Ask Kinslon: Aion v1.9 Interview #4

Greetings and salutations, my ever-vigilant Atreia-dwelling friends! As you continue to wait for 1.9 to hit the live servers, your favorite Daeva reporter continues to interrogate interview Aion's producer, Chris "Kinslon" Hager.

In our final week of the "Ask Kinslon" series, we focus our questions on new skills, instance changes, and the user interface! Enjoy!

Aquilanius: The Ranger skill Retreating Slash already exists as a Stigma at level 20ish. Will the Stigma be deleted and replaced with the new level 48 skill?

Kinslon: Retreating Slash will stay in game because it's a valuable tool for low-level Rangers. The level 48 skill, called Fighting Withdrawal, is a completely separate skill. While on the surface these two skills may look and operate similarly, they are still very different.

Fighting Withdrawal is part of the counter-attack after a counter-stun and is the level 48 chain skill Rangers can use after Remove Shock. Every Ranger gets this skill at 48, and it won't be a Stigma-based skill that can be removed and replaced. The basic functionality of Fighting Withdrawal is that it deals damage to your target and pushes you backward a distance from the target (very similar to Retreating Slash).

We wouldn't gain anything by taking away the Retreating Slash other than disadvantaging level 20 rangers and making them wait for level 48 for a more powerful version of the skill as a second tier chain skill. This way, when Rangers get to level 48, they can choose to remove that Stigma and free up a slot if they want to use the skill instead.

Aquilanius: Will the Healing Boost stat being implemented in the 1.9 update be enough to compensate the weak hit strength of Clerics?

Kinslon: First off, I've been beaten in duels by Clerics, so don't pretend you are weak (and don't laugh at my defeat either). Your lower hit strength is counterbalanced by your healing skill, which is improved for 1.9. The improved healing stat increases your heals by a percentage of the base heal amount and gives you better survivability.

For example, let's say I'm facing off against a Cleric in a mano-a-mano duel. If you were to cast a regular Healing Light (with no improved Healing Boost), you would heal for, say, 2,000 health. As you increase your healing stat, the damage healed per cast increases. Now because we have a great QA team with lots of commands you don't have, we can see that if you set your improved heal stat to 1,000, you will increase your heal spells by 100%. So that 2,000 damage heal with 1,000 improved heal stat would heal for 4,000.

Aquilanius: What's the point of reducing the magical power of the Cleric spell Summon Noble Energy?

Kinslon: Good question. With 1.9, the developers have added in new items and manastones that are designed to help you pet folks out. These new benefits are based on the pet master's stats. With those new additions and Summon Noble Energy left untouched, the use of that power is out of whack in game balance. To fix this, the developers tweaked it so that new items and manastones are emphasized.

Aquilanius: What's the utility of the Cleric skill Guardian's Shield?

Kinslon: First a point of clarification. Our writers changed the name to Impervious Veil I. Sounds better, right? Now lets dive into what Impervious Veil is.

Impervious Veil is a branch in the Remove Shock skill chain for Clerics. With it active, it absorbs 8,000 points of damage, but you can't use physical attacks or magical skills while it's in effect. This spell is pretty useful in both PvE and PvP. With 8,000 points of damage to absorb, you could use a potion, continue the fight, run away, or it could even keep you alive in a PvE situation if you've managed to pull aggro.

The other side of this chain is Storm of Vengeance, which is the offensive cousin to Impervious Veil. Depending on your situation, either one of these skills could be critical to your survival, especially Impervious Veil with its strong defense.

Aquilanius: What is the duration and cool-down of the stun-removing skills added in the 1.9 update?

Kinslon: So to clarify, all classes will get the stun removing skill at level 40. The duration when this skill is used is seven seconds. It has a one-minute cool-down. I can almost see the Assassin's minds running now with new strategies to combat this. I am honestly very excited to see what the new strategies that this will generate combat. Our players are smart and adaptive, and I have no doubt we'll see some cool combat tactics come out of this.

Aquilanius: Will both Clerics and Chanters benefit from the stat that enables critical heals?

Kinslon: We briefly touched on this with the last Q&A, but allow me to reiterate: Because the Critical Spell stat is geared only toward offensive spells, healers won't benefit from this. In other words, healers won't get critical heals. However, with the new healing stat, both Clerics and Chanters will have the opportunity to increase how the amount of HP their heals can restore.

Aquilanius: What kinds of functionality changes have been made to Dredgion and how do those changes improve the instance?

Kinslon: There have been several tweaks done to the Dredgion, all with the goal of making it more challenging and fast-paced. First, the timer has been reduced to 40 minutes, so you better have a plan when those doors open! All mobs can now see advanced stealth, so sneaking around will be much more difficult. Oh and speaking of mobs—there are more of them now. Additional quests have been added to the instance to provide more goals, and doors have also been added to separate each section. To open a door to a section, you have to kill a specific mob. (You'll have to run the instance to find out which one.) Along with these changes come increased AP rewards. (Winners and losers should rejoice at this.)

Aquilanius: Can you tell us more about the legendary item series that will be added to Kromede the Corrupt and Vile Judge Kromede in the FireTemple?

Kinslon: A series of items just below the current eternal drops for both Kromede's have been added. They are, of course, less powerful than the eternal drops, but have a higher drop rate, so the end result is that there should be more weapons dropping from the FireTemple instance than before. That, along with the boost in the item drops for all instance boss mobs, should make this and other instances pretty popular in the very near future.

Aquilanius: Will the re-entry time for any other instances be adjusted? For example, Nochsana Training Camp (NTC) has an extremely lengthy re-entry time for its level range.

Kinslon: Unfortunately no, there isn't any instance re-entry time readjustment with 1.9. But please note that we have heard everyone's feedback on this, though, and take it seriously, and have passed it along. I, myself, have fallen victim to the NTC re-entry timer and shaken my fists in fury.

Aquilanius: Can you give us an overview of the enhancements to the UI with 1.9?

Kinslon: Aion has a lot of UI changes with 1.9 that are all focused on Improving the player experience. We've got a new looking for group (LFG) functionality (that you activate with clicking a new icon) that will let you search for groups in need of brave souls to aid them or to post yourself as a hero looking for a cause. You can minimize the LFG window to an icon that sits by your radar and alerts you to updates on your grouping endeavors. There have also been new quickbars added to the UI. The best part, though is that the new quickbars are changeable and movable! You can change the shape of the quickbars and the position in which they are placed to best fit your screen setup. Additionally, we've also added buyback functionality on all the in-game merchants. If you've make a mistake, you'll be able to go back and repurchase your items for what you sold them for at any point in a session. (Beware if you log out, though, because then they're gone forever.) This and several other UI changes all add up to an improved player experience with more features and more customizability.

Aquilanius: Will I be able to look at a player's equipment when using the looking for group function?

Kinslon: You'll be able to see basic player info when you're using the LFG function—like player name, class, level—but you won't be able to see another players' equipment through it. You can still use the Character Viewer on for that, though!

Aquilanius: During a fortress siege, I never see my faction on the radar, just only the enemy. Will I be able to see both in 1.9?

Kinslon: There haven't been any changes to faction visibility in the radar during fortress sieges, so you'll still have to keep your peripheral vision wide open to spot friendlies. Unfortunately, that means that you'll still have to wonder when someone shouts, "Lookout behind you! No, really!" if you should be looking or not.

Aquilanius: Thank you for taking the time to answer all my questions, Chris. I hope this has been an informative series for the community, and we all look forward to the update going live!

Kinslon: You are most welcome! I hope everyone's gotten some benefit from this information, or at least was entertained. See you in Atreia!

Well, that's all the Shugo wrote, folks! You can review all four interviews in the Aion PowerWiki.

—The Aion Community Team