Previously, we explored the different aspects of 3.0 using the translated Korean patch notes. Those are all well and good for giving us a good basis for what to expect, but there are always little changes in the western release of the game (see instance names), not to mention exact details of some of the systems (like mounts) are lacking. Luckily Aion's newly released official game guide, though incomplete, has new information to pass along to interested Daevas. And let's not forget the unexpected goodness of the impending free-to-play model. Yup, I can definitely find a few more things to chat about there.
If you are still reading, then either you had your interest rekindled or you are patiently waiting for me to get to the goods. So let's get on with it!
Git along li'l doggie
Or more accurately, li'l stingray. Or speeder bike. Or... well there are actually eight mounts joining Daevas in Atreia, and each mount has its own stats along with differing looks. Sadly for the younglings, the first mounts (Cirruspeed and Blue Surfrider) can't even be used until level 30. The remaining mounts can be utilized at ether level 58 or level 60. The Airskim Surfider can be used starting at 50, but this is a temporary one-hour mount. Daevas who want to test drive a mount before forking over the huge amount of cash to get one can complete the requisite quest and get the use of a mount for an hour. Something tells me these wont be repeatable, though.
Each mount has a ground movement speed, a flight speed, and a sprint speed. All mounts share the same sprint timer of 10 seconds except for the Airskim, which gets 12 seconds, and the Blue Surfrider, which gets none. Sprint itself uses flight time. As expected, the higher-level mounts have the highest stats, and the best ones will be rare and expensive.
The next detail worth noting about the mounts is the fact that while you can be knocked off while riding, one tap isn't an automatic dismount! This sounds more promising, especially if you want to make a fast getaway. Summoning the mount will take about a second and can be interrupted via movement or an attack. However, once you're on the mount, there is a chance that you will keep on and keep going despite being hit.
Good news for you DoT lovers out there: The chance of dismounted a target increases each time the DoT damages him/her, so although an enemy may withstand the initial hit, each subsequent tick increases the chance of being knocked off. Terrain hazards like lava have the same effect. Blindness, silence, and attack speed reduction do not ever dismount the target. Neither does falling damage... unless you die. The skills paralysis, fear, sleep, stun, knock back, stumble, and aether's hold will dismount the target 100% of the time; so will all altered state skills that affect movement. Oh, I am going to like tossing my root out on random racers!
Previously noted as available to Daevas levels 58-60, Rentus Base is open only to levels 59 and 60. The cooldown timer is 12 hours. A six-Daeva dungeon, Rentus sports nine named mobs for your looting pleasure. From these, you can obtain heroic weapons and shields, fabled armor (class sets a la Beshmundir Temple), and heroic-level mounts. A mount? Count me in! A treasure box also offers fabled hats. I'm hoping they are funny hats -- everyone loves a funny hat. Now if only there were housing items inside as well...
To enter, grab up to five friends and head into Tiamaranta. Sadly, we have little other information about what to expect because there appears to be a bit of error in the guide; in the "Enemies" section where it was supposed to talk about some aspects of the mobs, someone mistakenly pasted the "Information" section. Either that, or the mobs will be other level 59-60 players! Hmmm... nah.
Deep in the forest
Elementis Forest/Arden Manor is the new name given to Landis Forest/Dorgal Manor. Why the change? No idea. Possibly just to mess with me. Or because Landis sounded too much like Lando, and we simply can't have cross IP references, now can we!! Whatever the true reason, here are a few factoids:
Like Rentus, Elementis Forest has a different level range than first reported, except this time, it goes in the Daevas' favor: EF is open to players from levels 57 (not 58) through 60. This dungeon will be a two-group instance for 12 possible players with a 22-hour lockout.
Mobs will be level 60 heroic, and you can continue through the dungeon only by defeating named mobs. Fun fact: There are some named mobs that are actually hidden inside. Successfully butcher these bosses and you have the chance to get fabled gear and possibly an 18-slot pack pet. Wooo, pet! I'll be heading in for sure.
When I first spoke about the new instances, I mentioned being curious whether there was actually a possible sixth instance coming or Elementis Forest/Arden Manor counted as two with the same description. The sad news is yes, it counts as two separate instances. EF and AM are theoretically the same instance, just split into two separate parts like Udas Temple splits into Upper and Lower. Another similarity to Udas is that the the armor sets have a set bonus. However, the sets are more like Besh's sets in that the gear is class-specific.
Who says NCsoft doesn't listen to the wants of players? I know I griped and groused, asking how on Atreia Aion was supposed to keep players if the entire F2P population was unable to trade or buy goods. That question has been partially answered with the remedy that all players can sell any amount of stuff on the trade broker. My only concern with this wording is whether or not players can actually buy off the broker. True, all players can unload their looted or crafted goods on the broker, but there needs to be a fairly large consumer base in order to actually make any kinah.
While there isn't a lot of information out on the new free-to-play model (more will be revealed the closer it gets to launch), the a la carte system sounds like an accurate adaptation for this market. On top of the self-serve features, players no longer even need to buy the game. Instead, just download it and hop right in. I am even impressed with the declaration that Ncsoft won't hound you with constant offers or promotions. My guess is that the site and launchpad will be the biggest advertisements.
I still have many questions about what will be put in the newly rechristened Black Cloud Marketplace, and I am sure many of you are curious as well. As the information comes available, Wings Over Atreia will keep you posted. Until then, answer this: Did anyone correctly guess when F2P would launch? My June guess was pretty off. Who thought it would be so soon?
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.