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I wasn’t talking about the ring. February 23, 2010

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OK. It’s been a week. I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “What the FUCK Castillion? Where’s the fucking post? Have you even PLAYED the new expansion? WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK MAN?”

First off, calm down.

Secondly, yes I have played a bit, although not as much as I would have liked. Work has kept me extremely busy and that’s a good thing as Sinnir is keeping us in the bills. It’s like she’s afraid we might run out or something. (I kid, I love you honey).

Here’s an update on Castillion then. I am currently level 86 with 205 AA. What do I think of the new expansion? Honestly, I haven’t seen much of it. The first few days, the lag was terrible. Spell lag of a few seconds just kills me (literally and figuratively). It was as bad as it was when TSO was released, it’s like SOE learned nothing from the TSO release. We got the typical response of “Well there’s so many people in the new zones, the zones can’t handle it.” Newsflash SOE, EQ2 has been out for 5 years, you have a good idea what the population of new zones is going to be, plan accordingly. You really can’t use the “we didn’t expect so many people” unless you are just releasing a new game. I know you guys like to use things from other games, but that excuse is really not something you can “borrow”.

That being said, I tried to do a few of the quests in Paineel, got annoyed and went and soloed Chelsith. It turned out Chelsith was pretty good XP at level 82.

We managed to get a semi-SS group together (me, Anep, Rhesus, Taylona, along with two guildies) and were one of the first in the guild to clear the Vasty Deep: Conservatory zone. It was a lot of fun and a pretty zone. We even killed the last named in there. Unfortunately nothing really interesting dropped. I then proceeded to fill Stormraven (PLP) in on the strats for the zone as he went in a few hours after us. He cleared the zone got 3 masters, an awesome fabled cloak and a cool as hell looking dagger. What a bitch. See if I tell you strats again asshole.

Friday night I was sick and didn’t feel like doing much really, I couldn’t even bring myself to raid, so I popped into Chelsith and soloed it again. Ding level 84.

Saturday I signed up for a p.u.g. for another one of the new zones in the hole Demitrik’s Bastion. It was an interesting zone but we didn’t finish the whole thing, it seems to be rather large. There was a cool SK boss flying around on a Pegasus. That was pretty awesome. Saturday night I had to work all night, so I was back in Chelsith soloing in between working periods. That finished out level 86 for me.

Sunday Sinnir wanted to celebrate all my overtime by going to the Mall of America, so I didn’t get any playtime in Sunday night as my typing hand was tired from opening and closing my wallet all day.

We raided last night, so I didn’t get any time in the new zones either. I just haven’t been able to explore them much. I should be able to get out and poke around a bit tonight. I plan on hitting level 90 by Sunday at the latest. That’s a reasonable goal I expect.

I’m not going to go into the gear and spell upgrades (or lack thereof) right now as I am just not sure what my upgrade path is going to be yet. I guess I will eventually fill out my expert spells so I can research the new masters, it’s just a little frustrating that the new expert teir expert level spells are worse than my previous teir masters. There’s not a lot of reason to upgrade. I also haven’t found a lot of reason to upgrade my gear, although I’ve seen an interesting piece here or there. I’ll write more about this though in a couple weeks when I’ve got more of an idea about the gear and have spent some time in the instances. Right now, I don’t understand the fact that none of the gear has any resists at all on it and why I’d want to wear the gear if it doesn’t have any resists. I just don’t get that.

Anyway, I’ll be out looking to group tonight, I hope to have  an intersting story about one of the new zones to talk about tomorrow.

Until then, keep it secret, keep it safe.

I will be one of the noobs asking how to zone into the new zones. February 16, 2010

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Here I am at work. Sinnir is at home happily exploring the new expansion, riding around on her new mount, sending me text messages telling me how cool everything is. What.The.Hell. I hope she enjoys rubbing it in my face because I get to play tonight while she’s at work and I will do the same thing. Ah, the joys of marriage and having a permanent person to poke fun at.

I promised an update today before I got home and logged into the expansion and forgot my blog exists, so let’s revisit my goals and my progress on them.

Goal Number One: Max Castillion’s Harvesting

This was the first goal I completed. It will probably end up being one of the more important goals now that new Adept 3 spells will be in demand and thusly pricey.

Goal Number Two: Get my XP bonus stuff in order

I actually did very well on this. I found some old bonus xp potions buried in Castillions bank. I have the vet reward item that allows me to refill my vitality to 100% once per week. I claimed about 4 LON xp potions before I realized that claiming them before I needed them was pretty stupid and I stopped claiming them. I also spent some time playing Legends of Norrath and won about 4 more xp potions and a potion that will refill my vitality. I probably have enough potions to get two characters to 90.

Goal Number Three: Earn 300 – 400 more plat.

This did not happen and all the plat I did earn I spent on adornments and shinies so I’m pretty much entering the expansion about 20 plat richer than I was when I made this list. It’s kind of a bummer because I wanted to gobble up all the coercer masters as soon as they hit the broker.

Goal Number Four: Finish off some Collections

This also went very well and I have about 40 collections ready to turn in.

Goal Number Five: Finish at least 10 quests and have them ready for turn in. (never gonna happen but it’s on the list).

I surprised myself on this goal. I finished about 10 solo quests that I had lingering around in my journal and yesterday Anep, Taylona, some other guildies and I ran about 10 shard quests so I have approximately 20 quests to turn in this evening.

Goal Number Six: Win the Lottery

Another surprise. I did win the lottery and am currently waiting on my yacht to be delivered and my mansion to be built.

All in All, Castillion is more prepared heading into this expansion than any of my toons have ever been. It’s kind of a nice feeling. However, personally I am the most unprepared for an expansion I have ever been. I have purposely not read a ton about the zones, I did not take advantage of my beta invite, and I really don’t have much of an idea what to expect beyond generalities and class AA (which I obviously HAD to know about ;) I think this was mostly due to my experience with Aion and researching so much about the game and playing so much in beta that by the time live launched was I completely over the pre-level 30 experience. I want some surprises and I want to be a little lost for a week or two.

It should be fun!

We’re famous. February 13, 2010

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One of my guildmates has been recording our raids and posting them to youtube. For your viewing pleasure:

Does it count as a date if I invite you to the group? February 12, 2010

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Allright, so who the hell decided to release the expansion so near to Valentine’s day? This is either SOE’s attempt to break up relationships so poor single schlubs have more time to play EQ2, or it’s the single greatest moment of planning in the history of gaming. Our significant others are all fatted up with chocolate and lovin’ and are more understanding and forgiving of us ignoring them for the next week. Genius, pure Genius.

It’s been a relatively quiet week although I’ve managed to squeeze some playtime in and even finish up some of my pre-expansion plans AND finish a long time goal that was purely egotistical that I have been putting off for a long while.

First, the raiding. I tagged along with the Dragon’s to Palace of the Ancient One on Wednesday night. We killed everything up to, and including, Mynzak (Munzok? No, Mynzak is in Palace, right? Seriously guys, stop fucking with us with this whole naming scheme.) Anyway, we killed a bunch of stuff. I spent my first DKP and got Abstalius’ hot little range item for minimum bid. It pays to come to the party late.

Last night I finished off a quest I’d been wanting to finish for some time. Vanity decreed that Castillion needed to have the title “the Ebon Dragon”. This is a long painful faction grind that was released with the DoF expansion. At least, I thought it was a long painful faction grind for the first 25k or so faction that I did repeatable missions for. Last night when I went back, I decided that killing every monk I met was a much faster way to raise faction and I had 50k and my title in no time.

The rest of my time has been spent finishing up some quests and grouping with random strangers. I managed to get closer on several of my pre-expansion goals. I mentioned that I was planning on calling in sick from work Monday, as it turns out Monday is a holiday for all of us Government employees, so I am off and it’s legal. I’m planning on getting up early and running as many TSO shard missions as I can so they’re ready to turn in on Tuesday. That will probably be good for a half level and an AA or two. We can hope. I’ll write ya Tuesday and do a final reveiw of my pre-expansion goals.

I’ve got more raiding tonight. I’m not sure where we’re headed off to, but I’m sure I’ll manage to annoy at least a couple of people. Happy Valentines day to everyone who celebrates it, and my condolences to those that do not.

Away!

On an unrelated note, I like beer. February 9, 2010

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Real life kicked my ass this weekend between a sick wife, 14 hours of work scheduled, and the Superbowl. I still don’t understand the thought behind planning a change that goes from 10 PM on Saturday until 4 PM on Sunday on Superbowl weekend, then again, ’tis not for me to wonder why. Anyway, I didn’t log on at all Saturday or Sunday, Friday was quite the busy night though.

I logged in Friday for the raid. We headed back into Munzok’s Material Bastion and killed the first set of named with little trouble. The second named kicked our ass for the next couple of hours, which was a little discouraging. I really don’t think he’s that hard, we just could not manage to kill his adds. It seems pretty simple really, pull named, kill his adds when they pop, win. We weren’t hitting on all cylinders that night it seemed. I felt my blood pressure rising so I had a few beers and suddenly it wasn’t so bad.

EQ2 is solely responsible for my drinking problems, obviously.

Afterwards, we gathered up two groups and headed to VP for Anep’s Templar mythical. (Oh yeah, I guess I should mention that as well. Anep betrayed his Inquisitor Azznep to a Templar on Thursday.) So, Thursday night we completed his fabled epic and his first mythical update. Friday he was able to get in on a pick up raid for the Overking, and Friday night we two grouped Hoshkar and he got his mythical. We followed the two grouping of Hoshkar up with a two grouping of Venril Sathir to get another guildie his final mythical update on his alt Coercer.

I didn’t sign up for the raid tonight because the weather here in the Great White North is horrible and I may be playing chauffeur later on. It’s shaping up to be another slow week.

The good news is we are getting very close to the expansion. I’ve preordered mine and Sinnir’s. $70 for the Collector’s Edition for an expansion…….seems a little pricey..but I paid the $140 for both so I guess I’m part of the problem.

Oh well, you can’t take it with you when you’re gone and my kids can earn their own ;)

Stuck on that whole lottery thing. February 4, 2010

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I’m here and here’s the happenings!

I was able to raid again on Friday. the guild started out with Munzok’s Material Bastion, but h-o-l-y hell the lag in that zone was unbearable. I guess there was an issue with our special quest reward earring that SOE has since patched. We quickly ported out of there and shot over to Miragul’s Planar Shard. Now, I think this was our first time to give MPS a real go. We managed to push the first three named over with little resistance and then stalled on the fourth named until time ran out. I had a lot of fun and it was nice seeing a new zone. I managed to bank a few more DKP, so I might be able to get some loots one day! Speaking of that, my RL situation that has been keeping me from raiding as much seems to be coming to an end, so I might be back to a more regular raiding schedule soon.

I was also able to finish Castillion’s harvesting, so he’s now 400 in all the harvesting skills. He’s also got a shiny pink and green butterfly cloak to show for it……yay..? I also finished a couple of quests, so let’s revisit my pre-expansion goals and see how I am doing on them.

  • Max Castillion’s Harvesting
  • Don’t forget to put my recruit-a-friend bonus XP mount on Castillion! (no reason to do this after all helps if I’m mentoring and I do that on Saynt mostly, and Saynt’s been pling alts a lot this past week)
  • Claim all my XP potions, waiting till last minute on this for some reason. I need to claim the TONIGHT.
  • Claim my LoN XP bonus cards. see above.
  • Make sure I have my vitality refiller vet reward claimed.
  • Earn 300 – 400 more plat. This is not going as well as I had hoped. I can hopefully still get a couple hundred plat in.
  • Cheap shinies (in progress). – Currently have 36 collection quests ready for turn in.
  • Finish at least 10 quests and have them ready for turn in (in progress). (never gonna happen but it’s on the list). – Surprise! I already have 9 quests ready to turn in and will likely finish 3 to 4 more.
  • Win the Lottery.

I started writing this yesterday and wasn’t able to finish, so I’ll pick it back up today like nothing ever happened.

I raided last night! A mid-week raid! Hopefully, things in the real world have settled some and I can raid a bit more now. We killed Mynzak last night, and up to Gynok in TotMC. We didn’t take Gynok down, but I feel like we’re close. I am hoping we’ll drop him before the expansion. My 5th piece, the helm, dropped but I was outbid on it. The good news is I am slowly costing people enough DKP that I might be able to win something soon ;)

I am expecting raiding and raid signups to slow a bit after the expansion while everyone concentrates on leveling, but we’ll see. I am trying to convince Second String to take the day before the expansion off so we can run every shard mission zone and have all the missions ready to turn in on release day, but their level of dedication appears to be lacking. Priorities people!

That’s all the new for now. I expect tonight to be relatively quiet and then hopefully I’ll be raiding again on Friday. As always, you’ll hear about it here first.

Old Castillion had a farm and wishes he could pay someone to harvest it. January 29, 2010

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Finally! I got a little time to play this week.

Wednesday I had a short window of time and was able to run Emperor’s Athenaeum in Jarsath Wastes. As I’ve mentioned before, I really think this is a neat zone. I’m still enjoying it and the last fight is still cool as hell. It’s also one of the rare zones that I can still get an upgrade to drop for me, so there’s that too ;) The group was just sick. Berserker, Illy, Coercer, Inq, Troub and Brigand. I felt really badly for the tank. He was a good tank and a good sport about it all, but we severely overgeared him and there was no way for him to hold aggro. The illusionist is a friend of mine, and a total bad ass, so there was some friendly competition with the parse. I won (barely) ;) I was putting up 13k parses, which is good for me, although not my highest. That’s mainly because the freaking illusionist bogarted UT, asshole.

Last night, I actually had a nice long stretch of play time. Know what I did? I harvested! Yes, the whole night, I spent harvesting. Castillion’s skills are now all around the 320 range (including fishing omfg!). So, I should have them capped before the expansion and be able to meet that goal. I  had a lot of fun just relaxing and chatting. It was kind of a nice break. (and thanks to Ysharros I did pick up the harvesting quest, thanks for the reminder!)

The work I had planned for tonight was postponed, so I was able to sign up for the raid after all and I was slotted again! It looks like they put me back in the MT group. My fun days, well fun day, in the mage group is over. Damn it! I was going to show them all tonight! I even put my 4 piece bonus on to help the other mage’s DPS! WHY DO YOU TEASE ME SO WOLF/DD/OTHERPEOPLEWHOHATEME?!? I need a moment while I sit quietly in the corner and sob.

Of course I am kidding. The mage group IS fun, but the MT group is just as much fun and I really don’t care what group I’m in as long as I’m harassing these guys on the raid.

And um, hopefully we can get back into Kurns X2 this weekend, because I kind of let my instance expire and now I can’t take those screenshots of how to beat Sir Rouland like I promised. I’M SORRY, GOSH.

It’s been a long week and I am really looking forward to a nice relaxing night of virtually slaughtering all who dare oppose me. I don’t have anger issues, really I don’t.

Until next time, there will always be that one time.

Nobody Cares like a Bear. January 27, 2010

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I haven’t played yet this week, just been too busy. I also won’t be able to raid on Friday as I am scheduled to work, so this is going to be a pretty quiet week I guess. I’m a little bummed as all I’ve really wanted to do this week is turn the lights off, sit in the dark, and play on the computer for a few hours/days. Alas, ’tis not to be.

There was a rather titillating announcement from SOE yesterday. The EQ2 pvp battlegrounds was officially officially announced and will be included in the expansion. I’m of two minds about this whole thing, and it’s possibly because I really don’t know much about the pvp/battlegrounds implementation or how it will affect the pve side of EQ2.

One one hand, I really enjoyed battlegrounds in WoW. In fact, it’s about all I enjoyed and pretty much how I spent my time in that game after I leveled up, and I took several long breaks from leveling at the top of each bracket just to hit the battlegrounds. I loved capture the flag in Warsong Gulch, and I even had fun in Arathi Basin. Then again, I didn’t really get into the rest of WoW, so that may be why I enjoyed battlegrounds so much there. Also, pvp was always a part of WoW to me. There was always pvp gear to strive for and the ability to run into open world pvp at any given time. The fights were generally fun.

On the other hand, pvp was never something I searched out in EQ2. The extent of my pvp experience in EQ2 has consisted of duels (since I’m on a pve server) and duels in EQ2 last about 3 seconds as a coercer. Either I stun lock/debuff you and you are dead before you even get close to me, or you are immune/can cure my stun/mez effects and you smear me (hellooo Crusaders). 3 second fights are really not fun, and they really don’t qualify as “real” pvp to me. I can only assume they will put some damage adjustments in that lower damage in pvp and outlaw some abilities in pvp. I am just not sure how exactly it will work yet, I just hope they do something to make the zones fun.

Fun. That’s another thing that concerns me. I’d like the battlegrounds to be fun….but not required, or even beneficial, for the pve side of the game. I don’t want to have to grind battlegrounds to get some item that I need for my character to be more successful in raids or pve groups. Appearance armor? Titles? House Items? great! Wand of Uber Striking that increases a classes DPS by 300 in raid X? No, thank you, no. I am fine with getting rewards that are only useful in battlegrounds, but I think in the long run that may discourage people from casually participating in the battlegrounds when they know they’ll be facing people wearing “pvp armor” and will not be able to compete with them. I don’t know what the right balance is, but I do know that I don’t really want battlegrounds to taint/color the great pve game EQ2 is.

I’m also concerned about class balance. I am concerned that SOE will begin to “balance” classes based upon their performance in battlegrounds and those balancing acts will affect our characters in pve. WoW is/was guilty of this when I played. I don’t know what SOE’s official stance on this is, but I hope that they keep the pvp gear, balancing, and whatever else, in the pvp zones. PvP was always an afterthought in EQ2, you couldn’t even duel at release. I, personally, don’t want an afterthought to start coloring what EQ2 has done very successfully for 5 years now.

Then again, what do I know about EQ2 pvp? Exactly nothing. I have been a carebear my entire time in this game.

I guess my general feeling of the battlegrounds is that they will be a fun diversion as long as they are segregated from the rest of the “real” game. I’m cautiously optimistic and look forward to reliving the fun I had in Warsong Gulch. I guess maybe I’ll be leveling the Pally to 90 after all, because crusaders will be monster flag carriers!

Would you really try to take a flag from him?

I was just auto attacking, I swear. January 22, 2010

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It seems like complaining on my blogs has it’s benefits. You know that range item I bitched about losing in my last post? We we were back in Kurns Tower x2 last night, and Sir Rouland dropped it again, and I won it! The Gem of Emptiness and it is super hot, at least for another month ;)

We cleared to the last named again, but were unable to drop him. I think we’re getting close though and may get him down before the expansion. It’s pretty much a matter of understanding how to swap the possessions around and getting enough DPS to drop everything, maybe I can throw a mez or two in there. Also, speaking of Sir Rouland, I’ll post the strat for him this weekend, since any post mentioning him is pretty popular. Unfortunately, I kind of need screenshots to explain it well and I just haven’t captured them yet.

This weekend is shaping up to be pretty busy in game. Tonight, I’ve signed up for, and been slotted into, my first raid since coming back from Aion. It’s really cool of Crimson Dragons to slot me, as they’ve got a plethora of coercers now. They even put me in the caster DPS group! Thank god I’m a tinkerer and have my own repair bot, I’ll be needing it ;) I’m actually looking forward to seeing how the raid aggro has changed. I’m hoping I will be able to go balls out without dying as much since before I left, one cocky sneer at the mob was enough to earn me a trip to dirtsville.

Saturday, Second String is getting together to kill Hoshkar for Graybone. SOE changed Veeshan’s Peak while we were gone so you no longer have to kill the dragons in order. We’ll just skip right to Hoshkar and hopefully have a new Defiler mythical. The plan for now is to one group him, but I hope we’ll have a few more people come along with us for the giggles. We killed Xygoz with 9, so I feel pretty confident that we’ll take Hoshkar down.

Outside of that, I’ll continue working on my pre-expansion goals. They’re actually coming along fairly nicely. I’ve finished up about 10 collection quests that are queued for turn in, and I’ve completed about 8 quests that are ready for turn in as well. I’ll finish up a couple more of the Kunark quests I had lying about and hopefully will have 2 or 3 heritage quests ready for turn in on release day. I still have quite a bit of harvesting to do before I’ll have my skills maxxed out (ok ok, they are all at 90), and that’s super important for me to get done before the expansion as I’ll be needed the new rares for spells.

There’s a lot to do and I like it like that!

Back and grounded. January 19, 2010

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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.)

Aion:

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.

Content:

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!