I’ve recently discovered the culture of Private Game Servers for popular MMO and other games where the rules are broken to make the game experience different. Usually the EXP, loot and currency drop rates are multiplied by 200 – 1000x to make the game less of a “Grind”. Many Asian MMOs are one awful grind, meaning it takes hours or days to level up or collect the loot or currency you need by killing monsters. A couple of years ago I played 2Moons [Dekaron] for almost a year and never got above level 85.
On a private server for Dekaron I now have 7 characters above level 170.
Where do you find Private Servers?
Now that you know what they are called, you can google for “Your favorite game private server” and find a list of servers. Here are a couple of lists I found:
All of the sites have some sort of voting, which moves them up in the rankikngs. You should expect to receive a reward of some kind as you vote. Usually it’s currency for the game shop. You can vote every 12 hours so over time you can make a modest amount of shop cash to expand your storage or purchase other game items.
Not Always Working
You will have to try a few of these before you find one you like. So don’t necessarily jump right in and invest a lot of time on the first server at the top of the list. Some of the common problems are:
- The game servers lag. I found Dekaron Evolution servers lag quite a bit, so I dumped them for a better performing server. Dekaron Nemesis servers are great. Elite Dekaron servers are fine, but they have other problems.
- The servers break game features. Elite Dekaron broke the quest log. Apparently you could still take quests, and complete them, but you could never see your progress. Not sure why they did that. And it’s not clear that quests are important when the EXP rates are very high, but occasionally quests are interesting, and it’s annoying to try to do quests with no log or tracking.
- The folks are no fun. Griefing is a problem with the design of Dekaron. You may not like the level of nonsense from other players. Xtreme Jade Dynasty on the other hand has no griefing since they separate the PVP from PVE on different realms and have a zero tolerance policy for griefing. I have found Xtreme Jade Dynasty to be a very friendly and social place to play.
- The installers don’t work, or you can’t download them. Some of the servers use “free” hosting services for the files, which is a pain since they make you wait and reduce your download rate unless you pay. What nonsense! Some of the installers are just broken on some systems. In order to install Elite Cabal Reloaded, I had to watch the installer, and when it tossed an error, I had to find and copy the installer at that point and run that part by itself. Not for the faint of heart. The installer worked fine on a Windows 7 x64 system, but failed on Vista x86 unless you grabbed the installer files and installed those manually. Sometimes the support staff for the servers aren’t the sharpest folks around.
I’ll do other posts for each game and suggest which private server I found as the best.
Real World Economics of Private Servers
I cannot confirm this easily, but apparently, private servers license the game software for “non-commercial” use, which means that the companies apparently need to be non-profit. So while they are Free To Play, they accept Donations, and typically give you game rewards for these donations. In the case of Dekaron Nemesis, you will find that a few real dollars will get you some pretty sweet unique game content. Unique costumes and one items – a ring – which gives you killer buffs and you can wear up to 4 of them. They can be traded among your characters so you can buff the ones you want to level up without spending a bunch on rings for everyone.
How the Gameplay Changes
You might think that 500x EXP would be a great thing, but changes like this can have some unusual side effects. In Elite Dekaron it is no problem to get a character started. You are born with the same situation of the standard Dekaron, and you go out to kill a spider or a bug, which you do and you level up with a few whacks to level 15 and away you go. You are born with 500K DIL, which is great so you can buy armor and weapons.
But with Dekaron Nemesis, it’s not so simple. You are born with level 15 armor and weapons, but with level 1, and no stats. Which should be invalid, but isn’t. But if you try to kill a spider, he kills you. You are given a few stat points that are unassigned, and if you assign them reasonably, and use some of your 500K to buy a few pots, you still can’t kill a spider easily. I whacked on a spider for like 10 minutes before I brought him down, and then I was suddenly at level 16. Strange.
To solve this problem, I created a second account and lead that character, called BootStrapKnight, in a party to kill a few bugs to get him started, then he could lead characters in the other account to get them started. After I was shown this trick with my first character by a friendly passer by, all was well. But clearly the Nemesis folks didn’t completely debug the character startup process.
The high currency drop rates can toss the character trading markets out of whack too. But usually the drops in some area are high enough to get what you need, in Dekaron Nemesis anyway. More later on that specific blog post.
So the bottom line is that if you don’t like the grinding of some Asian MMOs, you may find private servers a lot more fun.
I have found Dekaron, Jade Dynasty and Cabal servers that are much more reasonable to play than their standard counterparts. I’ll provide specific recommendations for servers and game play in future posts.