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.