Free expansion released for Aion - it adds stuff!

by: Chad -
Actually, let me correct that statement: it adds a lot of stuff!  MMORPGs are used to expansion packs.  However, players are expected to shell out $20-$30 to get access to all of the new content.  That's not the case with Aion: Assault on Balaurea.  This content is free.

So, what can you expect?  There are new and updated zones and instances to level your character up to a higher level cap (55).  There is also more weapons, items, and skills in addition to enhanced flight mechanics.  I haven't even mentioned pets and twitter integration.  That should make any fan happy.  Take a look at the trailer to see Aion: Assault on Balaurea in action and read more for all of the details.

NCsoft’s Aion Soars to New Heights with the Release of Aion: Assault on Balaurea

Players Experience New Zones, Levels, Pets, Weapons, Items, Skills and Flight Mechanics as they Align Together to Launch a Massive Counter Assault Against the Invading Balaur in the Game’s FREE Expansion

BRIGHTON, UK – 7 September, 2010 -- Weeks away from the one-year anniversary of the Western release of Aion, the entertainment phenomenon that has captured millions of players globally, NCsoft® today released Aion: Assault on Balaurea, a free and feature-rich expansion in which players can enjoy new levels, pets, weapons, items and skills within engaging solo and multiplayer zones and instances. To celebrate Aion: Assault on Balaurea’s release, NCsoft is offering exclusive pets for a limited-time through select retailers.

Assault on Balaurea introduces the game’s passionate fans to the next exciting chapter of Aion in which characters align together to launch a massive counter assault against the invading Balaur in their homeland. Along with the ability to explore new and updated zones and instances, the expansion provides players with an increased level cap, new weapons, items and skills as well as enhanced flight mechanics. Because exploring is never fun alone, Aion introduces completely unique, functional pets equipped with in-game benefits to keep characters company along the way.

“Assault on Balaurea is more than a free expansion consisting of new and exciting game experiences for our players, but a sign of our commitment to providing players hours of fun and excitement they can’t experience anywhere else,” said Jaeho Lee, CEO NCsoft West. “With this expansion, we continue to make Aion a truly global franchise by offering customised features catering to Western audience gameplay styles, something we’ve been looking forward to bringing our players since launch.”

Consumer excitement for Aion has never been stronger as the free expansion provides Western players with an unmatched regionalised gameplay experience featuring several in-game functions that utilise the breathtaking graphics, innovative gameplay and engrossing story Aion is known for. With a massive global audience that has wowed millions of gamers in the East and West, Assault on Balaurea extends the experience with several key features, including:

New Instances: Aion hosts eight new instances each filled with fantastic challenges and enticing rewards. These new instances experienced at both lower and higher levels offer a range of challenges for all varieties of players ranging from solo adventures to full-on Legion raids.
Pets: Pets are no longer only decorative. Aion redefines how MMORPGs approach pets, creating an entire new subsystem for players to explore as they acquire functional pets capable of storing goods, assisting with crafting or acting as guardians by alerting their masters to nearby enemies. Pets are acquired through in-game purchases, quest rewards, item drops, NCsoft Store, and special promotional events.
New Zones: Players will explore the vast lands of Balaurea, the home of the Balaur, ruled by the Dragon Lord Tiamat. The Asmodians and Elyos have established fortresses in the two new zones: Gelkmaros and Inggison, each area featuring completely new environments, powerful monsters and unique flight mechanics for players to enjoy.
Increased Level Cap: Five additional levels can be achieved. With an increased level cap of 55, characters will discover new weapons, earn new items and learn new skills as they explore the dangerous lands of Balaurea.
Enhanced Flight Mechanics: Brand new flight options in the form of Windstreams allow characters to traverse the vast new zones of Gelkmaros and Inggison with increased speed and unlimited flight time. Windstreams have varying strengths and effects, adding a further layer of depth and strategy to Aion’s highly-acclaimed flight mechanics.
Twitter Integration: Aion’s new Twitter feed functionality makes player bragging rights easy with its fluid integration into the game. Players can capture and Twitpic up to ten of their favorite screen shots using the updated in-game UI.

Aion: Assault on Balaurea is available today in North America, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, and launches at retail this Friday, 10th September in Europe (SRP €29.99). The retail version features the exclusive premium Speckled Ailu (Panda) Pack pet along with a limited-time retailer specific pet exclusive from NCsoft Store, Amazon (France/Germany), GameStop (Germany), 4u2play (Germany), Fnac (France), Gamemania (Benelux), Game (UK), BT Games (South Africa), Steam and DL Gamer (Europe). In addition to the exclusive pets, the retail version comes with the full game client, expansion content and 30 days of game time.

For players looking to quickly increase their pet companions beyond in-game purchases, quest rewards and item drops, the NCsoft Store will feature an additional seven pets starting tomorrow.

For more information about Aion and Assault on Balaurea, go to www.aiononline.com.

About Aion
Unlike any MMO before it, Aion is a uniquely crafted online gaming experience where flight offers much more than just a way to gracefully explore the landscape - it is a strategic and integral part of combat, quests, and exploration. Players will experience breathtaking graphics and innovative gameplay as they dive into battle and plunge through thousands of unique, story-driven quests, all while trying to save and control a world literally shattered in half from centuries of brutal conflict.

In Aion: Assault on Balaurea, the next exciting chapter within Aion, characters have the ability to align together to launch massive counter assaults against the invading Balaur on their homeland while experiencing new and updated instances and zones, an increased level cap, pets, weapons, items, skills and added flight mechanics.

About NCsoft
NCsoft, headquartered in Seoul, Korea, is the world's premier publisher and developer of massively multiplayer online games, including the critically acclaimed Aion, Lineage®, Guild Wars® and City of Heroes® franchises. NCsoft West is a division of NCsoft that holds operating responsibilities for North America, Europe, South America, and Australia/New Zealand. More information can be found at www.ncsoft.com.
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