Aion Open Beta, Pre-select and Headstart Details

Mmm, excitement rising? I think so! I have to admit that as we inched closer to Aion’s September 22nd US launch date, I wouldn’t have bet my bottom Aion Kinah on us getting any sort of open beta. It wouldn’t be the first time that a highly anticipated AAA title decided to do away with the common courtesy of  try before ya buy. Thankfully this doesn’t seem to be the case, we now have hard details on Aion’s Open Beta, Pre-select and Headstart programs… details which I’ll share with you in a wee bit, first, on to other news!

Cor, blimey! We just got done with Gamescom and Blizzcon and there’s another major gaming event just around the corner, are we gamers spoiled or what!? PAX ’09 (Penny Arcade Expo) has been growing in leaps and bounds since the inaugural ’04 expo. Last year nearly 60,000 people attended and this time the convention floor has been significantly expanded to deal with the anticipated flood of fans.

NCsoft is looking to have all three of their big guns on show at the expo, with booths for Aion: Tower of EternityGuild Wars 2 and City of Heroes. Convention goers will be treated to the very latest playable build of Aion, patch 1.5 – The Shadow of the Balaur. Guild Wars 2 fans can look forward to a Q&A session and news on the upcoming novel, The Fall of Ascalon. Meanwhile, if you’re interested in checking out City of Heroes you’ll be able to check out the upcoming Power Spectrum update, as well as get your hands on a nifty “PAX ’09 only” in-game costume.

In other Aion news, NCsoft’s come up with a crafty bit of cross-promotion between Aion and Guild Wars, all you need to do is pick up a physical first edition copy of Aion and you’ll be rewarded with a special emote that allows your Guild Wars character to sprout in impressive pair of Aion-esque wings… you won’t be able to fly around with them though, the wings are just for show. Still, pretty cool no? More details and a nifty vid here.

Did you thoroughly enjoy the Aion Live Theater I linked to in my last post? Are you just itching for more ill-advised “art” inspired by NCsoft’s upcoming MMO? Well look no further than Gamezones ah, interesting fist entry in a series of five fan-fiction stories that chronicle the journeys of two characters as they “embrace their destinies as Daevas”. (It’s a trap!)

More on PAX, this time coming from Bethesda, they’re going to be showing off Brink, WET (sounds dirty), and Rogue Warrior (sounds generic) every hour on the hour, in addition to having playable builds of Doom II and Quake Arena Arcade on show for you to get your sweaty little hands on. It’s going to take a while to get used to the thought of Bethesda now owning Id Software – still, if it means we get Bethesda RPG’s powered by Id’s amazing Id Tech 5 engine, I’m not complaining.

There’s not a massive amount of World of Warcraft news doing the rounds at the minute, seeing as how Blizzcon just wrapped it’s understandable the folks at Blizzard need to catch a breath. That said, they’ve been kind enough to put up their catalogue of pictures taken over the course of the convention for your perusal. The catalogue covers images taken from the StarCraft IIDiablo III, and WoW booths, and you won’t even have to fork over any gold to have a look!

In PS3Land, it seems Sony fans are getting a little riled up (understandably so) at the thought that it might be EA’s fault that they aren’t able to enjoy the benefits of universal custom soundtrack support, and more importantly, cross-game voice chat.

No need to get too worked up though, here’s something to brighten the mood a bit. The Official US PlayStation blog conducted an interview with Final Fantasy XIV producer Hiromichi Tanaka. It’s short, but there are some interesting nuggets, especially for current FFIX players looking to make the jump when XIV finally comes out.

PlayStation Blog: You recently talked at E3 about how the game closely relates to Final Fantasy XI. How have the monsters and races changed from FFXI to XIV.

Hiromichi Tanaka: Because we’re using a new graphic engine, the graphics are really different from FFXI and you can see more details on both monsters and races. Regarding the races, to encourage people to shift smoothly from FFXI, you will see very similar types of classes. But if you actually make your own character, you’ll be able to select your own colour of hair, skin, eye color, shape of your face, etc. There will be a wide range of variety to customize.

PSB: After E3, you mentioned there might be a way to transfer your name over from FFXI. Is that still planned – are you still working on that? Is there a plan on how you’re going to do it?

Tanaka: It hasn’t been confirmed yet, but we would like to give incentives to the players. First of all, FFXI has 32 worlds, and they may have the same name across different worlds, as I’m sure you know. Each name in each world has to be a unique; there can’t be conflicts with other players. However, when we have FFXIV, we still don’t know how many worlds there’s going to be yet, but players might have the same name if they all move to the same world, so there may be conflicts. So, to avoid that, what we’re trying to do is add a surname to their name, so players can keep their main name, but they can add something else to their surname – that way players with overlapping names can keep their names from FFXI, but they can add something on to it to make it unique.

It all sounds really good for current FFIX players, but I’m hoping it’s different enough from its predecessor to be interesting, wouldn’t be great if you could somehow transfer all your FFIX  gil over to Final Fantasy XIV? Fat chance though.

If you live in France (LOL, you’re French! –  I kid) and you managed to snag an early copy of Halo ODST, for the love of Balaur, do not play it yet unless you want to be banned from Xbox Live. This is the warning issued by Microsoft to gamers following the latest Halo leak, well not in so many words but you get what I mean.

Alright, alright, time to get down to business, what’s the deal with the Aion Open Beta, Pre-select and Headstart business?

Open Beta Information: Version 1.5 (The Shadow of the Balaur) will be made available between the 6th and 13th of September, version 1.5 “will include numerous Western enhancements, including improvements to Aion’s innovative character customization with a host of Western styles, as well as new zones, instances, skills, quests and continued game balancing and improvements”. There will be a level cap of 30 in place for the duration of the open beta for both the Asmodian and Elyos classes.

Pre-select and Headstart Information: If you’ve pre-ordered Aion (and you have… haven’t you!?) you’ll get access to a Pre-select and a two-day Headstart period that will give you the opportunity to explore, organize and progress through the game prior to the official launch. Pre-Select will take place on 18th September, while Aion’s Headstart will begin 20th September. If you haven’t already pre-ordered Aion, now would prbably be a good time as you’ll also get that nifty Guild Wars emote.

Welp, that’s all for today, time for me to see if I can go make a niusance of myself round and about EpicToon HQ.

See ya Tuesday folks!


– Mario Kart: The Movie: The Trailer.

– 5 Reasons Why Gamers Make Better Boyfriends. Dunno ’bout you but I needed the ego boost.

– By Chris Coker