You are my expansion,
My favorite expansion,
You'll make me happy
With a house and more.
You have to know, dear,
How much I want you!
Please hurry the expansion to my door!
Just when I thought I was getting a handle on waiting for Aion's sorta-soon-to-be-released 3.0 patch, NCsoft went and announced a slightly less nebulous launch date of "this spring." Our patch-to-be even has the auspicious privilege of having a name: Ascension. And you know a name means extra special! WOOO! I, of course, started a requisite wing-flapping celebratory dance, but my tune soon changed: As exciting as this news was, I quickly realized that the more concrete the knowledge, the more I wanted it to release already. GAH -- this wait is truly taxing my patience! There is just so much to look forward to.
Last week I regaled you with a stirring, soulful rendition of anticipation for 3.0. Together we explored just a few of the goodies in store for patient and -- luckily for me -- not-so-patient Daevas alike. This week the recital continues, and as promised, Wings Over Atreia takes another peek at more of the features coming our way and highlights some of the more tantalizing additions and changes, including new fortresses with their own unique siege system, XP changes, mounts, and more.
One of the most interesting new features of 3.0 is the altered siege system that is being introduced alongside the new fortresses. As a personal fan of the RvR system in Warhammer Online, I have never liked Aion's archaic pre-guerrilla warfare philosophy, basically when enemies sent invitations and made play-dates for battle. I can understand the desire to use this method to encourage large sieges with greater participation, but the whole idea that a fort can be attacked only at prescribed times annoys me on a fundamental level. What, stone becomes impervious depending on time? Also, in my mind it excludes so many players who can't be available for that minuscule time period. That's why I like the direction of the new sieges.
In the new Tiamaranta region, there will be four locations can capture. However, the sieges for these four locations will be unlike any others in Aion: Not only will these locations become vulnerable every three hours, but five minutes before vulnerability, they will always revert to Balaur control. In other words, no race can just sit back on its laurels and reap benefits of fort ownership just because it has one good showing then went MIA. Each side needs to go back each and every time to retake the area! This really encourages more siege participation. Why? Because the passage into the Eye of Tiamaranta will appear only when one race owns more than two of the four areas. If you want access to that zone, you really have to put some effort into getting there!
To conquer and claim the area, attackers must defeat the defender that spawns within a 30-minute time limit (as opposed to the hour that sieges last throughout the rest of Atreia). If the attackers fail, the defender disappears and the siege ends. Ownership of these areas will not affect the race influence ratio, however.
Another difference between these new sieges and the others is that loot won't be distributed via in-game mail. Instead, Daevas will have to hail an NPC that appears after the siege and do a short quest to claim their rewards. How long this NPC remains is not known, so those who like to come for only a few minutes of a siege to get reward may lose out if they leave early.
Yes, you heard me! It may have been a little off key, but it is truly a happy tune: reduced XP requirements to level up beyond 46. My very first Aion article heralded the introduction of repeatable quests to lessen the grind. However, those quests take you only so far. The next small victory in the war against the level grind came with the solo instances; unfortunately, with the exception of Taloc's Hollow, these XP fonts dry up rather quickly as well. And anyone who has tried to claw her way up the level ladder to the top-most rungs knows that the current requirements are astronomical. So kudos for one more successful strike in the fight against the grind!
Let's hear it for the PvP
Last week's article mentioned the increase in the level cap and the subsequent addition of new PvP gear for said higher levels, but that's not all that's coming for the PvP-minded crowd. Here are a few of the other notable nuggets:
A new magical enhancement system (much like conditioning) for certain items using AP is being added. Keep in mind here that you cannot fuse weapons that can be magically enhanced with weapons that can be conditioned.
There are a few changed in the arena of Discipline, including an increased maximum score and a new point-spread cap (1500) that will end the training.
To obtain the higher level of AP gear, Daevas will need to stock up on mithril medals. Word is that the coin fountains in the new areas will actually work and allow coins to be exchanged. One aspect I am not sure I like is that level 60 abyss armor will be restricted not just by armor type but by class. So any Clerics who might have planned on a set of cloth PvP gear are out of luck -- only Sorcerers and Spiritmasters can equip it.
A new form of currency is also being introduced; it's called Opportunity Tokens. Daevas who do not fare as well in the arenas (ranked fourth through tenth in Chaos, second in Discipline) will receive these new tokens that can be exchanged for a box of opportunity. These boxes contain a bead that can be used like a scroll inside the arenas. Special abilities include full heath and mana restoration, invincibility, increased attack or casting speed, and even the ability to transform into a monster for a time with special skills and all. The cool-down of these beads will be 10 minutes, so choose wisely which bead you use when.
Flying is great, but going faster is always better! The new mounts will allow just that, a way to satisfy my need for speed whether on foot or in flight! While some of us would be satisfied just with the knowledge of more speed (faster, faster, FASTER!), here are a few more details.
Mounts will work as items placed in your inventory; Daevas will have to use them in order to ride then accelerate by pressing the R key. To the consternation of Chanters everywhere, vehicle speed is fixed and is not proportional to character speed, so having buffs won't make a difference. And don't think you can gain an advantage in a fight with the extra speed: Daevas will not be able to use skills, use items, or engage in combat while riding a vehicle.
Daevas will be able to speak to NPCs while mounted but will be automatically dismounted when entering a broker area (a fact that has one friend of mine dancing the jig). Mounts will also be dismissed upon entering an instance or when attacked. So much for a quick getaway!
Eager for a snazzy ride? Mounts will be available for purchase from special merchants in the residential areas and as loot from bosses in instances. Mounts can also be looted from monsters that appear in Elian and Pernon. Mobs in the residential areas? Yup -- that's what it says.
While often the changes and additions in expansions/patches/whatever they are called are welcome and necessary, some really make you scratch your head. Such is the case with this one: Players will no longer be able to resurrect themselves inside the Dredgions by using either form of self-rez stones, Tombstones of Revival or Reviving Elemental Stones. No idea what the reasoning behind this is, but if we find out, I'll pass it along!
Another addition I am not sure how I feel about is the new random stat system. Basically, when a Daeva picks up an item, there is a chance that a stat on the item will actually change! Only some items will have random stats applied, but it will be a real bummer if the stat that you were most wanting actually changes for the worse.
Is it that time already? I suppose it is. Once again, I could not get through all of the interesting tidbits before running out of space and time. So join me after a brief intermission for a new verse dedicated completely to the upcoming crafting changes. Snack are available in the lobby.
Soaring through the Aionosphere, MJ Guthrie touches down weekly to bring you Wings Over Atreia. Featuring tips, guides, and general snippets of life in Aion, the column is better than Tutty-on-a-stick, ackackackackackack! Have a suggestion to share? No need to bribe a Shugo -- just send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.