Picking up Aion's free Assault On Balaurea expansion at retail has its benefits, including one of several retailer-exclusive pets, each with a special benefit for players possessing it. Dibs on the odd-looking squirrel thing!

Assault On Balaurea, due out on September 7 in North America, adds pets to NCsoft's MMO, but not the useless cosmetic pets you find in other online role-playing games. Aion's pets have a purpose.

Pets in Aion are split up into five groups initially. Companions adventure alongside their owners. Signal pets alert their owners to nearby enemies. Pack pets add inventory slots. Fortune pets give their owners presents after being well-fed. And Purebred pets combine multiple functions into one pet. That's important, for while characters will have 100 pet slots, only one can be active at a time.

Assault On Balaurea is a free expansion, but NCsoft is releasing a new retail SKU combining the expansion with the main game, and inside each copy will be a retailer-exclusive pet, along with a speckled Ailu (Panda), a premium Pack pet which increases a player's warehouse by 12 slots.

Check out the gallery below to see who gets what when Assault On Balaurea launches on September 7.

Aion's Assault On Balaurea Bonus Pets Are Functional As Well As Ornamental

QVS – Altgard Kitter Companion Pet

Aion's Assault On Balaurea Bonus Pets Are Functional As Well As Ornamental

Amazon.com – Beluslan Kitter Companion Pet

Aion's Assault On Balaurea Bonus Pets Are Functional As Well As Ornamental

Wal-Mart – Border Daggie Companion Pet

Aion's Assault On Balaurea Bonus Pets Are Functional As Well As Ornamental

NCsoft Store – Fuzzy Elroco Companion Pet

Aion's Assault On Balaurea Bonus Pets Are Functional As Well As Ornamental

NCsoft Store – Fuzzy Elroco Companion Pet

Aion's Assault On Balaurea Bonus Pets Are Functional As Well As Ornamental

NCsoft Store – Fuzzy Elroco Companion Pet

Aion's Assault On Balaurea Bonus Pets Are Functional As Well As Ornamental

GameStop – Grassy Drakie Companion Pet

Aion's Assault On Balaurea Bonus Pets Are Functional As Well As Ornamental

Best Buy/Best Buy Canada – Heiron Kitter Companion Pet

Aion's Assault On Balaurea Bonus Pets Are Functional As Well As Ornamental

Steam – Skullabra Krall Companion Pet

Aion's Assault On Balaurea Bonus Pets Are Functional As Well As Ornamental

Everybody