Only 1 month (or so) until North America (NA) Aion launches. I’m looking forward to it.
I tried NA Closed Beta (CB) for about 10 hours total. I didn’t spend more time playing CB for the following reasons:
- Leveling via PVE is tedious. Kill x of y, deliver a to b, yada yada yada. It’s a shame players can’t level up starting from level 1 via PVP in Aion
- The Beta characters are throwaway
- From what I’ve read, the balance between classes at levels 20-30 is very different from 30-40 and 40-50. Players keep saying on the forums that classes that seem strong in the 20s (e.g. Chanter) don’t stack up as well in the 30s and 40s
- The version of the game that goes live would likely be a very different version from CB. That was confirmed in the past week, when NCSoft announced the NA Live version would be 1.5
- I’ve been enjoying PVP in WAR since Patch 1.3b went live
After reading the AionSource.com forums and watching videos of various classes, here’s the short list of classes I’m considering for my main character:
I’m not interested in playing a main healer (Cleric) or stealther (Assasin). I don’t like pet classes, so that rules out Spiritmaster. Sorcerer doesn’t appeal to me. Ranger looks like a micro-management class (e.g. jump casting to reduce animations, etc), and I’ve heard that they’re not popular for grouping since other classes bring more DPS to the table.
Chanter was my original top choice to play.
Chanter reminds me quite a bit of LOTRO Captain; both bring buffing, healing, and melee DPS to the table. Like Captain, Chanter relies on crit mechanics to be effective. Chanters rely on staff crits for knockdowns; Captains rely on Devastating Blow crits to open-up their on-defeat abilities. The main concern I have about Chanter is the class seems to tail off at mid to higher levels relative to other classes. Also, Chanter, like Captain, has limited crowd control capability; other classes can kite or run away from you. Chanter seems built for grouping, and I want to have reasonable soloing capability. I loved my Captain, but the endgame experience of Captain is making me hesitant toward playing a Chanter.
That leaves either Gladiator or Templar.
One of my guildees from Warhammer Online, Namaste the Witch Hunter, played Gladiator on C-Aion into the mid 30s and loved it. While I don’t like grinding PVE, as I find PVP to be much more of a rush and challenge, I do enjoy main tanking to make PVE instance runs go smoothly. Templars are the main raid tanks in Aion, but apparently Gladiators can AOE tank and off-tank effectively. Some folks say that Gladiators can tank a lot of the non-raid content, as long as the healer is competent. One issue with Templar is opponents tend to avoid attacking them, and many of the Templar ability chains require the use of a shield. I want the flexibility of using a 2h for burst.
So right now, Gladiator is my top choice. The class has a good blend of survivability, damage (including AOE), and seems desired for grouping for PVP and PVE.
P.S. you can customize an Aion character to look like almost anyone, including US President Obama: