I will not gloss it over. Playing Aion Classic as a free playtester has been a difficult journey. I knew the 50 percent loss of experience would significantly increase my effort, but I didn't really understand how almost every aspect of gameplay has changed significantly for me. I actually had to schedule an hour of play every day so I didn't feel like I was wasting my time. Instead of wandering around exploring new areas or trying tedious quests, it's wise to stay in one place and constantly hunt down certain monsters that I like.
For the most part, I prioritize fighting mobs and maximizing the experience I gain in the first lesson. Repeatable quests, such as B. The daily coin quests gave me a good goal or task to work on so I wouldn't get bored. I caught myself waiting until after the first hour of grinding to start quests that required collecting materials in order to turn them in, although it was easier (albeit more expensive) to be what I needed finally to buy from the dealer. I even waited until after the first hour to turn in these quests, as well as other miscellaneous quests that took a lot of time - such as B. Quests in which I had to visit three completely different areas in order to collect certain monster drops.
I forgot that one of the limitations of not having Siel's aura is that after the first lesson you can't collect materials or ingredients in the world. I want to put the leveling up of my actual character above the specialization in the craft. If that were my preference I could also spend this hour collecting to improve my food or ether tapping skills before getting into crafting. Technically, you can still do what you want, but you are limited by the hour-long time limit to get your own materials instead of spending Kinah in-game.
As a result, Aion Classic feels like an MMO penalizing players for not paying for a subscription. I felt compelled to choose my focus for the day and plan my time in the world instead of simply experiencing it organically like any other game. I'm not here to bash the full subscription, but I think it is so restrictive for Free Trial players that it either prevents many of them from continuing to play or is restricted to a specific gaming experience - namely the grinding.
In all honesty, after just a few days the drag began to wear me out. I felt less and less motivated to log into Aion Classic every day because there was no point just playing the real game for an hour a day. I know Aion is a bad game - it's designed without any disguise - but much of the monotony could be solved by giving free-to-play players other ways to spend their time, such as collecting and crafting. In my conversation with Mike Shreffler, lead producer of NCSoft West's Aion Classic, he noted that this limitation - and the inability for free trial players to open a player shop - is intended to "prevent bots from targeting items and distribute them in the game world ".
While I think this limited subscription is a novel way to try and fight bots, it seems that the bots in the game decided to take an alternate course of action - just sell candy for Kinah and then buy aion classic kinah again. I'm curious to know what the economic impact of artificially injecting Kinah into in-game currency via candy from the MXT store, and what the long-term (if any) implications are. Impact (if any) compared to the potential of bots flooding the market with crafting materials or items. I think even if the market is flooded with materials it will only be a boon for the artisans. Here, too, the following applies: if robots start to manufacture them, that will of course boost the economy.
When I finally reached level 25, the path opened to The Abyss, where I could begin exploring the multi-tiered area of ??Reshanta. This area is home to the dragon-like race of the Balaur, common enemies of the Asmodian and Elyos factions in Aion. The entirety of The Abyss is contested territory between these three factions and often features unpredictable PvPvE conflicts. This is also a completely free-flying zone where players can spread their wings and experience dogfights. Battles in the Abyss also earn Abyss Points, which you can use to level up the Abyss and purchase powerful Abyss weapons and armor.
Unfortunately, free trial players will not earn Abyss Points for hunting the Balaur or defeating opposing players in The Abyss. This is probably the biggest limitation for free gamers. The Abyss is one of the most fun elements of The Tower of Eternity, and unfortunately, players are limited in what they can enjoy. Unlike grind for experience, regardless of subscription status, the whole point of fighting through The Abyss is to earn those points and placements. Without this, the risk of being caught by a group of opposing players is not worth it and losing some points on death.
Unfortunately, the presence of new players is also greatly reduced. That's not to say it doesn't exist, it's just a lot less than week 1 because everyone has access to Siel's aura. This benefits me in a way as I don't have to compete for hunting grounds or quest objectives. Note that after performing matchmaking on a weekday around 6:00 p.m. PST, the total number of players online is approximately 1,600. Of these, about 100 are between levels 1-10 (which in my opinion is the tutorial phase), 200 between levels 11-20 and 350 between levels 21-30. The average level was in your mid-30s when the contents of Tower of Eternity began to shine in Abyss and PvP siege events.
These may seem very small - compared to some other MMOs they may be - but in Aion Classic they never felt empty or sparse. I still see a lot of other players walking around or screaming on the LFG Channel, and there are still more Elyos hunting in the Abyss than I would like. There are also tons of bots to keep you company as your constant chat spamming continues unabated. Hopefully, soon NCSoft West will actually stick to their stance on bots and gold sellers and find a quick way to deal with chat spam.
As a free trial player, I still enjoy playing Aion Classic, if not as much as I did when I started. A subscription feels like a necessity to enjoy the Classic experience - which I think technically it is. To be clear, I don't mind paying for a subscription. I think for a game I loved playing over a decade ago, I'd love to pay for a subscription to rekindle an old love in my heart. Heart. Unfortunately, I think Tower of Eternity has done itself a disservice by restricting free trial players. I think some of these restrictions should be relaxed or not offer free trials at all.