Grouping up is often one activity that has to be forfeited when you are in a time-crunch. There is just no way to find the people and get them together in order to get anywhere, let alone actually accomplish something. And since most instances take more than 30 minutes to complete (and significantly longer depending on your PUG), these are activities that should be put off until you have a significant amount of time -- and patience. That leaves you to your own devices. What can you do alone? Plenty, actually!
For certain levels, the solo instances are a great way to get something done in a short amount if time. You can tank up on experience, fill your cube with loot to sell, complete repeatable quests, and even work towards armor or weapons that you want. Even better, you don't have to be max level to enjoy the solo instances: Haramel
can be entered at level 16, Kromede's Trial
at level 37, and Taloc's Hollow
at level 51. And let's not forget Steel Rake Cabin (mid level)
, which has been converted to a solo dungeon for the 40+ crowd.
You can leisurely clear these areas without worrying about your pace or even leave when necessary without disturbing a group. Or you can rush through in a speed run if time is super limited; both Kromede's
have a fast version that can be completed in under 30 minutes, and Haramel can be run in under 15 after the first pass through.
Important note: Although upper level limits have been abolished for all of the instances (except for Dredgions), the mobs will be grayed out if your level is too high. The best ranges for getting XP are: 16-22 (Haramel), 37-44 (Kromede's), 40- 46 (SR), and 51-56 (Taloc's). But what if your level doesn't fall into the idea range for these instances?
Me, myself, and I
If you can't get something out of a solo instance, but you are over level 30, you can still participate in a variety
of daily quests
. And oh boy, are there a boatload of daily quests to choose from! Many of the PvE dailies take only a few minutes to complete. The PvP ones, however, may best be left until later as finding the enemies to slaughter can be extremely time-consuming.
Progress on many coin quests can also easily done in a short spurt of time, whether the coins are bronze or platinum. Players may not finish this quest exactly, but at least you are moving forward.
Once you're over the hill
If you are level 46 or above, even more options open up; you have the ability to participate in Empyrean Crucible
and the Crucible Challenge
. Wait, doesn't the Empyrean Crucible need a group? Well, yes and no. If you are pressed for time, you can still earn a few insignias by just asking for someone to group with you for a couple of minutes and diving into a fail Crucible. Basically, zone in and start the instance, then leave (or die). It may not garner many insignias, but any is better than none when saving for the various gear and items available for purchase with the insignias.
And to continue to up your insignia count, be sure to do the Crucible Challenge as well. It takes as little as 15 minutes and fills your coffers with a few more insignias. Remember, every little bit helps, and every 100 insignias you add gets you 100 closer to your goal.
Timing is everything
Unfortunately, some of the shorter gameplay morsels are time-sensitive, meaning your available bits of time must coincide with their game timers. Such is the case with the Crucible PvP arenas
and Dredgions. Of course, there is also a level barrier for these: Daevas must be at least level 46 to participate.
Luckily, the windows of availability are pretty broad for the Crucible arenas. Each of the arenas -- Chaos (10 man FFA), Solitude (1v1), and Harmony (2v2v2)
-- is open from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. EDT and again 5:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. EDT on weekdays, and all day on weekends. Chances of finding a little time that coincides is pretty good. However, since you can obtain only one arena ticket per day, it's best to log in for a couple of minutes and snag one each day. Then you can save them for up to a week to use at a more convenient time. Each arena battle is only 15 minutes, a perfectly bite-sized morsel. And since the sign-up queue has been opened up across all the servers, the wait time is not terribly significant at most times.
The next time-sensitive possibility is Dredgion, whether Baranth, Chantra, and Terath. This, however, is not the best activity to pursue when short on time. All three Dredgions involve more of a time commitment (the instance can run for 40 minutes once you get in, if
you get in!) and have a more limited window of opportunity to participate (11:00 a.m - 1:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m., and 11:00 p.m. - 1:00 a.m. EDT). Combined with your needing to actually get the instance to pop, your limited game time could be spend not getting anything accomplished at all. However, if the wait for the Dredge is filled with something else (say, crafting or harvesting as noted below), then even if you cannot enter, your time is not totally wasted.
Although not recommended (I actually let loose one of my few rants about it), some groups will do AFK Dredges
, allowing folks to step away when necessary after entering. Just please, for the love and sanity of all Daevas -- don't just try this randomly! Make sure that's the group you join before you enter.
Of course, there are other tasks of the non-combat variety that can be done during a short gaming spurt that don't involve either PvE or PvP. If you know of a good gathering spot, you can log in and just grab some aether or other materials for use in crafting or selling.
Crafters have the special ability to be productive even when they are not at their keyboards. If you have the time to set yourself up with fuels and materials, you can craft while you are busy doing other things. I know one very rich potion maker who does exactly that: As long as she has time to log in and start the craft, she is then free to attend to other life matters while her Alchemist is busy producing more riches for her. Of course, this method is best if you are still near your PC and can monitor it if necessary.
And in regard to selling, short game bursts are perfect for playing the market! You can log in, check your goods on the broker, and make adjustments as needed -- all without firing a shot.
Celebrate good times, come on!
No matter the time of year, there is a good chance a festival is going on. Lately, NCsoft
has been quite prolific with events, moving from one season to the next. The current event is the Harvest Revel
, aka Brews and Boos. During a festival you can pop in and do whatever little task will net you the current reward to be traded in for goods (this time it's retrieving Fresh Barley from mobs to give to your favorite Brewmaster).
-- such as the anniversary
celebrations -- utilize the less-is-more philosophy
by granting players goodies just for being in-game, so you only have to commit to enough time to actually log in to collect the currency of the festival. You can't conserve time better than that!
These are just a few examples of some ways to spend limited game time while still getting something accomplished; there are certainly other activities that can be done in short bursts. You can even spend time in game just chilling with your legionmates or sorting your cube and warehouse (though I didn't include that because it would take way too much time for me!). What do you do when you are pressed for time but still want to get some Aion
in? Share your tips and hints in the comments below.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.