The Grind of Aslan

As I moved into the next zone at level 20 the game wrapped up its attempts to introduce me to things and settled down into some good, old fashioned quest based grinding.

Not necessarily a bad thing, but it is clearly THE thing for this point in the game.

I had finished up in the Silverspring zone, with its big city of Varanas… well, finished up to the extent I could, but more on that in a bit… I had at least started to out-level the quests… and moved on to the Aslan Valley.

No lions found so far

The first quest hub in the zone, Qilana Camp, set the tone for the zone by offering up two flavors of quest.  There are some story line quests that have you running about picking things up or interacting with various NPCs.  And then there are the daily quests which have you out grinding mobs for drops.

The story line quests add some variety, though they two generally include a step or two that involved slaying one flavor of MOB until you have acquired the specified number of drops.  The big problem for me with them is that they almost universally lead up to an end quest that requires a group to finish… a fact that the quest text doesn’t always clue you in on.

For example, after running a few errands for one NPC I hit a quest that was basically “cover me!” that, when accepted, dropped a group of aggro anteaters on me, including one elite.  I ran for it but there was no getting away.

Anteater swarm!

Death has a sting of sorts, in the form of xp and tp debt.  The game does give lower level players a daily item to clear out said debt in the form of an Atonement Voucher.

Debt be gone

Pretty much every story line quest has ended up with me needing to use a voucher.  Unfortunately, those quests are also the ones with the gear upgrades I could really use.

Unable to finish those up… grouping isn’t really an option as the zone has also been pretty empty for me as well… I have fallen back on the daily quests.  You can collect those from a couple of places, including the board in Silverfall.  There is a limit to the number of those you can run, but there is also a limit to the number of those I can tolerate in a single session as well, and the latter number seems to be smaller than the former, so the limit hasn’t really been an issue.

These are classic “grind for drops” quests.  Some of the drops are generic.  Killing boars drops tusks, killing anteaters drops scales, and so on, so that if you’ve been after that sort of mob for one quest you might have collected enough such items to immediately finish a quest from the board that wants those.

At other times you need to slay a specific variant of a given MOB in the zone.

Just Demon mane boars

The game does help you by putting red dots for those MOBs on the mini-map to help you find the right mob.  And with the Quest Tracker addon, you can look at the big map and get a sense of where you should be hunting.

Where the right anteaters live…

But one flavor of MOBs is generally mixed in with others of the same type… boars, bears, anteaters… so you may need to clear some of your target’s cousins out of the way.  And the variation in models is often subtle enough that you might not notice that you’re running after the wrong MOB.  The anteaters… what oddly aggressive and heavily armored variations of the species live in Taborea… are so close in model as to be indistinguishable to me, so I found myself running towards what looked to be the next one only to get into combat and find that it was not going to drop the item I needed.

So grind you likely will in pursuit of these quests.

Not that grinding is, as I noted above, necessarily a bad thing.  There can be a Zen-like peacefulness to it, just fighting one MOB after another, clearing a path around an area in search of drops, unworried about anything else.  Well, anything save your bags filling up.  Every MOB seems to drop something, and every quest drop goes into your bag, so inventory management will become an issue sooner or later.

I can do that for a while as I listen to a podcast or some such.  But it isn’t something that I can keep going at for hours on end.  And it isn’t something that entices me to log into the game.

So the time between my logging into Runes of Magic has been getting longer and longer as the prospect of hunting yet another flavor of boars or anteaters fails to spark any flame within me.

Is that Gevlon?

As such, I suspect that my time with the game might be drawing to a close.  I haven’t really found anything else in the game that holds my interest.  Crafting means a long harvesting grind, and why trade one grind for another?  The housing is mediocre at best.   And while I did give the dual class option a shot, I wasn’t too thrilled.  When you go into your secondary class, your character is effectively the level to which you have advanced it.  So while in my warrior guise I was level 20 or so, swapping out to the priest class… I thought having healing might be nice… put me back in gear and skills only suitable for the starter zone.

I went back to the started zone and did daily quests there, but my heart wasn’t in it really.  I tried finishing a few quests as a warrior, then swapping to the priest, and turning them in.  That helped move the priest along to level 10, but I decided I was better off just focusing on the warrior and buying potions to keep health up.

But the game is free to play, so coming and going as I feel the urge is part of the plan, right?  With no recurring subscription nagging at me I am free from worry!

Only Runes of Magic has found a way to simulate that all the same.

As I noted in my post about how they get money from players the RMT currency, Diamonds, figures prominently.  This issue gets forced because there are some things you cannot buy outright.  One of those items is bag space.  As it turned out, the extra bag space I rented ran out as I was playing over the weekend, prompting an immediate inventory management crisis.

So the question became whether or not to invest diamonds, which cost money, in another rental period or let things sit where they are.  I opted to let things sit until I felt the need to get back into the game.  And so it goes.

Still, I did have a decent time exploring a bit of an old MMO.  We’ll see if I get back to it again some day.

6 thoughts on “The Grind of Aslan

  1. Bhagpuss

    It was worth your time invested just for that Gevlon gag.

    On the subject of grind, I’m getting increasingly nostalgic for Black Desert. I think for sheer, zen-like slaughter there isn’t a game to touch it. Unfortunately it has horrific inventory issues that mitigate against the kind of hours-long killfests I’d like to indulge in.

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  2. Shintar

    Please tell me I wasn’t the only one who saw that post title in her feed and wondered whether they’d finally decided to make a Narnia MMO…

    Like

  3. Sean Smith

    on Black Desert: do the black spirit quests (as weak as they are) and you’ll get lot of inventory expansion.

    In fact, the black spirit quests were all reworked a few months ago, so if you’ve done any of them, you’ll retrospectively get the new inventory rewards.

    And if you want a new class to play: play the striker. It’s all your Dragon Ball fantasies come to (digital) life.

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  4. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Shintar – That was certainly my thought when I first hit the zone. My guess is that they put a bunch of Western fantasy names in a hat and just drew them out to name places as part of their process.

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  5. Telwyn

    This game does awaken nostalgia, I loved playing it first time around, but the good ideas do not come off so well in actual implementation. It’s another game where the world has hints of interesting stuff but it isn’t very well realised as well (like Tera in my opinion).

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  6. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    Also, noting this for posterity, there is a daily login bonus in Runes of Magic. You have to go to the cash shop to get it every day. I totally forgot to do that nearly every day I logged into the game. I think I got two out of probably a potential 15-20.

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