Last week, Wings Over Atreia discussed one of the biggest changes that came to Aion with the 3.1 patch: the Fast-Track server. That alone might have grabbed your attention (it certainly did mine). However, the inclusion of an at-will PvP-free leveling zone wasn't even close to the only thing brought to the table; plenty of other morsels were served as well. Changes -- they are legion!
Mixed among the requisite jumble of fix-this-wording and adjust-this-skill tweaks were changes that affect instances, repeatable quests, AP, and housing. And of course, as in any Aion update, devs a played a rousing game of squash-a-bug. Here's a look at some of the highlights of patch 3.1.
A permanent home
You had to know that I would lead off with changes made in housing, especially when those changes involve removing the temporary status of some furniture items. Booyah! Of course, many items were already permanent, but now garden accessories and decorative accents sold by furniture merchant NPCs last forever. The same goes for the furniture sold by both the furniture merchant and the special crafting merchant in Sarpan. However, this change is only applicable to new items purchased since the update; permanence is not retroactive to previous purchases. Now your large, sophisticated leather couch will not disappear while you are relaxing on it, assuming you spend the 4.3 million kinah to buy one!
Another change found some Daevas jingling more kinah in their pockets: Weekly maintenance fees were reduced for the two mid-range houses. Daevas with a mansion will save 240k kinah per week, while estate owners will see a bigger savings of 2.7 million per week. If only I could afford to buy one of those!
Changed in an instance
One of the largest chunks of text in the patch notes was devoted to the changes involving various instances. In fact, quests appear to be the only category beating out instances for volume of updates, tweaks, and changes (not counting the Fast-Track server that was previously discussed). So what are some of these changes?
A few instances had their minimum-level entrance requirements lowered. Daevas no longer need to wait until level 55 to delve into the depths of Beshmundir Temple; level 53 is the new 55 for the Stormwing dance. And Alquimia Research Center is now accepting Daevas as low as level 35 through the doors instead of 40. Of course, partnered with these changes is the fact that mobs and bosses in these instances have been adjusted and are not quite as tough as they used to be. Dark Poeta monsters have also seen their stats reduced. I guess the Balaur just aren't eating their Wheaties anymore.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the maximum level requirement was lifted for two areas: Raksang and Taloc'sHollow. Daevas can now continue to run the highest-level solo instance as long as their little Elyos or Asmodian hearts desire it.
While I don't really have much of a personal opinion about the changes in level requirements one way or the other, one change in particular really stands out as a very welcome addition: opening Theobomos Labs and Adma Stronghold up to the opposing faction. Now all you Daevas who wanted to see that once off-limits dungeon in enemy lands can do so without having to reroll and level up the other faction. A special rift has been added in the Theobomos Observatory Village that allows Elyos to enter Adma Stronghold, and a similar rift is in Baltasar Hill Village in Brusthonin giving Asmodians access to Theobomos Lab. Both zones were also modified for the opposing faction. Oh snap -- that means I might still need to level up the opposite faction to see how that other dungeon played out originally!
Travel woes have also been eased in two circumstances. First, new teleport devices were added to allow easier travel to Draupnir Cave. Bakarma Spear hunts can now begin at teleport statues in the Heiron or Beluslan residential areas or the Draupnir Cave Abyss Gate in Dragon's Blood Canyon in Heiron. Secondly, players tired of resurrecting at their kisk or obelisk after dying in Muada's Trencher will be happy to know that resurrection is now actually inside the instance.
Continuing with the trend of instance changes, two dungeons had their cooldown timers and XP gained from monsters increased. Dungeon-runners now have to wait 120 minutes before reentering Alquimia Research Center and Aetherogenetics Lab instead of 30. And everyone who continues to run Dark Poeta, Abyssal Splinter, Taloc's Hollow, Lower Udas Temple, and Beshmundir Temple in hopes of getting gear, take heart! Boss mobs in these instances now have increased drop rates.
Coins, quests, and the Abyss
That about sums up housing and instances, but what about all the other little changes? In no particular order, here are a few of the other highlights:
The upper Abyss has a new level 60 raid boss that spawns on Sunday nights precisely at 9:00 p.m. EDT. Moltenus can randomly spawn in one of three locations between Krotan Refuge, Miren Fortress, and Kysis Fortress and will despawn in one hour if not killed.
Existing bosses received some attention as well. Travelers through Inggison and Gelkmaros will be happy to know that the aggro range for Omega and Ragnarok has been reduced. And for those who still don't make it out of the way in time, the animation for character resurrection has been shortened, allowing Daevas to get back on their feet more quickly. Both world bosses have also had their abilities reduced and their levels changed to 60.
There were a number of little changes to repeatable quests, including tweaks to which quests give coins, how many coins are rewarded, and even what quests are repeatable. Daevas will find that some caps on repeatable quests have been lifted, but other repeatable daily and weekly quests for Medals or Kahrun's Symbols have been changed to one-time only. All rewards have been adjusted to reflect the new status.
Now toss all these changes in a large bowl and top it with new quests in instances to earn Kahrun's Boxes and Bundles, modifications to AP gains and loss, and even a mysterious stigma, and you end up with decently filling patch, even without the extra dessert of new zones. And that's only 3.1. It makes you wonder what 3.2 might have in store!
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.