Wings Over Atreia: Top 10 of 2010

It's the end of the year, and although many are in food- and good-cheer-induced comas, we will still drag ourselves to the keyboard to delve into Aion. Why? Because we enjoy our game. And maybe, just maybe, there is a smattering of addiction in there. I'm not judging, mind you, as I also logged some holiday time with a shugo!

Many things have happened throughout the year, and this Daeva has flown about, soaking up the news and activities, in order to report them back to you. From the sweeping changes of three major patches (expansions, updates -- whatever you choose to call them) adding content, removing content, and re-adding content (*cough* rifting *cough*), to holiday events, to everyday life in Atreia, 2010 has had its ups and downs, with a variety of twists and turns thrown in. The year certainly cannot be called uneventful. And in true end-of-the-year count-down style, I am going to rattle off my top 10 favorite columns of Aion tidbits.

So what columns made the cut? Grab a noisemaker and shimmy on past the break to see which were my favorites as well as share yours in the comments!


10. Squishy head be gone!

No, this isn't an infomercial for some spiffy new product, but it is the first in a list of almost-shameless plugs. Coming in at number 10 on my list of favorite articles this year is Conquering the level grind -- not just because it was my inaugural WoA column, but because it epitomizes perfect timing. See, I hit that mid 40s level range just as patch 1.9 came out; I was just entering the pull-my-hair-out grind when repeatable quests were blessedly introduced in game. Thanks to those added quests and their Seraphim-like amounts of XP, I was able to circumvent the ultimate torture and head on towards 50 without going bald!

9. Handcuffed

We all have our moments when we question why we play, and The ties that bind gave me a chance to explore some of my own reasons for persevering in the face of the scoffs and scorns of the naysayers. When times are rough, remembering what keeps us playing can get us through. It was also my response to those who would question my sanity for sticking with and *gasp* enjoying Aion (granted I may not have that much sanity, but that's beside the point). I grow tired of those who seem to relish putting down things in order to elevate themselves, and this was a nice thumbing of the nose at just those folks.

8. Pants, pants baby!

While there are many parts to the Miragent armor saga, one was most notable to me because of the emotion that went into preparing for and writing the article. Miragents -- let there be pants! was exciting like no other, driving me to incredible highs and shattering lows. When you think about researching for a column, the focus is often on getting facts, but this one was all about chronicling the journey. And it has my favorite ending. Even if it wasn't the ending I had hoped for!

7. A picture is worth a thousand words

Unfortunately, I can't get away with just inserting a screenshot or two and call it good for my weekly column. Not that I don't like writing; on the contrary, it is one of my favorite pastimes! It just so happens that the world of Atreia is stunningly beautiful, and the photographer in me sees beautiful images everywhere I go. This part of me comes out every time I am in game; my finger perpetually hovers over that Prt Scr button since I literally love flying all over trying to capture the perfect shots. I have even chanced death in fights to get just the right shot! That's why Going steady with Kromede's Trial is number seven on my list -- the gallery! I won't even tell you the number of times I went through the instance just to try to get more screenshots, or how many I had to discard to keep the gallery from taking over the server space. There are some shots that I am quite proud of in that group and that rank among my favorites of all time -- and all games.

6. He rifts; he rifts not

Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum of rifting opinions, you cannot deny that rifting is a hot topic in Aion. And rightly so, as it is one of the game's core features. So it certainly came as a surprise when rifting got an epic whammy from the king of nerf bats. In To rift or not to rift, that is the question we looked into this game-altering shift. A while (and much bemoaning on the forums and in-game) later, NCsoft sent an in-game survey to measure the thoughts of the players on this change. As a result of these data, rifting underwent another change -- this time on a trial basis -- as NCsoft continued to gather feedback. How this played out at least gives me some confidence that community input has been considered.

5. Come to the dark side

This article ranks among my favorites because it catered to my adventurous nature and gave me the opportunity to really explore a new area -- basically one of my favorite things about gaming. Living la vida asmo was a wonderful look at life on the other side of Atreia. The whole feel of the land, the flow of the quests, the complete newness of each unexplored area was a wonderful change. I really am looking forward to continuing my journey; I just have to add more hours in the day!

4. I wish I may, I wish I might...

This article doesn't earn a place on the top 10 because it was recent; All I want for Solorius is... is an article straight from the heart. Baring my soul to all, it is a plea; I shared my hopes and dreams with all of you in the hopes that some way, some how, the shugos would pass them along and we can start the new year with those little (and sometimes not-so-little) things that would just make life in Atreia so much more enjoyable.

3. Aion vs. Freud

Grab yourself a seat on the couch and tell me what you see on the ink blot. Ranking at number three, Passing the personality test is definitely a top contender. Since one of my favorite aspects of MMOs is the community -- and all the social quirks that come with it -- nothing beats a close look at the types of gamers whom you are spending so much time with. Or time avoiding. Few things can evoke a chuckle like seeing a sterotypical personality being filled to a "T."

2. Gotta catch 'em all!

While technically not a Wings Over Atreia column, my second favorite piece of the year was our first in-depth introduction to pets. How much is that drakie in the window? Aion pets revealed got me very excited for our companions-to-be, and I haven't been disappointed since their introduction into game. Personally, I already have 12 pets on my main and graciously allowed my alt to have the fun three-headed dragon that was just awarded as a Solorius gift. With the different features available and the different varieties, it is hard to not to want to collect them all; even with a five-million kinah price tag, that little pack mule is hard to resist! I really don't care if it is mostly just fluff, dang it! I love to snuggle my pets -- it makes me happy. And a happy sin is definitely a better sin!

And the top pick of the year is...

1. LEGO my...

OK, OK, I kid. While I love those beautiful little blocks a great deal, they don't currently have any place in Atreia. Hands down, Daevas of Our Lives was the most fun to write -- while still being the most miserable to live through. As much as I HATE drama (I don't think I can capitalize that enough), I really loved sharing the antics of those fascinating but be-sure-to-keep-your-distance-for-your-own-safety characters. Maybe because there was simply so much material that I could write an epic novel without any effort. Or maybe it is just because the storylines are so incredible -- I am not sure anyone would believe these are actually happening! You know, I could probably make a fortune off of prime-time viewings if I were to capture some of these episodes on FRAPS!

There you have it folks, my top 10 for '10. Which articles would you rate? Share your picks in the comments, and see you in 2011!

Soaring through the Aionosphere, MJ Guthrie touches down weekly to bring you Wings Over Atreia. Featuring tips, guides, and general snippets of life in Aion, the column is better than Tutty-on-a-stick, ackackackackackack! Have a suggestion to share? No need to bribe a Shugo -- just send mail to mj@massively.com.

This article was originally published on Massively.