Will PvP predominate the Aion experience? What shape will PvP take when North American and European players get deeper into the core PvP play and the Abyss? Players have a number of questions about Aion PvP, and Aion Producer Brian Knox was at San Diego Comic-Con 2009 to clear things up and reveal a little more about Aion's endgame!
Ten Ton Hammer: In some previous interviews, you've discussed PvE and PvP being separate. Is that really the case? I've been hearing about people who were in PvE having to engage in PvP against people that came to their area via portals and things like that. What's the real PvP scope of Aion look like?
Brian Knox: Basically the scope is that PvE and PvP are blended together in Aion. That said, you can choose your path as far as where you want to go and you're not penalized if you want to switch your mindset partway - if you want to go from PvE to PvP and vice versa.
Ten Ton Hammer: So that's where everyone was confused.
Brian: One of our major aspects of the game is the concept of earning Abyss points. You can earn these via PvP and PvE. So for instance if you're out kill the Balaur, you can get - let's say - ten Abyss points. And if you're killing players you get ten Abyss points. You can earn the same gear by killing either the Balaur or the PvP.
You might make different choices in your gear depending on your playstyle, but you're still earning points in a particular direction. You don't have to "restart" if you decide that you want to play something different than PvP or PvE.
Ten Ton Hammer: What about players that are in a dungeon or engaged in active PvE? Is there a chance for them to get ambushed?
Brian: There's world PvP, but we also instanced PvP as well. When we launch there's going to be sixteen new instances than what their is in beta. Everyone knows that you're going in to fight against other players. But in the world PvP, if you're on the Abyss you're putting yourself out there on the line. That's also where a lot of the good rewards are and - I think - where a lot of the fun is in Aion.
That said, if you're on your side of the world, eighty to ninety percent of what you're doing is basic PvE. Players can receive these "infiltration quests" however where they can jump through portals and go to the other side of the world. There's a whole system in place to help stop griefing and that sort of thing, but it still keeps you on your toes. It should remind them that a battle is still occurring without having them be constantly harassed.
Ten Ton Hammer: Let's say players are in an end game raid sort of scenario. Is there any way for players from the opposing faction to get into that raid and mix things up with other players?
Brian: If it's an Abyss raid, then yes. It could happen. But that's the way the Abyss is designed. If you're in an instanced raid that is your special little piece of the world.
Ten Ton Hammer: Can you go all the way to the end game while staying on your floaty little continent?
Ten Ton Hammer: Is the gear a little bit better in the Abyss? What's the draw to go there?
Brian: There are some good pieces to be attained in the higher level PvE questing, but a lot of the really awesome rewards are in the Abyss.
There are a lot of great quests in PvE though, and we wanted players to enjoy PvE where players are enjoying what they're doing without feeling like they're being harassed all the time. We think the Abyss creates an environment where everyones on an even playing field with the different factions. You're just always aware of what's going on.
Ten Ton Hammer: What does fortress PvP look like?
Brian: There are three tiers to the Abyss. There's a bottom layer, a top layer, and then the middle, core layer. Each of these layers is progressive in level. The Abyss is a lot of the end-game, but it's not like you need to level to fifty to do it.
In a lot of games, your pay off feels like it comes at the end...in the Abyss, you really can start into the action at level twenty-five and the entire lower area is really geared towards that sort of player. You'll be able to start sieging things and helping out with fortresses at level twenty-five.
Eventually you'll graduate to the top level and then eventually to the middle, core area.
Ten Ton Hammer: What can players capture in sieges?
Brian: You can capture artifacts anytime you want - there's not set time limit on these - and they'll give your legions (Aion guilds) buffs, or it will debuff the other side. You capture these artifacts and they're actually really helpful in capturing the big fortress.
The fortresses are timed, but they're not a once-a-week sort of timed events. They're nightly and they vary.
So you're not expected - if you hold a fortress - to defend it for weeks and weeks and weeks. It's meant to fluctuate back and forth so players can enjoy the content. The Balaur - the PvE race - can own it as well. You have to compete against both factions.
Ten Ton Hammer: Let's say you're a top-end guild. What are some of the advantages of concentrating your time on fortresses?
Brian: As you control the fortresses, your influence rations change in the game, which changes the tax rate. The prices on gear and items all go up and down based on your faction ownership.
You also gain access to specific shops within the fortress and in our launch version there will be dungeons that are a part of fortresses. These will be only accessible through the fortresses.
Ten Ton Hammer: What if you have the highest ranking on the server in terms of Abyss points?
Brian: You can actually have a skill that turns you into a raid boss for a particular amount of time. Obviously this skill has a *long* cool down timer, but for five to ten minutes-
Ten Ton Hammer: You're badass!
Brian: Exactly. But it does have a cooldown timer so you can't just sit around and grief people. There's also a thing that lets people know that you're in the zone and they should come and attack you to try to know you off.
Ten Ton Hammer: But you could use it if you wanted a really high-level person to try to help take down a fortress or something like that.
Ten Ton Hammer: What's the sweet spot for guild membership?
Brian: We actually limit guild numbers - I believe it's max at ninety at guild rank 3. You have three ranks, and each time you rank up you can invite more players in and you get different ways to customize your guild.
Ten Ton Hammer: Anything else players should know?
Brian: I think it's important for players to go in and try out our PvP experience during our beta event weekends that we're holding. We're going to open it up even further in our next pass, so players should get in and get to see how things operate.
Also, I think players should know that we are launching with three major updates on the game, so that means three major balancing passes already in place before people even get to jump into Aion.
Ten Ton Hammer: Thanks for giving us the update on this, Brian, and we look forward to talking with you in the future!