Twilight Destiny - detailed review

Started by ~Selene~, Nov 02, 2007, 02:34 PM

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After writing a short review for TD, I noticed that nobody has made a detailed one, here on the forums yet.
Time for me to make an account and write one :)

A detailed review of nearly 2 years Twilight Destiny:

Even though it's a server with 10/10/10 rates, I'd classify it as a mid-rate.
Leveling is alot faster then on a standard 10/10/10, which is partially caused by the numerous custom items, their custom dungeon, and the fact that Dead Branches are able to spawn MvPs.
Max level is 120, so you don't reach it too fast with these rates.
Item drops are slightly too high for my taste, I prefer the droprate being lower then base/job exp rates.
Dex does reduce cast delay, so some skills can be used in a different way then on 'official' servers.

I believe I joined TD shortly after they moved to a dedicated linux server, apperantly it wasn't very stable before that, but during the 2 years I played, there never was an unexpected downtime worth mentionning.
Updates seem to be tested in advance on a testserver only available to a very small and closed community (mostly gms and forum moderators)
This seems to pay off, since updates are usually applied within 10 minutes.
On most servers I played before, it was more like 'never play on patch day', on TD however, this is totally different :)

During my 2 years, the server has never been wiped.
I remember that there was a 1 or 2 day rollback once, because something went wrong with an update, but that's it.

My rating: 10/10

They offer a standalone client (only 1,4 gigs) in the form of an installer.
Really easy to use, you download it, launch the installer, hit ok, and you find yourself with an icon on your desktop to launch their client.
Since a few days ago it features new stuff, such as the dual chat system, and it shows HP in the party window.
The client is extremely stable, I can't remember when I got my last 'gravity error'.
They feature an explanation on how to use their client under linux, which was interesting for me.
Unfortunately their patcher does not work under linux, but the client still deserves to receive a perfect rating.

My rating: 10/10

~Game Masters~
The main gms from TD have all my respect.
They are very patient, and very kind.
You actually can get their msn addresses, so you can contact them all the time.
I'm not sure how that works out for them, I imagine they get a lot of spam because of that.

I believe everyone ingame has a 'favorite' GM, or let's rather say, they are only in contact with one of them.
The main GMs / Admins are Hyunkell and Zyndell.
It seems that Hyunkell is doing most of the server maintenance stuff, responsible for updates, and maintains the client.
Zyndell, as far as I know, manages most of the ingame issues.
There's also a few sub gms, Snowstar and Dreambreaker come to my mind, but there's a total of 4 if I remember correctly.
I'm only in contact with Hyunkell from time to time, so my review is biased on him.

I believe, that as long as you show a minimal amount of respect, you can talk to the GMs about anything whatsoever.
They don't react negative at all to criticism, and are always happy to receive suggestions.
They actually spend time, helping their players to fix problems often totally unrelated to RO.
Hyunkell for instance has helped me numerous times with Windows related issues, and he actually played some other online games with me o_o
I heard someone talking about them playing Worms with players from the server from time to time.
You can also talk to them on TD's own Teamspeak server if you want, I know that Zyndell and Hyunkell speak English French and German  :o
So in short, they're really cool, and close to the community.

At this point I feel like adding that I kinda do feel sorry for them though.
They run a strict no donation policy (which really owns :)) and put alot of work into their server.
Unfortunately some people are unable to appreciate their efforts.
Up until a few days ago, there were quite a few jerks on the server, giving them a really hard time.
Fortunately, some of them got banned and the others left.
I believe that the GMs have been a bit too kind.
Banning these jerks a few months ago would have been the better idea from my point of view.

Nevertheless I'm giving them a perfect score, since they deserve it. Their kindness is a weakness at times though.

My rating: 10/10

~Gameplay - Community~
A lot of players are very kind and helpful.
If you're doing quests for example, you can usually find someone who explains you how it's done, and helps you hunt items.
If you're new, try to get in contact with other players/guilds, and you will have a great time :)
As I mentioned before, a few jerks played on the server up until a few days ago.
Fortunately they're gone now, but because of the fact that they played for a few months, I cannot give a perfect community rating. (but a good one since they're gone, and everyone left is really nice.)
The server does need more players (currently 60-100 online at a time, 120-140 during WoE)
I totally blame the jerks mentioned before for the low numbers.
They spread alot of lies, and annoyed quite alot of people before they left.
I noticed before that one of them actually wrote a review for TD, giving very bad points because 'the gms say that i got banned and thats why i am writing negative reviews'
I guess no further comment needs to be added here.
With 200+ players at a time, this server would be really awesome.

My rating: 9/10

~Gameplay - Balance~
Balance is usually an issue on these kind of servers.
First potential problem that comes to mind is:

Dex reduces cast time:
This usually results in alot of problems, but TD solved some issues by adding custom items that add water resistance / magic resistance.
This works rather well, they also put fixed delays on skills such as Acid Demonstration, so you can't spam it, even with a billion of dex.
You need 160 dex for instant cast, so it is only reached with nearly all dex giving custom items, I kinda like that :)
Nevertheless I'd prefer dex not reducing cast delay, but it harmonizes with the customs, and the 120 level limit.

Custom items:
Quests for 'old' customs are rather boring (bring me x items).
Quests for newer custom items are rather good, usually evil in some ways (they tend to make you angry XD).
If you care to actually read what the npcs say, they aren't too hard though, and they are usually very fun and feature alot of jokes.
Certain quests are extremely well made
The items themselves are from my point of view overpowered.
They are only slightly harder to get then 'official' items, but are way more powerful.
Example: Wings tend to give +7 to one attribute and +5 to another.
It does in some ways harmonize with the 160 dex needed for instant cast, and other server settings, such as dex reducing cast delay.
Some customs are needed to rebalance the insane Wizard casttimes.
Lord Kaho horns (although very hard to make) shouldn't be available to players.
Neither should god items. (you can make sleipnirs and brisingamen if you reach level 120, very very very hard quest, but I'd still prefer them being unavailable)
TD tries to be a mid rate server with low rate server rates.
It does work out much better then one would expect, but I'd prefer it being a proper lowrate.

Class Balance:
Again, much better then one would expect with all the custom settings/items.
Actually the balance is pretty good at the moment, a SinX with very good gear is still slightly too powerful from my point of view.
It works out very well in WoE though, where the combination of different classes are important.
Kudos for creating balance in an environment full of customs, but again, I would have preferred a proper lowrate, which doesn't suffer from these problems.
I would change the aspd cap from 199 to 195, but things work out as they are at the moment.

I don't do WoE myself, so this will be biased on what I heard from other players.
From what people say, class balance is good in WoE.
An interesting thing worth mentioning is that, if guild alliances start to become too powerful, they tend to break alliances 'for fun' or refuse to be active in some towns, to give smalled/newer guilds a chance.
I experienced this a few times now, and I really do like it.
Lately the bigger guilds (most of the server actually) have allied against the 'jerks' mentioned before, I believe that this alliance will be broken now, that they are gone.
Another thing that needs to be mentioned is that TD has a 'dual WoE system', I don't think there's a name for it.
WoE sieges are twice a week, castles from siege 1 cannot be taken during siege 2.
In other terms, during siege1 other towns are active then during siege2, this is really useful on an international servers, since castles taken, for example on Saturday, cannot be taken on Wednesday.
WoE on TD only lasts a single hour as opposed to 2 on most other servers.
A kill counter with Unreal Tournament Taunts makes things pretty fun (~Rampage,Killing Spree...)
There's a bit too much castles open for the current amount of players online.

To get an idea on how WoE is on TD, I suggest downloading a player made movie, that shows the incredible amount of action during WoE, in very high quality:
Plays fine on Vlc, and is worth a watch :)

My rating: 8/10

~Gameplay - Economy~
Economy is very different then on 'real' lowrate servers.
There definitely is an Economy, but it's all about the very best 'official' items, and all the customs.
Weaker 'official' items, tend to be given out free of charge from 'older' players.
The very best items are usually traded rather then bought.
Most MvP cards have been found a few times so far, as one would expect on a server that has been running for over 2 years.
It's basically an Economy, one would expect on a mid rate server.

My rating: 7/10

~Gameplay - Events~
I'll talk about 'big' events first.
There's always an event at certain times of the year, for example on Halloween, Xmas, Easter, and they are much better then the 'official' events.
Occasionally there are rather special events. We had a 'hotness contest' some time ago, which was rather fun.
But what I liked even more was the 'singing contest'.
Twilight Destiny has it's own radio station (it isn't up that often though)
People needed to send in songs featuring themselves singing, they were then played on the radio station, and a jury gave points resulting in a few winners.
So the 'big' events are usually special and very good.

'small' events (hide and seek for example) ... well there used to be more in the past.
I have to admit that it is pretty hard to hold events without many players online though.
Some events were very original, and features good ideas, but there currently is a lack of these kind of events.

I'm still giving this a 9 because even though events aren't hold very often, they definitely are very good.

My rating: 9/10

~My thoughts~
Twilight Destiny, is a very very good server, and definitely worth playing.

They actively refuse donations, it seems like they only want to create a place for people to have a lot of fun, without the need to pay money.
This is probably the most important condition for a great server.

Unfortunately it does lack players at the moment, but that is only a temporary problem hopefully.
TD made a very big mistake by adding 'db rooms', rooms rentable by parties, where you can crack dbs without worrying about other players stealing your kills.
Since DBs do spawn MvPs occasionally, most people use these rooms in order to level.
This makes leveling monotone and boring.
I guess that this isn't 'fixable' though, because it would make life much harder for newer players, and it'd take forever to catch up with those playing for over a year.
One would probably need to wipe, in order to remove the 'Db rooms'

You may have guessed that I'm more of a lowrate fan, and TD isn't exactly a lowrate server.
If TD would make a 'proper' lowrate server, it would potentially be one of the best servers out there.
I mean, they do have the potential. They have kickass GMs/Admins, a great Community, and the knowledge and experience to do it.
Don't get me wrong though, their mid rate is a very good server, but with a lowrate, they'd be closer to perfection.