It is finally upon us! The promise of the famed
Aion update 2.0,
now properly named
Assault on Balaurea, is scheduled to be released on September
7th, 2010 and with it comes a whole lot of content for the big, big
price of absolutely free. I have to admit, Im a sucker for free content,
especially when it comes with expansion sized goodies which is exactly what
Assault on Balaurea has in store. Is this dangling carrot tempting enough though
to win back the players who lost interest shortly after release? Keep reading to
find out if it will have a little bit of something for you.
Let me preface by saying that nearly everything we know
about the Assault on Balaurea update is based off of the Korean patch notes.
Localization will alter some things but Im fairly confidant, based on prior
updates, that not much will vary between the Korean version and the North
American and European version of the game. We will know more when previews roll
in and hopefully the update will make it to the public test server before
launch, in which case you can certainly bet that Ten Ton Hammer will fill you in
on the complete details at that time.
With that in mind, lets take a look at what this update
has to offer!
The Balaur are the third unplayable faction that strikes a
sort of balance between the two playable factions: the Elyos and the Asmodians. This vile
race considers no one to be a friend and strives to rule all of Atreia
unchallenged through brute force. For the first time in the games history, the
expansion will open the doors to the Balaur homeland and allow players to take
this war out of the confines of the Abyss and onto the Balaurs own turf. Both
the Elyos and the Asmodians have a score to settle as the Balaur were partially
responsible for the destruction of the Tower of Eternity but dont forget, these
two factions still have their own war brewing between each other and that epic
saga shall continue.
New Content, New Battles
From what we can tell, the content within the new zones
will be primarily for higher level players. Balaurea will yield content for the
newly added levels of 51 through 55 so if you arent at cap yet, this may add
new incentive to make it there before September! The good news for this is that
if it encompasses higher level content then players wont be stuck in the same
zone for 20 levels which is certainly a good rut for NCsoft to break free of.
Answering the call of players to make flight a bit more
active in non-Abyss zones, there will be more opportunities to spread your wings
in the new lands with the addition of windstreams, updrafts, and geysers. It is
unfortunate that only high level players will see these benefits as it has
always seemed silly to me that players could have wings but only really use them
in certain areas.
Lower level players wont be missing out completely though
and youll also be seeing some new content.
Six instanced dungeons are being added and the excellent
news here is that they wont all be tagged for high level players! The level
ranges are fairly wide so just about everyone will get a chance to see something
new. Not big on grouping? NCsoft is even adding a solo instance strictly for
single players only.
For the Abyss players, there will be two new fortresses for
each race. The fortresses will be much like existing fortresses with only a few
minor alterations and plenty of new benefits to enjoy.
Players that have been sitting at cap for a while now will
be certainly happy to see new progression making it in game. Aside from the
addition of 5 more levels of gaming fun, a master level of crafter is also being
added allowing crafters to push their skill level up to 549. Advancing that
crafting character should be more rewarding and less of a chore because you will
also be able to create bundled stacks of ten items at a time all while consuming
less aether resources. Oddly, collecting resources in some areas is going to be
slightly more rewarding as well. Certain types of collection nodes will yield
unique weapons. I dont know really how they fit weapons in those teeny little
nodes, but we just dont question free stuff, ya know?
It appears that the abilities for levels 51+ are a bit more
unique than the typical Ass Kick I, Ass Kick II, and Ass Kick III. Level 51+
level players will enjoy, on average, four new class skills in their arsenal as
well as new Greater Stigmas skills. New abilities and combat animations can go a
long way in refreshing the look and feel of a class so we are very happy to see
A big gripe regarding Aion has always been its user
interface. With the strict prohibition of any kind of mods, players are forced
to live with the standard UI as it is. The mod ban in still in effect but NCsoft
is making a whole slew of improvements that will make what we do have far more
user friendly. The UI revamp will include more information, especially for quest
markers making it easier to find NPCs that have missions for you, more ways to
find NPCs, more functional crafting windows, more shortcut keys, and (very badly
needed) additional broker slots. The update may not fix the clunky UI
completely, but it will definitely help!
Utility will be making an adorable appearance in game
disguised as fluffy player pets. Gamers will be able to score decorative pets
that dont add any real value except they are super cute, alertive pets that
will tell you when the opposing faction is nearby, productive pets that spit (or
maybe poop?) out resources when you feed it, warehouse pets that give you
additional storage, and multi-purpose pets who are multi-talented (maybe hold
your stuff while pooping resources?). I look forward to seeing these!
Clearly this is a big update and while we touched upon some
of the highlights of the expansion, there are certainly far more features to be
enjoyed that will be shared in the upcoming months. Be sure to keep your browser
tuned in to Ten Ton Hammer for more Aion and general gaming news!
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Aion Game Page.