Aion EU goes Free to Play, US to follow soon?

While Star Wars the Old Republic continues to suck in gamers like a black hole, in the corner of the universe know as Aion, a free-to-play nova will soon be born.

By February 2012, Aion EU servers will convert to a three-tiered freemium model, which is becoming popular to an increasing number of niche MMOs like DC Universe Online and Lord of the Rings Online, to name a few.

Here’s the announcement trailer heralding the transition:

NCSoft has partnered with veteran free-to-play publisher Gameforge to deliver additional features that come with a more cash shop-oriented game, such as the pay-to-access personal store and an unlimited supply of aether and essences.

A new Aion Free-to-Play microsite has been set up that gives the lowdown on the new subscription-optional structure. Stateside fans believe that should the EU model prove successful, then the US servers are all but assured to go free to play as well.

What Will Change?

Fans worried that this will lead to stringent play restrictions that will force them to subscribe anyway should take heart in NCSoft’s promise that “apart from slight changes that we have made to the interface, such as integrating the in-game shop and displaying additional information in regards to the free-to-play system, no changes to the core gameplay have been made.”

But Aion Kinah will be restricted on free accounts, NCSoft said, to prevent bot abuse.

Developers also assembled a detailed FAQ that seeks to assuage fears of the unknown like whether Legions will be reset (no they won’t) or if several classes will be pay-walled (no all will be playable to free members).

Aion US fans, are you excited to get a similar free-to-play change? Or are you dreading it?