|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: NCSoft||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: MCSoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sept. 7, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-Massive Online||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Cole Smith
Aion: Assault on Balaurae is the expansion pack that plays like a meal. I know that doesnt make sense, but if you watch a lot of commercials youll get the inference. For those that dont have time to waste on TV, but instead defer it to playing games on the PC, what I mean to say is that Aion: Assault on Balaura is phat. As an expansion pack thats part of a MMORPG, its not a stand-alone game despite many single-player quests. Its aimed at the higher-level players. Lets just say if your character isnt leveled up to 50, then youve got some work ahead of you.
The Balaur are coming! The Balaur are coming! The story may not be unique, but the presentation is compelling. In the continuing saga of the Aion universe, hordes of Balaur threaten your very existence, and the existence of all the other online players. Alliances can be formed to counterattack these bastards, but dont expect the Elyos and Asmodians to be civil to one another forever and ever. The gameplay encourages PvP as well as PvPvE.
To achieve maximum playing satisfaction from Assault on Balaura, you must have your character meet or exceed the 50 level, otherwise many new features are inaccessible. There are new zones, new instances, new vehicles, and a 200-slot inventory for pets. But not to worry if youve got a lot of leveling to do, as things are a little easier on you in this expansion pack. Thanks to the ability to see all of the quests on the map, you can take care of business more efficiently and effectively. You can spend less time grinding and more time questing. Keep in mind youll still be grinding, but at least youll be able to head in the right direction.
Bonus rewards have been increased up to three times. Not to mention bonuses have been increased anywhere from thirty to forty percent. Single-player dungeons are offered exclusively for lower-leveled players. There are two of them, and they are filled with goodies, points, and elements designed to give you more insight into the storyline. If youre between the levels of 18 to 24 youre welcome with open arms. Higher level players are forbidden from entering. Players in this level range can also take part in a lucrative solo instance.
Dont think Pokemon when you hear about the pets. You dont take these creatures into battle. They will accompany you on your journey and can be used as tools, coming in handy for crafting items, producing materials, storage, and most importantly, warning you of approaching dangers. The materials they help craft and produce wont be the highly coveted stuff, but it will help you along and give you an advantage over the high-leveled players since they wont have access to it. The pets are a nice addition, kind of like adding accessories to a hot rod. Theyre cute and dont add a whole lot to the performance, but they keep your morale up.
High-leveled players are pampered in this game. Its far from a cakewalk, but they will enjoy an exclusivity that will give them more real estate in which to strut their stuff and which allows them to interact with similarly highly-leveled characters. Theyll have access to three new zones, new flying mechanics, lots of new quests, a new solo instance, and new combat elements. Getting from level 51 to 55 is tough, and even that may be an understatement. Still, its not about the destination, its about the journey and theres no shortage of journeying.
The map is huge and packed with things to do. You can play in single-player or multi-player to explore different gaming dynamics. In the multi-player mode you can take part in a 12-player instance, and then go on your way as an angry loner.