Continuing from our first Aion coverage, we’ll talk more about the environment, which for those between level 15~25 will find themselves in the world of Atreia.
One of the first things that we talked about in Aion was the character customization. The more you play Aion, the more you witness the flexibility in character customization. Some people don’t take advantage of it, but many will stand out from the crowd. Funny or hot, we love the diversity in characters.
Yes, I know. I'm hot.
We also mentioned that you don’t have to grind much to level up. Like many other MMOs, constant quests can feel a bit like grinding. At least with Aion, you have a choice; you can either follow the main story campaign without being sidetracked, or you can try to do every quest out there. Or, you can just kill mobs and try to look for rare drops. It seems like as we level up higher, the quests don’t give out enough experience points for you to just stick to the main story. We will have to see how far we can level up before we grind.
Still feels like you’re out of options? Well, from around level 15, you can start getting quests that require you to group up with other players. That’s right, they’re dungeon style quests. Loots and boss fights; one of the true meanings of life in an MMO world.
People wouldn't go to dungeons with me since I rolled a couple of 100's on my dice.
Now, forming a group and going to the dungeons can be a great experience, but not always pleasant. Even if all five members are dedicated to teamplay, one single selfish player can ruin the fun. One time I (as ClassicMoments) was in a group with five other people, but one Spirit Master couldn’t control his summoned pet, aggro-ing many elite monsters and ended up killing all of us. And there was this one time where two other people and myself formed a small group, but since we all knew what we were doing, we never had any problems killing mobs even with a couple of elite monsters trying to make us taste the dirt on the ground.
But isn’t that all part of an MMO life? Sure it is! Just remember though; no matter how good you (think you) are, you just won’t be able to overcome some of the obstacles that the dungeons will throw at you alone.
Just another typical day in Aion.
The difficulty of these group quests/campaigns/dungeons are well balanced, and so are the classes. No matter how high your level and skills are, you can never take on a dungeon all by yourself. Some players however, may prefer more options to the difficulty and class design. It’s always fun to find some clever way for a Cleric to become the ultimate tank or an Assassin with a one-hit-kill damage but with only 10% success rate of landing any attack. Yes, these alterations can sometimes result in a catastrophic unbalance, but options are options. If you’re worried about balancing though, you shouldn’t because it looks like NCsoft is keeping a close eye on it. Since Aion is well-balanced, it comes down to the skills of the players, and with the group, you can determine how good the player really is.
MMOs are all about varieties, and no one will enjoy Aion to the fullest by doing quests alone. Sometimes you want to loot good items. If you’re into crafting, you might want to gather up some materials. However you want to play, the environment changes as you progress throughout the levels.
A scene I captured while resting between flights.
Aion is a very colorful MMORPG indeed.
If you’re a tech-sensitive guy/gal, you might notice low-res textures here and there, but compared to many other MMOs out there, it’s not only pretty and beautiful, but also vivid in colors. This was one of the reasons why NCsoft chose CryENGINE, and good for us that they’re fully utilizing its potential.
The art is also distinctive. We could tell that some of the designs are either western or eastern culture influenced, but many times we enjoyed the creativity.
We like the design so much, we're killing them with joy!
As the environment changes, we were hoping for fresh monster designs each time. Compared to other MMOs, we witnessed fewer repetitive designs, but we could still spot a few of them. We’re not concluding anything about the monster designs yet because first of all, we’re (probably) only half way done with the game and second, many of the monster designs were still very impressive. Some of them were surprisingly ‘different’, but we’re not going to spoil it for you. You shall meet them in due time.
Once you get used to the group environment while following the main storyline, you’ll reach level 25. What’s so significant about level 25? I just have one word my friend, one word; Abyss.
The Abyss is where the various raids are happening, anytime, any day. What’s so intense about the Abyss is that it’s PvPvE, which means that monsters can attack either race, Elyos and Asmodians, while Elyos and Asmodians can battle each other as well. Simply put, anything goes.
I was playing with an Elyos character in Abyss, and another Elyos characters came and pointed over the horizon. He told me that there were many Asmodians getting ready to attack the area where I was. I didn’t know what the heck he was talking about, so I just ignored him and focused on the monsters. Couple of minutes later, I was screaming for help (literally) to my fellow Elyos, while I lay kissing the dirt on the ground I was standing on, under the feet of 6 Asmodians. An Elyos came and helped me, but we couldn’t take on 6 Asmodians, of course.
Flying itself can be heart pumping and intense, and now I have to look around and make sure that I’m not too far away from my race while hunting monsters. It can be stressful, but in a good way and same time it can be so much fun.
Because the Abyss can easily turn into a PvP battle ground, there are rewards for the players that survive. For killing the monsters and enemy race players, you can increase your rank within your Legion while ranking higher for Abyss Ranks. You can also earn Abyss Points by killing monsters and enemy race players, and spend those points on Abyss weapons and armors. If you’re into the PvPvE stuff, Abyss is the playground for you.
Abyss can be fun, even if you don't like PvP too much.
Trying to reach level 25 can feel like a chore because accessing the Abyss is such a huge step forward as an Aion player. What we would suggest though is to enjoy the moments instead of watching your experience points bar slowly fill up to your next level, especially from 24 to 25.
So, we’re on our second impression of Aion, and so far it’s been a great experience. We might do another impression on Aion, and we’re planning to focus more on the game systems and varieties. Aion so far has been very satisfying and it is often compared to the best-selling MMORPG yet, World of Warcraft. You can’t deny that WoW has more content, and many times you might have more choices between styles of gameplay (quests vs grinding).
Aion is a relatively new game though, and what we want to find out is not if it’s a WoW killer, but to verify that Aion will have enough content to build its own fan base, large enough to survive for many years to come. No doubt Aion is good and that is why it’s compared to top-of-the-line MMOs out there, but we’re not even sure if we want to compare Aion with other MMOs. We just want to see if it has the originality and fun elements, and from what we’ve seen so far, there are a lot, and in high quality too.
As we reach level 25, it looks like it’s just another beginning. We’ll come back to it once we find more about Aion.