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Reader Comments (19)

Posted: Apr 26th 2010 1:25PM Crsh said

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What's odd to me is that NCsoft still hasn't improved anything, double XP weekends are a band-aid for an obvious problem and they have been going on for over 6 months.

Sure patch 1.9 is going live soon, but that's just more XP-bandaging, not actual new content to fill the holes and gaps.

Posted: Apr 26th 2010 1:35PM (Unverified) said

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what about the hundreds of new quests they are adding with patch 1.9 ??and dont say you want content patch as the game i not out long but they will need to add some in a month or two when peps get to level cap with this patch
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Posted: Apr 26th 2010 3:37PM Fausts said

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I wonder if raysie27 even plays Aion.
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Posted: Apr 26th 2010 2:02PM Alex Oglitchkin said

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They are just adding a couple daily quests is all Raysie27. They are however tweaking some older quests to give more exp and easier to do.

Yes people do want a content patch now raysie27 because there is lack of endgame content to play with. People get bored of doing the same pvp scenarios and Dark Poeta over and over.

I will say this now. Patch 1.9 will actually kill the game faster because things become easier and with endgame content being boring. Patch 2.0 that does have new content is gonna be a loooong ways away.

Good luck to whoever sticks around.

Posted: Apr 26th 2010 2:13PM (Unverified) said

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I've been playing Aion since launch, and there a few things about your column that has bothered me recently, so I wanted to take the time to speak up. Firstly, I'm glad you're enjoying Aion. It's really nice to come on Massively every day and see if you're posted because I know I'll get a nice quality article about Aion-- even if it's highlighting negatives.

So I want to start with the awful grind word. The grind can be awful and it can be even more awful when you reach level 35. I got one of my alts to level 36 this double experience weekend and I've decided to just pretend leveling doesn't exist anymore and to just log on and just do things. The levels will come in time.

This is true for level 40, and something I want to bring up about your column. You mention a lot about how you'll get to level 40 and stop playing a character (this is true for your level 41 Sorc). While you're not alone, my question to you is why? A lot of the vets know that level 40-50 doesn't essentially matter. Almost everyone just pretends they are at cap by level 40. The reason for this is because with the exception of Dark Poeta, a level 40 can participate in every end game instance, and be extremely effective in PvP/Fortress battles. If you're level 40, you're at end game. I love this about Aion. You don't have to be at cap to be at end game in Aion. So if you're jumping ship at 40 because you're not going to make 50, you're jumping ship when you get to end game. Don't! You're viewing Aion in numbers! By level 40 you have several new instances for you to dig into, and the gear obtained in them will *still* be *amazing* for you at 50. If there was an option to turn off the experience bar, I bet you a *ton* of level 40+ players would do it. Simply because, you're 40, you can do almost everything. Why do you need to watch your experience bar after that? The levels will come as you play. :)

One quick second topic: I haven't seen you mention much about fortress battles. I'm unsure as to what server you play on, but my server is *insane* in this regard. Each night when a fortress is about to become Vulnerable, our entire side rallies up (hundreds of us) and we get on two 300 person Vent channels that two amazing fortress-loving people have set up for our server. Fortress battles are such a huge deal on a few servers, I'm curious if you're on one of the servers that have chosen not to care much about them? Or if you're on the 'losing' side and your side in particular just doesn't care about fortresses? I've seen it. If that's the case, you're missing a *huge* part of the game and need to take advantage of the server transfers when they get here soon!

And lastly, I smiled when you you asked why NCsoft just doesn't turn on the double experience permanently. Yes you're right, it's a bandaid that is catering to our screaming and yelling and banging pots and pans about the grind, but at the same time I would be mighty upset if they put that on permanently. Mind you, I agree that the grind 35+ sucks but I don't know about you guys, maybe I'm just a really nerdy little girl, but it feels like Christmas and my birthday in one night when they announce a double experience weekend. I jump for joy, do a lot of dancing and a lot of schedule shifting just so I can take advantage of the weekend to its fullest. I love it. It's so exciting and it's so fun logging in on the weekend and seeing so many people talking and making bets about who can stay up the latest, who can lose the most sleep, etc. etc. It's silly, entertaining, fun, and best of all: we *all* have something in common that weekend: a goal. During the weeks and days that aren't double experience weekend, there just isn't the same attitude and excitement. Which could be a bad thing and a good thing. Bad thing: maybe we *do* need double experience weekends on all the time to keep morale and excitement high (but wouldn't this die down after a while?). Good thing: It's so nice to look forward to such excitement that is in everyone on these weekends.

So again, I want to say thank you. I love your column and I love it when I get on Massively and see your logo for your column pop up. Although I must say, as an Asmodian. I'm offended that you opted out to have an Elyos-only logo! :) I hope I was of some help in making you feel less down about your higher level characters which you deserve to enjoy! Just remember that you aren't alone about your opinion at all. If anything, you've hit it right on the head about the current state of Aion. With all MMOs, it takes time to shape the game. :)

And on this long note, I think I just wrote an article for Massively. :)

Tiffany

Posted: Apr 26th 2010 2:49PM Ace Noble said

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I personally like to stick with the "mini-skirt" guideline:
Long enough to cover the subject but short enough to be interesting.
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Posted: Apr 26th 2010 8:55PM Jef Reahard said

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@Dawndus:

Thanks for following the column, and for the kind words.

That's an interesting point you raise about the 40-50 leveling. A couple of my friends have said that as well, and I know that eventually I'll get to max level just by virtue of sticking it out. That said, the reason I would like to get to 50 sooner is because of PvP, which in my experience is rather pointless for me as a 41 sorc versus say, anyone of any class above 45. I'm looking to ignore the XP bar though, in other games I've actually turned it off and roleplayed or quested or what have you. Then it's a pleasant surprise when you level as opposed to an exercise in clock-watching.

To your other point, I have taken part in a few sieges (I'm on Lumiel), and my guild has even taken a couple of forts, but a) the performance hit is considerable and b) I'm just really bad at PvP. I'm a disposable body and basically a zerger, and I haven't devoted any column space to that because I don't feel like enough of an expert to comment. That may change if I get more into it, but right now sieges are kind of a sideshow for me personally. I stand back and spam ranged attacks on the general, or go out with some other sacrificial lambs to draw off invading Asmos and start the gank/respawn ritual until the kisk runs dry. In theory I think sieges are pretty cool; in practice they could stand some tweaks.

Finally, I agree with your observation that the double XP weekends bring an excitement to the game that is otherwise lacking. That's actually the original point I set out to make in this week's column before it sort of devolved into a rant, ha. The problem I see with that is it kind of devalues the normal game experience. If all people are looking forward to is that double xp high, you get a bunch of unhappy campers when it goes away and I really think NCSoft needs to look long and hard at why that is.

The answer, for my own particular tastes, would be non-combat additions to the game: housing, mini-games, roleplay tools, basically anything that doesn't involve going out and grinding. I don't have to advance my character to enjoy MMOs, in fact I'd rather not have to, I prefer to explore and inhabit. Aion has absolutely nothing to do other than ride the treadmill, and that's a shame because the world and the lore is quite cool and lends itself to player creativity, imho. I'm probably in the minority on that, most people want more quests/content and that would be fine with me too. In my ideal Aion world, we'd get both.

Oh and I've got some Asmo art coming, I rolled one up a couple weeks ago when I started having alt-itis, so Wings Over Atreia won't always be written from an Elyos perspective.

Cheers.
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Posted: Apr 26th 2010 9:55PM (Unverified) said

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So I'm fighting against you on Lumiel? :) That's a shame!
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Posted: Apr 26th 2010 10:22PM Jef Reahard said

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Well, not necessarily, lol. I've got a baby Asmo gladiator on Lumiel also, just haven't had time to get him out of the newb zone yet. That's the one good thing about dreading post-40 life I guess, plenty of alts.
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Posted: Apr 26th 2010 2:43PM (Unverified) said

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I'd gladly trade double XP (which with Energy of Repose and the upcoming Energy of Salvation, plus playing alts, I don't really need) for the improved drop rate during double XP weekends. I don't mean instanced dungeons, that is being addressed (hopefully), but just regular drops from mobs. When I kill 12 creatures, all the same level as my character, and get a grand total of two manastones and nothing else, something is wrong. Compare that to during the double XP weekend I killed the occasional creature that got in my way, which was 8 levels lower, and got some decent drops or at least something to sell, every time!

Monsters within the range of your character that give XP rewards should always drop something, even if it is just some gray item you can sell for a little.

Crafting proc rates need to be improved somewhat. And not just a minor bump in the percentage chance. It should be a counter, every attempt increases the chance, so the more times you try the more likely you are to succeed. As it is now, by the time I finally craft something decent my character has probably already out leveled that range and needs the next higher item. With fewer and fewer people playing, crafted and dropped items to use instead are getting harder to buy as well. I enjoy crafting.. well, not the actual sitting there watching it, but the end result, and like to make my own gear. At least make it reasonable to make some nice stuff if we put so much time and money into getting the materials.

I'm very mixed about this game. The core parts: the world, the graphics, the combat, what little lore there is, the monsters, flight and so forth I really enjoy. The problems with crafting, drop rates, quest XP rates, manastone failure destroys all manastones, lack of interface options, primitive in-game features, and near total lack of any new content after 7 months; are very worrying, more so because NCWest either can't or won't do anything about it, they just keep going along with their "everything is great" attitude, while just about everyone I knew has quit to wait on 2.0 or probably have left for good. Perhaps the test servers are a sign of things moving in the right direction finally, but unless someone gets their rear ends in gear and get 2.0 out soon, there won't be many people left playing this game. I guess I can at least enjoy not being ganked constantly while leveling up my alts, the silver lining to everyone leaving.... until I want to do some PvP.

Posted: Apr 26th 2010 3:03PM Ace Noble said

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"Why are you refusing to acknowledge the fact that Atreia appeals to many Western players but for the hellacious mid to high level grind? What have you got to lose by making increased XP gain a permanent feature of the game?"

I agree with Jef Reahard, and am happy that someone has finally made an article about this. My personal theory is that NCSoft has some twisted idea that slow leveling will mean they can put off adding more end game content. One example of their lazy philosophy is City of Heroes where they reuse old maps instead of expanding the world.

Of course, they did increase XP in Korea. NCSoft is just slower to please westerners.

P.S: Geezus. What's with all the full essay comments?

Posted: Apr 26th 2010 3:13PM design1stcode2nd said

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At this point Aion is a stop gap until something better comes along. Resubbed to AoC to see if it was any better, and it's not. My system still crashes on occasion and the game just isn't appealing.

Most single-player games I finish too fast (day and a half to finish CoD MW2. Great game but too short unless you want to get rolled by teenagers in multiplayer)

So now I'm waiting on Blade & Soul or Diablo III at this point. I can barely play Aion unless I have a double exp weekend, amulet of lodas and full Energy of repose, so basically +150% exp gain and it still seems slow.

Posted: Apr 26th 2010 3:15PM (Unverified) said

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Jef,

My main character is an Asmodian chanter and yes, I almost stopped playing him as the chanter skills below level 30 are pretty poor. I was having much more fun playing just about every other class. But the class starts to be fun again with the 34 and 37 skills. I also rethought my manastone selections, accessories and so forth, to make him more of a solo killing machine. High crit rates with lots of knock-downs, improved damage rates, mana pots and attack food, I can self heal through most things so don't worry about taking damage; instead of a group buff / backup healer type with lots of mana and HP. Now I'm back to enjoying the class and don't worry about trying to find groups that really would rather have anything BUT a chanter help them.

I also try to keep an eye out for others solo or duo grinding around me, buff and heal them when needed, and they usually appreciate it, which is nice to be able to do, as most clerics are usually busy in groups running instances.

Ironically, on the server where my Elyos spiritmaster is, chanters are in high demand for grouping.

Posted: Apr 26th 2010 9:05PM Jef Reahard said

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@Wade:

Thanks for those Chanter insights. I'll probably stick with him even through the grindy levels, as I'm enjoying the class quite a bit already. It's good to hear that you're still finding things to like in the late 30s.

/tiphat
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Posted: Apr 26th 2010 3:30PM Fausts said

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When our version of Aion needs fixing, NCSoft NA has to make a long distance call to NCSoft Korea who puts them on hold. That's why it takes so long.

They don't care. They don't need us. Subscription is by the hour in Korea.

The future of Aion in North America:

• Merging of low population servers

• Promotion of even more Aion cash shops.

• More promises.

In the near future all this will end as soon as a more competent company comes out with something that gives us all the things we loved in Aion.

Posted: Apr 26th 2010 3:52PM (Unverified) said

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@Dawndus:

I'm 42 and see nothing I can do outside of SR mid grinding and well, grinding. Is that end game? I certainly don't feel as if I'm anywhere near endgame. PvP? Where? I can't attend sieges due to the fact that every time I do, I'm furiously ganked by 2 Miragent lolyos who camp everywhere I seem to go. And then I have to pay another 12k Kinah to fly back again to be ganked all over again. Lower sieges are non existent or full of Elyos and a complete lack of Asmos.

Server spirit equates to nothing. English guilds recruiting someone of my caliber (and who actually siege/ are active) are scarce. The server doesn't organise a thing, sieges are pathetic (upper) and minority language guilds cripple any organised upper fort action due to their band of level 50's defending Sulfur/quitting after wiping once at Asteria. Elyos have had the upper forts for 3 months now, or so.

I wouldn't say I'm a casual player, popping in every hour a night. I have time to waste, and Aion supplies me with a grand nothing to waste my time on. I don't want to spend hours grinding out levels at a time, SR hats or even wandering around the Abyys looking for something to kill. PERHAPS if I had people around me, PERHAPS I would enjoy my time. I wouldn't mind spending hours in SR at a time, killing the same mobs with the same tactics with the same predictable aggro tables, but such are the wonders of being on an EU server.

Posted: Apr 26th 2010 6:54PM Graill440 said

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Always nice to see the rose colored glass wearers touting all the good and obvious, lets remove those glasses shall we?

Aion west.....

Severe grind, gm answer, all mmo's grind in some way.

Rift ganking: gm answer, we cant change anything until our parent company does, we understand "some" players abuse the system. Thats a direct quote by the way.

Boring static abyss: gm answer, its fine.

Extremely low server pops and the need to merge: gm answer, we have a robust population overall in both korea and the west there is no need to merge servers. political spin if i ever saw it. A true robotic response imo.

These were some questions i asked and received emails back from. They clearly show many problems and no solutions being presented. My biggest concern was players abusing the rift systems to gain easy AP, they are aware of the problem but can do nothing (aion west) i found this odd since the parent company isnt here and they see the result of ganking, dead servers. Grinding was a contributing factor but not wholly reponsible.

Sorry ass mechanics leads to a sorry ass game and sorry ass players in that game, this equates to zero new subs, the few ruining it for the many. Read the general forums or peak in a few server forums, the gankers are openly touting how they cannot wait till the patch hits so the have "new" prey. Level 34 forever players in maxed gear slaughtering level 20-34 folks for easy ap saving up for their level 50 armor, ya this is a game i want to play.

Before anyone tries to defend this little slice of ignorance in Aion by saying those players earned their gear by hard work and skill let me point something out, players participating in pve have no choice but to level in pvp areas, people that want to pve and then pvp at end game need not apply because of the game mechanics. Players stay level 34 for a reason, to gank those easy AP points. They do not grind AP in the abyss, where they should be or in the level 40/50 areas because they themselves would get rolled by higher level toons.

Dont try to defend AIons ignorant map layouts and leveling areas either.

The only skill involved is finding the nearest open rift into lowbe land, and the hard work? Killing the same low level players over and over and over and over.

Posted: Apr 27th 2010 10:39AM Alex Oglitchkin said

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I completely agree with you about teh ganking. It wasn't very thought out. Personally I wish they would have capped PVP gear with level restrictions on it. (ie.lvl 30-35, 36-43-44-50) Also put a cap on the total amount of AP that can be earned per level. At level 50 remove the AP cap of course and let them earn as much as they want. This would have fixed so much of the ganking of drove so many new players away from the game. Aion killed Aion is pretty much the story.

Zikel was once a highly populated server til Elyos pretty much got all geared up from their extra nice bosses and dominated pvp which drove Asmos to quit or reroll elyos on another server. But hey it's just a Korean game that care only for themselves.

Let's just hope that En Masse truely will take control of the western version of Tera Online. Also GW2 will kill Aion off more.
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Posted: Apr 27th 2010 11:35AM (Unverified) said

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I still think the biggest, easiest fix to ganking would be to remove level penalties for PvP. If a group of 20s could actually inflict damage on a level 30 player, then players would be more inclined to fight back because they actually could stand a chance.

The more difficult fix would be to go across the board and reduce the difference between the topmost and bottommost gear at each level, so the twinked players are only enjoying minor advantages in a fight as opposed to the tremendous advantages they see now.

If you did these, complaints about the slow level curve would be diminished because meaningful PvP would actually be available at 25, whether you seek it out in rifts/the Abyss or it finds you in the form of self-defense in your home territory.

-SirNiko
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