A few people have asked for a review of the private server. Well, there is nothing else to write about currently. American server is laggy as hell, with my record ping at 82.5 seconds! I can't even do most of my solo daily missions. T3Fun still refuses to patch to Episode 4, and not much is happening this week in other servers either. I don't feel like writing guides on raid missions now, since they would be revised in Armonia Episode 5 anyway.
I have reviewed briefly the private server in 2012 when it was first launched as Aria. (See Aria - Granado Espada Private Server.) It has come a long way since then. So I have registered and downloaded the game client for the private server to see what it is like... Here are some thoughts from the perspective of a player from an official server who is considering switching over to the private server.
Version: 21.84.39 (Armonia Episode 1)
Server Time: GMT+2 (or GMT+1 during DST)
EXP Rate: x10
Drop Rate: x10
Initial Barrack Slots: 21
More customizations of the server can be read at Server Changelog . Some are fairly good changes, but in this post, I will just look at things that are of immediate concern to new players trying to rebuild their families. The private server's connection seem pretty stable. It wasn't too laggy, not as bad as American server currently anyway...
MAKING A NEW TEAM
Okay, let's say you are starting out new in this server. The first order of business is obviously making up character teams. Rather than trying to rebuild your official server family fully, let's try to just build and gear one primary team.
As a new family, you won't be capable of killing Heavenly Vespanola Soldiers while AFK. Upon finishing Auch Pioneering Scenario, you would get EXP Cards enough to immediately raise 3 characters to Master Lv.1. So you need decide carefully which characters to auto-master.
Dual-weapon users are expensive to gear up, so let's stick to single-weapon users. Physical attacks are not always appropriate, so let's have one magic-user and one physical attacker (and one buffer, of course).
Oh, look! Premium characters are available in Cash Shop! So, let's say Cannon Shooter Claire and Cherlyn (or Montoro) for their single-weapon usage. Currently, 1 Renaissance Gold Bar (100 Gold) costs 270,000,000 Vis in the market. Various premium characters (e.g. Cherlyn, Cannon Shooter Claire, Montoro) costs 2,500 Gold in Cash Shop. This will amount to 6,750,000,000 Vis each!
In official servers, most premium characters range from 700 million to 2 billion Vis. I have never seen any character reaching 6 billion Vis in price. In fact, I bought my Rachel in American server for only 500 million Vis back when she was first released.
This is a very big hurdle for players trying to rebuild their families in this server. Even with x10 Drop Rate, it would take a really long time to even acquire this amount of Vis, especially since the dropped items still sell to NPC for the same miserable prices.
Most established families in official servers would already have at least a few premium characters, so you would want to gear up 2-3 premium characters at least. Of course, you can gear up regular characters first before acquiring premium ones, but this will only increase the costs you need to spend in order to finish one proper team (unless the regular characters use the same weapons as the premium characters).
See below for the market prices of AR33 weapons and DR32 armors, which are what you would need to be somewhat decent in gears.
ENHANCED TACTICS RING
Yes, Enhanced Tactics Rings are not optional in this game. You really need them to even approach being somewhat decent. An Upgraded Enhanced Tactics Ring currently costs 1,300,000,000 Vis in the market! A regular stance ring would cost less, but not by much. (In Japanese server, a regular Enhanced Tactics Ring is available quite cheaply in World-Cross PVP Shop.)
The client windows are customized to fit 1920x1080 resolution. This makes smaller resolutions (e.g. 1366x768) really cluttered and unsightly. It can be somewhat annoying when the focused window keeps getting blocked (see below). It should have been optional (or with a different ui.ipf file using normal window sizes being made available for download).
Growth Stone (100,000 Feso) currently costs 7,000,000 Vis in the market. It is fairly cheap. Feso Stones can be acquired from certain boss monsters in the fields, or from monsters in Battle Colosseum. Notable items in the Feso Shop include:
- Pink/Red/Etc. Lollipop = 1,000 Feso
- +5/+6 Impervium Expert = 500,000 Feso
- Ancient En Celar Pass - 7 days = 1,000,000 Feso
GOLD - CASH SHOP CURRENCY
The private server introduced Renaissance Gold Bars, which can be traded and used to top-up 100 Gold (cash shop credits). In my opinion, this is just unnecessary. While it seems nice to have a currency that can be used to purchase premium items, such currency already exists in the game - it is called Feso.
It is redundant to introduce a third currency into the game. Yes, some cash shop items are not tradable or available in Feso Shop. But those items can simply be added into Feso Shop (or an NPC trading items for Feso Stones). I'm not sure why they do it in such a roundabout way.
To me, one of the most important things about a server is the comparative prices of non-cash items versus cash items in the market. The left screenshot is for Cash Shop, while the right screenshot is for Market Manager. Remember you can convert any item in Cash Shop into Vis through Renaissance Gold Bars.
Apparently, they have introduced some measures to curb Vis inflation, but these would not help new players who would still be struggling to acquire Vis to buy the most basic items, such as Enhanced Tactics Rings or to make their first proper team.
In the end, the barrier-to-entry is simply too high. If you are starting out the game without any family in other servers, then I suppose it is fine. But if you already have a fully-geared and established family in the official servers, it would take too much effort and time to rebuild just one team, much less the entire family. It is probably better to just stick with your existing family with its characters and all their gears. Rather than spend time and effort rebuilding your family for essentially the same game, go and play a different game instead.