Video Game: Aion

"They were warned...not to mistake grace for weakness."

Aion is a Korean MMORPG from NC Soft, the publisher of Lineage 2, City of Heroes and Guild Wars, published in English in late 2009.

The game is based on the conflict between two factions of humans which live on opposite halves of a shattered world; the noble but arrogant Elyos and the brave but bitter Asmodians. As well as an ongoing war with each other, the two factions must contend with evil Balaur, a race created to protect and watch over the world, but now...not so much. This makes up the game's unique PvPvE system, as the designers call it. Other than this, it's also notable for the fact that all characters possess the ability to fly, amongst other things.

The game has no subscription fee in the US and several other regions and is worth a shot for free MMORPG players exasperated by some of the features in the standard business model (for example, most enchanting has absolutely no risk of item destruction on failure). It has also received a vast update with its 4.0 overhaul.

This game provides examples of:

  • Acrophobic Bird: Played straight and justified. All Daevas have wings and can therefore fly, but their ability to do so depends on the amount of aether concentrated in the air. However, regardless of whether flight is permitted or not, flying monsters will typically hover only a few inches above the ground.
  • Actually, I Am Him: As an Asmodian, go to Gelkmaros fortress and talk to Winstron.
    Winstron: I don't know why the Daevas here ostracize me. Pretentious and prideful, scorning a "mere" scholar? Half of them ignore me, and the rest don't even care to learn my name! There is one among them, though, who I have heard is different. A [Player Class] who has risen through the ranks not through arrogance and ignorance, but by respecting others. This great Daeva's name is [Player Name]. If you happen to see this [Player Class], please mention that I wish to speak to them in person. Now go, leave me, whoever you are. I have no time for one such as you."
    Player Character: "But... I...."
  • After the End: Although so far afterward that almost no one remembers it.
  • A God Am I: You, in the main storyline. Or so it seems. Daevas are considered demigods in the game's mythology, with Empyrean Lords considered to be full gods (with a small G). The overgod, Aion, is absent and the two major pantheons (the Elyos and Asmodians) are at war.
  • Agony Beam: Damage over Time (dot) skills are mostly this, but special mention goes to Songweavers' Paean of Pain for having it in the skill name.
  • Alien Sky: Besides the fact the Tower of Eternity is visible from anywhere in the world, the sky has a shattered moon, three total moons, and the other half of the world floating ominously overhead.
    • Except you can never see the other half of the world, even in the Abyss.
  • All There in the Manual: Much of the game's central lore can be found on the official site. In the game itself, even more details can be found by clicking through pages of exposition in the Library of Sages and the Temple of Knowledge.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The Balaur. Subverted later on, where you can ally with the remnants of Tiamat's legions.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: The Asmodians.
  • Antiquated Linguistics: The Balaur. Easier to see when you start taking quests from some of them.
  • Arm Cannon: Used by some Balaur in Katalam and beyond. Also used by the Gunslinger class.
  • Artifact of Doom: One of the lower-level Asmodian campaigns deals with destroying one of these. It is never mentioned ever again.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: You start your character's life by doing this to get out of the newbie area. The game also features several other types of ascended beings, such as ascended lizardmen/dragons (Balaur) and even ascended trees (Elim).
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The stronger Balaur, based on the gigantic discarded weapons littering the abyss. Also the Guardian Deities who guard fortresses.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: How anyone's social rank is determined, both in universe and in game.
  • Background Magic Field: Played with. Daevas rely on Aether to use their powers and stay immortal. Aether is Aion's (God's) own life essence, and He personally handpicked the first Daevas—His twelve most devoted humans. However, Aion imbued Aether into the Tower of Eternity, which shattered in the world-sundering Cataclysm and is now hemorrhaging Aether everywhere.
  • Bag of Holding: Cubes (Inventories). This is an MMORPG after all. However, cubes are directly stated as being Hammerspace related.
  • Baleful Polymorph: A common punishment among both Elyos and Asmodians, especially for insubordination. In the Asmodian starter campaign quests, Verdandi attempts to trick you into making yourself one of these. It works, but your character reverts back after a few seconds. This makes Verdandi suspect that your fate is greater than it initially seems.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Barechested male characters do not typically have nipples. Averted by some costume skins.
  • Barrier Maiden: The Elyos Kimeia is this for Sataloca's heart.
  • Battle Butler and Ninja Maid: In Kromede's Trial. Certain costume skins can make your character into this as well.
  • Beast Man: The Mau, a race of humanoid cat people.
  • The Beast Master: Spiritmasters, who summon elemental spirits to do their bidding.
  • The Beautiful Elite: In-universe, Daevas hold the highest positions in society, and ascending (becoming a Daeva) is canonically said to make the human in question unbelievably beautiful.
  • BFS: Greatswords, a favorite of Templars, and also an option for Gladiators not using their signature weapon. These swords have very slow attack speed as they have the same one as bows.
    • Some of the one-handed swords are this too. Especially the Anuhart's Swords skin.
    • There's one sitting in the snowy southern-central area of Katalam that rivals the mountains surrounding it in terms of size. Katalam campaigns reveal it to be Kahrun's sword.
  • Bishoujo / Bishononen Line: The Balaur.
    • Low level Balaur look like lizards or serpents.
    • Starting in the level 51-55 Chantra Dredgion, the Balaur bosses have a more humanlike appearance while the Elite Mooks still look like monsters.
    • Every Balaur in Sarpan, Tiamaranta, and the level 56-60 Terath Dredgion has an even more humanoid appearance. Even including the 1 or 2 star regular trash mooks. The females look like supermodels.
    • The dragon lords (Tiamat and Beritra, at any rate) are completely humanoid in appearance and quite attractive. Beritra's true form—not his appearance as the NPC Kaza—is mostly hidden by his clothing, but he's still obviously well-built.
    • Armor in Aion follows the Bishonen Line theme. Armor starts off relatively plain and gets more and more elaborate and extravagant as item level increases.
  • Blade on a Stick: Polearms, the aforementioned signature weapon of Gladiators.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Rae, of Ishalgen Campaign fame.
    Nobekk: Ah, Rae's always putting herself in harm's way and pestering us to take her along on raids. If we refuse, she tags along anyway.
  • Breast Plate: Hell yes, but at least more modest than most, considering some of the female armor model have skirts and metal/leather stockings instead of pants. While Magic Skirt is present to some extent, it doesn't prevent you from upskirt shots, since you can adjust the camera angle in such a way in the first place, even to your own character. By the way, the chain armor series is probably the most modest looking of the lot, so don't roll a priest if you want that kind of armor.
  • Bottomless Pit: The entire sky counts as one, as your characters die (and automatically sent back to a Respawn Point) after 4 consecutive seconds of freefall anywhere.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: To a limited extent. Most of the purchasable items are cosmetic, but a few grant tangible bonuses.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Chickens are QooQoos, birds of flight are Plumas, Frogs/Toads are Ribbits, Tigers are Taygas...
  • The Casanova: Thersites is involved with quite a few quests dealing with heartbroken ex-girlfriends.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Siel and Israphel drained their bodies of aether and used it to keep the Cataclysm from completely destroying the world.
    • A few spells in game consume health instead of mana as well, such as the Cleric's Land's Bargain and the Sorcerer's Soul Absorption.
  • Catch Phrase: Depends on race.
    • Asmodians have "Azphelumbra" ("May the Lord Azphel embrace you with His Darkness") and "Blood for Blood".
    • Elyos have "Arieluma" ("May the Lady, Ariel, surround you with Her Light") and "Faith and Arms".
    • Reians have "My eyes to your eyes".
  • Chainsaw Good: The purchasable "Cataclysm's Jaws Weapon Skin" cosmetic item reskins a sword to look like a chainsaw.
  • Character Customization: The character creator allows for incredible diversity. You can make your character look like an Elf, a Dwarf, or even an Orc just by messing with the sliders, to the point where not having any separate and distinct playable races doesn't matter one bit. People have even made their characters into clones of Obama, Micheal Jackson, Cloud Strife, Rambo, and Many Others including Dobby the house-elf and Arthas. Some other people, however, use the character creator's powers for evil...
    • Armor and weapons can be given the appearance of others from the same equipment class. If you love the look of that level 1 sword you can remodel all your subsequent swords to look identical without sacrificing stats at all, for a flat token fee. No failure rate, too.
  • Charge Meter: Introduced with some of the higher-level skills.
  • Chekhov M.I.A.: Belbua. We first hear of his disappearance with a level 12 quest given by his nephew. A level 39 quest has you rescue him. Backtracking to tell his nephew the good news gets you a title called Big Damn Hero.
  • Combat Medic: Clerics, Chanters, and Songweavers.
  • Combat Tentacles: Celestius, the final boss of the solo instance Taloc's Hollow.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Standing near lava will do nothing to you. Standing in said actual lava will only slowly drain health. Also, Daevas can apparently stand in regular fire and only suffer 1 damage, if any at all.
  • Cool Airship / Cool Starship: It's hard to classify exactly what they are, but the Dredgion Battleships the Balaur use in the Abyss are undoubtedly cool. Scary as hell, too, as they can blast Daevas right out of the sky and carry thousands of troops to be deployed throughout the Abyss as the Balaur see fit. They also serve as instanced dungeons, with the ultimate goal to kill the captain.
  • Cool Down
  • Council of Angels: The Empyrean Lords, even though they started out as ordinary humans, and have never lived in any kind of heaven or any other higher plane of existence.
  • Critical Hit: The chances of this happening can be improved by socketing critial strike manastones on top of equipment bonuses, up to a maximum of 50% critical chance. Different types of weapon have varying base critical damage multiplier - for example, daggers have 100 base crit strike (10% crit chance) and 2.3x critical damage multiplier, while greatswords only have 10 base crit strike (1% chance) and 1.8x critical multiplier.
  • Critical Hit Class: Assassins and Rangers have skills that increase critical hit chances. To a lesser extent, any other class that dishes out physical damage.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: More like giant crystal tower Jesus.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Asmodians are capable of being just as attractive as the Elyos.
  • Cutscene Boss: The Tiamat Stronghold campaign quests "Kaisinel's Command" (Elyos) and "Marchutan's Will" (Asmodian) take the player to "fight" against dragon lord Tiamat. This fight takes place in a cutscene (rendered in-game) with the player character enjoying massive Cutscene Power to the Max alongside NPCs Kaisinel or Marchutan. The real fight against Tiamat takes place in a 12-person instance.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max
    • In the above Cutscene Boss battles, the player slings magical attacks that stun Tiamat (a 12-man instance final boss) and puts up a magical shield that blocks her attacks. Then Kaisinel or Marchutan (depending on whether you're Elyos or Asmodian) single-handedly finishes the battle.
    • In the cutscenes for Inggison or Gelkmaros entrance quests, the player grabs and throws one of the balaur far away. While flying in a non-flight area.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The Asmodians. While they live in a barbaric society and an even more harsh and unforgiving world, the game implies they are only doing what they must to survive. Despite their appearance, many quests show them to be very human.
    • Similarly Shedim Lady Lumiel. Before the cataclysm, she was said to be curious, innocent, and mischievous. Not much is known about her at present, however.
  • Deader Than Dead: Almost all of the first Elyos legion to travel to Asmodae via a rift were erased from existence by Zikel.
    • Daevas that die too far away from (or not bound to) an Obelisk get stuck as ghosts forever. Icaronix does this to silence his only pursuer, allowing him to keep his disguise and bringing the demise of a whole special Elyos taskforce, including you.
  • Dead Person Conversation: Can be done with Daevas who are Deader Than Dead.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Sort of. Dying will make you lose experience points, but the percentage lost isn't too big. Moreover, there's a level cap and you can't de-level, so this is a moot point once you reach the cap. However, dying will give you soul sickness, which can only be healed by a special NPC and significantly slows down your running speed and maximum health. There are ways to avoid getting soul sickness upon death, but those methods require either spending a lot of in-game money or buying something from the cash shop. Have fun dying mid-instance!
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: What happened when Aion broke.
  • Easy Amnesia: The driving point of the Elyos side of the plot and possibly part of the Asmodian one, too...
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: Daevas are higher in the pecking order than humans, but between Daevas and the Empyrean Lords are those Daevas who serve in the elite miltary units: Guardians (among the Elyos) and Archons (among the Asmodians).
  • Elite Mooks: Elite monsters have an HP frame larger than normal monsters. They are found in all group instances and a few other open-world areas, usually at end-of-campaign areas.
    • Elite Mooks are typically have a 2-star ranking, are designed to be fought by a party, and even 1-star Elite Mooks are much stronger than 5-star non-elite BigBads.
    • Solo instance BigBads usually carry the same monster rating as Elite Mooks. For example, the final boss of solo instance Steel Rake Cabin is a 2-star elite. The Mooks in the Steel Rake group instance are 2-star elites.
  • Elemental Embodiment: Spiritmasters summon them.
  • The Empire: Both sides.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: If one side doesn't destroy the other side's stump of Aion, the world will run out of Aether and the atmosphere will disperse.
  • Escort Mission: Surprisingly few for an MMORPG. In most cases, the escortee cannot be attacked by monsters. Taloc's Hollow has an optional one, and the escortee helps by fighting and/or healing depending on which one you choose to save.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: Oh, come on. It's in the title!
  • Exclusive Enemy Equipment
  • The Faceless: The Empyrean Lords are depicted as glowing humanoid figures, or when the light isn't drawn as brightly, they're shown from an angle in which their faces are obscured.
    • Averted with the 3.0 Ascension update, where Empyrean Lords Israphel, Marchutan, and Kaisinel appear in-game in campaign quests with their faces shown explicitly, as do Nezekan and Triniel in 4.0.
    • In 4.0, Marchutan and Kaisinel achieve NPC status and can be freely spoken to in their respective beacons in Katalam.
    • And then the Korean website illustrated all the Empyrean Lords (and Yume) in the style of The Last Supper. From Left to Right 
  • Famed In-Story: As you progress, more and more NPCs will mention your heroic achievements. Of course, this doesn't stop some of them from asking you to run errands for them or merchants from selling items to you at full price.
  • Fantastic Racism: In game, Asmodians and Elyos are racist towards each other and both have some racist tendencies towards Shugos.
  • Fantastic Slurs: A handful have evolved out of the player community. Do you play as an Elyos? Congratulations, You're a sun-sucker. Do you play Asmodian? You're a furback. The latter is notable for showing up in-game in later patches.
    • Also, Elfs for Elyos (not entirely unwarranted, as some Elyos have elven features) and Assmos for...well, take a guess.
    • In Spanish-language servers, 'palomo' (pigeon) is a popular "affectionate" nickname for Elyos among Asmodian players.
  • Fantasy Metals: Mithril, Orichalcum, Adamantium, and Drenite.
  • Fetch Quest: Tons, naturally.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: And Priest, the four original base classes.
  • Flash Step: Blind Leap for Sorcerers, Ambush for Assassins.
  • Floating Platforms: The Abyss is made of these, being so diluted with Aether. Almost every map has at least one area with floating platforms/rocks, and are usually a sign that your character will be able to fly.
  • For Want of a Nail: Go to Sarpan and talk to Shuos.
    Shuos: Oh, Lady Siel! Why have you forsaken me?! My pen broke, [Player Name]! MY PEN! I cannot complete my report for Kahrun without it, and if Kahrun has no report from me, he'll likely send troops. And what if those troops were needed elsewhere?! What if their absence allows our foes to crush our defenses? We could all die, and all because of my stupid, stupid pen!
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Storyline wise, only the greatest of humans can ascend into a Daeva. In game, every player character ascends into Daevas at a very low level of 9 (level cap is 65).
    • The upper half of Atreia, Asmodae is a world of darkness and shadow according to the lore. In reality, you will bring sunscreen and sunglasses on your real-life visit to Asmodae during daytime. In nighttime, both Asmodae and Elysea are roughly as dark as each other.
  • Gameplay Grading: Some instance dungeons, such as Dark Poeta, Danuar Mysticarium, Eternal Bastion, and few others are graded on the performance of the participant(s). The possible letter grades are S, A, B, C, D, and F. There are score and time cutoffs to achieve each particular grade, and higher grades provide better rewards. No rewards are given if the participants receive an F grade.
  • Giant Flyer: Unexplained giant flying whales/fish/dragon/whatthefuckevers seem to serve more as scenery than anything else in the game. There's at least 4 flying around the Verteron zone alone.
    • If you ever see a chat message about a "betafish" its usually in relation to these things.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: The Asmodians aren't evil per-se, but their eyes glow red when they're killing.
  • God Is Dead: The shattered tower stumps are the remains of what used to be god, though there are hints in-game that Aion (God) is watching from the sidelines.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: Ascended? Congratulations, you get to spend your life dying pointlessly for things like finding peoples cats, because hey, you can recover from it, right?
  • Good Wings, Evil Wings: Averted with the Elyos and Asmodians - they have angel wings and black angel wings respectively and are about the same in terms of good and evil. Played straight with the Balaur, who have the bat "Devil" type of wings. Note, however, that the Asmodians did have bat-like devil wings in pre-release demonstration versions of the game which can still be found on a few Asmodian enemies.
    • Elyos and Asmodians alike can have glowing bat wings if they equip Storm Wings or Tiamat's Spectral Wings.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: According to the Aion website's official wiki, the Empyrean Lord Israphel's jealousy of Siel, plus a desire for greater power, led to his eventual corruption. It seems to be implied that this is what led him to call for peace with the Balaur, which in turn led to the destruction of the Tower of Eternity.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: Neither side is traditionally good or evil, but things are much more complicated than it might seem at first.
  • Guns Akimbo: Gunslingers.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: You'd think the Elyos, living lives of comparative ease and comfort to those of the Asmodians, would be naturally more fragile, right? Wrong.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Siel and Israphel sacrificing themselves in order to keep the planet from falling apart. Except Israphel lives.
  • Highly Visible Ninja: One of the two available motion change manuals allow you change any or all of your idle / running /jumping / resting animation into this. It's purely cosmetic and has no impact on gameplay in any way. Taken further with ninja-themed armor and weapon skins.
  • Hollow World: It used to be this, but the Cataclysm blew up most of the equator, making it look more like an apple core.
  • Human Resources: The Lepharists become guilty of this later on.
  • Idiot Ball: Yeah, sure Zikel, please attack the Balaur diplomats your friends summoned for peace talks. Cue Tower exploding in the resulting conflict and the After the End situation at present.
  • Idle Animation: And it changes depending on gender, terrain, and weather.
  • I Know Karate: Wield a quarterstaff as a priest class and you use it like a Wuxia protagonist. And look awesome doing it.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The moral consequences of this are completely ignored. The sapient (but evil) Balaur are considered a delicacy, and all the top-level, most useful cooking recipes specialize in cooking Balaur meat.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Everything about Daeva culture, from architecture to the design of boats, but especially clothes, armor, and weapons. Both Elyos and Asmodians look absolutely fabulous. Most female outfits for both factions also feature Combat Stilettos. The awesomeness of all this is debatable; its impracticality certainly isn't.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Thanks to certain weapon skins, you can kill enemies with flowers, carrots, fish...
  • Immortality: Daevas have several subtropes of this.
  • Immortality Begins at 20: Averted, as you're stuck at whatever age you ascend at for eternity. One of the first Daeva Elyos meet is a child who's several hundred years old, and an Asmodian Daeva talks about the seeming sadism of being ascended when he was on his death bed and now has to watch his family grow old and die when he can't even take up his blade.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Lady Siel, one of the Empyrean Lords who died to keep the world from falling apart.
  • Inhumanly Beautiful Race: Daevas are this to regular, non-ascended humans...at least in-universe. Thanks to the extensive character customization options, player Daevas can range from this to Gonks.
  • Insufferable Genius: Kahrun likes to style himself as this, as shown by his journal. Would be Small Name, Big Ego if he weren't the Reian Lord.
    Brilliant Observation: Idgel cubes are difficult to make.
    Plan: Difficult is my middle name.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: Averted, as you can jump over these fences to evade enemies or take shortcuts.
  • Invisible Wall: Two types:
    • Flight Zone Boundries. You can run or glide through them, but not fly through.
    • Truly invisible walls, that cannot even be run or glided through them. Usually prevalent in most instances, but 4.0 starting flying areas are also a big offender.
  • Item Crafting: Natch.
  • Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: A lot of truly fabulous outfits are available to your character. Male and female both.
  • King Incognito: Well, Lord Incognito. Vaizel likes to hang out with humans while in disguise. Lords Nezekan and Triniel become this in the Katalam/Danaria campaigns.
  • Kyu and Dan Ranks: Aion's Abyss rank system has 9 kyu ranks and 9 dan ranks. 9th-1st kyu are soldiers, 1st-5th dan are officers, 6th-9th dan are respectively called generals, great generals, commanders, and the governor.
    • Your Abyss rank is based on how many Abyss points (AP) you have for kyu ranks, and Glory Points/Honor Points (GP) for dan ranks.
    • Dan ranks (officers and above) are only available to the top 1,000 characters on the GP leaderboard, per faction on each server. Higher dan ranks have even tighter leaderboard position requirements - The required leaderboard position for each respective dan ranks are 1000, 700, 500, 300, 100, 30, 10, 3, and 1. Yes, only one governor per faction per server!
    • Certain Abyss equipments require a certain abyss rank to equip. Level 60 and 65 Abyss PvP equipment with stage 2 augmented require 1st kyu, and the various level 65 eternal and mythic Abyss PvP sets have rank requirements varying anywhere from 1st kyu to 7th dan.
  • Laser Blade: Aether Blades, available in blue, green, and red versions.
  • The Lifestream: Aether, and consequently the Aion tower.
  • Light Is Not Good: The Elyos zealously believe that the lack of strife they experience in their world is proof that they are blessed by God, and see the Asmodians as soulless inhuman monsters to be killed without remorse. Including civilians and children.
    • Similarly, the Seraphim Lord Kaisinel is a vicious Blood Knight and doesn't care much about anyone's life.
  • Limit Break: Most skills requiring Divine Power to use.
  • MacGuffin: Siel's Relics.
  • The Magic Goes Away: Well, it hasn't yet, but it's going to pretty soon if someone doesn't do something about it.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: All of the natural fauna in the setting.
  • Monster Arena: The group instance Empyrean Crucible and the solo instance Crucible Challenge.
  • Multishot: Some Ranger skills are this, notably Arrow Deluge. Arrow Storm is more of the Rain of Arrows sort, as the attack animation has several spectral rangers appear next to the ranger who is using the skill.
  • Musical Assassin: Songweavers. Taken to an extreme when you can drop giant treble clefs on people.
  • No Shirt, Long Jacket: The male version of the "Marra's Party Dress" costume that can be applied to any class of armor, as well as the male cloth versions of the Elementis Forest and Argent Manor armor sets.
  • Notice This: With the 4.7 patch, quest items that need to be gathered now have a conspicuous glowing star hovering over it.
  • Not So Different: The lore descriptions of each faction's attitudes apply only to the worst or most hardened of them. Many of the NPCs that a player will meet (especially outside the starting area) could well have come from the other side. One Asmodian Daeva even laments that his people no longer know what they fight for. In fact, both sides believe themselves to be blessed by Aion though they do venerate different aspects of the deity.
  • Older Than They Look: Daeva stop aging when they ascend, so ancient Daeva can have the bodies of small children.
  • Our Angels Are Different: Daevas are exceptional Elyos and Asmodians, capable of manipulating aether to a degree previously only seen by the Empyrean Lords. In return for dedicating their existence to their people, they become immortal. Reians, unlike other Daevas, have only one wing and are therefore incapable of flight.
    • Though the Balaur were intended to fill the more traditional "Angel" role before they rebelled, as stewards and messengers of Aion and protectors of humanity, and usually have a mix between angel names and folklore monster names. And they are dragons with spaceships. Which leads us to...
  • Our Dragons Are Different: The Balaur were originally created as the rulers of Atreia, but quickly got drunk on their power and turned evil.
  • Parental Abandonment: Kahrun's backstory, and the reason why he has no idea of his parentage. They still tried their best considering the circumstances, but what they did might as well have been this. Played straight with Arekedil, who starts off his quest line by asking you to find his parents, who abandoned him in the woods.
  • Path of Inspiration: The Lepharist movement... maybe. Confirmed after you hear Lephar's Motive Rant.
  • People Jars: Used by the Lepharists, Asmodian and Elyos both.
  • Player Versus Player: A central part of the game. Some areas have this option forcibly turned off, making it a neutral or a PvE-only zone. Some other areas are PvP enabled, but with NPCs that One-Hit Kill you if you attempt to kill a member of the opposite faction.
  • Pointy Ears: In character creation, you can move the ear shape slider toward the right to give yourself pointy ears. Some NPCs on both factions (particularly Lephanist Revolutionaries) have pointy ears.
  • Power Gives You Wings: What happens when someone becomes a Daeva.
  • Power Trio: The Seraphim Lords, Shedim Lords, and even the Dragon Lords all have two sets of Power Trios.
    • Seraphim Lords:
      • Ariel: Thoughtful and amiable. Is dissappointed that Azphel's recklessness ruined the peace talks with the Balaur. Leader of the Seraphim Lords. (Ego)
      • Nezekan: Contemplative, but decisive. Nezekan is reserved and tolerant, but adamant once he reaches a conclusion. (Superego)
      • Vaizel: Playful, selfish, and cunning. Often goes off on his own in disguise to hang out with ordinary humans, and sometimes neglects his duties. (Id)

      • Ariel: (Ego)
      • Kaisinel: A dark and enigmatic Blood Knight who is focused on getting revenge on Shedim Lady Lumiel for embarrassing him in battle. He's a girl in Korea. (Id)
      • Yustiel: The Heart of the group. Gentle and caring, she's most interested in peace and reconciliation. (Superego)

    • Shedim Lords:
      • Azphel: A decisive perfectionist who holds himself and his subordinates to high standards. Hates Ariel for being too weak-willed to continue the fight against the Balaur and believes that Ariel has failed in her duties. Leader of the Shedim Lords (Ego)
      • Zikel: Azphel's right hand. Once a friendly rival of Nezekan, they have fallen out of favor with one another. Zikel is violent, arrogant, and lacks self-control. Somewhat of a Reckless Sidekick, as he was partially responsible for the events that ignited the abyss war. (Id)
      • Marchutan: Quiet, respectful, and completely stoic. Also The Big Guy. Prefers rational planning rather than Zikel's impulsiveness. (Superego)

      • Azphel: (Ego)
      • Triniel: Composed and calculating, she prefers to strike precisely and accurately. Has a cold indifferent personality. (Superego)
      • Lumiel: Not much is known about her since she joined the Shedim Lords, but according to accounts from before the cataclysm, she is curious, innocent, and mischievous. Pursues magic studies with the same curiosity that a Playful Hacker applies to computer security. (Id)

    • Dragon Lords:
      • Fregion: The first Balaur to ascend and become immortal, and also the first to propose that the Balaur should be rulers over everything else. In spite of his initial enthusiasm, he now worries that the Balaur's endless desire for power may lead to ruin. (Ego)
      • Meslamtaeda: A Red Oni, and a Blood Knight. So Hot-Blooded that only Fregion can dare to control him. (Id)
      • Ereshkigal: A Blue Oni. He is especially attuned to cold and ice magic, but has learned to control all the elements, even to the point where he is rumored to be able to cause jungles to sprout up in deserts. He is dispassionate and prefers rational thinking, which is very unusual for the Balaur. While he has a reputation for cruelty, he maintains strict adherence to his own code of honor. He was the first Balaur to take up the Empyrean Lords' peace proposition, and a primary debater before the assassination attempt on Fregion and the subsequent cataclysm. (Superego)

      • Fregion: (Ego)
      • Beritra: The Quiet One. He would prefer that others not know he even exists, and prefers to hide in the shadows. (Superego)
      • Tiamat: She would prefer that everyone know she exists, and is motivated primarily for fame, fortune, and to prove herself. (Id)

    • Note that the Seraphim Lords and Shedim Lords each have one member whose personality traits best fit those of the other group as a way to show that Light Is Not Good and Dark Is Not Evil.
  • Precursors: The Danuar. Tiamat wanted their technology so badly that she used the confusion of the Cataclysm to invade their land. They destroyed their weapons rather than let her take them, and they eventually went extinct. Their legacy can be found in the Idian Depths.
  • Private Military Contractors: The players start in one of these.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Asmodians in general.
  • Pun: In so, so many quest titles. Some double as Shout Outs.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: The Balaur turned against Aion (God) when he refused to grant them more power over the world, ordering them to serve humans. They succeeded. Notably, there has yet to be a major Elyos or Asmodian faction that is misotheistic about Aion although each side certainly feels that way towards the other's pantheon.
    • Except that Balaur were banished from Atreia into a different dimension, and the humans are now heavily empowered and ABLE to fight back. Plus, see the above entry for "God Is Dead."
  • Rainbow Pimp Gear: Completely averted...unless you're into that thing. Players can change the appearance of their gear to that of any other piece of gear in their inventory. You can also dye your gear whichever color you want. That means you could conceivably make yourself look like a level 1 character, or you could keep the looks of that super-cool armor set you ditched a long time ago without having to worry about losing any stats.
  • Random Drop and Rare Random Drop: Present throughout the game, but zig-zagged with some instance bosses, who drop one box per character in the group/alliance. Said boxes give random gear exclusive to that boss.
  • Rare Candy: The items "Secret Remedy of Growth" (North America) / "Growth Serum" (Europe), sold in their respective cash shops at very high prices. These items fill up 20% of a character's experience bar and limited to characters level 54 or below.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Daeva remain at the age they ascend at until they die. This goes even if they are children.
    • Also a possibility for the shugo Vindachinerk, even though shugos can't become daeva. The game mentions that he was the one who created the first cubes, and that he learned how to make them from Empyrean Lord Israphel, the Lord of Space. The catch is that Israphel has been dead for several thousand years, so either Vindachinerk has somehow extended his lifetime by a ridiculous amount, or he used some kind of time travel.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Asmodian's eyes glow red in combat.
  • Regenerating Health and Regenerating Mana: The rate at which you regenerate these can be raised with skills or simply by sitting down. Some skills can slow this down for your enemy.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: The Balaur.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Kromede in Kromede's Trial.
  • Run Don't Walk: Can be toggled, but if you're set to walk mode and you draw your weapon, your character will automatically switch to run mode.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Shaga, a gladiator who fought in the Impetusium wooed many women who gazed into his eyes, and became the greatest champion who ever participated in the colosseum... until it was eventually discovered that he was a she.
  • Scenery Porn: Even at launch the game was considered one of the prettiest MMORPGs on the market, but from the looks of what's shown in the Aion Vision trailer this looks like it's going to be ramped up to eleven. The newer areas in Balaurea are especially this.
  • Shattered World: Atreia was split into three chunks, Elysea, Asmodae, and Reshanta (the Abyss). Balaurea is just the outer surface of the Elysean/Asmodian chunks.
  • Shoulders of Doom: While most shoulderplates are much more modest than those in World of Warcraft, several do exist in this game, the most iconic being the Graceful Shoulderplates model, which is nearly as wide as the character is tall, minus the flames spewing out. Some shoulderplates even have spikes.
  • Shout-Out: Aside from the quest titles, some game mechanics and monsters are these.
  • Sliding Scale of Cooperation vs. Competition: Group and alliance instances depend on cooperation (to the point where some alliance instance leaders will demand the use of a voice chat service). Fortress sieges, on the other hand, give out rewards and other sustained benefits if the fortress is captured...but depending on how much damage you do in relation to other players, your reward changes.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Kromede was considered so beautiful that people thought Aion itself sculpted her face. She was constantly showered with marriage proposals, politely turning them all down. She later became a Shadow Judge, but was eventually investigated for corruption. Her downfall was caused by the people hurt by her not returning their love giving the court evidence against her. However, the Kromede's Trial dungeon seemed to show that most of the latter part was inaccurate at best.
  • Socketed Equipment.
  • Space Jews: Shugos have a secretive culture based around trading and capitalism. One Shugo mentions that he has recently lost his fortune and is now "a young shugo with an old shugo's fur". An in-game book says "A Shugo will never cheat another Shugo, but taking advantage of other races seems to be encouraged." It also says "...Some go so far as to say that Shugos are responsible for all evil in the world. Some particularly vicious rumors claim that Shugos drink the blood of human infants..."
  • Soundtrack Dissonance:
    • Averted in the original zones introduced with the 1.x patches, where normally the music is peaceful and relaxing while the player is not battling, changes to faster battle tunes when the player enters combat mode. You can still turn off combat mode music in the settings, though.
    • Played straight in the zones introduced in 2.0 and later, as the newer zones do not have battle BGMs included. Even with battle BGM setting enabled, these peaceful music continue to play while the player is fighting enemies in these areas.
      • This holds particularly true for Katalam and Danaria, which are full-time PK zones. Area near capturable bases can be subject to intense battles. Examples of 4.0 zones BGMs: this or that.
  • Squishy Wizard: Sorcerers and to a lesser extent, Spiritmasters.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: The Asmodian Bollvig and the Elyos Myanee. The Asmodian Hinden and the Seiren Esnu. The upper-class Annemari and the low-born Jefaln. Empyrean lords Nezekan and Triniel. Bonus points to the last two couples for having children despite their respective taboos (Annemari/Jefaln out of wedlock while the former was engaged, Nezekan/Triniel for being Empyrean Lords, who are explicitly forbidden from having children amongst themselves by Aion Himself).
  • Staying Alive: Daeva can always resurrect their bodies if they're killed near an Obelisk. If they aren't near an obelisk, however, they run the risk of actually suffering a Final Death, or wandering around forever as a disembodied spirit.
  • Stone Wall: The Templar are the primary tanking class. Gladiators and the Priest branches aren't quite as durable, but they can work as substitute tanks. 4.5's Aethertechs were designed to be a magic-based version of Templars.
  • Super Mode: Players holding Abyss rank of 5th dan or higher (Army 5-star Officer) can transform into Guardian Generals, which have a huge amount of HP and MP, deals increased damage, and move much faster than normal players.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: Daevas use a Portal Network to get around quickly. Apparently, humans that try to use it telefrag themselves. In addition, there's the Sorcerer Blind Leap skill which teleports them backwards, and the Illusion Gate skill which opens a portal to their faction's capital city.
  • Torture Technician: Hamam the Torturer.
  • Undead Child: Boggarts
  • The Unfought: Lephar/Israphel.
  • Unwanted Revival: A few of the dead heroes for the Brusthonin campaign Graves of the Red Sky Legion are this.
    Ghost: Even when I'm dead I can't get any peace! What do I have to do to get some rest? I died! Isn't that enough?! What do you have to know about so badly that you'd wake the dead?
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: The mission statement of the Lepharists.
  • Vendor Trash: Gray items are explicitly Vendor Trash as indicated by in-game hints. NPC merchants' sell windows have a button that lets you sell all of your Vendor Trash in one click.
  • Verbal Tic: The Shugo, nyerk!
    • Actually, "nyerk" isn't so much of a verbal tick as it is a very offensive curse word in their own language making it an Unusual Euphemism rather than a Verbal Tic.
    • More accurately, their 'akakakakak' they occasionally add to the end of their sentences.
    • In the official forums of Americas' version, their profanity filter are configured to replace swear words into "nyerk".
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The Divine Fortress, in the center of the Abyss. Built inside the sun-like corpse of god, and visible from both worlds.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Assassins. One of their skill sets involves carving runes into their target's flesh with their weapons. Runes which then proceed to explode.
  • Video Game Flight: Winged Humanoid Daevas, which represent every single level 10+ player characters in the game.
    • Sprint Meter: in the form of a Flight Meter. Initially each character can only sustain 1 minute of free (hovering) flight. A character who depleted all available flight time while midair will fall to the ground, taking Falling Damage. Mounts can also use the flight meter as a Sprint Meter.
    • Free flight is only possible in small cylinder-shaped flight zones. Gravity Barrier and Invisible Wall surrounds the boundries of the flight zones, but you can glide past the InvisibleWalls. Exception: The entire Abyss (Reshanta) is a flight zone.
    • Not Quite Flight: Gliding can be done almost everywhere, even in areas where flight is prohibited (i.e. the majority of the game). Guiding will result in continuous loss of altitude, but you may catch some Vent Physics which allow you to stay in the air for a bit longer. You can even glide to some places that you are not supposed to be there (such as the ground level of Sanctum, which is a giant Bottomless Pit). Each second of gliding in flight zones consume flight time at half rate, but gliding in no-fly zones will consume flight meter at twice the rate of normal flight.
    • The wings also serves as an Improvised Parachute by hitting the glide key while falling.
    • Monsters are almost always on the ground, and trying to attack a grounded monster from midair will result in the monster regaining all health (called "resetting"). True AirborneMooks (as in they live in the sky, instead of a winged mob sticking to the ground all the time) are very rare in Aion.
    • Stationary Wings are averted, however. Except when gliding instead of flying, a Daeva's wings flap normally.
  • Visible Invisibility: Assassin and Ranger classes can make themselves invisible. If you're playing as one, you and members in your group can still see your character, only made partly transparent and hunched over.
  • Waterfall into the Abyss: Asteria Fortress has literal versions of these, as it's located in the Abyss.
  • When Trees Attack: Agrint mobs.
  • Whip Sword: Every melee weapon type has a selection of long-range extendable whip versions.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: If a human ascends while old and frail, they are going to stay old and frail for eternity. Likewise, children who ascend do not have the chance to grow up.
  • Womb Level: The Dredgion instances.
  • Wutai: Most areas involving the Mau.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: Emotes have shades of this. You start out with some basic ones like eating and sleeping, but battle-hardened Daevas apparently need skillbooks to learn to do push-ups.
  • You No Take Candle: The Krall combine this with Hulk Speak. Especially noticeable once you start doing quests with them.
    Targatu: Cah! White wing! White wing no hurt Targatu! Targatu friend! Targatu friend!!
  • You Will Not Evade Me: Templars can pull entire groups of enemies towards them.
  • Zettai Ryouiki