Wings Over Atreia: My date with Kromede's Trial

I couldn't help myself. It isn't you, really -- it's me. I mean, you offered so much. The nights in Taloc's Hollow were rewarding. But I needed more. I craved a new experience. I craved excitement. I craved hawt armor! So I needed to step outta my skin -- literally -- and expand my horizons. This decision wasn't easy for me, but I think it was worth it.

I know, I know... after admitting my difficulties with (and distaste for) playing alts, here I am sharing with you my adventures on just such an alt. But truly, how could I resist? With the great things I have heard about Kromede's Trial coupled with my desire to see and experience everything in-game, what choice did I have? Why the excitement to run this instance from the tender levels of 37 to 44? There are plenty of reasons: a horde of XP; bucket-loads of kinah and cash drops; the corrupt judge's armor sets; satisfying the urge to parade around as an Asmodian female for a while; experiencing new game lore; a chance at a gold weapon; a sawteeth rotan pet; and the ability to upgrade a blue weapon from the Fire Temple into a gold -- just to name a few.

Now, is there any reason not to go? Certainly not now, since the usual 22-hour lockout timer has been reduced to only four hours for the Reactivation Celebration, which is going on until the 13th. Not to mention the double XP during the same time! So it was with eager anticipation that I moved my way up the level ladder until I could finally experience this solo instance for the first time. And why I keep going back. Again and again.

Zone past the cut to follow along on some of the of the best action available to the mid-level Aion player.

NCsoft has a very detailed walk-through available on the powerwiki for Daevas to peruse before embarking on their journeys into dreamland and experiencing events though the eyes of a well-known Aion character. However, some might like to simply experience it for themselves as they go; that was the path I chose, and I asked friends to keep spoilers to a minimum so I could enjoy the story and events as they unfolded. If you are also one who prefers to be surprised the first time, I suggest you read no further until after your first few excursions. Kromede's Trial actually has three different types of runs, each one different from the others (the initial run, the armor run, and the weapon run), so you need at least three trips inside before you can experience them all for yourself.

My first date

It all started innocently enough. Nervously, I spoke with Perento in New Heiron Gate, who sent me off to speak with others. Grabbing breath mints, I sallied forth, eagerly anticipating the time we should meet. It wouldn't be long now! Oh how I shall relish the time we will have together.

To start this love affair with XP and loot, you first have to complete an easy quest chain. By speaking to Perento (if Elyos) or Hundrunerk in Beluslan Fortress (if Asmodian), Daevas begin a short series of quests that entail the very difficult task of traveling and speaking with others. Your final conversation is with either Raninia at Arbelou's Haven (Elyos) or Bridget at Camp Kistenian (Asmodian), who then transports you into the instance for your first run. Now the real fun begins.

The dream quality of the experience was not too overdone, with only some fuzzing around the edges of your screen. Not really knowing what to expect for this first date, I was pleasantly surprised by and enjoyed the cutscenes sprinkled about the areas. New lore giving depth to a well-known figure? Bring it on! Granted, after the first few trips you, too, might be hitting the ESC key to move past them with all due haste, but the first time or two was certainly enjoyable.

Not wanting to miss anything, I explored every nook and cranny, from every accessible corner of the dungeon to the garden in the mansion proper. I found the sleep flower as well as a number of servants annoyed with my intrusion. Warning: Each gardener has a garden pet that joins him in the fight, so be prepared when engaging.

You had me at "Robstin"

There we were, together, finally. But you seemed hesitant, reserved -- closed even. What are you hiding?

A bit of a tease for me was finding the different areas that were obviously doorways but were blocked and prohibited me from completing my exploration (in fact, I still have no idea what is behind that bookshelf on the main floor nor how to access it; anyone with any insight please feel free to share!). As if there needed to be another reason besides the XP and loot to ensure my return, I was now seduced by my own curiosity! So even before I left, I relished the idea of returning for my second trip and poking my head into each new place.

One of my favorite parts of this instance is the silver blade rotan pet. While there are four different special items you can acquire to help you in your cause (the rotan fights, the explosive bead does AoE damage and stuns, the sapping pollen sleeps one mob, and maga's potion heals you to full), I found that I really only used the rotan with regularity -- meaning each and every fight. The explosive bead is very convenient for the annoying swarm of bats, but as a healer, I didn't really find reason to use either the potion or the sleep. In fact, the two times I used the sleep on a mob near the couches, it bugged the mob so that it couldn't move visually, but its invisible self followed me throughout the mansion hitting me and I could not manually target it, either to hit it or to loot it once it was dead.

In fact, I like the rotan so much, I am going to keep it. Well, sorta. After only 10 completions of the quest To Dream, To Die or An Honorable Death, any Daeva can be the proud owner of a sawteeth rotan. Trust me, I am excited to obtain the pet permanently (though very annoyed I cannot get one on my main character because she is too high of a level), but I am also disappointed that after having such a worthy hunting companion, my reward pet will be nothing more than a companion. I admit it -- each time I have hunted outside of the instance since, I have tried to call upon the rotan. So how about it, NCsoft -- how about adding some minor fighting abilities to this fine pet?

All good things must come to an end

My experience bar continued to fill as I moved about, and the increased loot drops filled my woefully inadequate cube. Believe me when I say you want a minimum of three rows available or you may just consider returning out of the instance to sell and quickly racing back. Either that, or you may be forced to play the what-shall-I-delete-this-time game. Easy when it is a white manastone; hard when it's white armor!

Then, all too quickly (relatively speaking, as two hours is a decent time to give yourself for a full clear), my first date was over. Sadly, I had to leave. While I moved on to other activities, I looked forward to the next time I could return. Twenty-two hours. That's not so bad, right? Join me next week to experience the second (and third and fourth and... ) date with Kromede's Trial.

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