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Aion: … wow, just wow.

Have you guys had a chance to see the new Aion Vision trailer? NCsoft is touting this youtube video as the future of Aion and, if it all plays out, there’s a lot of hope for the game. I mean, really. They’re taking things to the next level.

Here, have a look.

Here’s the TL;DR of what’s coming to the game (copied from Keen and Graev, since they’re pulling from a translated list):

* Swimming added
* New underwater zones, cities, dungeons (and even more zones)
* More Quests (+ Questing revamp)
* New Classes (According to Korean forums and translations)
* New Skills for existing classes
* Revamped Combat (More action oriented)
* Improved graphics and animations (DX10)
* Dynamic weather effects
* Customizable player housing
* Animals you can tame and use as riding mounts (some mounts can carry 2 players)
* Mounted combat
* New weapons (whip & crossbow)
* Revamped Sieges

Some of the big points that stand out to me are player housing and dynamic weather. The housing looks to be extensive and very customizable.  More that that though, the video shows the creation of a little village. Guild homesteads? New opportunities for non-Abyss PvP? Yes please. Add mounted combat to that and you have a big chunk of what Darkfall is offering, minus the huge scale and loot loss. The weather is something many people would consider “fluff,” but I personally love the idea. Dynamic weather adds to the whole “world” aspect of the game and, in the video, it looks like NCsoft might just pull it off.

This is the kind of stuff that makes me want to go back game and pull myself from 25-50. The sad truth, however, is that the game in the video is not the game available for play. Grinding is a still a problem. If you jump in a lake, you still sink like a stone, and PvP is still pretty until you’re hundreds of hours into your character.

I asked on Twitter today whether I should resub to Aion or Fallen Earth again (along with WoW) and a friend suggested waiting until Aion has all of the things in the trailer. That point draws into question what I really think of this video.

Honestly, I see it as cool and great if it pans out, but really just as something to pull back the droves that left after their free month was up. It’s a marketing ploy to keep people from writing the game off. We all know how fickle the MMO audience is, once they decide a game isn’t worth their time, that’s pretty much the end of the story. NCsoft, I think, is hoping to stop people from making those final decisions. There’s no doubt that what they’re showing us here has a lot of promise but, the fact is, everything in that list above is what expansion packs are made out of. Frankly, I’d be surprised if we got any decent portion of that without having to buy an expansion pack.

The game only launched two months ago. Everything they’ve shown us in the video? I’d bet we don’t see it all in game for at least a year.

For now, I’d think the more important issue is to address the big things plaguing the game: the grind (of course), the end-game crashes, and the lack of early-mid-level dungeons and PvP. Those should be the top priorities because, until they’re addressed, everything else is just a pipe dream. Or, an extra layer of paint on a house with a leaky roof – ala, WAR.

Still, I’m impressed. Aion has a ton of potential and, like I mentioned on the podcast, I still think it’s going to be second only to WoW. If it gets itself in order, however, it could be a lot closer second rather than just scraping by the lower competition.

And for those wondering, no, I’m not done with WoW already. I’m actually happy to report I’m having more fun with the game than I’ve had for the past year. It’s good to reconnect with new friends and old. Second wind? Maybe… just maybe.

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