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Black Claw Adventures in Aion

My Chanter is level 18.5 now.  I’ve mostly been leveling him by solo questing, but I really do not find it enjoyable to do the “Go kill me 10 of those and 16 of those and then go out and do it again but for these” quests.   The alternatives (Solo grinding or group grinding) are much more favorable, except as a Chanter I really do not kill very fast; I kill efficiently and never rest, but I do not kill very fast.  What I have definitely been enjoying is the group questing/grinding going on in the Black Claw Outpost / Village / Graveyard.

Black Claw Chieftain's Tree

Black Claw Chieftain's Tree

Yesterday was a struggle to find a group for me.  I was actively advertising myself as a level 17 Chanter and no one seemed interested.  Today was a bit different though.  I guess level 18 is the magic number (why, I have no idea) because I advertised myself once as an 18 chanter and immediately had four group officers to do quests and kill bosses.  I picked an offer randomly and went into the BC area will a full balanced group (lucked out on this one).

We spent the majority of our time moving boss to boss, killing, looting, then changing channels to do it again.  The EXP was fantastic and I earned half a level in maybe an hour and a half at most of casual boss killing.  Had we wanted to kill anything and everything for EXP I’m fairly certain we could have made that into a full level for me, but I was just along for the ride.   Several blues and greens dropped from the bosses and had stats which blow away anything I’m wearing, but I didn’t win the roll on anything I could use.  Managed some stuff that I plan to AH though.

Worth mentioning is the Chieftain spawn.  He’s the main boss of the area and drops really great loot.  However, he’s a 1.5 hour respawn (the group said) and is camped almost all the time in all channels.  As we worked our way into his big tree [Pictured to the right] lair/den/thingy we had to contend with trains and people pulling mobs from all over.  We hugged walls and moved strategically.  I had these immediate flashbacks of Guk or Solusek B and couldn’t help but feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

As our group was moving in to another part of the Black Claw area, I think it’s the Graveyard, my AT&T Uverse P.O.S. internet went down for 30 minutes which ended my group.  It’s down again right now in fact… thankfully I can just type this and wait for it to come back up then publish.  I can’t wait until Time Warner Cable installs my new service in just 2-3 days.

A few random observations I’ve made that may interest some of you:

  • Look up!  Don’t fall into the habit of just staring straight ahead or in your character’s immediate 3rd person area.  Look around!  The detail of the environments is not only beautiful left and right, but up and down!  The vertical space is used very well to really show off some fantastic stuff.
  • GROUP in the elite areas and dungeons!  It’s seriously a lot more fun than soloing and you will get a lot of loot, complete quests, and experience the lore and story of Aion.
  • Check personal stores for great bargains.  That +crit manastone might be 50,000g on the AH, but someone wants to sell it to you for 100g in their afk store.  I have found some great bargains.
  • Keep your inventory managed.  Don’t fall into the downward spiral of having to delete stuff to make room for better stuff.  Sometimes even those gray junk items sell for THOUSANDS in just small stacks!  Expand your cube now and it will pay for itself 10fold tomorrow.

The beginnings of my Aion adventure

Holy long-time since I’ve posted batman.  Sorry about that guys.   This has been a killer week on my time.  Good news though!  The game has been functioning great for me and I’ve been timing it just right to avoid the major queues.

I’m having a blast in Aion.  I reached level 16.5 tonight and I’ve had the opportunity to experience Asmodian content that I have never seen.  I’ve been spending most of my time questing solo because, until now, most of the people I usually play with have been higher level than me.  Putting in many hours today after class allowed me to boost from 12 to 16 and start hunting in the elite area.  The elite area, which Asmodians refer to as “Black Claw” or “BC” is gorgeous.  What I’ve seen so far is a forest-like area with lots of hills and cliffs that borders the ocean.  Inside as you go deeper you come across enormous tree-like mushrooms and all sorts of really fantastic sights.   The hunting there is also a lot of fun because it brings that serious group-dynamic to the teens: Crowd control, dps, tanking, healing is all needed.

There is a real sense of cohesiveness in this game.  Everything feels brought together and a harmony exists between the world and the gameplay.  I’d call it immersion but it goes beyond that becasue it captures that “wow, I feel comfortable” sense.  Some guildies and I were talking about it today and the best description we could come up with was “This feels really good”.  It’s true, Aion does feel really really good.   It feels traditional and grassroots mmorpg.  As I level up and observe my surroundings it feels like that sense of comfort and “goodness” is increasing.  Man, what an awesome thing that is to feel in a mmorpg again.  I’ve been saying it for a while — when something is done right, you notice it.

I’m anxious to play tomorrow and reach my 20′s.  I think I’ll probably hit the high teens and do a lot of the the group quests in BC as well as some more solo content.  The pace I’m playing at right now is definitely behind the curve, but there are so many people playing that it feels like a massive world and I can just sit back and enjoy the ride, letting levels come to me instead of chasing them.

Aion’s launch is right up there with LOTRO in smoothness.  Hats off to NCsoft.

More to come tomorrow, including the pictures I’ve taken.

Keen: 1 AT&T/NCsoft: 0 (well, unless you count them pwning my headstart)

My problem is finally fixed — I hope *knocks on wood* — and I didn’t do anything.  Well, unless you consider calling AT&T 5 (no joke, 5) times and NCsoft twice.  On my 5th call to AT&T I was finally able to be… insistent enough… Okay, I was kind of mean but what do you expect when I missed the entire headstart?  They claim to have done nothing on their end but I call B.S.  They admitted to me during my 4th call that it was probably on their end because of the IP that was reporting “host unreachable”.

For a while there is was worried.  Both AT&T and NCsoft were blaming each other and weren’t willing to back down.

AT&T claimed NCsoft was blocking IP’s in the 99.x.x.x.x range

NCsoft claimed AT&T was having a routing issue

After finally convincing AT&T that NCsoft would be insane (NCsoft direct quote: “It would be stupid to the level of insanity for us to block those IP’s from a major provider”) to block their IP’s the AT&T people were willing to send a ticket.  It took me 30 minutes of being on hold, a discussion with an agent and his team leader, and convincing the network guy (using the T2 agent as a middle-man) that it wasn’t just me having the issue.  Finally a ticket was submitted (I had a PET Ticket # in hand) and they would look at it.

Then, about 2 hours after that call (Which I made between classes), it suddenly started working.  Magic?  Perhaps.  AT&T getting off their arses?  Most likely.

Either way, it’s working now and I hope it stays that way.  Although I was only able to get to level 3 before having to log out (ironically because an AT&T tech was at my house disconnecting me to do maintenance…) I’m still happy it works.  Right now I’m waiting in a 1.5 hour queue to play but at least I can connect.

NCsoft and AT&T hate each other or my luck sucks

I have been unable to log in to the Aion authorization server (login server) the entirety of the pre-selection.  I played, without issue, during all of the Aion beta weekends and the open beta.  What changed?  The conspiracy theory here would be that NCsoft hates AT&T (or SoCal), or the other way around, and is blocking us from connecting.  There are only a handful of people being vocal about the “cannot connect to authorization server” problem on the Aionsource boards and elsewhere so I can only assume that the problem is limited to a small minority.  I do not want us to go unnoticed.

I ran a tracert to determine where the problem could be:

Tracing route to 206-127-153-247.plaync.com [206.127.153.247]
over a maximum of 30 hops:

1     1 ms     1 ms    <1 ms  home [192.168.1.254]
2    23 ms    22 ms    22 ms  99-10-160-3.lightspeed.irvnca.sbcglobal.net [99.
10.160.3]
3     *        *        *     Request timed out.
4     *        *        *     Request timed out.
5     *        *        *     Request timed out.
6    25 ms    24 ms    25 ms  151.164.42.196
7     *        *        *     Request timed out.
8     *        *        *     Request timed out.
9     *        *        *     Request timed out.
10     *        *        *     Request timed out.
11     *        *        *     Request timed out.
12  ex1-p15-1.eqlaca.sbcglobal.net [151.164.39.165]  reports: Destination host
unreachable.

Trace complete.

The above makes little sense to me, but I know it doesn’t look right.  Others have come out and said that they have AT&T and live near me and also cannot connect, so at least my misery has company.

In addition to being unable to access the login server, I can not access the Aion website, NCsoft account page, or even Aionsource (on and off for Aionsource).  I feel completely cut off from any and all support.  The worst part here is that it’s probably not even something NCsoft can help with — not like they could tell me that given their tech support page says that they don’t have weekend tech support.  Having a huge MMO headstart launch weekend without tech support…

Hopefully your Aion headstart weekend is going better than mine.

Cannot connect to authorization server

For an hour I was getting this:

aionauthserver

Then I finally get to the character selection screen, made my character, had my name chosen, then I clicked create…. to be met with “You have been disconnected”.  Now I’m back at trying to get onto the authorization server (which kicks me to desktop every time that message comes up).

screamingkid