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. ;)

August 18, 2009

Does NCsoft split up the EU Community due to licensing?

Today i read some weird news. Following the discussion here and here, it seems that NCsoft decided the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) are not part of the EU and "sold" their license to the company that will publish the Russian version of Aion. Apparently enforcing this via an IP block, which will prevent friends from Eastern Europe to join us on the EU servers. In the same boat appear to be the EU candidate countries Croatia and Turkey. Needless to say those players are very angry if this turns out to be true. Here is a well written open letter to NCsoft from a Lithuanian blogger. I did not see any official response from NCsoft yet on this matter, let's hope they clear it up being a mistake, not enforcing IP blocks.

Edit: Here is another thread about it.

Creating a Legion (Guild) in Aion

The Legion (Guild) System in Aion is not very well explained at the official website yet. Since i see many questions about it while people try to organize their guild for the upcoming headstart, i figured i should give you a quick rundown from what info i gathered so far. Compared to some other MMOs the Aion system is a bit rudimentary, but should work. Maybe it will be enhanced with some upcoming patch, lets hope for that. To create a legion you need to visit the Legion Administration Office in your faction capitol.

So far there are three different legion levels. I took this table from the Powerwiki:

Despite what the table says, i did spend 11.585 Kinah to create a guild, maybe its affected by the tax/influence system as well that causes prices to fluctuate in Aion. As you can see the amount of members a legion can have is limited by legion level. I know that some very large clans in Korea use several guilds with the same emblem since they can't fit all members. I heard some rumours about another legion level being added (with 120 member slots), but did not see any confirmation yet. The basic lvl 1 legion can use all of the legion menu system (Menu -> Community -> Legion). Access to the Legion Warehouse, which is located in the back of the Financial District, is also granted. Initially you can use 24 slots there, seems at legion level 2 you'll get an additional row for your legion warehouse. Ayase confirmed that the amount of characters being used for legion names will be expanded in western retail. Update: A Legion name can have 32 characters (including spaces) Amboss confirmed.

The legion permission/rank system in Aion is a bit lackluster so far. The ranks you can adjust are only few. There are three permission levels in a legion currently:
Brigade General (legion master - only one)
Centurion (officers)
Legionary (normal members)

The korean version of Aion has some kind of armory system (at the official website) for players and also guilds and from the look of it there is a basic bulletin board connected as well. At least you can add some info to your character that other guild members can read, which is helpful for recognizing alts or what professions people have, etc.

Depending on the legion level there are different Legion Items to purchase at Skan (Asmodian) or Gwenspena (Elyos):
legion lvl 1: none
legion lvl 2: Legion Shield, Small Multiple Fire Cannon
legion lvl 3: Asmodian Large Kisk Summoning Stone, Medium Multiple Fire Cannon,
Large Multiple Fire Cannon

Legion Cloak/Cape
With level 1 all members get a basic cloak with dark background and faction emblem (see first pic). At lvl 2 you can change the background color and choose a new emblem design from a limited range. As you can see on the pictures, Asmodians get a sort of half-cape because of their hairy backs. With legion level two you can also buy the legion shield, which can also be used to donate the model at the remodel shop. The shield will adopt the color from the legion cloak. Below are two examples, one for Asmodians and one for Elyos. The legion emblem will be displayed on cloaks, the legion shield and on the character tooltip other players see. In addition should your legion claim any artifacts or fortresses inside the Abyss, your emblem will be displayed there as well.

Really interesting is the option you get with legion level 3: You can upload your own emblem design into the game. This is really cool! The design needs to be 256x256 pixel and has to be named emblem.bmp (24bit) or emblem.tga (32bit) and be located in your main Aion folder. Your best shot at a good logo with a transparent background is saving the logo as a 32bit tga, using a transparent background via alpha channel layer. There are a few tutorials out there (1,2) how to do it, but the latest Photoshop versions changed the way they handle .tga files. So if you use Photoshop, your best bet is to create the logo, save the .psd and then load it eg. with Gimp (free program) and save the .tga from there. Or you create it with eg. Gimp from the start. The legion emblem can be changed at any time for a small fee, should you make a mistake.

Update 19.08.09: Added info about lvl 2 warehouse and adjusted legion item levels.

August 14, 2009

Aion 1.5: Advanced Templar Stigmas

Since our version of Aion is not 1.5 yet we need to rely on translations and poking around at the korean websites to get the juicy details about certain game updates. Inspired by a post from Valador here, i thought i'd slap together some gfx for the advanced 1.5 Templar stigmas.
26.11.09: updated the names for the advanced stigmas with the latest translations.

To be clear: YES, you need to have all the prerequisite Stigmas equipped to use the advanced lvl 45 & 50 ones. You can buy the advanced Stigmas with Abyss points.

Prayer of Resilience I - Required Stigma(s): Incite Rage - Recovers your HP by 2181, 206 Mana, 3 Min recharge, instant

Prayer of Victory I - Required Stigma(s): Bodyguard / Provoking Roar - Increases the Maximum HP of you and that of up to 6 allies within 10m radius of you by 1000 for 2 min, 206 Mana, 5 min recharge, instant cast.

Shield of Faith I - Required Stigma(s): Prayer of Resilience / Prayer of Victory I - Blocks up to 10 attacks with shield for 30 sec.
A shield required, 165 Mana, 3 min recharge, instant cast.

Magic Smash I - Required Stigma(s): Holy Shield - Inflicts 1185 magical earth damage on a target within a 25m radius of you.
Chain Skill Level 3. Ferocious Strike > Robust Blow > Magic Smash. 165 Mana, 30 second recharge, instant cast.

Divine Justice I - Required Stigma(s): Divine Fury / Break Power - Inflicts 829 magical earth damage on a target within a 25m radius and also stuns the target for 2 sec, 165 Mana, 2 min recharge, 0.5 second cast time.

Empyrean Fury I - Required Stigma(s): Divine Justice / Magic Smash - Increases Physical Attack, Magical Accuracy, and Magical Skill Boost by 50%, 200, and 200 respectively for 30 sec, 165 Mana, 90 second recharge, instant cast.

» If you need general infos about the stigma system check here.

August 13, 2009

The Abyss: Access, Points, Ranks, Fortress Sieges & Artifacts

The Abyss system in Aion is also one where there is much confusion and misinformation between the players. Like i did with the Stigma system, I tried to gather all available info and compress it for you here.

Note: This article is not up-to-date with the latest ingame info, still have to update it.

How to access/reach the Abyss
Once your character turns lvl 25 you'll gain the Abyss Entry Quest (AS,EL) you have to finish the quest chain to be able to use the Abyss gates you can find in
Asmodians: Altgard and Morheim
Elyos: Verteron and Eltnen

The Abyss
When you zone into the Abyss you'll start at your main faction stronghold in the lower Abyss. For Asmodians its Primum Stronghold at Primum Landing and for Elyos its Teminon Stronghold at Teminon Landing.

This stronghold is a safe zone as its being protected by some insta-death force-field against the other factions. The starter fortress has various NPCs (vendors, bank, etc.), a bind-point Obelisk plus a teleporter to take you back to the normal zones. The Balaur NPC faction inhabits all layers of the Abyss and can attack fortresses and will take part in the Abyss fights. The mechanism and the way the Balaur act are not very well known yet, but it can happen they show up anytime. All of the Abyss is a flight zone and there are certain flight-rings that will enable you to fly longer distances (the quest will explain it).

Like on the first picture the Abyss consists of upper, lower and core part. For better orientation here are maps of the three different zones:

Lower Abyss
Contains 3 fortresses and 8 artifacts

Abyss Core
Contains 1 fortress and 9 artifacts

Upper Abyss
Contains 5 fortresses and 14 artifacts

From the lower Abyss you can reach the upper Abyss part via transportation lightbeam tunnels which you can find at the Eastern and Western Shards of Latesran. Once your faction holds a fortress you can teleport there by means of the normal teleporter at your stronghold as well from what i hear. The Abyss core you can reach through the middle of the upper Abyss.

Abyss Fortresses & artifacts
Inside the Abyss are a total of 31 artifacts. Either of the three factions can hold them. Should you capture an artifact, you can hold it for 24h. Your legion emblem will be displayed on it as well. There are 14 different artifact abilities that can be accessed pending on which artifact you own. To activate artifacts you need Artifact Activation Stones that are crafted by Alchemists. Only Legion Masters can use the artifacts with default legion settings. Artifacts will be guarded by NPCs from the faction that owns them.
» More info about artifacts and their various abilities

The nine Abyss fortresses are guarded by an Aetheric force field that prevents assaults from the air. You have to take down the gate (looked rather quick from the videos i saw so far) and then destroy the Aetheric field generator to enable air-assaults. Defending players can operate a Gate Restoration Device (needs Castle Gate Restoration Stone from stronghold vendor) from inside the castle to repair the Gate Guardian Stone and delay the attackers. The Attackers can use siege weapons in their assault to bring down doors faster. From the looks of it a component from every crafting skill is needed to craft a Siege Weapon (cooking brews the Driving Water). There are also Multiple Fire Cannons you can buy from the legion vendor. Some kind of keep guardian NPC boss is present inside the fortress from what i saw. You have to kill him to claim the fortress. Once done, NPCs from your faction will re-populate the fortress. Ownership of the fortress will go to the legion that contributed the most (no idea how the system works, but i guess most Abyss points accumulation during the siege).

Claiming fortresses will yield, beside some other rewards like Abyss points, silver and gold medals you need to buy the higher ranking Abyss gear. I heard that medals are handed out to the top ten (3 Golden Contribution Decoration and 7 Silver Contribution Decoration) people with most damage done. Note: This info is not exactly correct, but you'll get the picture. No one knows the exact amount of medals given out or the formula. Seems to be more then ten tho. The medals can be traded (or sold via broker) and since its damage done, some guilds come up with a system to redistribute them since tanks/healers won't top the list. A rumour i heard said that a legion claiming a fortress would earn some money for their efforts from some kind of taxes the fortress accumulated and keep getting kinah every 12 hours from it. I also read something about a timetable for sieges, which would mean not all forts are attackable at all times but only during certain days (Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday). The new Abyss Fortress Dungeons implemented with patch 1.5 can only be accessed if your faction owns the fortress.

In Aion there are short ingame Abyss Keep Sieging Tutorials, check the link for videos (watch in HD to read text).

Earning Abyss Points & Ranks
Your character info window will show you your current rank, abyss points and recent data about earning & losing them. While you accumulate abyss points your rank will increase, should you lose/spend Abyss points your rank will decrease. They also act as a currency for buying Abyss gear with them. Here is a table, that i found (1,2), which will explain the system a bit more:

Grade 9 Soldier is the lowest rank and Supreme Commander the highest. The column "Required Positions" is labeled a bit misleading, it shows the maximum number of players that can have this rank. There will only be one Supreme Commander for example. The sorting inside the ranks is done by total amount of Abyss points the players currently have. If eg. there are more players with enough points to have a certain rank, but fewer spots per table, only those with the highest amount of points will have that rank. The others will be "downgraded" a rank.

The table does not reflect the whole abyss point system, since eg. you'll get less points should you kill a player that only has half HP, but should be close enough to give you an idea about it. "Points Gained" are points you would get by killing a player with that rank. "Points Lost" refers to the points you'll loose at a certain rank being killed. Looking at the table makes it obvious that in the beginning (with lower ranks) you don't lose that many points, but the higher your Abyss rank, the more points you will lose should someone kill you. I'm not sure if the same system (if you kill a NPC five levels lower then your level in Aion you won't get XP/loot) applies for Abyss points as well, so if eg. you kill someone 10 ranks lower then you you'd get nothing. There is a larger discussion about how your playstyle will change depending on Abyss rank. Here is a translated interview with a high ranking korean player. Basicly he describes how his playstyle changed and the higher his rank, the more careful he had to become only to pick fights on his terms. From the discussion there are also players that claim the best route at a certain point is to just grind NPCs and do repetitive quests inside the Abyss to gain Abyss points, since its "safer". Getting killed at very high Abyss rank will result in losing AP worth a few hours grind. Time will tell how this system works out and how it will change.

What is the motivation to keep rank and not cash everything in immediately? Well, some of the gold Abyss gear is very costly in abyss points and you need to save quite a while for them. Beside the prestige of keeping a high rank, each player with rank 5 Star Officer or higher will get access to a special Abyss transformation skill that will enable you to transform into a powerful avatar for around 10min (cooldown is two hours). Each rank higher up you gain more special skills you can use while in this transformed state. You need to buy ingredients with Abyss points to use the transformation. For a 5 Star Officer it costs 3000AP to transform, each higher rank costs 500AP more.
» More info about the Abyss transformation abilities.

You earn Abyss Points (AP) via killing the other faction (players & NPCs), killing Balaur & other Abyss NPCs, claiming an Abyss fortress and from quests. Even before lvl 25 there are a few quests that will give you abyss points. I also heard rumours about some rare quest you can get while crafting that will yield 10.000K and 700 AP. You lose Abyss Points by getting killed inside the Abyss and by the other faction or by spending the points on gear. The gear you buy with Abyss points has no rank requirement to wear it. So once you bought it, you'll be able to use it.

The dilemma to solve for many players will be: When to cash in your Abyss points? Of course the higher lvl abyss items are much better, but maybe cashing in early will give you an advantage? I know some players are eyeing boots with a speed boost (important for PvP) first and Abyss points seem to be the first reliable way to obtain them early on. As an example: The Guardian Squad Leader's Plate Boots are lvl 30, blue crafted boots are lvl 33 (tho expensive ingredients required and an armorsmith master (rank 400)) and blue quest rewards are lvl 40 (AS, EL). Maybe you'll get lucky with a world drop, but no way to count on that. Saving points will also depend a bit on your skill and playstyle. You also have to take into account that the high lvl Abyss items need medals to pay for as well. Personally i like the idea to use PvP points as a currency and you have to think about how/when to spend them.

Hope this could shine some light on the Abyss, please correct me if you spot any errors in the report.

August 12, 2009

More MiniMaps

I posted three more MiniMaps in the Aion Zone Maps thread: Altgard, Poeta and Verteron. I'm also working on a longer article about the Abyss, which I'll post later today or tomorrow. Stay tuned.
To keep you entertained, here are two more videos for you:
1. Aion ENU - Origins a kind of lore explanation video how it came to the cataclysm.
2. Aion - Finding True Manhood a Michael Jackson looking guy searching for his Manhood. This video looks promising we'll see many more machinima with Aion. It also shows a few scenes from the new dungeons, like the pirate ship.

August 11, 2009

Ishalgen MiniMap

Still playing around with some Aion gfx stuff and created a complete minimap (from the radar images) for Ishalgen. Not sure if i want to do the work for all other zones as well, but could imagine creating some more and add then to the Aion Zone Maps post. Maybe those could be useful for closer orientation or as a basis for exploring.

Aion Dance Video

Just saw a "music video" made in Aion:

Why is it that many Aion videos keep reminding me about Hinoi Team?

Scary, i know. Maybe we should create our own version of one of these asian game shows? Hmm...

August 10, 2009

Strange Quest Rewards

Those of you that played WAR will remember the ton of grey items you could get via quests that were supposed to have a hidden purpose (but had none). While questing in the asmodian starter zone i encountered the Treasure of the Deceased quest, that grants you the Brooch of Ghost item as an additional reward. Does anyone know what to do with that or saw other grey quality rewards from quests yet? Maybe in Aion those items have a hidden purpose? When you use the "sell misc" button at a vendor, the brooch won't be added by default. You can sell it if you wish tho. Initially i thought there might be some connection with this ghost soldier running around the graveyard, since he did not seem to have any purpose either. I did not incquire further since i wanted to get my wings asap, but will have a look for it again come retail or open beta.

Aion Zone Maps

While i was poking around with Aion stuff i realized that neither Powerwiki nor AionSource got all zone maps correct online. So i figured I would upload you all zone maps and link some additional information. This post is to be understood as a work-in-progress, I'll try to fill in some more zone information when i get there. The level range is just a rough guess from me, since i did not play past lvl 21 yet. The Elysea maps are for you Elyos players, but since I'll be Asmodian, don't expect them to become filled with info. ;)
Feel free to use the comments to augment these infos...

» Download all Maps from my Blog in one large (13.7MB) file «

Note: You can find maps of the Abyss zones here.

Asmodae Maps

Pandaemonium (capitol)

» Powerwiki Quest Info for Pandaemonium

Ishalgen (~lvl 1-10)
Starter zone

» Powerwiki Quest Info for Ishalgen

Altgard (~lvl 10-20)

» Powerwiki Quest Info for Altgard

Morheim (~lvl 21-40)

» Powerwiki Quest Info for Morheim

Brusthonin (~lvl 20-25/45-50)

» Powerwiki Quest Info for Brusthonin

Beluslan (~lvl 30-50)

» Powerwiki Quest Info for Beluslan

Elysea Maps

Sanctum (capitol)

» Powerwiki Quest Info for Sanctum

Poeta (~lvl 1-10)
Starter zone

» Powerwiki Quest Info for Poeta

Verteron (~lvl 10-20)

» Powerwiki Quest Info for Verteron

Eltnen (~lvl 21-40)

» Powerwiki Quest Info for Eltnen

Theobomos (~lvl 20-25/45-50)

» Powerwiki Quest Info for Theobomos

Heiron (~lvl 30-50)

» Powerwiki Quest Info for Heiron

26.11.09 - Updated Quest Info from Powerwiki for zones.