Epic Balaur Video

Found a really cool video of a Balaur attack on an Elyos fortress.  First of all, the music is spot on for the video.  I can not think of anything better for this video.  Perfect.

Secondly, there is almost a sense of dread as the Dreadgion comes nearer (see what I did there?).  It’s almost palatable and it looks so cool.

Finally, you can certainly see that the Balaur are not to be trifled with, they are mean.  They hit hard and they have numbers as well.  Plus, they have the Dreadgion up in the sky blowing stuff up.  Too cool.

I can’t wait to participate in one of these.  I am really excited to see in what cool directions NCSoft can take the Balaur.  They can certainly do some pretty novel things with the Balaur if they put in the time.

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!!

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!!

Screenshot/Video Sunday: August 16th Edition

Back for a bit late Screen/Video Sunday!  Working too much last week and having issues to deal with at home so I have not posted as much as normal.  Should be back to normal this week though!  For right now, here is the new edition of my weekly Video and Screenshot feature!

First up is a pretty funny WoW vs. Aion video.  Its not meant as a true comparison, just as a humorous look at one players thoughts!

Closed Beta 6 Elyos raid on Asmodae:

SpoonerGod’s video tutorial featuring the Stigma Quest chain at level 20:

Some nice PvP from CBT 5:

Another great Rift Raid video from CBT 5:

Now for some screens!  Click to enlarge!

Aion meets Jurassic Park?

Aion meets Jurassic Park?

Are they fighting?  If so, it is the coolest thing ever!

Are they fighting? If so, it is the coolest thing ever!

Methinks that's a lot of hats!

Methinks that's a lot of hats!

That’s it for now, be back late tomorrow night after work and then resume my regular posting!

This Is A RANT…..

This post is not about Aion, matter of fact, it has very little to do with Aion at all.  This rant has to do with World of Warcraft.  This rant has to do with World of Warcraft and what they have allowed World PvP to become.

As many of this blog’s readers know, I played WoW for over four years.  I was in the beta.  I “quit” after Warhammer released but after that debacle I still return from time to time.  I loved the game for the most part.  Now I see what they are doing to it and it pisses me off.

Blizzard has done everything in their power to take the WAR out of Warcraft.  Some of the things they have done were intentional, such as putting guards on the rooftops of Orgrimmar, giving little to no reward for World PvP and making World PvP generally useless.  Other things that they have done that has killed World PvP were inadvertent, such as flying mounts, summoning stones and the like.

The bottom-line is World PvP is gone, finito, asta la vista.  It’s dead.  Blizzard treats PvP’ers (other than their E-Sport Arenas, Battle Grounds and Wintergrasp) as a joke.  They laugh at us.  I truly believe that.  Look at the history.

Read more after the jump!

Continue reading

A Rift Primer

Rifts and rifting are one of the things I am most looking forward to in Aion.  For those who have not read up on Rifts let me give you a quick run through on what they are and how they work.

First of all rifts are the only way for Elyos to get to the Asmodian leveling areas and vice-versa.  They open randomly in many leveling zones, level 20 and up.  These can be used to get to instances on the opposite side, kill bosses on the opposite side or collect crafting materials.  Of course, the primary use for Rifts is PvP.  Other than the Abyss (available at level 25 and up), Rifts are the only way to engage in PvP with the opposite faction.

A few things to remember about Rifts:

  • They are a one way port.  In other words, you can go through one but you can not go back.
  • There is a Region announcement when a Rift opens up.  Both for defense and offense.
  • If you go through a Rift and die on the other side, you will respawn back on your side.  For this reason a Kisk should be taken with you and used.
  • 2-6 Rifts can open at the same time.
  • Each Rift has a time limit that it is open, a maximum number of players that can go through and a player level limit.

So, you can go through, but you can’t come back.  You must meet the level requirement to go through and only a certain number of players can go through.  Pretty simple right?  But, where are these Rifts located?  Let’s show a few maps and give you an idea where to find these.  Remember, they open randomly.  Just because one is marked on the map, does not mean it will be open when you go there.

Eltenen Rift

Eltenen Rift

This is the Rift Map for Eltenen.  The Blue Points on the map are the entry points for the Elyos.  The Red Points on the map are the exit points for the Asmodians.  If an Elyos enters a Rift on this map they will appear in Morheim.  An Asmodian who enters a Rift in Morheim will appear here.  Got it?

Okay, here is Morheim:

Morheim Rift Map

Morheim Rift Map

So, same idea here.  Blue is exit points from the Eltenen Map for Elyos.  Red is entry points for Asmodian, which exit to the Eltenen map.

As I said above each Rift has a maximum number of players who can go through, a level restriction and a cycle timer.  Here is a quick chart to help you understand it:

Symbol     Maximum Uses     Level Restriction           Cycle Timer

1/A                12 People                        28 or Lower                        2 Hours

2/B                20 People                      32 or Lower                        2 Hours

3/C                35 People                      36 or Lower                        2 Hours

4/D                35 People                      37 or Lower                        2 Hours

5/E                40 People                      40 or Lower                        2 Hours

6/F                 50 People                      40 or Lower                       2 Hours

7/G                50 People                       45 or Lower                       2 Hours

Next I am going to throw up the map for Interdiktah and Beluslan.  Same idea applies here; blue is Elyos entry/exit points and red is Asmodian entry/exit.

Interdiktah Rift Map

Interdiktah Rift Map

Beluslan Rift Map

Beluslan Rift Map

And here is the key for the map:

Symbol     Maximum Uses     Level Restriction           Cycle Timer

1/A                24 People                        35 or Lower                        2 Hours

2/B                36 People                       35 or Lower                        2 Hours

3/C                48 People                       46 or Lower                        2 Hours

4/D                48 People                      40 or Lower                        2 Hours

5/E                60 People                      50 or Lower                        2 Hours

6/F                 72 People                      50 or Lower                       2 Hours

7/G                72 People                       50 or Lower                       2 Hours

So, that’s the basics of Rifts and Rifting.  Expect frenzied PvP any time a Rift goes up in your area.  For those worried about ganking, there are always areas in the game that you can level with out having to worry about PvP at all.  In addition, there is a PvP anti-ganking system in place to keep people from ganking constantly.  That being said, those who are totally 100% against PvP may want to start looking for another game, as Aion may not be the place for you!

Special thanks to Keen of Keen and Graev for pointing these maps out to me!

****EDIT:  Apparently, a similar guide was posted on MMO Site, which is where the maps originally came from.  I did not know this as I found the maps and initial information on Keen’s website and was not sure where he got them.  I just wanted to give props to the apparent original source, which can be found here. Thank you to the readers who kindly pointed this out to me and thanks to MMOSite for the original maps!****


What features would you like to see added to Aion?

Aion_logo

Aion has a lot going for it.  It’s fun, stable, has great graphics and has a lot of content for a game just releasing.  But, even with all those positives, there are some things in other MMOs that I would love to see in Aion.  This post is about exactly that, what I would like to see in Aion that I have already seen in other MMOs.  Take a look at my list and see how it matches up with yours.

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Lord of the Rings Online

Lord of the Rings Online

Let’s start with LotRO.  I have played LotRO, off and on, since release.  It’s a very good game, with amazing environmental graphics, an epic story and a ton of features that appeals to the Rings nerd in me.  Unfortunately, it’s just a tad too PvE-centric for me.  I really don’t like the PvP portion of the game, so I can only play it for a short period of time before I head off to look for PvP elsewhere.  Even with that, there are some features I love in LotRO.

  • The Epic Story Quests

The Epic Book Quests in LotRO were really cool, with an overarching story line, some instance play (solo and group) and some excellent writing.  I would love to see this move over to Aion.  I know Aion has its version, but it seems to be a much more intrinsic feature in LotRO.

  • The Music System

Yeah, call me a roleplay nerd if you want, but the Music System in LotRO was just cool.  I never really used it myself, but it was really awesome to run into a tavern and find a band playing in the corner and people standing around just to listen.  It may just be fluff, but it was really fun fluff!

  • Legendary Weapons

I love the idea of nameable Legendary Weapons.  I am not 100% sold on how they are implemented in LotRO but the idea is really solid.  Get an sword at low level, name it and it gets better with you.  Give it better stats, better effects and a really cool name and you have a sword all your own.

Warhammer Online

Warhammer Online

As stated before in this blog, WAR was my holy grail.  I awaited this title with anticipation, only to be completely devastated when the game launched.  Even with all its problems, however, there are a few features I would love to see in Aion.  By the way, I was really attempted to put the Tome of Knowledge in this list, but I suspect that the ToK is the cause of many of the performance problems in WAR.  I may be completely wrong about this, but, for this reason, I will keep it off the list.

  • The Dual-Targeting System

This is probably the biggest thing on this list.  When I started WAR the dual-targeting system was just one feature I thought was cool, but not really a big deal.  After leaving WAR and going back to WoW, LotRO and Aion, I find that its the one thing I miss the most.  Being able to have both an offensive and defensive target at the same time is amazingly cool and intuitive.  NCSoft needs to put this in as soon as possible.

  • Public Quests

This is another feature that I love but thought was poorly implemented by the originator.  In WAR there were simply too many Public Quests.  It lessened their impact and made them a crutch for other content.  They could be amazing in Aion though.  Imagine a competitive Public Quest in The Abyss.  Both sides fighting to complete the objective first.  It would be amazingly cool and something I would love to see.

World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft

I played WoW from release.  I have canceled my account a couple of times but I find myself going back.  I am fed up with the game for the most part, but there are some great things in WoW that I would love to see in Aion.

  • The Hunter pet system

I played a hunter as my main (and only!) character for 4 years.  I loved him.  One of the things that endeared him to me was the hunter pet system.  Unlike other pet classes, WoW’s hunter allowed you to find a pet in the wild, name him and train him.  He was my steadfast friend and I loved the system.  Adding this to Aion would probably necessitate a new class, but I would like to see something similar in Aion sometime.

  • Complex Boss fights

PvE has never been my favorite thing in MMOs, I am much more a PvP’er.  With that being said, I do enjoy PvE.  Especially well done PvE.  WoW has some amazing boss encounters; Nefarian, C’Thun, Vaelstrasz and even a few of the 5-man bosses are incredibly well done.  I am not asking for more instances but I would like to see some complex boss fights in the game.  Tank and spank is all fine and dandy but every so often I would like a challenge.  By the way, can you tell I much prefer old-school WoW?

Everquest II

Everquest II

I tried EQII at release, was pulled away for WoW and came back for a bit later.  It has tons and tons of content, deep character options and very good graphics.  For me, however, there was something missing that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.  I could never play it for more than short periods of time and I always found myself getting bore.  There are still some amazing features in the game I would love to see in Aion.

  • The Guild system

EQII has one of the best guild management systems of any MMO.  Options to recruit in-game, a great interface and guild writs allowed options I have not seen in any other MMO, though some are starting to add these features.  The guild writ system added the ability to level your guild by doing quests centered on your guild and the guild interface gave you all the information you could want right at your fingertips.

  • The crafting system

I am not totally enamored of the crafting system in EQII.  For the most part I found it unintuitive and hard to learn.  But it did manage to do something that most MMOs do not, keep you at your keyboard.  In WoW, I queue my materials and go afk until its done.  I do the same in LotRO and I imagine I will do the same in Aion.  EQII required you to be at your keyboard and actively participating.  If that idea could be taken, made more intuitive and fun and put into Aion, I would love it.

Dark Age of Camelot

Dark Age of Camelot

This is it.  My Holy Grail of MMO goodness.  I love this game.  I played it for years and finally left after the population dropped so much it was hard to play.  I have tried to go back numerous times but left for one reason or another.  Surprisingly, even though it is my favorite MMO, I have less to to put in this list from DAoC than any of the above.  This is a good thing.  Simply put, Aion is so close to what I think DAoC was it doesn’t need to add much from it and the one thing I would like to see from DAoC  is something NCSoft has little control over.

  • Realm Pride

DAoC had the best Realm Pride of any faction competitive MMO I have ever been a part of, period.  When Keeps were under attack and Relics were in danger of being lost, the entire Realm stopped what they were doing and came to help.  It didn’t matter if you were PvE’ing, grinding or crafting…you helped.  There was pride in being from Midgard, Albion or Hibernia.  WoW had a bit of this early on with the Horde and Alliance but it has totally disintegrated after Burning Crusade and WotLK.  Even so, it was nothing like DAoC.  NCSoft has little control over this but they can help influence it.  Less instancing, no cross-realm battlegrounds, reasons to defend Fortresses and the like, will help nurture Realm Pride.  Give me DAoC level Realm Pride and I will be ecstatic!

So, that’s it.  That’s my list.  Keep in mind that, though I have played many MMOs, I have not played them all.  I am sure I have left many great features off the list and that’s where YOU come in, what would you like to see in Aion?  What do you not like on my list?  Comment and let me know!