Monday, October 12, 2009

Crafting in Aion

I recently hit 20 on my Ranger in Aion… and I had considered writing about my experience from level 10 through 20 today but instead I want to write about crafting.

In all honesty I have had a secret passion for crafting since EverQuest. I had an enchanter with maxed Jewel Crafting and Cooking. In EverQuest 2 I spent many hours leveling up my cooking their too. In World of Warcraft I leveled Herbalism and Tailoring to max. In Warhammer Online I leveled Talisman Making and Apothecary to max. For some odd reason I tend to enjoy the idea of crafting in MMO games.

Crafting is a great way to get into the games economy on a consistent basis. You don’t have to wait for rare item drops to sell on an Auction House. You can spend a little time and always have something that should make you a profit. The problem is most games don’t go about making a crafting system for what most gamers intend to use it for.

In EverQuest Jewel Crafting enabled you to make the best rings in the game for a very long time. It lasted 2 expansions before being obsolete. Crafting was rather simple; combine the materials in some sort of container and you created an item. Since EverQuest MMO developers have tried to make crafting into its own mini game. In EverQuest 2 you had abilities to hit to counter possible failed crafting attempts. In Warhammer Online you had virtually endless possibilities of ingredients to combine into countless random items.

All of these crafting systems lacked 2 major factors. First they tried to make crafting fun. Now while I’m not opposed to making anything more fun in a MMO I believe one of the beauties of crafting in a MMO has always been the down time. I don’t like crafting systems that take as much work as killing a mob. To me it should be a relaxing mechanic within the game. I prefer systems that allow minimal concentration on my part to level up my crafting. That enables me to read, surf the internet, read blogs, or study up on quests I am planning on doing all while still accomplishing tasks within the game.

Second is that leveling up crafting is often a money sink where you can’t sell any of the crafted items until you max it out. You spend hours farming mats or shopping on the Auction House just to buy mats to create a worthless item, and in the name of a few skill points.

Aion has fixed both of these issues for me. In Aion I can queue up as many items as I want to craft, hit craft, and it will make that set amount without any more input from me. This allows me to do other things while crafting. I’ve been able to look up quests, research gear, and deal with guild issues all while still playing a portion of the game, crafting.

It is also fairly inexpensive thanks to Work Orders. Work Orders are essentially quests for your trade skill. The NPC tells you to make 8, 10, or 12 of whatever item and all the material can be bought from a nearby vendor. After completing the Work Order you earn some exp, Kinah (think gold) and a prize. The prize is often times a material for a craftable item to sell or a design to make something else new. While Work Orders don’t let me directly participate in Aion’s economy it still however rewards my work with some gold and design patterns so that I can craft items to sell.

I would be a much higher level in Aion if I wasn’t addicted to crafting, but I am. I spend every Kinah I can save on it. I’m leveling Alchemy in the hopes that it will net me the most income long term. I’m currently 139/199 and I believe the max in 450. I have a ways to go and I suspect it will cost quite a few million Kinah to get there. I only hope to make it back in time.

Aion’s crafting gets a 8/10 from me. It doesn’t try to over complicate anything and while being grindy, it doesn’t tie you down to the game while leveling it.

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