Today NCsoft launches Aion: Ascension, the free-to-play rebirth of its faltering MMO, complete with eagerly anticipated update 3.0 content like player housing, mounts, new zones and a raised level cap. To celebrate the impeding influx of freeloaders, producer Adam Christensen has written up a tips and tricks guide to surviving and thriving in Aion: Ascension.
Aion: Ascension adapts the "Truly Free" business model today. Utilizing the C.U.B.E. — Customizable User Bundling Experience — system, players will be able to buy Cube from the Black Cloud Marketplace and fill it with whatever items will fit inside.
Confused? I am too, just a little. I've not played Aion for ages. I imagine my character endlessly hovering in the air, cobwebs draped across their magnificent wings. I honestly would not know where to start if I went back.
That's where producer Adam Christensen comes in. He'll guide us through the new features in Aion 3.0, giving us the skinny on what to see, when to see it, and how.
Adam Christensen – Producer, Aion, NCsoft West
Aion: Ascension will bring with it a whole new experience, whether you are a seasoned player that has been with us since launch, or a brand new player venturing out into Atreia for the first time to earn your wings. The road to endgame is fraught with perils and we want to make your path as clear as possible. We can't do it all for you, however what we can do is offer advice on our four major touch-points in order for you to best take advantage of the new features of our 3.0 update. Take this advice for what it is, advice from one lover of Aion to another… my questions and with help from the team, all of our answers.
- Level Cap Increase
- New Zones/Instances
Level Cap increase
- What is the best and fastest way to get from 55-60?
What you will want to do first is realize that 55 to 60 is no easy task. The update affords you many opportunities for leveling via the new zones, monsters and instances to explore. The best bet will be to first get to Sarpan, one of the most crucial steps in experiencing the new content.
To do this, characters must start new campaign quests available in their respective faction's Balaurean stronghold. Elyos characters must go first to Outremus in Inggisson where they can begin the "Assault on Tiamaranta" campaign. Asmodians should see Richelle in Gelkmaros to start "The Grand Assault" campaign.
Once you reach Sarpan, the first thing to then do is Aturam Sky Fortress, the new solo instance. It's available at 55 and offers a large breadth of XP gaining opportunities.
Get ready to ride in a powerful Steam Tachysphere! This is a whole new experience we've never seen in Atreia before. These powerful steam-powered worker mechs pack a punch but don't overestimate your power, for you'll be facing hordes of powerful enemies that if not carefully handled, even your Tachysphere can't overcome.
At 56 you can access Raksang, the prison that holds some of Tiamat's most lethal enemies. Raksang provides great XP, and chances at level 57 Eternal accessories.
- What are the best new quests?
The best quests will of course be quickly determined by our most loyal Daevas, but will likely be divided by style of play. There are many quests that cater to our hardcore players, but there are also lower level quests that represent something else entirely. The most exciting lower level experiences will be had in our new housing districts: Oriel and Pernon. There's a lot to do and even more to see. Most notably, in the housing districts, players will want to rush to get their townhouse at level 21 and start decorating to your specific style.
Test-drive a mount before you choose! A little while after your townhouse acquisition at level 21, you'll continue on in your adventures and level up a few more times and be able to return to your housing district and take a free one-hour joy ride on one of the new mounts at level 30! Quests such as these will make exploring the new housing zones, both fun and informative.
The more hard-core players will enjoy exploring the new battleground zones and instances. The "Assault on Tiamaranta" / "The Grand Assault" quests will advance the lore behind the update, and is also necessary for travel to Sarpan which is the first step in gaining access to Tiamaranta and the rest of the story. Once at level 56, players can access the Terath Dredgion and its related quests. This provides a lot of fun PvPvE action while allowing players to get excellent PvP items and abyss points.
- How do we get to Tiamaranta and what's the first thing we'll want to do when we get there?
Tiamaranta can be accessed on foot from Sarpan by walking south. It is also accessible via teleport from Sarpan or the Balaurean strongholds so long as players complete the "Something to Prove" (Elyos) / "Building Bridges" (Asmodian) quests that follow the "assault" campaigns discussed above. Players will find themselves in Rancora Fortress, a neutral area where Elyos and Asmodian troops prepare for battle in Tiamaranta. There are a lot of neutral areas as well as contested areas where PvP is possible. There are also lots of new named monsters to engage in battle with.
- What should we look out for?
Engaging in Siege Warfare in Tiamaranta is likely to be one of the most exciting new activities for our players. This battle occurs three times each day and allows users to fight to control the four Hearts of Tiamat. These Hearts are contested fortresses and PvP areas. Located in the four corners of Tiamaranta, the Hearts are each controlled by one of Tiamat's Incarnations. When a particular faction defeats the Incarnation, they then control that Heart.
Carefully plan and reap the rewards! There are a lot of fantastic rewards and special areas related to Siege Warfare, so it will help to become familiar with the schedule, travel methods, and strategy needed to successfully engage in these battles.
- How is the auction going to work exactly?
The auction will allow players to bid on houses, mansions, estates, and palaces. These nicer housing options provide better buffs and allow players to change the outside appearance of their house as well. Players can bid for these types of houses or register their own for auction by visiting the Real Estate Auctioneer in Oriel or Pernon.
Auctions happen weekly:
Be wise in your bidding. There is a registration fee equal to one third the amount of the starting bid. This registration fee will be returned if the auction is successful, but will be forfeited if nobody bids. It is therefore important not to set the starting bid too high. The higher quality homes have weekly maintenance fees that must be maintained. If these fees become two weeks overdue then the house will automatically go to auction, so players will need to pay close attention to their budgets.
- Where do we go to get our free townhouse right away?
The housing area is available to all Daevas (level 10) via teleport, but players must be at least level 21 in order to obtain the free townhouse. Once 21 or higher, they just need to complete a short series of quests in order to get their townhouse. Players will need to find the New House Promoter NPCs in the capital cities. Elyos characters should talk to Harinus in Sanctum and start with "The Living is Easy". Asmodians need to begin with the "Give My Regards to Pernon" quest offered by Randiten in Pandaemonium.
Find your place to call home. Thinking to yourself, "I don't need a townhouse"? You'd be well served to remember that the housing area offers a variety of special resources such as buffs, extra storage space, and special items. Even Daevas with extreme wanderlust would be wise to find a place to call their own in the new housing districts.
- How much faster will we be when on a mount?
Each mount has its own speed values for movement and flight that are not related to the player's speed. The Blue Surfrider mount, for example, has a movement speed of 10.8. The speed increases to 13.5 when used during flight.
In contrast, the base speed value for a player is 6.0 when running and 9.0 when flying. This value can be increased by using special skills or scrolls, but it is important to note that these skills and scrolls will not affect the mount's speed.
Some mounts also have a Sprint Effect that will boost the movement speed while consuming flight time. This is accomplished by holding the Vertical Ascent key while on a mount (in other words, the key used to ascend during flight; default is key). For example, the Airskim Surfrider mount has a movement speed of 11.4 that increases to 13.6 when the Sprint Effect is enabled. The flight time consumed per second that the Sprint Effect is enabled also varies, but 10 seconds is most common. (See the attached table for more detailed information).
Get there faster on a mount! The acceleration in the new mounts is pretty exciting. Using flight time to boost acceleration and speed not only provides faster travel, but can allow players to do huge jumps off of hills
Faster than ever before and even faster still! There is also special method to riding the mounts that provides a sort of "rocket boost." If the player hits the key immediately after a jump, the mounts speed can actually exceed the maximum "sprinting" speed. Mastering this skill can be of great use to players.
- How do we acquire each one of the different mounts (drops/boss kills/etc)
Mounts can be purchased from a Mount Merchant or acquired as an item drop when killing instance dungeon bosses or monsters that appear in the housing districts. Mounts tend to be quite expensive and difficult to obtain - a Blue Surfrider, for example, sells for 11,441,367 kinah and the Airskim Surfrider sells for 58,043,000 kinah.
One last piece of advice:
New Players- Follow your campaign (yellow arrow) quests! They offer great XP. When you need help, group up with seasoned veterans every chance you get. There is always strength in numbers.
Mid-level Players- Check back on old campaigns you may have missed, many have shorter cool-downs or can now be solo'ed. Don't feel like you have to grind, there are more chances for great XP by strategically choosing your instances and making sure you have the best gear for what your trying to accomplish.
High-level Players- Get to Sarpan and begin your path to the battle that rages in Tiamaranta. 3.0 has a lot of amazing new content and you will be the first to enjoy it with your friends.