Monday, October 5, 2009

AI: On Enchanting and Manastones

I think one of the biggest headaches early on in Aion for us was figuring out how to properly use Manastones and Enchanting stones properly. Like Lando Calrissian, they always seemed to fail us when we needed them the most. You know, like when you're two stones in on a green item and, BAM, you lose all that you had. Annoying buggers!

I'm going to try and relate what we think we've figured out, but first a bit of background to make sure we're all on the same page. Manastones are the little stat additions in Aion that you can put into slots on gear. Almost all of your major gear (non-accessories) have at least one slot for a manastone. This mechanism lets you really customize your gear to your play style. As a Spiritmaster, I'm stacking +MP, +Magic Boost, and +HP. In that order. The trend seems to be that more people SM's are stacking HP, which isn't a bad idea, but I'm a big kiter. We're so clothy that if we get someone on us, it's going to be tough to live anyways, so I make my living keeping people away from me. This means my mana pool needs to outlast them. Simple as that.

Also, important to understand about manastones is that if you fail, it will remove any and all stones already on the item. For example, let's say you succeed with one stone, then go to fill up the second slot on your very first green item (yay you!). If it fails, then both stones will be lost to the aether. Sad panda!

Enchanting stones are stones you get from purchasing "Extraction Tools" from the General Goods vendors. You can extract from anything that you can enchant. Thus, use it on chest, pants, boots, gloves, shoulders, and weapons. Not ALL of them, mind you, because you'll need to keep your reserves of Kinah up and gear also sells to vendors for quite a bit, but some of them. How to pick then? More on that in a second. What I try to enchant, though, are green items that I plan to keep for a while, and I leave them at a simple +1. You see, if you fail at enchanting, it decreases the level one each time.

So, for example, if you're enchanting something that is +1, you can either go to +2 or back to 0. If you're at +2, your two outcomes are +1 or +3. Pretty straightforward, no? Hence why I just put everything at +1. If you fail at +1, there is no -1, 0 is the floor. So there's no risk except for lost monetary investment (and those extraction tools are expensive for a young daevling).

Well then, you may be asking, how can I do my job to ensure success? Glad you asked!

Both of these items come with a convenient level labelling. Manastones seem, after ascension, to go in jumps of 10 levels (level 10, 20, 30...). Enchanting stones, on the other hand, can be anywhere in between and are roughly related to the level of the item from which you extracted the stone. For example, a level 22 chest piece may yield a level 22 enchanting stone, but also anything from, say, level 17 to 27 (there seems to be almost a 5 level span on each side). Also, you can tell the item level two ways, if it has a level required to wear -OR- the level of quest that it came from. All items will have one of those two indicators and let you know what sized gear you're dealing with.

The success rate of these stones as well as the extraction level of enchanting stones are both governed by the same mechanism: the well-loved RNG. However, this RNG is not quite "R". That is to say, we're dealing with a probability engine instead of a completely random one. (R is for Random). Thus, you can envision your chance of success similar to a bell curve (or a pyramid if you don't like curves, but a very steep pyramid). On the far ends, it's fairly low, but in the middle it's quite high. When extracting from a level 22 item, you're far more likely to get a level 22 or 25 stone than anything else (I think the stones jump around a bit... i.e. there aren't any 21,23, or 24 level stones. I could be wrong here though, this is just based on observation. The may just be rarer).

This same mechanism is what governs success on these items too. If you're enchanting or socketing, you need a stone of AT LEAST the same level if not higher to give yourself a good shot at success. However, this is a cap on this. You don't want to socket a level 10 item with a level 30 manastone, because that his a high chance of failing as well. The "golden zone", if I were to define one, is <= 10 levels above your targeted item. I think in that region you're fairly likely to succeed, with your best bet being within 5 level above. Because a picture speaks louder than words sometimes, and because this concept has helped me to not waste so many stones, here's a crappy excel-generated chart on what I think is going on here. Caveat: I don't think these are real percentages, but the point here is that I think this is representative of the trend of the mechanism. If someone out there knows where real numbers can be found, please point me in that direction... this is just a reflection of what I've been able to collate through my own experience and the experiences of others.

Because that is ridiculously ugly, here is a pretty screenshot from the game to offset the ugliness but has absolutely no bearing on today's topic...

Abyss Gate at Morheim in the background...


  1. I just click around and what happens, happens. Enjoying my +9 Staff.


  2. @jess and samo... lol i know, right?