I purchased a digital copy of Aion today, after seeing some trailers for the game and hearing of the good success it's been having. I also heard that servers were full to bursting and extra servers were added to help, so all around it seemed a strong case for trying it. It's had a good history in Asia so far, and it's using the CryEngine, which powered Crysis, one of my favourite games for the computer.
Once I started the game, the music and the visuals really impressed me, and I found the whole experience very nostalgic and touching. It reminded me of when I first started playing MMO's, back on Ragnarok Online when I was still in middle school. It has this wonderful graphics engine powering it, letting the designers have free reign to do anything they want, and they have lovingly captured the feel and essence of those older korean MMO games. The graphics are lush and vibrant, and everything feels so joyful. The music is very nice to listen to, very upbeat and happy. Every so often you get a peak at the engine flexing it's muscles, with wind blowing in tiny wisps across water or with a lightning bolt in the sky during a storm. The weather changes and the time of day shifts every so often, bathing the character in bright vibrant colour, orange glows, and twilight paleness.
It is a game that has made me happy, which is something I really respect. I'm a very depressed sort of person most of the time, and a game that can light up my day like this is very commendable. My computer is flagging behind these days and isn't up to high end details, but surprisingly the game runs very well. I get my high res textures, my bloom, and a tiny bit of anti-aliasing and it runs around 30 frames, which is totally fine for an MMO.
I made a mage character, hoping to get to be a spiritmaster sometime soon, as it reminds me of the summoner from Final Fantasy X. You get all kinds of giant monsters and entities that fight for you, and they look so beautiful.
Speaking of Final Fantasy, I was delighted to find that out of the 43 or more hair styles, they have a mint copy of Cloud's haircut from the Advent Children movie. I know because I have a giant wall scroll of cloud beside my desk, and from close inspection, it's pretty much as close as you could get. So I made my character look like cloud, and off he went into the world. I'm very happy so far.
Here are two pictures of him.
*edit* one more for fun. :)