Ascent: Infinite Realm or “A:IR” is an interesting MMO. First announced in 2017, A:IR represents the last of a golden age of “Korean-MMOs”. Avoiding the mistakes that led up to Bless Online’s failure, A:IR was slated for a Western CBT in Q1 of 2018. However, after completing their 1st CBT in Korea, Bluehole studios decided that A:IR needed a complete overhaul. Since then, there has not been any timeline announced in when Western CBT can be expected. Despite the delay, anticipation for A:IR in the West still remains high. Why is that? Well, let’s take a closer look.
A:IR is capitalizing on something that we really don’t see in a lot of AAA MMOs. That simple fact is aerial combat. Tie that up with the aesthetics and graphics of steampunk and flying ships, A:IR has tapped into an unlimited potential in the market. I mean who doesn’t want to fly their own steampunk ship? Now aside from aerial combat, this category in the MMO genre hasn’t really been defined. Meaning, anything done in terms of aerial combat is considered revolutionizing. Aside from Riders of Icarus, no developer has really pushed the envelope for creating an MMO revolved around aerial combat. I’m excited to see what Bluehole studios has cooked up for this.
Now everything else A:IR features is pretty common in your standard Korean MMOs, including dailies, housing, mini-games, and solo dungeons. I think honestly most of the hype is revolved around 3 aspects.
The Western World has been dying for another Korean-MMO since Black Desert and Bless-Online. So its no surprise that when A:IR was announced, there was already an initial hype for it. Especially when things were looking grim for Bless Online.
As I mentioned earlier, A:IR has a unique style of graphics that we rarely see in modern-day MMO’s, steampunk has always captivated the MMO masses, especially with airships.
The fact that this is also coming out of Bluehole studios, a credible game developer that was responsible for Tera just alone generated hype. All things aside, Tera is considered a successful MMO in the West, despite the “Pay2Win” negativity towards the publisher.
These 3 aspects alone have captivated the curiosity of the MMO population. We also have to consider that though the Western version of A:IR has remained silent, progress in the overall game has made strides. Examples can be seen with Thailand’s recent CBT of A:IR this year. So rest assured, progress is being made!
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