Aion: Speed Leveling or Sauntering

Ferrari or Vespa? Both are Italian and have a certain sense of style and will usually get you where are you going but in very different ways.

or Vespa? Both are Italian and have a certain sense
of style and will usually get you where are you going but in very
ways. The Ferrari is speed and handling and all about the lowest time
to get to
the finish line. The Vespa requires more finesse, a strong image and
maybe even
some crafting on the roadside to get to the finish line. When you jump
into a
new game, are you a Ferrari or a Vespa, or some hybrid of the two?

style="width: 450px; height: 159px;" alt="Ferrari or Vespa"

Aion provides a couple of game mechanics to help break up
the leveling process and put some carrots along the journey to end
game. These
decisions along with the ability to level while crafting provide some
divergence off the norm. The trail blazers are well out in front
leaving the
rest of us to decide how best to enjoy the game.

style="">Immediate return on
your investment.

is different than most MMOGs that have launched in the
last few years. Most MMOGs now launch with the ability for characters
to pick
their endgame class from the outset. Aion delays this decision by ten
and thus provides a good incentive to get to level ten and Ascend not
only into
the final class selection but also get wings and flight. Level ten is
only a
few hours into the playtime so it’s not oppressive and
provides a nice perk to
getting there. The next milestone is a bit farther out though. Levels
11 to 24
are rife with new content to explore and various mods to meet and
destroy. At
level 25 though everything switches from PvE to PvP as the bulk of the
new work
reside in the Abyss. After level 25, there are less pathways to the
but the idea of PvEvP offers up many ways to gain gear and experience.

class="MsoNormal"> style="width: 354px; height: 342px;" alt="Abyss"

all of these game changing events relatively early on in
the game, players feel a sense of accomplishment and excitement as they
those levels. Level 24 is certainly a joyous level as you gain access
to one of
the developer’s crown jewel, the Abyss.

style="">More than one way to
craft that cat.

and leveling the old fashioned way is primary
method for people leveling up, but there is another way. In another
change off
of the norm, Aion grants experience points for gathering and crafting.
Gathering materials won’t net you large sums of experience
points (XP), but it
is a nice little bonus. Crafting on the other hand can grant some real
XP. We
won’t delve into the pros and cons of the overall crafting
system here
to say that a character can rack up some good progress in levels.

class="MsoNormal"> style=""> style="width: 375px; height: 319px;" alt="Aion Crafting"

style="">Many paths, which one
to chose?

I hear
what you’re saying or what that little voice in your
head is saying (you may want to have that checked by the way),
“Medeor, why
would I dilly or dally and not sprint for the finish line?”
And from the way
that people on my friend and legion lists are rolling, there is
definitely a
bias towards gaining max level as quickly as possible. That is to be
MMOG players are reward and goal driven and nothing says Finish Line
saying “ding, and that’s 50.” style="">  I
have to
say though that trying out so many MMOGs over the last 6 years has
taught me
that the early bird doesn’t typically catch the worm, usually
they just catch the
bugs. Not once have I thought, “if only I’d been
max level sooner I could have
[fill in something of consequence here].” That leads me to
believe that all
paths lead to the promised land.

class="MsoNormal"> style=""> style="width: 450px; height: 284px;" alt="Aion Gathering"

style="">Anyone looking at the
path less travelled?

the first round of main characters I would not expect to
see someone leveling through crafting. Players may achieve a level or
two, but
not the bulk of the levels. Now for the second round aka Alts, I would
guess a
lot of people will take advantage of having a high level gatherer that
subsidize a new crafting alt. This will really be interesting to review
progression of main characters versus alts.

knock against Aion is the apparent grind that occurs
later in levels that may drive some of the faint of heart away. One way
we will
be able to determine that is by watching where alts tend to dry dock.
If we see
a huge bubble of alts in the mid to late twenties, then we’ll
know that the
grind gets too nasty right around there. And if it does, will you
continue to
work towards the ultimate goal of endgame fun?

are so many things to explore in this game, it would
seem a shame to just put your head down and sprint to some arbitrary
line. Then again, I need to know my audience (and myself) and realize
there be gold in “them thar hills” and we want it.
The game is over a year old
in Asia, but it is still fresh in the western markets. How many people
truly evaluating every avenue they have for leveling up and filling out
character sheets? Is the only measure of progress the XP bar? What are
doing to progress your character toward max level and the endgame?

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