daRO Bigger and Fairer Review

Started by osolor, Aug 11, 2022, 11:03 AM

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Hello everyone! I'm about a decade late to make a server review, but I really felt compelled this time to do it after reading the traditonal RMS reviews.
Edit to clarify, I'm talking about the Mystic Project: Divine Ascension RO.

First of all, sorry for my bad english, it's not my first language.

So, let's talk about my relation with custom servers. Since the first time I played the infamous darkRO I fell in love with servers with a lot of custom systems, having the time of life (in literally 20 years of me playing RO) not so many years ago with a now defunct one.

Now, about daRO, one of (if not the) biggest server that aims to "recreate and rebalance" RO right now:

The good.

By a purely design theory, daRO is probably the biggest server that I played, so many systems within systems, a full session logging in can result in literaly dozens of different activities that a normal server would not reach in a weekly or even monthly session, I never felt bored and really had a bad case ou "alt"itis, reaching a full page of characters within months.

By theory, again, the Kugan system (I really dislike the name, but is purely nitpicking :P) is a way to both put some new flavor on every class (the summon ones are really cool!) to enhance and "viabilize" forgotten skills and builds.

The bad.

Here lies the reason why I said "theory" a lot, instead of making more classes viable, the balance makes even less classes viable for endgame/new content, and this generate a very heavy snowball effect. Only a few combinations are played, on this few combinations receive attention for balancing patches. If a new player joins and ask what he should play, the same combinations are suggested and the snowball grows and grows. If you check the patch notes it's easy to notice some kugans that no one plays never receiving a single buff.

Even more, a lot of content is balance around those high powered kugans, again limiting the acess of the cool content to those playing meta classes. And the cherry of the cake after some problems with nerfs, the designers announced that there would be less nerfs but even harder content, instead of a closer look on lesser played class/kugans on the content that is available right now.

And this culminates on one of the misrepresentations of the reviews of the server on the main site. The server receives a lot of new players every week, the number of players reach 2x the number related on the reviews, but fail to keep it long time, the server has a very nice core of old players, but lacks on keeping a healthy "staircase" to the new ones.

The ugly.

Oh boy, now we reach the part where the design itself is malign or flawed, and not the execution. We are talking about monetization and resets (that in some way are tied to the monetization).

First two things, one, I am not against servers monetize to recoup the costs and making money to pay for people to work on it (something that this server really need), two, I am a paying member of this server even with a lot of critics the server behaves like a very weird early acess game, not polished but with a lot of potential for fun.

But the scheme is literally malign, following the teachings of mobile/fremium games where there's no way to acquire currency in the right amount to buy the basic premium without some leftovers, that on the second buy will continue with some leftovers... and so on. Moreso, the premium comes with a unique monthly equip, that even if not that powerful really itches the FOMO for players, making a lot of items fakely rare and scarce as the games goes on.

Also, the amount of benefits that the premium comes with AND the amount of things you can buy with premium currency is kinda ridiculous, from the fresh new player to the end game grinder there will be some premium item that will shorten/skip A LOT of stuff, from warping to refining.

Edit about the resets that I forgot: Kugan is the earliest way to multiply the power of a character and enable it to do harder/custom content, but you only receive a free reset per character and one per month playing, killing any way to experiement with it in normal play (yes, I know about the training room, but it had nothing to do with any content with the game, it's purely a way to test numbers, not gameplay). Put a point in a wrong kugan? Tough luck, pay real money to reset.

The costumes/cosmetics are 100% ok.

The fair.

Now I will adress some stuff that you can read on the reviews on the main site that I can really see where they come from, but simply aren't true or fair.

The main concern, "the community insn't helpful", well... the community with the size that it is CAN'T be helpful there's way more classes and kugans combinations that will ever be players on the server. Not every player had access to every piece of content that there is. And as far as I know there's no incentive to make players be content creators and post more on discord or fixing the wiki.

I really think that the owners could do better by incentivizing players to ofically be more active, but I really can see why everyone insn't on full help mode.

The conclusion.

To put it shortly, the server is great, I am playing for months and plan to keep playing, but it suffers with scope creep, that makes the owner's innefective in fixing (some of) the core problems with the server. I really thing that the server can grow tenfold (this is exactly what hapenned with the defunct server that I talked in the beginning). Especially if there's more incentive to keep and tend the new/fresher players that are coming to the server.


I'm sure there are still undiscovered builds on that server that are good. It's just that most people go for what's popular.

The biggest issue I had with the server is that except for the beginning area, all the custom content is quite hard. I played for a hundred hours and still basically didn't see much of the custom content. The 15x rates are quite fake because you get reborn 10 times and there's kugan exp which takes 100 times longer to level than base level, so in truth it feels closer to a 2x rate server.

Also found it fairly hard to find party members. I think it's also a language gap issue, because most players are French (as the only website you get voting rewards for is French).

The server also incorporated almost ALL features from Tree of Savior (and I already didn't like them in ToS).

On the positive side, the amount of customization on this server is insane. It's definitely a server I feel everybody should at least try out. It feels closer to RO2 than any of Gravity's attempts. Fans of Tree of Savior as well as people who constantly complain about RO being too easy will feel at home here.

For me as casual player, it wasn't really the right server.


Just to clarify (I sent him a PM but I guess he haven't check back), daRO should be Divine Ascension RO.  Unless he say it's not the case xD.  Thanks for sharing your experience and insight.


Quote from: yC on Aug 13, 2022, 11:31 AM
Just to clarify (I sent him a PM but I guess he haven't check back), daRO should be Divine Ascension RO.  Unless he say it's not the case xD.  Thanks for sharing your experience and insight.
Yes, it's Divine Ascension RO.


Thank you for your feedbacks, we will definitely look closer into it and consider everything that was said.

Do not hesitate if you have any suggestions/recommendations to improve DARO.

I believe such work cannot be stabilized, polished and balanced within such a short life existence. We are surely making progress, long as it may seem.

We shall see in the future but we do hope for the best.