This is what Aion looked like for those of us who managed to log in at around 12:02PM Pacific time yesterday, two minutes past the servers going live.
If you look closely, you can see my chanter-to-be Caliban, lost amidst a sea of people acting how they normally do when gathered in large groups via the internet. The server is Azphael; the side Asmodian. For the next five hours I would randomly crash three times, say the word "fuck" on at least 120 separate occasions, and eventually make it to level 9, at which point I left the newbie hubbub behind in favor of the more subdued, higher-level hubbub.
Yesterday we talked about queues a upwards of seven hours long, and while I certainly commiserate with those left waiting, it almost seemed as if the servers remembered who was online in case of a crash, letting them slip right back in as soon as they returned. At least this was my experience. I'm almost positive that at one point my server went down completely, and there were a few instances of severe server-wide rubber-banding (running the length of a road and finding yourself snapped back to the beginning), but otherwise things seemed rather smooth considering the huge influx of players.
My main problem was due to the initial rush. With that many people in your starting zone, quest items will be camped, and quest monsters will be slaughtered mercilessly. At first NCsoft had 10 instances of the newbie area available for players to freely switch between, but each one was packed, causing severe quest bottlenecks, especially when the quest required players to click on one item that spawned every two minutes. It was chaotic.
Later in the day I went back through and completed some of the quests I skipped, and things seemed to have calmed down a bit. I suspect the full launch tomorrow will experience similar problems. My suggestion? Skip quests and grind, or simply wait a bit to start leveling up.
I've managed to make it to level 12 so far myself, with Caliban the chanter kicking ass and taking names left and right while searching for a guild that's a little more about roleplay than most. I know, good luck with that, right? Either way, I hope to see some of you in game. If I don't respond, I'm asleep with my face on the keyboard.