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.