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Shining Moon RO - A Pretty Darn Long Review



I've been on this one particular server for around 6 months now and I'd say my stay here had been one of the best within the vast number of servers I've been on. Shining Moon opened on 11th June 2017. It's a 30x/30x/10x midrate Renewal server with MVP cards set at 0.04%. The server does have somewhat frequent rate increase events, which usually include BaseEXP, JobEXP and either equipment and/or card drop rates (aside from MVPs aside from once, and it still only raised it to 0.05%). The server itself is kRO based with a mix of kRO and jRO items and is highly customized. However they're more towards adding new gameplay modes, build viabilities as well as for player quality of life improvements and largely fits within midrate gameplay. The server is also quick to adapt any new features and mechanics change from kRO.

Customizations     9/10
   The server is chock full of custom additions. Let's not talk much about the usual daily check-ins, automated events, custom maintown and the likes that's common in a ton of servers. I'll start with the features available

   World Drops: The server has a special drop feature that grants a low chance of dropping a specified list of cash items. These has a chance to drop from any monsters slain that's within 40 levels of the killer, are not bound in any way, and gets added directly to your inventory so there's no chance of missing them.
   World Boss: These are a group of 5 special MVPs that spawns in a special map. The map flag changes depending on which of them spawns. The bosses each have their own traits with one taking melee damage only, one taking ranged only and one taking magic only. Other damage types deal 1 damage. The other two have no restrictions, however the map becomes PVP flagged so the boss won't be the only thing you'd have to worry about. The rewards are special boxes that contains a slew of items not obtainable elsewhere, different between the bosses, that is sent through RODEX to anyone that damaged the World Boss. It includes a rank feature that grants more rewards to those higher on the ranks. Even if you're just starting out, hitting the boss for even 1 damage guarantees you at least 1 reward box /no1
   Costumes: The costume enchants went in a different direction compared to kRO enchants and uses random options instead. The costumes include a mix of custom sprites and the ever pleasant looking costumes from jRO. Normal headgears can be turned into costumes as well, but these selfmade costumes can't be enchanted.
   Instances: There's two custom instances based on the server's unique Dark Society storyline, with plans for even more additions in the future. Completing the first instance also grants you access to a custom dungeon where players get a shot at jRO items contained in iRO's OCP boxes.
   Battlegrounds: The Battlegrounds were changed to make use of only Valor Badges for everything for a more unified reward system. War Badges were also repurposed for players to buy consumables and bottles that can be used outside of BG. The BG has a queue system that can be accessed through a command and have 9 different game modes.
   Weapon Evolution: This is a custom system that helps new or casual players to obtain otherwise hard to get weapons by progressing through a fixed evolution line. You just turn on Weapon Evo for an eligible weapon, equip it and start killing monsters. Evolve it to the next tier once it reaches 100%.
   Spiritual Energy: Through this system, a little bar will appear on the bottom right of your screen that goes from 0 to 100. Once it fills up by killing monsters within 30 base levels of your character or any MVPs, you can use a command or the Spiritual Energy etc. skill to grant you level 10 Blessing and Increase AGI as well as Life Insurance effect. There's also a chance of obtaining a custom currency. This helps a lot when farming.
   Soul System: The server has a whole list of custom PVM only skills that is based around a custom Soul system. Players obtain souls from killing any monster within 30 base levels of the character, with the souls bounded to the last monster that dropped it. Usage ranges from a +10 all stats buff, summoning the monster that your souls are bounded to, calling for favours from a time god on a 12 hour cooldown which either acts like a Bloody Branch or places you in a solo puzzle instance for rewards, and etc.
   Dual Class: Now this is something I really like. Past level 100, you have the option to purchase a second class and the game allows you to change between them on a rather short cooldown. This opens up a lot of gameplay options. You can have different classes to cover different roles in PVM, have one character contain a PVM and PVP class, or even have two of the same classes with completely different builds. Note that buffs are removed upon class changing so you won't be able to pull off EDP Cart Cannon or anything of the sort  /heh
   Baby Classes: Aside from having a teeny tiny sprite, any character have the option to change into a baby at the beginning of the game with none of the official drawbacks. They're just as strong as any adult adventurers.
   Storage: The server does not have @storage feature, but it does have something close to it. Once you collect 100 Kafra Cards (official item that calls your storage from anywhere), you may unlock the Call Storage skill for the whole account. Each account also have 5 storage boxes by default, with each having a slot limit of 600 with rename capabilities. Good news for you hoarders out there!
   Copycat: This feature is a godsent to all those Shadow Chasers out there. You can visit an NPC in the main town that allows you to change your Plagiarized and Reproduced skills as you wish, or access it through a command from anywhere at the cost of a few minutes cooldown so that you can't just swap between multiple high impact skills on the fly.
   The amount of customizations are just massive. There's also custom achievements on top of official ones, several hunting and reward NPCs, a unified NPC for all your instances needs, jRO alternate outfits, beginner rental weapons, level up boxes, several slotmachines, hourly rewards and more. There's also the Homunculus Storage feature which have been put on hold for awhile due to a bug, but it will definitely make a return and it'll allow Genes to store and switch between several Homunculus setups. And there's always more coming!

Stability & Protection     9/10
   The server is pretty stable with DDoS protection and Gepard Shield enabled. Crashes are rather infrequent. I'd say the uptime is around 97% of the time and crashes usually gets resolved in minutes. The hosting had been moved to OVH Canada recently, and I've had no lag and improved load times since (from Malaysia). It was previously hosted by Colocrossing in Buffalo, New York.
Gameplay     9/10
   The server is pretty accessible for new and old players alike. Leveling doesn't really get heavy until you get near the cap, but it still requires enough time and work to max out. The server have a mix of items from kRO and also some jRO items that had made its way to official servers, alongside of having additional socket enchantable items available in jRO which includes the likes of some Morpheus and Morrigane set pieces, Battle Hook, War Axe and etc.

   The addition of Copycat NPC, jRO gears and Nightmare Biolab headgears really helps brings out more viable builds and strategies. Skills and gameplay mechanics are also largely up to date with kRO. Multihit critical update, Rolling Cutter key-holding, Rune Knight runes update, Madogear update, Homunculus update, you name it. AzzyAI is also included by default.
   There's also a nice balance between soloability and party requirements. There's a bunch of content that can be doable solo, so casual players won't get stuck. However, partying always makes things smoother and some contents are really hard without partying up, even near impossible. Healing items with cooldowns now only applies their cooldown in PvP, BG and WoE so things such as Raffle Saps aren't useless waste of item IDs anymore in PVM.

   Warper and Healer NPCs are available in all towns, along with an expanded Kafra and an expanded Tool Dealer so that you don't have to run around to different locations to buy stuff. Most NPC sold catalysts and class requirements can be accessed in the central plaza of the main town. The Healer removes most pre-3rd status effects, and grants Blessing and Increase AGI. The Warper grants access to almost every map in the game, along with @go command to quickly move to towns and @warp command to move to specific maps which does admittedly kill off some roaming aspect. However, that doesn't stop anyone from doing so.

   Gramps had also been changed. He doesn't provide a simple mindless map anymore. Instead, monsters he designate as his 400 kills target gets a boosted spawn rate and he offers a direct warp to the most suitable real game map to hunt them in. The target changes every 3 days and this can create some potential farming chances if you keep a close watch on his missions.
Economy     9/10
   The economy is generally pretty established. Cash Points can be change to and fro with Moon Coins, which is one of the main currency hand-in-hand with Zeny, with trades being done with one or the other or both. Another big currency is the in game only Moonlight Coin which can also be turned one-way into Cash Points or used in the Lucky 3 Slotmachine for prizes. Cash Points and Moon Coins are obtainable in game, and most of the items in the Cash Shop can be obtained through various ways in game as well. The Cash Shop only really eases refines from my point of view since it does sell HD metals that has the same rates as normal metals, doesn't break gears and reduces refine by 1 instead upon failure. But these HD metals are obtainable through gameplay as well. Heck, there are even more potent refine materials that are obtainable through ingame sources only. Same as the gears. They're good if you wanna spend to have an edge and start out in the server with mid-end or lower end-game gears, but the best stuff must be worked for in game. If it's pay2win, I'd have been long gone so... /heh
WoE/PvP/BG     8/10
   Due to having a lot of gears choices available, power creep is bound to happen. However, the WoE reductions have been kicked up a notch to 80% across the board (ranged reductions were untouched) so there would rarely be cases where people are done in by oneshots unless if the gear gap between the attacker and the receiver is too big or if the receiver goes full retard and have no reductions whatsoever. These reductions are applied to all player-versus-player modes so it's easier to strategize and test builds and makes for a more balanced PvP and BG. There are also custom changes for example towards True biolabs card so that you can only stack 2 of them in these settings. However, the server does need more guild to have a healthier WoE scene since currently there's only two sides to WoE. Oh and I should mention that the WoE reward system have been revamped. There's no more of those crappy treasure chests. Instead, random participants gets chosen for highly improved reward chests each day at 12am server time, drawn from a separate list between castle owners and other participants. Every participant also automatically gets additional Moonlight Coins everyday. Beats getting slotted Manteaus. In Renewal. /...
Community     7/10
   Aside from WoE related salt (/heh), the community is pretty nice and helpful. However, there is a major gap in player timezones since the server houses players majorly from Asia and the Americas with some from Europe and Australia. Outside the game, the forum is pretty empty since everyone simply uses the Discord server. The server could use more players though, which is the only reason for the lower score but this can change.
Staff     9/10
   Now the staff team is one of the best I've had the chance to know in any server I've played. The team is led by husband-and-wife admin team, with help from some Support GMs whenever they're asleep or something. Most of the contents are self developed by Lunar, the Admin. From my experience, they're generally a pretty friendly bunch and interacts with players frequently.
Events     7/10
   Aside from automated events, there are also seasonal events. These seasonal events are mostly modeled after the World Boss feature however. Just with some added quirks! The Halloween boss turned everyone into Novices and everyone have to scramble to whack the boss with it teleporting players to and away from it followed by instant kill attacks within a certain range. The Winter boss turns everyone into a 1st job class with only basic weapons and a single offensive skill while occasionally turning some players into mindless minions of the boss. Aside from the bosses, there's also seasonal daily rewards and seasonal world drops that can be exchanged for exclusive rewards. Automated events range from a simple (actually hard as hell) Trivia, a Safe Portal event where players scramble to enter portals spawning in the area, Undead Assault where everyone turns into Gunslingers and have to survive waves of undead mobs, and a repurposed Halloween boss. There's also scheduled Gramps and Battlegrounds Happy Hours. However, the server does lack GM and community held events which is a shame really.

Overall Score: 8.3/10
All in all, it's a pretty dang fun server and one I plan to stay in right now. If there's anyone who's tired of the same old contents shared between the thousands and thousands of servers, private and officials alike, head on over this way and join our community. Heck even if you're a first timer to Renewal, just come over and try it out. You might just like it!


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