For those who are not as familiar with Aion or haven't participated in much PvP combat, AP (Abyss Points) are the currency by which special gear and items can be bought. AP can be gathered a number of ways, through both PvP and PvE. This week, Wings Over Atreia takes a stroll through the AP bakery to share with you many of the tasty morsels available.
While I had already planned on discussing AP this week, NCsoft's introduction of two new events (For War and Glory and Behind Enemy Lines) brought a new angle to it -- specifically, more enthusiasm and enjoyment! I've got to say that of all the recent events that have been held, these two more fully capture the essence of Aion and encourage participation in core elements of the game; small-scale skirmishes are cropping up all over. This is what the game is about -- clashes of light and dark wings throughout all of Atreia. I haven't had more fun in PvP in a very long time, and I am not even a PvPer!
How can you, too, take advantage of these great events and fill up your AP coffers? Grab a plate, join me past the cut to check out the selection, and prepare to gorge on some yummy AP goodness!
Basically, AP is the currency of PvP. If you have no interest in any PvP in Aion, then you may not really care about AP one way or another. Besides just having a little box declare your highest rank (which, sadly, you cannot display at will -- only your current rank shows), gaining AP is by-and-large for the purpose of outfitting yourself for PvP. In order to obtain Abyss Gear with its PvP attack bonus, you have to earn the points. And believe me when I say you have to work for it! The items are quite costly in terms of the number of points needed, increasing with the level and quality of the item. They also require medals -- either silver, gold, or platinum -- which are gained from conquering or defending forts during sieges or as rewards from certain quests (luckily, gold and silver medals can be bought, but the platinum ones are nontradable and must be earned).
Every 10th level starting at 30 has a set of gear including weapon, armor, and accessories. Level 55 also has its own set. Each of these sets of gear is also broken up by quality: superior (green), heroic (blue), and fabled (gold). Patch 2.5 is expected to introduce eternal grade items (orange). If a Daeva plans on participating in the PvP aspect of the game, this gear is essential; the bonus against enemies can make or break an encounter by deciding which combatant gets to fly away and which lies in the dirt with his/her wings folded in shame.
However, Abyss gear is not the only thing available, and even non-PvPers need to gather AP. Why? Other items such as self-resurrection stones, powerful potions, godstones, and recipes for siege weapons are also available from the Abyss merchants. Advanced stigmas are also available for purchase only with AP. Those who do not use AP to buy armor still often buy these extras; the Seraphim Lords have mercy on the max-level character who doesn't have any advanced stigmas!
So now that we know that AP is a very important aspect of the game, how is it obtained? There are numerous ways to acquire AP, and some are even PvE-based and involve little to no risk. Even players who avoid fighting other players will gain AP through quest rewards and fighting mobs during regular progression, thereby allowing them to collect AP for their stigmas and other needs. However, the bulk of AP is usually earned through PvP. You can also obtain AP from turning in items (icons, seals, goblets, and crowns) that are quest or veteran rewards and can be bought using daily quest tokens.
Running forts: When your faction owns forts in the Abyss, you have the opportunity to do the instances within those forts. Not only do you get AP by turning in the various items looted from the treasure chests at the end (hint: turning in crowns and goblets to the Shugos east of Divine Fortress in the core will reward you with signifcantly more AP), but you also get it from every single Balaur you kill. Each fort also has a quest available at the door that you can take; it is completed within the instance when you kill a certain number of the mobs inside.
Balaur: All instances in the Abyss and Balaurea that are Balaur- or Dragonbound-based (such as Nochsana Training Grounds, Udas Temple, and Beshmundir Temple, even Dark Poeta) also give you AP for each kill, as do a number of mobs within Inggison and Gelkmaros. All mobs within the Abyss offer AP as do quests available in that zone. However, the gain from these kills is low, and it takes quite a long time to build any significant amount.
Dredgion: I add this one to the PvE section not because you don't have to face the enemy, but because there is no risk involved -- you earn AP whether you win or lose and no AP is lost upon death to your opponents. Both the Dredgion (levels 46-50) and the Chantra Dredgion (levels 51+) offer higher-level Daevas a method of obtaining AP that guarantees a certain amount. The winners of the match, of course, earn the higher reward. Each dredgion also has repeatable quests to be completed inside that reward AP with each trip. However, the dredgions are available only three times a day: at noon, at 8:00 p.m., and at midnight EDT.
Rifting: Although rifting into enemy territory is likely to yield the best AP, you can also earn AP by defending your homeland from rifters. Defending is certainly less risky (rifters have level caps for invading), but it also lacks the excitement of dodging about in hostile lands. For lower-level Daevas who cannot enter the dredgions, rifting and Abyss battles are the main sources of PvP-based AP.
Abyss battles: Random encounters between factions within the Abyss can also garner large chunks of AP; of course, losing these battles also makes you lose AP -- the higher the rank you are, the more you lose. Conversely, the higher the rank of the enemy you kill, the more you gain. Ranks become very important when you are working to complete the rank kill quests (which reward with AP as well as items, culminating in godstone rewards for the officer and general quests). Overall, I have to say that small-scale battles in the Abyss, Silentera Canyon, or even rifting are the most exciting and fun. Large zergs are tiresome, and sieges are mainly masses clashing, but small groups fighting one another using skill, strategy, and teamwork is really the best part of PvP in Aion. That is what makes the current promotional events so great -- they encourage Daevas to come out and really participate in these forms of battle. I can tell you, the enjoyment factor of many players has increased exponentially, win or lose. Hopefully, NCsoft will continue to promote these smaller battles.
Sieges: During fort vulnerability, sieges are another way of gaining AP. While defending or attacking, deaths of enemy players at the hands of you and your group or alliance add up. You also obtain AP for every Balaur kill, but the only significant amount is for the Deity of a Balaur-held fort. Sieges are also an important factor in obtaining the medals needed to purchase Abyss gear.
As you can see, there are multiple ways to gain AP in order to save up for the items you want and need. Depending on your mood and time available, you can pick and choose from different PvE and PvP activities. Be prepared, however, for a long journey on the path to Abyss gear; even when participating in all of these methods, it still takes quite some time to earn enough to buy your items. I should know -- I am still saving up just for my final stigma! So start collecting your AP as soon as you can, even if you are not quite sure what you want to get with it, even if you haven't much interest in PvP. Trust me, you will have plenty of time to make the decision along the way.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.