Wings Over Atreia: It's the end of the world as we know it...

Do you feel fine?

In the final days of the countdown to server merges in Aion this Wednesday, a mixture of emotions are on display on both sides of the battle. While some are feeling excitement, others are cautious, yet bridled with apprehension, and others still are simmering with discontent about the upcoming changes in Atreia. Some apathy has even reared up, as participation in fortress battles wane and the Balaur slowly re-establish their grip of power. Many simply feel a mixture of different emotions at different times (depending which side of the most recent ganking they came out on).

Although the physical make-up of the land is not going to change like it will when patch 2.0 goes live and the Balaur homeland is introduced, the landscape will still be changed. The player base -- the very atmosphere -- of each new server will be markedly different. The population explosion, the economy, abyss rankings, and even tracking reputations will all be affected by the merges. No question about it, life in Aion is going to be altered for every player -- though for better or for worse may be more at the discretion of each individual player, their own attitudes, and preparation.

Take a moment of silence then wander past the cut to see what the last days look like, and prepare yourself for a smoother transition into the morning after.

Baby Boom

Tired of having that one blasted daily quest dogging your journal forever because you can't find enough enemies in the right area to vanquish? Count your blessings, because all other negatives and apprehensions aside, the greatest hope of players accompanying this drastic transmutation is that the enemy population will boom for each new combined server. And unlike new players coming in at low levels, every single level range will receive a boost, bringing new targets -- I mean, players -- into the different regions. Greater numbers will allow for more participation on sieges, in random Abyss warfare, and in both rifting and patrolling homelands in defense. In short, PvP will be more readily available.

However, PvP will not be the only mechanic to benefit from an increased population; PvE grouping should be much easier. Now, (theoretically) you can finally grab a group and complete those pesky campaign quests. There should even be more players available during non-peak times, which are the hardest to find groups for.

On the flip side, this same boon of more PvP is also a curse; moving unmolested through any PvP-open land is going to be more difficult. The introduction of more enemies has some Daeva worried about attempts to gather and complete spy quests in hostile lands. Some players are already lamenting the impending loss of soloing and gathering in their homelands. Competition for world bosses will also be fiercer.

And he shall be called...

Whether you are a role-player or a power gamer, names tend to be very important; your name is the most visible representation of your identity within a game, and many players take their names very seriously. The loudest gripe heard throughout Atreia is the possibility of losing one's name, and in essence, identity. We shared NCsoft's explanation of name changes last week and the promise of free Character Name Change tickets for every Daeva, which has prompted some players to vow they are taking time off work in order to log in the moment servers are brought online to secure their name. Sadly, some have been talking of using this (hopefully jokingly) as a way to grief another player, by threatening to take their name.

Also, some players are not looking forward to the impending clash of personalities and egos, and LFG chat ought to prove very, shall we say, interesting. While you knew who to ignore (both friend and foe) before the merge, and who to count on, there will be a whole new slew of personalities to get to know all at once. After all, the enemy you know is better than the enemy you don't...

It's in the mail

As we reported a couple of days ago, mail and attachments should transfer to the new server without any trouble. However, NCsoft encourages players to empty their mail and store all attachments in their cube or warehouse --just in case. If you are anything like me, this statement made your heart skip a beat; after all, the mail system is a very cheap expansion to your warehouse. Personally, I have so many items sitting in my mail on each character that it would be impossible to make room for them in my cube. I join with all who are praying for a bug-free mail transfer.

Atreia recession watch

Shugos will be apparently packing-up and moving all broker items to the new broker, without any additional assistance needed by Daevas. However, as each individual server has a different economy, players will want to go into game and check prices relative to their goods an adjust accordingly. It is difficult to predict how the combining of economies will pan out in the long run, but a short-term bumpy ride is almost assured. What is sure to be a boon for some will no doubtedly be a heartache to others. The proliferation of more goods could help drive down prices and make hard-to-find items potentially more available. Conversely, servers that had lower item prices on the average will be hit with sticker-shock if they find they are combining with economies that sell at significantly higher rates.

A new beginning

Although often feared and usually hard, change is not always bad. Server merges are offering a different kind of benefit for Daevas -- the chance for people to make a fresh start without rerolling. If you are tired of the drama in your community, now is the chance to find a new group to play with that better matches your play-style and goals. Have a reputation that you want to leave behind? Use your name change voucher and create a new persona. While it is true that people could track you down using the Shadow Court Archives, it involves making the effort outside of game. If all that doesn't work, or you find the new community just doesn't suit your needs, each Daeva will have the opportunity to transfer up to six times for free.

Be prepared

Chaos and anarchy are not on tap for some during this transition; in preparation of the mergers, some legions and individuals are taking steps to minimize the disruption to their favorite game. For three of the servers, top leadership has already met together and elected who will be the siege warfare commander for the new server, allowing them to jump right into play without floundering while looking for direction. Some individuals are spending their last days harvesting everything they can while they can, while others are focusing on the rarer petals from hostile territories (yours truly is hording as many vinna petals as she can get her hands on). Players are stockpiling goods, either to be sure to have their own adequate supply, or in hopes of making a killing in the market. A number of Daevas have been seen trying to complete spy quests.

In all, server merges do not have to spell doom-and-gloom as some decry. Instead, it is an opportunity to make a more vibrant community -- if you choose to take it that way. Of course, there will be glitches, and things that really, really annoy, but overall, the players and community can make the best of the situation and even come out ahead.

I salute you all and will see you after the worlds end a new ones begin.

Your vote needed!

After the server merge, I will be braving the lands of Asmodae, but this time as a friendly! For this foray, you readers get to choose which archetype I will play as I experience life on the other side of the planet:

This article was originally published on Massively.