Wings Over Atreia
We spoke; NCsoft listened.

Don't look so surprised! Is it really so far-fetched to think that developers care about and want to keep an eye on the thoughts and reactions of their playerbase? Well, other than to just laugh at us of course. *wink* I kid, I kid.

In all seriousness, though, when I shared my first impressions of the long anticipated Aion: Ascension, I noted some letdowns amid the greater aspects. My opinions were formed from what information could be gleaned from actual in-game play during those first days after release. Of course, not all of Aion's new features could really be explored and enjoyed in that short span of time, so that, coupled with a lack of published information (shocking!), meant I wasn't even close to a comprehensive understanding. But my disappointments in the temporary aspects of some housing and other items as well as the high cost of housing struck a chord with others as well.

To our benefit, NCsoft was listening. Producer Adam Christensen and Associate Producer Sean Orlikowski quickly addressed some of the concerns noted, sending us more information to share. Along with clarification, we received an exclusive look at the housing release schedule for both the Asmodian and Elyos factions. If you know which real estate you want, check the schedule below to see when your spot hits the market. (And don't forget to save your kinah!)
Aion screenshot
Limited time only is limited

The first pinprick that deflated my 3.0 euphoria was discovering that housing items were temporary. My hearth- and guestblooms were understandable (especially given my black thumb), but my table and dresser were also living on borrowed time. Imagine having your plate fall to the floor in the middle of a meal because your table expired!

These housing items were the first concern to be addressed. The clarification that Adam and Sean sent back to us is that "almost all of the player-crafted housing items in game do not have a time limit." They also pointed out that the majority of the special collectibles from collection and repeatable quests have permanent staying power.

The trade off with using the merchant NPCs is convenience instead of longevity. The idea is -- and I have to applaud them for this -- that this "basically gives the advantage of the new system to the crafter and the adventurer rather than an NPC." I can't argue with that! A search through the broker conjures up plenty of rugs, paintings, windows (yes, windows!), candles, room dividers, banquet tables (complete with eats), chairs, lamps, and even wall-mounted trophies without timers.

However, I will still grouse and grumble that when they say "almost all" of the player-made furniture is permanent, they aren't including the storage pieces; none of the dressers I have found on the broker is permanent. The good news is at least items that are stored in temporary units will return right into a Daeva's inventory when the unit disappears. I guess the construction folks need repeat business as well, but at current prices, I will be going without a closet to store my casual wear.

And speaking of prices...

Aion screenshot
The few, the proud, the Owners

While the clarification on furniture items was welcome, the explanation for the high cost of house ownership and mounts wasn't really. Probably because I am not one to make oodles of money in games (my bad luck pertaining to valuable drops is legendary), I was saddened by the extremely high cost of both mounts and the larger houses. And that's not even counting the exorbitant maintenance costs! The declaration from on high is that since these items are prestige items, the prices need to reflect that.

Adam and Sean do point out, however, that prices may change over time. I shall cling to this shred of hope and hold of for dear life because unless there is a nice foreclosure sale or my loot-drop luck drastically improves, I will probably be out of luck. Hmm, maybe the BlackCloud Marketplace should invest in an item that increases rates by like 75% and sell it only to me! With some of those, I might actually get a drop once a week!

AAtreian Atlas screenshotLooking a gift egg in the mouth

The next concern the developers addressed was the temporary nature of some of the gifts from the Atreian Atlas. They don't deny it, but they do point out that the gifts are absolutely free to players. These items are simply an added bonus for stuff players are already doing. Also, many of them are permanent. I agree with and understand that, and trust me I am not ungrateful, but I would still rather have the temporary items nixed. To me, it just has a little bit of that feeling of a crack dealer on the corner offering you your first taste to get you hooked. Once you get that 30-slot pet, can you live without it, or will you run to the cash shop every 30 days to grab a new one? I am afraid I'd be the addict. Must... resist... taste...

Real estate market heats up

Now for the pièce de résistance: a schedule for the release of the rest of the housing. Daevas may have noticed that not all of the houses are going on the auction block at the same time. Of course, to do that would be chaos as there are actually a multitude of houses available. So in order to keep a bit of order, Aion will be opening new markets every week (with the exception of Palatial mansions that are being reserved for future promotional events) under the following schedule:

4/25
  • Oriel (E) - Arcadia State
  • Pernon (A) - Sierra State
5/2
  • Beryl State (E) - Thorn Tree Village, Seapath Village, Summerfield Village, Pearl Cove Village
  • Halcya State (A) - Morning Mist Village, Greenleaf Village, Mistcloak Village, Spindletree Village
5/9
  • Beryl State (E) - Sunset Coast Village, Brilliant Isle Village, Palmcrest Village, Silverspire Village, Sandbank Village
  • Halcya State (A) - Spire Isle Village, Spring Hill Village, Coast Road Village, Azure Inlet Village, Longhill Pass Village
5/16
  • Heiron (E) - Northton (Medeus Manor West), Middleton (Black Tears Swamp), Southton (Heironopolis)
  • Inggison (E) - Southville (Phanoe Valley), Middleville (Calmheart Forest)
  • Beluslan (A) - Westgate (Kurngalfberg), Northgate (Beluslan Fortress), Southgate (Fang Troll Encampment)
  • Gelkmoros (A) - Southford (Antagor Battlefield), Northford (Gelkmaros Falls)
5/23
  • Apex State (E) - Goldendell Village, Vibrant Garden Village, Prosperity's Light Village, Glimmertree Village
  • Aurora State (A) - Glory's Light Village, Golden Sunset Village, Sunny Harbor Village, Silver Tree Village
Aion screenshot
Did you see that? While checking out the schedule, did you notice that there will be a few houses available in zones outside of the two housing districts of Oriel and Pernon? WOOO! Some lucky Daevas will have the opportunity to wake up, stretch their wings, and step outside their door for some PvP! I don't know about you, but I am going to kick my kinah-making drive into gear and see if I can manage one of those places a month from now. Come on, loot drops!

The housing districts will be introduced and auctions will begin on the days indicated and end on the following Sunday per the current auction schedule. If you'd like a bit of a tour, each of these districts is highlighted in the gallery earlier in this article.

A parting word

I just wanted to sign off this week with a quick side note: When logging in this weekend, I found the new server Kahrun was full. Nice! Although, maybe not so nice if said server comes with anything resembling those original launch-day queues (*shudder*). Well done, Aion -- it looks like the conversion has been a success so far.

So what are your thoughts about Ascension and the F2P conversion after its first couple of weeks? Please share in the comments below!

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.