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Wings Over Atreia

Wings Over Atreia: Shugo Kingdom returns to Aion

Fantasy, Aion, Events (In-Game), PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Wings Over Atreia, Guides

Wings Over Atreia  Shugo Kingdom returns to Aion
Who says we can't get what we want? I wanted the Shugo Kingdom Adventure event to return to Aion, and I'm getting my wish. Booyah! No, really, it's true: Starting after maintenance on May 22nd, Daevas who've flown over level 50 will again be able to journey for a limited time to the long lost vaults of the Shugo Kingdom in search of great and glorious treasure. And by treasure, I mean a trove of chests filled with AP items, Stormwing armor pieces and weapons, or even rare sets of wings. Of course what you get depends on how many keys you have and a little luck, so there's no harm in starting your sacrifices to Aion's RNG gods now.

Did you miss out on the event last time but are looking forward to it this go around? Or maybe you need a refresher because the trauma of not getting that one item caused you to block all knowledge of the zone from your mind? Either way, this edition of Wings Over Atreia will give you a heads up on what to expect. And as an added bonus, Associate Producer Sean Orlikowski shared his tips and tricks for making the most of your Shugo Kingdom Adventures.

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Wings Over Atreia: A guide to Aion's Elyos spy quests in Beluslan

Fantasy, Aion, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Wings Over Atreia, Guides

Wings Over Atreia  A guide to Elyos spy quests in Beluslan
Last time we met, we chatted about the spy quests that enticed Elyos to infiltrate Morheim. But even though Morheim is where Aion's spy questing starts for the light-winged, it is certainly not where that questing ends! As Daevas move along the leveling curve, more opportunities to rift into new enemy lands arise. However, unlike the lower-level zone's quests that focused more on introducing players to rifting in Aion, Beluslan spy quests are predominantly specific chains leading players through story arcs and toward a determined goal.

There may not be any rush to complete the spy quests now that Daevas of any level can travel through the rifts, but anyone wanting to get real use out of the resulting rewards before they become obsolete will want jump and and do the quests before moving on to Balaurea. For that reason, Wings Over Atreia brings you the next guide to Elyos rifting: Beluslan.

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Wings Over Atreia: A guide to Elyos spy quests in Morheim

Fantasy, Aion, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Wings Over Atreia, Guides

Wings Over Atreia A guide to Elyos spy quests in Morheim
When I first thought to make a listing of spy quests in Aion, the idea was that folks could be sure to finish all the parts of the different lines before certain zones became unavailable due to leveling. I can remember on at least one occasion my quest progression was halted when I found myself leveled beyond the rift's parameters. It was a sad time, as I was prevented from obtaining the rewards and titles involved. Even worse, I was left with an incomplete quest in my journal. Oh, the horror! I moved on, but there was always that nagging feeling of something missing.

All that has changed. Once the Fast Track server was introduced, the level limits on the rifts preventing Daevas from returning to enemy lands were removed. Now, any Elyos or Asmodian can return to those lower zones and wrap up any unfinished business. Of course, with so much to keep you occupied at the higher levels in Aion, you probably wouldn't even have time to flit back to the old haunts just to finish up old quests, which makes getting them done early all the more important. So to help you out, here's a guide to the Elyos spy quests in Morheim.

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Wings Over Atreia Exclusive: Aion 4.0 launches in June!

Fantasy, Aion, Business Models, Classes, Events (Real-World), Events (In-Game), Expansions, Game Mechanics, Interviews, Previews, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Interviews (Massively's), Events (Massively's Coverage), Wings Over Atreia, Anniversaries

Wings Over Atreia Exclusive  Aion 40 launches in June!
Good news! (Well, at least for my police record.) As it turns out, I didn't have to resort to kidnapping to convince someone from NCsoft to talk to me about Aion at this year's GDC. I swear, Sean Orlikowski, the game's associate producer, came willingly.

It does, however, appear that in the fine print of the meeting proposal, I agreed to be outfitted with a special electronic device that would send massive jolts of electricity through my system if I tried to speak about something I shouldn't. So let's see how much I can share with you before this apparatus leaves me unconscious.

Can I tell you that Aion has a special celebration planned for the first anniversary of the Truly Free conversion? So far, so good, folks. Hmm... can I add that the next big expansion has a North American launch date planned without going unconscious... oh, appears so! OK, let's push this a little further: How about if I happened to mention that 4.0 will hit servers in June 2013 -- would I be zapped? Nope! So there you have it, folks: 4.0 is indeed going live in just two short months!

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Wings Over Atreia: Aion rifting ain't what it used to be

Fantasy, Aion, Game Mechanics, PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Wings Over Atreia

Wings Over Atreia  Aion rifting ain't what it used to be
So there I was, halfway through penning a guide to Aion's spy quests, when it really hit me -- boy, rifting sure has changed. And not just a little bit, either; we've seen a complete reworking of some of the fundamentals. Because rifting is a major component of spy quests and I wanted to help Daevas better prepare for the experience, I went about adding in a section detailing these drastic changes that exist on the North American servers for the benefit of new and returning players alike.

Ironically, by adding in a discussion on the current state of Aion's rifting system, I soon discovered that there was little room left for the actual spy quests! So we'll table the guide until next time and just focus on rifting to give players the chance to understand the system before embarking on those missions into enemy territory.

But for the record, I've got to tell you -- all change is not good.

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Wings Over Atreia: From Shugos to splitting up, Aion's instances are evolving

Fantasy, Aion, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Wings Over Atreia, Dungeons

Wings Over Atreia From Shugos to splitting up, Aion's instances are evolving
Today I was all set to focus my energies and words on cajoling NCsoft to not do certain things to Aion. I was poised to carefully blend pleading, ranting, and even some common sense into the perfect concoction to convince the studio to avoid introducing various trappings to Atreia. Then, surely as a means to distract me from said designs, the studio released news about the new instances coming after 4.0. Wait -- after?! A ha! Yet more fodder to add to my nonononono rant; after all, who wants to be teased about things coming after an expansion we don't even have a date for yet?

However, after a bit more reflection I decided that -- for today at least -- I'd rather applaud the company for looking at new ways to approach instances instead of rail on it for sharing the info so darned early. Perhaps it's the whole "you can catch more sparkies with honey than vinegar" approach, but the truth of the matter is I am happy with the direction this latest announcement portends. Aion is integrating variety into the dungeon-diving sphere, and that's a move that can only be good for the game.

Even better, you don't actually have to wait until after 4.0 to experience the first rumblings of this shift. Thanks to the Shugo Kingdom Adventure event going on now, Daevas can try their hands/claws at a new (though temporary) dungeon experience,

What about these new dungeons has me hopeful for the future of Aion? Let's dive right in and take a look.

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Wings Over Atreia: The bittersweet reality of Aion's Fast Track

Fantasy, Aion, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Wings Over Atreia, Dungeons

Wings Over Atreia  The bittersweet reality of Aion's Fast Track
I called it!

Way back in the far recesses of time (also known as last summer), we learned about a major change heading to Aion with the 3.1 patch: the Fast Track server. Although I could certainly see the benefits of a PvP-free leveling zone that heaped XP upon players even more than before, I also questioned whether such a move would herald the untimely death of the corresponding areas on the main servers.

Fast forward to the pre-spring of 2013, by which time Deavas have had time to acclimate to the new feature, stretching their level-55-or-under wings on the Fast track server if they were so inclined. So what's the consensus? Is it all that and a bag of dado chips, or has the game lost a part of that special something that made Aion, Aion? In my opinion, there's enough of the latter to call the Fast Track server a mixed blessing.

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Wings Over Atreia: Aion adopts lockboxes

Fantasy, Aion, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Wings Over Atreia

Wings Over Atreia Aion adopts lockboxes
It was bound to happen. Rare is the free-to-play game that evades incorporating this quintessential cash-shop concoction. The good news is, if you entered a pool for when NCsoft would introduce lockboxes into Aion and your date was January 30th, congratulations -- you won! Of course, this may have been one pot that you were secretly hoping no one would ever claim; there are certainly those who have a deep-seated hatred for lockboxes and all they purportedly represent. Those who enjoy the random nature of that treasure, however, probably wondered what took so long.

Love them or loathe them, lockboxes are a now permanent part of Atreia's landscape. But is that a good or a bad thing? Are lockboxes a fun feature or one step on that slippery slide toward nickel-and-diming players like a number of other F2P offerings? One of the best things Aion has going for it is the unique free-to-play mode that allows folks who choose not to pay to experience the same exact game as those who drop cash in the shop. Can Aion maintain its Truly Free philosophy while pushing lockboxes?

I believe the answer is yes.

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Wings Over Atreia: Laying the smackdown on RMT in Aion

Fantasy, Aion, MMO Industry, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Wings Over Atreia

Wings Over Atreia  Laying the smackdown on RMT
Sports don't have a monopoly on pregame rituals. I know for a fact some folks have their own sets of customary actions that are performed before logging into Aion. These routines are as varied as the players themselves; some may grab a drink or snacks before settling in, while others may put on their lucky PvP socks. I'm acquainted with at least a few people who lock the door to keep pesky interruptions (i.e., roomies) from dog piling on them. Me? Well, I'd like to say I have a cool routine, but I don't... yet! However, regardless of what you do before you log in, there is one ritual most of us share once we get in: block the RMT spam.

As much as I can understand and even encourage a wide array of gaming rituals, this particular one really needs to go. But it's out of our hands; in order for it to happen, kinah-selling must be seriously curtailed in Aion. Some players have questioned whether NCsoft even cares about the kinah-selling problem. I think the answer to that came in the studio's announcement this past week. In a bold new move in the fight against illicit RMT, NCsoft is poised to piledrive the kinah-selling population.

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Wings Over Atreia: PvP tourney produces victory for winner and Aion

Fantasy, Aion, Contests, Events (In-Game), PvP, Free-to-Play, Wings Over Atreia

Wings Over Atreia PvP tourney produces victory for winner and Aion
Well, speak of the devil! No sooner did I get done exploring the topic of whether or not PvP is player-generated-content than I stumbled upon some players generating content based on PvP in Aion. And by "stumbled upon," I mean "noticed on the launcher while loading up for some winged fun." The group Epidemic Gaming was set to host a PvP tournament on the Tiamat server. As an obvious fan of PGC, I immediately made plans to attend.

I'll be the first to admit I am not by any means a master of PvP (so you can quit your laughing over there before your sides split), but both the announcement and the message itself brought a smile to my face and more hope to my heart. Heck, I may even have more spring in my step! Why? I'll tell you why! Join me as we check out this battle royal where the Daevas of Tiamat duke it out until there's only one standing as well as what an event such as this means for Aion.

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Wings Over Atreia: Aion's 2012 naughty and nice list

Fantasy, Aion, Game Mechanics, Free-to-Play, Humor, Wings Over Atreia

Wings Over Atreia  Aion's 2012 naughty and nice list
The end is near! No, not of the world -- the end of 2012. And as is customary at the conclusion of a year, we look back over the past 12 months to assess the damage... er, I mean, review the highlights. This year, however, I'm not going to just ruminate on the top stories in Wings Over Atreia; I'm going to spice things up a bit with a naughty and nice list! That's right, folks; we are delving into both the great and the not-so-great things that have transpired in Aion since January.

So bust out the spiced mela cider, grab a plate of gingerbread shugos, and join me as I make a list and check it twice to see how NCsoft has been naughty and nice.

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Wings Over Atreia: My grown-up Solorius list

Fantasy, Aion, PvP, Free-to-Play, Humor, Wings Over Atreia, Music

Wings Over Atreia  My grown up Solorius list
The strains of festive music wafting about Santum and Pandamonium. The glow of twinkling lights adorning the trees. The chatter of Shugos wearing red velvet robes and hats. Yes folks, it's that time of year again: It's Solorius in Aion! And you know what that means... OK, besides a festival filled with holiday-themed goodies. It means it's time for the annual Solorius wish list! And this year the venerable list is combined with another annual tradition: the Solorius medley.

You may notice that this season's list is actually more modest compared to those from years of yore. It's not that I don't want to see a plethora of goodies injected into the wonderful world of Aion. On the contrary! But we already know of many things coming our way in 4.0, and I don't want to distract the devs from getting them out to us quickly. And besides, those previous lists have been whittled down as wishes have been granted. Don't believe me? See for yourself. Then be sure to add anything else you want to see in Atreia to the list.

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Wings Over Atreia: Are Aion exploits ingenuity or abuse?

Fantasy, Aion, Bugs, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Wings Over Atreia

Wings Over Atreia  Aion exploits  ingenuity or abuse
Exploit: an act or deed, especially a brilliant or heroic one or to make use of selfishly or unethically? Well, both. But as much as I wish the title of this week's Wings Over Atreia referred to my amusing (and oh-so-heroic) antics throughout the gorgeous world of Aion, it is actually about the latter. Or is it?

Most likely, one of your first thoughts when you hear the word exploit is that it's a trick that takes advantage of some bug for personal gain. That thought is often followed by images of a banhammer. It makes sense; you are gamers, after all. Now, whether you regard exploits with admiration or with unbridled loathing is a matter of personal opinion. But does it have to be one or the other, or can it be both? It depends on the actual use of the word itself.

Thanks to a recent foray into Lower Udas Temple, exploits have been at the forefront of my mind lately. I have noticed that we actually use both definitions of the word for a variety of situations in Aion, yet we also ascribe the negative connotation to many of them. But is this warranted -- couldn't some actions simply be ingenious examples of problem-solving, or must they all be considered ban-worthy abuse? If the former, where do you draw the line?

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Wings over Atreia: Twelve things to be thankful for in Aion

Fantasy, Aion, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Wings Over Atreia

Wings over Atreia  Twelve things to be thankful for in Aion
I can't really help it. I was trying to pen an article or a guide about any of a number of features in Aion, but my mind kept wandering back to the spirit of Thanksgiving. This time of the year I just get to feeling so extra thankful for those things that make life better, easier, and more enjoyable. So instead of fighting it, I decided to go with the flow and just share some of the top things I am grateful for in Aion.

As luck would have it, once I started this top 10 list, I kept thinking of more things, as you no doubt noticed by the title! I am sure I could keep adding, but the article had to stop at some point, so I ended my list at 12. Take a look at what made the cut and see if anything from your own list made it on mine.

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Wings Over Atreia: Promises, promises

Fantasy, Aion, Expansions, MMO Industry, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Wings Over Atreia

Wings Over Atreia  Promises, promises
There was a time a while back when I chided NCsoft for being so closed-lipped about news. Although F2P was the biggest change ever to hit Aion, there was scant information about the North American conversion to free-to-play that accompanied 3.0 until it was practically upon us! Now fast forward just one little numeral to 4.0, and we seem to be getting regular doses of information. Awesome, right? Or is it?

At first, I was overjoyed to learn new bits about the upcoming expansion. It even spawned some entertaining speculation. But the fact remained that since we still didn't know when Aion 4.0 might arrive, each added bit of news was a tease. Then it dawned on me: The studio combined my request for more news with my pleas for more frequent, if smaller, content updates. But instead of actual content in-game to excite players and keep them playing, we are getting the intangible promises of content to come! Ingenious. But is it working?

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