Aion Icon Challenges in Aion

Previous posts:

An Introduction to Aion
Mid-Level Gameplay on Aion

After playing for a bit more than 2 months, I am now level 37. Everything about the game is a challenge at the moment, the levelling, the gearing up, the cashflow, progression in crafting, PvP…all are really difficult to make solid progress in. This suits some people but will definately put-off others. Where I use the word challenge, other people will use the word grind. Your mileage may vary….

Levelling Past 30

Levelling 1-30 was somewhat of a breeze. There were plenty of quests yielding good xp and towards 25 an instance opened up (Noctua Training Grounds) which took me from 25 to 29 in a few easy sessions.

From level 30 onwards things have changed dramatically. There are two types of quests in the game: regular quests and Campaign quests. The Campaign quests are much harder and usually require groups to deal with Elite mobs but they also yield huge XP. In the early to mid 30′s I quickly ran out of regular quests and relied on the Campaign quests as my main source of quest XP.

Last night at level 36 I completed two level 40 Campaign quests with a friend using some good flying skills and team work to dodge Asmodian enemies (hiding, using NPC guards, taking turn in rezzing each other while quickly killing mobs in open ground). Those two quests gave us around 5 million xp out of the 19 million required to ding to 37. It was quite a thrill to be able to complete quests using some clever tactics without having to resort to full-group bulldozer strategies.

Abyss and PvP

Part of the reason why levelling becomes difficult is that the game pushes you towards the Abyss PvP area for questing but I, and a lot of people, am in a level range where you get killed too easily in PvP by higher level players. If you get killed you typically have a long run back to the place you were fighting at just before you got killed. It’s a pain in the arse and results in very slow XP gain, so unless you have a regular full group of like-level friends, you tend to avoid the Abyss. Abyss mobs are substantially more XP-rich than PVE area mobs.

At the moment, it seems the Asmodians are dominating the PvP stage (I am on the Elysian side). This unfortunatly results in a vicious cycle where the higher level Asmodian players basically own the Abyss and have access to the higher xp rate than the regular Elysian player who sticks to PVE areas. So the high levels get higher faster, the lower levels struggle more, i.e end up having to grind more.

Further compounding the problem, Abyss kills also give Abyss points which accumulated allow you to buy Abyss gear, again tangibly better gear than other non-abyss gear. The divide grows further. Realistically, PvP is looking more like a end-game activity than one I will be active in regularly for the next 10 levels. I did go and check out a Fortress take; quite impressive but at level 35/36 I was basically useless against the Boss AE. On another occasion a group of us tried a rearward manoeuver on an Asmo force taking a Fortress and that was a lot of fun for a short while. We got a lot of kills sneaking on the rear ranks of that raid but after a while the raid turned onto us and neatly wiped us. Still: great fun.

Back on track with the discussion: there is a clear need for smaller scale, scenario-like PvP (for those familiar with WAR) so that small groups of level matched players can go up against each other for Abyss points. That would bridge the current gap and take this game to a higher stratosphere.

Economy

Development in other areas like gear, crafting are also challenging due to the cash side of things. Everything is hugely expensive in the game. Your options are as follows:

  1. You basically have to get lucky to have a somewhat reasonable ride. By lucky, I mean come across a huge rare drop which you can sell for masses of Kinah, which allows you to invest in your craft, level your harvesting skills, get your full spell book (yes even buying your spells is a huge cash drain)
  2. You grind your way up the cash ladder through endless hours of fighting for cash drops or harvesting and selling
  3. You buy Kinah from gold sellers (1 million Kinah was reported at 3 Euro a couple of days ago) – this exacerbates the problem as I am sure some people are buying Kinah and causing price inflation (not to be confused with Mudflation where prices drop due to neverending supply)
  4. You risk it all through crafting gambles i.e. hope for lucky crits that sell very well, double up on even more all or nothing combines and hope for a streak…you can end up totally skint quickly or quite rich

Fortunately I got lucky with a drop on a trash mob which sold for 1.7 million. As I am an armoursmith, I quickly set about trying some tough combines (i.e. very expensive combine which if it doesn’t crit will lose you a ton of money but which if it does will make 5 times its crafting cost). I got lucky again, my 1.7 million turned into 3.4 million.

To put things in context. My level 37 spells cost me about 400,000, my level 30 wings (+30 seconds flight) cost me 940,000. The level 40 wings are 12 million and level 45 gold armour pieces (very rare tradeable drops) routinely go for 14 million+. The best earrings at my level are 1.5 million plus per ear lobe….So I am far from made but I have some cushion. A lot of people are struggling with less than 500,000 to their name. Did I mention the game is hard already?!

The Future

NCSoft have created a vision trailer to show the broad direction that the game is going in artistically, with gameplay additions around housing, tameable mounts, underwater action and a few other things. It makes for interesting viewing:

The next 10 levels are likely to take me a lot longer to get through and I frankly cannot see how I will do it without a substantial amount of grinding mobs. Is the reward in the journey or in where you get to? Don’t know. It’s a fine line at the moment, lots of changes are planned for the game but not so much around PvP as I hear. It has felt like getting close to hitting a brick wall at times in terms of making progress, but every time something happens that takes me through it; a stroke of luck, a nice trade, a good group nailing an area…Time will tell.

Wiz

Posted by Wizlor on http://mmorpg-info.org.

 

Comments are closed.