Video Game Review: Aion (It's pronounced A-on)

It's hard to believe that any game developer would want to take on the Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) supergiant World of Warcraft, but NCsoft is up to the challenge.

With its storyline of a world divided into light and darkness with winged characters battling over the remaining world, NCsoft's Aion may convert some gamers from the addictive WoW. This MMORPG bears resemblance to the WoW titan with several differences, starting with character creation.

When creating a character in an MMO, it's important to choose attributes wisely. Aion limits the choice of race to the dark Asmodians or the light Elyos. The real gem of Aion's character customization is the option for extensive construction and proportion.

There are multiple sliders allowing the player to change almost anything from eye shape to shoulder width. Along with the selection of tattoos and markings, hairstyles and skin color, Aion soars beyond the character customization of WoW.

Initially, characters can belong to one of four classes: Warrior, Scout, Mage or Priest. This seemingly restricted array of classes is shattered at level 10, where the player gets to choose from two sub-classes for their class. This doubles the choices while specifying the goals and fighting style of the character.

Also at level 10, each character in Aion becomes immortal and receives wings. These wings can be used for faster transportation in combat, or just for fun. This eliminates the monotonous walking seen in WoW before the player gets a mount (an animal the character rides to increase speed). Along with in-air combat, this accelerated form of transportation makes Aion intriguing.

The advanced character customization and unique winged aspect make Aion a truly great game, although it loses some appeal because of limited back story and races, a cliché light versus dark storyline, and a limited online community.

Will that community grow and allow Aion to compete head on with WoW? Hopefully. Will Aion conquer WoW and therefore, the MMO market? Doubtful. But at least now there is a contender to initiate competition into WoW's seeming monopoly on MMORPGs.