I’m writing a personalized guide for my friend Sam, for whom I bought a copy of the very pretty, highly anticipated (400,000 preorders) MMO, Aion. A hardcore console game player, Sam has never played a PC based MMO before. While I know he’s intelligent enough to figure things out on his own & Aion actually has very good Beginner’s guides ingame, I’m writing here tips & advice I would give him were I sitting next to him at his computer.
Why did I not buy Sam a copy of WoW instead?
Well, Sam is an artist. While there are certainly great graphics in WoW, Aion is an entirely different league of aestheticism, & while I would probably not wish any addictive kind of game on a compulsive personality like Sam, the world in Aion was simply crafted with so much love that I felt like he had to see it. There is also, consequently, more content in WoW, a lot of that being community based, but I don’t expect Sam to become a hardcore raider. Just a vacationer, enjoying the sights. I’ve only come across one creature in Aion that I didn’t want to stop & examine more closely. The amount of detail lavished even on the level 1, non-combat critters in here is impressive. Aion has been marketed as “visually stunning” & I’d have to agree. This is the most beautiful game I’ve ever played.
Anyway, on to my guide.
Ok Sam. Once you’ve gotten everything installed & your account set up, you’ll patch in & the first thing you’ll have to do is pick a server. Once you pick your server, you have to pick a side: Elyos or Asmodian. I’m playing Elyos on Siel, & Asmodian on Fregion if you think you might want to play together. Frankly this game is enjoyable both with friends or solo; it’s just so damn pretty. Once you’ve picked your side (you’ll be that side only on that server; if you create a character on another server you can choose a different side), you pick your class & gender. There’s a good general explanation of the available classes here. There are 4 starting classes & each one breaks into 2 specialties/subclasses, so in practice there are 8 different classes in Aion. I’m guessing you’re going to play a Warrior, the one class I have no previous or current experience with, so no advice there. lol
Character creation is a lot of fun. Make sure you examine all the different options; note that there are 2 tabs for customizing the face. There is even an option to choose the type of voice your toon has. The customization options in Aion are simplified compared to EQ2 or Age of Conan, yet there seems to be a wider variety of looks, in my opinion.
This is a pretty good narrated video showing you how to use the Aion Character Creation options. It’s a white guy who can’t pronounce “Aion” the way the game itself does, but other than that he explains things quite well.
Starting out. Once you’ve made your character & you appear ingame, your very first questgiver will be standing in front of you. He’ll immediately give you a quest, which ends up leading you to more quests, which, as you complete them, will cause you to gain levels. However, my advice at the very start of your game is to take the initial quest, but not yet pursue it.
Instead, gather herbs.
Yeah, sounds odd. At both Elyos (at right) & Asmodian starting spots there are these pink reedy flowers called either Aria or Azpha. At the Elyos starting spot there are 2 on either side of the tree standing behind the starting questgiver (I put stars over them.). It sounds boring as hell, but gather these (right-click on them) & others in the area until you are level 3. No, you don’t have to do this — the game is designed for you to start your level 1 quest at level 1. However, you get free XP from gathering, enough to move you rather quickly through 1 & 2. You will also be raising your Gathering skill, which comes in very handy throughout your time in Aion, & in a few more levels you will be receiving a quest to gather these very same herbs anyway.
You can gather from any node (herb, mineral, fish, etc) 3 times. If someone else has already tapped that node once, then you will only be able to gather from it twice. There is a small delay between each of your 3 gathers, & it seems that if you try to rush it, it ruins your next attempt. There’s a way to reset your gather attempts marginally quicker, & that is to move as soon as your gather is done. Just a small little jerk; I usually just tap one of my strafe keys. If you do this, you can begin your next gather immediately.
It seems like a very small thing, & it is. However, if you ever find yourself committing to gathering 100 pieces of something in order to level a tradeskill, it begins to matter. I really like the crafting system in Aion & so I end up doing a lot of gathering, all the time. If you’re the type of personality that can’t stand this kind of stuff (I tend to think most guys are), then don’t even worry about it. This is just if you are all into the process of things, like me.
Once you hit level 3, it’s time to start doing your quests. The starter quest basically tells you to go talk to another guy who’s standing right down the road, so go do that. He’ll give you more stuff to do. You can tell if someone has a quest for you by the glowing blue thing above his head. Some questgivers will have yellow things above their head; in practice it’s basically the same thing.
The quests in this game, as in most MMOs, are given in a certain order so that you are guided not only to the next questgiver but to the next area of play for your level. If you do every single quest given to you, you will always be of the appropriate level for upcoming quests. If you find that you have run out of quests your own level & have only quests that are too high left, then chances are you missed something somewhere.
On the 1st tab, Game Options, you can check or uncheck a number of… well… general options. For instance, I uncheck the very first option called “Your Name.” This stops my name from hanging over my head everywhere I go. I do this because I already know my name & I don’t need it. Other people like to have their name suspended over their head but I don’t.
From the long list on the right I like to have all my action bars shown, & I like to fix the minimap compass on North. It’s easier to get an idea of where you are that way, imo. It could be that it’s just what I’m used to from EQ, EQ2, DAoC, WoW… anyway. I think it’s better that way. I also disable “Left-click to run Attack/Chat.” I do this because that way if I am on autorun I can use my left-click to look sideways at something without turning toward it.
Down at the bottom right of the tab, I slide my UI Size to around 75. I’m on a 22″ LCD & I have this thing about space. You should play around with your UI size to find something that works for you. I also turn OFF the profanity filter (just in case I want to say bad words… which sometimes I do) & I set the Chat font size to “small.” Again, this is all my own personal preference.
Graphics & Sound options are fairly self explanatory; fiddle with them to your heart’s content but don’t blow your video card up. I usually turn off the Battle BGM; it was cool in the beginning but after awhile I got tired of it. I also had to turn off the Skill Cast Sound; every time my Priest cast a certain spell I could swear she was saying “My beer can!” to the point where I started murmuring to myself “my beer can” every time I cast it.
The final tab, Key Mapping, is crucial for me. I can’t play an MMO that doesn’t provide extensive control over key bindings. My first MMO was EQ & so even though more current games use Tab to target the closest enemy, for me it will always be F8, & so I bind that to F8 in every game I play. I also need to have my turn & strafe keys switched: dueling other players in WoW (coupled with teasing from my guildmates) impressed upon me the value of using my mouse to turn rather than my keys, & so to train myself out of “keyboard turning” I eliminated my turn keys & could only strafe. So for a couple of days I ran off cliffs, stairways & ledges everywhere until I got the hang of it. I had to practice doing figure eights & circles around trees. And it paid off considerably when it came to pvp encounters. However, the muscle memory is now so deeply ingrained in my hands that I can never go back to having left & right turns on A & D.
I also eliminate the Walk/Run binding completely. When am I ever going to want to walk slowly? Never. This is a bad thing if I happen to hit that key by accident at an inconvenient time — for instance, when I am for whatever reason panicking, which is generally the only time I hit keys by accident. Since I never deliberately use that key, I also won’t remember which key it is. And chances are it will not be the best time to have to look up my Key Mapping options. So yeah… I just get rid of it.
Class Training. At level 2 or 3 you’ll receive a quest for which you must go talk to a trainer. This is basically so that everyone discovers where they can get new skills & abilities from. Remember who you have to talk to, because you’ll need to talk to them again. And again. Every few levels. For a list of your class skills/spells & what level you can get them at, choose your class from the dropdown menu at this website. There are similar lists in the Aion Powerwiki & at other sites, but I really like the Aion Armory database. You should bookmark that one.
Anyway, that’s all for now. Frankly I think you’ll be staring around you so much in this game you won’t really have a lot of questions for awhile — you’ll be too busy just looking around.
Have fun Sam!