Aion English and Gametime

Just a mini-update. I've been playing Aion a lot. It is pretty enjoyable, even in Korean. My Korean is terrible, but I'm understanding a bit more than I expected. Due to the nature of the questing system it is pretty easy to muddle through most in the game without too much trouble. You can always tab out and use an English quest guide of you're stuck. I've got a level 17 Chanter if anyone wants to join me on the server.

I tried the English language pack for Aion that was passed around during the Chinese beta. It doesn't seem to work. I think the Korean version and, what I'm calling, the international version have different architectures. So adding another language pack won't do it.

I also figured out how to tell how much time you have left if you buy an hour pack. When you log in you'll get a yellow message as your first chat message telling you how many hours and minutes you have left. Since I'm having fun, I'm considering buying a 30 day pass. I'll update on that if it shows anything different, but I expect it'll show an hour count and an expiry date when you log in since you have to use the 300 hours in 30 days.


Ever wondered what would happen if someone turned a beat-em up into a questing MMORPG? We have one in the form of Justishow. Not sure what the name means. I thought after the last few days of TK online, I'd try something different. This is not the usual fair. This is brought to us by the folks over at Mgame. As I pointed out earlier, Mgame is a portal which doesn't allow foreign sign-up. So if you want to try this game out, you'll need to get a Korean friend to create an account for you.

The install is fairly standard. Head over to the site and log-in. Click "Game start" and you'll get the usual active-x parade, and then a launcher which installs the game. You'll want to click 실행 on the installer to get it going. Also uncheck that box because it sets Mgame to your home page. Unless you really want that, I can't think of a reason why. The game will walk you through the standard install screens. Nothing surprising there. Next, next, click okay to the agreement and then it'll finish up. Once that is finished, close the launcher and head back to the main page. Click Game start and it will begin.

The game starts off in ultra low-res. Resolutions that I didn't even think existed anymore. Once you're in game you can hit escape and bring up the system menu (first choice) and change the resolution to something more palatable. Before that though you'll be presented with a character select/creation screen. The creation is fairly basic. Pick one of 3 base models and one of a few hair styles. I don't think there is any meaning to this beyond aesthetics. You'll be kicked back to the selection screen when you're done. Just click on your newly made character and hit 게임시작 to get yourself started. You'll be launched automatically into the tutorial. Its a series of messages (that you can ignore) and pictures which show you which buttons to push to do things. Run through the various screens doing the tasks and you'll eventually find yourself on a street with a guy in a trenchcoat. Important note, if you see an NPC with a red question mark it means they want to give you a quest. Stand on them and use space bar to active it. Just click the highlighted quest dialog button and then accept it. This is basically all you need to know to get going. It is fairly straight forward. Run around and beat stuff up. This is a side-scrolling beat-em up. Reminiscent of various console or arcade games.

The gameplay is done with the few keys you learn in the tutorial. After you get through a couple quests and screens you'll be deposited in a town. It has a store. All travel is done through various glowing way points. Stand on them momentarily to activate them. You'll be teleported to the next area or into a building. I only played a short while, but its a fun little casual game. If you level up, you'll get a skill point. Click the button to open the interface. It is fairly straightforward again here. Just click the litte + button next to the next skill to upgrade it. Eventually you'll get to a branching choice for which skill tree to go down. Once you have a new skill drag it to the quick menu on the right so you can activate it during combat. You can reorganize that pane as you need. Video when the site finally takes it.

TK onlne - The second day

Well it is day two of the TK online test. I got to play a full game. Only a practice game, but a full game none-the-less. It gave me a better picture of what this game is. There are other units you can get. As you upgrade your gear you can buy summon spells which summon groups of units. These are time limited but you can use them over and over, even if you have a full compliment of units. As far as I can tell if you wanted to be patient you could summon tons of units and swarm your opponent. This makes an interesting strategy where some people keep the enemy busy while you have someone in the rear protected summoning a ton of units then sweeping in and wiping out the enemies base.

I tried a couple of play modes. Death match plays for an amount of kills. These are player on player kills. Not deaths from random mobs. Also siege mode which requires you destroy the enemies base. Both are interesting. The siege mode is a long slog with many human players because it takes awhile to dig away at each team's base. Your heroes aren't that strong and expect them to die a few times. The healing potions are not that powerful. Taking one isn't an instant save and they're better used when resting between fights.

I shot a video. Its uploading now. When it is up I'll attach it. It shows some gameplay during a siege match. I'm summoning units and heading forth to attack. The heroes abilities seem to be hit and miss. I use some..but other ones don't always seem to fire when I try them. I need to pay closer attention to error messages to see if there is something up with that.

Defeating the bases are a challenge. Each base is guarded by pre-set towers. They're a little strong and if you go at them alone, probably you will die. You should take some generic units and summons with you. Each base has some buildings that spawn units who rush forward and attack. You can bolster them with summons to make larger armies. The units you summon are controllable, the base ones are not. While doing all of this you should also try to manage your inventory and crafting. It is a pretty tense game during a busy fight trying to manage everything. However, that is what makes it exciting.

Had some issues with the video update last night, here it is:

Tk online First Impressions

Sent from my iPod.
I logged in promptly at 4 as I didn't have a lot of time. Game is fun
but not an RTS. It is more of a diablo or dungeon siege light, but
with deathmatch. The game is also almost entirely in well written
English, except for a couple error messages. Which means I don't need
to provide any play instructions. I will provide screenshots and
video later as I'm on a bus.

Back home now. I'll add some screenshots here. I will try and do a video shortly to show you what the gameplay is like. Its fairly straightforward. Click the enemy you want to die, pop some potions activate a special ability or two. There is a simplistic crafting system as well you can use to make items for yourself. You gain gold as you kill enemies and there are regular infusions of gold you can use to buy these things. There is an interesting system with 2 characters. Your main fighter and an "aide". His job is to run around and buy this material for you. You control them independently.

TK online update

Well, I got an e-mail telling me there will be some kind of "double point" bonus during the test. I'm not sure if that means experience or what. It did also include a working link to the download client. You can get it here. Log-in, click download. Even works in Firefox. No IE required. The page doesn't look formatted properly, but it works. Not big around 320MB or so. Once its down, run the install. You actually get an English install choice. You can run it when it is done. There will be a launcher, click update and then start the game. You can't play now, you can get the log-in screen. It will fail to connect, but with English log-in prompts and an English error message. This game just gets weirder and weirder for a Korean game. I'm all for easy, but its certainly breaking the mold. I don't know how much will end up being in English, I suspect they didn't write any of the flavor text in English, but maybe some menus and other options might be in English. If enough foreigners check it out maybe we could convince them to translate the flavor text.

TK online Group Test

Awhile ago I commented on two seemingly defunct Korean RTS games. One of them, TK online, has come back to life. I was surprised to see an email for them in my inbox. They've announced a group test from October 15th to 25th. Running from 4 pm to midnight every night. Good news is that even though it is a stand-alone site, you don't even need an ID to make an account. It just verifies your e-mail address. So get signed up and try it out. It will start tomorrow night.

First head over to the official site and click the registration link under the login box on the left. If you are not familiar with what the registration link looks like, its on the left, black button labeled "회원가입". After doing so you will get this lovely pop-up to the right. The upper button just shows us the poster, the lower button starts the registration process. You will then get our standard ToS checkbox questions, click the left most check boxes after each one. I don't know what the right one does, but I expect its the "I don't agree boxes". On the next screen you'll input a name (use Korean, make anything up if you want), then you will have to enter your e-mail address on the next line. Then press the gray button. After pressing this, the site will send you an e-mail. Go check it and get the code, put that code on the last line and press the ever familiar and wonderful "확인" to continue. On the next page you're going to pick out a few miscellaneous details, like your user name, password, gender, age, and "Do you want to get our spam/updates" radio button. After setting all those obvious fields press "확인", and that is it, finished. Fantastically easy. You can log-in now if you want, but you can't download the client yet. It just generates that same pop-up about registering. Even though I'm logged in. Perhaps the client download will be available tomorrow night. If not, its going to be a very boring group test. So for now, I have no screenshots or videos that I can show. Not my own anyway, I found a couple random ones on the site. Though these shots make them look almost like different games. I think there is a persistent hero that levels up in all your games that you play. You can get items, etc for him.

Steeldog Video

I found a video of gameplay for Steeldog. As I expected, the game is all about vehicular combat. The video is from the closed beta and shows a deathmatch. I think this is taking place between two users. The vehicles seem very agile. Able to jump and zip around the screen, even in mid flight. They also seem capable of spawning walls, cages and other hazards. I can't find any info on when the closed betas are going to end. I think Korean companies don't like to commit that kind of information to public record in case they don't make the deadline. It looks like it could be interesting, but I expect if its simply player versus player it could be challenging for someone who isn't fluent in Korean if there is much customization on the vehicles. It might be difficult to figure out what all the options do. I hope they'll release it soon.


I finally decided to give Aion a try. Anyone who likes games and has a pulse has heard about it coming out. The game has been out for almost a year in Korea, but last month was released to the rest of the world in English. While I haven't found a way to run the English client on the Korean servers, it does give us access to plenty of English quest guides and info on the game. The games are mostly the same. For those who want to play the game fully in English apparently the North American version of the game is not region locked, so you can buy a copy stateside or a key online and download the client and get a month plan back home and set it up.

So why play the Korean version? The client is free. Lower ping. Got a Korean gaming friend? You can play together. With the time difference to your home country it might be hard to play with any friends back home. Also if you're at a PC방 you can play Aion. You won't find the US version of the game installed in any PC방.

Aion is the first non-free Korean game that I've tried. So the process is slightly more involved than a normal one. It was slightly confusing, and because I did it out of process, we're going to follow that method. So head over to the Aion site and follow along. First thing is to make sure you have your account verified with a cellphone. If you don't, my instructions won't completely help you. So if your ARC doesn't match your cellphone, get the ID that does. In my case, a friend helped me set up the cellphone, so I used their ID to make my account on this site.

Often the game can be installed by clicking start. The site usually detects that you don't have the game installed. It does that, to a certain degree. Clicking game start will launch a pop-up. You need to click the left blue button. This will install some activex and install the PlayNC Launcher. Great right? No, because for some reason Aion can't be downloaded via the PlayNC Launcher like other games. Why? I'm not sure, but I'm going to guess sunspots. So what you need to do after the launcher is installed is to click below the start button on 클라이언트 다운로드. It is the left longer button. This will cause a new pop-up, a round of activex and a new special downloader for Aion. Its several GB, and took me around 20 minutes to download. Once it is downloaded it will auto-install. Once that is done, resist the urge to click game start again. Since we have to pay for this game, we'll need to actually pay for it first. If you start it, it gives an error about something being expired. Just below the user information box we'll see the word 결제. They have conveniently made the word bold. Clicking this takes you to the payment option screen.

Having the account verified with your cellphone is about to come in very handy. We're going to use our cellphones to pay for the game time. You can see they have a couple plans. A monthly plan (non-recurring I believe), a 3 month pack, a 30 hour pack and a 3 hour pack. I have no idea who the 3 hour pack is for. I guess someone who just wants a taste. I chose the 30 hour pack as I tend to play in spurts. Decide which pack you want and click "구매" below. You will be taken to a new page showing the cost of your item. In the #3 section you can see payment choice. I have no idea what ARS is, and the last choice appears to be through online credit card/debit. The first choice is to pay with your phone. It should be checked by default. Leave it checked and click on 결제 again. At this point you'll get a pop-up asking you to verify your ID number, and punch in your phone number. This will send you a text message with a secret code. Type that in on the website after you've received it and you'll get another text indicating you've paid. At this point your account is all topped up. After buying the 30 hours, I cannot seem to find a place to figure out how many hours I have left. I have a feeling I'll get a text message or some kind of warning when I'm getting low.

Now that you have paid for your account, you're set. Go back to the main page, click on start and the game should launch. You'll get the PlayNC launcher (which now works) and a pop-up with info about the servers. This is information about which races can be played on each server. Most are okay but some servers are maxed out on some races. If they're red, you can't play that race on that server as far as I can tell. The blue column 천 is for the sky people and the brown column 마 is for the bad guys. 마 translates to demons or devil. I'm currently playing on the last server on the list, 우르툼. It was the top server when I logged in, so I just went with that.

After the game starts you're going to get an agreement form. It comes up every time. I can't find a button to disable it. Click the left button and you can continue. You'll be able to pick your server at this point. If you want to pick the same server as me and send me a message in game, go ahead. I'm not that high of a level yet. Character creation is pretty straight forward. You can muddle through it without any help. Pick good or bad, pick a class, play with sliders for body shape/facial features. Once you are in the game there is a lot of leading by the nose. So you can probably do pretty well without reading any Korean at all. My Korean is pretty basic, I've looked at the odd word in my dictionary, but mostly I've used an English wiki. It is PlayNCs official UK wiki for the game. You can check that out here. It has quest lists, with locations, pictures, everything. They are also working on an interface for the iphone. So when that shows up, or if you have an ipod touch, you can use that as a companion for the game if you get stuck. There is a link to it on the main Aion page. Just look for the icon on the left and it'll take you through to the app store. It's currently in Korean but they've stated that they're working on an English interface as well. It will probably connect to the NA or UK version of the wiki. In game performance is fine for me. Chugging a little at 1920x1200 in the big city, but otherwise its relatively smooth even on my aging laptop. It seems to autodetect the settings, but you can find the options menu in there and play with the sliders if you want. The only thing I did was to disable AA. My old 7950 GTX shouldn't really be trying to take on AA. I'm uploading vids and screenshots, but if you want more, they are pretty easy to find these days.

New Comment System

Nothing about a game, but I added a new comment system to the blog. It should work better and lets you use various accounts to comment, including facebook, twitter, etc. You can also embed images now. So if you're having trouble with something you can embed a screenshot and maybe I can help out. The comment system is called Echo. It also features real time posting, meaning that it will update the comment thread without reloading the page.

Landmass update, imbc

I had previously been asked to try Landmass. Its a first person shooter with battle suits. Cool trailer. Interesting screenshots. Website is a dud. The free board is full of people wanting to play. The game portal is run by MBC, one of the TV channels here. Its the equivalent of the NBC gaming portal. You can imagine how well something like that would be run back home. After logging in, I need to agree to a set of terms and when I click okay, the page gives an HTTP 500 error. Same error trying to access a lot of screenshots, free board posts, etc. The site last had news in March, but since then nada. I don't know if its abandoned or what. I will check back later and see if they've straightened it out.

The good news is that the IMBC game portal is very foreigner friendly. They allow in English account creation for foreigners. Both in Korea and living abroad. For those living in Korea you need to fax your ARC over or attach an image of your ARC for the account verification. The instructions are completely in English so I don't need to walk you through it. Just go to any game page and click the familiar registration button and you'll be taken to the IMBC site to process your registration. You get games but also a lot of other content. There are only a small number of games there, there is a soccer game, a couple MMORPGs, and a 3D dancing program called On Air. I'm probably not going to talk about that one so if you want to try it out go ahead. Really this is only useful if you want some MBC content or Landmass becomes operational again. There is possibly a fishing game but its also down right now.

Nolto and Metalblack

Nolto is another small games portal. It doesn't allow foreign sign-up, and seems to focus mainly on MMORPGs and casual games. Not terribly interesting unless you're fluent in Korean, or want a different site to play Jang-gi on for some reason. The reason I mention it is because it is the site which will host Berkanix. What is Berkanix? Well I don't know exactly. It is currently in the teaser stage. However it looks like they are going to target a western audience with this game as well as a Korean one. The teaser site contains an English site. It has 3 episodes, a couple of minor flash games to drive those episodes and a bit of a trailer. Beyond that there isn't much information. I don't know if it is going to be an MMORPG or FPS. However if it is in English, then either is fine for us. Let's just hope if its an MMORPG the English version can be played in Korea. This might be worth watching.

Awhile ago I mentioned that MetalBlack was in development over at Plaync. Well its still in development, but there is a new trailer with more details up. Including some detailed gameplay. I updated the old post because the old trailer was no longer there. It looks like diablo with guns, but interesting. Steel dogs is still in closed beta. There hasn't been too much released yet this year. I'm currently keeping an eye on Hessian. Its an FPS with cover, I think similar to gears of war. Looks pretty decent. Also has neck breaking finish moves. I'll post on that if I can get more info. It is currently in closed beta.