Thursday, September 24, 2009

AI: Sweet Sixteen

Billy Idol or Hillary Duff... you pick. I think Hillary's talks more about wings, but I'm more of a rock guy myself.

As you may have guessed, I hit 16 as a Spiritmaster last night on Aion. Fun times. The queue was non-existent at 6pm, but I think it ramped up as the night went on. At one point, we were disconnected and logged back in to see the number around 800 people in the queue. Luckily, the server still remembered me and zipped me right back into the game. So, still a queue, but it seems to be shrinking.

There are still tons of "shop afkers" as we're calling it. I have to say, I have a lot of mixed feelings about this. On one hand, when I run by a store where someone is selling a single piece of Azpha for one billion dollars (*pinky to mouth*), I just get angry. It's not like they're even being sneaky about it or anything; their message clearly says: "Afk". C'mon now, you're not even trying. I'd rather see the default message than that crap.

At one point, I did have to go afk for about 15 minutes to grab some food and such, and then it was nice to have the shop and know you weren't going to get logged out and have to face the dreaded queue. In my defense, apart from it only being 15 minutes, I actually put some stuff up at a reasonable price and sat just inside the doorway to the alchemy area. Being an alchemist, I knew that Kandula is a key ingredient in some of the early potion recipes, namely the lesser mana variety. I go through these pretty rapidly when questing, so it was a good bet that I wasn't the only one who needed to make more.

I advertised simply "Kandula" and by the time I'd returned I was sold out of the 20 or so I had. For something you gather for free, it was nice to make money off of it. It's all about location. Of course, Kandula isn't going to sell right next to a Kandula plant, but in the middle of Pande? Fo'sho. That's what the private store is for, after all... not afks.

Perhaps the best "fix" I've heard is to limit the afk store to one hour if there is a queue. Putting on my Software Engineer hat for a moment, I don't think such a limit would be too hard to set up. You could have the SW check to see if there is a queue for the server (which it should already know), and then start a timer on any store. After an hour, it will close your store, requiring you to either be there to re-open it, or effectively logging you off.

I figure, if someone wants to avoid a queue so bad that they're popping in at least once an hour to check their store (something you should probably do anyways if you're running a real store), then at least they're putting in the effort. It also doesn't defeat the store purpose and allows you short afks. It's the people who leave it up overnight for like 12+ hours that bother me. In China, they have to pay by the hour, so it's not a problem there. Here, however, we don't give a shit things like wasting copious amounts of electricity and the other negative side-effects of leaving your crap on and running over night. I'm not a "green" person by any means, but it just seems so wasteful and selfish to do the over night thing. Especially if you're not even going to try to offer a half-ass store. At least put in a witty phrase or something that makes me giggle!

Like I said, my feelings are mixed because I like the idea of a private store and if there were NO queues, there wouldn't be this problem. So "fixing" the afk store is sort of like putting a band-aid on. It'll stop the bleeding for a bit, maybe allow some healing to occur, but is NOT permanent. The only permanent solution is for NCSoft to continue ramping up support and capacity (all while remaining balanced mind you), so that they are eventually able to support their entire player base. I'll be the first to admit that this is no easy task, and I applaud NCSoft's efforts so far. They haven't been perfect, but I think, in the industry, they've proven to be one of the best at handling what appears to be a common issue (we can argue until we're blue in the face about whether or not it should be an issue in the first place).

In other news, and more of what I had in mind for this post (before sidetracking myself on a mini-rant), when you hit 16 as a Spiritmaster, you start to switch up your rotation a bit. Recall on Tuesday I'd mention that around level 10, I was using something like this:

Ice Chain (1 and the bonus if it's up) > Erosion > Fire Chain (same thing here, if the extra spell is up, of course I'm going to use it!) (rooting when needed, and just sending my pet in)

By the time you hit 16, you've picked up a couple more spells. One is sort of a "pet taunt" in that it is an ability that can have "high emnity" (emnity = aggro for WoW people). Also, it becomes clear that the fire spirit is a far better tank than your wind spirit. The tooltip for your "pet taunt" spell confirms this, since, for the wind spirit, it is classified as a "weak" taunt.

You also pick up a spell that causes two orbs of fire to fly at your target and bombard it with... themselves. Pretty awesome if you ask me. I think watching a spiritmaster in action can be sort of awe-inspiring. I mean, when gladiators do their crazy-jumpy-flippy attack, it's pretty cool, but a SM in full DPS mode will have a spirit on a target, two electrified, fiery orbs bashing into the target, all the while hurtling spells from a comfortable distance away. There's just a lot going on. Here's sort of how I roll now:

Send pet in > Pet taunt > Summon Orb thingies > Erosion > Ice Chain (1+1) > Fire Chain (1+1) > Root if it's running at me (which it should be by now) > Fire Chain again (just the first part) until death.

Sometimes I may have to run a bit to give myself room. I may also refresh Erosion if it looks to live longer, but most stuff is dead by the end of the rotation. You also pick up an Earth slowing attack (sorry I'm horrible with spell names right now) which is instant cast, this can come in handy for those spontaneous aggros. Keep in mind, though, that it shards a cooldown with your ice chain. The knockback/stun on the ice chain makes it a better choice if you have room and time. If not, run around slowing and hitting erosion while your pet/orbs beat on the dude. This has saved my butt a couple times. You can always root too.

So far, loving the class... even with being underrepresented and all. I'm sure the whole grounded pet thing will become a problem in the not too distant future, but I'm going to stick it out (especially knowing they're planning to change that). How's your Aion going? What's your fave class so far?

1 comment:

  1. I'm absolutely addicted to my Assassin! Awrath & I are a winning team (when I have only one target on me)

    The only concern I have is that when I'm soloing/duoing, I am a little more gear dependent since I'm getting hit like a truck. This is changing my Manastone choices from Attack to HP & Evasion for a longer lasting life.

    Plus the death scene is just so sad :(

    Also, is anyone else finding that they are getting more "tools" than they can use? Once I hit 16, I got a ton of new spells that are awesome but the mob doesn't live long enough to use half of it.

    Or is that just me.