Wings Over Atreia: No Aion block party for you!

Wings Over Atreia  No block party for you!  Aion ends event early
Batten down the hatches and prepare yourselves for a storm, my friends, because I have a rant that's just waiting to burst forth! I know, I know -- it's hard to believe I am that riled up over anything in Aion. After all, I've managed a grand total of only four rants in more than three years. But I am! I am downright annoyed. Ironically, this rant also comes right when I was going to give you all the heads-up on an Aion job opportunity. It's not exactly what I'd call the best timing for NCsoft to make a blunder, but it is what it is.

So what is "it" exactly? You know that big summer event block party that was advertised as going until September 4th? Well, I hope you got what you wanted out of it because the bartenders have packed up and gone home. That's right: The event ended two weeks earlier than announced. Not only did this seriously put a damper on my personal Atreian adventuring plans for the next couple of weeks, but it seriously screwed with my event guide for this week's Wings Over Atreia (no point now, right?). Even worse, "it" is the fact that Aion outright said one thing but did another. And that, my friends, just chaps my hide, ruffles my feathers, and gets my goat. The whole things leaves a sour taste in my mouth and gives the game's credibility a big fat black eye.

Ready for the summer
Not a non-issue

Understandably, some of you might be asking what the big deal is about missing an event, especially considering that I have, on occasion, mentioned that I can't even keep up with the overabundance of them in Aion. From spoils of war to Shugos (twice!) to summer to Solorius, the events come so frequently they seem to bleed into each other, and my bags keep getting filled with leftover event pieces that are useless once said events end. But it's not about "Oh drat, I missed an event" (even though I planned sufficiently for it). It's not even about the personal inconvenience or the affect on my job in that I was forced to throw out completed work and start over (which is annoying to be sure). No, it's about much more than that.

The big deal to me is the fact that the line "The Summer Block Party is only here until September 4 so don't miss out!" is blatantly false. Not unclear or vague -- outright and unabashedly untrue. The truth of the matter is that the event where Daevas collected ice blocks and ice picks ended at maintenance on August 21st with basically no notice other than a quick blurb the day before. Apparently, for the remainder of the event's scheduled time, only the party staffers in Sanctum and Pandaemonium to whom players can turn Shugo Warranties in are available.

Since the event announcement clearly stated that the Summer Block Party would go on until September 4th, why would anyone expect things to end so early? It caught me, as well as others, totally by surprise. And above all, I feel lied to, and that is one thing that just boils my blood. I do not take kindly to being lied to.

Party planners in Aion
Shady shenanigans?

Now I will admit that the misrepresentation that caused me and many others to be cut off prematurely from the event may have been unintentional. That is entirely possible. In that case, might I seriously suggest someone proofreads the announcements for accuracy before they are published! But even if that were the case, NCsoft has done nothing to rectify its mistake, and that makes it all the worse to me. Add to that the fact that ice blocks and picks are still available in the Black Cloud Marketplace for a fee, nominal though it may be, and you can't help get the feeling that the studio is pulling a fast one on players.

Let's give NCsoft the benefit of the doubt. If it is simply a case of improper wording in the announcement, then the studio should own up to it and make amends. It should publicly admit the mistake and offer restitution to players in the form of extending the event to at least the advertised date or even beyond. Additionally, some other gesture should be made to make up for the inconvenience already suffered by players due to NCsoft's gaffe, perhaps a survey that grants players a number of Ice-Hot Boxes, which contain the various rewards. These steps would go a long way in showing that the mistake was indeed inadvertent.

Aion event extrasLeaving a mark

Even if NCsoft accepts accountability for the mistake and tries to make it up to players, the fact is that the mishandling has left a mark. Sure, this shiner will fade in time, but that bit of trust has already been eroded. The original issue may be about only a frivolous event, but I wonder how long I will question the accuracy of announcements that come out for Aion now. How long will I be skeptical?

It's not about silly in-game stuff; none of that matters really. So I missed out on the chance of a few items, big deal. It's about the integrity of the company involved and being able to trust in its word. So far, there has been no attempt to correct the matter, ergo the healing process for that trust cannot even begin.

Aion job op

Earlier, I mentioned that there was a job opportunity available for Aion that I was going to report, so here it is. If you don't mind working in Orange County, California, and you have some experience in a video game quality assurance environment, this may be your chance to get your hands on the game from the inside. Hopefully whoever takes advantage of this will help the NCsoft West avoid the pitfalls we've been discussing today. The position? Senior Quality Assurance Tester.

I won't get into all the nitty-gritty of the details; you can read those for yourself. But of all the things listed in job duties and requirements, one really caught my eye and amused me. Nestled amid the requisite bug tracking, training QA testers, and developing test schedules is this little gem: "Must run sanity checks during the maintenance and give a QA sign-off." Sanity checks, eh? You know, I think they just might need them...

Soaring through the Aionosphere, MJ Guthrie touches down biweekly 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.