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HA! For the who-knows-how-many umpteenth time, my carefully considered words for the week (which were incredibly timely and sparkly, by the way!) have been usurped by yet another last-minute announcement by NCsoft. So we will all have to just exercise our patience muscles and explore those words of wisdom next time. Today, I am delving into the idea of making your mark in Aion!

As announced just today, players have the opportunity to design a unique weapon for the new Gunner class coming in Aion's big 4.0 expansion/patch. Think about it: A piece of your creativity could be in the hands of every gun-slinging Daeva in the wild Western market! Not only is this cool in itself, but the fact that the non-contest is happening at all is a positive sign that NCsoft actually listens to Aion's players. Now, you may be sitting there asking yourself, how did she come to that conclusion? Well, here's how.

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First, a quick note: The contest is not really a contest. NCsoft was very sure to point out that this event/opportunity/whatever we want to call it not an actual contest in the Western market as no prizes or anything will be awarded. Furthermore, Western players are not eligible to participate and win prizes in Korea's contest. However, if your submission is selected, you will receive official recognition and be consulted for feedback during the naming process. And even without material prizes, you will be a part of developing a major Aion expansion, even if the part is small. That's certainly nothing to sneeze at.

When your "two kinah's worth" has value

Some of you may remember that during a recent interview with Associate Producer Sean Orlikowski, I unabashedly asked if there would ever be a possibility of having player-generated content introduced into game. I again made a plug for having contests in which players could submit items, perhaps just screenshots to be made into paintings. At that point, the answer was, and I quote, "It's a really cool idea. It's not outside the realm of possibility. We are always trying to get more and better customization into Aion." It looks like the idea struck a chord!

"Why does even the idea of an idea being considered make me so happy? Because that just shows that player opinions and feedback are valued."

Now, I am sure I can't claim all the credit... well, OK, maybe I can! After my question was posed a month ago, NCsoft Korea held a contest asking players in that market to submit their ideas for unique weapons for the Gunner class. Now, players from other territories can also submit ideas to a Western market version of the contest-that-isn't-a-contest. Obviously, there is the chance that it is all just a coincidence -- a very timely coincidence, mind you -- but at the time I made my suggestion, Orlikowski was sure to say that there were no plans in the works. So I am going to go with the not-really-a-coincidence version of things.

Why does even the idea of an idea being considered make me so happy? Because that just shows that player opinions and feedback are valued. It's heartening to have the faith that you can actually make a difference; little is worse than that feeling of being completely unvalued. Also, it demonstrates that the company is open to new ideas, which is a definite necessity for moving forward, growing, and expanding.

The moral of this little tale is never be afraid to offer your suggestions! Heck, you never really know when someone is listening. Your idea might be the very next thing to happen in Aion. Offer them in the comments here, on the official site, even at the local grocery store if you want -- wherever! Might I suggest, however, that you never, ever offer suggestions from outside a devs window; that's never looked very well upon. And it involves cops and restraining orders.

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Just do it!

What's even more awesome than the opportunity of leaving a legacy in your favorite game? Many opportunities! Yes, the announcement quite blatantly reads, "This is your first (but not last!) chance to leave your legacy in Aion." So even if you can't get those creative juices flowing for a gun, get them jumpstarted anyway so they are flowing free for the next round.

So what's stopping you -- what are you waiting for? You can't draw, you say? Pshaw! Not even an issue. One very cool part of this non-contest is that it is not restricted to just the artistically gifted. In fact, the studio outright says, "It is a design submission, not necessarily an art submission. We are looking for high-quality, innovative, unique ideas, regardless of your artistic ability." I, for one, am part of the non-gifted crowd when it comes to drawing, but I am still totally psyched about this. You can use computer generated images, as long as you submit your own original work (meaning you cannot violate any trademarks, patents, or copyrights).

Besides subsmitting the artwork, you have to explain your concept and the intent behind the design. Once you have your idea, and you've put together everything requested in the official rules, you have until 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, November 15th to send your submission in. I wish I could tell you what time zone that actually is for, so I would suggest sending it on the 14th just to cover every possible zone.

So on that note, what types of guns do you want to see in game? Small six-shooters slung from the hips? Large arm cannons with a 10-foot recoil? Double rocket launchers? Would your must-have be a set of Stormwing's wings on the barrel? For those who are entering, get your submissions off already! For the rest of you, share what characteristics you'd like to see in the winning guns... besides the obvious ability to slay your enemies, of course!

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

This article was originally published on Massively.