10 Things I Love About Aion 2.0

I blame cable. I had a more angsty title, but this high school chick flick came on and it taught me that cheesiness is perfectly acceptable when things are going right. And when you read the Aion Update 2.0 patch notes, you’ll agree with me that brownie points are in order for NCSoft and its game.

I didn’t expect to feel so warm and fuzzy reading the patch notes, which took NCSoft a week to translate after Update 2.0 went live in the Korean public test server. But when I checked the long “Yay” column in my content patch scoreboard–I review patch updates like an adolescent kid complete with Yay and Boo columns–I felt my wait rage over Update 1.9 come to pass.

So here I am giddy again about Aion like when it first launched last year. Why, you say? Well here’s the best ten features in what’s shaping up to be a pants-jizzing update:

1. Balaur homeland revealed. Balaurea opens up with two new regions: Inggison (Elyos) and Gelkmaros (Asmodians). Level 51 monsters roam both regions and contain two fortresses as well as four artifacts per faction. I’ve always liked to just fly around in Aion, taking snapshots of my toon while he’s pretending to be a wild hawk ready to swoop in on a helpless ground prey. These new areas give me new air space to do just that.

2. AFK with windstreams. Now I have more chances to tab-alt for five minutes, whether it’s to pick up my microwaved dinner or to take a tinkle break. The new windstreams which allow hands-off flight travel in the new Balaur regions are a godsend for any Aion gamer with real-life tasks to attend to. Plus these windstreams remind me of those invisible vehicle conveyor belts found in the Star Wars planet Coruscant.

3. Hear Aion while AFK. Update 2.0 gives an option to hear Aion game sounds even when it’s behind other windows, such as when browsing Firefox while the windstreams take you to your destination. It can be set up through Options -> Sound Options-> Hear Sound in Background.

4. Geyser rides. Aside from windstreams, Aion will be rolling out geysers that shoot a player upwards. I imagine these will add some vertical dimension to no-flight zones or dungeons. Plus the screenies of being thrown in the air by a spurt of water will be priceless.

5. Solo Instances. Update 2.0 brings six new dungeons and new loot. But these aren’t restricted to parties or to level 50+ Daevas. There will be three solo instances to test how well you can survive alone–from Taloc’s Hollow to Haramel for levels 18-22 to Nightmare for levels 37-41 (seen below).

6. Level cap increased to 55. All classes get brand-new skills per level increase from level 50 to 55–for a total of five per class plus additional stigma skills. These can be purchased in the Protectors Hall and Cloister of Kaisinel (Elyos); or the Capital Building in Pandaemoniumand Convent of Marchutan (Asmodian).

7. Clerics learn Immortal Shroud I. I own a paladin in World of Warcraft, so it’s nice that she and my cleric share something in common. My paladin has her all-deflecting bubble while my cleric has a 8-second physical barrier in the form of Immortal Shroud I. The latter is still inferior since I can still get creamed by magic spells, but having an emergency “you can’t get me” button is fantastic.

8. Fortress fiasco offers Eternal item prize. Each side will be scheming to invade fortresses to unlock the regional governors. When Asmodians occupy both fortresses in Inggison, Marchutan’s agent Mastarius appears; but when Elyos occupy both fotresses in Gelkmaros, Kaisinel’s agent Vielle appears.

I’ll be at the front lines trying to down them since they drop a sweet Eternal class item, and ranked players may get a random drop plus other mail rewards.

9. Gotta try ‘em all! Pet mania hits Atreia with the introduction of functional pets. There are five types of pets to choose from:

I’m most excited about the cutie panda, and want him to be a warehouse pet who hides extra items in his very thick fur. LOL.

10. Quest Helper. When playing an MMO, I like to get things done fast. Nothing’s more exhilarating than going from one quest objective to another, racking up loot and seeing that xp bar inch closer to a magical ding. The new quest feature shows all quests available at your toon’s level up to seven levels below.

Coverage only extends to the current region, but the system marks those hard-to-find NPCs necessary for your quests. Now I’ll shave off hours googling quest instructions and map out the most efficient quest completion path while leveling up.

I’m sure you’ll argue about my choices, but there’s honestly so many good things about Update 2.0 that I could have made it a Top 20 list. Head to the official translated Update 2.0 patch notes for a more extensive read. Ok, NCSoft, I’m happy–but don’t think I’ve forgotten Update 1.9!