Player vs Player (PvP)
There are no battlegrounds in Aion (e.g., Alterac Valley). Instead, the PvP is more “open-world” so to speak. The biggest PvP zone is called the Abyss. Players can only enter the Abyss from levels 25-50. Contained in the Abyss are the best XP opportunities, PvE rewards, PvP rewards, instances, and fortress raids. Think of the Abyss as a giant (and we mean giant) contested zone from a WoW PvP server. PvP is highly encouraged in Aion and it is difficult to avoid it once you reach level 25.
You gain Abyss Points (AP) by killing enemy players and Balaur NPCs in the Abyss (and lose it when you die). AP is kind of like honor from back when WoW first launched. AP gives you special PvP ranks and you can spend it like currency to buy various specialty items and abilities.
So, you’re a big fan of World of Warcraft (or at least you were at one time) and you’ve heard about this new MMO called Aion. “Hmmm, I wonder what that’s all about?” you ponder. “Anything similar?” you posit. “What’s so different?” Well, we’ve written a WoW player’s guide to Aion just for you! Sit back with a cup o’ joe, while we compare and contrast the two MMOs for you.
There are three factions in Aion: Elyos of Elysea, Asmodians of Asmodae, and Balaur of the Abyss. All three continents are contained in the world of Atreia, connected by the Tower of Eternity, and overlooked upon by Aion (aka God). The Elyos and Asmodians are playable races. The former is a bit lighter and the latter is darker, though neither side is truly evil. Balaur are the dark ones; an NPC race of dragon-like demons bent on the domination of Atreia.
Eventually this weekend I managed to ascend in Aion and hit level 10 with my now Asmodian Gladiator, Mantooth. It took me a while to get there due to the fact that I’ve been busy in real life as I’m in the midst of moving apartment and also that I found leveling in Aion to be pretty slow compared to other MMORPGs. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, except that in this case it does seem to make the whole experience even more tedious and dull than it already is. Yeah, as you can gather from that statement, I’ve been kinda disappointed with the “newbie experience” of Aion.
Maybe it was the fact that I’d already experienced the game in beta but I have to say that I found my progression through the gated, newbie theme park to be boring, grindy and repetitive. I think this is mainly due to the fact that I haven’t able to buy into the lore behind the game and feel any sort of connection to the world and it’s setting. It also doesn’t help that the storyline is very dull and the quests extremely uninteresting and sometimes even downright poorly designed (I thank God I never have to visit the Odella Plantation again). Although one could argue that all quests in MMORPGs follow a similar vein and none tend to offer anything new, Aion just doesn’t seem to want to try. Everything is very by-the-numbers and it makes for an incredibly bland introduction to the game.
The Harvest Festival is kind of the garbage holiday. It’s the holiday that all the cooler holidays like Hallow’s End and Brewfest make fun of, trip along the hall, and ostracize in the cafeteria. Harvest Festival is the weird kid who doesn’t have any friends, smells funny, and whom teachers forget when making a headcount on the school bus. As far as holidays go, it’s kind of the nothing holiday. It’s there, but nobody really knows what it’s all about and very few people bother to participate. I mean, hey, feast table outside of Orgrimmar! Then what?
Then nothing! Well, you see all sorts of ghosts all over the place (which is creepy, but hey, it’s almost Hallow’s End, anyway), but there’s really nothing that stands out. At least the ghosts from the Lunar Festival had those cool moonbeams. No, Harvest Festival is the half-baked holiday that doesn’t even have an Achievement. Yep, it’s so bad that even a one day event such as Pirates’ Day trumps it with an Achievement, and was even cool enough for WoW.com to organize some shenanigans around it. No wonder nobody hangs around that smelly kid!
So today, on the beginning of Harvest Festival, let’s dedicate a word or two to World of Warcraft’s most unimpressive holiday. What are you planning to do? Without any Achievements, you can even ignore it! If you’re Horde, there’s that quest to visit Grom Hellscream’s monument in Ashenvale, but his son Garrosh has been such an unbearable asshat that even that has lost its charm. Unless Blizzard plans to hotfix the event and dredge it from the murky depths of suck, here’s a Breakfast Topic to welcome the holiday that’s so uncool that even artwork of a Harvest Golem looks better. And man, Harvest Golems are ugly mothers.
World of Warcraft
Even as inflation and worldwide recession jacks up transportation fares, it seems that Blizzard is bucking the trend and continuing to drive training costs for mounts even lower. Blizzard poster Mumper — a blue so new to posting that even Zarhym was caught off-guard — confirms on the forums that the costs to train for flying have been reduced significantly in Patch 3.2.2. Expert Riding is now available for a the ridiculously low price of 225 Gold, down from the 600 Gold price slash of Patch 3.2 (it was originally a whopping 800 Gold)! But wait, there’s more! Faction discounts apply, too, but instead of Thrallmar and Honor Hold, which Level 60 players are unlikely to have any substantial standing with, these have been changed to Orgrimmar and Stormwind reputations, respectively.
Mumper (gotta love that name) explains that it was unreasonable to expect fresh Level 60 players to have even 600 Gold. He says that Blizzard wants more players to be flying around at Level 60, and the changes should make it easier for even new players to zoom around the Outland in fancy (and faster) flying mounts. It’s good news that Blizzard is being very considerate of the playing community and its economic needs in these harsh times. Now if only we could get discounts off those paid services…
World of Warcraft
One of the best changes in patch 3.2.2 comes from Trial of the Champion, the Argent Tournament’s 5-man. If you’ve run the place more than once, you’re probably really sick of all of the fanfare that precedes the actiony bits of the instance. Do we really need to listen to an announcer rattle off everyone’s names every single time we step into the ring? As of Tuesday’s patch, no. We don’t. When you talk to Arelas Brightstar or Jaeren Sunsworn, you now have the option to tell him to stop yammering on and just get the show started already. To be more specific, the dialogue option is, “I am ready. However, I’d like to skip the pageantry.” I think we can all appreciate that.
Trial of the Champion polish also comes in the form of the first encounter working a little differently. How many of you said ‘forget this’ and started running out of the instance after you won the mounted phase, just to work around all of the odd little bugs? Most of you, probably. There’s good news on that front, too: You don’t need to run out anymore. The battle ends after you win the mounted portion. The NPCs reform over by the gate and you can start the next phase of the encounter at your leisure. I’m pretty happy about that, because I was getting a little tired of Mokra being a big pansy and not getting off of his mount after we won fair and square. Typical cowardly orc, you know?
World of Warcraft
The webcomics community seems like a pretty cool bunch, specially when they all pitch in and help each other out. One of my favorite webcomics, PvP Online, often features guest artists to fill in for creator Scott Kurtz when he’s away at some convention or just down with some bad bug. Just recently, he coralled the immensely talented Ramón Pérez, the genius behind Kukuburi, to do a guest strip while he was down with the flu.
That’s nice, you say, but what’s this got to do with World of Warcraft? Well, see, Gabe from Penny Arcade (aka creator Mike Krahulik’s alter ego) apparently picked up some kind of bad bug during their PAX or Penny Arcade Expo, and some well-known comic folks such as Bill Amend and Kris Straub stepped in to help. The highlight is that World of Warcraft’s art director, Samwise Didier, the man largely responsible for the look and feel of many of Blizzard’s games also pitched in his contribution.
It has nothing to do with our favorite game, but it’s freaking Samwise doing a freaking Penny Arcade strip! I mean, I don’t really have to explain why I’m posting this, right? One of our favorite WoW icons doing a guest strip on one of our favorite webcomics (that occasionally tackles WoW) is so full of win it almost makes Saurfang cry. These sort of crossovers are so cool, you almost wish these webcomic creators would get sick more often. Ok, not really, but you know what I mean.
World of Warcraft
It came from the Blog celebrated Pirates’ Day by running from Orgrimmar to Booty Bay as pirates and then joining Dread Captain DeMeza’s crew. Granted, there really isn’t much to the in-game holiday, but we had a good time making the most of it. Yar!
Around 110 or so showed up including Allison Robert, C. Christian Moore and Christian Belt. We got in our pirate costumes, ran to Razor Hill, Crossroads and then on to Ratchet. We then took the boat to Booty Bay and got the Achievement. Thanks to our many higher level characters, the lowbies were protected along the journey.
I took a lovely video capturing the 50 or so Tauren Pirates I had on follow only to crash just after getting to Booty Bay. The video is not salvageable, but I may be able to do something with the videos of the beginning and the end… maybe. I was able to get a few screenshots which are in the gallery below.
Thanks to all who joined us and stay tuned for the It came from the Blog Brewfest event announcement coming soon!
World of Warcraft
3 Point Entertainment (makers of the official World of Warcraft steins) has released a brand new stein, modeled after the epic Brewfest mug the Tankard o’ Terror. As you can see above, this beauty of a brewholder is much different from the other mugs — it’s made to look exactly like the ingame item, even though that means it’s more angled than curved and a little bit primitive-looking. It’s also a huge piece of stoneware, standing over nine inches tall and weighing four pounds. I don’t know that you’d ever want to drink anything out of it, but I guess, fittingly for a tanking tankard, if you hit someone over the head with it, they’d feel it.
Alex will be able to tell us what that’s like, as he’s already got one ordered. This mug is also much cheaper than the other mugs — it’s only $39.99 (as if “only” was a fitting adjective for a purchase like this), which means that 3 Point has probably heard your complaining here in our comments sections and decided to offer up a lower price point option. I won’t be going for this one, but the idea of replicating Azerothian cookery in real-life is intriguing. I might buy a Cookie’s Tenderizer if I had the chance.
World of Warcraft
The Twisted Nether folks have been a huge part of the WoW community for a while now — I finally got to meet both Fimlys and Nibuca in person at the last BlizzCon, and of course we’ve mentioned them and their work here on the site before. They’ve recently announced another big project, in coordination with Stompalina over at Rawrcast and our own Eddie “Brigwyn” Carrington, author of the Scattered Shots column and curator of The Hunting Lodge, and it sounds exciting. Azeroth United is an “Internet media community” centered around World of Warcraft, so it’ll be a hub for sharing news and support around not just bloggers, but all WoW-related fansites and online resources.
It sounds like their first project will be a large-scale charity drive, much like the Children’s Week auction that Brigwyn put together earlier this year. More news on that, we’re told, is coming soon, and we’ll keep our ears open to see what they’re up to. We’ve seen the power of the Warcraft community before, both in making a difference with donations and and uniting under a common flag, so a project like this is sure to be fun to watch. Stay tuned for more when we hear it.
World of Warcraft
We’ve been getting a steady stream of tips and tweets in about the stability issues plaguing nearly every server tonight, and Blizzard has finally confirmed that something isn’t working right.
Most people are experiencing extreme lag both in instances and out in regular zones. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to it all, just constant server-side lag that impairs things like looting, completing quests, using items, buy items, or trading things to other players.
Pretty much every wonderful thing that could have lag to it does; including the lovely 30 second mount cast.
Hopefully the rolling restarts that will be taking place tomorrow morning at 5:00 a.m. PDT / 8:00 a.m. EDT will fix this. Although I’m hopeful that there would be some quick resets tonight to apply a hotfix or whatever else Blizzard needs to do in-order to make the game more playable.
We’ll update this post with any additional information if we get it
World of Warcraft
Each new patch seems to bring about its own unique bugs, and Patch 3.2.2 is no different. As of Tuesday evening there are significant lag and server stability issues plaguing Azeroth worse than that night Jaina spent with Arthas plagues her, but that should hopefully be resolved with the rolling restarts tomorrow (5:00 a.m. PDT / 8:00 a.m. EDT). The lag, not Jaina’s problem. That’s going to take… well, she should see a doctor.
There are currently two major issues Blizzard has announced.
The first is a series of display problems, which Blizzard recommends you do the standard deleting of the WTF, Cache, and Interface folders. Before you do that be aware that removing the folders will delete all your add-ons and add-on preferences. In my experience, you’re better off deleting the Cache folder and then updating all your add-ons, or just disabling add-ons which are out of date.
More detailed instructions for Windows and MacOS X can be found in Syndri’s post on the official forums.
The other issue that items which are tradable under the BoP rules are not able to be socketed. This appears to not be affecting everyone, however there is a work around in the following steps:
Enchant the item
Enchanting the item will remove the tradable timer, the BoP item will be bound to you and you won’t be able to trade it
Gem the item
You should be golden after you do those steps.
There are other problems out there that we’re getting reports of, however nothing else has been confirmed by Blizzard yet so it’s all conjecture at this point. If hear anything substantial or are able to independently verify bugs ourselves, we’ll let you know.
World of Warcraft
Blizzard asked for real-life stories from players a little while ago, and now they’ve posted a pretty big collection of them over on the official site (this page was around last year, but they’ve added many stories since then). As Bornakk says, these are personal accounts from players of how playing the game with others has helped them grow relationships in real-life. I’m not sure what exactly the point of posting these is (maybe Blizzard wants to stave off some of that negative media reporting about the game and addiction to it), but then again, if you dive into a few of these, you can see that they don’t really need a point — they’re really interesting (and in some cases pretty heartwarming) stories about how players are using this game to enrich real-life relationships.
They’re still accepting more stories as well, so if you’ve got a good tale of some WoW-sharing in real-life, hit them up over on the submission page and put yours in the mix. Hopefully Blizzard will figure out a way to get these out into the real world — harsh stories about addiction are so easy for the media to jump on, but great stories like these are the real reasons we all play this game.
World of Warcraft
Borex brings up a question I’ve heard ever since Blizzard first announced they were going to tear up Old Azeroth in Cataclysm: what’s the deal with Outland? Up until now, continuity throughout the game has worked more or less the way it should: new content gets added on to the end of the game, so anyone leveling up sees the story as they’re supposed to (more or less — there have been a few elements that have had to be “dealt with” for sure, but for the most part Blizzard has just wiped those clean). But obviously, if Deathwing returns and starts messing with players right away at level 1, the whole continuity will get shaken up. Hence Borex’s question: why will level 60s be bothering to go out to Outland and deal with the Burning Legion when, in the world Deathwing invades, the Burning Legion is no longer considered the most pressing threat? Is it logical for level 60s to leave the world, head to a distant planet, and then come back to Azeroth at level 70? Shouldn’t they stay and fight?
Bornakk’s reply hints that Blizzard will probably just gloss over it as best they can — they’re not going to build a whole new 1-85 experience involving Deathwing. When you constantly update a five-year-old persistent world game like this with new stories and content, something’s got to give somewhere. My guess is that Blizzard, being the perfectionists they are, will probably come up with a quest or two that gives a lore reason to go out there (“Hmm, you’re too green to face the power of Deathwing, but our companions in Outland need help holding what’s left of the Burning Legion at bay!”), and leave it at that. They may increase the XP and get you out of there even quicker, but going to Outland at 58 is still a gameplay necessity (Northrend shares the problem at 70, but of course we don’t actually know what’s going to happen with the Lich King quite yet). It’s likely the lore will just have to deal.
World of Warcraft
This is one of the stranger World of Warcraft mentions out there — WorldofWar.net spotted a posting on overclock.net that shows a Microsoft presentation to Best Buy employees mentioning our favorite game. Apparently WoW is a selling point for Windows 7, specifically when comparing the OS to Linux. If Best Buy wants to sell operating systems that play “the games your customers want (e.g. World of Warcraft),” then Windows is supposed to be the way to go.
Interesting. Then again, World of Warcraft is a big game, so you can’t blame Microsoft for jumping on its popularity while trying to sell OSes. But it’s a little misleading — of course Blizzard has supported Apple’s OS X on the disc from day one, and while they don’t officially support running the game on Linux, it’s certainly possible to do. If you really are going to buy a new OS, playing WoW might not be the best criteria to base your purchase choice on.
World of Warcraft