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Back and grounded. January 19, 2010

Posted by castillion in Aion, eq 2, Second String.
Tags: , , , , ,

I’m not going to get all cocky and shout things like “I’m back bitches!” or anything because that really didn’t work out so well for me last time. I will say this, I miss blogging and I miss you guys. I just haven’t had it in me to write much lately. The break has been nice and hopefully has regenerated whatever area of my brain that spouts off nonsense on this page. I hope to be a little more regular with my postings again, so those of you who have actually been bugging me about picking this blog back up (yes, there’s actually been more than one!), you can all GET OFF MY ASS.

Ok, all better.

What have I been up to? The last you heard from me I was happily spending time with my Asian mistress, Aion. How is it now? Did I leave my long term relationship with SOE permanently and move in with the beautiful newcomer?

No, we broke up. January 13th was my last day in Aion. I came crawling back to EQ2 with my hat in my hand begging for forgiveness. What’s that? You want all the gory details? You want the blow-by-blow? The blood? The guts? The tears? Well, let’s pretend that you do for the purpose of this blog. Here’s the story of my love affair with Aion, and where it all went wrong.

First, let’s set the scene. The level cap in Aion is 50. My character was a level 49 Templar (tank) and a level 399 Armorsmith. I lead a legion there and, when everyone left to return to their previous ltr, Taylona, Sinnir and I joined an established legion in Aion. I finished all of the campaign quests and tanked every instance in the game except for the Dredgion and Dark Poeta, raided the forts and I had over 2000 pvp kills. I did not have the highest number of kills on the server, nor the best gear, nor raid all the time, but I think I had enough time and effort invested in the game to form a pretty solid opinion of it.

(I’d like to take an aside here to say thank you to the legion Adult Content on the Marchutan server. We really enjoyed our time with you guys. We had lots of fun and lots of laughs and we’ll definitely miss you guys. Anyone looking for a guild in Aion would be lucky to join up with that bunch.)


levels 1 – 35

1 – 35 was fun for me. The game seemed pretty smooth. There was a good balance between questing and grinding mobs, with some group content thrown in there. There’s one instance at level 25, Nochsana Training grounds, that is probably one of the better instances in the game (not a huge feat since there are so few instances, more complaining about this later). I couldn’t bring myself to repeat it on an alt, but I had fun.

Levels 35 – 40

Again, I had fun at this level. We did a lot of grouping because you start your first gear “grind” at this level with the Krall Molar quests. Each toon needs 750 or so molars to get all the armor, one molar drops off each mob you kill. That means for a group of 6 you’d have to kill 4500 Kralls to get the whole group the armor. I probably killed more Kralls than that actually, as I tanked it for Priya, Sinnir and I, and we joined Adult Content and I tanked it for many of the guildies there. However, although it was somewhat of a grind, I really didn’t mind it and had a lot of good nights hanging down there mindlessly killing Krall Elites. The armor wasn’t THAT much of a grind and is definitely within reach for anyone in that level range.

Levels 40 – 45

These levels went fairly quickly for me, but the grind is definitely in full effect. Luckily the first of the three double XP holiday weekends caught me about about level 44 and this really helped me get through this level range. I had been through several instances by this point, and you hit the first of what I’d call “major” instances, Steel Rake. I’ll talk more about the instance later though.

Levels 45 – 49

Ugh. Grindfest. Again, luckily I had two double XP holiday weekends during this time which really helped me get through these levels. We did lots of Steel Rake, lots of campaign quests, and we ventured into one of the end level instances, Theobomos Laboratory, the rest was done grinding mobs in Indratu or soloing running the platinum coin repeatable quests.

That was enough for me, and I’ll talk about some of the good and bad now.

The Good:

PVP –  I liked Aion’s pvp for the most part. Fights generally felt balanced and fun. I did quite a bit of pvp in the Abyss, a few fort raids, and a lot of rifting, both in groups and solo. The Abyss (the massive FULL pvp zone in Aion) was pretty empty, although I hear that there was some good action in the core. I never made it to the core because I really was not geared well enough to be super competitive there. At least, I didn’t feel as if I was. Solo rifting (traveling to enemy faction lands to pvp) was probably where I had the most fun. I had a lot of good 1v1 and 1v3 or so fights there. Group Rifting was just a mass slaughterfest and the poor people who were questing really never stood a chance, don’t get me wrong, I had fun, but I don’t think they did.

The graphics –  I know it’s the most common thing said about this game, but I though the characters and character creation were just gorgeous. It probably kept me playing much longer than I would have otherwise. I wish that EQ2 had this type of character creator and this type of graphics. I’d never stray again.

The combat and combat animations –  I enjoyed the “chain skill” type of combat. It felt very interactive and I felt like I had meaningful choices during a fight. The combat animations are just freaking amazing and, even after 49 levels, I never got tired of watching my tank kick ass.

The Aion DEV/Community relations team –  These guys took/take a lot of shit and get beat up like I would if I were to go to a Hell’s Angels bar and give a rousing sermon on the benefits of the new Suzuki Boulevard M109R, but I really think they are trying to improve the game. That being said, there were a lot of issues with the game that probably should have been addressed before release and a lot of functionality that really should be standard in modern mmos (spam filtering, need before greed rolling, guild management tools, etc.)

The Bad:

Lack of High Level Content/The Grind. NCSOFT seemed to think that putting long tedious grinds in the game is equivalent to having lots of content since it will take you forever to get anything done. Here’s a heads up guys, grind =/= content. It just doesn’t.


Let’s take a look at what there is to do at level 50.

  • Theobomos Laboratory (instance) – We cleared this instance our first time into the zone at level 49. It took us over 5 hours. That’s right, it took us over 5 hours to clear the instance and you know what we got off the boss of the zone? Nothing. It didn’t drop anything besides a little coin. Talk about a kick to the nuts. Now, I am sure we could have shaved some time off of this instance if we were geared better and took more DPS along with us. However, even at 3 hours, it’s quite the committment.
  • Dark Poeta (instance) – Level 50 required so I never did run this. I heard good things about it though.
  • The Dredgion – Aion’s PVPVE instance. It takes about an hour. It’s fun.
  • Rifting – Wasn’t much fun at level 49+ because it’s basically going over to the opposing faction’s land and slaughtering bots or people who are questing until they get a group together to kill you. I rifted a lot, and I had fun, but it’s not enough by itself.
  • Abyss PVP – fun, for a while.
  • Solo grinding kinah/platinum abyss points – I don’t like solo grinding anything and this is ultimately why I left.

So, for upper level content, that’s what we have to choose from. 2 instances, 1 pvpve instance, and a bunch of solo stuff. Let’s leave off the fact that one of the instances, Theo Labs, is much too long to be a viable thing to do more than once on a weekend, or the fact that they both have lockouts, or the fact that the dredgion is only open once per day during my play time, and let’s say I had all of those options available to me all the time, how long do you guys think that amount of content kept me entertained? The answer is not very long. I know Aion is new, and I know it takes time to get the kind of high level content that a game like EQ2 has, I understand that. I am just not willing to keep paying while I’m waiting for it if I am not having fun with what is available to me.

Item Grind:

Remember how I mentioned earlier that you’d need to kill 750 mobs for your full suit of blue level 35 armor? Well, let’s talk about what it takes to get some gold level 45+ armor.

  • Platinum Coin armor – approximately 12,000 mobs for one piece of armor, and 24,000 mobs for weapon or shield. So, for a full set or armor you’re looking at 144,000 mobs approximately. Yeah…..no thank you.
  • Steel Rake Suit – each piece requires 30 trips into Steel Rake, and most of them can’t be done consecutively. That’s about 40 – 60 hours of instance running per piece. 200 – 300 hours spent in Steel Rake for the suit. Again, I’ll pass.
  • Abyss (pvp) Armor – probably the easiest to get really, but it’s a TON OF GRINDING Abyss points. People did it and I’m sure that if I had participated more in fort seiges I would have maybe even had a piece. Maybe.
  • Miragent’s Quest. – I can’t speak on this as this is post level 50. I saw a lot of people that had this armor, so I know it’s doable. It wouldn’t  have been doable for me immediately because of the cost involved with each piece and the fact that you needed to be 450 in a tradeskill and I was stuck at 399 due to Aion’s idiotic expert quest for Armorsmithing, but I digress.
  • Level 48 Gold Expert Crafted Armor – yeah good luck with that. I still think seeing a full suit of that, at this point in the game, would be miraculous.

Tradeskilling –  Now, I am no tradeskiller, I admit that. I DID however tradeskill in Aion! That’s a positive testament that at least tradeskilling is fun or mindless enough to be doable by the masses. It was also useful for a while as I actually wore/am wearing some of the armor I crafted. However, it soon got to the point where the scarcity of anything resembling loot in this game drove the price of armorsmithing beyond the reach of those of us not investing in outside sources of kinah or that don’t have a fairly large legion feeding us mats/money to level. The tradeskill quest to advance to expert armorsmithing was also ridiculously hard/expensive, at least until there are more high level people getting more high level drops so that we can actually afford to buy the materials for high level armor.

That’s it in a nutshell for me.

Also, notice I did not include flight in either of those lists? Yeah, your character has wings, and yeah your character can fly….in the Abyss. Oh there’s a point here or there in the game where you can fly as well, but really it just turned out to be a rarely used gimmick for Aion. It WAS cool, and gliding was even fun, but ultimately it wasn’t any different and didn’t give you any more freedom than having a mount does in most other games. I will say however, that flying out to kill a named or pvp in a huge group, seeing everyone’s wings outlined against the breathtaking scenery, ok THAT was awesome.

So, I ran back to the always willing arms of SOE. I logged Castillion back on and Sasspanz and Anep were back and we were all quickly causing havoc as Second String again. I got Castillion his last 3 AA, so he’s 80/200 now. Saw some of the new zones, some of the old zones, some of the new x2 content….all of which I will talk about later. I won’t be raiding much for the next few months most likely, so I’ll be talking more about the group stuff I do and less bitching about all the loot I lost. I hope I have some great stuff to say about the upcoming expansion as well.

See ya soon!



1. Ysharros - January 19, 2010

Uh… who are you?

Oh wait, I pulled that one a few months ago. I’m joking. Welcome back!

RSS feeds are like sharks: they wait patiently in the dark until you come back and then they jump you.

… That came out wrong.

2. castillion - January 20, 2010

Did it? Sounds right to me!

(I’m not a creeper)

(during the day)

3. Caladwen - January 20, 2010

Welcome back to EQ2 and blogging!

4. castillion - January 20, 2010

Thanks Caladwen!

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