The last thing left on my to-do this beta weekend was to experience pvp in the arena with my friends. This would be the first real time that I was able to do any real organized pvp at the current level cap. To quickly explain the arena, think of it as the Stranglethorn Vale Arena inside of a capital city. It’s a rather small area where players of the same race/faction can go in and ffa pvp. There aren’t any rewards, incentives, or any real reasons to go in here and fight other than having a place to test your abilities. For this beta weekend it’s the only form of pvp so it will have to do.
I’m playing a Templar. It’s a tank class and like most tank classes it has little or no ranged attack (none in the lvl 10 Templar’s case) so it was a bit rough going against so many ranged casters. Being a tank type meant that I got rooted and disabled quite a bit, but I didn’t feel useless. At level 10 I have two stuns which were really the only way to take out a healer without focus firing from everyone. My damage, as you can probably guess, was low but my survivability was top notch.
Like I mentioned yesterday in my combat commentary, it doesn’t feel like I’m only level 10. With the number of useful abilities that I can use and the way combat feels it’s almost as though we’re a bunch of level 50′s. If this were WoW we would all be in leather armor smacking each other with auto attacks and sinister strikes, but it was far more dynamic. There were parts in the video where, for some reason, I wasn’t attacking even when really close to the enemy and I thought for a bit that you couldn’t auto attack while running but it turns out that you can… so I’m not sure what’s up there. Maybe my auto attack kept turning off and I didn’t notice; chalk that up to still being a noob.
Flight was the most interesting part of the pvp. It’s going to take a lot of practice as a melee to get good at this (for me anyway) because of the three dimensions. Players can really avoid being hit by flying up, down, left, right, and juking like crazy. Being rooted in the air is a huuuuge problem because your flight time is being eaten up and you can’t do anything about it. Lots of CC in Aion and it really shows even at level 10. DAOC players will feel right at home here but those who hate CC will loathe it. A group of 6 utilizing crowd control will easily stomp 2x+ their numbers like the oldschool roaming 8-mans in DAOC. Anyway, back to flight. This is where ranged really shines and where I hope that melee’s get more useful abilities. The crafting professions will be crucial with their increased flight time pots and (if they exist) root breakers.
Overall, all of us in the arena really had a lot of fun. I kept hearing “this rocks” on vent and “jeez I can’t wait for the Abyss now”. I walked away feeling all the more sure of my decision to play a Sorcerer at launch.