Looks Like Open Beta Will Be 1.5!

From an interview with Brian Knox and Liv it looks like Open Beta will be using the 1.5 client!  This is great news, as it will give potential Aion players the latest build with as little grind as possible.  Full transcript below and thanks to Illi of the Aion Source forums for the transcription!

AionOnline

Interview:

Q: Will there be any expansions?
A: Yes. * It’s an MMORPG, this game is gonna go on for a long time and you’re going to see lots more content to come. We’re already launching with three major updates since Korea launch, so definitely expect more and more updates.

Q: When and how is the preselection going to work, and maybe you can describe a bit what preselection is?
A: So preselection is for everybody that preordered the product and there’ll be actual * create their characters, pick their servers and basically get everything in order so day 1 they can just, bam, hit start *

Q: What is in your opinion the coolest 1.5 feature? So as you guys know we’re launching with 1.5, what’s your favourite feature?
A: Ehm, I got two. Is that alright? So one is kinda the shugo ship that has all the pirate bosses(?) and it takes quite a long time I went through it, even cheating in it, it took me about an hour or so. It was kindof a *
Q: You cheated!?
A: A little bit. I gotta learn a little bit, so?
(From the audience, heard on the background: Booo!)
A: And then the stigma system enhancement, I really am kinda proud that we got it to the point where we wanted it to be because I know everybody at launch was, you know, kindof wanting a little bit more out of it and I think now we have a real way to diversify your class within your class and it’s really kinda where it should be now, so.

Q: Was there any aspects of preparing Aion for the Western market that went unexpectedly well or easy?
A: I * can tell we didn’t rehearse this. There hasn’t been all that many things are easy, I was happy that our biggest feedback from everybody was, they wanted to be able to rotate the camera with the left mouse button and it was one of those things, I talked to the developers and they was like ‘Okay’ and so it happened.
Q: * was a small feature for us to change but a huge thing for the players. Yeah, really important.

Q: When will patch 1.5 be available for download?
A: We’re working on that right now, we wanna make sure that we have the latest possible in terms of localization for all three languages, so that you don’t have to patch and patch again and so. We’re gonna be working with a lot of partners and working on getting it up on Bittorrent, so everybody can get it. It’s gonna be for all the betaplayers now about 4 to 5 Gigs, depending on your language, so to start patching up to 1.5.

Q: Is the ballancing between the classes ok? So that you can’t find an overpowered class during pvp.
A: I think that’s kindof one of those opinionated questions and whatever class you play tends to be the one that’s not overpowered and whoever kills you tends to be overpowered. But that said, I think every stage we balance more and more and we’re lucky because we have three updates that have helped * ironing out a lot of the kinks. No class is going to be balanced one to one with every single person, you know it’s a PvPvE, so it’s meant for large scale environment with lots and lots of people so there are some classes that are going to be better in support roles, some are going to be a little bit better in solo roles.
Q: And I guess a lot of it comes down to player skill, too.
A: Yes, definitely. There’s a lot of skill differentiators, like the positional movement system, just knowing your stats and how you create your character and your armour and your stigma system will give you a huge advantage. You could have the same set of tools in front of you but how you use them will make a big difference in the end.

Q: Are there any plans for interface modifications, so that everyone can create their own theme?
A: We’re actually looking into it. So it’s not dismissed yet, but eh, no promises right now.

Q: Right now we’re launching in English, French and German, will we be offering any other languages?
A: We’ve created Aion to be very scaleable in terms of languages, so it’s going to work very well with our launcher tool, you can select a language and we can easily patch languages, it doesn’t affect people who don’t need them. *

Q: How can people play Aion on a Mac?
A: I actually just bought a Mac. I’m really pushing for it, but eh, it does run perfectly fine in bootcamp, I ran it full settings on my * people will be * you sit down for an MMO, you tend to play it for a good amount of time, so booting(?) in a bootcamp isn’t all that bad of a deal.

Q: Is there any information about an alliance between legions?
A: Nothing at this time.

Q: Has a French community manager been chosen yet?
A: We’re still in the process of interviewing, so we wanna make sure we * is really important for that person to be able to take what the community says and make sure they get it right and that they don’t misunderstand so we can * developers and get the feedback in the game.

Q: Is there going to be a talent system to make classes capable of being different from one another?
A: I think I touched on that a little bit earlier with the stigma system so you’re really able to differentiate your class in that sense it’s a collectable item system as well, it’s easier for us to expand and grow that system.

Q: What exactly do the five preorder rings give and what is the difference between them?
A: So each of the preorder rings adds a small resist with each of the elements in the game and it also adds a visual effect. But it’s not an equippable ring, because when we were deciding on items, there’s been many times that I’ve gotten something in the beginning and later on it kinda became, you know, worthless and you * keeping it in the inventory is kindof a fake ring * it actually means you can always carry it around and always use it and will always be viable to you.

Q: Aion is known for its great customization, but what it really lacks is dyes. Where can players get new colours?
A: At the vendors in the town? ? And in our preorders.
A: Yeah, I was surprised by this question ’cause I’m like, there’s lots of dyes?

Q: How much freedom does the North American / Europe office have to make game changes?
A: A lot. We talk to developers every day and ??? the other day and * 1.5 is a combination of years of us giving feedback and input, it’s a lot like the closed beta but we had pre-alpha * you know, a lot of the features may be rolled out in Korea first, but that that’s from us * good idea that’s a good idea so they’re gonna implement it as well, it’s all the west * put them in their version as well

Q: This question was probably asked by every other person but, when is open beta?
A: We have an announcement today for open beta and *
Q: Announcement next week for open beta

NOTE: He didn’t say that open beta would be next week, it may still look like that from the cut up dialog above. The announcement will be made next week.

Next: audience questions

Q: Will there be a community manager position for the oceanic region? (reformulated, was too cut up)
A: Not at this time, we’ll have the English community manager, we’re looking to start hiring probably additional * as he may keel over if he tries to manage all English. If everything goes as planned and you know we really * and hopefully we’ll have, you know, 50 community managers out?

Next question was from someone asking about that in China beta, he read you can play only PvP and don’t have to play PvE, but he couldn’t choose, he thought he went to the Abyss. The question wasn’t quite clear due to really heavy sound cuts at that time and also the answer was rather difficult to follow.

Q: (With reference to DaOC) Will there be a third front in Aion?
A: Right now it is the three fronts of the Balour, Asmodians and Elyos, and that’s all that we have planned right now. * other features, it’s a growing game, it is a new IP and there’s lots of ways we can grow and a lot of it will be shaped by the communities * right now there’s not planned or announced.

Q: Will Aion get a housing system?
A: Kinda once again that goes back to that front, it’s like everybody, you know, we have lots of different features that we wanna implement and we want to make sure that when we do we do them right and we don’t just tag something on without any reason. If you give a house but there’s nothing to do within the house or no quest or items to collect and, you know, then you’ll just sit in an empty box all day like, and that’s not ? we wanna make sure that it’s fun and that there’s content to fill it so the housing system is definitely something we’re looking into

Q: More about rifting: which is quite cool * (rest of the question was not understandable due to multiple sound cuts)
A: It’s the ability to go across to the other side through different quests and it’s actually portals that open in random locations on your side of the world and will port you to the other side and when * a lot of problems that I know are in closed beta there were some issues too and * so a lot of those issues have been addressed and – the previous updates, you know, there’s lots of debuffs that are happening, you’ll appear on the map * there’s also a limited amount of people that actually can go to the other side, as well as when you die you obviously go back to *

Q: *
A: Yes, once we get eh? we’ll go through our open beta, which we’ll announce next week, and then when the servers come on for the headstart, from then on it’ll be 24/7 from then on out. We’ve used these last closed beta events as a way that get the Aion name out there and you know the IP * a way to test our infrastructure and billing system and make sure that every time you guys hit it really hard in the beginning that we’re able to stand up to the load, * a lot of people have had trouble logging in in the first 30 minutes so we’ve made sure that we set our infrastructure * place so we can start just * for launch, it’s been nice for us because we’ve been able to go up, you know, test something for three days, let people kinda have fun, go down, find out what went right, what went wrong, fix it and then bring it back up again. But once we’re live we’re live and it’s 24/7 and that means lots of night*

Q: There’s no more questions, thank you very much you guys, and thank you Brian!
A: Thank you everybody!

Source: Aion Source Forums

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Mounts Coming To Aion!

Thanks to Liv and Twitvid, we were able to see a new interview video with Aion Lead Designer Yongchan Jee (nice mullet that guy has, btw!), in which he drops some interesting information.  On top of that list:

  • As long as he is the designer the Balaur will never, ever be a playable faction.  From the answer, I think they have some tricks up their sleeves to make the Balaur more dynamic than they are currently.
Instancing should be a part of the game, not the whole purpose.

Instancing should be a part of the game, not the whole purpose.

  • They are currently looking at putting a couple of low-level (before 25) instances into the game.  This is nice, I liked low level instances in WoW and it really helped you learn how to play your character properly in a group situation.  At the same time, they need to be careful with instancing and not overdo it.  I don’t want an instance heavy world like WoW.  Give me open-world dungeons and I am happy.
  • They are already designing housing for the game.  Sounds like both Legion and player housing.  They want to combine it with aspects of Aion, whatever that means?  Floating houses, maybe?
Kills Immersion

Kills Immersion

  • They are currently looking at integrating social networking into the game, Twitter and such.  Not sure where I stand on this, on one hand it’s great to be able to contact friends easier in and out of game, but on the other hand it kills immersion.
A New Abyss?

A New Abyss?

  • They are developing a new Abyss zone that is less spread out and more concentrated.  I am not entirely sure if this replaces the current Abyss or is in addition to it.  I hope, personally, that it is in addition.  Having Fortresses more concentrated is nice but so is having smaller fights and skirmishes.  Spreading out the Fortresses into a larger zone allows for this, in my opinion.
Perfect Aion Mount?

Perfect Aion Mount?

  • Finally, they are adding mounts.  No other details but he cryptically states that they will be used for something other than transportation, since we already have wings for that.  Hmm, only thing I can think of is having them for movable Siege Weapons for Fortress fights.

So, lots of nice information in this video.  I am really interested in what we see coming up in the future for Aion.  Also seems that they are adding content at a feverish pace.

The video can be seen right here!

1.5 Impressions Here!! Get Your 1.5 Impressions!!!

A really nice article about Aion version 1.5 was put up Kotaku.com yesterday.  It gives us an idea of what 1.5 brings to the table and how NCSoft is handling content in the future.  Armor set bonuses, a tighter more integrated story, rested XP, tons more quests and even more character customization are all headed our way with 1.5, which coincidentally is the version Aion releases with in North America!  An excerpt:

Four of the 14 New Instances in Aion Version 1.5!

Four of the 14 New Instances in Aion Version 1.5!

The one thing Knox doesn’t want to hear about Aion version 1.5 is the dreaded “G” word. Grind, in his opinion, is something that’s monotonous and Aion goes out of its way to never be that. It’s tough, he says, because the term “grind” has been blown out of proportion in the last five years of MMO history – and that’s a lot of time for his game to fight against. But he’s confident that his team has gone through the game enough to respond to criticism like “there’s nothing to do at level xx!” and prevent mid-level lulls.

A really fantastic read and you can find the rest of it right here!!

A New Interview With Liv…With A Couple of Worrisome Quotes.

Inc Gamers has released a new interview with Liv Blazier, Associate Producer of Aion.  Most of it is stuff we have seen before, she talks about PvPvE, how well the game is selling etc..  However, she has a few new things to say, some of which are, to me, troubling.

I have said from the begininning that one of the things that worries me about Aion is the possibility that the Western market would be “second-class citizens” when compared to the East.  We could get patches late, the possibility that our game input would not be listened to and the like.  I was reassured quite a bit when I saw some of the stuff coming in

Liv Blazier...The Anti-Paul Barnett

Liv Blazier...The Anti-Paul Barnett

patch 1.5, UI tweaks for us Western folk, less grind and more quests.  Furthermore, I had heard from multiple people that we would be getting new patches at nearly the same time as the Eastern servers.  Then, Liv said this:

Although we all strive to release updates as close as Korea as possible, each territory has its own update schedule. In the West, we are launching with version 1.5 of Aion, which synchronises us with Korea’s updates. After launch our goal is to release updates at least least 2-3 months within Korea’s updates.”

Two to three months, at least? That is a lot more than what I was hoping for, nowhere near what I had heard.  Now, to be honest, this isn’t a deal-breaker for me.  Do I like it?  No. Will it cause me to cancel my preorder?  No. I can deal with this as long as it isn’t too long a wait but the second it seems like we are an afterthought I will rethink my options.  I hope that the two to three months becomes the maximum we have to wait as NCSoft gets into the “swing” of things, so to speak.

Now, to the big one, at least to me:

We haven’t announced anything regarding microtransactions, but stay tuned. We are going to focus on paid services at launch.”

Wait….what?!?! Let me get this right, I have to buy the box, pay the monthly fee and then I might have to pay for other things with microtransactions?  To be fair, she may be talking about server transfers and such, which I can handle.  But, if she is talking about vanity pets, additonal customization or the like, I am pretty upset.  The question that recieved this anwer was:

Will there be any added extras we can pay for with microtransactions, such as additional customisations, in-game pets, and so on?”

The question and the answer seem, at least to me, to mean that she is referring to things other than server transfers and name changes, but instead to things like customization, vanity pets and equipment.  I certainly hope this is not the case.  I really do.  I just can not see paying for the box, the monthly fee and then microtransactions after that.  I have no problem with the microtransaction payment system but if you go that route then I think the monthly fee should not be a part of it.  One or the other but not both.

Maybe I am overreacting, or maybe I am reading too much into a short couple of sentences.  I really, really hope so.

Link to full interview can be found right here!

Legion Interview Series: Virtue

Second in Aionic Thoughts Legion interview series is the Elyos Legion Virtue.  This is a newly created Legion that has a beautiful website that is still being developed.  So, here we go, I give you Virtue!

Virtue has a very colorful and beautiful website.  Click the pic to see it!

Virtue has a very colorful and beautiful website. Click the pic to see it!

Naamah: Thanks for participating!  How are you today?

Calitar: I am well. Actively developing our website so we can have a nice place to call home.

Naamah: Nice!  It’s coming along really well, laid out first-rate!

Calitar: Thanks, it has definitely been a learning experience.

Naamah: Let’s get this started!  Can you tell me a bit about the Legion and its history?

Calitar: Virtue is actually a new legion that was the brainchild of myself and Laurence. After experiencing being members and officers in other legions in other games, we decided that we wanted to take on the task of leading one. Laurence was a guild leader back in the day for Guild Wars for a guild that had a couple hundred members, so most of the implementations of the community structure in Virtue come from his experiences in Guild Wars.  I personally was a senior officer in a legion in Lord of the Rings Online that supported all the different playing styles the game had to offer, so I bring what I knowledge I gained from the position to Virtue in hopes of allowing Virtue to support all the playing styles Aion has to offer. Together, I think we make a pretty good team that is ready and willing to tackle the challenge that is running a large legion.

Naamah: So, what made you folks decide upon Elyos as your faction?

Calitar: Well, we played both sides through the closed beta events and while both were great in their own respects, the Elyos side just seemed like it had more of an environment conducive to what we wanted for Virtue. The Asmodian side has a darker tone of colors and is more desolate whereas the Elyos side is brighter and warmer feeling. We want Virtue to be a fun and relaxed community and our members agreed that playing the Elyos side seemed more relaxing and fun than the Asmodian side. Plus, I had a really hard time getting over the back hair on the Asmodians, haha.

Naamah: Yeah, the backhair is an acquired taste.  I find it funny that the Elyos folks are calling the Asmodeans Hairbacks on the Aion Source forums.  Love the inter-faction rivalry that is already being built.

Calitar:  I agree. It should make for some interesting PvP battles out in the Abyss.

Continue reading

Aionic Thoughts Would Like To Interview Your Legion!

Aionic Thoughts is about to start a new weekly feature showcasing Legions that are forming for the Aion Western release. To do this I am going to start interviewing Legion leaders and creating a weekly post that highlights a different Legion every week.

Aionic Thoughts currently averages between 500 and 1000 unique hits a day and would be a great way for Legions to show Aion fans what they have to offer. The weekly feature will go in depth with a unique interview tailored to your Legion and not just a cut and paste interview.

I intend to do most interviews through Instant Messenger (i.e. AoL, MSN, Yahoo, XFire etc.) and will also feature the history of your Legion, playstyle and end game focus.

If this is something that your Legion would be interested in, please post here with your Legion website and an email in which I can contact the Legion Leader. I would like to get the first one up sometime this week or early next week.

Thanks in advance for your interest and for helping to build the Aion community!