I think I mentioned this before, but I still play a bit of Ragnarok Online whenever my budget allows for it (I play on a non Free-for-Play server in pRO, so I need to pay for playtime). It’s still enjoyable, especially when you’re playing with a high or maxed-leveled character like I am (incredibly easy, given the MASSIVE experience given by daily quests), but the enjoyment factor is offset by the fact that the longer one stays in-game, the more apparent the experience grind is. Although the Renewal update changed things a bit with monster level tiers and their associated experience bonuses/penalties, the fact remains that it becomes a chore to gain the necessary experience to advance in Job levels (which in my opinion is MUCH more important than base levels, which can be accumulated easily through the aforementioned daily questing).
Take the screenshot shown above. The dragon (a Gold Acidus to be more specific) is a level 130 monster, so while my character is 20 levels higher than it I still gain respectable experience for hunting it (after level-difference penalties are factored in). The thing is, ‘respectable’ just means that, after the Premium bonus (+50% to experience and drop rate) and Advanced Field Manual bonus (x2 multiplier to existing experience bonus), I only gain about .03% per dragon kill. That’s… not much. It’s bad enough that Acidus hurt, they also normally come in massive mobs that can easily overwhelm an unlucky player.
And you wonder why the vast majority of players in pRO just use bot programs; the sheer amount of time to move one’s Job experience bar just a few percentage points is a massive investment in time… which many people just can’t do. I mean, one has to live after all. As for me, it’s amazing enough to be able to play two straight hours before suffering grind ennui. Let’s face it, going solo in RO can be VERY boring.
The thing is though, the local Ragnarok scene leaves little to offer in terms of party-based leveling. For example, one of the most fun maps to go to as a group (Thanatos Tower) is still, after all these years, bugged as heck, to the point where it’s impossible to get beyond the third floor. That leave Endless Tower as the prime party spot, but given the limitations associated to it (it’s an instance-based map, which makes it a pain to get back into if you disconnected), as well as my near-max leveled characters (parties have a 15-level difference in order to be able to still share experience), I’m left with very few options.
It’s not surprising then that the builds of my characters are skewed towards self-sufficient solo leveling, with a smidgen of support thrown in for the rare party raid. So hybrid builds are the order of the day for me. Don’t expect optimized min-maxing from yours truly, no sir! Not a single Stat point wasted, that’s my motto.
Ah, when did leveling for experience get so complicated. It’s a good thing that I never experienced that issue in Guild Wars…