Originally slated to release during the holiday, this topic was preempted by last week's announcement. No matter -- I certainly don't mind stretching out the season of gratitude. So while it might be more trendy to troll and spread hate, I dedicate this week's Wings Over Atreia to just saying thanks.
Don't believe there are things to be thankful for? Step past the cut (or roll, if you enjoyed as much turkey as I did) to check out my reasons and a chance to express your own.
That's what friends are for
First and foremost, I am extremely grateful for friends I have made; because of Aion, I have a larger group of people whom I can enjoy game time with, whether in Atreia or elsewhere. Not all of my friends may stay active in Aion, but there are many in the group I would happily check out other titles with just to continue to hang out.
Not only did I meet some incredible people whom I love grouping and hunting with, but I was also lucky enough to come away with a few people who are well beyond in-game friends and are a very important part of my life. I had the chance to meet up with three at Dragon*Con; unfortunately, I have to hop on over to Australia to hang with another.
Along those lines, I am also grateful for the RL friends, including my kids, who joined me in Atreia. There is nothing like sharing experiences with those who really know you and don't get offended when you tease them relentlessly for their incredibly funny goof-up in the middle of that intense dungeon! Friends don't let friends play Aion alone.
Like a legion, oo!
Not only am I grateful for the people who are forever ingrained in my heart as very special friends, but I am also grateful to have a great legion of folks to hang around with and play with. In fact, I would pretty much include the whole crew in the category above because they really are friends. Beyond being friends, I am truly thankful for one other thing in our legion: Even the best of legions have a smidgen of drama, and I am very thankful that we have only a smidgen! We may be small, but we are a pretty tight-knit group of folks who have fun in vent, encourage each other, and help each other out. It really doesn't get much better than that.
On the wings of love
Oh come now, you knew this had to be here! One of the top things I am thankful for in Aion is flight! Flying, the ability to fly... I don't care if it is limited in a fashion, so long as I still can do it. And not just on mounts -- let me spread my own wings and soar. It may not mirror the feeling of going up in a two-seater plane or bungee jumping, but it is still a thrill, one I have yearned for in games for oooh so very long.
Now, if I could only get better at aerial combat!
This may be off the beaten path (and not a category available to most of you), but I am thankful to Aion for my job. Simply put, if it weren't for the fact that I play Aion, I wouldn't be getting paid to write about it by Massively. Because of NCsoft's flagship game, I get to do two of my favorite pastimes -- writing and playing MMOs -- and getting a paycheck out of it to boot. What's not to appreciate about that?
A whole new world
For all of its flaws, Aion is a visually stunning game, and I am grateful for the beauty of it. The chance to explore and see that beauty has been one of the highlights of the game for me. And I never have bad graphics distracting me when I am pounced upon by an enemy and need to react. I know many people argue that gameplay is more important than aesthetics, but I honestly can't get into a game no matter how good it is supposed to be if I can't stand looking at it. Conversely, I can overlook a number of flaws people gripe about when the graphics are really good.
Don'cha know, Maus are a girl's best friend
They may be small, and they may be fluff, but danggit I am glad for them -- I love the pets. Whether the pets are giving me some much needed cube space, setting off alarms when enemies are nearby, or just looking adorable playing with bubbles, I love to cuddle, train, groom and play with all of them. And trust me, I am the ultimate pet lady! I am grateful for the smiles I get just running around with the little critters. Nothing wrong with appreciating the small things.
The lady in red
Or blue. Or green tea. Or even brown. Gents, too. Without a doubt, I am thankful for the customization in game, in all its many forms. From character generation to dyes to armor and weapon skinning, I love that I can recognize a friend without having to rely on floaty names above the head. I really can't stand being a carbon copy of hundreds or even thousands of players, no matter how "good" the game is. Variety is the spice of gaming, or something like that. True, some people use this to make intensely hideous creations, but I'd rather have the freedom and see some abuse it than not have it at all.
Where, where were you when I needed you most
Another aspect I am thankful for is the inclusion of the mentoring system. One of the biggest drawbacks of the game originally was the difficulty of playing with friends if they weren't your level. And unless you had friends who only played at the exact times as you, there were going to be level discrepancies. Thanks to mentoring, no longer must people make a new alt (at times deleting another character to do so!) to hang out with friends they have talked into joining the game. In my opinion, this was by far one of the best additions to the game.
Help! I need somebody
I know I have mentioned this previously, but I am grateful for prompt and helpful customer service. None of my issues has ever been large or game-shattering, but bugs still affected my enjoyment, and their quick resolution got me right back into playing full-tilt.
In that same vein, I am also thankful that there have been more events this past year to participate in. Rifting and AP events, fluff events, and yes, even the AFK events give a little something extra or different to help the provide a little variety in the gaming experience. The more there is to do, the longer people stay in game.
And I want to thank you or Thank you for the Mondays
And now I thank you for reading along and indulging me in this soiree down the lane of gratitude. In my life I've discovered that finding things to appreciate makes everything easier, better, and ultimately more fun. And who doesn't want her gaming to be fun? I could go on, but I would like to hear from you: Do you have anything you are thankful for in Aion? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
Oh, and bonus points if you can name every song and artist that was used in the making of this article -- especially the two in the last category!
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 email@example.com.