So this week, my mind kept drifting back to the Mega Kinah Millions lottery going on now. I knew I wanted to point the event out to you guys before it closed, but something else about it was nagging at the edges of my mind. My thoughts meandered from contemplating the dream of winning all that moolah to why is the Shugo wearing a tux?, took a detour around mmm cake! and then ended up at gambling in Aion. That's when the idea hit me: Why settle for just a short-term fling with chance when you could have an all-out gambling smorgasbord? Aion is ripe for it! It's not as if gambling isn't inherent in the game anyway, with every Daeva taking part in it daily. I mean, just look at the RNG!
Simply put, gambling could be quite a benefit to Aion; among other things, it could be a viable non-grinding pastime that brings more Daevas into the game. So why not ask Lady Luck to take up permanent residence?
I am not one to advocate gambling in real life, but let's admit that MMOs are by their very nature gambling and we all participate, especially in regard to loot drops. How many times do folks do a dungeon run and cross their fingers in the hopes that they get something they need/want from the random loot tables? More than one Daeva has shouted out some variation of "Baby needs a new pair of shoes!" when charging through Besh, myself included! And then, if fortune smiles favorably and something of value actually drops, folks have to hope that the RNG dice roll in their favor!
Simple loot drops, however, are not the only form of gambling in Aion. Look at many of the events over the last three years; they involve opening gift boxes to receive a randomized gift. Some folks will play at that for hours and days on end trying to get specific items! How many have thought to themselves, just one more? Some might argue that it's not really gambling if you don't put money down, but I say that in both forms of looting -- gift boxes and mob drops -- you are paying for the risk in the currency of your time. And time, after all, is a real world commodity. Kinah is not (well, gold-sellers aside).
Oh, but it doesn't even stop here when it comes to in-game gambling. To receive or not receive, that isn't so bad, right? You can walk away with nothing lost except your time. But what about when you lose what you already have? Daevas can currently get a glimpse of the less desirable side of Lady Luck when trying to socket manastones and enchant gear. There may not be any horseshoes to rub in game, but that doesn't stop folks from coming up with their own little luck-inviting rituals! Superstitions abound when it comes to pleading with the cosmos to prevent failure. And let's not forget trying to craft the Hot Heart of Magic for Miragent and Fenris armor sets! *shudders*
Once we accept the fact that gambling is already an integral part of the Aion world, we can move into making it a more obvious and permanent partner. Daevas already flock to games of chance built right into the game, so let's give them more. Think of that moment when you stare at the mob lying at your feet and you pause before looting, wondering, hoping. Or that fleeting feeling when you're rolling on major loot as you await the declaration of the victor. Let's take the adrenaline rush that comes with the anticipation and incorporate it more regularly into game. The new lottery event is definitely a start.
I admit, that first time I saw that snazzy Shugo on my launchpad enticing me with his Mega Kinah Millions, my interest was piqued. And it was so easy to click and read more about it! It turns out the event is a weekly lottery with prizes of over 300 million kinah. The prizes are 300,000,000 kinah for first place, 30,000,000 kinah for second place, and 30,000 kinah for third place. That's a nice little chunk of change. And even better, the tickets are free. Just visit the Shugo in the snappy tux to get one.
You can get one new ticket every day, but be sure to click it to open within five minutes or the ticket will disappear. Also, something to note: The tickets do take up room in your cube, so if you collect one every day, you will need seven available slots.
On Saturday at 10 p.m. EDT, Furthunerk will disappear for 10 minutes and draw the lucky numbers. After he returns, Daevas can speak to him to see whether any of their numbers were lucky. Daevas can even win one of each tier each week. Don't let real life prevent you from talking to him one Saturday because even the used tickets expire so they can't be used multiple weeks.
The event was announced back on September 12th and is going for eight weeks, so by my count, the lottery will end on November 7th. If you want to have your chance at winning, be sure to log in and get your daily tickets before then.
But I have to wonder why it should end at all. Now that Daevas are all hooked on the thrill of the possible motherlode windfall, let's reel them in. But this time, let's make them put something more than time on the line
I want kinah, lots and lots of kinah
Maybe this was NCsoft's idea all along: to get Daevas addicted to the lottery and games of chance before springing new gambling content on them. Why not? It would be a great money sink, and I am convinced it would keep more Daevas in game by offering another alternative to grinding. And more time in game equals a greater chance of spending in the cash shop. If this isn't currently in the studio's plan, I suggest that NCsoft considers penciling it in to capitalize on what it started.
The trick to adding more gambling is to take away the ability to participate for free. Now that people have had weeks to feel the rush, make them pay for the experience using either in-game or real world cash. Players can already buy extra fortune tickets (it comes with the purchase of a large C.U.B.E in the BlackCloud Marketplace), so the precedent has been set.
What can be added? There's plenty to choose from. Why not start with just one smoky backroom, a couple of roulette wheels, maybe a game of blackjack, and a secret knock to get in. Over time, introduce the Atreia Royale Casino to select markets like Sanctum and Pandaemonium, then slowly expand to Sarpan and other regions. New content could continually be added over time as the devs increase the number of games of chance available. It's not as if there aren't plenty to mirror from the real world, not to mention plenty of new ones to think up. There's also the opportunity to implement tools for Daevas to run their own games (like adding a dice item that announces a roll instead of relying on just /random in group). Think of the profits these could bring! And even better, new content makes for happy Daevas!
So what do you say, NCsoft? How about feeding the Daeva's need for easy kinah? And what do you readers think -- what games would you play if they were offered in-game?
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.