Aion turns free-to-play: What this means for existing and future players

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Gameforge, Europe’s leading developer and publisher of online games, today revealed details about the account model for fantasy MMO Aion.

With Aion’s relaunch at the beginning of February, the game will switch from a subscription-based model to a free one, in which payments are optional: the model known throughout the industry as free-to-play. This is how it will work:

Aion for everyone: each user, regardless of whether they are Starters or Veterans, will also receive full access to the item shop. Players are given the opportunity to pay real money to create their own individual character by purchasing, for example, unique pieces of clothing, rare pets or a new hairstyle. In addition, there is the Gold Pack option, which removes all the account’s functional restrictions and grants additional bonuses to the player for a limited time, which can increase the amount of experience points gained or reduce the cooldown time after instance completion.

“We’re looking forward to transforming Aion, one of the leading MMOs into a free-to-play model and thus giving lots more players the chance to enter this fantastic world, “says Volker Boenigk, Executive Product Director for Aion at Gameforge. He adds: “We chose our model very carefully to make sure that all valuable game content is available to all users for free. By adopting this approach, we are convinced that we are giving current players as well as new players a fair model and are very excited to hear about the community’s reaction”.

Beginners: new players, called Starters, can simply start playing and will get free access to Aion’s entire game content right away. This includes, for example, races, classes, instances, equipment items, player versus player content and handcrafting jobs. The only limitations starters will have is reduced access to functions such as the chat and the auction house. These measures have been introduced to prevent the use of automated programmes (BOTs) and trading with real money.

Aion Veterans: active and former Aion players will be classified as Veterans and will enjoy free access to all game functions. These accounts benefit from bonuses such as reduced cooldown times for instances as well as increased PvP coin rewards. Following approval in the user settings of NCSoft‘s PlayNC account management, the account will be switched to the free-to-play model, meaning that Veterans can continue playing the game as usual, but that it will be free of charge from February. You can find out more detailed information about the account switch at www.aionfreetoplay.com.

About Gameforge
Gameforge is Europe’s leading provider of online games. The company – based in Karlsruhe, Germany – currently offers 20 games in more than 50 languages and has more than 300 million registered users world-wide. Their portfolio includes two types of games: Client-based massively multiplayer online games (MMOs), including Europe’s most successful MMO, Metin2, as well as 4Story and the European version of Wizard101; and top-quality browser-based games such as the award-winning Ikariam and OGame. Gameforge currently has approximately 600 employees at their locations in Karlsruhe and Berlin. In 2010, Gameforge won the “TOP JOB – Employer of the Year” award and was named one of Germany’s best employers in 2010 by the Great Place to Work® Institute.