November 18, 2009
A Casual Approach to Aion (Part 2)
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Part 1 of this article here.
Last week I briefly discussed the variable factors in terms of in game goals and play time, including profession leveling, gathering and questing. I’d like to start out by discussing the latter two of these in a bit more detail considering they will make up the bulk of my in game time and affect the planning stages the most for those of us who have limited availability and are more casual players overall.
The main factors in my decision making process for questing versus gathering were the size of the quest hub I was currently working on and the current state of my gathering skill in comparison to the nodes in the areas nearby. If I felt like I was behind on gathering skill, or knew that I needed to level it up before I moved into a new area, I would focus more on gathering and less on questing. Although the two are not mutually exclusive, sometimes it became apparent that ignoring the quests for a short time and hunting nodes to gather would be more beneficial than focusing on the quest goals. During these periods of time, I would simply farm the nearby mobs for XP gains while waiting for nodes to respawn.
For the most part however, questing is generally better suited to longer gaming sessions and gathering / grinding is better suited to shorter ones. The exception here would be the smaller quest hubs that are restricted to a fairly limited area as they can usually be completed in shorter time frames. Always remember that you can skip a quest hub and save the larger ones for another day when you do have the time to go complete them.
Looking back on my experience, I leveled from 1-16 solo for the most part. It is entirely feasible to level up further solo as well. There were a few times when I found myself killing mobs several levels ahead of myself. As a sorcerer, the main thing I had to keep in mind was that since I’m fairly squishy, playing carefully in situations like these was of utmost importance. Dying is both a costly and time consuming mistake (and one that I’ve made many times). Making sure to take my time and think strategically, I was able to work through them with little to no problems at all. The last few levels in this range become the hardest, just be sure to play carefully and not to rush, and you will be able to work through them alone.
When you hit roughly level 18, you’ll want to work on the quests relating to the Mau and the Black Claw area. For this, you will need to find a group (and it is most likely your first major group experience in Aion). It also means you will want to be sure to set aside a larger chunk of time to play. The area isn’t too large, but the elites are tough and the quests take some time to work through. I had a ton of fun here in the beta, and can say its well worth the effort if you can plan for the time to head over to the area with a group to check it out.
At this point, I’ll have to admit that the next few levels really tested my patience with this game. Going from roughly level 20 to 25 was very rough in my experience, and involved a lot of solo grinding that I wasn’t initially prepared for. Looking back on it I could have probably done it better by strategically choosing mobs that yield the highest XP possible and focusing my efforts, but my haphazard method at the time made it more painful that it had to be. Needless to say, I’m much more used to grinding in Aion and far more focused now, but for those of you who may still be in this range fear not; once you finally hit level 25 the process becomes easier for a while and much more enjoyable when you get to enter the Abyss!
I have a few more tips for casual and hardcore players alike:
- Leveling professions is both costly and time consuming. I recommend doing it in short bursts and make sure you do the first free work order repeatedly, as Middea has already mentioned in another post.
- Make sure you focus on gathering as you go if it is important to you. Going back to do this later on can be extremely annoying!
- Off peak times are excellent for farmed quests, waiting on spawns, drop rates and other tasks that are difficult to accomplish during peak hours. If you can and have the time, leave these for those times when there are fewer players around to compete with.
Overall, my main strategy was to know in advance how much time I had available for the day so that I would have a plan of attack before I even logged on. This helped immensely considering I tend to get sidetracked quite easily and can become distracted with legion chat, browsing the broker or selling items, or just randomly wandering the world around me. It isn’t exactly uncommon for me to spend hours in a game and not feel like I’ve accomplished much if anything at all, so being prepared and organized is crucial to keeping my focus while playing an MMO casually. Of course, this strategy is only really important if you are trying to level in an efficient manner. If you simply wish to enjoy the game at your own pace, feel free to do so.