Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Wings Over Atreia: The Carebear Reloaded

So I hit level 40 about three weeks ago and, in between bouts of boredom brought on by the grindiness that seems to increase exponentially with each level after 35, I thought it best to take a column and determine what to do next. With luck, a few of you learned readers might even have a suggestion for staving off my particular case of the Atreia blues.

In the interests of full disclosure, there are still many things I absolutely adore about Aion, but the mid to high level grind is beginning to take its toll on my Sorcerer's will to progress. Higher level acquaintances have assured me that upon dinging 50, even more grind awaits in the form of gear sets and all manner of desirables walled off by that crazy Eastern-style treadmill. At the risk of stating the obvious, these were not the words of encouragement that I needed to hear in order to soldier on toward the finish line.

Help a Daeva out after the jump.

Finding Purpose

If it is indeed purpose that drives us, it's no wonder my Sorcerer is stuck going slow in the fast lane, utterly bereft of purpose and unsure of where to go next. When in doubt, make a list I always say, and then get your readers to help you check it twice. The options, as I see them currently, are as follows:

So you're here to save the world...

I can spend my days in Eltnen, ridding the land of annoying Asmodian rifters and earning the love and adoration of low-level Elyos everywhere (and quite possibly the enmity of those same Elyos if they're looking for a fair fight). While I'm there, I could even farm a few omblic petals and sell them to finance the completion of yet another grind: mastercraft alchemy or tailoring.

It's strange, the code is somehow different

I could roll an alt (well, I'd actually have to delete one first, as my character select screen is currently bursting with expendables). This is the most intriguing possibility right off the bat, simply because one of the things I like most about Aion is the combat system, and the notion of approaching it in another class's shoes is quite appealing.

There's also the level 30 Daeva armor to acquire, after which WTF-pwning denizens of Morheim would become considerably less challenging and considerably more amusing. The downside is, of course, more grinding to obtain it, as I would need to level four more characters to 30 to acquire the full set for one of them.

The other downside of the alternate route is going through Poeta, Verteron, and Eltnen for the 3,720th time. Honestly I'd rather be subjected to sixteen straight hours of Rick-rolling, my eyelids peeled back in their best Malcolm McDowell impersonation, than to have to see that fat freaking Porgus turning on a Krall spit one more time. Aion's starter zones, while engaging the first, second, and possibly even third time through, are positively repugnant at this point, and make one long for the diversity of EverQuest II's newb lands, or dare I say it, World of Warcraft's. Given all that, an Asmodian alt beckons, if I could just shave the back hair.

It's good for two things: degreasing engines and killing brain cells

I could become a full time crafter. Thus far I've dabbled my way to the low 300s in both alchemy and tailoring and I haven't really tried to do anything other than level the skills. There is money to be made selling gear and consumables, and I could also knock out a few of the novels on my nightstand while occasionally glancing up to click the work orders.

I know Kung-Fu

Still another option would be to actually learn how to PvP, rather than relying on groups or level disparities. The downside here is that it would take time, and you know, research and stuff. Whoa.

Tumbling down the rabbit hole

Roleplay in Aion has always appealed to me, even though I've done precious little of it. The lore is unique and a great stopping off point for original storytelling, without the clumsy baggage of pre-existing canon or reams of faux history gumming up the works. Trouble is, the game's early levels are undeniably fun and jam packed with quest and PvP content, and it really takes a conscious effort to stop and tell a story. Also, given the lack of personal user space in the form of guild or individual housing, and the fact that everyone mostly rushes about from one quest hub to the next, it's rare to run across random roleplay, and rarer still to find it in the same place twice.

So there you have it my fellow Daevas. What do you think of my list? Have I left out any gameplay avenues or options? Do you have any other suggestions for rekindling the flame? Until next week, keep following the white rabbit.

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