Black Claw Adventures in Aion

My Chanter is level 18.5 now.  I’ve mostly been leveling him by solo questing, but I really do not find it enjoyable to do the “Go kill me 10 of those and 16 of those and then go out and do it again but for these” quests.   The alternatives (Solo grinding or group grinding) are much more favorable, except as a Chanter I really do not kill very fast; I kill efficiently and never rest, but I do not kill very fast.  What I have definitely been enjoying is the group questing/grinding going on in the Black Claw Outpost / Village / Graveyard.

Black Claw Chieftain's Tree
Black Claw Chieftain's Tree

Yesterday was a struggle to find a group for me.  I was actively advertising myself as a level 17 Chanter and no one seemed interested.  Today was a bit different though.  I guess level 18 is the magic number (why, I have no idea) because I advertised myself once as an 18 chanter and immediately had four group officers to do quests and kill bosses.  I picked an offer randomly and went into the BC area will a full balanced group (lucked out on this one).

We spent the majority of our time moving boss to boss, killing, looting, then changing channels to do it again.  The EXP was fantastic and I earned half a level in maybe an hour and a half at most of casual boss killing.  Had we wanted to kill anything and everything for EXP I’m fairly certain we could have made that into a full level for me, but I was just along for the ride.   Several blues and greens dropped from the bosses and had stats which blow away anything I’m wearing, but I didn’t win the roll on anything I could use.  Managed some stuff that I plan to AH though.

Worth mentioning is the Chieftain spawn.  He’s the main boss of the area and drops really great loot.  However, he’s a 1.5 hour respawn (the group said) and is camped almost all the time in all channels.  As we worked our way into his big tree [Pictured to the right] lair/den/thingy we had to contend with trains and people pulling mobs from all over.  We hugged walls and moved strategically.  I had these immediate flashbacks of Guk or Solusek B and couldn’t help but feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

As our group was moving in to another part of the Black Claw area, I think it’s the Graveyard, my AT&T Uverse P.O.S. internet went down for 30 minutes which ended my group.  It’s down again right now in fact… thankfully I can just type this and wait for it to come back up then publish.  I can’t wait until Time Warner Cable installs my new service in just 2-3 days.

A few random observations I’ve made that may interest some of you:

  • Look up!  Don’t fall into the habit of just staring straight ahead or in your character’s immediate 3rd person area.  Look around!  The detail of the environments is not only beautiful left and right, but up and down!  The vertical space is used very well to really show off some fantastic stuff.
  • GROUP in the elite areas and dungeons!  It’s seriously a lot more fun than soloing and you will get a lot of loot, complete quests, and experience the lore and story of Aion.
  • Check personal stores for great bargains.  That +crit manastone might be 50,000g on the AH, but someone wants to sell it to you for 100g in their afk store.  I have found some great bargains.
  • Keep your inventory managed.  Don’t fall into the downward spiral of having to delete stuff to make room for better stuff.  Sometimes even those gray junk items sell for THOUSANDS in just small stacks!  Expand your cube now and it will pay for itself 10fold tomorrow.

  • Awesome, I can’t wait to get in there. I’m hoping to Monday or Tuesday. It’s been awesome leveling with you guys. I have my own review forthcoming where I touch on it a little bit 🙂

    – Raegn

  • As a Chanter, get a Gladiator and keep trashing high level mobs with zero downtime quickly! 🙂

    I wonder about the 18, as 19 is the magic number for new skills, actually.

  • Your comment regarding how the dungeon resembled some old EQ dungeons really hit home with me. I was just thinking how much fun EQ was and wished there was a mmorpg that could give me that fun feeling again. I’ve been hesitant to make the jump into Aion because I would really hate for it to turn into another WAR (great beginning levels, but gameplay drops off at end game). Perhaps I’ll give it a little while longer to see how things play out.

  • was just talking with guildies on vent last night about how Aion has this really cool old-school feeling in both PvE and PvP mixed in with 95% of the modern bells and whistles we all expect from an MMO.

  • “we had to contend with trains and people pulling mobs from all over.”

    Sounds like FFXI when I played.

  • Nice! I didn’t get a chance to look up and gawk around that area. I was grouped with a Sin that thought they were a tank and was chain pulling crazy fast.

    The next elite area is a cave for us btw. Well at least the area I stumbled upon.

  • I agree about looking up and down. You find some amazing places to glide from. Since they disallow flying, sometimes I find a nice tall hill and glide a few times from it just because of the sightseeing and the fun you get from a really long glide. I’ve glided a few times where I had to hold down W to land before my timer ended and I fell to my death. Some long glides to be had if you are looking. 😉

  • Aion’s leveling curve is much steeper than most games in the WoW-era. If you try and rush you’re going to feel a lot of anxiety and angst because you won’t see amazing progress.

  • That leveling curve definitely reminds me of EQ. Not as much of a curve as EQ was (getting 2 levels in the 30s from a full day of play was considered good), but certainly not as face roll fast or easy as WoW.

  • Erm, I’m playing WoW and at level 18 it was taking me at least 3 hours to do a level. More like 6 or 8 hours actually.

    Having played many other MMOs before coming to WoW, I find WoW levelling to be on the slow side. After three months of playing around 40 hours a week my highest character is 60th. I am absolutely certain I could beat that easily in either EQ or EQ2.

  • Bhagpuss…

    Are you serious? You could level 1-80 in less than a month playing that much, FAR less than a month if you were experienced, but i’m assuming you aren’t

  • Bhagpuss, I could have three WoW characters to 80 in three months. Leveling in that game is so fast that it’s a struggle to keep your professions properly leveled.

  • I’d compare it against LOTRO rather than WoW. The main difference I’ve seen so far is that LOTRO is a bit better about hiding the grind behind quests that feel meaningful. In Aion the shiny quest veneer is worn a bit thin in places when you realize you need to grind every mob in your path or fall behind the curve.

  • @ Kalath – I agree. I was going into each quest, just doing the quest and running back. I wasn’t killing a lot of side mobs. At level 15, I ended up grinding the whole level because the mobs were orange and in some cases coming in 3s. Even after grinding that level, I have finished all of the quests that I’m aware in every corner of the map on altgard … including destroying a portal and I still have half of level 19 to complete.

  • I’d like to apologize to alot of people. I was very anti-Aion over the last month. Not because the game looked bad but because the hype that surrounded it annoyed me.

    I accidently bought Aion over the weekend… by accidently I mean I was putting it in my Steam cart to mull over the purchase for a day or two… but it seems Steam doesn’t need credit card confirmation anymore. So I ended up buying the Collectors Edition outright.

    I got a ranger to level 11 over the weekend. You know I feel bad for Aion. It keeps getting this “wow clone” rap. Which honestly I could understand if the only MMO you have ever played is WoW. The thing is I see 100 times more EQ2 features than I do WoW features.

    To say Aion is a wow clone does EVERY other MMO an injustice. It’s a standard MMO. It has excellent graphics and feels very much like a Final Fantasy world.

    Now if I could just pick a class…

  • Nobs, that’s odd, because AION is probably the least hyped major MMO release in years.

    I think about 80% of the distrust of AION is really AION getting heat for AOC, WAR, and all the other “WoW-killer” games that have been hyped.

    Then, when the WoW-killer (I’m exaggerating!) finally comes, it is to a near universal meh of skepticism.

    People don’t believe me when I say AION is already in the vicinity of WoW in terms of subscribers (‘s true though… They have this block about any suggestion WoW isn’t the unchallenged king of all MMOS.

  • Why do people get wow-paranoia with every single mmo that comes out? posting charts and graphs to prove that wow isn’t the best, etc. Why does Wow need to fail for an mmo to be fun?

    WAR didn’t fail (for me) because it didn’t kill WoW, it failed (again, in my opinion) because it was a clunky, boring game. Darkfall didn’t fail because it didn’t kill wow, it failed because of . I could go on…

    It’s like the iPhone, people keep talking about the next “iPhone killer”, but every single phone that tries ends up being reviewed as “almost an iPhone, but falls short”.

    If you like the game, play it.

  • @Toxic

    I disagree. I think Aion got basically as much hype as AoC had… and nearly as much as WAR.

    However my bigger beef with the hype was everyone who proclaims that simply because it does good in the Korean market means it will do good in the western market.

    Aion is a very good game, thus far. However no one I played WoW with is picking it up. My Warhammer guild hopped over though. My WoW guild told me “it’s to like WoW to justify leveling again”.

    It just aggravates me that this MMO shares more in common with other MMO’s on the market than just WoW… however since 90% of the people out there have ONLY played WoW, it gets dubbed as a WoW clone.

    It’s going to be interesting when Blizz releases their next MMO. I wonder if that will be another “WoW Clone”

  • Pelkor, you are right. I don’t really think AION is the wow-killer, and I don’t care if it is or not. What I think it is is the first MMO that won’t be a contender.

    And a lot of WoW fans have a hard time with that; outright dismissing the fact that AION is already about as big as WoW as fanboyism when it’s just right there in the numbers.

    I think breaking the illusion that WoW is untouchable is the first step in getting people to step back and really look at where they want to be… I have any number of WoW friends who essentially refuse to even try any new MMO because they are convinced that WoW is dominant, no matter how much they bitch about the game and claim to be bored to death.

    So yeah. The graphs need to come out sometimes. There seems to be a widespread belief that AION is just another MMO, when in fact its already a serious contender, and the English launch of the game is secondary to the home market. I think the idea that millions of people are playing AION a year out from its original release should be a confidence booster for people contemplating buying Aion. It’s certainly proof it ain’t Age of Conan.

  • Actually Aion got a huge amount of hype – giant laser light billboards on the side of the tallest building in Shanghai for example; just most of it wasn’t direct at NA customers 😉

    The comments about grouping up for the elite areas sound interesting to me; my highest char is almost at that point (got 3 to level 15 rather than concentrating on one), but he’s a ranger which from /3 comments seems to be least desired grouping class (LFM DPS, no rangers!); it’s not an overpopulation issue either as they’re the second least played in that range.. Might have to level my Chanter or Spiritmaster instead.

  • I have bought Aion as well, and have a blast since I started, only level 12 now though. As I can make out of forums and the like, the real group play start around level 15 ?

    What about instances ? (Not sure its there in Aion, but that is the word I know you will understand.. 🙂 )

    What about raid bosses ? It seems like many of the videos I have seen on youtube and the like. The bosses seems very none-active, none-scripted. Are they passive or are they “challenging” in movement and awareness from the players ?

    Hopefully some can answer some of my questions.

  • @Stoice

    You could start doing the elite, group content at 15 as long as you had a group that REALLY knew what they were doing. Elites in this game are tough so the area would be challenging (but very profitable) at 15.

    Also, in almost every major zone, your next zone included, there are elite areas and boss mobs roaming around.

    I did an elite area in Morhiem last night. It was a giant bug lair and it was mega tough. Close quarters, fast respawns and all sorts of nasty beetles.

    The first real instance starts at 25, then another one at 30.

  • I started to get bored around 14. 18 now and sticking it out to see a Dungeon and some PvP, hopefully that will be more interesting.

    It does alas feel like an Asian Grinder with some Western dressing – I don’t even want to look at the crafting again as I wasted hours at those tables and every inventory slot got filled with crafting crap. The problem there is by all accounts you can’t skip crafting, there’s 6 professions and I see a demand for 4 of them for my character already.

    Combat is mostly too slow and that’s coming from a Gladiator. I don’t expect to 2-3 shot everything I meet but when you prefer to avoid combat than get tied up you question the design: your certainly very aware of time passing by on simple kill quests.
    I dread to think how it is for Priests.
    At least as a Gladiator the combat looks great – the animation of the moves is excellent.

    Probably for me it’s a case of waiting for the next MMO hype-machine to fire up – it might even be Blizzard next in the queue now!

  • Why are MMO’s being labeled as a Asian Grinder? EQ, EQ2, and Vanilla WoW had grindy exp.

    Just because EXP doesn’t flow as fast in every MMO as the nerfed WoW exp doesn’t make it a grinder. WoW may have very well hurt the market by making EXP go TO fast.

  • @Intruder

    If you want an easier, faster and more short term game, Aion isn’t for you.

    Thank God that combat is slow. Its a nice change from the race-rolling spamfest a lot of other games have become.

  • when you guys say combat is slow, is it that the “twitch” requirements are low, or that it takes a long time to kill stuff, or both?

    how is combat laid out, my coworker said it was like tiered combos, sortof like AoC. Is that correct? could someone elaborate on it?

  • Time to kill is about normal for MMO’s. A mage can 2-3 shot most normal mobs. Scouts take a few more. There is a little more down time between fights depending on your class.

    There are combos… it’s not really like AoC though. It’s more like Warhammer’s Stance/Plan combat mechanic for the Black Orcs and Swordmasters. You hit a button, and it unlocks another ability.

  • I just made 25 today to access the abyss. Easily the coolest designed zone in any MMO ever.

    The deeper I get into this game, the more and more entertaining it gets.

  • ugh, the chieftain brings back bad memories of notorious monsters in final fantasy xi. if you think 1.5 hours is bad try 4 to 8 hours. It also is dangerous design once the game gets a strong RMT presence, because RMT LOOOOOVE to cockblock players needing chieftain drops through botting. Other players sometime do it too.

  • @Pelkor – twitch requirements are on par with WoW, time to kill and skills used are about 1.5 – 1.7 more than a typical WoW fight.

    Alos as a squishy, you really can die quickly if you aren’t paying attention. While absolutely not hardcore in an EQ way, there is a certain throwback which I find satifying.

    I thought after my first few levels it was a bit of the same ole same ole (which it is).. yet the game is steadily drawing me in, as opposed to spitting me out.

    They are definitely doing something right on a subtle level, almost exactly opposite of WAR.

  • Well I got my collectors edition from Steam yesterday 🙂 Managed to reserve a name and make character. I find it awesome that I managed to make short dwarf looking character, complete with a beard and a mean face. Now what class to play..