a random Puzzle Box. The event is running from now through June 6th.

“The Ancient King Ramsus and his wife Queen Shepsut have returned to the world of Atreia,” NCsoft said. “With them have arrived mysterious monsters that threaten all inhabitants of Atreia. Help them return the monsters to their time, and get rewarded with EXP and fabulous prizes.”

Fabulous, people, FABULOUS.

Source: Aion

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Revenues for all NCsoft MMORPGs are down in Q1 2018 except… Aion?

NCsoft’s first quarter 2018 financial results are in, and it’s… kinda OK? Guild Wars 2 saw a big drop-off, though that’s to be expected since the previous quarter saw revenues from Path of Fire. “GW2 sales dropped 32% QOQ but increased 66% YOY, as some of the 2nd expansion pack effect was included,” NCsoft notes.

Blade & Soul continues to perform well QOQ, though it’s lost a quarter of its revenue YOY, and Aion revenues surged, NCsoft says, “fueled by the change in the monetization scheme.” Lineage itself at one time seemed to drive the company all by itself, but it’s down QOQ and YOY too. So is the company’s mobile games branch, which was riding high on Lineage M last year but is now “stabilizing” at what one might assume is a more realistic number (which is still higher than the five big MMORPGs combined).

As MMO Culture reports, the investor call itself admitted that Blade & Soul II for mobile has already been delayed into 2019 as it “didn’t meet expectations.” It’s apparently gotten a new team and new redesign, which is basically what happened to Lineage Eternal way back when, you’ll recall. And speaking of that: Project TL is supposedly still on schedule, with a launch still on track for next year.

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Aion Europe prepares for server merges later this month

The merges are coming! The merges are coming! Aion Europe players have under two weeks to prepare for merges designed to “populate Atreia more densely” and consolidate language-specific communities.

On April 25th, Aion EU is going to merge its eight servers down to four, creating one German, one English, one French, and one Polish server. Gameforge did give itself some wiggle room and warned of the possibility of a date change.

Players on affected servers can choose to transfer their characters to a specific shard through May 15th. Aion is planning to hand out relocation gifts to all players, including a greater minion contract and 30 days of hanging with a white tiger.

In addition to the announcement, there’s a more in-depth FAQ that answers specific questions.

Source: Aion EU

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The Game Archaeologist: Lineage

If we judged MMOs by their numbers alone — and I’m not suggesting we do so — then the original Lineage would be the crowing rooster strutting about the hen house. It’s also been one of those games that I’ve always intellectually acknowledged was a huge hit for some reason but never gave much attention. I think it’s because, contrary to many western MMOs, Lineage is primarily an Asian phenomenon. That doesn’t mean it should be shunned, of course, but just that it may be difficult to understand when you’re on the outside of it.

So let’s back up the memory truck to September 1998, when a then-fledgling NCsoft rolled out a Diablo-style isometric MMO and struck virtual gold in South Korea. At the time, gaming rooms were becoming a huge thing in the country. A recession had hit, giving people a lot of time with nothing to do, and the government was rapidly expanding the broadband network. In the face of this perfect storm, titles like StarCraft and Lineage became overnight household fixtures — and remained so for decades to come.

Even if you haven’t played Lineage and you don’t know anyone who does, trust me: Millions and millions of players have. As former Senior Producer Chris Mahnken once said, “Lineage keeps going because it’s just plain fun.”

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NCsoft has hired 1000 employees in the past few years, considers VR and ARG titles

Everybody saw NCsoft’s financials last month, I’m sure – Guild Wars 2 bouncing back thanks to Path of Fire, Lineage M driving revenue, and Blade & Soul outperforming almost everything, pretty good news all around.

What we didn’t cover was the associated conference call and Q&A, which has only recently been fully transcribed in English and has a few nuggets worth highlighting

  • CFO Jae-Soo Yoon told listeners the company is working on 13 new titles, of which the largest are Blade & Soul II, Aion Tempest, and Lineage II Mobile, all mobile titles, and Project TL for PC.
  • To make those happen, the company’s hired “around 1000” new employees over the last two years. One analyst was skeptical about those numbers, suggesting that NCsoft is overspending on labor compared to an unnamed smaller company launching far more games; Yoon counters with some polite shade by suggesting NCsoft is going to for quality over quantity.

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The MOP Up: Enter the Phantom Halls — if you dare! (March 18, 2018)

The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!

Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from Mu IgnitionLineage 2 RevolutionRevelation OnlineEarthfallLegacy of AtlantisDC UnchainedSoul ArkBattle CarnivalWorld of WarcraftOld School RuneScapeAionWar ThunderArtifactPokemon GoThe Black DeathAstroneerEVE OnlinePhantom HallsMU Online, and Heroes of Newerth, all waiting for you after the break!

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Aion Europe celebrates its sixth birthday

Spread your wings and fly with the angels: Aion is turning six years old, at least in its European incarnation.

From March 1st through the 8th, players level 20 and up can attend a free birthday party in the game. Additionally, there’s a birthday cake hunt happening all over the game and a series of boosts to push you up in your progression.

“We’re looking back on six years of thrilling experiences and shared adventure, defeated opponents and slain bosses, not to mention new content and great updates,” NCsoft said. “The last year brought plenty of changes and new challenges to Atreia and the coming days hold plenty of excitement too — join in the anniversary celebrations!”

Wondering where your party is in North America? Players in that region already celebrated Aion’s 8th anniversary back in September, so you have a ways to wait until the title turns nine.

Source: Aion EU

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Battle Bards Episode 116: There be dragons

Mighty and majestic, scaly in hide and shrewd of mind, smoking with fury unabated… these are the Battle Bards! Also, dragons. Yes, in today’s episode, the Bards tackle the soundtracks to one of the most iconic fantasy creatures of all time. So call over your good luck dragon and get your best Sean Connery voice on as we loot the musical hoard of these beasts.

Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunesGoogle PlayTuneInPocket CastsStitcher, and Player.FM.

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Analysts see ‘potential for earnings growth’ in NCsoft’s trio of upcoming titles

If you walked away confused by NCsoft’s most recent quarterly financial report, Mirae Asset Daewoo Co. might be able to sort it out for you.

The Seoul-based analyst firm suggests that the Lineage series, which appeared strong at first glance, actually turned in weaker than expected revenue, in spite of the fact that Lineage M was the top-grossing game on Android and iOS. “The biggest surprise was marketing spend, which jumped 10% QoQ and 69% YoY, despite the absence of any new major titles,” the firm notes. “We believe this suggests the company spent as much on promoting Lineage M’s massive updates as it typically does on promoting new titles.”

That said, the firm still calls the company a buy: “We see little reason for concern in terms of profit and valuation in 1H18 and see potential for earnings growth and a re-rating in 2H18, driven by new releases.” What new releases would those be? Blade & Soul II (first half of the year) and Aion Tempest and Lineage II M (last half of the year).

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