Carefree and in the moment: That's how I have been living in Aion lately. However, the surprise announcement about 4.0 a few weeks back got my mind spinning with thoughts about updates. Oh, the possibilities! But as much as I support indulging in expressions of hopes and positive thinking, speculation really should be done in moderation; too much can leave you pining for what may never be and missing what's actually available (or at least on the horizon!). So while I appreciate the recent opportunity to contemplate the mysterious Aion 4.0 update, now it's time to focus on an upcoming patch with actual features already ascribed to it: 3.5.
Patch 3.5, though not announced for the Western market yet, hit Korea in July. And courtesy of friendly folks who have translated the patch notes, we've snagged a glimpse of what can be expected when it does finally roll around to us. What's on the horizon for faithful Daevas? How about two new dungeons, a cross-server dungeon group finder, personalized housing options, and (my personal favorite) a cooperative crucible!
My buddy and me in PvP
Shocked I didn't rate the housing changes as my favorite? I know, a bit surprising, but hear me out. There is a reason I am really looking forward to the new arenas for the Third Crucible, even moreso than to increased housing personalization.
See, here's the thing: I don't really have a problem with PvP, but I am not one who likes to participate in it alone. Even though I play an Assassin, I hate the solo hunt. And no, it's not because I always lose. I have actually won! Throughout my years in Aion, I have had the most fun grouping up with friends and going on patrols. Coordinating, plotting, and strategizing with friends, then sharing in the victories and defeats is what gives me the thrill, not 1v1. For me, victories are sweeter when shared and defeats are softened when you can commiserate together.
That's why even though I thought the idea of the crucible arenas was great (and I did have fun in them), it wasn't as good as it could have been for me personally. The Arena of Solitude and Arena of Chaos force you to fight solo. Now, my friends and I did get around that restriction in Chaos a bit by timing our entrance and then coordinating via Teamspeak our attacks on other folks. However, as anyone who has used this method knows, it is not foolproof! It's particularly difficult when one friend is using AoEs because he inadvertently damages you as well. And there is no way to heal your partners since they are flagged as enemies. In all, it was fun for me but not ideal. But now, we have the MJ Crucible. I say this because it is designed with me in mind: It's 2v2v2 team PvP. Check it out:
Booyah! I will be able to group with a friend to dive into the Crucible Arenas and participate in PvP as part of a team, not as a lone wolf. This totally increases my excitement for participating in the PvP arenas! I am looking forward to the implementation of this upcoming future more than I have looked forward to anything since housing. And you know that's saying a lot! In fact, I might actually be looking forward to it a wee bit more since, unlike housing, this feature is really about getting out and doing something with your friends.
From the sounds of it, the tickets to enter the Arena of Cooperation might be separate from the ones needed to enter the other two arenas. This would be nice, allowing folks more chances to utilize the arenas. The arena will have the three standard level brackets: 46-50, 51-55, and 56-60. Teams can only be formed if both members are in the same bracket. And like the current arenas, it will be open only during specified times.
For the glory
For those folks who are at the top of their game in the arenas, NCsoft will be introducing an uber arena to test their mettle against the very best. The second arena joining Crucible III is the Arena of Glory. What is the Arena of Glory? It is a 4v4 free-for-all PvP match with the typical three rounds and point system.
Daevas who want to use this arena will have to earn the right to do so. This can be done only by placing first in the Arena of Cooperation or first or second in the Arena of Chaos. Those who top the lists in those arenas will be granted one ticket to the Arena of Glory, and it will take three of those tickets to enter. Unlike the other arenas, this one mandates that only Daevas level 56 and over will be able to participate. (In the name of all that is decent, hopefully those dang tickets will stack so that if you start earning them at level 46, you can save them for 10 levels!)
Go, go dungeon finder!
Unsurprisingly, new dungeons are making an appearance. The Citadel of Tiamat and Dragon Lord's Sanctuary (keep in mind the names will most likely change once localized) are both located inside the Eye of Tiamat in Tiamaranta. The first is a six-man dungeon that resets every morning and has no entrance quests. The second is a 12-man dungeon with a reset timer of 40 hours. Both dungeons are for level 60 players.
New dungeons -- kind of expected, right? What wasn't expected was the announcement of a cross-server group finder for instances. Can't you hear those Daevas singing out in joy? Praise the Seraphim Lords! Although it looks like you will still have to travel to the dungeon entrance to queue up for a group, the system will now search for groupmates throughout all of the servers, not just yours. This will greatly increase the pool of folks available to dungeon dive with you. And the list of participating dungeons is not small, either: Nochsana Training Grounds, Fire Temple, Dark Poeta, Theobomos Labs, Adma Stronghold, Draupnir Cave, Steel Rake, Upper and Lower Udas Temple, all Dredgions, all Crucible Arenas, and even all arena training grounds will be available. Try saying that three times fast!
On top of finding group members, folks who use this feature will see an increase in the buff as well as an increase in drop rates. Note: The PvP instances will not receive these extra benefits.
The list goes on...
Does that all sound exciting? Well, hold on to your wings because that's not all! Stay tuned to Wings Over Atreia as we continue to delve into the incoming goodies of patch 3.5 like housing, spacial distortions, and legion quests, all while wistfully awaiting its arrival.
It's going to take some real restraint to remain content with what I have currently in Aion and not keep looking ahead to all these new features heading our way. Bah, whom am I kidding? I am already looking forward to diving into a few of them. What sounds most exciting to you? Share your thoughts 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.