Tag Archive for 'aion'

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Hanging up my Wings.

I always knew this day would come, but I never really acknowledged it. I’ve finally decided to kick the bucket on Aion, and end my subscription.

Why? I have nothing else to do of any value. Miragent was the last hurdle for me, and I have that now. I have the full set of armour, and I’m not going to hang around simply to get a weapon that is inferior to the one I have right now. And with the Protectors of Elysium disbanding as a legion, I had one link to Aion; someone who doesn’t really play the game anymore. She’s moved on to RIFT, and so have I. We’ve gone in different directions guild-wise, but she’s a friend I want to keep in touch with.

However, in saying this, I have a public apology to make. I said that I would restart the Daevacast, and this is obviously not going to happen now. There was quite a bit of interest, so I’m going to make this plain:

I am sorry that I brought everyone’s hopes up only to dash them again.

I had honestly thought that I was going to stay for a while longer. I resurrected my old audio files and templates, bought a new microphone to make my voice sound clearer/richer, and all that jazz. But with everything happening with PoE, my fire just got put out from under me. I honestly could’ve done without the expense, but hey.

Like I said previously, I’ll be moving onto RIFT shortly. Less effort needed, and I think that the amount of effort required to get anywhere in Aion was another reason I couldn’t see myself playing anymore. However, when 2.5 hits, I will be back to try the new instances (especially the Boss rooms; they look pretty damn awesome) and we’ll see if things stick like glue again.

I played for 23 months. Logged over 2600 hours on Xfire and Raptr combined. I completed my game of Aion.

So I wanted to thank the following people:

Redh, Diabolique, Kataya, Laryssa, Ash [Cysgod], Ecto, Saddoma, Evaeliz, Jonno [Even though we didn't always see eye to eye], Rathu, Shinlore, Eilan, Ayden, Tikaus, Roselynn, Aeludyn.

I also wanted to thank Brett, Greg and Matt for helping make the Daevacast what it was, and everyone in the community for supporting us during our time being active.

Daemion, Knute, Jormungandr, Ouka, Theeslan and Hedonist; signing off.


Double Experience Damages the In-Game Economy

NOTE: All prices quoted in this article are in reference to the prices on the [EU] Perento Server’s Elyos Broker. Therefore they will not be totally accurate across all Aion’s servers.

Double Experience is almost always met with an outcry of glee from people that want to level alternate characters (or ‘alts’). It’s a quick fix to the grind in Aion, and the leveling curve feels right at that point; the classes don’t seem to come into their own at any level before 30. But when Double Experience starts, I also greet it with concern.

It’s not unknown that I am someone who enjoys the in-game economy as much as the game itself. I enjoy finding niches in the market and exploiting them for money. It’s part of what makes Aion enjoyable for me. But Double Experience shakes things up immensely.

When Double Experience begins, experience for everything apart from quests doubles. Killing monsters, gathering, Aether gathering and crafting. Everyone sees it as the perfect opportunity to level alts, or to level up the skills which take time to work. Aether gathering is often seen as particularly boring so people level that up. But if you’re low on Vitality gathering (gathering plants etc), it’s a perfect chance to level that up and make some money on the side. I’ve been doing exactly that with Knute; she has gone from level 12 to level 34 in 16 days. I’m not done though; I want to get her to 37 for one of the new pieces of content.

But several things become commonplace when Double Experience is turned on; Alts leveling, Gathering to level up, Aether gathering to level up, and crafting. But here is where things start getting messed up.

Alts leveling at twice the pace means that, in terms of probability, there are half the amount of drops; be it Armour, Weapons, Fluxes, and even Vendor Trash. This means that the lower level armours and weapons become more desirable, and thus go higher because of the extra demand and the strangled supply. The doubled leveling pace also means that Kinah is often diverted from main characters to alts to keep up with the pace. This takes Kinah out of the market and into nothing; the most common use for the diverted Kinah is to buy skillbooks. The last set at level 34 cost me about 200,000 Kinah; money that Knute just didn’t have. Vendor Trash also halves in amount, further strangling the Kinah that alts and low-level mains have. But Fluxes then drop in price because in real terms there are more available and people are more interested in doing repeatable Work Orders to level their crafting than making Armour and weapons. More supply, less demand, and ultimately more confusion for anyone trying to work the market.

Crafting experience doubles in two ways; the amount of crafts it takes to actually level up halves, and the amount of experience a craft gives doubles. This means that in relative terms, it takes half the amount of Kinah and time to level from 1 to 399 in Double EXP as it does without. Crafting isn’t just setting up a queue and leaving it; if you’re doing Work Orders it’s a repeatable quest which is often helped by macros selecting the NPC to speak to and ‘Attack’-ing it (in the language of the macro tools in Aion). You can make massive amounts of usable items (consumables), but when your objective is to level up you keep changing the item you craft to make sure you get the most experience points. The gatherers keep up the supply for this extra demand, and thus the cost of the items to make consumables do not chance much; they ebb and flow in small amounts. But the cost of the consumable itself just collapses. I’ve found the worst item the Perer Aether Jelly for this; it’s a 440 craft which makes it ultimately endgame (before 2.0), requires a lot of crafting to up the craft (mainly Alchemy or Cooking) to 449, and while the Recipe is more expensive on the broker, more people are grinding the monsters that drop it to level up their main characters the last stretch to the top level (50, soon to be 55). Thus more people actually get the recipe, and more people make the item. The cost before the merges was about 4,500 Kinah. After the merges it dropped to about 3,800 Kinah. Now the price is 2,800 Kinah with a fluctuation of about 300. On a particularly productive day, the price during double experience is just over half that of before the server merges. And if you’re using Work Orders (for the wearable-based crafts Armoursmithing, Weaponsmithing and Handicrafting) you’re sinking Kinah into them and getting nothing in return. This removes Kinah at an increased pace from the market which could be used to buy materials to craft, or to buy the end result, or a drop, or anything else.

The gatherers and Aether gatherers seem to get the best result out of it; their prices stay the same due to relative increase in both demand and supply, and they get their levels in half the amount of time so they can get the rarer drops, and possibly level up to 400 so they can get the item skins from Vitality gathering in Balaurea when the expansion hits. This gathering feeds the crafters, and the crafters saturate the broker with items and drive down prices. And with many people hitting the upper limits and thinking that it’s a great source of Kinah, you may think it’s good for the in-game economy.

It isn’t. This price drop is going to make people who buy the items and produce them on a mass scale at the old prices just stop. The price for the materials is the same, but we lose money when we sell at a cheaper price. At current prices, crafting to get 2 Perer Aether Jelly yields a profit of less than 1,000 Kinah. A stack of 100 Jellies will yield less tan 50,000 Kinah profit, and this pushes people out of the market. But those that gather all their items now that they have the skill levels high enough to do so will continue battling at such low prices. It’s great for the buyer, but remember that sellers are also buyers. More often than not, they will try to buy that high-priced Armour or Weapon drop that you won but can’t use. But since the market forced them out, they can’t buy it. You lost your sale because somebody undercut the prices again and again, paying no respect to the market they’re selling to.

I can only hope that when this Double Experience event ends, the push for leveling at normal pace to 55 will increase the demand for consumables beyond supply. Only then will the economy recover. Since the merges, the Boiling Balaur Blood Stains (the item often seen as the gauge for the end-game economy) have dropped in price by almost 60% after a few deliberate and calculated moves pre-merge by a few players (myself included) trying to keep the prices steady rather than rising up to 300,000 Kinah a piece, to 115,000 Kinah which is the current price today, supplemented by more players and more characters at BBBS collecting level. Now imagine the prices if every Balic mob, NTC, Sulfur/Siel-based or any other dropped this item, and you were selling them before this change as a level 50 at a responsible and still profitable price.

That thought is how I feel when I see the Broker today. Not nice, is it?

Sort-of Review: Razer Naga

Razer has been my peripheral maker of choice for a while now; I bought a Diamondback Plasma LtdEd a couple of years ago and haven’t looked back. Since then I had to replace the Diamondback with a 3G upgrade; the thin cable was smashed up against a lip on the back of my desk, and the amount of stress on it just made it snap inside. It served me well though, and the replacement hasn’t died yet.

Aion has drawn me to replace the Diamondback 3G with something that is more suited to the task; the Razer Naga. I first saw it in September ’09 when it had just come out and was the talk of everyone I spoke to who had even the vaguest interest in MMORPGs. The Naga is the epitome of hotkeys; it has a dedicated 12-grid of them, plus a pair next to the left mouse button.

The Naga was meant to be easy to control and easily customisable; Razer touted that they had to rewrite all the Profiling software especially for the Naga, that it made you a better MMO player simply by giving you access to all your skills, as well as other claims that I have to admit I doubted. As a caster class (Spiritmaster), I find myself having to stand still for my skills to complete, with a few instant cast spells. But even with a limited scope for improvement, I felt it very quickly. I had to rebind all my important keys, and changed the skill keys to select marked mobs. It was a real challenge at first and spent a little while just doing repeatable quests to get used to the layout, but it was working. I only ever stopped moving to change target and to use skills that required me to stay still.

It feels like Razer have a lot more pride in the product than usual; more than say the Diamondback or the DeathAdder. The solution that Razer represents in the Naga is a lot more complete, with the ‘trainers’ (stickable bits of rubber to train your thumb to the button positions) and the enhanced manuals. But inversely, Razer has always had pride in their peripherals. I think the extra push in presentation is due to MMO players being the most discerning. Every peripheral we buy is not only a cool piece of kit to sit on our desk; it’s an investment and something we’ll be spending a lot of time using. Hand cramps and RSI show up a lot quicker with MMO gamers down to the sheer amount of time that we spend on our computers.

I can say that the Razer Naga has made me a better player, and for any class that has mostly instant skills (In Aion, it would be mostly the Melee classes) this should be an instant-buy. For Cast-classes, I would also say get it. The price is reasonable for it’s calibre of product, and it also keeps your eyes focussed more on the screen and less on the keyboard when you have a full set of 60 buttons (12 with 5 modifier keys). Plus, the natural position the hand takes when on the mouse is seriously comfortable. For someone with fat fingers, this was a surprise and a welcome one at that.

If I had stars, I would Five Star it. However, I will say that if you have any interest in MMO gaming and find yourself removing your fingers from the WASD position during combat, you need this mouse to take your gaming up a notch.

Note: The interface that fakesteve talks about in the video wasn’t one that I used in Aion. Because of Aion’s embedded Macro interface and skill-bar layout, there hasn’t been a need to make an Add-on specifically for Aion. You bind your Naga’s buttons to the skillbar hotkeys, then change the skills the keys execute directly.