I was level 36 rolling around in level 20 armor until recently and I’m not alone. There are two contributing factors to the level and armor gap. Firstly, the primary source of obtaining gear is by completing quests. I won’t retrace what I already discussed in this post.
Not Much Questing
I haven’t been doing quests with any regularity and yet, I’m leveling just fine. My XP comes from harvesting, processing components, crafting specific trade goods and turning in trade packs. Those activities combined represents the bulk of my XP. I stopped questing with any intention around level 20. As a habit, I don’t like seeing much of the PVE content pre-release. In other MMOs, I would have hung up my account now until release but in AA there is so much else to do. However, having shelved doing quests left me in lower level gear.
My gear isn’t a problem when soloing mobs. My pet and I can handle multiple mobs 2 to 3 levels higher. I have to heal afterwards but I’m not close to being in jeopardy. Consequently, my gear hasn’t mattered to me. I’m out enjoying what I like about the game, not chasing rewards – that’s not my thing.
ROFL Stomp Avoidance
For the content I’m currently consuming, my gear only matters in one circumstance, open world PVP. I don’t do a lot of it but I enjoy going along when the guild embarks on an adventure. So far, I haven’t been stomped in PVP. In fact, my plate has allowed me to escape better than other lowbies tagging along. Even under direct and targeted attack, I’ve been able to survive until a guild member got the player off me or I made it to a neutral guard on my own steam.
Recently, we were assing around on an enemy dock after a successful turn in when enemy faction players showed up and engaged us. I had two people on me and was even lassoed back to my attackers, as the rest of the party sprinted to the guards.
People in voice chat were screaming “Run, Aly!” but I was slowed after being lassoed. “Oh no!” When they saw me unable to sprint. Luckily, I was able to heal myself and keep inching forward to safety. Too intent on their prey, me, my attackers didn’t notice they’d gotten to close to the guards. One of them was lassoed forward and killed with one shot. Muhahaha. Sweet.
Crafting an Armor Set
If I’m going to be involved in open world PVP, I should at least be in gear for my level. With that in mind, I set out to see if I could craft my own full set.
When I started I had 0 expertise in crafting armor or weapons. I knew that I had plenty of the base component, ore, since I mine on a regular basis. I also had a bit of gold to spare for additional components from my 5x trade runs the previous day.
I actually found the process to be straight forward and better than other crafting schemes I’ve encountered in other games. The secondary components aren’t cheap which may put them out of the reach of a 1st time level 20 player without some assistance or savvy gold earning skills. However, the usefulness is without question, superior to my other gaming I’ve played.
With no skill level in the profession, I was able to craft a FULL set of level 20 gear with buffs. No making 50 foozles of moderate value BEFORE getting to the good stuff. It starts with the good stuff. I don’t recall any MMO where I could craft a full set of green armor out of the gate.
Another distinction between AA armor crafting and other games I’ve played is that in order to create an item, you need the equivalent item from the previous tier. I’d just created T1 set (Apprentice) which is level 20 stat buffed gear and better than what I was wearing. Creating T2, the Craftsman set, would consume the Apprentice set and so on. The full set bonuses are sweet and not to be trifled with if you can avoid it or have good cause.
Before it was all said and done, I was able to craft myself into 4 pieces of Artificer (T3) and 1 piece of Artisan’s (T4). Srenic crafted another 2 pieces of the Artisan for me. Now I just need more cash for the secondary components in order to trade up the remaining Artificer for Artisan. When I hit 40, which won’t be long, I need to start saving to craft my Conqueror’s set.
I was also able to upgrade my sword but I couldn’t upgrade the shield. Because you’re only creating one item at a time in the tier, I didn’t hit the 1K necessary to progress to the next level in the weapons. Meh, not that big of a deal right now.
A sweet blast from the past is that the crafter’s name is displayed on the item. I loved that featured in Asheron’s Call 2. It gives crafters a feeling of permanence and recognition in the game.
For my money, I like the crafting system in AA. I usually steer clear of crafting armor and weapons in MMOs. For the same reason, I stay away from alchemy too. I HATE crafting 100s of shit items no one wants or will buy, before I can get to what I want and need. That doesn’t seem to be the case in AA. There’s immediate value and worth in the crafted items. The one drawback is the cost of secondary components which at the lower levels, you must purchase from the Auction House, as you won’t have encountered them yourself. This is where being in a good guild will come in handy.