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You know 'em -- those places shrouded away from the everyday grind of the world where you can chill-out without being interrupted (excepting spouse aggro), a private nook where you know there is a definite beginning and end to your adventure, one that offers the best possible loot. They are areas often steeped in lore.

They are... the instanced dungeons.

There are actually 19 separate PvE dungeons currently in Aion where Daevas can get their dungeon crawl on. If you include the Fortress instances, you can add another 10 dungeons to this list. Adding PvP instances raises the number even higher. However, since fort instances are seriously lacking in lore and fort ownership is required (so availability is not assured), we will forego including them. We'll also omit the Dredgions and PvP arenas to keep the list PvE focused -- after all, there are times you really may not want to bother with fighting the enemy!

This week, Wings Over Atreia explores the first half of the dungeon list for the benefit of both young whippersnappers and old-timer Daevas alike. Why would veterans need it? Because dungeons aren't just for certain levels anymore. For a change of pace or to break out of a rut, grab yourself some lowbies, mentor down, and check out one instance a day -- you'll pass two weeks before ever repeating. You might even have fun, meet new friends, and renew your enthusiasm for Aion.

I will be honest: When initially compiling this list, I had actually forgotten just over one-third of the dungeons. Once you move past a few regions, some of the instances fade out of memory. Maybe it's because some are run only once or twice in the course of leveling, or maybe there were some nightmare runs that caused them to be blocked from memory. Perhaps you used double XP weekend to your advantage and actually out-leveled the areas without ever checking them out. Whatever the reason, forgetting about them is actually a disservice to yourself; ever since mentoring was implemented, Daevas have had the chance to go back and re-experience almost any dungeon. Here's a look at the field of possibilities.

Aion screenshotKicking it solo

There are currently four solo instances that are great for when Daevas don't feel like grouping or have just a limited time. However, there is a catch: The two lower-level instances cannot be entered after the requisite level range is exceeded (the same will be true for Taloc's when 3.0 increases the level cap), so if you want to experience these, you have to do it while leveling. It is worth it because they have some interesting lore; in one case, that lore even ties into another dungeon. While full details can be found in their respective guides, in a nutshell they are:
  • Haramel (18-22) -- no entry quest; quick instance with fast XP; short storyline.
  • Kromede's Trial (37-44) -- ties into the lore of the Fire Temple; great XP; can do a full run for armor or a fast run for chance at a gold weapon.
  • Taloc's Hollow (51-55) -- long entry quest with lore; lots of XP and vendor trash; full-clear or fast run for upgradable weapon drop.
  • Crucible Challenge (50+) -- very quick runs (can be done in 15 minutes); gives 150 crucible insignia just for entering; no real lore.
Thirty-somethings

With the exception of the Nochanta Training Camp (affectionately known as TG or Training Grounds by old-timers) that Daevas can enter at level 25, group dungeons don't really appear until the 30s. These include Fire Temple, Azoturan Fortress, Aetherogenetics Lab and Draupnir Cave. Each of these has its own special nuances and stories.

NTC: The first group instance available is the Nochanta Training Camp. Previously, the dungeon was restricted to levels 25-28; however, the upper limit was abolished, so Daevas can now enter at any level, making it possible for mentors to assist in this zone. The instance is accessible in the Abyss (each faction's own starting area) after an entry quest and gives great XP along with AP.

Aion screenshotFT: The first instance that's farmable for weapons is the Fire Temple. While Elyos cannot enter until level 30 (in Kyola Temple, Eltnen), Asmodians can actually enter starting at level 27 (in Sky Temple of Arkanis, Morheim). Fabled weapons and extendables are the coveted loot here. Even better, this dungeon has a minuscule cooldown of 30 minutes, allowing for repeated runs back-to-back.

Azo: Once you hit level 35, you can add Azoturan Fortress to the rounds. Asmodians need this dungeon to finish their spy quest Lephrarists in Elysea while Elyos use it to complete the Fragment of Memory 3 campaign quest. Thankfully Elyos now have the choice to decline the instant port to the fortress when they turn in the previous quest step. This dungeon can drop fabled armor and jewelry. Both races must access this dungeon via Heiron, so Asmodians level 51 and above are locked out.

A-Labs: Next on the list is Aetherogenetics Lab (you see why there's a nickname). A-Labs is the only place in game that drops the level 42 skill books. It has no cooldown timer and is accessible by both races -- Elyos at level 35 and Asmodians at level 38. Just as with Azo, the dungeon entrance is in Heiron, so Asmodians over 50 are out of luck.

Draupnir: One of the most farmed instances in the game is Draupnir Cave, thanks to the uber extendable polearm, Commander Bakarma's Spear. It is every Gladiator's dream. Sadly for Elyos, the entrance is in Beluslan, so anyone over level 50 is locked out. Although you can enter this dungeon starting at level 39, it is rough enough that you may want to wait until you have a few more levels before plowing through unless you have some mentors along for the ride. Also, for any old-timers, keep in mind you cannot run straight to the final boss now, but rather you must defeat five of the mini-bosses for him to spawn.

Aion screenshot
So spice up your gaming a bit. Give in to that hankering to go check out a new (or long-forgotten) instance. But hey, wait! What about the over-the-hill... I mean, over-level-40 crowd? Don't worry, I haven't forgotten about you guys -- we just ran out of room this week. So join me next week for the next 10 ways to get your dungeon crawl on!

Soaring through the Aionosphere, MJ Guthrie touches down weekly to bring you Wings Over Atreia. Featuring tips, guides, and general snippets of life in Aion, the column is better than Tutty-on-a-stick, ackackackackackack! Have a suggestion to share? No need to bribe a Shugo -- just send mail to mj@massively.com.

This article was originally published on Massively.
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