Wings Over Atreia: In the summer of 2.6

Dear NCsoft,

You have missed me! Why else would you tempt me with the announcement a few days ago that patch 2.6 will be hitting Aion's live servers on August 3rd but to lure me back indoors? It is true that we haven't spent as much time together lately; I have strayed a bit, seduced by the sunshine, sunblock, and sand between my toes that goes with a summer outdoors. Can you really blame me? I certainly haven't wanted it to end, but a body simply needs more than the same old, same old to keep a long-term relationship fresh. And we are talking sunshine!

I am heartened that you seem more serious about combating staleness in our relationship. After all, you aren't leaving me hanging in anticipation for months on end as you did with your last update, Empyrean Calling. Truly, smaller and more frequent gestures are better appreciated than one large one once in a blue moon. And I am sure the events preceding the patch will offer some diversion as I await Aion's newest content.

Hmmm, heatstroke or heat wave? Alright, you have convinced me; I am willing to forgo the great outdoors and dedicate more time to us! However, as we renew this commitment, I feel I must be open with you -- even as I look forward to our new times together, I have a few questions I would be remiss not to ask.

Surely you can put my mind at ease past the cut?

Summer lovin'

Your thoughtful offer to help me avoid the dangers of over-exposure to the sun with a summer safely ensconced in front of my monitor as I traipse about Atreia is certainly kind. It truly touches me that you are concerned and I appreciate it. I cannot deny that scorching heat must be healthier than scorched skin, of which I am prone to. And there is the matter of a certain sexy swimsuit that I was never able to get my hands on before... perhaps I will have better luck this time around *hint hint*.

Last year, you gifted me with many cold boxes -- and I am grateful, don't get me wrong -- but I dare say that most were not exactly filled with... items to melt a girl's heart? The Inquin form candies are certainly fun, and dyes and swimwear never go to waste, but I still pay storage on the power shards and blue Balaur scales that you heaped upon me. Your generosity is noted, but perhaps a more meaningful gift could be nestled inside the gift next time? Coins are well and good, but what of medals? What girl would turn down a beautifully wrapped platinum medal?

Speaking of coins, I see that the mithril variety are not even an option. A pity, truly. I feel almost guilty when forced to re-gift your presents, but what need do I have for those silver, gold, or even platinum coins?

Now, I hesitate to mention this (because I do appreciate your gestures), but while this summer event will most assuredly lead to more time together, will it really be quality time? After all, I need not even be engaged in anything to reap the benefits of it -- assuming I can actually do anything due to the overcrowding. Yes, I remember well the summer of yore when I was surrounded by vacant-eyed jack rabbits who clogged the streets at every turn and prevented me from moving smoothly about. I fear your plan will lead to less interaction, not more, if the past is any indication.

A little extra

It is quite promising that you are offering more than one opportunity to be together. You offer another Atreian Artisan Expo as well as another Gateway Getaway on top of enticing me with increased XP gains. While these events aren't especially fresh and new, they are a change of pace. Sadly, I admit that I am not too enthused personally about the crafting or adventuring experience gains -- I have neither any alts to lavish the experience on nor any desire to choose another tradeskill. I am still reeling from the last artisan expo which left me severely destitute! Oh, I am sure there will be others who will appreciate these chances, but I wouldn't mind something a bit different and innovative next time. Be creative, surprise me!

Promises to keep

Beyond these events, you have made some promises that you intend to deliver in August (or sooner if I wish to delve into the PTS); I will admit I am looking forward to promises fulfilled! With a new solo instance, a new pet, and adjustments to instances, there will be plenty of reasons to spend more time together.

I am not ashamed to admit that I most eagerly await the new Runaway Poppy pet. What can I say? I am a sucker for a cuddly companion. This little fellow offers more than just companionship though -- it also has the chance of rewarding a platinum medal! I simply pray that this "chance" is not like the fabled Lucky Wings that were "possible" (read: not a chance) after feeding your pet millions and millions of kinah worth of pet food. You wouldn't tease a girl like that, would you?

I am also quite excited to try my hand at the new solo-version of the Crucible, the Empyrean Challenge. Although you offer a new auto-party matching system for the Crucible along with other instances, sometimes you just want to be alone instead of in a group. It can be thrilling to test yourself without relying on others! And besides, any opportunity to gather more Crucible insignia is welcome; it takes a long, long time to collect enough to obtain gear (even though I am aiming mostly for the pets and vanity clothing). Please, I beg of you, just do not make the timer on the Challenge the same as the Crucible -- that would just be cruel to force me to choose one over the other.

Finally, the promise of class-driven gear box drops off of the bosses in Steel Rake and Fire Temple is an appreciated bonus; Even if this won't benefit me personally, it will be useful for the friends that I mentor. Treating my friends right definitely scores you some brownie points! When they like you it just makes spending time with you that much easier.

I am flattered you still seek my attention and am glad that you are making this effort to keep us together. I was afraid that our relationship was becoming one-sided. Had I been left to make all the moves I would most certainly burn out. I look forward to our upcoming time together even as I await other promises you made (housinghousingHOUSING).

Sincerely and with warmest regards,
MJ

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.