It does, however, appear that in the fine print of the meeting proposal, I agreed to be outfitted with a special electronic device that would send massive jolts of electricity through my system if I tried to speak about something I shouldn't. So let's see how much I can share with you before this apparatus leaves me unconscious.
Can I tell you that Aion has a special celebration planned for the first anniversary of the Truly Free conversion? So far, so good, folks. Hmm... can I add that the next big expansion has a North American launch date planned without going unconscious... oh, appears so! OK, let's push this a little further: How about if I happened to mention that 4.0 will hit servers in June 2013 -- would I be zapped? Nope! So there you have it, folks: 4.0 is indeed going live in just two short months!
I know I promised you a guide to spy quests this week, but I'm sure you can understand why I just had to bump it. I mean, 4.0! This reveal is just too exciting to brush aside. And since I'm not feeling any twinges of electrical currents, I'm going to share everything I can with you.
As with any major expansion (meaning all the whole numbers), Aion 4.0 has a title. Following in the hallowed footsteps of Assault on Balaurea and Ascension comes Dark Betrayal. Daevas who have been following the storyline thus far will see a continuation of the plots that have been revealed throughout the latest updates. According to Orlikowski, players will find some really good plot twists as the story develops. I'd like to add more about the revelations, but I'm getting this electrical tingling sensation...
When 4.0 hits here in NA, the build will actually correspond to Korea's 4.2; our version will start with two of the new classes right off the bat, unlike Korea's 4.0 launch. Players wanting to test their wings as a Songweaver (the official name of the bard class) or a Gunslinger have only until June to secure free slots on their accounts.
My desire to play the healer/DPS hybrid apparently follows the statistics that NCsoft has noted; Orlikowski shared that between the two classes, interest in the Songweaver has been significantly higher than in the Gunslinger. And why not? According to Orlikowski, the Songweaver is a combination of many of the game's classes -- Sorcerer, Chanter, Cleric, and just a touch of Spirit Master -- rolled into one. "It's got some pretty powerful nuke abilities," he found while playing on the test server. "It's got this three-stage charge-up shot that does just as much damage as some of the Sorcerer's abilities of the same level." The DP ability has damage equal to the Sorc's Pandaemonium Focus. The SW also has sleeps and a mana heal.
Apparently devs are in the same boat as ordinary Daevas: Orlikowski was also lamenting that he'd have to sacrifice some characters in order to make room for the new classes. Maybe he has some sway, then, to get us more slots? Well, he's been pushing for them. "That is actually something I have requested more than once. I would love to see more character slots," Orlikowski revealed. What about just splitting slots by server? "On the last proposal I sent in, that was a compromise: I asked, if you can't find a way to add more character slots, can we at least have eight per server? But I haven't heard back yet." We're crossing our wings for luck!
As we get closer to launch, players can expect more videos highlighting these two classes, Orlikowski noted. The Aethertech (the mech class), however, has no information, either for NA or Korea, so those who want to play this class still have time before deciding which toons get the axe. Perhaps by the time it launches, there will be additional slots!
Celebrating a year of Truly Free
Announced in February 2012, the Truly Free model was a serious departure from the standard payment models in gaming. Get all content for free, no restrictions? Uh, huh, yah, sure. Plenty of players were sure there was a catch somewhere, but there wasn't. When Ascension launched with the new free-to-play model, Daevas found a distinct lack of restrictions along with the loads of content.
Now, with the first anniversary fast approaching on April 11th, NCsoft is gearing up to celebrate the occasion alongside Daevas with some in-game events. From April 10th through the 17th, players will be able to participate in a Decorate the Cake event (collecting aether flames to trade for candles to decorate the cake, just as during the Daeva's Day event). Our captive-audience dev also noted that there should be special offers -- including free items -- in the NCstore. But that's all I know about it, honest! The information prevention device is currently dormant.
Since I had him cornered, I took advantage of the chance to get a little insight on other things; I asked Orlikowski why the difference in dispensing information this time around as opposed to previous expansions. Seriously -- getting information from NCsoft went from like pulling teeth to needing to shore up against a flood. He explained, "We've decided to embrace the 4.0 news as it came out of Korea. That's why you're seeing things like 'beyond 4.0' when we haven't even been kind enough to give you a date yet."
For those who want to remake characters in order to have new classes, I put in a personal plug for temporarily reintroducing Veteran Rewards (I so desperately want those fairy wings on my new toons!).
Also, good news for folks who missed the limited-time Shugo dungeon: It is expected to return. "It's not a one-time limited thing," Orlikowski assured me. "I don't know when, but we'll be having it again." There's even a chance that the dungeon can be scaled down for lower levels, but that's only a chance.
Oh, and just in case you wanted to know, Orlikowski stated that the recent layoffs at NCsoft "don't have any effect on its games at all." He told me, "The layoffs weren't a result of the games performing poorly or anything like that. The games are completely fine... it's just the company plan."
The road to 4.0
I think it's safe to say that there is a lot planned for this spring and summer, so it's a good time to get back into Aion. Of course, just as with the lead up to any of the game's major expansions, NCsoft will be hosting a number of other festivities. And would you believe, I have all that information as well! So after the F2P anniversary celebration, Daevas can expect... *bbbbzzzzzzzzztttt* *ZAP!*
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.