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!

September 08, 2009

Explaining the Twitter Issue to NCsoft

Alright, after reading the official beta forum again you can see a lot of people got really upset about the way NCsoft handled the communication during the first two days of the beta and when all hell broke loose due to the several issues. There is a longer thread "Stop with Twitter" and for those not able to read it, players complain about NCsoft using twitter as a communication channel for important information and "tech support". Ayase posted in this thread but how i see it he misunderstood what people are complaining about. So let's try to sum it up and clarify it: Players are upset about the LACK of communication in the official forum and on the official website. No one is upset about the community team using twitter for complementary information or to point to interesting articles, websites, telling us from fair events, etc. During the first two days when all the issues arised there was nearly zero support or official posts in the forum or on the website. Only players helping players trying to figure stuff out. We're not complaining about the fact the community team also hints at "tech support" solutions, but that the tweets from the Aion team were the only infos we got for a long time.

What needs to be done in times like this and for proper support? Get someone to post in the offical forum and sort out the known issues. Right now the Known Issues forum contains six posts (and yesterday it was even less) and the accumulated thread with known OBT issues is out-to-date since day one. You need to kick tech support to create a proper list with issues and give us updates and the status (known, pending, solved, etc.) or possible solutions. If NCsoft would sort out their forum support this would make things for them easier as well, since there will be less posts of the same issues again and again. I fail to understand why there is so bad "crisis management" for many a MMO launch. It feels like the same stuff over and over again and like the teams have to invent the wheel again despite the company has released other games before. Let's hope support and communication will step up a notch for release and the learning curve is steep. From what i read at least the latency issues for the US got much better after yesterdays short maintenance. Hopefully NCsoft will get on top of the other issues as well.

On a sidenote: If you're still worked up about issues you have with the Aion beta and you need something to cheer you up. Listen to the latest Podcast (006): BOURBON. This is (nearly?) the same crew that did the CotCast Podcasts back in Warhammer and the guys & girls hosting the show are awesome. It's by far the funniest podcast i know and I'm a fan since WAR times. Topics are widely spread over gaming in general. Guest host this time is Rer from the Insert Awesome Aion Name blog.

September 07, 2009

Open Beta upon us

The Open Beta started... for some at least. Seems NCsoft is having serious issues, many of which have a different cause. One of things that really annoys me is that if you try to login and the NCsoft authentication server is down, the game will close on you instead of just informing you and let you try it again. WTF? From reading the boards it also looks like that there are still error windows that have not been translated properly yet and point customers to the korean website/support. There is a poll on the official beta forums, that reads (accumulated): 46.80% with lag issues, 34.59% having different issues that prevent playing properly and only 18.61% have no issues at all. Ofc a poll like this is not representative, but gives an indication.

Do i have trouble myself? Yes, i do. Game Guard closes my game via "The game or Game Guard was modified." error. From what i read the latest Game Guard version injected some new issues with Firewalls and such. During the initial closed beta i had trouble with my old firewall and switched to the free version of Agnitum Outpost Firewall, which is very good and i can only recommend. After giving Aion and Game Guard all access via the settings i have not had any problems with GG anymore during the CB events. Well, now it seems GG decides the Firewall is a threat. Funny thing is that just disabling the firewall for testing purpose is not enough. I've read on the forums that people with Comodo or Outpost Firewall have had success to get rid of the error by completely deinstalling the firewall. But c'mon... seriously? I will not pay to play a program that has me deinstalling firewall software that is configured correctly to give Aion and Game Guard full access. It's worse enough Game Guard being a rootkit and hooking *every* process on your computer, instead of just protecting Aion memory & files. This behaviour causes GG for some players to use up 25%-50% of CPU power btw. Does it surprise you that more and more players are willing to test unauthorized programs to kill Game Guard? I won't touch any of those and can't advice this, but can understand more and more players getting annoyed. NCsoft promised us that all Game Guard issues would be solved for launch, so far it does not look very promising tbh.

More issues (and I'm not even posting all):

If you get the ID/password mismatch error, thats usually due to you not updating your game account (NOT master account) password. Go and check if your account says you're ready, if not change your password and you are good to go.

"You cannot run any more client" is another error a bunch of people gets. No fix for this so far, even reinstalling the client does not seem to fix this.

Some players get an error message cause their account has been suspended temporarily due to missed payments. Others report their Beta accounts being banned completely due to violating the user agreement.

Legion names get cut off after 16 characters despite initially being able to use 32 characters.

Some huge lag and disconnect issues for people as well. For some people adding the server IPs to the command line of Aion did help.

Another issues seems to be the automatic race balancing rules. No one knows yet how wide the margin is, but i hear a lot of players complain they are not able to create the race they want on their servers. Either there is a large imbalance in player preference or the margin is very small.

Add to all those many more smaller Game Guard problems and issues people have and you can imagine why people are upset. One thing that bothers me is the bad information flow from NCsoft towards the players. There is no proper thread with informations on all issues and if there is a solution or how they will fix it. The offial Aion website does not have any infos at all concerning issues, people are somehow forced to read the twitter feeds from the community team - which IMO is bad information policy and they make it too easy for themselves. We need proper info channels, some players can't even access the beta forum as they have issues creating an account. Twitter is fine for marketing purposes, but NOT for support. There are very few posts from NCsoft support in the official beta forums, its mostly players trying to help players. Is this the kind of support we can expect after launch? Or is it just that NCsoft does not have any answers to give us? Then maybe an accumulated thread with known issues, which is updated regularly, would help.

Do i think Aion is ready for launch? Maybe... if they can deal with the issues today and not on the last day of the open beta phase. But the communication channels between the NCsoft Community Managers and the player base definately is not atm. There needs to be official info on issues. On a sidenote: My last email to Ayase is unanswered since August 26th btw, which is why i did not bother to ask further questions about more official infos.

I'll try to keep you guys posted should i hear about proper working solution to errors.

Here are two threads at AionSource that are updated regularly that might offer some help:
Installation & Troubleshooting FAQ
Gameguard Error Codes (and some other errors) and their Known fixes

September 05, 2009

Some Map Updates

Updated some Maps: New versions of the zone maps for Brusthonin and Theomobos with new content. Due to the picture bandwidth issue i uploaded the large zone minimaps to a filehoster. You can download them for free by just choosing "free user". I added new minimaps for the zones Morheim and Eltnen as well. Monitoring the traffic all the maps/pics on my blog generate it looks like I'll have to pay for a pro account soonish since with all the visitors the traffic generated is larger then i expected.

September 04, 2009

The Monster Raffle

Welcome to the Monster Raffle contest! Like i mentioned earlier, I'm hosting a small contest to celebrate the upcoming headstart & launch of Aion properly.

How to enter the contest?
You need to post a link to a screenshot of an Aion monster in the comments and give it a new name. We all know the western translations are great, but i know you guys can do even better. And yes, names like "encrusted oogling altgard flerp-tadpole" is very well a good name. It is explicitly allowed to photoshop or alter the screenshot to make it fit your new name!

How long will the contest run?
You have time until the end of the open beta phase, so you can take further screenshots while being able to play. Else you can ofc use AionArmory or Google Images, etc. to find proper pictures. So the last day to post an entry is the 13/09.

What can you win?
The prizes are kindly provided by my blog sponsor UGT Servers. The funniest three entries will win each a free two month premium ventrilo 10slot server, so you can enjoy the headstart and beginning of the game with your friends. Many new things to explore and find out, what better way then to have your own ventrilo server to talk while adventuring? There are no strings attached, once the free months are over your account will just stop working if you don't want to keep it.

In addition i decided to do a random raffle for another two month server between those readers that spend the time to buy me a coffee, as i think thats darn nice of them! I'll use the same deadline then for the rest of the contest for this. *hint hint*

That's about it.. sounds easy enough? What are you waiting for... go, paint that snapper red!

September 03, 2009

Picture Host Problem - resolved for now

Seems there is a problem with the server my pictures have been hosted on. I'll try to fix it tomorrow. If anyone got spare webspace with FTP access and enough bandwidth to host my maps/pictures send me an email. Else I'll switch back to some free picture hoster (which some peeps can't view at work unfortunately). Uploading all the pictures again and fixing the links in all blog posts will take a while, so in any case that could take a day or so.

Update: I uploaded all the pictures to a account. If you find any pictures still missing by accident, drop me a line. The only thing not working atm are the large radar/minimap, due to limitations in bandwidth I'll probably upload them to a filehoster.

A Request: Please do NOT link directly to images/maps from my blog, instead point people to the main blog post you are refering to. Increased leeching of bandwidth due to people linking directly - and i know a bunch of people did, probably without thinking much about it - will force me to either pay for additional bandwidth or to cut down on large image files. In addition eg. maps will be updated in the future, so copying those over to your forum, etc. will result in your members missing out on content updates.

Aion Promo Comic

NCsoft just announced a small promotion comic in collaboration with DC Comics' Wildstorm Studios. The small 24 page graphic novel (artist Neil Googe and writers David Noonan and Ricardo Sanchez) includes some advertising and tells the story of an Asmodian girl that becomes a warrior and takes vengeance for the death of her family. Overall the story is not that deep, but its a nice promotion article. EU gamers won't be able to grab it afaik, since its a US promo only. The initial rapidshare link i got it from was removed, but i found two more links on the AionSource forums for you guys to download the comic:

Mark Custom Locations on Map & Memo Pad

Did you know you can mark custom locations on the worldmap and link those to the chat window in Aion? This UI feature is very useful if you try to explain a group or legion member where to go for a certain quest or where the meeting point should be. You can also use it to mark rare named mobs for your later reference. How to do it: Open a zone map via the worldmap UI. Now ctrl + right-click into the map where you want to place the marker. You'll see a greenish X on the map now and there will be a link posted into the chat window. If someone else clicks on that link he'll get the same marker on his map. Could also be used to alert others where enemies are invading your zone.

If you right click the cross on your map, you'll get a small pop-up menu with options to rename the marker, delete it, paste it into your Memo Pad or chat window again. Note: "Delete All" will delete all markers on every zone map, not just the one you're viewing. The marked locations will persist should you log off.
Note: I tried this before and it worked, but in the OB now it did not. so either its a bug or the map marks only persist a short amount of time. To be save, copy them over to your Memo Pad.

The build in Memo Pad (Menu -> Community -> Memo Pad) allows you to store any notes or links you might want to remember ingame. If you intend to store a link, right-click it in the chat window and you'll get the option to save it into your Memo Pad. To paste a link from your Memo Pad back into the chat window use ctrl + right-click on that link.

Another great idea: Use the Memo Pad to store Rift Locations. Just copy this code (found it posted by tpg0007, but updated the zone names) into your Memo Pad and use it as a reference.

Other links you can create to store them:
# Link to item information in chat by ctrl + right-clicking the item.
# Link to quest information in chat by ctrl + right-clicking the quest title in the Quest Log.

September 02, 2009

Eurogamer hands out 5000 EU Open Beta Keys

Be quick and grab one here:

Ragbag & Naming Policy

Maybe i missed it, but so far i did not read any official confirmation about how exactly the naming conventions will be for characters and legion/guild names for our retail version. I stumbled over an interview from Gamescom by the German fansite onlinewelten, that shows a video interview (ger) with Amboss (German CM). He confirms that character names can be up to 16 chars and have to start with a capital letter. Legion names can be up to 32 chars with the 1.5 patch. Special characters and numbers are not allowed, spaces are only allowed in legion names. So there you have it, hope that infos helps some legions to plan better.

Some might have noticed, but i added a few useful Aion resources to my link list:

Aion DevTracker
Tracks Aionsource and OnlineWelten (ger) so far, very clean & lean interface.
Me likes.

Manastone Simulator
For the number crunchers, a Manastone simulator to plan your
high-end gear properly.

Terhix' Stigma Calculator
I don't really need this one, since IMO the 8 slots i can plan in my head with the help of a few gfx, but i know people like stuff to play with.

Did you check out the new item sets within patch 1.5? Some of the set bonuses are really good. Especially the ones from the Daevanion Quests, which you can only do ONCE per character - ergo you need to level five chars and do this quest to get the set for one character. Tho i hear rumours the lvl 50 set can be obtained by a single character. Looks like there are several sets you can obtain in the 40+ levels. Some plate ones for warriors feature the new BoostHate stat. You can also see the new Dragon Flame Plate Set (available for other classes as well) - afaik recipes for this are obtained in the Steelrake pirate ship dungeon - that will gives additional fire resistance (supposed to help for the final boss in the Dark Poeta dungeon).

Talking about 1.5 and dungeons: Saw a damn nice HD video about some 1.5 boss fights and instances. Check it here.

September 01, 2009

Small/Tiny Size Character Hitbox

Since we were just discussing this in our guild forum, i figured i post a few links/pictures about this on my blog as well. Due to the fact that EU/USA beta has been version 1.0 there is still the persistent rumour that tiny characters have a huge advantage in Aion. This is not true and the hitbox has been fixed in one of the patches. There is a small difference in the size of the hitbox - basicly the hitbox from tiny chars goes up to the shoulders of normal chars, which reach up to the shoulders of huge characters. You can see on the pictures what I'm refering to. There is also a video on youtube showing the char hitbox. As you can see the advantage is not as large as some people want to make you believe.

I'm only talking about the hitbox and not a visual advantage if you have a small character standing behind a larger one or hiding behind a bush. Here is a thread that showcases the visual difference nicely between small and large characters.
One thing to keep in mind tho - or maybe test during open beta - is that if you create a midget char, the character animations for running, fighting, etc. look kind of weird, as if your char smoked some speed mushrooms. Personally i don't like it and will create a larger char for my Templar. Anyway, hope this gives you something you can test or think about during open beta.

August 31, 2009

OB patch 1.5, NCsoft Fansite Program and more

Today you can update your game files with the pre-loaded patch. When i started the launcher i manually had to choose "check for updates" for the launcher to recognize the *.ncpatch file. After a quick file check from the launcher, the patch was installed. The issue with the OK button being misplaced has been fixed for me with the new patch. Once you start the game you'll see the intro movie about the cataclysm that split Atreia. Good thing tho: It only plays the first time and does not annoy you afterwards again and again. Thanks for that NCsoft.

It seems some players now started to have trouble with new GameGuard errors once they tried to apply the patch or reinstalled the game. I really hope all the GameGuard trouble will be gone once Aion goes live for retail. Since we had so much trouble and eg. in the beginning even error codes you could not read, i have my doubts about this topic tho.

Another thing i noticed is the NCsoft Fansite Program website form that finally went online. When i checked the website i had to laugh about the criteria tho. Beside other stuff (mainly dedicated to Aion and properly designed), these two bullet points catched my eye:
# Your fansite must provide a short introduction to Aion on its main page.
# Your fansite must be more than a blog.

LOL. Did you check the already listed "official" websites? Some of them only re-post official Aion news and have nearly zero content on their own. I know a bunch of blogs that have far superior content and informations then some of those sides. Don't get me wrong, ofc there are also very good fansites, but many are just an empty shell for advertising. I don't know who came up with the program or who is checking the websites applying, but so far the "official fansite program" is a joke in my eyes. Go and check some websites and their program for yourself and let me know if you come to the same conclusion.

What else is going on at NCsoft? Feels like the guys are really busy preparing for lauch. Brian Knox stated in one of the Gamescom videos NCsoft will most likely hire more staff to support Ayase for dealing with the english community. Probably a good idea, the poor guy is still catching up with his email backlog due to the fair - at least i did not get an answer back yet when i inquired about the status for an official statement about the issues with the Baltic States possibly being IP blocked despite being EU countries. Sebastian posted on the Aionsource forum tho, asking for more patience... thats around two weeks already with basicly zero info from NCsoft about this matter. I'm not affected by this, but i think its bad PR to keep those players in the dark for such a long time.

Beside the final translations for patch 1.5 I'm sure we'll soon see more info about the new content as well. I already read some very interesting infos about the new 1.5 instances, but am still pondering if i should post about it now, since it will be a moment until we'll reach it ourselves and much can change until then.

Edit: Oh yes, forgot to mention one more thing... Since the last "update" to the NCsoft Account pages i can't log into my Master Account anymore due to the password not being recognized. Yay! I read that some people had their passwords reseted to before we were asked to change them. Well, somehow this messed up mine it seems. And yes, I'm 100% it was the right pwd i entered. Now i contacted the NCsoft support, but so far it has not been fixed. My guess: During weekends there is no support for account pages and such OR they are heavily understaffed and have a huge backlog. Make your own pick, I'll keep you posted.

August 29, 2009

New 1.5 Translations

Since AionArmory updated their database with apparently all the patch 1.5 names, you can see many skills or items changed their names. I updated my Stigma Stone posts with the new names to avoid confusion. A bunch of gathered items changed names as well btw. After playing the beta for a while it will take a moment to get used to all the changed names. ;)

In addition I'm happy to announce that UGT Servers are interested in sponsoring my Aion blog, like they did with my WAR blog. To celebrate the upcoming open beta & headstart, I'll host a small contest where you can win free ventrilo server access so you can adventure properly together with your friends. Stay tuned.

August 28, 2009

CBT to OBT patch 1.5 download

Since yesterday night the downloads for the client patch 1.5 are open - size is 3,075.1 MB. Should you use the official launcher to patch, you'll only download the patch in parts and the launcher tells you some mumbojambo about the patch being applied after 31.08. or something. IMO the best way to download the patch or the alternative methods as follows:

Official Torrent

Fileplanet (you don't need to be a paying subscriber)

Update: GamersHell

Apparently there is a glitch in the 1.5 client that lets your OK button appear above the password field, others have that as well. No need to panic. ;)

Update: Just to let you know, i downloaded the patch via FP and after the install the NCsoft launcher gave me some error. I just closed the launcher and started the game (think you can also restart launcher and check for updates), which then gave me the info in the launcher i pre-downloaded the patch which would be applied on 31.08.09 - so thats normal.

August 27, 2009

Open Beta Dates

Following this press release over at the dates are:
06/09 - 13/09 Access to the Open Beta
18/09 Access to the Aion Server and Character pre-selection
20/09 Access to the Head Start Program
25/09 Release (22. for US i think)

There has been no official confirmation on the Aion website yet, but since the dates are very close to what some online retailers did send out to customers... probably really the true story. ;)

On a blog related note...

I'm quite happy with the turn out after only 20 days of having my Aion blog online. I'm already close to 10.000 visitors and many of you have subscribed the RSS feed. I'm thankful to those that spend a few bucks to buy me a coffee (button on the right), really nice of you guys! I've been approached by two different Aion wikis that wanted to invite me to their team (tho i had to decline since i rather spend the time on content for my blog) and also have been contacted by a company that wants to pay me to write an Aion guide. Offers like that probably emphasize content quality in my blog, so i take them as a compliment as well. The overall feedback and emails about my blog have been very positive - thank you dear readers. I'm still pondering if i should take 2-3 good websites i know of into my link list, since they have major advertising on their pages and especially for all those game guides, where many of them are just a ripoff and only post general info.

Open Beta and Headstart is coming soon, once the retail version starts you'll also be able to read more about my own adventures in Aion here. I still got some content up my sleeve to post while I'm working on it every now and then, stay tuned. ;)

August 26, 2009

Kisk Summoning Stones

A really useful feature in Aion are the Kisk Summoning Stones. Everyone knows the Obelisk stones you can bind your return location to and will also be returned to when you die. But did you try out Kisk stones yet? They are basicly portable Obelisks: You can buy them from a vendor and summon them nearly everywhere. Depending on the size of the kisk a different amount of people can bind to them. The Kisk will stay up for two hours or until destroyed.

There are three different sizes:
Small Kisk Summoning Stone (Miscellaneous Goods merchants, eg. in Pandaemonium)
Medium Kisk Summoning Stone (vendors at the Abyss Strongholds)
Large Kisk Summoning Stone (at Legion Item vendor with legion rank 3)

Once you spawn the kisk you need to "bind" to it to be able to use it. The tooltip will give you info about the amount of people that did bind to the kisk, resurrection times left and remaining time of the two hours. You can't use your return skill to go back to the kisk, only resurrect at the stone.

Should you die, you'll get the option to resurrect at the Kisk (only if you did bind to it) or the last Obelisk you are bound to. So binding at a Kisk won't replace your Obelisk spawn point. The option is great should you get ganked by enemies at your Kisk spawn point. It can be very useful to have a kisk should you adventure into the Abyss or inside enemy territory.

Note: Everyone can use your kisk - even people not in your group or legion - at least with the small kisk (only one i tried yet) its like that. So basicly its possible someone can leech from your kisk and use up resurrection times. So its best advised you hide it properly. Players from the other faction can also destroy your Kisk should they find it.

August 25, 2009

Ragbag with Coffee Break

For those that did not follow my WAR blog: Ragbag tagged posts are a collection of brief information bits and pieces that don't qualify for a longer post themselves or just links i feel to share. On a sidenote, seems NCsoft has been to tied up with Gamecon to answer the question/problem the Baltic States have. From a PR POV this is really poor - how can it take them weeks to get our friends in Eastern Europe an official answer about of IP blocks will be enforced or not? *shakes head* From the threads it looks like Croatia will be able to play on the EU servers just fine. Here is another post about it.

There has been a mod for Aion that improved some of the blurry environment textures (which are created due to stretching the texture too much) by replacing .pak files with ones that handle the textures differently, but the thread has been deleted at aionsource it seems. The result looked much better, providing your computer could handle RAM for the textures.

Did you know there is a village hidden under Sanctum (Elyos capitol)? You can find the thread about this exploration adventure with pics here.

Have you seen the XP boost talisman (you get with preorder) yet? Seems it will be the Lodas's Amulet, which means you can reuse it for the XP boost.

Looks like there is already an Aion rip-off browser based game in Asia called Eternal World. LOL They really stole many graphics from Aion and it seems everything else is a rip-off as well. Some more screenshots here and here.

I saw a nice video of some large scale Abyss raiding here: part 1 & part 2.

Also wanted to give a shout out to the folks over at Aion Hungary. Right before the last closed beta ended i ran into a few of them and we exchanged some pleasantries. I could not really understand what they were saying, but think i read something about blogger, so maybe someone recognized me. If you did not know it btw, seems you can talk between factions by using the player shop signs, as the others can read them as well. Emotes you do can be understood by the other faction as well.

On a blog related note: A friend suggested i add a button to the navigation on the right so readers can "buy me a coffee", since he thinks long posts and detailed maps (like pandaemonium) are always done by me while i drink coffee and he wants more of those. So if you own a paypal account and one of my posts saved you a lot of time, now you can buy me coffee if you feel like it.

August 24, 2009

Gamescom 09 recap

During the Gamescom NCsoft posted a lot of stuff and the community team used twitter to talk with people. Like with every MMO most of the things said are just marketing blahblah and don't give any new infos mainly answering questions with facts we already know or just telling us the devs are "discussing" it. There were a few interesting tidbits i did gather from the interviews tho:

# Open Beta announcement this week. Open Beta version will be patch 1.5 already.
# Pre-Selection will let you create your char and choose a name *before* the headstart, so you'll be able to just jump into the game once headstart servers open.
# Patch 1.5 download will be around 4-5 GB for beta players and will be provided via BitTorrents and Partner Downloads (probably like Fileplanet and such).
# Pre-Order rings will add a visual effect and a small resist to the elemental type pending on ring version. Cool thing: It's not really a ring, but an item you keep in your inventory for the effect.
# Confirmation NCsoft is working on a housing system.
# cross-server battlegrounds are being explored by the devs.
# Some new Abyss zone with more compressed PvP (did not sound like they'll change the current Abyss but more like add a new zone)
# Mounts will be added, but not for transportation. So probably either for sieges or just being fluff with the possibilities to customize them.

Videos can be found here:
Interview (en): Lani Blazier & Producer Brian Knox
Interview (en): Lani Blazier & Lead Designer Yongchan Jee
Interview (en): Gamona (german fansite) & Lead Designer Yongchan Jee
Gamescom 09 Game Demo (en): Part 1 & Part 2

Edit: Two new HD videos from Gametrailers: part 1 & part 2.

August 20, 2009

Pandaemonium: Detailed Map

As some might have guessed, when i mentioned i spend quite some time in the Pandaemonium, i created a detailed map of the Asmodian capitol to help out my readers to get started faster. For your convenience you can print out the map on a DIN A4 sheet. The map has nearly all important NPCs tagged on it. All stores, trainers and ways of teleportation are on it. Only a few "normal" NPCs missing that might have a quest for you later, since i did not want to clutter the map too much.

A few words of explanation for the map: A, B, C and D are the start/end points for the automated elevator system, those elevators move back and forth between the same two points and there are several of them. X is an elevator point not used yet.
Contributors at the National Assembly Building sell Abyss items for Abyss points. More info about the Apellbine Tavern and the Emote-Vendor you can find at this post.

Everything else should be fairly self-explanatory. Should you have any questions use the comments. Enjoy!

» Here you can find further detailed zone maps.

August 19, 2009

Pandaemonium: The Apellbine Tavern

I'm sure many of you were very busy leveling and trying out the different classes during the closed beta events. Did you take proper time to explore your capitol city? I did spend quite a while running around inside the Pandaemonium (more about that maybe tomorrow). Did you find the Apellbine Tavern? It's in the lower SW part of the Pandaemonium. It looks like the place you can have some fun parties at and idle around with friends. Roleplayers will like it, I'm sure. In the back there is a second room with a large table. First thought when i entered it: Damn, a cage for dancing entertainment - unfortunately you can't enter it. Nice room anyway.

While you're inside the Tavern make sure you read the book "Cruel Reality of the Brilliant", which is a fun read. The part i liked most is the one about Kinterun, the Master Armorsmith of Pandaemonium, who won the nightly swearing contest inside the tavern every evening for 157 years. He even invented his own famous swear-words like "thrice-drakblasted" or "flerp". Read it, the pic shows the passage about him. Did you know nearly every major place inside the capitol city has a book laying around somewhere that tells you about the story/history of that place or gives you other background information?

Even more interesting tho is a vendor called Seriphim who sells more emotes you can buy & learn. The vendor (i know there is one in Sanctum inside the tavern as well) sells six additional emotes for a rather reasonable price. This is the kind of fluff stuff i like. Nothing major but it enhances the overall atmosphere and looking at the hats, costumes and masks you can get as well in Aion, it looks promising there will be more of this surfacing. The two pictures below show you how the Birthday emote and the lively proposal look. The others you have to find out yourself. ;)