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Author Topic: Mystic Project 5 / DaRO - A Very Slow, Very Rough Diamond in the Making  (Read 1405 times)

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Offline exsoldier

TLDR: Server is good, could be amazing with some changes. Many ideas and effort is very good, but their implementation is poor, the admins clearly don't play the game enough and have a strict vision that doesn't adapt and it may, or may not, hurt the future playerbase.

Why Such a long Review: I told the Staff i'd make a full rundown on what I think, and I Loved the server, I want it to succeed, for many years i've been looking for such a nice experience, and it is here. but it won't work for a lot of people. and their design REQUIRES a lot of people.

You can skip to Bold Text for important information.

This review is based on the current beta-test, so take this info with a grain of salt. It may or may not be changed, improved or made worse.
The grading will be based on 10 topics, totalling a score of 100, keep in mind a 6 means "ok", and by no means is bad, consider an average server a 50 in all topics:

1-Experience before Login
2-Wiki and Resources
3-Server History, Cash Shop and Stability
4-Overview of Features
5-Rates, Drops and Itemization
6-Character Progress and server systems
7-Game Mechanics, Balance and Gameplay
8-Staff, Community and Support
9-What I Loved and Hated about it
10-Main issues and recommended fixes.

-About Me-

Been playing RO since 2003, worked as Class tutor for thief jobs in bRO, GM in a few good and bad servers and moderator/tester in over 20 servers. Wanted to give this server a Try as I got curious about its ideas and they sounded amazing on paper. Here are my thoughts on this experience:

Played for: 1 Month - Beta Tester, Server has 10x exp/drop of launch planned rates (around 15x).
Classes Played: Assassin Cross, Rebellion, Kagerou, Sage  (Expanded classes are slightly reworked to account for pre-re).

Highest Point: The Kugan System has amazing potential for exploration and builds. The customization on the whole new continent is very good.
Lowest Point: The game is slow. Everything is slow, and not on rates, the gameplay itself is very slow with so many cast timed skills/kugans A 7 second buff can have up to 3 seconds of cast. 99% of the new content is made for parties, you can't reasonably solo any of it, got no party? Can't do even open fields on new areas.

1-Experience before Login - 5/10

The Website is good, clean, it's not a default control panel. Downloading the game is easy but very limited since the host choices aren't many and don't include classics like Torrent or Google Drive, it's serviceable.

The installer however...it's extremely slow and bloated, it's nice looking, it's detailed but doesn't provide desktop icon choices, they just go there and takes MUCH longer than a regular .rar file to unpack, any reposition of files is made by remove/repair choices, which are easy to use but also require the installer to unpack every file again which also takes a long time. The patcher isn't very updated but it stills reasonable as a beta test.

Patcher looks good, clean and fits the server, except there's no option to turn off patcher music (or not that i found, which in itself might be an issue).

As an extra: When you create a new character a VERY cool cutscene plays out, very well crafted that explains your origin in the game along with a lot of backstory. My jaw literally dropped seeing how good the work done was.

Overall: It's good, not bad, easy to do, but very slow and bloated, Which overall is how i feel for most of my experience: Well done but overdone, needs tuning.

2-Wiki and Resources - 9/10

The Wiki is very well maintained, it has clear information and pretty much every question you might have can be found there. The wording can be extremely complicated sometimes and learning the systems is very time consuming but it's made much easier by the wiki, Props to the wiki contributor Kaly, responsible for it. It's still being updated on a few points and some pages require using the Search function, the wording could use some improvement but it may be a side effect of the systems being so complex.

Overall: Very good, one of the best Wiki pages on any server i've seen save for a few complex wording.

3-Server History, Cash Shop and Stability - 2/10

Im automatically deducting 3 points due to it being a beta test, since downtime and crashes are expected and "encouraged" for testing bugs.

It's the 5th project of the staff on this formula over the years, I don't know what happened in the past or how such systems could have failed, but what ALWAYS gets me is the "...but it might just fail again" feeling. Hopefully it lasts a long time since it's a VERY high quality work they have here.

The server is split between 2 ADMs, and only one of them can reboot the server if it crashes, and it doesn't have an automatic reboot system, so if it happens, the players have to wait for the one ADM to manually restart it.

The server was in closed beta for a while according to staff, but some bugs/design choices that happened were pretty egregious and made me question if the staff actually tested it and they actually said they used only @commands and didn't manually level. The experience table was wrong (even at 10x exp i was getting 1.2x expected launch exp, and it was already DREADFUL), some map events straight up didn't work, hit/flee balance was (and still sort of is a bit) absurdly HORRIBLE and some other details.

And here comes my main grip with the server for launch (which the Staff is actually reviewing, as of this writing): They Plan to split the server in two, US and EU, and they will have different progression/cash shop since the ADMs couldn't match their ideas. US cash shop will have a few more items and EU will have less and a few other minor changes.

Honestly, it's a very high quality server, but it's a niche server regardless. It's likely to have a smaller player base than usual (albeit a faithful one), splitting it in two is likely to cause even more population issues, which might completely break end game for their vision since ANYTHING not vanilla requires decent partying and with a smaller player base (or different timezones) it might be impossible to enjoy any of the very high quality /high amount endgame content.

Cash shop prices hopefully (and likely) aren't final, beta testers received 299 U$ worth of cash points to test for beta, and the prices range from very weird (2 U$ random hat box) to absolutely disgusting (2 U$ 10x 4min lv10 Agi Scroll), my only worry is with the customized qPets system, which seems nice but very RNG, and the only way to manipulate this RNG is with cash shop items or ultra high end drops. Most stuff is the basic battle manual/bubble gum/food buffs/specific server items we see everyday.

Overall: The future and stability of the server are uncertain, but they have a very good potential depending on how the Staff handle the issues. The Staff is experienced, know how to work hard and fast. No Server is perfect but paying attention to player experience and not just sheet numbers is a must, not everything is a checklist of bugs in a spreadsheet. And not all of it can be "changed later on".

4-Overview of Features - 7/10

The Server has a ton of features:

The Great:
-Kugan System, where you have a "second job level" where you get points you can exchange for specific skills from up to 2 other jobs and customized passive/active/signature skills. Up to 100 points of different, fun to use, customized skills. If you choose to specialize on your own job, you can unlock more powerful versions of skills, Lv15 skills, special effects on skills and so on. The potential is very high.
-Midgard North, not a half assed pack of maps, but an actual, full feature content continent, almost as big as rune midgard itself. It does have stronger monsters up to Lv 150 (your max level is 102), and can't be solo'd at all, and the fields include Elite versions of monsters with better drop rates and MUCH higher power (30k HP Porings that hit for 2k+ a glass cannon for example). The maps require walking around (The Midgard North Fly Wing is a cash shop item...which is weird) and a small quest on each of them to unlock the next area.

The Good:
-qPet System: Pet eggs are randomly dropped, must be identified, fed and hatched, pets constantly require food but give random bonuses to elements, stats and the like. The maintenance cost is high, they can be killed (and you need to take to the vet, which takes 24h to recover) but the bonuses can be nice, like 5% extra fire damage or +3 crit rate. However the bonuses are semi random on a random egg list and this can't be easily changed/improved.
-Quality: Equipment can have quality mods, like random enchants, they are a very good zeny sink and provide decent small bonuses
-Skill Changes: Every skill, including platinum now have a minimum of 5 levels and most of them have a kugan variation as well. Most skills are buffed to be useful or balanced (like the correct nerf to EDP damage, but it could have a duration buff), and even new builds can be made around new ideas, specially since every skill can now crit.

The Neutral:
-Reborn and Master System, You don't need to go back to novice Lv1 to go trans, and you can reborn every 5 levels past 50 up to 10 times to get extra stat points, Master System also can break your level limit up to 102 but requires not dying and getting multiple times the Lv99 Exp and going to the Kugan Library, with job costumes as rewards, its a cool little system but it only adds padding and makes things slower to reach endgame, not to mention you will be stuck with insurances until you get to 102 if you wanna risk high level content.
-Gems: Are like "extra cards" can be upgraded and improved (with midgard north drops/ special coins from PvP/PvE/PvM), but once again, are random on what you get and can't be easily improved, plus, sometimes it can be very hard to find a gem that works with your build.

The Bad:
-Warping Around: It Requires quests for any warps to dungeons, very easy to do but the fact you can only warp from the main city and anywhere you want to go you must go back there (which already doesn't have the best performance), official staff response it so "people meet each other" which is valid but once gain, slows things down. For some crazy reason any warps on new world requires the onward to new world quest, and theres ANOTHER warper on midgard camp for new world warping around. The quest isn't good and in a server where every dungeon access quest can be bypassed, it sticks out like a sore thumb.
-MapItems/PoringSpawns: when you kill monsters you can get random items out of nowhere that are map items, and some poring that can be killed for special loot. Most of the time up to Rachel Sanc Level monsters it'll be useless gear like Sandals, Light Red Potions and Mufflers. Something that could be exciting is most times a bummer. Afaik midgard north monsters give better poring/items, but once gain, thats late game stuff, and expected.
-Common Status: The classic poison,silence etc are buffed and can work on quite a few builds, but there are TOO MANY of them (over 10 new effects, with specific conditions and extremely specific use cases), not to mention some can be outright broken.


Offline exsoldier

The Horrible:
-Kugan System, where you have  SO MANY USELESS SKILLS, either due to terrible design (2% chance to dispel on attack? 1% chance to strip item?), terrible duration (most of the buffs last 7 seconds, and most of them have fixed 1~2s cast times) or just too specific to use (x% chance to change enemy element to Y when using X type of attack, x% chance to cause Y status with a SPELL according to your STR, x% extra damage attacking from the back, etc). It's a real challenge to find 5 useful signature Kugan in a list with over 20 due to how over complicated some effects are for no reason.
-Midgard North, You can't check any of the content of it by youself, it requires a party, a geared, well built party. It also has quest locks to new areas...found a party on discord for an area you didn't unlock? Too bad! Can't find players because its a small server? Whoops! Don't have full +8 gear set with 3~4 defensive cards and even with 340 flee you still getting hit because hit/flee is nerfed? Sorry dude, not the server for you! It would be fine if dungeons were party required, but even killing Lunatics or Wolves can be a challenge most of the time without chugging a ton of potions. According to staff it's like that to incentive partying and so tanks can't faceroll  tank all of it... but it really makes it impossible  to experience in a slow pace, which I honestly prefer. I managed to make a party ONCE to explore anything other than the first 3 fields and we got wiped extremely fast. No matter how good the content is, it's poorly balanced as hell.
-Nightmare Dungeons, Require parties, are hard versions of regular dungeons and require multiple MvP trash loot to open, even the lower level ones. This is bound to be restricted to MvP Hunters or people on the Market. There's no solo/free options, and I honestly in ONE MONTH of 10x rate could actually try one since it has all those requirements.
-Skill Changes, Rebel example: Heat Barrel low duration/effect+cast time, eternal chain low duration+cast time, fallen angel cooldown, fire dance cooldown 5s + cast time, rich's coin 2min cooldown, aspd buff kugan 2s cast time 7s duration, defensive kugan for saving on emergencies with 2s cast time... cast time, cooldown, cast time, cooldown....

Overall: A lot of good content, very poorly tuned and specifically made for party play, regardless of the player base or time. It wastes a lot of your time with a TON of cast time bars and cooldown on anything you do, it's very annoying to sync anything since a ton of kugan/mods are of weird stuff that's difficult to stack and have absurdly low proc/use chances. It's very good content, but very poorly implemented.

5-Rates, Drops and Itemization - 5/10

Rates: The Exp is slow. very slow(considering it'll be 10x slower than beta in this case). Since you don't need to trans back to high novice, the exp of both regular and tras was merged and it shows. rates are 15x but sometimes feel like 5x, specially when you accont that you need to reborn 10 times (with item requisites at the end) to THEN get to max level with good stats and THEN start checking what the server is about. you'll likely play for 2 months before you can even consider trying Midgard North, since it's totally balanced to Lv100~160 (even with Lv102 Max). Kugan do help a bit but it stills an issue that you just can't access Midgard North anytime soon.

Drops: No cool new items drop anytime during vanilla experience, except for the random card shard (for OCAs) or weird gem item. Except for the Kugans and few map stuff its a mostly vanilla RO experience until max level. Drops are reasonable for a low rate but can be stingy for required items on reborns (like requiring Ora Ora, or Emperiums). Regular Low Rate with no surprises (it could use some).

Itemization: There are Lv5 weapons, i didn't get any of them since they require Midgard North bosses, same for 3rd job toned down stuff like sapha set or the like, for the same reason. Gems are nice, quality mods are nice, but it's a mostly vanilla experience until midgard north.

Overall: it's a low rate vanilla RO with 10 reborns from Lv50+5 lvs up to 95, with low rate drops and then you can get started on trying the new very good content they made. Maybe. Depending on your build/party. In 1 month at 10x planned rate i could get to max level with all reborns on a few characters, but the process was just barely acceptable because of kugans, nothing different to care about save for it.

6-Character Progress and server systems - 3/10

Personal Gripe of mine(take with a grain of salt): EDP damage is nerfed and they still require you to farm for it. It still lasts 60s and a specific Zodiac Skill decreases consuming on use/crafting material spending for it by 50%. It requires me to kill Poison Spores to keep any reasonable damage as an assassin, even on a low rate. it's unacceptable for 2021 design and exarcebates the slow gameplay even more. Make it cost a lot of zeny, make it even weaker but killing lv20 monsters is terrible game design and isn't hard, just a "free time check".

I leveled an assassin to Lv102 with 10 reborns, tested a weird dual dagger crit build, had some reasonable success with basic dragon manteau+vest+thief card combo, some crit daggers and then promptly got 3 shot by monsters on midgard north.I was not farming edp due to skill that removed costs (that was nerfed), and the best advice i got was that my fully carded, reasonable mid tier gear was not enough to kill Lunatics reliably solo. on the FIRST MAP.

While leveling i started with a regular dex build, but since they HIT/FLEE formula is GARBAGE i was hitting 60% on Les at Moscovia dungeons when i was lv 60 with 35 dex. and Getting hit over 30% due to a flee also being nerfed. As a Lv60 Assassin i could barely kill 3 Les before needing to go back to town to heal (with a healer npc that heals you up to 80%... 100% to vips, weird). I stopped playing my assassin and started a Kagerou.

Got my Kagerou to Lv 80+, it still sucked damage wise, the kagerou skills were terrible to used/nerfed as hell, and it would take  a TON of gears to even consider trying Midgard North.

Rolled a Rebellion, since it's ranged, SO MANY SKILLS had nerfs/cast times/cooldown i could barely play the class without stopping all the time (it also applies to every other class, since so many kugan actives have increased cast/sp cost/cooldowns), in the end with once again, reasonable agi/flee gear, i got 2 shot by a lunatic on the first field, who i was dealing around 1200/double hit revolvers at 189 aspd and had over 30k hp.
Then i used @mi and noticed mobs later on (as in Lv120~130... around mid late game) would have over 100k hp already and hit MUCH harder.

Then i checked recommendations to run autocast, since there are a BILLION autocast options/items/kugans/spells and the like, I played it for a few hours to Lv80 and was already facerolling most mobs i took a while to kill as an assassin, i didn't try midgard north because once again, i would be 2~4 shot due to lack of over refined defensive gear/kugan. However, Autocast was absolutely broken and the sheer amount of procs i had did stack damage and was slightly fun, but chaotic since i didn't know what was Power damage, DoT damage, spell damage, or the like, so complicated!

So my main gripe... WHY are defensive options so required to even try, to the point you can't have any subpar item to even try the FIRST area? or even with very good attack items (that would require me to you know, farm those high end spots) I would still be killed easily.

Overall: Slow Progression, Impossible to Solo later on, you'll hit a wall that requires gear that you can only find behind that wall, and MAYBE you could try with a broken meta build, and nothing else.

7-Game Mechanics, Balance and Gameplay 1/10

It's Slow, very slow, a lot of stuff have long animations, the Warper NPC always says a voiced line, the walking speed is unbearably slow, cast times are everywhere, cooldowns on skills for no reason (so you can't fully build around it), you miss attacks a lot, your flee fails a lot, the only real steady progress i found was with an autocast spell build, since it didn't miss, didn't have cast times and didn't have cooldown. even as a REBEL 50% of my time was casting slow skills and using their effects for 10~15 seconds and doing it again, to then run out of SP on 3 rotations.

Balance is weird, Asura has 3 Signature Kugans to buff and proc stuff on it and a Specialized Kugan, Spell Kugans have extremely specific bonuses and details, active kugans make no sense most of the time due to how specific they are (Only ones i truly used were the 50% SP/HP heals on a 60second cooldown/no cast time) or with that weird 7 second duration you'll find everywhere in the game.

Gameplay is classic RO, but MUCH better in some aspects of acessibility and build choices, once again, poorly implemented.

Overall: It's good, but slow. very slow. Anything you do that is not autocast will either last very little time, require too much preparation or be extremely specific to a single use scenario that may not be worth it.

8-Staff, Community and Support - 8/10

Staff even disagreeing with me did try their best to explain and elaborate on reasons for things. are willing to change and improve, always helping players with issues. But they REALLY need to play the game to learn how making it works.

Community is good overall, save for a few complaints like "how do you expect to deal damage with that carding lol" and not noticing uber carding shouldn't be required to even start max level basic monster content. They do speak in french a lot and that makes it hard to follow as an english speaker.

Overall: Very good, can't complain too much, they are doing their best, just gotta be patient and actually consider ideas before shotting them down. Specially the bad ones (5 kugan points for 7 second buff with 2s cast time for  10% ASPD. I'm still not over it), Some things can't be changed "Later on" after you launch and get a full playerbase stuck leveling 10 times on reborns and then facing a party/gear wall. It's VERY DISHEARTENING and a MASSIVE QUIT REASON TO CONSIDER.

« Last Edit: Oct 26, 2021, 03:13 pm by exsoldier »

Offline exsoldier

9-What I Loved and Hated about it 9/10

It has so much, SO MUCH Potential. The ideas are sound, the concepts work, the Kugan system is engaging, the story quests seem cool, the design is amazing, the maps are good, everything should work.

But everything is slow, hard to do, hard to access, hard to understand (it legit took me a few reads of the wiki to understand some kugans, because i though they were too specific for no reason, and the truth is, they were).

I Hated having to reborn 10 times to actually reach the main meat of the server. leveling an assassin to 99 is something i've done on all kinds of servers, and it was NO DIFFERENT HERE, only TEN TIMES.

It was something i thought was worth it... then it wasn't, because i noticed i would require coordinated parties to do anything meaningful. Then considering I would need to farm hours of Poison Bottles, prepare to join a party, on the same progress of north fields, with level appropriate gear with around 10h of free play time a week, in a different timezone...I quit.

I quit because i wouldn't progress slowly but steady solo to then party and have fun, i quit because i would have to guide new players on all fields to unlock quests because they can't solo to catch up, because i would require a party for anything, because the progress is so damn slow, because all the very cool stuff i found on the main site would take AGES to even attempt reasonably.

I saw something called Babel Tower, that's a good challenge for solo players, and I can't even get there. because i can't survive the fields on the way. And the staff answered me when i asked what i could do solo on max level "try babel tower". Terrible design choice :(

And it's sad, because it's a project  i REALLY appreciated. It's a dream ragnarok server to play, but it makes itself so, SO hard to play and have fun with how slow, complicated and party/level gated it is.

10-Main issues and recommended fixes. 5/10

-Remove Some of the cooldown/decrease them.
-Increase buffs from 7s to 15s MINIMUM, regular RO buffs last at least 1minute, and even some have been nerfed to under that.
-make useless kugan more impactful. 2% chance of something happening isn't worth investing most of the time
-Less focus on procs/autospells/etc.
-Nerf Nightmare Dungeons, make the lower ones solo/duo ready. Remove MvP drops cost to enter, add zeny/daily/whatever. I don't even know what's inside since i entered ONCE and died.
-Make Midgard North Fields Solo friendly. You can make dungeons real challenges, but even the FIELDS, required for progression? That's abusive.
-Scrap the hit/flee formula, it's bad, it makes everything slower and more punishing, you cast time a lot, miss a lot of hits and stand still a lot.
-Personal Request: Sell EDP on NPC/make it drop reasonably/remove its cost, even if it requires even more nerfs (unlike Asura and its 3 kugan buffs).

Overall Grade of Server: 45/100 / Grade i'd give if it wasn't so slow/walled: 85/100

Recommended: Yes, give it a try. see for yourself, check the wiki. Don't get too invested unless you REALLY like slow-paced play.
Best: Kugan System, Design
Worst: Slow, Midgard North Wall


-Let the rage begin~

« Last Edit: Oct 26, 2021, 03:19 pm by exsoldier »