Wings Over Atreia: An interview sheds light on the new BlackCloud

Aion
Information is like gold 'round these parts, and I've been out prospecting, sifting, and searching in the hopes of at least finding a few flakes if not hitting pay dirt. But even with Aion Ascension just around the corner, finding many nuggets of information on the new BlackCloud Marketplace hasn't panned out. Until now. Eureka!

Welcome to the Massively Gold Rush. OK, so maybe a "rush" is a bit of an overstatement, but I have discovered a few golden nuggets about Aion's renovated cash shop and impending 3.0 expansion. I had the chance to catch up with Producer Adam Christensen and learn a bit more about what Daevas will find in the BlackCloud Marketplace as well as get some details about various new upcoming features like housing, mounts, and the level 60 Daevanion armor.

And with the BlackCloud Marketplace finally opening its doors, Daevas can check out the selection for themselves and pre-purchase items to be delivered at Ascension's Launch.

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Massively: First and foremost, players want to know exactly what items will be in the BlackCloud Marketplace. Can you describe the categories of items in general (weapons, appearance clothing, scrolls, etc.)? And can you elaborate on specific items as well as their values/how much space they take up in a C.U.B.E?

Adam Christensen, Producer: The Black Cloud Marketplace will have items divided up into categories of Boosts, Style, Pets, Supply, and Convenience. There are subcategories for Style including Skins, Costumes, Dyes, Emotes, and Accessories. There are also subcategories for Supply, including Consumables and scrolls. As for space they will take up in a C.U.B.E., one example is our popular True White and True Black dyes; these dyes will take up a 2x2 spot in your C.U.B.E.

How do you determine the value of each item in the Black Cloud Marketplace?

The value was determined in accordance with fair market value.

When players buy the large C.U.B.E., items will be included as bonus gifts. What are some examples of these gifts? Also, since the main idea of the C.U.B.E system is to avoid unnecessary/unwanted items in a bundle, will these items correlate to what is already placed in the C.U.B.E., or will it be one standard gift no matter what? If it is not standard, what determines what the gift will be? Will it be randomly generated?

The bonus items are static and will be given in addition to the bonus slots that come with the purchase of each larger sized C.U.B.E. The bonus items are special and cannot be regularly purchased on the store.

Aion screenshotWhat will the prices be for each of the three C.U.B.E.s?

The small cube will be 400 NCoin, the medium cube will be 1200 NCoin, and the large cube will be 3600 NCoin.

Is there a purchase limit on C.U.B.E.s per day?

No, but there is an NCoin purchase limit.

Will items purchased in the BlackCloud Marketplace be no-trade, account-sharable, or open to be traded or sold on the broker?

We have all of the above available in the BlackCloud Marketplace. Most of the items are account-sharable but will have a character specific level restriction in order to purchase. There are also untradeable items that have no level restrictions.

Previously, you announced that when the Rallying the Troops event began, everyone would receive permanent increased XP to enjoy the 3.0 content. Did this mean that the boost would be permanent and continue after the event and all through the release of 3.0?

The XP rates were adjusted for 3.0, and the leveling overall will be faster in key areas through the new Aion experience; however, the XP rate adjustment that was referred to in the Rallying the Troops event referred to the boosts on the weekends through the duration of the event.

Will Europe get to enjoy the same Truly Free free-to-play model that the North Americans are getting or will Europeans keep their current tiered model?

The European service is managed via a separate organization.

Any chance that character slots available can be per race or per server -- if not now, then in the future?

Not at this time.

When the change to F2P was announced for Europe, players were told that characters needed to move to another server. Will North American players be required to move servers? If so, what determines where characters go: Will players decide or will they be moved in bulk according to their present server selection?

Upon launching Aion Ascension there will be no moving of characters required of the players. We will continue servicing our existing servers along with our new server Kahrun. We are also prepared to open up new servers as our numbers expand, and we will of course offer the ability to transfer servers eventually as well, but it will all be voluntary.

Aion ScreenshotTwo Asmodian servers recently merged into one. Will new servers be opened at the launch of Ascension for new players, or will they be encouraged to fill existing servers?

We will be launching our new server, Kahrun, and closely be monitoring its numbers for special consideration of race balance. As the numbers grow, we will open new servers but always doing so in careful consideration of the gameplay experience and health of individual server.

Different [dev-issued] phrases have alluded to the fact that all players will be able to use the broker, but nothing has been definitive. Will there be any restrictions to broker or mail use for players, whether buying, selling, sending, or receiving?

The experience for players both new and veteran will be the same as the Aion they have always known. There are no new restrictions on trade and broker use.

We know players appreciate the increased security that the PIN system you introduced over a year ago offers. However, botting and kinah-sellers continue to plague players. Can you elaborate on what the new RMT countermeasures you previously mentioned are? And when you say fraudulent transactions, does this include loot right sales scams (where a player pays but does not receive the item)?

We have a number of new programs we will be using, but our security is very important to us, so we won't elaborate any further on the specifics.

One of the most anticipated features (especially by me) is the housing. Is the interior space of every house a simple single box shape or are there multiple rooms/floor plans for the larger houses that mirror the exterior dimensions?

Everyone from level 20 and up will get access to a free "studio" space, which -- as the name suggests -- is a single room where Daevas can store their valuables and rest their heads. The larger houses don't have the interior space divided up by default, but there are room partitions and large furniture pieces that players can use to subdivide the space as they prefer. We believe this gives players more flexibility to customize their houses. Additionally, the larger houses have exterior spaces that can also be decorated extensively.

Houses have item limits, but can players purchase increased limits from the BlackCloud Marketplace or will getting a bigger house be the only way to increase the limit?

We don't have housing related purchasable storage expansion at this time.

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Bag and warehouse space is always at a premium, and players always need more. I know I am really looking forward to the new wardrobes that can be placed in the homes. Will these wardrobes be player-made or bought from a merchant? How many inventory slots will the wardrobes include, and are there different sizes with fewer or more slots?

At this point in time, storage units for houses are all player-crafted. The amount of storage depends on the number of drawers the storage has; each drawer has nine slots (like one row of a cube). Currently, there are one-drawer, two-drawer and three-drawer units available. You can have and use more than one one-drawer unit, but they must be different types (plain one-drawer unit, simple one-drawer unit). If you place two plain one-drawer units in your house, they will share inventory space (similar to how pack pets of the same type share inventory space).

Will furniture-making be an all new crafting profession that players must level up from the beginning, tacked on to an existing profession, or a separate skill that can be tacked on to any profession?

Furniture-making is done via a new profession called Construction; it is leveled in the same way all other professions are. Players don't need to only rely on Construction, though, as there are a few select furniture items that can be made by other professions as well.

Another game that recently converted to F2P offers a special item for sale that allows gear to be unbound and therefore able to be traded again. Are there any plans for an item of this type to be available to players either now or in the future?

Not at this time

Aion screenshotCan you give more details about the new high-level Daevanion set that will be introduced? Will the method for acquiring it be similar to the level 30 set? If so, what level will each character need to be to acquire a piece? Or will it be more like the Miragent/Fenris sets?

The level 60 Daevanion armor is acquired through a series of quests during which the player earns a spot in the renowned Siel's Spear Legion. Players should work on their crafting in preparation for these quests, since they must be a Master of their chosen profession and combine the fruits of other Masters' labor. Each individual character can complete a whole set of armor, but since all five pieces of the set are given out as rewards for different quests in the same chain, you don't need to level five different characters to get access to it like you did for the level 30 Daevanion set.

Translated patch notes indicate that consensual dueling areas will be added into existing lands -- can you elaborate on where these will be? And since Asmodians and Elyos will be able to safely hang out together, will they be able to communicate beyond available emotes? (Roleplaying minds really want to know!)

Consensual dueling can happen anywhere in Tiamaranta that you can't actually PvP; however, cross-faction communication is still just jibber jabber (sorry). We'll still have to do the best we can with our emotes.

What is the reasoning behind making self-resurrection inside the Dredgion by using Tombstones of Revival and Reviving Elemental Stones impossible?

That is a question for the Devs.

Is there a maximum number of mounts a player can own?

You can own the maximum available (currently four).

Do you have any other bits of news or information that you would love to share with players?

Everyone here on the Aion team is very excited right now because we are releasing Aion's biggest expansion to date, and our Truly Free conversion could not come at a better time. By having absolutely no restrictions to content, we assert that our goal is to bring as many players as possible together to share in the experience of 3.0 and the content it offers.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions Adam!

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.