March 03, 2010

Allods Online: Playing on ISA Server

Just a quick update for those that meddle with Allods: I'm still casually playing Allods Online on the ISA server (EU). My warrior Thulf is around level 16 now. If you read this and play there as well, feel free to poke me ingame. Since i did not decide yet how long I'll continue to play AO - I'll wait until i experience PvP around 23+ and how the pricing for the cash shop turns out - I did not work further on any plans to create a new blog for the game, made some notes tho, just in case. Maybe I'll write some kind of beginners guide, since the game does not explain a few things properly, which can be really hard on new players if they eg. skill their char wrong.

February 14, 2010

Canceled my Aion subscription

Just fyi i did cancel my Aion subscription recently. I did not really miss the game during my short break and that - at least for me - is always a bad sign. Despite what NCsoft says, the grind and the missing incentive (eg. finding new useful & fun stuff on mobs etc.) plus many people leaving i was playing with did the rest. In addition there are some core problem with class balance for melee & ranged classes at the higher levels IMO. I don't want to rant too much here or go further into detail. I got a bunch of unfinished maps and instance stuff, but don't think I'll publish them since i dislike posting unfinished stuff. Maybe if i get bored i might finish some and add them here some day.

I'm not sure what the next MMO will be i play or if I'll start a new blog about it, but you can be sure I'll keep you posted about it. From the looks of it i might play Allods Online (EU) casually for a while and see how that moves along. If you'll play on the EU server and want to team up, poke me about it.

So to all readers, some of you followed me since WAR, thanks for reading and all those nice eMails and ingame chats.

January 21, 2010

Cooperative Gameplay

Quite a few weeks since my last blog update. During the holidays and the new year I've been rather busy with friends & family. At the start of this year i took a new job, therefore my time to play was rather limited, but tbh i did not miss Aion that much. *sadface* My subscription is still active and I'll decide over the upcoming weeks what I'll do about it. There are a few people that contacted me for various reasons per email and i still did not get back to all of them, my appologies but you have not been forgotten.

There were also some, after my last blog post, that suggested new MMOs to me or offered me beta keys to upcoming titles. Very cool of you guys, thanks. I'm always open to try out new MMOs, so just keep poking me... I might consider it.

During the holidays i had a friend over and we wanted to hang out and play some computer games together. Since he did not bring a Laptop with him, that only left us with my desktop computer. If you own a console there are plenty of games that offer cooperative gameplay - at the same time, on the same screen - but with a normal PC things look different. If you do not include any shooters or racing games, what co-op games are you left with? To be honest i had to do quite some research to find a few titles that are fun to play. I'll share the best with you here:

Bombermaaan (free)
Bombermaaan is a classic bomberman clone with all kinds of different power-ups and such. You can use gamepads and play with up to 5 players on the same computer. *lol* I suggest you disable the "hurry up" feature of making the playground smaller tho. Tip: Backspace will take you back a step during the sub-menus.

Bionic Commando Rearmed
A 2D platform game featuring a guy with a large gun and a bionic arm that can shoot a grappling hook. In co-op game play two players can play together at the same time. Utilizes an intelligent split-screen system if the players move too far apart from each other. Classic platform jumping and shooting, you can use gamepads. fun!

Blobby Volley (free)
Two alien blobs play volleyball against each other. Not really co-op i know.

Ballerburg (free)
Do you remember the really old Ballerburg from Atari ST? Two players shoot cannonballs from their castles over a mountain. You have to take wind strength/direction into account and use gunpowder and cannon angle to hit parts of the other players castle. The free game i link to is only in German afaik, but should be easy enough to figure out. Not really co-op either.

LEGO Star Wars / LEGO Indiana Jones / LEGO Batman
WTF? You think... LEGO? Hell yeah! ;) Until i searched for good co-op games I've never even bothered nor tried the LEGO video games. They are developed by Traveller's Tales and despite being games you could even play with your kids (rated 10+) they offer enough cartoon violence and small puzzles to keep you entertained. Get some booze and smash stuff in LEGOland. You can play with gamepads and two players can adventure at the same time, the newer titles offer an intelligent split-screen feature should the players move to far away. It's more fun then you think it would be...

Do you kow any other good PC games with cooperative gameplay? Share with me...

December 17, 2009

Life past 40 and current things

My Templar Thulf is level 42 meanwhile. Yes i know, did not play as much as others who reached 50 long ago. I also can only stand the grind for such an amount of time, so i have to go and eg. explore areas with mobs that will kill me quickly to stay sane. ;) In addition, if i am grinding, usually i like to kill mobs at least 4-5 levels higher then me, which is probably not the best xp/h ratio but at least some kind of a challenge if you get adds or such. The longer i play Aion, the more you get the feeling the game is not as polished as many people think it is, just looks pretty. The major annoying thing is the quest rewards and quest access. Basicly the level you can finally take a quest, the mobs you have to kill for it are seldom a challenge anymore. Add to this that most high-level quests give a pitty XP reward and you are just better off killing mobs aka grinding then doing quests. What i do is pick those quests that a) Seem to have a fun storyline b) offer a good reward (be it XP, kinah or items). Basicly after level 30+ i abandoned a large amount of quests due to the low reward those offer. Taking this approach will maximize your XP gain, but you need to do some research on which quests will lead to other questlines, so you don't miss anything important. Some days you get really bored grinding, then you might take on some quests just for the heck of it. So does this means its really bad after 40? It's not *that* bad, but still quite a grind (aka mindless monster killing) despite what NCsoft says. They intend to offer some Double Experience Weekends now to patch things up, but what i really lack is looong questlines with a great story and proper reward for the time invested. Some of the short movies you get to see while questing are really good. Once you hit 40 there are more things to do then grinding tho: The Shugo pirate ship Steel Rake instance, the Alquimia Research Center instance (42 skill books drop there) and more fortress dungeons in the abyss. Soon you'll also be able to do Draupnir Cave as well, tho from the looks of it many skip that dungeon as its very long if you don't know the right short cuts, and the final boss is a bitch. People rather seem to grind to 50 and do eg. Dark Poeta instead. So its not just grind, grind and you have things to do, but only few quests when you adventure solo because your friends are offline or busy.

All the RNG (random number generator) rolls are starting to get on your nerves as well sometimes. Be it expert crafting quests or just trying to improve your gear with manastones, everything is just very, very random and if you have a long line of failures - blowing millions of kinah into the wind - i can see some people ragequit.

Good news for the Templars tho: After 40 you stand a good chance in PvP if you are proper geared and have the valuable stigmas equipped. Maybe during the upcoming holidays I'll write a longer article about Templar playstyle and gear after 40.

Did the recent bot-bannings from NCsoft help? Some... but not that much. You still see daily gold-seller private stores in all major hubs (since the software is not able to detect a gold seller add in the shop text) and i still encounter bots daily in the high-level areas - especially in the non-peak hours - which means they have been playing undisturbed until level 40plus. IMO without proper game master support 24/7 and a better ingame support system NCsoft won't win the fight.

As long as i don't hit 50 and get really bored then, I'll keep playing Aion for now. But due to the circumstances i won't have as much patience with Aion as i did with other MMOs that offered at least a better service. Beside some vage promises i don't see the ingame support change soonish tbh.

Edit: Ah yes, forgot to mention i encountered my first bugged/non-translated quest in Aion. Apparently the localization team screwed up and forgot to translate a few quests. The one everybody is talking about atm is a 2nd entry quest that will let you enter Dark Poeta for only 5 scales instead of 20. The quest i encountered is The Inscrutable Stranger, you can't take it while running the client on english. For EU its pretty easy to switch the game in the language options (launcher) to eg. German or French, then you can take and solve the quest. For the US i think fastet way is to temporarily rename the 1_enu.pak & 2_enu.pak and therefore start the client in korean. The overall localization job on Aion is really good, but how can you completely forget some quests?

November 30, 2009

Create Custom Map Markers via Texteditor

After writing about how to copy the rift locations into your ingame memopad back then, i started to wonder how the map ID code for other custom map links would be. Since this way you could communicate ingame map markers with friends and legion mates by email or forum. Recently i took the time to figure out how to do this and wanted to share it with you...

The code for a map marker looks like this:
[pos:text/linkname;zone/mapID x-coords y-coords z-coords mapsubzone]

[pos:alchemist;120010000 1187 1521 0 -1]
(This would be the alchemist in the crafting district in Pandaemonium)

Explanation how to build the code:
The start always has to be [pos: followed by the text/linkname; (the semicolon is important) you choose the ingame link will have and it ends with a ]. The linkname can be longer, but the marker on the map will only display up to 10 characters on a mouse-over.

Zone & Map IDs
Next is the ID number for the zone/map. Those are the corresponding numbers:

120010000 = Pandaemonium
220010000 = Ishalgen
220030000 = Altgard
220020000 = Morheim
220040000 = Beluslan
220050000 = Brusthonin

110010000 = Sanctum
210010000 = Poeta
210030000 = Verteron
210020000 = Eltnen
210040000 = Heiron
210060000 = Theobomos

400010000 = Abyss / Reshanta (see explanation about mapsubzones below)

X/Y/Z coordinates
Next follows the coords for the correct placement on the map. Keep in mind that the zones have different sizes, so the coordinates will be different for different maps. To get the right location you can use the ingame command /loc which will print your current coordinates into your chatwindow. Since maps only have two dimensions, the z-axis will alyways be 0 (zero) for your custom links. If you use /loc you will see that often the coords will be printed as eg. 1522.36 - you can use the exact location with the dot for the link if you wish, but the custom marks are not *that* exact. So usually you'll be fine just using the first couple of digits.

This one took me a while to figure it out. The mapsubzone will always be -1 or 0 (both works) for your links for the normal zones. BUT the Abyss is different. Here the mapsubzone corresponds to the abyss layer you want to mark:

1 = Lower Abyss
2 = Core
3 = Upper Abyss

Example for an upper Abyss link would be:
[pos:Vindachinerk;400010000 2691 593 0 3]

How to use this properly?
For one you can exchange ingame links with friends in your forum, etc. which makes creating some guides much easier. In addition you could use as their map markers also display coords if you mouse-over them. Therefore you could look up NPCs and create the markers in your texteditor to place them into your memopad for later reference.

Use the comments if you have any questions...

November 26, 2009

Shortcut to Draupnir Cave

Since i explored again in areas i should not run around in with my level *grin* I figured i post something useful from todays travels. The Draupnir Cave (instance for lvl ~43-50) entrance is in the middle of an elite area. If you want to go there fighting your way through can be quite annoying. To speed things up you can use a small shortcut. Since i traveled there today anyway i took a few screenshots to make it easier for those that have not been there.

You'll want to move to position 1 first. Run up the slope as shown on the left picture. From up there you'll glide over to the other side as seen on the right picture.

Over on the other side you need to climb the mountain as shown in the left picture. This part is pretty easy to find your way up. On top of the mountain you will glide over towards the area of the Beluslan Observatory as shown on the right picture.

At the Beluslan Observatory you'll want to jump off at position 2, the broken bridge part shown on the picture to the right, and aim to glide to the area at position 3. Now you are very close to the bridge leading towards the cave area. This shortcut should save you and your group members some time.

While many know this shortcut, there is another way you can use as well: North of the Fang Troll Encampment is a Balaur Teleport Stone Statue, position is marked on the initial map. Using this statue will teleport you up the mountain above the statue location. From there you can climb the mountain to the left and glide towards position 3 as well. You'll not make it in one glide but can land close to the mountain and sneak through the elites from there without hassle. I did not time each way, so no idea which one is faster. It will probably depend from where you are traveling. Tho if you come from Red Mane, the statue might be slightly faster IMO.

Tip of the Day: You can also use the first shortcut to reach the Beluslan Observatory. Since you can solo the campaign quest Restoring Beluslan Observatory, that's easy 3.5 million XP at level 39.

November 25, 2009

NCsoft and the Dilemma with Support, Bots & Goldsellers

I wanted to write this post since quite a while now. After the cool "future Aion" trailer i figured we should not forget the current issues. Initially i waited some weeks to write this post since i asked Ayase weeks ago a few questions towards the topic, but never got an answer back. So much for Community Management, but maybe blogs are not considered "serious business" by NCsoft. Another reason i waited was that i thought "this is so annoying and people complain about it all over the net, they will have to fix it fast". Did they yet? No. Players started to get tired about complaining since nothing happened. I fail to understand how NCsoft can neglect some issues so culpable. Overall i still enjoy my time in Aion despite it gets tedious some times. But there are a few things that bug me, as a customer paying for a MMO, big time and i know others feel the same...

The NCsoft Support
Aion's monthly fee is in line with all the other pay-to-play MMOs out there. BUT the Aion Game Master support "ingame" is only available during normal office hours and not 24/7. WTF? We pay the same amount of money to a company that does not offer the same level of support then all the other MMOs out there? This fact really does twist my head. If you got a serious character bug or some other issue you have to wait forever until you get a response. I also remember reading in some forum that the German CM mentioned it might be better to use the NCsoft website support formular since they can deal with all issues and the system ingame can't. In addition those support systems are not linked - at least weren't when i read about it. So basicly NCsoft is earning more money with Aion then other MMOs due to them not paying as much for support as other companies do? This point really feels like a customer rip-off to me.

Service Announcements
The server maintenance times are not communicated very well by NCsoft, sometimes you don't know about them until the yellow info text appears ingame. I know, there can be the need for emergency downtime, but if the game runs stable those occasions should only be few. No one can tell me NCsoft decides a few hours before maintenance "Hey, let's take the servers down today!". How about two days notice in advance? Also better info ingame would be nice. At the moment you get a blurry info warning that tells you "shortly", which can be anywhere between 2-30min. and then a 60 seconds cooldown. In addition, why don't we have the patch notes up to read already while the servers are being offline? Oh wait, at least the official EU website has some database flaw and we can't even read the official news while the servers are down. We have to check the US website to be able to access them. Service announcements and upcoming downtimes need to be communicated far better by NCsoft. And why are there so many downtimes we get zero info about what was fixed? The patch notes we get from NCsoft are never complete as well. Did you for example know that you can meanwhile re-arrange/sort the skill-chains?

In addition while not directly related, patch 1.5 did not reduce the grind like it was announced. Only few quests had their reward upgraded and still around level 35+ most quests are just not worth your time and you are better of just grinding mobs instead.

Gold Sellers & Bots
Due to the lack of GM presence on the servers and the short ingame support hours plus the very cumbersome report interface (did you know you can't even use the autoreport feature on a goldseller with a private store in the capitol?) the gold sellers spam the chat channels all day long. In addition you have goldsellers with private stores advertising their website for days. Not hours... days! I mean c'mon... police the servers and add some fast/easy ways for players to click & report the goldseller, then you just need personnel going through the reports and check logs. I have never played any MMO where the advertising could go on for such a long time without support interference. The quick-block feature was a right step, but did not change the amount of spam. NCsoft could have just used it to flag accounts for manual review: If a player gets blocked my many people in a short timeframe, something should be wrong. The last maintenance disabled the block feature again btw. WTF? Let's hope todays maintenance will enable it again. Edit: It might be that the block list is just full and you just get zero notice about it, have to test that later. In addition: If you block someone on one of your characters, you CAN NOT block him on another. you get the message that character is already blocked, but you still get spammed by that person. Major flaw in the interface, needs fixing. The ongoing goldseller spam gives people the impression NCsoft doesn't care at all what's going on, which also results in more people behaving like jerks then as if people think there is some form of server-police. Meanwhile players even use auto-fill-form browser addons to send in website tickets, as the ingame reports do nothing. Patching the game so players below level 10 don't have access to certain ingame features does nothing but annoy/alienate low level players and had no effect on goldsellers whatsoever IMO.

Bots... they are everywhere. There are several areas continously flooded with them. At a first glance you think the /AutoReportHunting command offers a nice way to report them. The next day the same bots are still there and keep on grinding - if you are unlucky taking all your quest mobs. Since you can only report 10 players per day, i use that amount up if i only enter one area where bots are... yes, that many hang around. It's very discouraging to see them day after day, despite multiple reports. I know many players just gave up reporting them, since it seems to have no effect. The problem might be within the /AutoReportHunting system itself. I always had the impression this would report the player to a GM, who would investigate the case. Tho reading this post it seems to be just an automated system that will in the end result in the character not getting any loot/XP. Apperently this feature will fade away over time, which might explain some bots disappearing for a while and then surfacing again. If it truely works like that, it does not suprise me there are still so many bots around.

Another problem with all the kinah the gold sellers own meanwhile: On some servers they simply own the market. During the two months they could roam free they massed large amounts of kinah and use it to disturb the market. In the meantime the gold prices went as low as approx. 3$ for one million kinah, while it has been around 60$ in the beginning. This gives us at least a small indicator what an insane amount of kinah the goldseller amassed meanwhile.

Today i heard that supposedly NCsoft hired more support people in the US and they started to ban goldsellers during a few hours and not days. Let's hope this trend will also come to the EU. Tho two months after release it still leaves a really bad aftertaste and we'll have to see when/if they can fix this problem properly.

NCsoft announced they recently banned 16.000 accounts due to them violating the terms of service. This might be a first step, but i still see goldsellers and bots around... so they only catched some. In addition there are many players that claim they were banned innocent and blame NCsoft "automated banning filter" for that, while NCsoft claims they investigate multiple incidents before a ban.

Paying for a non-existent support is a major dealbreaker for me and i know I'll have less patience with Aion - should i get bored - then i had with other MMOs, if NCsoft won't fix the support issues in a proper timeframe.

Tip of the Day: If you have trouble reaching aionsource with Firefox since monday, like i did, clean your browser cache and all should work fine again.

November 24, 2009

New Aion Vision Trailer

NCsoft posted a trailer with things in their pipeline. From the looks its just a concept trailer, but the stuff looks really nice. If they only manage to implement half of it, people will be happy. That is, if NCsoft can finally battle the bots, gold sellers and implement a real customer support ingame. The trailer shows a lot of things and besides those hints that Aion will be upgraded to a new version of the CryEngine (at least version 2, possibly version 3) in the future. The graphics look really stunning.

Aside from the new engine, from what i saw the trailer shows:
- swimming & diving (underwater areas)
- new really large creatures to fight (including a big ass dragon)
- seasons in all areas including capitols
- player housing (including custom furniture) next to capitols
- some kind of black-board system
- new travel system via boat (water & air), probably addition to flight master
- player mounts with option to carry another player with you as well
- feature to knockdown/tame wild animals and ride those
- new weapons/spells
- crossbows
- a Templar transforming his shield into a grappling-hook-hand
- Spiritmaster fighting on the back of a raptor
- the summoning of a huuuge mountain like giant
- a large battle between Elyos & Asmodians inside the asmo player housing area

Truely some cool stuff. Anything else you spotted, that i did miss?

Edit: You can download a HD version (448MB) of the trailer in .flv from NC korea here.

November 06, 2009

What's in the Pipeline...

Just a quick post to let you guys know what to expect in upcoming posts... Thinking of posting about some questlines you can do for good gear upgrades (blues). Also toying around with some ideas to write about Steel Rake or Dark Poeta instances, maybe posting maps for those. I also still have to upgrade my Abyss post with the most recent data. In addition i want to write more about gameplay as a Templar. One of the next longer posts will be a looong complain about NCsoft customer service and how we pay for nearly non-existent game support, also touching the gold spammer & bot topic there. Just have to write the last paragraph and look over it again. So stay tuned... new stuff coming up around the corner.

On a sidenote i switched the tooltip syndication to since their tooltips and UI in general are much better then from aionarmory. Only thing thats missing are the helpful comments like at the armory, else it feels more accurate and up to date as well. No idea what's going on at aionarmory, but feels like they did not work on it for ages.

Question of the Day: Does anyone know 100% for sure how the Expand Cube Ticket will affect the max. number of usable cube rows? I know the quests you can do to expand the cube have no effect on the number of rows you can buy, but what about the ticket? Is it the same?

November 04, 2009

Got me a new shield... with a Bullhead

Readers of my blog will be happy to hear: I'll have a bit more time on my hands in the upcoming weeks, so expect more frequent posts again. My game notes for upcoming blog posts became quite many, so i really have to write more. ;) I recently got myself a new shield crafted by a legion mate of mine and *happyface* it critted on the first craft into an Expert Noble Adamantium Shield. Pretty sweet! The shield model itself is a bit different then the other bullhead looking shields: When you wear it on the back it folds together a bit and when you take it out, the shield extends with a little animation. Overall I'm not impressed with the amount of different item models used in Aion. Basicly every level range uses the same models, even less variety for headgear. The one thing NCsoft did pretty well is the difference for very rare items, which really do stick out, be it through different model or even with animated textures on some of the golden ones. I also like the amount of fluff items you can get, some weird headgear like Zifbaum's Cooking Hat or the fun weapons like Liuron's Aquarium Fish. Nontheless it feels like there should be some more different models when it comes to armor and especially helmets. I really dig the remodel item feature tho, where you can donate an item model to give the looks to another one. This will at least enable you to prevent looking like a clown, which i always hated in some MMOs.

Tip of the Day: Did you realize while flying the left-button mouselook features does not work properly? It seems like the mouselook changes while flying for some weird feature that is eluding me. There is a possibility to look around properly while flying tho: Hold the middle-mousebutton pressed to freely look around while flying into some other direction. I started to just use the middle-mousebutton to look around to get used to it. Once you realized its possible, its a lot less annoying to fly and look around for enemies or certain mobs. When you click the middle button once, your view turns around 180 degrees (if you have this feature switched on), which can be useful to look behind you if you are being chased.

October 26, 2009

Harvest Revel Event = fail ?

Two days ago the Harvest Revel event in Aion started. Hum... so far the only thing that me and others were able to spot is a daily "survey" pop-up that give the first character you log into the game some stupid candy (which is similar to the ones you can cook yourself) and a short text. Seriously? That's what NCsoft calls an "event"? There is no different decorations, no special items that can drop during the timeframe... nada from what me or others i talked to could spot. What a joke. The description on the official website says for Asmodians: "Asmodians find soothing peace during the dark days of the Harvest Revel. They celebrated by racing after the Wild Kurthanir hunt leader during the Wild Hunt and cooking special traditional dishes." Anyone seen this Kurthanir hunt leader or seen any special recipes for "traditional dishes"? I haven't. In my eyes if this is really all there is to the so called "event", they should have just left it off the menu, because this is just disappointing.

Maybe some of you have seen anything special? If so, share it with the rest of us...

October 22, 2009

Hey, Hey... what's going on?

I know, i know... long time no update... Thulf, what's going on? NO, i did not have any accident like someone wrote in the comments. I'm fine. I just have been really busy trying to catch up with my legion members level wise, working odd hours and in addition, like i hinted earlier, I started to write for a print gaming magazine and used some of my creative time to work on my articles. Always wanted to do the major update i need to do for the blog "en bloc", but alas.. so much to do, so little time. ;)

I'm still playing Aion more or less daily and overall am enjoying it. Some things are really great, some are very cumbersome. At the moment i continuously hit a wall where i run out of quests and have to grind approx. half a level until i can take more quests. Since many of the repeatable quests are just not worth the time invested. It feels to me they screwed up the minimum level for quests around 35, some of the quests i can take give so little reward in XP and the mobs are way to easy for me, its more effective to grind higher level mobs then to do those quests.
About some things like more or less non-existent "office hours support" or hot topics like the gold seller spam I'll write another day. I also wrote Ayase with a few questions about it several weeks ago, but never got an answer back. Basicly from what i saw so far community management is run similar to the support at NCsoft, understaffed. Mythic/GOA had a much better relationship with blogs as well.

My main char Thulf (Templar) is level 35 meanwhile, which enables me to use my Kromede's Sword i got during one of the last Fire Temple groups i joined. I am very close to become a cooking expert and my armorsmithing is around lvl 33 items. My gathering skills both are up-to-date with the areas I'm adventuring in. Sheesh, its hard to work to keep the gathering & crafting up. And it costs a shitload of kinah. My advice: Don't start to work on your crafting early if you only want to supply yourself with gear its better you take alchemy or cooking for consumables and buy weapons/armor from the broker. They are expensive yes, but it will cost you more to level crafting and craft your own stuff in the long run.

Question of the Day: Why can't you read the official news at the Aion website during server downtime? It works for US...

September 28, 2009

Recruit Group feature - Looking for Group chat links

The Recruit Group Feature seems not to be known by many yet, despite it can be very useful. The patch notes told us there are chat commands called /recruitgroup and /recruitforce, which don't seem to work at all at the moment. What does work right now: Go to Menu -> Community -> Find Friend on this tab in the lower left bottom you see a button "Invite Chat Link". The rest of the window is just to search for people or to flag yourself as looking for a group (which can be useful as well). Choose the chat channel (eg. Legion or Find Group) and press the button. A blueish link "Recruit Group" will be inserted.

If people right-click the link they'll see a small info window about the members already in the group. If they left-click the link the owner of the group link will get a whisper with info about class and level from the applying person. In addition there are two links "Invite to Group" (self-explanatory) and "Reject Group". If you choose to reject the applying person, you'll send an automated polite whisper back telling him "It's a shame, but let's play together next time. Have a good time in Aion!". This can be useful to get up a group set up easy and with some info. The system is still very rudimentary tho.

Tip: As inserting the link will delete all text in the chatline, best insert the link first and then write some info behind it. Since if you do not make it clear what your group intends to do and what class/level you are searching for you'll get spammed by whispers when people just click the recruit link.

Edit: One of the recent patches changed the behavior of the links. Now if you right-click you apply for the group and a left-click shows the group window.

September 25, 2009

Busy, busy

I know, i know... I'm slacking with my blog. The game started, where are the daily updates and more details about juicy boss fights, more tips and such? Well, since I'm still trying to stay ahead of the crowd - it's insane to quest in areas where *everything is being camped* - and also started to meddle with crafting inbetween, time to look at my notes and write new blog entries has been... rare. Busy, busy all the time... trying to catch up with my higher level guildies. My Templar Thulf is lvl 22 now and i can finally use the Inescapable Judgment I Stigma i bought from the AH for 75.000 kinah. Level 22 is really something to look forward to as you'll get a bunch of new and useful skills.

As i mentioned earlier i wrote some articles and such for different Aion publications. Some of the stuff has not being polished by me yet and is not used there since we could not agree on terms. I'm torn tho if i should put a lot of work into writing "long" guides for my blog since there are so many people that just blatantly steal your content, doing a copy/paste job onto their own website to generate content. I think for the moment I'll stick to the shorter post style like i maintain right now. Some days ago while i was thinking about it, i had the idea to set up a "coffee club" - basicly everytime someone spends the time to buy me a coffee i generate some short article with tips and send it to all those that already bought one. Then again that feels like ppl are forced to use that option, which is not true. I don't know... will think about this further. Just felt like i should do the guys & girls something nice.

I got a bunch of stuff in the pipeline, just need enough time to go over notes and write about it. Stay tuned...

Tip of the Day: Once you get the Quest [Spy] Liquor that Makes You Vanish (asmo), wait with drinking the liquor until you picked up more [Spy] quests (around lvl 22 & 23) and then use this quest as your ticket into Elyos country. Rifting, especially at the early levels due to some areas being off-limit for you, is somewhat random and it can take a while until you are able to grab a rift. Not to mention some entrance areas being... not suitable for lower levels. ;)

September 23, 2009

Ding, lvl 20

Alright, the headstart so far has been very busy. Like i mentioned before our guild Versus joined the EU server Gorgos. There are a bunch of players in their mid-twenties now, so we can expect some Abyss activity soonish. Our plan for the headstart was to stay ahead of the crowd and i think our guild manages quite good so far. We can also proudly say that we were the first legion to kill King Zugog on our server. Despite that i did not play as much as some others, my Templar Thulf did hit lvl 20 today. Since i played through the first 20 levels two times already, now comes the fun stuff as i don't know all the quests and tasks. Even with the patch 1.5 the leveling takes some effort and with approx. 18.5 levels i did hit a wall where i had to grind elites and only very few elite quests left. Some longer guild group action got me over the dead point tho. Trying to get your hands on nice gear from named mobs has been fairly easy in beta, but is a bitch right now. Looks like everything is being camped or on a respawn timer.

Due to the enforced character creation rules all servers look fairly balanced so far. Check out the new official Server Statistics site.

Did you see the new Aion live Character & Legion Database?

I'll try to take more notes and post some stuff about my adventures while i get further into the game. Since NCsoft made a major update to their Powerwiki some new information came through, so i have to update older guides i posted. Kudos to NCsoft for pulling off so many website updates. TBH i did not think they would make it in time. Updating older posts in my blog can take a few days tho, as i have to balance playtime and writing for my blog. ;)

September 20, 2009

Pre-Selection & Headstart

Headstart will be upon us tonight. Finally working on your char and keeping stuff. ;) The Aion pre-selection was a nice touch in my eyes. I can't remember any other MMO i played did let me create my char before the headstart. And especially with all the character sliders and possible choices its nice to have enough time to play around with them. NCsoft got rid of GameGuard, which was a surprise for many. A smart move not to jeopardize the launch by all the GameGuard trouble people had. In my opinion GameGuard will be back after a while tho. Looks to me they were just not able to fix it fast enough.

Pre-Selection, even without GameGuard, brought some trouble for people. If you get an "Error During Last Operation" while trying to patch up to version use the small arrow (see pic) and choose "view last error" to get a better idea what is wrong. In same cases you can choose force-play to reserve your name and create a character even when the patching does not work for you yet. Personally i had trouble to download the patch as well initially. I had an error 36 and could not connect to the patch server. Remember, if you made any changes during beta to fix server access you need to reverse them. After trying to manually update for some time i looked around the forum since i could not imagine its just the server overload preventing me to patch. What did the trick for me: Looks like NCsoft switched patch server and with it changed the IP adress. Therefore if the IP for is cached somewhere (Provider DNS or local cache), you try to connect to the wrong server. If you use Windows XP go to the C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc\hosts file and open it with a text editor. Add "" without the " to point your computer to the new patcher IP. After this i could download the patch without any problems. Please remember you did this change, should NCsoft change server you need to reverse it. Edit: I just read NCsoft worked some tech-voodoo and it should work now on its own. Maybe try once more if you had an error 36 before.

In addition some people had the problem their complete interface turned korean. LOL If you have this problem check this thread, maybe one of the solutions can help. The thread also gave me an idea how to get rid of the North America marked Aion in my launcher, tho just renaming the folder to AionEU did not do the trick for me but i had to edit the registry key for installation path and the NCSoft\Launcher\Config\Default\GamesAddendum.xml file to switch my version to official EU. There also seem to be some weird errors including "Error Code: 3 (PatchPathNotFound)", i had that too in the beginning but it went away on its own.

On a sidenote: Our guild Versus chose a server and I'm happy we'll join the unofficial European English Roleplay server Gorgos. I played WoW and AoC on roleplay servers and while i don't always take the time to RP, i usually enjoy and respect the company of roleplayers. It can be great fun to run into some player run event out of the blue. I'm looking forward to also report about RP events from time to time, should i manage to attend them.

September 16, 2009

We're getting close

Like i mentioned before, I'm still stuck at the fair and got a bunch of stuff to do, therefore until headstart my blog will be calm. Preselection is getting close and with it the headstart on the 20th of September (time). After NCsoft released the final server names (US, EU) in many communities larger discussions started why, or why not and with whom should we join which server. Despite what was hinted before, there will be no official RP server btw (read more). Many communities tried to gather server community informations, like this unofficial list of EU server communities. There is also an official NCsoft poll, but its not configured properly yet (eg. languages missing) therefore has not been promoted much yet. I know that MMO companies try to decide on the amount of servers as late as possible, pending pre-orders and such but IMO its always annoying of the server names are released rather late. Do you feel like NCsoft gave the server names in time or where they late, causing stress for your legion/community?

September 11, 2009

Quick Blog Update

Just a quick note for you guys: I'll be working on a fair from 12.-20.9. and therefore updates in my blog might be few to none, pending time. Else things are developing very well. Our guild is preparing for headstart/launch and people are stoked about finally be able to play properly. Since i last reported about blog visitors, I'm close to 23.000 visitors now and a steady 1000 people come to read in it every day. Welcome to the new readers! Make sure you subscribe in a RSS reader so you won't miss any updates. Due to people liking my blog and the content i create I've been contacted by various people that want me to write articles for gaming magazines or create exclusive guides for websites and whatnot. I'm currently sorting the offers and checking what makes the most sense for me. Be sure I'll keep you posted about it.

I'm still not sure how NCsoft will be able to handle the current issues before headstart, but they are working on them and finally there also appear more posts from the official team on the forum. Not as many as you could call it proper support yet, but its a start.

Since my time will be limited somewhat next week i might keep the ongoing Monster Raffle Contest (you can win free ventrilo servers from UGT) open a few days longer. Until i did not officially close the contest, feel free to post further entries.

September 09, 2009

Another 5000 Open Beta Keys (EU) at Eurogamer

Be quick and grab one over at Eurogamer if you still have friends that lack one.

Cannot connect to the authorization server. (EU)

Just a quick note: I had this very problem earlier this morning, despite never having it before. I tried it a few times with the suggested command line fix, but it did not change anything. What did help me was: Make a backup of the addcache.xml file in your Aion folder to be save. Open the original file with a text editor and change the content in both lines to -ip: -port:2106 -cc:2, now save the file and make it read-only. It seems that Aion somehow messes around with the file at every login. In addition enter the command line from above in your Aion launcher properties - not even sure thats needed with the read-only file, but was too lazy to try it out and it can't hurt. After i did the above i was able to log into the game fine, no problems anymore at all. Reminder: I play on a EU server, you need to change IP data for us. Maybe this helps some of you. Please remember you made these changes and revert them back after open beta.

On an open beta related note, NCsoft posted some Open Beta Updates to let us know they are working on the fixes. The official forums still contain very little to no information on the known infos tho. Looks like they're throwing out more beta keys as well.

Beside the login, crash, lag and Game Guard problems the game currently has to deal with there are also some wierd ingame bugs that annoy the hell out of me: If you use shield skills like eg. Shield Defense I your auto-attack is turned off sometimes. In addition the "new" left-mouseclick camera look is not behaving like we're used to and if you move at the same time while looking around some wierd behaviour occurs, like turning you into a different direction and such.

And remember: The Monster Raffle Contest is still going on!