The downside of this expansion is that the three new zones are for level 50+ characters… I hear they are wonderful… new flying mechanics, now PvP combat style. But like many the grind of the upper levels in Aion has kept me from getting to the point where I can see the new zones.
The up side is that new zones are not the only thing that was added. The UI for quests has been greatly improved by showing all of the available quests in a zone on the zone map. This works fantastically and you never find yourself grinding if there is a quest you could be doing, And with the number of new quests that have been added it seems that even not counting repeatable quests you should be able to get to max level just through questing now.
That last statement is helped along by the fact that many quest rewards have had their xp reward raised up to x3. I find myself getting a full ‘bubble’ of experience for many quests again. More when the 40% rested bonus and 30% ‘you’ve been at this level too long’ bonus and the 20% veteran reward amulet are applied. Aion is still no where near WoW in terms of leveling speed, but it’s reasonable now.
The pets added are well done, they have great animation following you and good idle animation. If you have collecting instincts they will make your day. There are 200 slots in your ‘pet inventory’ so it looks like they plan to continue to add many many more. The fact that many of these pets have a ‘point’ is depreciated, whether it be extra inventory or producing crafting items, or warning you when you are about to get ganked by a hiding enemy player… now that’s a cool moment, and talk about forging a bond with your pet! New player emotes that work with the pets are available. I could see the pet inventories getting confusing if I had a bunch of pets with that feature…
Content wise for lower players there are the new quests I mentioned and the new instances. Two new solo instances have been added for players below 50. Now that may not sound like a lot, but they have been added at the points where people stalled out and didn’t have enough to do. (18-22) and (37-41) I have only been through the 37-41 instance but it is very well done and designed to make sense as something you go through an number of times. The storytelling in the instance is great and the gameplay is challenging. I found myself one hit from dieing at the end of many of the fights. With a 22 hour timer these are something you could do every day while in the level range. Item drops sweeten the deal.
Over all, Assault on Blauria is worth coming back to Aion for whether you are at the endgame or not.