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Aion 1.9 patch highlights with producer Chris Hager


Yesterday NCsoft teased some of the upcoming features in Aion patch 1.9, making daevas the world over drool their sparkling, celestial spit. However, while everyone was busy drooling, we met up with Aion's producer, Chris Hager, for a more extensive look into the patch notes.

Patch 1.9 has a bunch of things going for it -- from the introduction of a new "rent-a-item" system, to daily quests, to looking for group interface enhancements and more. As we said yesterday, there's over 26 pages of patch notes which will be appearing on the Aion main website -- that's a huge number of fixes and changes.

While we can't cover them all in this document, we aim to hit the highlights of the patch that just hit the Korean test server. Now extend your wings and fly with us to the land after the break!

While 2.0 is the bells and whistles patch, 1.9 is taking a more down-to-Earth approach by fixing many of the problems players currently have with the game.

"Patch 1.9 is about enhancing the current player experience," Chris Hager told us during our conversation. "We want players to concentrate on having fun instead of being mired in laborious processes."

Looking for group? Not anymore...

While many UI enhancements are being made in 1.9, one of the big overhauls is targeting the looking for group system.

"I never liked the LFG channel. It takes too long to find a group, and it's too filled with spam."

"I never liked the LFG channel. It takes too long to find a group, and it's too filled with spam," Hager said. "So, instead of relying on the channel, we're taking a UI approach to looking for group."

The new LFG system allows players to not only find groups, but allow groups to find them. Players can browse the list of currently formed groups, see where they're questing, see how many members they have, and easily talk to the group leader to get an invite or "apply" to the group. Leaders can see players searching for groups, check their levels and class, and invite them to the group right from the interface. Plus, if you don't find the group you're looking for, you can minimize the window down to a single icon on your screen that will flash whenever you get a group invite or application.

And, with the changes coming to Dredgion, one of the game's PvPvE end-game instances, the new LFG system will come in handy. The bosses in Dredgion will spawn faster now, pressing groups onwards instead of giving them time to stand around and prepare. Other tweaks have been implemented as well, all gearing the instance towards a fast-paced adventure instead of a careful dungeon crawl.

Daily quests, item decay, and rental weapons

Because players were keen on having more quests added to the game, a new daily quest system has been implemented into patch 1.9. These quests will change daily and will offer the players more content to explore geared to their level. The quests rewards, however, are the interesting part.

Daily quests will reward various consumable items, but they will also reward new "timed gear." This new gear is equipped with an item decay timer that will start ticking down the moment you equip it. Once the timer hits zero, the item will wither away into dust, essentially giving you a temporary boost for as long as it lasts.

This new system of decaying items has also been implemented in the new "rental gear" shop that will be making an appearance. This shop will allow players to purchase powerful weapons and armor for a limited amount of time for the fraction of the cost. The idea is to let players try out the weapons they always wanted without taking a substantial hit to their pocketbook.

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