Aion will be only the second MMO I’ve played from launch. Sometimes a launch makes or breaks an MMO for a lot of people, but usually if you dropped $50 on a game, you’re more than likely going to get your money’s worth out of it, regardless of launch issues. That’s even more true if you either enjoyed the game so much in the beta tests or really like what you’ve read about it and you pre-ordered the game.
For those of you who have pre-ordered, you get some snazzy bonuses including a period of time you can log in and create up to two characters before anyone else can and a two-day head-start over the rest of the general public. The details of these events have been haphazardly spread across the Internet for the last week or so, but they are now all consolidated, thanks to the guys at NCSoft. Hit the jump for pre-lauch info and some early leveling tips.
Pre-Launch Event Schedule:
- Character pre-selection starts at 12:00pm (noon) PDT on Friday September 18.
- Head-start play starts at 12:00pm (noon) PDT on Sunday September 20.
- Servers open for the general public on release day, Tuesday September 22, 12:00pm (noon) PDT.
- You can create up to two characters during the pre-selection, this guarantees your character name and faction. You can utilize the full gamut of character creation tools at this time, but you can not play. Unfortunately, you can’t pre-select your Legion (guild) name.
- There is no level cap during the head-start play. Level up to your heart’s content so you can be out of the lowbie zones by time the majority of players start on the 22nd.
- Neither of these events technically have an “end” – you can create characters all four days, and you can play in the head-start right up until launch at noon on the 22nd. There may be server restarts and/or minor patches during that time, though, especially in the hours leading up to official launch time.
- If you played in the Open Beta last week, you have a full release client (minus a small patch or two) and shouldn’t have to download a new game client for the pre-release events. This has not, however, been confirmed by NCSoft.
Now that the pre-launch details are out of the way, let’s talk about some things to help you get past your first 10 levels, especially if you have never touched the game in any of its beta forms before. These tips will apply to either side of the fence, whether you decide to play Asmodian or Elyos. For the record, I played Asmodians in OB, but will be playing Elyos at release (two characters: ranger and cleric, for those who need to know).
- There are eight “sub-classes” but only four initial classes. You start off as one of the initial classes andchoose your sub-class at or around level 10. 1) Warrior > Templar or Gladiator, 2) Scout > Ranger or Assassin, 3) Priest > Cleric or Chanter and 4) Mage > Sorcerer or Spiritmaster.
- “Ascension” is the metamorphosis your character goes through at or around level 10, after which you can choose your sub-class. The quest chain will automatically appear upon reaching level nine.
- Use bandages frequently, after every fight if you must. They’re cheap and guarantee that you will be at full health, or nearly so, after each battle.
- Expand your Cube (backpack) as soon as possible. It only costs 1000 kinah and will really come in handy.
- Don’t spend your kinah on armor from vendors, you’ll get plenty as drops and as quest rewards.
- Kill everything to and from your quest target(s). This is a good rule to follow throughout the majority of your leveling experience in Aion.
- Gather everything along your way, even if you don’t plan to work on crafting – you can either stockpile it or sell it for kinah once you get to an Item Broker.
- At level 9/10 after your Ascension, you will have wings. You can’t fly in the starting zone, but you can glide. Gliding can be initiated by you, but how long you glide is governed more by luck and terrain than anything else. Your best bet for a long glide is if the terrain slopes downhill.
- After your Ascension cut scenes, do not go to Sanctum/Pandemonium for the ceremony right away, finish up any quests you have in the starting area first. You can come back, but this just saves you the trouble.
There, now you should be all ready to get your feet wet in the world of Aion. If you didn’t pre-order, the game releases on September 22 in North America and September 25 in Europe. All pre-launch event times are the same for both regions.
Next week I’ll discuss my pre-launch experiences, as well as how my character and legion creation went. Now, let’s cross our fingers and hope NCSoft can pull off a trouble-free launch in a few days.