Aion_Tamat was so kind to compile a list of all the sites that featured Aion in their “best of 2009” articles. IGN, TenTonHammer, Mmorpg.com, ZAM, The Escapist and others found Aion to have made an impact on the gaming scene last year. You can find the full list and the exact awards in the official post on the Aion website.
And looking back at 2009, all things considered, it was a great year for Aion and its community. After a well received beta testing period the game launched successfully, despite all the queues, and sold a large number a copies (over a million in the US and EU combined I believe). The game really feels familiar the moment you start playing it. Everything is where it should be and similar to other games in its genre, but what I appreciate the most is that it plays just differently enough to feel like a fresh new experience. Gamers recognized that and many decided to stick with it despite the grind. In my opinion the game delivers on its PvP promise as well. The war is constantly waging in Atreia.
There are problems of course. XP curve is too steep, gold sellers are extremely aggressive and the game needs a slight shift of philosophy if it plans on keeping its western customers. But, considering the numbers and the gaming experience it brings Aion is a huge success. Best of 2009 for sure.
Whats more important is 2010. The year will bring a lot of very “unpleasant” competition. We have Star Trek Online launching in a few weeks along with Global Agenda, and lets not forget that 2010 is the year when Cataclysm launches (WoW expansion). There’s All Points Bulletin on the horizon as well, and that game will surely target the same crowd as Aion (all about PvP). I’m not even going to mention the possibility of Star Wars The Old Republic being released in 2010 because I would have to clone myself several times to be able to play all the things I wanted to (and lets face it – how do you compete against a game that has swords, but made of lasers – its like sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads (TM Austin Powers)). It will be exciting to see what NCSoft has planned for us in such an eventful year.
I was monitoring the sales charts of the digital download system Steam during the holidays and I was pleasantly surprised to see Aion in the top 20 top sellers although it was not on discount. This alone is a great sign that the game is doing something good and that people want to explore the world of Atreia. Now NCSoft start giving us more of that world (and Double XP weekends plx 🙂 ).