NCsoft West finally has a site for the 4.0 patch live, so everybody can watch that site for more news about the patch. Hopefully, the patch notes will go live soon. The news has finally been released that 4.0 will be coming to the NA Aion version on the 26th of June. Along with it, there will be some pre-events to get all daevas ready for the big 4.0 patch. These events generally give a variety of free buffs for those looking to level up before 4.0 hits. These events start on the 5th of June and run up to the launch of 4.0 on the 26th. We are still waiting for the original patch notes, but they should be closely related to the Korean patch notes for 4.0.
Code Red Atreia Free Buffs
Prosperitin: Available Monday through Thursday, this buff grants attack speed +2% and crit strike +20; it lasts for one hour.
Turbonel: Available Monday through Thursday, this buff grants casting speed +2% and magic boost +20; it lasts for one hour.
Dexteritrol: Available Friday through Sunday, this buff grants drop rate +10%; it lasts for one hour.
Abysaline: Available Friday through Sunday, this buff grants PvP defense +3%; it lasts for two hours.
Daily Quest Free Supplies
There are daily potion quests where you will receive 30 of a potion and scroll quests for a batch of 50 scrolls along with 200 stigma shards. The potion choices are the following:
Major Recovery Potions
Major Recovery Serums
Fine Recovery Potions
Fine Recovery Serums
Remember that the fine potions are only usable by levels 50 and above. The scroll choices are:
It looks like EU Aion is finally catching up to NA Aion with the introduction of the rookie server in tomorrow's patch. It's unknown if the addition of the rookie server will have the same effects as the NA version of the server, but I'm linking to the game guide version of it just in case.
It looks like the patch will bring the EU servers back into line with what's currently on the NA servers as demonstrated by the conglomeration that's available in the official patchnotes. Of particular note, the patchnotes include 3.7 as well as the current patch. Gameforge is currently calling the patch 3.9 as adding in the rookie server (obtained much earlier for NA people) is a major patch.
Some of what are in the notes were a part of a minor patch applied on NA servers January 30th, 2013 , so it looks like the NA and EU servers are both at around the same patch.
Nyx (Felicia Johnson) started at NCsoft West in 2009 and worked with Lineage until the game was shut down in NA. She then moved over to work with the community team for Aion where she helped out a lot with the forums in particular and was very highly regarded by the community. In a past life Nyx was an inner city school teacher and the skills she learned while doing that seem to have translated over very well for working with the Aion community.
After Phenteo left, Nyx was promoted to CM. She was the fifth in the line of CM's for Aion (including Trine's short stand in), but she will be sorely missed. It's a shame that Aion isn't doing very well, so the office is moving to California and several people including Nyx had to be let go. Nyx has a great sense of humor that will be remembered.
She once posted the following description of her job in response to a player post.
She really pushed for player run tournaments on different servers and helped a lot with promoting community. What a lot of people don't know is that she also helped a lot with individual problems. Just going back and looking at the twitter account that has gone dark since she left shows that and she was the one we went to when somebody on our forum had a customer service problem that just wasn't getting figured out very fast.
Nyx was the voice of the community back to NCsoft West. She helped stop the mandatory account migration where we would lose all our multiple use account items such as pets. When we were unhappy, she brought it back to the NCsoft team. Things didn't always work out and the team didn't always listen, but she tried her hardest to let the NCsoft West team know what the community thought.
The community liked Nyx so much that they stalked characters they thought could be her. It'll be a shame if her mansion with halloween decorations is let go. Here's an image of a character that was stalked that wasn't Nyx from a thread on the official forums.
Nyx had to have felt funny about strange people trying to stalk her character, but she always laughed and shrugged it off.
I'm sure that Nyx needed a break from the hectic life of a community manager. Sometimes, it's so hard being the person caught in the middle between a community and a game company.
Especially, when the game company is NCsoft West.
I'd like to wish Nyx a great and relaxing time off of work and wonderful luck in finding an awesome job for the future. Everybody keep their fingers crossed for her to send good vibes her way. I'm fairly sure that most of us would consider playing a game that had Nyx as the CM just because she's so awesome.
Looks like the cat is out of the proverbial bag that Aion 4.0 is launching in June (obtained from the NA forums). It'll be called the "Dark Betrayal" expansion and will be the equivalent of Korean Aion patch 4.2. This particular patch has both the Bard and Gunslinger classes in it.
Additionally, in order to celebrate the first anniversary of Aion going free to play, there will be events from April 10th through 17th. There will be a Decorate the Cake event (where you collect aether flames to trade for candles for the cake). There will be special offers from the Black Cloud Marketplace, including some supposedly free items.
So I've seen a lot of footage for the female bard and have been wondering what happened to the male bard in 4.0. I was lucky enough to be able to find out this weekend when I went through levels 1-20 on the KR PTS server on Saturday. Please keep in mind that this is the PTS server version and so it's possible that some skills may slightly differ from what's on retail in Korea right now.
Right away upon seeing the entry screen, I knew what kind of character I wanted to create.
I figured I could do the perfect maestro type character and even gave him the little wings. Yes, I know they don't carry over into real character creation, but they looked cool on the character creation screen.
Of course, that didn't really prepare me for what I actually did get upon character creation. Why is my bard wearing weird burnt orange pedal pushers? Another oddity that I discovered was that while the female bard has all sorts of interesting and girlish flourishes, the male bard apparently shares the same animation set and ummm... yeah... let's just say that it gets a little bit awkward when your manly maestro is wandering around and flourishing all over the place like a girl.
Bard Skills from Levels 1-18
By level 18, I was pretty used to the odd animations and had gotten into the swing of playing a bard. The bard had 2 buffs by this level. One was a shield buff similar to what mages receive (called Shield Buff I) and the other was an HP increase buff (Health Melody increases HP by 10%). The bard also had a skill that restored mana (Mind Melody I) enabling me at this level to grind mobs without really stopping. Additionally, there were 2 heal skills where one heal chained off of the other one (Healing Melody I and Gentle Melody I).
The following video shows the skills as I level up. Please forgive some of the odd pauses as there's some skill lag caused by my extreme distance from the Korean servers. The only skills not used in the video are the slowing debuff (very similar to what SM's have and called Heavy Song I), the mana restoration skill, and the secondary heal skill that chains off of the heal that is shown.
The initial skill that all bards receive was a wind throwing damage skill (Windy Song I). I was surprised that bards get the penguin sleep skill by level 5 - though sadly it only turns 3 things into penguins (I never saw it go over that up through level 20) and it's rather awkward to use since it's a direct aoe around where you're standing. I admit that I managed to kill myself once by running around and gathering mobs to try and get more than 3 of them to sleep.
Throughout all my levels, the skill that received the most use was Battle Song as it's the main dps spell that bards have at this level. I always started out with it due to the long charge up time as it's the spell that charges up to 3 times. That spell could then be followed up with the couple of other dps spells I had at that point (Frost Song goes into Flame Song) . The first bard DP ability (Siel's Fury) is a DPS skill that hit the first boss in Haramel pretty hard as shown in the video above. I started adding the slow dot Cutting Song I into the mix in order to kill just a bit quicker.
Bards receive a reasonable number of CC abilities for this age range - I was easily able to CC enemies using root and the penguin skill that I had received by level 18. There's also a slow that I could have used if I was grinding elites. Unfortunately, I had many times where regular mobs just resisted my skills (mob hatred QQ). I found the bard a little harder to use for kiting than an SM, since most of the bard skills have cast times and some of them are very long for max dps. It does look like bards get more CC later on though, so I'd expect them to be good at kiting.
But is the Bard Fun?
So the male bard looks rather funny, but is he fun to play? I actually thought he was and the one charge up skill was a pleasant surprise. Rather than a regular 3-5 second cast nuke, it gave me a choice to leave the cast early and do something else at the penalty of less damage done. I have a feeling at higher levels this will be worth more, especially when things break CC, although sometimes I admit that I did double hit the attack and end the cast before I wanted to during my play on Saturday.
Through level 20 I used most of the skills I obtained and could see the utility of the ones I didn't commonly use. The penguin sleep isn't as useful as I first thought it would be due to how close things need to be to you for the aoe, but then it turns things into penguins and it's just funny because of that. As a class, the bard seemed to share more in common with the mage archetype than the healer archetype. At this level it's very definitely a dps class with a couple of buffs and heals.
I can see why the bard would be a strong PvP contender even with the skill mix I have at this level. Maybe I'll get more of a chance to check this out at some point.