Wings Over Atreia: This little Daeva went to market...

Wings Over Atreia
Milk
Bread
Red Shell Potcrab
Life Leaf
Bulldozer...


You all know the old adage "Never go grocery shopping while hungry," right? It is sound advice for avoiding filling your cart with impulse purchases that might decimate your budget (and your waistline). How many of you have also used the shopping list tactic to try to minimize said impulse purchases? Well, you just might want to put that skill into practice when visiting Aion's BlackCloud Marketplace.

When the BlackCloud Marketplace launched last month, the inventory had pretty slim pickings for a game that needed to make all of its profit from the cash shop. Since all content in Aion is free, we knew more things would appear; it was just a matter of what and when. And even while there was still some trepidation about what items would be introduced over time (how many would play into the whole pay-to-win debate?), Daevas looked forward to new offerings and wondered what would be available next.

Wonder no more! Those little Shugos came in last Wednesday and stocked the marketplace shelves with over 100 new items. Some items were expected, some were not, and some were even clamored for by the masses. To help you construct your shopping list before heading to the store, Wing Over Atreia has perused the aisles for you to find what's new, what's interesting, and what's on special.

Aion screenshot
What's new

A quick glance at the new categories gives a decent overview of some new marketplace items: Housing and mounts join event, boosts, style, pets, supply, and convenience. But furniture items and the temporary mounts alone do not add up to the 100+ new items filling the virtual shelves. Each category has a variety of new offerings, from pets to hats to party dresses to temporary dyes to scrolls... well, you get the idea.

All of the different items have their value, but what is totally exciting to me is -- you guessed it -- the furniture! I poked through all of the variety of furniture offered, all in the name of research for you, of course!

Cloud-themed decorations and packs have timers, but most of the offerings are permanent, like tables, lamps, chairs, couches, wallpapers, wall mount trophies, paintings (including a painting of my favorite spot -- the tree and lake in the Asmodian starting area), statues, and a replica of Poppy. Normally, I wouldn't even look twice at a temporary item, but that cloud bed actually looks pretty cool.

There are also couches and chairs named after in-game mobs and bosses, but I'm not too sure about parking my Daeva's tush on something I have repeatedly driven my daggers into. Continuing to browse, I found some other enticing knickknacks. Kromede's mirror -- I wonder if it insults you like the real one? A mounted Stormwing's head for the wall; after all he first put my friends and me through, this one is very tempting! Oh, and the miniature Steel Rake model looks pretty cool too.

There are many more items available, but there's not enough room to list them all. Luckily, the marketplace includes a detailed screenshot of the item so you can see what it will look like in game before purchase. This is especially helpful since Shugos don't believe in a return policy!

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What's interesting

A few of the new offerings are on the interesting side. Of course, there are two distinct intonations for that word -- one said with excitement and a smile, the other with questioning and raised eyebrows. And which falls where depends on who is speaking.

One of the additions falling on the "yay!" side of the spectrum (at least for me) is permanent pack pets. One of my biggest gripes was that all of the pack pets previously were temporary. No bueno. Now, Daevas can get 12-, 18-, or 24-slot pets. Unfortunately, as with the shared warehouse, all pets with like number of slots share the same items. On the other hand, that baby Crab Norris is darn cute!

Congregating at the I'm-not-quite-sure-what-to-think-of-this end of the spectrum is the new gender switch box. Instead of just one ticket to switch your gender, you receive a box with an unlimited number of tickets for one day. Maybe it's the Social Worker part of me that worries about the issues brought on by rampant repeated gender switches. There is also a plastic surgery box that allows you to alter your looks as many times as you wish for one day. Maybe I had better invest in one of those new couches and set up an office...

Aion screenshotWhat's on special

The event tab is the go-to for special deals, especially those of a time-limited nature. Currently, there are three special offers going on that Daevas can take advantage of, or four if you count the C.U.B.E. bonus.

The first item is the best deal -- a freebie! The title Daevic Defender is currently listed at a low, low price of 0 NCoin. That's right: something for nothing! However, please note that you can only get this once per account. When applied to a character, this title grants a temporary buff of +4% to run speed, +500 to HP, and +.3% PvP Defense for 30 days. Personally I found the description for the item amusing: "Charge into (or away from) battle with these great stat boosts!" If you want this item, you had better act quickly because it is available for a limited time only; it disappears at 6 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, May 16th.

The next (and also temporary) deal up for grabs is the rare ingredient for making the sharptooth mount, the Life Leaf (in both Elyos and Asmodian versions). These leaves will blow away on May 16th at regular server maintenance at 6 a.m. EDT. Note that only level 40 or above characters can actually purchase these leaves at this time.

As much as people complain that the Felicitous Socketing items are pay-to-win, when those items didn't make an appearance at the opening of the marketplace, people whined and wanted them back. And to be perfectly honest, with my really uber sucky luck at socketing, I think this may be the one item that pulls me out of the ranks of window shoppers and into the check-out line. If you are in the same boat as I am, you might want to make your trip to the store fairly soon because these supplements are available only until 6 a.m. EDT May 23rd. Unfortunately, any Daevas under level 30 cannot purchase the eternal or fabled supplements.

And finally, the free bonus item for purchasing a large C.U.B.E. in May is a 30-day Cirruspeed Mount. You can receive multiple mounts if you purchase multiple large C.U.B.E.s, but be sure to put only one mount in your inventory at a time; once the mount is placed in your inventory, the timer automatically starts.

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What's missing

Of course, proffered inventory will expand further as time goes on; after all, for the game to thrive there needs to be some brisk business in the marketplace. The best way to attain that is to offer new and fresh items as well as items that are sure to rake in some profits. So here is my two kinah on what needs to be added:

My first suggestion is housing item limit expanders. I am just about as anti-cash shop (regarding my own personal spending, that is) as you can get, and I'd definitely pay money for these! Not everyone is going to get the chance for a large estate, so why not let him be happy in his smaller home or condo while you rake in the cash? You listening, NCsoft?

Aion screenshotWhile we're on the subject of housing items, my next suggestion is just that: a housing item. I think one of the most fabulous additions would be more paintings of scenes around Atreia. But not just any scenes; I want screenshots captured by players themselves. I thought this would make an awesome contest. Ironically enough, after formulating my fantastic but not patentable idea, NCsoft announced its decorating contest to showcase the inner interior designer of Daevas. How much do you want to bet that at least a few of those screenshots would make a nice little painting if framed and hung up? And oh, the views I have stumbled upon during my journeys, and the amazing action shots -- what awesome pictures they would make! And they'd bring in some money, I guarantee it. Now, about my commission...

Next, how about adding a few more candies besides Inquin? Sure they are amusing, but let's get more variety than just colors! Give me some Tahabata candies and you'd better believe I will start popping them and running around. Rawr!

Of course, there are more things I'd like to see, but let's give the devs a little time to implement these first. We will spring more ideas on them later.

What gives?

Before ending for the week, I have to just toss out this one little question that's been haunting me for weeks now: Sooooooooo really, what gives? As I recall, the new server Kahrun was announced as being based on the Central Time Zone. I totally support that and agree with giving players another option that might be better suited for them. But why the heck did established Eastern Time Zone servers get bumped to Central Time as well? I can even understand wanting to compromise when the two servers were merged, but why change an established server when there was no merge? Talk about throwing a kink in many of my plans; you wouldn't think one hour makes that big of a difference, but it does. Change it back. Please. Pretty please. With a mela on top.

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.