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Reader Comments (17)

Posted: May 26th 2010 5:13PM DrewIW said

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Aim for level 25, and run through the starter quests in the abyss. See if you can find a group to fight for the lower forts or artifacts.

At this point you've seen the best that PVE has to offer.

Posted: May 26th 2010 5:46PM (Unverified) said

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What kind of /played does it actually take to reach max level in Aion? Does anyone know? All I hear about it the massive grind, but it would be interesting to get some numbers for comparison...

Of course the game might not have a /played feature?
Thanks!
(and thanks for these articles! Good read!)

Posted: May 26th 2010 6:09PM Mugi said

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The play time is estimated 300 hours or so. Thats the numbers NCSoft gave out quite a while ago and I would belive this numbers are just for lv 45. Then you have the next 5 levels I would say take about 15-20 hours each.

Example reach lv 20 for an dedicated palyer takes between 8-12 hours. 25 another 8-12 hours. And from here on it slows down a bit.

Ofcourse it takes a bit more for a complete new player exploring the content but after you have played for a while you get into the speed game :P

Also worth to mention that also some classes kill faster then other so the level speed is not the same for all classes. SM/Glad is fastest to level early on and easy changes later end game where ranger/sorc/sm/cleric takes over soloing elites.
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Posted: May 26th 2010 6:04PM (Unverified) said

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Go run around in a circle, and when you're bored, roll an Elyos ;P
Nah, kidding, but sticking with lv20~25 as your goal won't be a bad thing, looking at the "speed" you're going through them right now. I have no experience with Altgard, but it seems extremely similar to Eltnen, so I kindof know what Im talking about ;P
The millions of kinah made from [coin] quests are new to me though 0.o
Oh, and Impetusium (if it's the same style as Miraju's Holy Ground in Eltnen) is a fly zone! Have fun fluttering around ;P

Posted: May 26th 2010 6:38PM (Unverified) said

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300 hours works out at 12.5 days.
As a completely new player to MMORPGs, it took me 13days to hit 70 back when I picked up WoW in Burning Crusade. I guess that means my suspicions were right - doesn't take THAT much longer to hit max level in Aion as in other games, it's just the lack of content making it feel longer...
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Posted: May 26th 2010 6:13PM (Unverified) said

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Grinding at level 20? That must be an asmodean thing because us Elyos don't need to do that. I'm level 25 and my quest log is almost full. Sure we have some group quests at about that level (Krall anyone?) but I didn't bother repeating any quests. May I suggest that may be good if you are hungry for kinah but not necessary if you want to experience content (which I'm guessing is what you are doing).

I hear that Asmo's run out of quest before Elyos do. I did not know the grind started so early for you.

I'd join you but I'm an Elyos on a different server and at this point I would never catch up to you.

Posted: May 27th 2010 12:12AM (Unverified) said

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To be fair, my grind was a direct result of the double XP weekend. It was either 6k XP per kill on each monster my level, or try to solo a quest for 15 minutes with a 20-30k XP reward. I've been enjoying the questing though (when I can solo them).
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Posted: May 26th 2010 6:57PM (Unverified) said

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It's not lack of content, it's what you do with your time.
If you choose to hang around with friends in the city instead of doing quests, your leveling will slow. At least that's my flaw ;P

Posted: May 26th 2010 8:02PM Faryon said

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Some questions about Aion:

Does the pace of the combat remain the same throughout the game? Tried Aion shortly after lauch and got to about lvl 7 before I gave up because of boredom. I seem to remember the combat being slow as hell and downtime to regen hp/mana took forever.. Is it still like that?

Does the single-target-your-character-is-a-wuss-that-can't-survive-against-two-enemies combat remain throughout the game?

Are you at any point forced to do group-quests/content in order to progress? My definition of "forced": If your only 2 choices are grinding and group-stuff then you are forced to do group-stuff.

Posted: May 26th 2010 8:10PM TheRealStupid said

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My advice, again, is to upgrade your armor at level 18, as soon as you possibly can. The stat delta at low levels is very large and you'll see a significant bump in power with new equipment. Spend the kinah on manastones if you need to, but leave sockets empty! Crafted greens are generally going to have better stats than dropped greens (plus an additional manastone slot per item!) but are going to cost a lot more.

As you reach Impetusium, you'll start getting the [Group] quests for the Black Claw area. These are a lot of fun, but you'll NEVER be able to do these solo at your level; you'll need to be level 24+ to solo a level 18 elite Black Claw. Having said that, getting into a group that can handle that area is among the best PvE play in Aion. Depending on your server population, these quests generally wont be possible during weekdays, even at prime time. Weekend populations are generally higher, so watch the spammy /3 chat for groups going into that area.

When you reach level 20, run, do not walk, to Morheim. Even if you have lingering quests. Just abandon them (or ignore them if you can't abandon) and move on. Morheim is going to be a ton more rewarding and fun. Watch out for rifters at your low level! If you see one, assume they are level 30+ and fight accordingly.

Good luck, you're almost there!!!

Posted: May 26th 2010 8:11PM Distaste said

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I know this isn't the advice the author wants to hear but...quit as soon as your month is done. There isn't anything new or eye opening in AION that is worth the torturous grind to 50. It's probably a lot worse than when I was playing since you're late to the game and the Abyss will be gank city vs opponents you can't even touch let alone kill.

The rifts aren't that much fun especially for Asmos unless they fixed the positions where you spawn at, nothing like going to the inescapable one! The rifts were also quite often camped for insta death as soon as you spawn but thats back before the major population drop.

The combat system is broken since certain stats are worthless, level is everything, and melee vs ranged in the abyss is a joke.

The PvE is nothing to write home about and you can get a similar experience with Rage Fire Chasm in WoW.

The sieges are okay the first few times but get very boring quickly and more often than not one side dominates.

IF you truly want to experience everything the game has to offer then hit 25, do the instance, fly around the abyss, get ganked, and call it a day.

Posted: May 26th 2010 9:02PM (Unverified) said

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Don't drag my name into this, Shawn. Good to hear you're an explorer - that's my archetype too.

You can do a few coin quests for fun, (Getting gear is fun) but I wouldn't grind on them. Stupid's right, your goal should be to get your first [group] quest around 18 and hit the black claw area next. Like the quest name suggests, you'll need a group. Let 'em know you're a newb up front so they can give you advice: a group wiping in Aion is pretty severe, since everyone loses XP and has to pay to soul heal (Have you been doing that?). With luck, you'll find some friendly players that are willing to teach you the ropes. Especially be wary of aggro from your pet wandering through monsters, and you fearing monsters into other monsters (Can SM's fear at that level? I think maybe that's higher)! Those are the easiest ways to get a swift kick from your group. Your role in groups is primarily to DPS, and if you have it, use your debuffs that increase monster drop rates. It should be good and easy so long as you follow the leader. Any SM players know anything I'm missing?

Playing as a gladiator, I found gear upgrading to be largely useless throughout the game. Maybe spirit master is different? I don't know. Equip what you find or earn from quests, and spend some money if you have it, but I would never make earning equipment a higher priority than simply gaining levels. It's boring, highly based on luck and just increases the amount of time it takes to unlock the next bit of content.

Once you hit level 20, go to the next zone unless you happen to be with a great group and want to finish the campaign. If you find yourself struggling to find a group, then move on to the next zone, there are plenty more solo quests there to do and you can always go back to do the campaigns you missed.

The next zone has quests that are more spread out. These should lead up to another elite area just prior to level 25. Once you cap level 25, you'll automatically get a new campaign quest that leads to you unlocking the abyss. That needs to be your five week goal, so you can spend week six exploring the abyss (it's huge and the lake fortress will definitely sate your Explorer side) and doing some PvP group stuff, which is the meat of Aion. Five levels in Morheim and an instance run in the abyss (two if you have time) should give you a pretty good feel for Aion's PvE content.

Now get to leveling!

-SirNiko

Posted: May 27th 2010 7:44AM (Unverified) said

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Why are you grinding at that low level? I only had to around at lvl 48 >.>

Go quest and run BC! it's your first time and you'll have a great time boss hunting and doing group quests.
Morheim awaits you! Have fun rifting.

Posted: May 27th 2010 2:31AM (Unverified) said

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I have to admit I'm baffled by the notion that "it gets better once you get to Morheim". Personally I'm also the Explorer type, and I found that up until about level 20 or so I was having quite a bit of fun learning the skills and seeing new places at about the same pace as I was leveling.

Unfortunately after level 20 that ceases to be true. From that point on you're going to be going through the same areas repeatedly, trying to grind out to the next level. Maybe the others are the sort who were really into PvP because botting and killing is where it's at from Morheim onwards.

Posted: May 27th 2010 6:44AM (Unverified) said

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If your main goal is to level then SM is the perfect class. Even on regular xp an SM will grind xp much faster than questing. The reason why? Your DP skill.

The optimum method I found is to go to an area heavy on mobs around your level and where you won't be competing for kills. In your case its Impetusium by a mile. You fire up your DP skill and then go to town on every mob you can get to. By the time the DP skill has worn off you should almost have enough DP to fire it up again. You also don't need to go all out with your own spells as your pet does significantly more damage under the DP skill, this means you can sit back and conserve more mana.
The reason why this works so well is because you aren't wasting precious your DP timer hunting for mobs, which in turn helps to fill the bar quicker.

It does get tedious after a while but can always do a few quests to break it up.

Posted: May 27th 2010 1:25PM (Unverified) said

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MMOs are interesting to me now, having played them for 11 years or so. I think most games would be much better understood if you started at level cap and experienced the level grind in a flashback that you could stop whenever you wanted, but which earned you your skills as you did it (otherwise you could just PvP or do end game with no skills, not great, but at least you saw the game!)

My point being, Aion is a PvPvE game and it's important (in my opinion) to get a feel for the primary part of the game (the PvP part) if you want to get a feel for the game as a whole. That doesn't start until 20 (if you want to Rift or fight Rifters), or 25 if you want to see the Abyss. The Abyss is unarguably the coolest part of Aion, so for the sake of the review, at least experience it.

In terms of how to get there in a short amount of /played time here's my advice. Most people I know hate "the grind" which seems to refer to everything nowadays beyond WoW's ADD-esque "Run here, run there, run here, run there, kill kill kill!" but there's a good trick I've learned to both get the xp you need and not grind -- on your way to the next quest area (the den of wolves, the village of Mau, the slime pit, whatever) kill everything you encounter on the way. There is a caveat here: often what you encounter on the way to your questing area is lower level than what you "should" be killing (all quests nowadays are simply a method of placing players where they should be fighting after all, based on their level), so be smart! A good guide is -3/+1, anything that's 3 levels below your level or 1 level above it will die quickly enough to earn you decent xp and not take you so long to kill that by the time you reach your destination you've outleveled it, or forgotten where you were going. Often I've even found tiny quest hubs that aren't led to by the pointer quests, which is a nice little bonus of this method. Finally do the same on the way back to turn in your quests. I’m amazed how many people (myself included) rush past dozens upon dozens of mobs only to complain an hour later that they ran out of quests and are forced to grind.

As far as Aion specific suggestions, I'm no master of Aion by any means (my highest character is 37 which I quit a few months after the game came out to go back to WoW or FFXI before recently returning to try out 1.9 and 2.0) but I have learned a few things that helped me level faster:

1) I'm not surprised in one of your posts that you found quests harder than you thought they should be as you leveled. As you figured out, socketing your gear with Magic Boost, HP, MP or Evasion will greatly assist you in kill speed. Obviously one or two won't make the difference, but a full suit of magic boost can easily double your primary stat at this level. This isn't to say go out of your way to buy manastones, but smartly socketing your gear with the manastones that you get will add up over time and help.
1a) Magic Boost is the only stat you care about at this point. Prioritize it over all other gear (yes, even MP).

2) Enchanting. This is rather complicated (not to mention difficult) but the short version is that green armor & weapons or above (anything other than white) can be Disenchanted into an Enchantment stone, which boosts your items in a manner very similar to manastones. You can disenchant by buying Extraction Tools at any General Store vendor for a (relatively) cheap amount. If you have the kinah, I'd recommend carrying a stack of Extraction tools and disenchanting any greens you come across that you can't use. Use the stones to upgrade your weapon until you hit +10 on the weapon or get a better weapon. Enchanting is much more complicated than this, but it's a good tool to make leveling faster! And to be honest, with the amount of kinah that you make in later levels, saving your greens and putting them on the auction house is a waste if you can trade them in now for faster leveling.
2b) Sell any blues you get on the broker if you’re fantastically lucky enough to see one drop (and win the roll). Don’t disenchant if you can sell them on the broker.
3) Stop crafting! It's an impediment to leveling. Crafting is better when you've got bigger bags (speaking of, buy bigger bags (expand your cube) when you go to Pandemonium if you have money left over after buying skills).
4) Group quests are your friend for leveling. Stack the quests with the missions and when you’re 17/18 join a “BC” group in Altgard. It’s fun, will introduce you to group mechanics a bit, and get you a bunch of XP to boot. As a newbie you’ll have to hope your leader knows what he’s doing. A good way to gauge a party is to ask before you head out to the staging area if anyone can lead the group. Being nice goes a long way obviously.

There's a bunch of other things to say about PvP balance (it's way better than most people think in the early levels, but Rifting-twinks and other prepared Rifters give a bad impression when they run into an unprepared Rifting noob) but it's beyond the scope of your article I think. Don’t be surprised when your Rifting experience goes bad in the 20s though (especially the early 20s). I personally don’t think Aion “starts” until 25 (the Abyss) as a result of Rifting depending so much on being prepared (which involves gearing, prepping (food, potions, Kisks, etc), and most importantly, bringing a friend).

Aion is by no means a great game, yet. But as a guy who's played EQ1, experienced WoW from vanilla to today and most everything in between, it's got a lot going for it. Plus as you said, it's beautiful, that's always a plus if your computer can handle it. It's hard to judge (WoW has changed so much..) but I think this game compares favorably to vanilla WoW from a PvE perspective. From a PvP perspective with flight mechanics being what they are, it compares favorably to any modern MMO though the balance is certainly not perfect (1.9 supposedly is an improvement in that regard, but we’ll see, some classes just don’t work well in the air without gear, and to be fair, most classes don’t have the toolbox of skills they need to get the job done in the air until 40+, often 45+).

Boy that was long, sorry! Feel free to look me up on Lumiel, my name is Talisien.

PS It’s worth stating that the gold standard of MMOs (WoW) can’t really compare its level grind to other games anymore, as the grind is supposed to be minimized via heirlooms and built in changes to questing, not to mention Refer-a-Friend. You can compare WoW’s current expansion’s (whatever it is) leveling grind to new games if you’d like, but you’re leveling as a (previously) max level character. That means you have access to a myriad of skills that you wouldn’t have as a level 1.

In short, it’s a flawed comparison no matter what you do. Vanilla WoW is, in my opinion, the best standard by which to compare new games on the basis of leveling curve and [leveling] mechanics. After all, it got millions of people to max level didn’t it?

Posted: May 27th 2010 3:56PM (Unverified) said

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I like the idea of leveling via flashback, but otherwise starting at max level. It'd also be a great way to make level-dependent content that can be played even if you've outleveled it.

-SirNiko
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