And so it begins
Grabbing a drink and a snack, I settled in for my exciting new adventure. First step -- choose a race. Second step -- choose a class. Check, and check. Two of the three longest steps in gaming for me are completed in mere moments (maybe I should have you all choose any time I go to a new game, it will save me oodles of time!). However, that left me to wrestle with the longest step ever... character creation. Anyone who knows me, knows I can spend literally hours in a decent character generator; Aion was no different.
Luckily, I did have a head-start since I had already spent numerous hours looking through options when making my Elyos. However, I was disappointed to find that with the exceptions of one set of horns and one patterned face, hairstyles and faces offered little in unique choices for this faction -- at least for the females. I was quite surprised to find that I could make my Asmodian look exactly like an Elyos, complete with creamy light skin and blond hair. Now, if only I could convince the Elyos to leave names turned off and not show my wings, I might be able to mingle amongst them. The only real variety came in skin colors; while I could make my Asmodian look like an Elyos, there is no possibility for an Elyos to impersonate an Asmodian who has a blue, purple, or green skin tone.
Taking a walk on the wild side
So, finally happy with my appearance and excited to sink my talons into my new life, I clicked create and awakened to begin my life in Asmodae. Other than a decidedly Asmodian skewed cut scene, the first difference I noticed between the Elyos and Asmodian starting lands was this -- the isle of Ishalgen is much more beautiful. I know this comes down to personal preference, but the richness and vibrancy of the colors in Ishalgen put Poeta to shame. Lake Tunapre and Munihele Forest were breathtaking; I spent some time just simply looking at the sights, enjoying the shimmering iridescent colors of the trees and mobs. The music playing through the forest was also -- surprisingly -- quite calming and pleasant. In all, the ambiance was more enjoyable.
Moving along to begin my quests, I found that progression was very smooth and linear. In fact, the course was so smooth, and experience from the quests was so plentiful -- I ascended with five quests still in my journal -- there was no need to run off course and grind any mobs. The new flavor of the quests was also refreshing (instead of being a hero helping those less fortunate, you are a raider, taking what you can get). Some quests were actually very similar to their Elyos counterparts, including gathering sparkies for a light-source, but just with a slightly different bend to them.
To be honest, as I moved along from quest to quest, I could not find any validity to the complaint that even the starting levels for Asmodians are more difficult than for the Elyos. I found the opposite to be true. I could do everything myself without a hint of trouble using only quest gear. I never had to group for any quest, including all of the campaigns. Even then, I hardly broke a sweat; the campaigns were extremely easy and none involved killing a boss mob like Elyos are required to. Granted, I was on a self-healing character (by your choice, not mine), but my attacks were less powerful than many of my compatriots. Conversely, I ran through Poeta with a priest twice and ran into more trouble than I did in Ishalgen.
Total time spent from my first footfall in the world to ascension was just under five hours (double that if you count character creation!); this included reading every single quest, stopping and taking multiple screen shots, and popping up from the game here and there to tend to real life. If you omitted this time, I am sure you could breeze through very quickly. The hardest part was trying to capture the best screen shot during the cut scenes.
As for Elyos being the "favorite child," I found that to also be a bit in error. Asmodians had a few fun extras that, although they do not add any tactical advantage, are enjoyable fluff. I became quite enamored with the fact that instead of just
jumping, an Asmodian somersaults! A simple thing, but it made running around just that much more fun. Also, come on and admit it -- how many chose this faction just to have the cool glowing red eyes when they fight? I know quite a few who could raise their hand.
In all, I very much enjoyed my time in Asmodae and look forward to continuing to play. My experience with fellow dark-wings, the quests, and the land itself was very pleasant and positive. Join me later as I continue examining life in the shadows, moving along to Altgard and working my way up to some PvP. As promised, a helpful hint
A hint to all characters just starting out: Do not
finish all your quests before completing your ascension quest. Doing so will cheat you out of quite a bit of experience. Here's why -- no matter how far into level nine you are, the ascension campaign quest will give you enough XP to get to level 10, but you will stay locked at nine until completion. So basically, if you complete all your other quests or grind mobs until you reach maximum experience for level nine, you will not
get any further XP, including the 11,500 reward for completing the campaign.
The best thing to do to maximize your experience gain is to stop everything else and complete your campaign quest as soon as you hit level nine. Do not continue and take the next quest that directs you towards your capital city, but instead turn around and kill a mob to level up to 10. Now that the XP lock is off, finish turning in any completed quests, as well as finishing your lower level quests before venturing on to the capitol for your ceremony. This way, you take full advantage of every experience point that you earn.