AION: Angels dual wielding butcher knives? Yes please.

So I broke down and bought AION Tuesday, since I felt the need to give the game more than just a level 4 beta shot.
And I must say, I am definitely much more impressed this time around. The fixed FPS option has helped so much with lag, and hasn’t actually been that bad visually. Gameplay is fun so far, questing doesn’t feel too grindy or slow, either. So within this post you will find my blabs on questing, classes, items, complaints, and some newbie tips from what i’ve done in the past 2 days.
So a little on my experience so far:
QUESTING/LEVELING

Questing takes on two main forms: campaigns which are linear chains that usually span over several zones and major grind areas. Completing these is where you get your gear and weapon upgrades. Of course, you have your vanilla quests which are usually singular but more often than not can be done along side campaigns and give basic rewards like potions, buffs, gold, and XP. More often than not, you can pick up quests and campaigns that are a level or two higher for you, allowing for a much smoother ride through questing as you level, or an opportunity to group with other players to get harder content done.

Another interesting and unique feature I’ve found is the built-in Dictionary which works more like an encyclopedia, IMO. But basically you can read quests, and certain information within them will be interactive. Click on the name of an item, mob, or NPC, and a little box will come up with more information, in many cases including the option to Locate said item/mob/npc on your map.

Speaking of, the map system is wonderful. While some may complain that it’s a little EZ-mode, I think it’s great help, especially for people who are new to MMO’s. You have your classic world map, that you can access by pressing M, that will show you where you are, as well as quest turn ins and your most recent “Locate” item. You can also press N to get a transparent overlay map, which allows you to keep fighting/walking but still get a quick idea of where you’re going.

One last feature I absolutely adore is the Change Channel option, which i discovered VIA an in-game announcement. Like the separate districts in Guild Wars, changing channels basically moves you to another “copy” of the zone you’re in, allowing you to escape the sometimes rampant over crowding newbie areas have. Though this option isn’t available for every zone, it’s still extremely useful and welcome in the newbie areas.

So I must say, all-in-all, the questing/map system adds a lot more depth and fun to the starter leveling deal, making it smooth and feel like less of a grind. Here, so far at least, I feel the developers have created a great balance making game-play enjoyable.
CLASSES

So the way classes work in this game is that you pick one of four main ones, and at level 10 you get to choose which discipline you wanna take on: Scouts become assassins or rangers, Mages become sorcerers or spirit masters, Priests become clerics or chanters, and Warriors become templars or gladiators. The final 8 classes are where you find your specialty roles, like tanks, healers, ranged, melee, buffers, and caster DPS.

I rolled a Scout, level 10 now in which I chose my destiny as a Ranger, so to speak. I’m thinking I might have regretted this. As a scout, leveling had been close-range melee with stealth and combos, something I’m used to VIA rogue and have come to like. Going the route of a Sin would probably be an extention of what I’d been doing thus far, while a ranger has been a bigger shift in play style.
At least I got my wings!
ITEMS/ENHANCEMENTS/PRIVATE STORE

There’s not much to say so far. You get your basic drops from mobs; Greys which are vendor trash and quest items. You get manastones which are items you can socket into your gear to give you a bonus. Use/Save these often. Gear at this level is White, as expected. You start with 2 pieces that actually buff your stats, chest and legs. You get boots soon enough, and a belt will drop eventually, or you can buy one for fairly cheap from someone’s private store. Eventually green items start dropping and adding to more than just your basic stats.

There is a cool option to make a private store, in which any surplus items you wanna sell, you list them in the store and sit in a spot where people can run up to you and see what you have. They can buy from you much like they would buy from any NPC vendor, meaning you don’t have to do shit. It’s a nice option, if you wanna go AFK. In fact, you have to AFK. You can’t do shit while you’re “selling”.

But it’s nice if you got shit to do. Go make dinner, take a quick shower, do your homework, play wow, write a blog entry, ?????, come back and profit. Literally.

BITCHIN’
As far as complaints, I have only a few.
~ Queue times can be pretty ridiculous during prime hours. The first day I got the game, I rolled on Triniel, an east coast server, because I have some friends there. That night I tried to get back on so I could add friends and was met with a 2 hour wait. So for now, AION will be a “before 5pm” game.
~ Gold farmers are rampant. No seriously, they are like a plague and it’s driving me insane. Poor AION team has been trying desperately to do something about it. They started by making it so nobody under level 4 can spam general chats, but that doesn’t stop them from whispering everybody who runs by. Even while on invisible mode, if they see you, they can apparently whisper you. Sometimes they even spam your dreams. I’m serious.
~Every time I exit the game, it brings up the website, which I find absolutely obnoxious.
What chat looks like, every waking second of your existence.

Last, but not least.
NEWBIE TIPS.
I’ve read little on how to go about doing things on AION. I’d much rather discover a game through trial and error, that’s how I learn best, and it helps with understanding things instead of just being told.
So what are some things I have learned thus far?
~LOOT EVERYTHING. Even trash grey items. And this should honestly be a staple tip for every MMO, but I have noticed people leaving grey’s behind on their kills. So I swoop in and pick up what they leave behind. As you kill mobs, you’ll usually get small stacks of 2-3 that sell for 300 kinah. Flights are about 200 kinah, basic vendor gear and weapons can range from 400-800 at low levels, skill manuals also around 200 each, and plenty of people are around selling green weapons and armor for around 2,000. Making money so far hasn’t been a chore, which is great, but those extra “pocket change” trash items have definitely helped in covering some basic stuff.
~MAKE A BANK ALT. All those white items you don’t need, especially manastones, will be useful for alts or to sell at low level areas for people who want to upgrade their gear. So anything that has stats you can’t use, save and store. I’ve yet to discover if there is a personal bank option, which is likely, but either way, i guarantee you will need to empty your bag before you get to one.
~GATHER EVERYTHING. I touched on the gathering system in my original post during beta. You get a quest early on to gather some Aria, but trust me, keep gathering whatever you see. Items have high stack numbers from what I’ve been told (999??) and as you advance, you need higher skill for items that you sometimes need for quests. I’ve run into a few people while questing who couldn’t complete a campaign cause they needed to mine iron, and couldn’t. Again, send all surplus to your bank.
~UPGRADE GEAR. It may seem expensive at first, but trust me, it’s worth it. Buy new gear when you can, namely chest and leg pieces since i’ve found the campaigns so far offer foot gear a few times. It helps tremendously because these mobs are no joke. They hit hard. You can die easily if you get passed level 5 without upgrading gear or weapons, especially clothies. As an addition, USE MANASTONES. Seriousy, they drop all the time, they’re cheap, and like I said, every extra point of damage, health, mana, parry, whatever, that you can use is worth it.
So that’s it for now! I’ll update the world on some more madness later.