Aion trumpets 400,000 pre-orders

Also: GameGuard dropped from launch.

NCsoft has pumped itself up for next week's banner launch of Aion: The Tower of Eternity by telling the world that it has taken nearly 400,000 preorders for the massively multiplayer RPG.

According to NCsoft, that means it's "outpacing other major MMO launches this year" (although we can only think of one other, Champions Online). More importantly to players, it guarantees busy servers when the early access for pre-orderers starts this Sunday, 20th September.

The game then launches officially in the US on the Tuesday 22nd, and here in Europe on Friday 25th. Pre-orderers can also pre-select their servers and character names today.

Anyone who played the game's beta will be pleased to learn that NCsoft is removing the nProtect GameGuard anti-cheat software from Aion's launch, albeit temporarily. GameGuard caused technical problems for many players during beta.

"After analysing our open beta test results Aion will not feature GameGuard at launch. We will however continue to pursue ways to effectively utilize GameGuard within Aion in the future. Right now we're focused on providing players with the best possible Aion experience," the producer said on the official site.

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