The Results of NCSoft’s Heavy Hand…

This week has been pretty hectic for NCSoft.  They took a lot of criticism for their heavy hands when dealing with the servers.  They put caps on faction population for every server during head-start, they capped total population very low initially and they opened up relatively few servers for the expected population.

This caused headaches for Legions and friends to get on their preferred server, it caused a lot of griping as players logged in on Tuesday to find 3-4 hour queues during prime time.  Much gnashing of teeth commenced.  Players were mad, blogger’s griped or made fun, depending on their interest in Aion and the situation, for some, looked grim.

I made a post early in the week that this was planned and was actually a pretty smart idea by NCSoft.  The post was met with some agreement but, also, much laughter and accusation of fanboyism.  Then Friday something funny happened. NCsoft announced that they were going to put a timer on the Personal Shops that were contributing to the queue.  In addition, they put up a new server.

Friday night we logged in to find sharply reduced queue times.  What was nearing 4 hours in prime time dropped down to 30 minutes or less for most people.  I logged in Friday night to a 12 minute queue and on Saturday to a 4 minute queue.  The “rage” posts about the queue dropped to near nothing on the Aion Source forums and moved on to other things.  All was right in the Aion world, at least as far as the queues were concerned.

So what was the results of NCSoft’s heavy hand at launch?  Let’s take a look and find out!

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An Energy Drink, A Treadmill, Wii Remotes and…..Aion?

This is full of win:

Introducing Ahira

The first day of Aion was pretty chaotic for me.  As detailed in the prior post, I got in immediately but my friend got stuck in the queue, so we got a late start.  We were only able to get an hour or so of gameplay before I had to log off and attend to some real life matters, so I wasn’t even able to ascend.

Got back on later in the evening and was able to get through the early area and Ascend into Daeva-hood.  Thus was Ahira, Ranger Extraordinaire born.

The Preorder Helm looks fairly ridiculous on a dwarf....

The Preorder Helm looks fairly ridiculous on a dwarf....

I am really enjoying the Ranger so far, they are extremely difficult to level in the early game but very rewarding and engaging.  Kiting is a necessary skill and the inability to kite will result in countless deaths.  To make matters even more difficult, many areas are so packed with mobs that kiting is fraught with danger, as it is very easy to aggro additional mobs.  You have to be very cognizant of your surroundings at all times and plan out each and every combat.

Luckily, I was able to get into a Legion group fairly early this evening.  We were doing the quests immediately after the Altgard Fortress in the first forest area.  We started the night with myself, a Templar, a Cleric and an Assassin before adding a second Templar later in the evening and it was one of the best grouping experiences I have had in a long, long time in an MMO.

We were able to progress through a large chunk of quests all the way up to the Elite Black Claw area with no problems.  We entered the Black Claw area under-leveled, as we were only level 14 and all the mobs were red to us.  Even with that we were able to complete a couple of quests there and down quite a few mobs, though we had to be extremely careful with our pulls.  More than two and we were in a lot of trouble.

Speaking of which, it was so nice to play an MMO that has group content outside of an instance.  WoW used to have a number of areas like this but they have since been nerfed into solo-able content.  I love solo content but I would really like to see some group content in the mix as well.  Aion provides that and it’s refreshing.

At the moment, I am level 14 and moving quickly toward 15.  Not as high as I wanted but I am having fun.  Quite a bit in fact.  Tomorrow our group from this evening is getting back together for some more questing and I can hardly wait.

The Queue

This is a queue

This is a queue

I am going to start off my impressions of the first day of Aion with a look at the biggest controversy of the day…the server queue.  For many people the queue was insanely long, upwards of 3-4 hours for some.  Many people were frustrated for a lot of the day because of this reason.

One of my good friends was one of those folks caught in the queue for an extended amount of time.  He had actually come over to my house with his laptop to play, brought a bunch of snacks and drinks and we settled in for a day of Aion.  When the servers opened up we both logged in and got in immediately.  However, this was the first time he had played Aion on that laptop and he had to reboot it to change some settings.  By the time he got back he found himself in a queue approaching 2000 people.  I was already in, so I stayed in.  I didn’t want to level without him so I ran around and gathered Azpha and waited…

And waited…

And waited…

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The Aion Version Of The Armory Destroys WoW Armory

The new Aion website is up and it is something special.  Not only does the “Armory” do everything that the WoW and WAR armory does but it also has a 3D character viewer and the ability to check in-game mail and the broker (auction house)!

It’s a pretty amazing little website and looks really nice.  It also seems to run pretty fast, though the 3D character viewer takes a moment to load.

Ahira in the character viewer:

Ugly little dwarf, eh?

Ugly little dwarf, eh?

You can rotate him and put him into combat stances as well as see all your gear.  It’s a pretty nifty little feature.  Kudos to NCSoft for the new website features.

I Am Brett Favre….

Damnit.

I was all set to jump into Aion tomorrow on my shiny new Cleric.  I have watched

I Changed My Mind...

I Changed My Mind...

countless PvP videos about the Cleric, read tons of strategies, poured over all the skill charts and Stigma builds.  I was a Cleric and I was ready.

Then why do I find myself, a few hours from Headstart, deleting my Cleric and creating a Ranger?

I am Brett Favre.

No, really it’s not that.  Really it’s not.  I am not an indecisive person, I promise.  The truth is, something Borgio said in my class poll started to make sense to me.  I have played a physical ranged class in my two favorite MMOs.  In DAoC I was a hunter.  In WoW I was a hunter.  I loved them.  I was good at them.  One on one I could hold my own with anyone.

Now in WAR, LotRO and every other MMO I have played, I deviated from the physical ranged.  In WAR I played a tank and a healer.  In LotRO I played a healer.  For some reason I never could enjoy those classes as much.  Now, admittedly, a lot of that was the games themselves had problems but I think I just didn’t enjoy the classes as much.

I think my true calling is physical ranged, at least as a main.  I imagine I will roll a Cleric or Chanter at some point in Aion but, right now, I am going Ranger.

Elyos beware.

Goals For Headstart

One more day.  ONE MORE DAY.

One more day and the Aion headstart gets underway.  Finally, I will play a character that means something.  A character that won’t get wiped in a few weeks.  I am excited.

The time has finally come and, believe me, it couldn’t have come any slower.  Head Start LogoI am ready to begin the long trek to 50 and have a lot of fun along the way.  But, every journey begins with a few small steps and I have set for myself a couple of goals for the 2 days of headstart.  They are fairly easily attainable but should keep me busy all the way up to release.

  • Main character (Ahira, Cleric) up to level 25.
  • Ahira’s chosen crafting skills at a level commiserate with his level.
  • Ahira involved in at least one big PvP fight.
  • Multiple grouping experiences in the Elite areas.
  • Begin to create a good name for myself on Lumiel, both as a Healer and as a helpful part of the community.
  • Beer.  Consume lots and lots of beer.

That’s it.  Attaining level 25 might be tough, depending on how much I get to play, but I think it’s doable.  The most important goal for me is the next to the last one.  I think Havok made a great decision in rolling on Lumiel.  It seems to be a fantastic community and I would like to help foster that along if I can.  The community can make or break a MMO faster than anything save broken content and it is nice to have found such a great community as what we have found on Lumiel.

ONE MORE DAY.