There is no possible chance of NCsoft satisfying everyone with their first major patch since the launch of Aion. From the looks of it, they are hitting the ball right down the middle of the fairway and staying away from major overhauls to the game. I guess they shouldn’t have to make sweeping changes since the game has been out for over a year. There are some areas of the game receiving some upgrades or modification, but a good portion of the player base doesn’t see changes in areas they want (such is the nature of not pleasing everyone all the time).
The bulk of the changes describe solutions to gameplay issues such as spelling, name changes and correcting tool tips. Those items aside, there are some class specific changes within the set pieces (ie “…of the Steel Beard Pirates”) will receive speed bonuses and a complete set will provide a more class specific bonus (cloth set adds Magic Boost while the leather seat adds Physical Crit). For a brief discussion of the highlights, read on.
I Feel the Need, the Need for Speed
Movement speed, drop rates and faster EXP gains seem to play a major theme in this first round of changes. A welcome change includes:
Changed the drop rate of class Skill
Books in the Aetherogenetics Lab and Alquimia Research Center.
- Slightly increased the drop rate from monsters in the Instanced Dungeons.
- Greatly increased the drop rate from the final bosses in the Instanced Dungeons.
Speed Kills: In Dark Poeta most of the mobs and bosses are going to move faster, and we’re seeing the first boss nerf of Steel Rake as he’ll have a lower difficulty.
Leveling speed, Experience points: crafters and gatherers will enjoy an increase in EXP for their efforts and players can obtain Boiling Balaur Blood from a repeatable quest to complete the Daevanion Quest. Speaking of experience points, “many” (how many is that?) quests for both Elyos and Asmodians will reward with more EXP.
Slightly increased the EXP gained from gathering and crafting.
Cash and Prizes: In addition to more EXP for quests in select areas, the quests should reward more Kinah (cash) and provide a higher chance of gaining contribution decorations (which will stack to 1000).
Dropped like a hot rock: One change highly sought after is the increase in drop rates for the repeatable quest items.
Judging Your Character
The character changes appear fairly minor, but it’s difficult to tell when the patch notes do not include numeric definitions of the changes. Most of the skill changes highlighted an increase to damage, reduction in Mana cost and increased the threat reduction skills (What, increased the reduction? What are you smoking Medeor?). The only character skill nerf appears to be Assassin’s Contract of Evasion cooldown being doubled from 30 seconds to 1 minute. One last character change is a reduction in the EXP penalty for being in a group of characters with differences in their levels.
Saving the best for last?
Phew, they are finally dealing with one of the major issues:
Corrected the spelling errors in the description of reward items and NPC dialogs of some quests.
Patch notes are always a fun topic of discussion since they are rarely inclusive of all the changes and will change many times prior to hitting the live servers. The response to the patch notes seem to be positive (since most of the changes are improvements), but the community wants more of course. There is no mention of how NCsoft plans on combating the ongoing gold spam or botting issues. If it were my call I wouldn’t alert those segments to my plans either, but I might spend a bit more time reassuring my paying customers that measures will be taken to preserve the game’s integrity.
Overall the first patch has taken longer than anticipated as it’s been on the test realm for quite a while and does not repair/increase some critical dropped items such as stigma and book drops. For some there are going to be issues not addressed that become deal breakers, but overall NCsoft seems to be taking a methodical approach to fixing their game. In opposite fashion, too many radical changes make the game inconsistent and NCsoft doesn’t appear to be heading down that path.
For a full rundown of the patch notes, head over to the powerwiki on Aion’s site.We’ll keep an eye out for more changes, but in the meantime cautious optimism is the phrase of the day. Do the patch notes draw any conclusions for you, or are they just window dressing?