As is customary here at Massively, on this auspicious anniversary day I'm going to dedicate this Wings Over Atreia to a reflection on the past year, looking at what has changed since our last stroll down memory lane and what has stayed the same. And you are cordially invited to join me for plenty of reminiscing... and of course, CAKE!
As you may have noticed over the years, NCsoft introduces to Aion one huge expansion and a number of smaller yet still substantial content updates each year. And this year was no different: While the biggest news was the launch of the much-anticipated 4.0, other patches, along with smaller updates like addressing the RMT plague and the feature allowing folks to invite offline friends to friends list, also expanded and improved Aion in ways besides increased land mass.
The first to arrive, 3.5 hit very shortly after the game's third anniversary in North America (which, by the way, lends credence to the idea that 4.5 and the Aethertechs may very well be launching relatively soon!) and in January in Europe. Legions got some goodies with a higher cap, legion side quests, and special mounts. Rifting-wise, the level cap was removed from regular rifts and Dimensional Vortexes began allowing enemy infiltration into Brusthonin and Theobomos.
Following that came 3.7, an update that added The Hexway to available instances and a 2v2 training arena in the Crucible Coliseum. Other changes included a raise in the Fast Track server level-limit to 55 and the transformation of many lockout timers to time-of-day resets. And probably the most important addition (at least for packrats like yours truly) was the implementation of the special cube that holds all currencies, tokens, and quest items, freeing up valuable inventory space! Europe, however, skipped ahead to 3.9.
And of course, the crowning update of the year was the 4.0 expansion for both NA and EU, which brought heaps of new content, including three new zones (complete with an all new way to get your PvP on), 11 new dungeons, and two of the three new classes. And as if all that weren't enough, cross-server instance group feature was implemented.
Bring it on!
One thing that stands out this year over previous ones is the expansion of the opportunities to battle your non-AI enemies. From raising the rift level caps to adding new rifting events to revamping the siege system in Katalam and Danaria, one focus really seemed to be on offering both more and more varied ways to participate in PvP. With multiple bases throughout the new zones, there are many more chances to get in on some action and change the balance of power in those regions.
To encourage more player altercations and lessen the bite of losing AP upon defeat, NCsoft also increased the amount of AP gained when defeating a foe.
Another notable focus was on increasing customization options for Daevas who want to personalize themselves and their surroundings. The 3.5 update heralded new customization options in housing exteriors, interiors, and furnishings (furniture dye yay!) as players built up their local housing areas and acquired new NPCs. Additionally, players who loved the stats but hated the look of a certain pair of wings could re-skin them with a more appealing pair thanks to 3.7. And speaking of re-skinning...
Contrary to previous years, this year Aion changed up its regular content routine and introduced a level of player involvement never before seen in-game. NCsoft held contests giving players the chance to design weapon skins for the Songweaver and the Gunslinger, skins that can be found in-game now. Those wanting to get in on the Aethertech design contest have to get on the ball, though, as the entries must be submitted by September 25th!
With any luck, this one little step is just the first on the road to player-generated content (something I think Aion would definitely benefit from!).
One thing Aion's fourth year was not short on was celebrations. There were festivals and events galore throughout the year, including a PvP tourney, a contest to beat content, RvR events, multiple holiday celebrations (trust me, I have a cube full of event items to prove it!), a summer block party, and a double dose of the limited-time Shugo dungeon. There was even gambling with the Mega Kinah Millions lottery and the Wheel of Fortunerk. (If you didn't get your gambling fix with these events, you can always turn to the lockboxes that Aion adopted).
Of course, those parties are all in the past; if you are in the mood to celebrate now, you can joining the anniversary festivities that are going on until October 2nd. Take a look below: I wasn't kidding when I said cake, now was I? That picture depicts just once slice of the GM mini-events going on throughout the anniversary celebration. In this case, we were beset by a multitude of bosses every time the GM opened the giant gift he was carrying. Like the pirate event the day before it, we had to fight off powerful foes. Of course, none of the mobs turned out to be any match for a horde of Elyos! We fought off giant Crab Norrises, Padmaraska, a guardian general deity Enraged Mastarius, and more.
That about sums up this past year in Aion. Although I certainly couldn't elaborate on everything (it took a whole year of Wings Over Atreia columns to do that!), this hits the highlights. Did I mention your favorite change? If not, please feel free to add it -- along with any of your favorite Aion memories from the last year -- in the comments below.
Soaring through the Aionosphere, MJ Guthrie touches down biweekly 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.