A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Aion is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game that takes place in the middle of war between two races. Players choose to join one of two factions: one is light-skinned and the other is dark-skinned which may lead some to think of racial stereotyping. The game has player versus player combat where the aim is to kill and defeat other players using weapons and magical attacks. Blood can be seen, but that graphical effect can be turned off. Unique to this game is the ability to gain wings and fly. As a "Teen"-rated MMO game, there are no parental controls. This means that the game has open chat (with language filters in place) which can lead to unpredictable conversations. Parents should remind kids to not give out personal information. There are references to alcohol in the game. The game must be purchased and thereafter it has an ongoing monthly subscription fee.
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What's it about?
AION is a fantasy MMORPG which has the unique feature of letting you earn the ability to fly. Players choose to play as a member of one of two factions who are at war -- either the Elyos, who live where the sun always shines, or the Asmodians, who live in the part of the world in constant shadow. Long ago, this world was literally torn apart leaving an abyss-like region where a Dragon-like creature, the Baluar, lives. The Elyos and Asmodians engage in combat against each other in this abyss, while the computer artificial intelligence-controlled Baluar either assist or interfere. The Baluar is the balancing factor in these battles, assisting the weaker side. Players go through a quest known as the Ascension and gain their wings at an early stage, then strive towards improving their skills and armor to particpate in war. Flight is a strategic component in both combat and in questing; and it is limited in time and to specific areas of the world.
Is it any good?
Aion is a feature-rich game and has all the hallmarks of a full-featured MMOG. The game offers beautiful scenery, fun quests, and a huge world to explore. The game builds up an incredible expectation of earning your wings for flight, and luckily, the cutscene where players attain their wings is breath-taking. Surrounded by constantly changing landscapes and the cities that showcase grandoise architecture, players can spend hours exploring and finding new items, including items to harvest, magical things, and items to create through craft. Players can trade, buy, and sell, as well as fight new enemies and learn new skills. In the latter part of the game, the challenge of Player-vs-Player combat can keep a teen attached to his or her computer for hours at a time. If managed well, the experience can be fun, rewarding, and educational in terms of teaching the value of playing as a team.
Online interaction: With a T rating, this game is really designed for older teens and adults. But the open chat and open forums -- albeit with moderation -- allow full online interaction which can be unpredictable. To offset this, Aion offers "friends" as well as "ignore" lists that players can use.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about online Social Behavior and boundaries. Do you think what you do in game reflects upon you as a person? Does a character's behavior impact the way you think about the person controlling that character? Why should you not give out personal information online?
Families can also discuss the warfare in this game. Games often have color stereotypes, do you think that this game does? Do you think that the darker race in the game is evil as compared to the lighter race?
Families can talk about playing against other players and sportsmanship. Would you like it if you lost in a contest and the winning team made fun of you?
Since this is a game that can take a lot of time, families might want to talk about strategies for setting time limits.
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