December 17, 2009

Life past 40 and current things

My Templar Thulf is level 42 meanwhile. Yes i know, did not play as much as others who reached 50 long ago. I also can only stand the grind for such an amount of time, so i have to go and eg. explore areas with mobs that will kill me quickly to stay sane. ;) In addition, if i am grinding, usually i like to kill mobs at least 4-5 levels higher then me, which is probably not the best xp/h ratio but at least some kind of a challenge if you get adds or such. The longer i play Aion, the more you get the feeling the game is not as polished as many people think it is, just looks pretty. The major annoying thing is the quest rewards and quest access. Basicly the level you can finally take a quest, the mobs you have to kill for it are seldom a challenge anymore. Add to this that most high-level quests give a pitty XP reward and you are just better off killing mobs aka grinding then doing quests. What i do is pick those quests that a) Seem to have a fun storyline b) offer a good reward (be it XP, kinah or items). Basicly after level 30+ i abandoned a large amount of quests due to the low reward those offer. Taking this approach will maximize your XP gain, but you need to do some research on which quests will lead to other questlines, so you don't miss anything important. Some days you get really bored grinding, then you might take on some quests just for the heck of it. So does this means its really bad after 40? It's not *that* bad, but still quite a grind (aka mindless monster killing) despite what NCsoft says. They intend to offer some Double Experience Weekends now to patch things up, but what i really lack is looong questlines with a great story and proper reward for the time invested. Some of the short movies you get to see while questing are really good. Once you hit 40 there are more things to do then grinding tho: The Shugo pirate ship Steel Rake instance, the Alquimia Research Center instance (42 skill books drop there) and more fortress dungeons in the abyss. Soon you'll also be able to do Draupnir Cave as well, tho from the looks of it many skip that dungeon as its very long if you don't know the right short cuts, and the final boss is a bitch. People rather seem to grind to 50 and do eg. Dark Poeta instead. So its not just grind, grind and you have things to do, but only few quests when you adventure solo because your friends are offline or busy.

All the RNG (random number generator) rolls are starting to get on your nerves as well sometimes. Be it expert crafting quests or just trying to improve your gear with manastones, everything is just very, very random and if you have a long line of failures - blowing millions of kinah into the wind - i can see some people ragequit.

Good news for the Templars tho: After 40 you stand a good chance in PvP if you are proper geared and have the valuable stigmas equipped. Maybe during the upcoming holidays I'll write a longer article about Templar playstyle and gear after 40.

Did the recent bot-bannings from NCsoft help? Some... but not that much. You still see daily gold-seller private stores in all major hubs (since the software is not able to detect a gold seller add in the shop text) and i still encounter bots daily in the high-level areas - especially in the non-peak hours - which means they have been playing undisturbed until level 40plus. IMO without proper game master support 24/7 and a better ingame support system NCsoft won't win the fight.

As long as i don't hit 50 and get really bored then, I'll keep playing Aion for now. But due to the circumstances i won't have as much patience with Aion as i did with other MMOs that offered at least a better service. Beside some vage promises i don't see the ingame support change soonish tbh.

Edit: Ah yes, forgot to mention i encountered my first bugged/non-translated quest in Aion. Apparently the localization team screwed up and forgot to translate a few quests. The one everybody is talking about atm is a 2nd entry quest that will let you enter Dark Poeta for only 5 scales instead of 20. The quest i encountered is The Inscrutable Stranger, you can't take it while running the client on english. For EU its pretty easy to switch the game in the language options (launcher) to eg. German or French, then you can take and solve the quest. For the US i think fastet way is to temporarily rename the 1_enu.pak & 2_enu.pak and therefore start the client in korean. The overall localization job on Aion is really good, but how can you completely forget some quests?