Every expansion launch has its
own brand of excitement. Even for the games that are a little less mainstream or
a little less played, there is still a stirring within the community and in game
and one cannot help but get caught up in it. Having played
Aion at launch and
for several months after, it was easy for me to slip back in game to enjoy the
expansion high that has come with the long talked about Aion 2.0 named Assault
on Balaurea. There are lots of fun new features and a couple of surprises
tossed in that make this an expansion worth checking out.
For the Little Guys
Lower level solo instances are anything but small.
It is always very frustrating
for me when an MMOG rolls out an expansion that only really addresses top end
content. Sure, the developers want to keep the veteran playerbase entertained
with new things to do and new ways of earning awesomeness, but don't the players
who have yet to reach cap also deserve a little something new?
Yes they do! There is no
doubt that Aion has a few content holes that have been needing to be filled and
Assault on Balaurea addresses two major ones with two new solo instances. These
are fairly large zones, only accessible by a single player, that offer quests
and rewards. The first is Haramel, found in Veteron Citadel or Altgard Fortress
and available to players levels 18-22. A quick access quest leads you into the
zone, and inside there are more NPCs who will offer you tasks along your
journey. As a reward for running the zone multiple times you can earn pieces of
intermediate armor and you can run the zone every 3 hours making it great for
repeat experience. Get into this zone quickly though because it is more useful
at levels 18 and 19 then it is at level 22.
At help along mid-level
players, another solo instance was added in for levels 37-41 called Kromede's
Trial. Just as with Haramel, players need to pick up the entrance quest in
either Heiron or in Beluslan. Unlike Haramel, you can obtain special use items
that grant a limited use skill only useable within this zone. It's a handy tool
to have, especially if you plan on spending a lot of time in this instance which
is also more challenging and tricky than the lower level solo instance.
Both of these zones offer
additional content at level ranges that really needed the boost in diversity.
Additionally, players don't have to worry about PvP interfering in a good
instance run and there are level appropriate harvesting nodes within the zone so
you can work on your extracting skill while you get your solo groove on.
Combined with overland content and group dungeons, this is just another way you
can enjoy what Aion has to offer.
Unfortunately, lower levels
did not get any new group instances or overland content which would be nice to
see as well. I do like the solo instances though and hope that future updates
add more for other level ranges.
Chillin' at Cap
As expected, the bulk of
Assault on Baularea is geared towards capped players. The cap has been extended
to level 55 and the two new overland zones as well as four of the new instances
are specifically for this level range. It's a lot of content for five levels so
if you are lucky enough to be sitting close to level 50, you will be pleased!
Overland zones have tons of new content for high
The Elyos zone of Inggison and
the Asmodian zone of Gelkmaros both offer typical overland content with the
front parts of the zones dedicated to primarily soloable content and the back
part of the zones full of challenging group encounters. These zones also have a
very cool feature of being connected by a canyon where faction versus faction
warfare plays out regularly. For those tired of paying big kinah to travel
throughout the zone will enjoy the alternative travel form of windstreams and
updrafts which finally allows a form of travel that makes use of those hard
earned wings we all ascended for!
Did you like the idea of the
lower level solo instances? Higher level players also get their own solo zone
with Taloc's Hallow. Single players from levels 51-55 are permitted into this
zone once they have earned the entry mission. You can't just get the quest
though; you must complete either the Elyos quest "Bound for Iggison" or the
Asmodian quest "Crash of the Dredgion" first. Once you have finished up one of
these quests, the entrance quest for Taloc's Hallow will pop into your mission
Much like the lower level
Kromede's Trial, Taloc's Hallow has special use items that give the player
skills only usable while in zone. The quests have solid weapon rewards and this
zone can be a challenge. The cooldown timer is 48 hours, but the more you run
it, the better it gets!
When you aren't making your
way through the overland zones or the fun solo instance, stop on by one of the
new group instances with your favorite static group or a quick pick up group.
Beshmundir Temple is available
after a quick access quest. Stay on your toes though and be prepared, because
this zone is only accessible via the previously mentioned faction-shared canyon
between the overland zones and it is a fairly difficult zone. Both Elyos and
Asmodians will use this entrance so there might be a little fighting on the way
in. Group leaders will choose a difficulty (normal or difficult) before leading
the group into the zone. Be sure to pick up whatever quests you see in here
because various parts of the zone need to be unlocked. I love that not only
does this zone have a quick cooldown time of 12 hours, but also being able to
choose difficulty means that if you have a stellar group set up, you can add a
little interest to your dungeon run.
Looking for a challenge? These dungeons have it!
Udas Temple and Lower Udas are
both challenging instances although many find these a bit easier than
Beshmundir. Both have a 6 hour cooldown timer and both are found in either of
the new overland zones. Get in on these when you can because the loot drops are
For bigger alliances, Abyssal
Splinter is a new dungeon for up to 12 players. With the benefit of having no
entrance quest, it does have the entrance requirement that the faction of the
players wishing to enter have faction control over the Divine Fortress. No small
Chantra Dredgion is probably
my favorite concept and I almost wish PvP throughout the game was limited to
instances such as this one. Staying true to the PvPvE ideal, this zone allows
both Elyos and Asmodian in at the same time. What? Yeah, that's right! If you
want to check out this zone, you'll have to fight for your life much like the
lower level Dredion. Unfortunately, early reports say that perhaps the new
Dredion is a bit unbalanced but just like anything regarding PvP, it sometimes
takes a bit more time to strike a good level of fairness.
Aside from all the playable
content, there are also new skills for levels 51-55, additional crafting skills,
extraction nodes, and very cool Fabled weapons. These ultimately awesome
weapons can be found through repeatable quests and by tapping the essence of
weathered objects in the new zones and many are upgradable.
A Little Bit for Everyone
Pets are already my
addiction. I'm pondering buying the box version of the expansion just to get
the exclusive pets and I've been working hard in game to earn enough kinah to
get my first fortune pet.
These adorable little
creatures come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Though there are only five
types of pets: companion (these don't do anything but stand around and look
pretty, pack (holds your stuff!), signal (tells you when bad guys are coming)
and fortune (poop prizes), and the multi-talented purebreds, there are so many
of each type that you can truly spend a good amount of time attempting to
collect them all.
My first pet, isn't she adorable?
The pet NPC has a couple of
choices from most of the types of pets. Companion pets can be as little as
100,000 kinah while the pack pets are the most spendy at 6,000,000 kinah. There
are a few options in the NCsoft store for pets so if you are a little too poor
in kinah to afford what you want, be sure to check there for available
With so much going on in this
expansion, so many players are back in game again and enjoying the new content.
For higher level players, this plethora of new content is a dream after the old
schoolers grind played their way to level 50. For lower level players, new
features and instances offer more variety in gameplay during a time when
leveling is smoother and faster.
The expansion launched
September 7th and has been made available to all subscribers. For those who do
choose to purchase the box or digital copy of Assault on Balaurea, they get
bonus items that generally include 30 days of game time and exclusive pets but
no need to buy anything in order to access the new content. Returning players
just need to patch up their existing copy of the game or new players can find
all inclusive version of the game that includes all new content.
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