Gold Spammers, Customer Service And Bots….

I am much enjoying my time in Atreia thus far.  Ahira is almost 21 and yes I am taking it slow but mostly because I have been helping a few friends get caught up to me a bit.  All in all, I am having a great time.  I really, really enjoyed Black Claw Village and my first taste of PvP on Lumiel was really fun.

Really there are only three things that have bothered me so far about Aion.  At the moment it is a minor annoyance but it has the potential to become a major problem if NCSoft doesn’t nip it in the bud quickly.

First of all, the Gold spammers have arrived in mass.  Every night I have to block a few more.  Mostly it’s private tells but occasionally you will see a couple in “general” or “trade” chat.  The worst part about it is that there is no easy way to report them nor an easy way to block them.  Each attempt requires multiple steps and can be a hassle when adventuring.  I know stopping gold spam is very hard, it took WoW years to lower it to the current level, but at least give us tools to make it easier to report and/or block them.

Secondly, Customer Service not 24 hours?!?!?  Seriously?  WTF NCSoft?  You folks just sold around 500,000 copies of Aion so I am sure you have enough money laying around to hire a full time, 24 hour customer service team!  I could not believe it when I tried to create a petition, only to be told that there was no one to receive it.  This is a 24 hour game, there needs to be 24 hour customer service.  Period.

The last thing that is annoying me are the bots.lots-of-bots-book-1-thumb So far it has not been too big a problem.  I see one every so often and sometimes I will see a group of them working together.  However, this has to be stopped.  Like now. Bots destroy the economy, add to the queue times and cause problems in the community.  Get rid of them.  Ban the ones who are reported and do it quickly.  Give us updates to how many you ban.  Make a spectacle of it.

I never played Lineage or Lineage II but I have been told horror stories about the bot problem there.  Do not make that mistake in the West.  In the West players leave when the botting problem gets out of hand.  With the bad rap NCSoft already has about bots, it will only take a short period of seeming inaction before everyone assumes the problem is going to continue in Aion.  Don’t let that happen.

Other than those problems, I am having a really fun time in Aion so far.  Despite NCSoft’s track record, I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.  They have to know they are going to be on a short leash with these issues due to their prior failures to address them in Lineage.  They have to know that.  Don’t they?

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.

A Simple Fix To Reduce Latency In Aion

Browsing around tonight, I found a fix that claimed to reduce latency in WoW, Aion and any other online game.  Skeptical but curious, I downloaded it and gave it a shot.  Whaddaya know…it worked!  Marvelously in fact.  My latency dropped by nearly half.  It is completely virus free and it is legal to use in Aion, so give it a shot and let me know what you think.  There is even a file to remove it, if for some reason you don’t like it.

The fix is here!!

Second Night of Open Beta Observations.

Tonight I logged back into the Open Beta after work to find just as many people playing as I saw last night…maybe more.  My future chanter was around level 4 but I had a friend who had just started and had rolled on another server, so I jumped over to help him out.

He was playing a Warrior so I made a Priest and away we went.  This is the first time I have really had a dedicated friend to level with at low level and everything went smoothly.  Aion really gives you all the tools you need to run as a party efficiently.  Shared quests, location links, all the normal tools are there and they work great.  We were flying through the quests for most of the night and nearly hit Ascension before we called it for the night because of work tomorrow.

The Gameguard errors were all fixed for me today so I must give kudos for that to NCSoft.  Hopefully everyone else had their GG issues disappear.  Lag, however, hit me with a vengeance a number of times tonight.  It would come in waves and then disappear for long chunks of time.  Very strange and still seems that it has no rhyme or reason for when it comes and goes.  I have heard that its a routing issue with NCSoft and they are working with their ISP for a fix.

Other than those issues the evening went smooth and was a lot of fun.  My friend enjoyed his first foray into Atreia but is waiting until he gets his wings to make his final decision about the game.  I think he is hooked however so I expect to see him running with us in retail.

That’s it for tonight, more observations tomorrow as I hit Ascension and further!

Aion Open Beta: “We Are a GO For Launch…..Sorta'”

Well, for those of you living on the moon, Aion Open Beta started today.  I got in late due to work (FTL!) but was able to log in some time this evening.  Problem was the lag was horrible for quite a few people, though I was not affected.  What I was affected by was the horrible Game Guard issues.

Bad GameGuard!  BAD!!!

Bad GameGuard! BAD!!!

This is the first time they have reared their ugly head for me personally but it was frustrating.  I was constantly getting Game Guard messages warning me that I had modified the game files or the Game Guard files, though I have done no such thing.  Then GG would error and sometimes would close the game.  Apparently many others were getting identical problems and they are working on it.  I hope so because it was extremely frustrating.  I think it was worse because the error made it sound like it was my fault and that I was cheating!  Not a good way to start out Open Beta.

The lag was an entirely different issue and seems to be hitting people randomly.  From what I could tell there does not seem to be any rhyme or reason to who gets hit with lag and when.  People would be fine for two hours and then get horrible lag for no apparent reason.  At the same time people in the same zone would not be affected at all.  I was okay for the entire night but many people I talked to reported differently.

Next issue I am having is with the “new” control scheme.  They added the ability for the left mouse button to control the camera, something which I was very happy to hear, but now you can only run in a straight line while holding down the left and right mouse buttons to run.  What?!?!  Look I will make it easy for NCSoft with this….Ready??

Look at the WoW control scheme and Copy/Paste.

Simple, right?  Don’t have to reinvent the wheel here, just give us a control scheme like WoW.  Holding down the left and right mouse buttons at the same time should make us run but we should be able to turn as well.

Other than those issues the beta is going well for me.  I made a Chanter and a Warrior and started with the Chanter.  The new

Hold on!  It's gonna be a rough ride!

Hold on! It's gonna be a rough ride!

character customization options are awesome and the game is more “Western” than ever.  I am really interested in seeing how they massaged the leveling curve, especially after level 20 or so when quests seem to start to dry up a bit.

All in all, the Open Beta has launched but is a bit rocky at the moment.   Not as bad as some Open Beta launches I have seen but it certainly can be improved.  The rocket has launched but is having problems getting into orbit!  I am sure that NCSoft will get the issues sorted out as the Game Guard problem and the lag will be a deal-breaker for a lot of potential players.

1.5 Open Beta Patch Notes!

Patch notes for Open Beta have been posted!  You can read the full (very long notes!) here. In the meantime, here are some highlights!

  • 7 new instances.  Including Dark Poeta and a PvPvE instance, the Dreadgion.
  • Boss from Dark Poeta

    Boss from Dark Poeta

    Repose.  The Aion equivalent to WoW’s Rested XP.  Only available after level 20 but gives 20%-30% more XP from mob and player kills.

  • New Titles.
  • Increased PvPvE rewards.
  • Information on the new Slayer system.  This system is used during Rifting and basically makes players unable to grief PvE’ers constantly.
  • More information on the Greater Stigma System.
  • Damage decreased in PvP play.
  • New Class Skills for levels 46-50 and even new skills for 1-45!
  • Over 90 New Stigma Stones.
  • Tons and tons of new items and quests!
  • Left mouse button now controls the camera!!
  • Click to move is disabled by default.
  • Invert mouse option!
  • New character customization options.  New hairstyles, ability to change eye color and shoulder width.
  • The Search function for the Broker has been improved.
  • Class exclusive chat channels!
  • NPCs that can create character change have been added to the Capitol cities.  These changes include: Plastic Surgery and GENDER change!  To think, Blizzard charges real money for this!

All in all, this is a really strong patch.  I knew about most of it, but some still surprised me.  Looks like NCSoft has made a very good game even better.  Can not wait until Sunday!!