January 30, 2010

A "farewell" from Aion

Posted in Aion, Rant at 7:48 pm by Fedoldinn

Well, it would seem that our little Aion blog has come to an inevitable end.

We began with great enthusiasm for the game during the closed beta days, when Middea introduced Fedoldinn to the game and we spent much time online during the test periods playing. Come launch day, we had pre-ordered two copies and were excitedly awaiting the servers to come up. Early leveling seemed promising, even if it was a repeat of what we’d seen before, and we spent a lot of time online engrossing ourselves in the Aion universe.

It seems like no surprise that level 25 and the Abyss sparked even more enthusiasm for the game. During this time our little blog here had taken off quite well in its original WordPress.com hosted incarnation, with many hits per day and several successful articles written that were viewed by many people… many more than we’d initially expected considering we wrote for our own enjoyment and to entertain ourselves, clear our own thoughts, or rant on what was bothering us at the time.

Early in our Aion careers, this was next to nothing. As the game progressed and as time wore on, it seemed we were ranting more than we were enjoying the game. Several attempts were made to improve our overall enjoyment, from merging our original small friendly legion with another to experience more of the PvP aspect of the game, to moving back to our friendly legion to try and rekindle the sense of community that we had experienced before, and finally to moving to a more competitive, high end legion on our server to take fortresses and conquer content. In the end, none of these moves provided what we were looking for.

The grind was rough, but not the end of the world for either of us. The small legion provided a sense of community in many aspects; from people logging on and chatting while accomplishing their goals, to getting to know one another better and also to spending time on Ventrilo chatting casually. The high end guild provided a larger player base, the promise of regularly scheduled PvP nights for fortress raids and a supposedly greater chance at finding those ever elusive groups for conquering content while leveling.

The fact remains that none of this was enough. In the smaller legion we were faced with the constant issue of not having enough players in any level range to successfully run smaller group content, as well as the issue of legion management and recruitment which both take a toll on those responsible for them. The high end guild had many players, but it never seemed to be a friendly enough atmosphere to get people to head back to old content, or jump in and join others looking for groups instead of focusing solely on personal goals in game.

Aion holds a lot of promise as a game, and it has many positive aspects about it that most people overlook. There are many areas in which to group up and conquer content if that is your goal, there are also many opportunities to play alone. The game has a nice mix of PvP and PvE which should satisfy many. The grind is rough, not much is handed away for free, and it takes general effort to reach the level cap. However, without even the remote ability to find groups and play with other people, it hasn’t been what either of us is looking for in an MMO. The LFG channel is almost devoid of action, generally you see a few groups for areas that you are either too high or too low to play in. The experience penalties severely decimate the number of players willing to go back and help out, or those willing to accept help from people who are more than a couple levels above them.

Unfortunately, I’ve turned this into a semi-rant about what I found wrong with the game. A less severe experience penalty may help these issues, but its far from a solution considering there just doesn’t seem to be anyone willing to play the game for the sake of having fun and joining others in their conquests. To that end, our accounts have expired and neither of us has logged on much in the past month. Maybe that will change in the future if subsequent patches improve the game content or we decide to give it another try, but I know for me that chance is slim to none.

To those still playing, take care and enjoy the game. To anyone who’s read this blog or follows our writing on Aion, take care and farewell. Best of luck to you in the future.

– Fedoldinn and Middea

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January 2, 2010

Sorcerer Stigma Stones

Posted in Aion, Gear, Guide tagged , , , , at 11:40 am by Fedoldinn

Yes, we’re still here. Things have been pretty chaotic lately with work and the holidays coming up, but we’ve still been playing Aion regularly.

Lately, I’ve been working on leveling through the upper 30s and having just recently hit 39, I still have a ways to go in the process. Many hours spent in Mist Mane grinding, and I still have many more quests to complete there which should be good for quite a bit of experience when I finally get to turn them in. I’ve also been working through some of the campaign quests I left lying around, and generally clearing out my quest log in the Abyss when I can. Right now, I’m taking some time to focus on gathering again since my potion supply has dwindled and I’ve lagged behind severely in my Aether Extraction skill.

Anyway, with more time spent grouping and hopefully more opportunities to group for instances coming up, I’ve been debating once again on which Stigma I want to pick up for my open spot. I’d left it for two reasons: because I wasn’t entirely certain that I wanted to get Curse of Roots, and because the general cost of the Stigma Stones was extremely high on the broker in comparison to my kinah supply at the time. Now, cost is less of an issue, but I’m still not completely sold on Curse of Roots.

Let’s take a quick glance at some of the the stigmas available for Sorcerers:

  • Lumiel’s Wisdom I – Level 20 – For 15 sec, you can use skills with only 50% of the required MP.
  • Curse of Roots I – Level 20 – Transforms the target into a tree for 20 sec. The transformed target cannot move or act, and its All Elemental Defenses increases. Once the target is attacked, the effect disappears immediately.
  • Zikel’s Wisdom I – Level 28 – Increases your Magical Skill Boost by 300 for 15 sec.
  • Curse of Weakness I – Level 28 – Curses a target within 25m. For 1 min, each time they use magical skills, they take magic damage equal to 5% of their Max HP. This damage will not exceed 500.
  • Wind Cut Down I – Level 31 – Deals 687 magical wind damage to a target within 25m of you, causing it to bleed for 6 sec.
  • Vaizel’s Wisdom I – Level 37 – Reduces your skill casting time by 25% for 15 sec.

The first on the list, Lumiel’s Wisdom, is the first stigma that we get as sorcerers. I still use it a lot for grinding and soloing, as well as in instances to keep my mana supply up without having to use potions repeatedly. The other stigma that I picked up early on was Zikel’s Wisdom, for those times when you need a mob to die faster or for adding some damage when out killing Elyos. I find these two to be very useful in different situations, even though they are on the same 30 second cooldown.

Taking a look at the others, we have Curse of Roots, Curse of Weakness, Wind Cut Down and Vaizel’s Wisdom. Curse of Roots adds yet another form of CC to our arsenal. Even though we already have Sleep, Root and Aether’s Hold, having another more permanent crowd control ability that also keeps ranged targets silenced is extremely useful in many situations, both PvE and PvP alike. Many sorcerers tend to pick this one up early on and use it quite often. Curse of Weakness does damage to targets as they cast, however, the damage done is fairly limited and so is its usefulness. Personally, I’d recommend passing on this one. Wind Cut Down is more useful, adding a bleed to targets who try to run. This one seems more useful for PvP, and I’ve even contemplated picking it up myself, however I’m not entirely sure how useful it is since I’ve never seen anyone using it. Finally, Vaizel’s Wisdom is yet another stigma on the same cooldown as both Lumiel’s Wisdom and Zikel’s Wisdom, but this time it reduces our casting speed by 25% on spells.

I’m still leaning towards picking up Vaizel’s Wisdom if I can, I’d like to be able to dish out more damage in less time in PvP situations personally. Curse of Roots is tempting though since I’ve lost count on how many times I’ve had an extra mob or player around that Root or Aether’s Hold simply wasn’t useful enough to take care of. Of course, the latest broker prices on both of these has me waiting yet again. The last time I checked, Vaizel’s Wisdom was 3 million kinah on our server, and Curse of Roots was around 500 000 kinah, both far overpriced compared to what they had been before. What are your thoughts as a Sorcerer? Which stigmas do you prefer for PvE and PvP purposes?

December 14, 2009

Looking for Group

Posted in Aion, Rant tagged , , , at 8:11 pm by Middea

For being a group oriented game in both PvE and PvP aspects, it seems to be surprisingly difficult to actually find a group already. In the early leveling days, groups were everywhere, but as everyone’s levels have gotten more spread out from 30-50, groups that are pugging seem to be very rare. Most people seem to have a set group they run with, as did I for awhile. A set group is pretty wonderful as I’m sure we’re all aware, you know what to expect from everyone, what folks are capable of, and pulls are a fluid and continuous chain, you trust each other.

But what happens when you get behind in levels to your group due to whatever circumstances and are no longer within 2-3 levels of them and you are abandoned? You are forced to resign to wading through the spam that is the LFG channel in the desperate hopes that someone, somewhere, needs you. Even if not for the instance you need/want. And heaven help you if you want to go to the middle deck of SR – the red headed step child deck that almost no one anywhere wants to touch with a ten foot pole.

Levels 42 and up are a plethora of group quests but not many solo quests, I have literally 27 group quests in my quest log at the moment at 43. Grinding solo is a dangerous activity with all the Elyos gank squads running through Beluslan. So what’s a cleric to do? Suck it up and grind alone, running to new grind spots each time the 4+ Elyos wreck you whilst locking you down? Troll LFG while crafting? I have tried many combos of these basic ways of passing the time in game, and it’s been over a week since I have found a group to run anything at all, from Fortress guard grinding, Steel Rake, Alquima, to anything at all. Heck, I’d even go to Mist Mane again if anyone would take me.

What’s to happen with the alts in the future, or players late to the game… If it’s already this difficult to find a pug group, and grouping is pretty much needed to effectively level at certain levels due to a lack of solo questing options, at least for players like me who refuse to grind for hours on faceless mobs, what’s a solo player to do?

Panhandler Cleric
I feel like a panhandler. Instead of beer, I just want exp.

Anyone else having issues finding a group to go anywhere?

November 28, 2009

Oh Yeah Baby!

Posted in Aion, Humor at 10:54 am by Middea

Hopefully everyone has had the chance to experience the Abyss by now, and if not, well, you are in for a treat.

The first thing I learned in the Abyss when leaving Primum was that there are floating rings one can fly through and receive a short +flight speed buff for 3 seconds, and second, it gives you +7 flight time each time you go through. Tasty rings.

While recharging my wings, I initially went through with w and s, forward back. I graduated to looking sideways and strafing back and forth through it, to eventually, lag permitting, just bouncing off the glow where it activates for an even faster charge up.

While I was still in my forward-backwards phase, I realized that this looked quite dirty, humping the rings as I was. Then when I started strafing through it, it clicked.

I was pumping in and out of a female condom. unF unF!

Click the below images to get bigger pictures if you so desire.

Rings: Photobucket

Female Condom: Photobucket

After a fine fit of humping, if only I smoked: Photobucket

Not only that, but to add injury to the insult, meteors really love the rings. Meteors, as I’m sure most have painfully found out, are not just aesthetically pleasing. Oh no, they burn. A lot. Instant death burn.

Pretty meteor: Photobucket

The burn: Photobucket

Have you managed to avoid death by meteor? If so, have any tips? No matter how much I watch the core, pesky meteors still annihilate me the minute I turn my camera around.

November 24, 2009

Aion Vision Trailer Released

Posted in Aion tagged at 9:47 am by Fedoldinn

Last night, NCSoft released their trailer for the future vision of Aion. Needless to say, a large portion of the community is extremely excited about what’s in store for the future of this game based on exclamations heard in vent and seen in chat channels in the game.

Although nothing is set in stone and some of this is sure to change, there’s quite a bit in this short video to look forward to. Some of the more obvious changes include:

  • Updated graphics all around
  • Dynamic weather and environments introduced
  • New player mounts
  • Ability for players to swim with new water environments added
  • Player or Legion housing added with what appears to be a lot of customization

Less obvious changes and potential speculation:

  • Player pets
  • Combat mounts
  • Updated spell animations, or possibly new spells added to the game
  • Updated zones or new zones
  • Massive battles in zones making the world more interactive

Aion always impressed me as being visually stunning for an MMO, but the changes here make it even more breathtaking. I’m sure NCSoft must be pushing the CryEngine to its limits with these updates, and it will be very much appreciated by the players.

November 18, 2009

A Casual Approach to Aion (Part 2)

Posted in Aion, Guide tagged , , , at 8:23 am by Fedoldinn

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Part 1 of this article here.

Last week I briefly discussed the variable factors in terms of in game goals and play time, including profession leveling, gathering and questing. I’d like to start out by discussing the latter two of these in a bit more detail considering they will make up the bulk of my in game time and affect the planning stages the most for those of us who have limited availability and are more casual players overall.

The main factors in my decision making process for questing versus gathering were the size of the quest hub I was currently working on and the current state of my gathering skill in comparison to the nodes in the areas nearby. If I felt like I was behind on gathering skill, or knew that I needed to level it up before I moved into a new area, I would focus more on gathering and less on questing. Although the two are not mutually exclusive, sometimes it became apparent that ignoring the quests for a short time and hunting nodes to gather would be more beneficial than focusing on the quest goals. During these periods of time, I would simply farm the nearby mobs for XP gains while waiting for nodes to respawn.

For the most part however, questing is generally better suited to longer gaming sessions and gathering / grinding is better suited to shorter ones. The exception here would be the smaller quest hubs that are restricted to a fairly limited area as they can usually be completed in shorter time frames. Always remember that you can skip a quest hub and save the larger ones for another day when you do have the time to go complete them.

Looking back on my experience, I leveled from 1-16 solo for the most part. It is entirely feasible to level up further solo as well. There were a few times when I found myself killing mobs several levels ahead of myself. As a sorcerer, the main thing I had to keep in mind was that since I’m fairly squishy, playing carefully in situations like these was of utmost importance. Dying is both a costly and time consuming mistake (and one that I’ve made many times). Making sure to take my time and think strategically, I was able to work through them with little to no problems at all. The last few levels in this range become the hardest, just be sure to play carefully and not to rush, and you will be able to work through them alone.

When you hit roughly level 18, you’ll want to work on the quests relating to the Mau and the Black Claw area. For this, you will need to find a group (and it is most likely your first major group experience in Aion). It also means you will want to be sure to set aside a larger chunk of time to play. The area isn’t too large, but the elites are tough and the quests take some time to work through. I had a ton of fun here in the beta, and can say its well worth the effort if you can plan for the time to head over to the area with a group to check it out.

At this point, I’ll have to admit that the next few levels really tested my patience with this game. Going from roughly level 20 to 25 was very rough in my experience, and involved a lot of solo grinding that I wasn’t initially prepared for. Looking back on it I could have probably done it better by strategically choosing mobs that yield the highest XP possible and focusing my efforts, but my haphazard method at the time made it more painful that it had to be. Needless to say, I’m much more used to grinding in Aion and far more focused now, but for those of you who may still be in this range fear not; once you finally hit level 25 the process becomes easier for a while and much more enjoyable when you get to enter the Abyss!

I have a few more tips for casual and hardcore players alike:

  • Leveling professions is both costly and time consuming. I recommend doing it in short bursts and make sure you do the first free work order repeatedly, as Middea has already mentioned in another post.
  • Make sure you focus on gathering as you go if it is important to you. Going back to do this later on can be extremely annoying!
  • Off peak times are excellent for farmed quests, waiting on spawns, drop rates and other tasks that are difficult to accomplish during peak hours. If you can and have the time, leave these for those times when there are fewer players around to compete with.

Overall, my main strategy was to know in advance how much time I had available for the day so that I would have a plan of attack before I even logged on. This helped immensely considering I tend to get sidetracked quite easily and can become distracted with legion chat, browsing the broker or selling items, or just randomly wandering the world around me. It isn’t exactly uncommon for me to spend hours in a game and not feel like I’ve accomplished much if anything at all, so being prepared and organized is crucial to keeping my focus while playing an MMO casually. Of course, this strategy is only really important if you are trying to level in an efficient manner. If you simply wish to enjoy the game at your own pace, feel free to do so.

November 7, 2009

A Casual Approach to Aion (Part 1)

Posted in Aion, Guide tagged , , , at 6:51 pm by Fedoldinn

A few weeks ago I wrote about my debate as to whether or not Aion would be worth the purchase and monthly subscription fee considering my limited availability to play. This is a follow-up post outlining my time in game and hopefully providing some tips on how to plan and maximize your own game experience. As always, any feedback is appreciated and we would like to hear about your own experience with Aion so far!

So, what has changed after my initial debate? Well, after a little thought and some discussion, it became clear to me that I did actually want to play the game. Speaking with Middea about the upcoming release, the latest news, and everything else surrounding it only made me that much more excited to check it out. On top of this, there were a few factors that convinced me that it was actually worth my money to purchase the game and pay the $14.99 US ( approximately $16.36 Canadian currently) monthly subscription fee. Middea’s breakdown of the cost of entertainment, as well as our decision to play casually and make sure we enjoy ourselves instead of rushing to the end game both weighed fairly heavily in the final decision.

And so I promptly pre-ordered the Collector’s Edition and have been playing since the head start fairly often, although somewhat sporadically. Some days I play for a few hours, other days I can log on for an hour maximum, and sometimes (fairly often recently) I can’t even play at all. Even with these limitations, and the initially long queues, I’m confident I’ve been maximizing my time in game in order to accomplish the goals I’ve set for myself, and most importantly, I’ve been able to have fun while doing so.

So, what’s the secret to playing an MMO casually? Well, there are three main points to keep in mind while reading this:

  1. Be patient. MMO’s are designed and developed as a time sink, just like any good role-playing game.
  2. Plan your play time. I’ve come up with a few points that hopefully will help you with this.
  3. Have fun! After all, that is the entire point of playing, right?

It would seem that the first point should stand fairly well on its own without the need to further clarify. However, thinking back on the role-playing games (RPGs) I’ve played, sometimes its not so obvious that the games were intended to provide hundreds of hours of entertainment. In the case of MMORPGs, this usually is extended to thousands of hours. I know for a fact that I played WoW for well over 200 days… Just keep that in mind when you approach Aion and understand that there’s no reason to experience everything immediately. The game will be around for years to come and you will have time to work your way through it. The important thing here is to remember to start off with an idea of what you want to accomplish in game early on, and set the rest aside for later.

Once you know what is important to you, you can easily start to plan your time spent in game. For me, there were a few things that I had on my list from playing in a couple of the beta events. First, I wanted to make sure my gathering skills were kept up to the appropriate level with the content I was working on. This was important for a few quests, and I knew that it would help out later on with the professions I had chosen to focus on. For professions, I decided that Alchemy and Cooking would be important to me, but the former was the most important for my class and general interest. So, part of my plan was to level Alchemy immediately as I leveled my character, and set Cooking aside until later on considering the general expense, both in terms of time and kinah, to level a profession. Finally, the leveling process itself was important to an extent (as it always is), so I made sure I had an idea of how I wanted to approach questing and grinding at my casual pace.

Considering those three goals, there were a few things that became immediately apparent to me. My profession leveling could be done at any time, and didn’t have a time constraint on it. This made it an ideal choice for shorter periods of game time. I also knew that the gathering goal could potentially set me back a bit in terms of time spent questing, which was something to consider, but essentially a variable factor dependent on node spawns, general activity level in game, and other factors that were out of my control. The questing and leveling process itself is fairly variable as well, but can be controlled to a certain extent with a bit of thought put into it.

To be continued…

Be sure to check out A Casual Approach to Aion (Part 2) for more information on time management and planning while leveling. In the meantime, make sure you’re having fun!

November 4, 2009

When You're Good to Mama/NCsoft

Posted in Aion tagged , , , at 7:17 pm by Middea

And now ladies and gentlemen –
the Keeper of the accounts,
the Countess of the servers,
the keeper of Atreia,
Matron NCsoft Corporation!

Ask any of the birdies in my pen
They’ll tell you I’m the biggest Mutha. . . .Hen
I love them all and all of them love me –
Because the system works;
the system called reciprocity!

Got a little motto
Always sees me through –
When you’re good to Mama
Mama’s good to you!

There’s a lot of favors
I’m prepared to do –
You do one for Mama
She’ll do one for you!

They say that life is tit for tat
And that’s the way I live –
So, I deserve a lot of tat
For what I’ve got to give!

Don’t you know that this
hand washes that one too –
When you’re good to Mama
Mama’s good to you!

If you want my gravy
Pepper my ragu –
Spice it up for Mama
She’ll get hot for you!

When they pass that basket
Folks contribute to –
You put in for Mama
She’ll put out for you!

The folks a top the ladder
are the ones the world adores –
So boost me up my ladder kid
and I’ll boost you up yours!

Let’s all stroke together
Like the Princeton crew –
When you’re strokin’ Mama
Mama’s strokin’ you!

So what’s the one conclusion
I can bring this number to?
When you’re good to Mama
Mama’s good to you!!

From Chicago: The Musical
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Moral of the story:

Birdies pay for 6 months subscription (tit)
NCsoft gives us pretty sweet wings (tat)

Free wings? Yes please.

Black Cloud Traders’ Commodities —

Available for Level 40+.

Attributes: HP +181 – MP +181 – Flight Time +60


Asmodian

Elyos


Elyos Wings


Asmodian Wings

What are your thoughts on the Veteran Rewards Program?

And just a reminder, able to apply first month’s rewards already 🙂

November 2, 2009

Newly Discovered

Posted in Aion at 9:53 pm by Fedoldinn

We’ve recently come across a few more Aion blogs that we didn’t know about previously and would like to share these with the rest of the community. It’s always nice to read about what other people are working on in game and to find out their thoughts and opinions on the current state of this fairly new MMO.

So, without further ado, here are some new blogs we’ve added to our readers this week:

If any of you have recommendations for Aion blogs you have stumbled across that aren’t currently on our blogroll let us know. We’d love to check them out and add more to our daily reading list!

October 30, 2009

Mind if I Have Your Tasty Fortresses?

Posted in Aion, fortress, Rant at 5:27 pm by Middea

Rather than taking over the comments section over at Flying Bishounen on the post about 1.5.1 incoming patch details, going to make a new post.

Fortress sieges at the present moment are definitely zergs. What makes them zergs? Well, if you break it down, a zerg is a large force that overwhelms whatever they are attacking by way of large numbers rather than strategy and/or gear. A zerg does not require skill, just a massive force that cannot be turned away.

Currently in the patch notes:

You now receive contribution decorations as reward for successfully defending a fortress under the control of your Legion.

This is different than live. On live, you receive nothing from defending a fortress from enemy capture. Or, do you? My argument is that you do receive something from defending. Owning a fortress gives all players of that faction access to the dungeon.

This is important to remember because access to the fortresses gives ALL members of the faction that owns it access to the dungeon inside. The fortress dungeons give access to AP without the opposing faction’s interference. You can get medals, icons, seals, crowns, etc from the chests which are worth even more AP upon turn in. More on the fortress amenities can be found on the Powerwiki.

Currently on Lumiel’s Asmodian side, small legions and pugs coordinate with each other and some of the bigger legions in /joinchannel fortress to defend and attack fortresses. We band together to form a zerg and most times we are successful in what we’re attacking/defending/preventing Elyos from gaining.

It is however, notably harder to muster forces to defend fortresses. A few legions that actually capture the fortresses do not appear to even bother showing up to defend their own fortresses at all. Why not? It’s not as profitable for them, they get no medals for defending, so why spend the kinah to keep it out of the opposing factions hands?

Fortress

Keeping the easy AP from the opposing faction is worth defending in my humble opinion. Not bothering to even show up to support that while you have almost all members on? But showing up en mass to regain it? Even just picking off stragglers or something would help the puggers/smaller legions that are defending it for their chance at medals/icons/easyish AP.

A zerg does require participation and attendance to work. If this part of the patch goes through, I don’t see the pugs/smaller legions working together to defend a fortress for a legion that never bothered to help them get easier AP/exp early on via the fortress dungeons.

I personally wouldn’t want to help a legion that right now likes to win trade the lower abyss fortresses. Yes, you don’t get anything by way of medals for defending at the moment, but you do help your entire level 30+ faction by allowing access to the fortress dungeons.

I don’t know that the patch changes for rewarding the owning faction are necessary but I bet that the rewards will help encourage the owners to show up and help defend.

What are your thoughts on fortresses/ownership?

  • Would you help defend for a legion that participates currently in win trading?
  • Do you participate in fortress defense?
  • Are you part of a larger legion that captures fortresses but doesn’t defend them?
  • Do you see the value in owning a fortress and what all it provides in terms of access/options for your entire faction?

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