Apparently, Aion went F2P on the 11th of April, though it looks like few news sites made much note of it. Not surprising; as good as the gameplay has been, ti didn’t have a whole lot that made it really stand out against other games, and after a bit of a rocky launch that led to a very sharp drop in subscriptions it kind of faded to the background. It’s gone the way of Lineage II in it’s truly free model, with absolutely no subscriptions or locked gameplay content. And they just opened a new feature that is one of my favorites – player housing.
I am very, very stoked to try this out, though I will have to get a character up to level 21 to do it, and I have yet to start a toon as I’m just in the process of moving today and tomorrow. Rest assured, I’m going to plow my way through as soon as I’m settled, though; after the stress of moving yet again, some time gaming will be a really big de-stresser.
Player housing has always been half of a key MMO component that I’ve loved, but it’s rare to find a game that has the whole thing. Lineage II had some of it with castle sieges, Age of Conan has it with Guild Cities and City Sieges. Lord of the Rings Online and EverQuest 2 did player housing fairly well, but I found the aesthetic style of the games got very… grating on me. LotRO has graphics that are just too dated for my taste, and EverQuest 2 just seems… I dunno, it’s hard to say. It’s sharp but cartoony in a way that I just can’t get used to. The gameplay of both games overall was average, so going solo got boring and repetitive quickly. The two that did player housing the best, I feel, were Star Wars Galaxies and Shadowbane. I’d especially love to see a Shadowbane 2 made, with better gameplay and better gameplay mechanics, as long as they preserve the basic story and the sandbox world.
Aion has always been gorgeous. I’ve been longing to explore this unique world for some time. Now that they are F2P, nothing is stopping me, and having player housing to tempt me, starting as early as level 21, sealed the deal. I loved Lineage II for many years, but when i tried to get back into it during their recent switch to F2P… I dunno. Something was just different. Maybe it was just me. Aion is pretty much unexplored territory for me, so maybe I can get into it more. I’ll keep everyone updated on what I find there.