I would like to start by expressing my utmost gratitude to everyone who has stuck with us since XIVRO launched. This would not have been possible without the community's support.
This is a lengthy post that provides historical context to XIVRO's state and the direction we will take. I suggest reading through it. However, the actual news will be at the bottom part of this post.
To some people who may not be familiar with me, I was DarkRO's sub-administrator before I transitioned to XIVRO. During my time as a DarkRO staff, I mostly wrote scripts and implemented items. My privileges were not as far reaching as players thought back then. Still, I attempted to fix and improve the server in any way I can, adding new content through scripting and item implementation. Matias also applied a lot of class balancing based on the development team's recommendations. Unfortunately, the server's problems ran deeper than what I was allowed to do and its state continued to gradually decline. I left around 2017 due to frustrations of not being able to do anything meaningful, on top of piling stress from university. Understandably, Matias wasn't around as often as I would have liked, due to personal and work issues. I definitely could have put in a lot more effort, or even asked for the reins. However, due to my lack of administrating experience, I honestly was definitely not ready for it. Eventually, DarkRO "died" from the lack of... everything, and that was that.
Last year, we had the idea to "revive" DarkRO, not as a new server, but to gain ownership of the server and massively improve it from within. I started sending Matias emails, attempting to connect back with him. We also attempted to contact Maurice, the founder of DarkRO, to ask for the domain and rebuild the server from the bottom up if we were not successful in obtaining the server. There were some replies and promises from the former, that he agrees to transitioning the administration after the New Year's. We waited until late January to early February, but we never received any reply after. Our frustrations grew to the point where we decided to just create a new server and build our own image. However, amidst our decision, we never disregarded the possibility of them going through with it.
At the start of XIVRO's development, we were approached by Brenth (who is now known as Anakin) and offered to implement the source code of one of his previous DarkRO clones with a $1600 price tag. In addition to this offer, he also required us to grant him an administrator role. Brenth already has a reputation of destroying other servers at this point, and we decisively declined his offer and banned him from the discord. During this time as well, we reached out to former DarkRO players about this new server we are building. It garnered a lot of interest, and the Discord server eventually became populated. During the middle of development, rebirth's staff, most notably James and Anakin(Brenth) joined the server and started poaching members to their server that they claimed is DarkRO. Of course this worked and a significant number of members in the XIVRO discord moved. It was disheartening, but we moved on anyway. We owed it to our players to at least push forward to where are at at right now.
Given the context leading to our situation and recent news that I am about to share, we have hit a crossroad that will significantly impact the future of the server. Nothing has been set in stone yet; however, we are currently facing a very difficult dilemma that we believe we should be transparent with and XIVRO players have the right to know.
Recently, we received huge news from both Matias and Maurice. Maurice agreed to transfer the domain ownership to myself. As of right now I currently hold and am the owner of the domain dark-ro.net. Matias also agreed to transfer DarkRO's administration, and we are in the process of obtaining DarkRO. I currently possess DarkRO Force and Pie's source codes, website, and wiki files, and we are just waiting for the server's database files.
This is development is bittersweet. We have finally obtained DarkRO and are given the opportunity to push through with that we originally intended to do. On the other hand, it also means absolute uncertainty with XIVRO's future. However, what is certain is that we will push to revive DarkRO as well as continue XIVRO's development, how we'll do the former is still a point of contention.
Upon obtaining DarkRO, we also inherited a broken economy caused by more than decade of botting and illegally obtained items made by corrupted staff members well before my time. If we are to revive DarkRO, we will have to wipe the database to work with a clean slate. I understand that DarkRO players would not want to start over. However, it is necessary in order to create a better economy. We also had in mind to use XIVRO's database instead, but it also presents complications that makes the option not ideal.
I'll admit that we made a huge mistake reworking the refinement system in conjunction with an easily obtainable end-game gear system. It allowed players to gain an ample amount of end-game items with maximum refinements in a very short time. We also implemented various systems that also allowed for easier end-game gearing. As a consequence for this disastrous oversight, XIVRO's economy was broken in a way that gears have too little value and zeny is too abundant. Unfortunately, this result disqualifies using XIVRO's database directly as DarkRO's starting database as it would be unfair for new players. The current XIVRO economy sadly will not be compatible with what we want for DarkRO. If and when we revive DarkRO, we will approach it in a slightly different way that will allow for an actual economy to grow - this means stripping off or reverting some of the revamped systems that XIVRO currently have.
As much as it pains me to accept, the best option that we are currently presented with for DarkRO is to use XIVRO's development path after modifying current systems to prevent ending up with the same economy XIVRO currently have. However, the item database will be wiped and everyone will start over. It is very understandable for players to raise their concerns. It is well within their rights given the situation and the amount of effort they have put into playing XIVRO. This also applies to DarkRO players as well and their decade-long efforts. To expand on what specific changes we'll make and carry over to DarkRO's development, a list of proposed changes are listed below:
Enforce a single client
A significant issue that plagued XIVRO was the allowance of dual-clienting. This led to certain exploits (such as MvP hunting and various questing). In order to address this issue, we will be enforcing a single client on both the client-side and gepard-side as well.
Reverting MVP room
The following MvPs/mini-bosses will be removed:
Keep and expand modified cards
With MvP cards being taken out of circulation, modified common cards would present a significant use.
Additionally, we will also further add modified common cards to closely line with some MvP cards, offering lesser but still viable alternatives.
Remove the XIV points system
The XIV points system's purpose was to provide a some sort of participation reward for possible competition during MvP hunts. However, this system was heavily exploited by dual logging. We also failed to add some limitations, like a daily cap, to prevent excessive hunting.
Simplify Icarus Weapons' edp & buff system
Ideally, we will further condense the buffing system to something more singular. Since we consider damage buffs , specifically EDP and MOT, to be essential on the PvP environment, we will merge the effects into a single item (most likely be changed to an accessory) and rework the related cards.
This change will still prevent the monopolization of essential cards as well as promote weapon diversity.
Revert refinement system to its original state
A huge oversight that we failed to act on was the implementation of the improved refinement system in conjunction with the simpler gear quest system and the XIV points system. The combination of these features allowed players to mass produce and max refine end-game gear in a very short amount of time. This is a fundamental issue as RO features a horizontal progression - where all gears are similar to some varying degree and newly introduced gears are only a slight improvement to the current release set.
Reverting this system will allow for a slower progression, in addition to, and more important, placing market values to refined equipment.
Retain but slightly increase difficulty of obtaining valkyrie equipment and wings
This system is a huge leap with regards to gear progression and accessibility of end-game items. DarkRO locked their end-game gears behind an exhaustive and complex quest system that is also gated by castle drops.
While we are retaining this system, we will slightly increase the difficulty of questing to stagger initial mass productions.
Remove the yggdrasilberry and box of thunder from the supplier NPC and re-implement it to a "farm" room.
A part of DarkRO's main market back then was the supplies market - more notably yggdrasilberries and boxes of thunder. We took this out in XIVRO and added it to the supplier NPCs as we deemed it essential. However, this completely removed the supply market as its market price is cheap in relation to ease of zeny grinding.
Creating a "farm" room for yggdrasilberries (and possibly box of thunder), will allow for re-establishing a market and better monitoring.
Remove the "gold" room
The concept of a gold room is fundamentally flawed that is often exploited by botters or macro users. While we have the luxury of gepard, we should not absolutely depend on it as it's not without faults.
Add zeny, exp, supply(?) rewards to various daily quest NPCs
With the removal of the gold room, we'll extensively modify some daily quest NPCs to reward levels, zeny, or possibly supplies.
This modification allows an alternative way to level as well as provide a primary method of generating zeny, albeit in a controlled setting.
This controlled (through daily caps) allow for a more gradual economic development and staggers zeny inflation.
If we decide to go down this route, everyone's progress will be reset. However, we will also provide incentives to XIVRO players for sticking with us thus far.
The overall goal of this option is to develop a healthy economy by enabling easier access to valuable and viable items, while providing a steeper and more staggered challenge for end-game items. However, as previously stated, this comes at a huge cost of players starting over from scratch, aside from the transfer incentives.
As of present, we will move forward with adding contents to XIVRO which will be reflected to DarkRO, and attempt to possibly correct the economy to perhaps re-qualify being used as DarkRO's database. Maintaining XIVRO and developing DarkRO at the same time will definitely be an arduous journey, but I am confident that we'll be able to pull it off.
tl;dr : we ghosted darkro, hooked up with xivro, then made up with darkro. We're now trying to be in a poly relationship with xivro and darkro.