May Community Address: Letter from Aion's Producer
Greetings Aion Players!
Spring is in the air, the sun is out and the days are getting longer, and that means it's time for update news! After much anticipation, I am happy to announce the 1.9 update will be available on the North American and European public test servers on Tuesday May 25, 2010. A week later, the 1.9 update will hit North American and European Live servers on Wednesday June 2, 2010. As you might have read in the 1.9 patch notes or the 1.9 Q&A with Kinslon, the 1.9 update includes a number of great game improvements based on player feedback from around the world. We listened to your concerns about where the game play experience was less than stellar, collected data to support this, and requested those changes to the game for the 1.9 update and we continue to provide this feedback for future updates too. Along with a reduction in costs, better experience for quests and increased loot drops, we also threw in a collection of exciting systems and updates such as arms fusion, daily quests, rental weapon/armor system and a new look for group UI feature that are all aimed at improving the player's experience.
Just as 1.9 is a culmination of your feedback, we are constantly monitoring the community to see what the most relevant issues are. Back in October and November one of the hot topics were server queues and at that point we promised that character transfers would be available to help combat the queues. Again in the first part of this year, we promised these in the first half of 2010. I'm happy to report that the character transfer service will be live in the middle of June and we will be offering them to all of our players for free for a limited time. As we get closer to the live date of the character transfer service we'll be releasing more information so that you can prepare yourself and coordinate with your legion and other online friends.
One of the more recent concerns that we've heard is related to server populations, both in North America and Europe. Some of the specific concerns you've told us about deal with difficulty finding groups in game, having resources to contribute to the overall server economy, and being able to gather strong enough forces to enjoy the end game content, particularly the Abyss PvP zone and Fortress Sieges. We heard your concern about this and did a comprehensive examination of all of our servers across North America and Europe. After reviewing all of the game, character, and server data we found that certain level ranges or classes had healthy numbers, but across ALL level ranges and professions most of our servers didn't have ideal populations. After a score of meetings, it was decided that the best thing to do is to merge some of our servers so that we have fewer, fuller servers with characters (and players) that are balanced better in population across all levels and classes. The primary goal of merging the servers is to create an environment that gives you the best possible experience in Aion.
I don't relish the idea of mergers. (It takes a lot of work to make them happen!) However, once it is complete you should notice improvements in each of the new server economies, an abundance of players to group and run instances with, a number of great Legions to join or people to form new ones with, and a more tightly knit community. When all is said and done, Aion will be a better game because of the server merge. We're in the planning stages, and will have more information on the timing and execution in the coming weeks.
Finally, as you might have read in the 2.0 patch notes, 2.0 was recently released on the KR PTS Server. Even though we have several other large initiatives underway, we are already working on bringing 2.0 to the North American and European to our shores. It is an immense undertaking that adds a lot of new content to the game, but we are working steadily towards a fall target release date and are on track. To get a preview of what is coming to Aion with 2.0 check out the initial patch notes.
As you can see, we have quite a busy couple of months ahead of us; all aimed at servicing your needs and making Aion a better place to play. I am excited at the prospect of what our players can expect in the near future, and can't wait for the results to speak for themselves.
-Chris "Kinslon" Hager