Not too long ago a somehow interesting article appeared within the Korean community, as always, kindly translated and opinionated by Elliot (Aion too hardcore or too soft? You decide)!
This chart shows us more or less exactly on how much XP you can get by completing all the quests and on how much additional XP you would need till you reach the next level. At first, this may look quite horrible especially when you realize on how much XP is missing in order to get to the next. However, on the second look you may encounter that this chart is obviously missing a lot of important information’s, which makes it nearly impossible to use it for anything more than to guess on how grindy Aion may be. Even though Kindred from areyouhellbound.com took the time to completely overhaul the graph with more actual numbers of current quest XP in Aion, in the end it is still nothing more than a chart with some numbers.
To proof myself on what I am trying to say with my above paragraph, I need to explain a bit more about the differences in XP/mob rations from current MMORPGs.
As in every MMORPG you will get XP for killing a mob. I would say that this is nothing new and has been done in almost every level based MMORPG I know of. The only difference between the games is actually on how it gets calculated :)!
E.g. in Final Fantasy XI you always got 100 XP for killing a monster that is the same level of you, regardless of your current level. That means that an increase in the XP you need for a new level will directly affect on how long it would take. So if you needed e.g. 1.000 XP to reach level 2, you would need to kill 10 mobs of same level. But if you are moving from e.g. level 10 to 11 which required e.g. 3.000 XP you would have to kill 30 mobs of the same level as you – still this does not include parties or the fact that in FFXI you couldn’t always defeat enemies of the same level as you, once you reached higher levels (so you were forced to kill lower level mobs during soloing which actual gave even less XP per mob)…
However most other MMORPGs employed a different system… each mob gives a specific amount of XP, the higher the level of the mob the more XP you get. Now it already starts to get tricky to actually judge the grind level of a game by just some numbers, above all because we really don’t know on how this scales up during your advancement in levels. You may get 100 XP for the mobs at level 1, but you could also get around 2.000 XP for mobs at level 10 already. This ratio is also totally different in every MMORPG you will encounter – and then just think of all the different calculations for parties, mob/character level delta modificators or on how long it takes on average to kill a level 1 or a level 10 mob etc. etc. etc…
Well I guess you can already see on what I was trying to demonstrate to you. Correct… you can’t determine the actual grind of a MMORPG from just a XP chart, especially when you don’t know on how the XP is calculated. So since I am pretty sure not all of you are interested in some more detailed math lessons today, I will just leave this information as it is and continue with the actual XP progression of Aion 🙂
Aion uses the same XP acquisition schema I showed in my second example above… the higher the level of the mob gets, the more XP you get. This is already a good thing, since in Aion you can always defeat higher level enemies the higher you are, thus acquiring more XP in around the same amount of time (a mob of same level as you or 1-2 levels above should never be a problem).
With this information the XP chart actually doesn’t look so bad anymore, but we still need to know on how exactly the XP of each mob level scales in relation to your own level… actually I can’t give you exact number’s here, but what I can tell you is that a Level 35 Mob gives around 14.000-18.000 XP, while a mob at level 25 would give around 6.000-7.000 XP! So when looking at the charts, we can definitely see with increasing level it indeed gets more difficult (simply due to the fact that the mob XP doesn’t scale up as much as the xp you need for your next level). Yet not nowhere as bad as it looked like when you were just looking at the XP numbers alone ^^
Still I don’t think that even this information gives anyone of you a satisfied answer on how the grind feels in Aion. We still haven’t even counted in the fact that each quest you do actually gives much more XP because for most of them you actually need to gather or kill something – all which gives you additional XP too. Just think of a quest where you need to collect 12 snake eggs and in order to find them you need to kill, let’s say around 20 snakes… 20 snakes alone would give around ~350.000XP already at level 35 :).
Hence I for one conclude the much more interesting and meaningful evidence about the grind shouldn’t be the numbers nor the amount of time you need to level… the true question should be will you enjoy the journey? Is there enough motivation for you to get to the max level? Or how boring will be the grind?
From my own experience, I can assure you that level 1- 20 will mostly feel like you are questing in WoW. You should always have enough quests and missions to get to the next level and there will also be enough rewards so that you have plenty of motivation to move on. After level 20 it’s almost the same, you will encounter new areas, getting new quests, maybe doing your first quests in the enemy area or in abyss etc. and you should almost be able to hit level 30 without any kind of too repetitive grind. If you are a pure solo gamer and can’t accept any type of party or party quests nor do you want to enter abyss, it may happen that at around level 25-30, you may grind yourself 1/4 or 1/2 of each level just by completing some type of repeatable quests (coin quests for example – you collect coins and can exchange them into a random item). After around level 30 you will recognize that the quests alone don’t bring you to the next level anymore, except you have some parties, doing some crafting (craft XP) etc.! Although especially for a common solo WoW player it may start to feel like a grind now, even though it’s nowhere as bad as it would ever get in a game like Lineage 2, Silkroad or RFOnline…! Moreover once you are around level 32-34 you will start to do your first instance. Since I for one don’t like the solo grind that much too, I choose the path of farming the instance for better equip and my first yellow weapon (sadly I still haven’t got it yet – too unlucky). Indeed with the instance you will get plenty of XP, so you can easily make it up to the late thirty’s, just by partying with other players. Oh some of you may still have the erroneous belief that if you are a ranger you can never get a party. All I can say is, that I am a ranger myself and I still doing a lot of instances every day with just random parties. It never takes me longer than 5 minutes after asking for a party to get an invite. Lately I am usually getting an instant invite after my typically “37 궁성 파티 구해요 (37 Ranger LFP) shout :). And that’s also in non peak times – so don’t worry here. Anyhow where I really see a problem is the summoner class, I have yet to see one summoner in any of my parties. So I am really not sure about this class but they are definitely in need of changes there (it remembers me a bit of the poor warlock class in the beginning of WoW).
Now regarding the last few levels 40+ I am pretty sure it will take you some time, especially if you are a casual gamer and you don’t like to grind on mobs for too long. However with a good party and the 2nd instance which awaits you it’s still nothing near comparable to any of the known grind games! Also just remember by that time you will already have many different choices on what you can do in the game. Crafting, doing instances with your friends, pvp in abyss, invading or doing some quests in your enemies faction areas together with your friends (very fun and exciting!) etc. !
All in all it’s nothing to worry about that yet. I am also pretty sure by the time the game arrives in Europe, they have already added several new quests which will help you to reach the level cap with even less “grind” 🙂
Nevertheless since the creation of MMORPGs we always had to work for being in the tops, we always had to invest time to be stronger than the other and isn’t that actually what a RPG game is all about, what we all love so much about this genre? Otherwise we would still play a simple shooter or something different, wouldn’t we? Therefore in order to reach this goal every MMORPG will always need some kind of grind. If it’s the grind to do quests or instances, the grind to get up the pvp ladder, the grind to get a hero, or the grind to get a specific item which differentiates you from someone else… every game of this type will always confront us with the evilness of “grind“, and everyone of us will have a different motivation and a different endurance to bypass it and reach their own goals, but only the game itself can determine on how exciting or boring the grind will be seen by its players.
With these words I want to finally close my 3rd blog and hope to see you again in my next… 😉