Back when I first decided I wanted to venture to the dark side of Aion and compare the leveling experiences of the two realms, I didn't really fathom that there would be so much content added that it would be hard to break away from sampling all of the goodies on my home server. Besides that, with all of the changes, comparing the leveling is just impossible. I knew that it would be easier with the introduction of repeatable quests, but it's just plain stupid-easy to level now as opposed to way back pre-Balaurea.
Even with the leveling comparison effectively nixed, I still can report on the differences in the feel of the two worlds as well as just run through and reflect on my impressions of the Asmodian life to give some screen time to the glowy-eyes. Did I mention I love the glowy eyes? With that in mind, Wings Over Atreia devotes this week to the furbacks (said with love!).
Glide past the cut for a look at Daevic life in Asmodae from Ascension to the Abyss.
As I noted, this report covers the time from Ascension at level 10 to my access to the Abyss at level 25. Now I have an confession to make (those with keen eyes might have already noticed). Back when I first created my character for this experience, I made a Chanter as the consensus of the vote was Priest. However, I made her on a separate account, and that account has subsequently closed. Not only that, but I had already experienced a Chanter for over half of the game, so when I was forced to remake on another server, I actually chose a Mage. I am currently running around in some flimsy cloth armor toting my adorable pet elementals. I do miss the heals, but I am enjoying the Spiritmaster class as something completely different than what I am used to. And this way, I feel like I have to learn as I go as any other new player would. If you are Asmodian on the Zikel server, perhaps we shall meet up. (I'd rather not meet up with you high-level Elyos who would eat me for lunch!)
The leveling escalator/rocket launcher
You can seriously sleep-level through this game now! I thought the introduction of repeatable quests alone would speed things up; I wasn't prepared for the onslaught of quests at the lower levels. The quest markers on the map actually became a bane as I found it difficult to resist those little blue icons. And once I had a quest, I wanted to finish it. The result? I didn't leave little newbie Altgard until I was level 24, and even then I had three quests left unfinished and a slew more still undone in Pandaemonium. Yah, laugh all you want. I swear the XP was leaping up and throwing itself at me. And I have to admit, yes, I did kill myself for over 1/4 of a level just to complete the one repeatable quest inside the solo instance Haramel (remember, Haramel = XP IV line), never mind the one from Heart of Impetusium.
At this point, my friend and I have decided to seriously try to avoid some quests. However, my concern with this is missing some of the stories and flavor of this faction. I know some people just absently click through the whole story until they see the accept button and go. As my friend can attest, this is not always wise -- by rushing through and not reading the quests, he was transported over to Elysea for the first of his spy missions, something he was not quite prepared for. Trust me folks, sometimes it is better to read what you are accepting! Besides, the little bits of flavor are nice (more on that later).
Quests aren't the only thing speeding you along the XP road. Since I chose a faction-challenged server for my Asmodian, I was gifted 50 berdin's amulets, which grant a 50% XP bonus. Then, lo and behold, I received another survey with another 50 amulets. And before that I had 15 others! Honestly, I have only used six because I was just leveling too fast and didn't want to miss the experience of the lower lands. I had trouble keeping from out-leveling Haramel as well. I do plan on using them a bit more as I get higher, but even with only a one-hour cool down timer, I am not sure I can use all 109.
Life in Altgard
Since I never left Altgard until my 24th level and have spent only a very short time in Morheim so far, I have not yet had any experience with Elyos rifting over to poke me with their assorted sharp instruments. I also have not yet experienced rifting to the elmo lands. I am honestly having a hard enough time remembering I am Asmodian, much to the delight and laughter of my friend each time I spin around at the first sign of lag and go "Asmo!" I promise that the next installment of The Life of Asmo will include more rifting and PvP in the Abyss, albeit there's no guarantee it will be as the victor.
Even though I am squishy, I am enjoying being able to send my pet off to distract a mob while I gather whatever is needed for my current quest or sit and rest to regain my mana while the pet fights for my XP. This is quite a racket you SMs have! I am also glad that Daevas do not really enter the Abyss until level 25 because I am just starting to feel comfortable with my class and build. Tossing enemies at me before I have a handle on things would pretty much turn me off from the whole PvP experience. As it is, I am excited to jump/fly/barrel-roll in!
Just as a side note, getting a survey with basically every level giving me tons of goods, armor, and finally a gold level weapon at 25... it's really overkill! Seriously NCsoft, you are making it too easy and removing the whole feel of accomplishment. That and your smorgasbord of quests have hampered simple exploration. Anyone wanting to just see the world a bit, let me suggest turning quest icons off on your map for a while.
Another thing that I was looking forward to was the proliferation of the war propaganda. Both sides participate in it, of course, but I was actually surprised a bit by the Asmodians' take on things. After playing Elyos for so long, I really expected Asmos to be darker, more sinister, and slightly cruel, bent on the total annihilation of their enemy. While the latter is somewhat true, the Asmodians actually pride themselves on their loyalty and their work ethic, and they don't claim to be the chosen ones. Most of the quest dialogs have been focused on these factors. In fact, the Asmodians' goal to exterminate the Elyos is based on the fact that they truly believe the only way to save all of Atreia (which is dying due to the loss of aether) is to destroy the Elyos' segment of the Tower of Eternity. Save the planet, kill an Elyos!
I expected the lore of the Abyss to include the clawed-ones as the the victims and I wasn't disappointed: History is, of course, written by the victors. That said, it was still very odd to hear the story told that the brutal Elyos refused offers of peace and instead were bent on pure slaughter and mayhem. What I didn't expect was that the art from the cutscene story was of a seemingly completely different style. It was a bit jarring to watch and not nearly as beautiful as the game itself. I actually wasn't riveted to it as per usual and let my eyes wander while still listening.
Some things never change
Now I report (with disappointment) that some things are universal across servers and factions, things such as max-level characters slaughtering lowbie level 25s who are trying to complete their Abyss entry quest in the arena. Seriously, if people are always whining for support and participation in the Abyss, why do people completely dissuade those who are just trying to gain admittance to it? You also still get auto-spammed by total strangers to join their legions, you find the apparently requisite LGF chat trolls, and people complain about lack of participation in PvP and sieges. I also had plenty of offers for "cheap kinah nao!" and ran out of warehouse and cube space all too quickly.
Into the Abyss
And there I ended it: standing in the halls of Primum Landing, staring into the Abyss and waiting to sally forth into the first group instance, Nochsana Training Camp (NTC, or TG for the oldest of vets). It was actually difficult stopping there as I wanted to just dive in. However, I would also like to invite readers along during the mission, so I will have to wait until I can schedule a livestream event for it. Soon enough I shall fly through the aether and encounter my first Elyos. As they say in Asmodae, "The task is mine!" Until then, feel free to share any of your favorite experiences in the comments below.
Soaring through the Aionosphere, MJ Guthrie touches down weekly to bring you Wings Over Atreia. Featuring tips, guides, and general snippets of life in Aion, the column is better than Tutty-on-a-stick, ackackackackackack! Have a suggestion to share? No need to bribe a Shugo -- just send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.