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July 1, 2010

Private servers!

So, for the uninformed, private servers are servers of popular MMORPGs that have increased EXP rates and gold rates as well as other extra touches like more convenient shops, free “cash” (real money items), etc. The main reason for private servers is that most people don’t want to grind. Many MMOs utilize grinding in order to progress in the game. In MapleStory and RuneScape, the EXP curve is extremely punishing – it is also pretty bad in MMOs like WoW and, well, pretty much every MMORPG there is. (There are a few exceptions, but those are more skill-based and can hardly be considered MMOs). The rationale of the grind is understandable – the longer you can make players stay, the more money you earn.

There are a few ways to make players stay. The developers can add in more content, they can build up a friendly, helpful community, or they can make the leveling process slower so the players access content slower.

At first glance, making the leveling process slower (the “grind”) seems to be the easiest, most cost-effective way. So let’s all make the leveling process so excruciatingly slow it takes three days to level up!!!

Well, no game developer is stupid enough to do that (and no player would be stupid enough to play it). Developers compromise by introducing an EXP curve, that is the experience point curve. Simply put, the first few levels are easy to level pass but the experience points (derived from killing monsters, quests, etc) needed to level up get more and more as you level. Instead of a linear increase (which would be a straight line), we have a curve which starts off flat but rapidly gets steeper and steeper. This way, the casual players can experience some of the content quickly, but if you want to experience all of the content, well, you’d better start grinding now!

Here’s something I took from Tip.it; it’s the experience table for RuneScape levels.

1 0 0
2 83 83
3 174 91
4 276 102
5 388 112
6 512 124
7 650 138
8 801 151
9 969 168
10 1,154 185
11 1,358 204
12 1,584 226
13 1,833 249
14 2,107 274
15 2,411 304
16 2,746 335
17 3,115 369
18 3,523 408
19 3,973 450
20 4,470 497
21 5,018 548
22 5,624 606
23 6,291 667
24 7,028 737
25 7,842 814
26 8,740 898
27 9,730 990
28 10,824 1,094
29 12,031 1,207
30 13,363 1,332
31 14,833 1,470
32 16,456 1,623
33 18,247 1,791
34 20,224 1,977
35 22,406 2,182
36 24,815 2,409
37 27,473 2,658
38 30,408 2,935
39 33,648 3,240
40 37,224 3,576
Level XP XP diff
41 41,171 3,947
42 45,529 4,358
43 50,339 4,810
44 55,649 5,310
45 61,512 5,863
46 67,983 6,471
47 75,127 7,144
48 83,014 7,887
49 91,721 8,707
50 101,333 9,612
51 111,945 10,612
52 123,660 11,715
53 136,594 12,934
54 150,872 14,278
55 166,636 15,764
56 184,040 17,404
57 203,254 19,214
58 224,466 21,212
59 247,886 23,420
60 273,742 25,856
61 302,288 28,546
62 333,804 31,516
63 368,599 34,795
64 407,015 38,416
65 449,428 42,413
66 496,254 46,826
67 547,953 51,699
68 605,032 57,079
69 668,051 63,019
70 737,627 69,576
71 814,445 76,818
72 899,257 84,812
73 992,895 93,638
74 1,096,278 103,383
75 1,210,421 114,143
76 1,336,443 126,022
77 1,475,581 139,138
78 1,629,200 153,619
79 1,798,808 169,608
80 1,986,068 187,260
Level XP XP diff
81 2,192,818 206,750
82 2,421,087 228,269
83 2,673,114 252,027
84 2,951,373 278,259
85 3,258,594 307,221
86 3,597,792 339,198
87 3,972,294 374,502
88 4,385,776 413,482
89 4,842,295 456,519
90 5,346,332 504,037
91 5,902,831 556,499
92 6,517,253 614,422
93 7,195,629 678,376
94 7,944,614 748,985
95 8,771,558 826,944
96 9,684,577 913,019
97 10,692,629 1,008,052
98 11,805,606 1,112,977
99 13,034,431 1,228,825
100 14,391,160 1,356,729
101 15,889,108 1,497,948
102 17,542,976 1,653,868
103 19,368,991 1,826,015
104 21,385,072 2,016,081
105 23,611,005 2,225,933
106 26,068,631 2,457,626
107 28,782,068 2,713,437
108 31,777,942 2,995,874
109 35,085,653 3,307,711
110 38,737,660 3,652,007
111 42,769,799 4,032,139
112 47,221,639 4,451,840
113 52,136,868 4,915,229
114 57,563,717 5,426,849
115 63,555,442 5,991,725
116 70,170,839 6,615,397
117 77,474,827 7,303,988
118 85,539,081 8,064,254
119 94,442,736 8,903,655
120 104,273,166

What this means is the experience needed to level from 1 – 92 is actually pretty much equal to the experience needed to level from 93-99. Pretty harsh! If it were on a linear scale, taking the experience needed to level from level 1 to 2 (83), and multiplying it by 99, we get a total of 8,217 experience needed to level from level 1 to level 99. A far cry from 13 million, you say? Well, say we take the experience needed for level 50 (101,333) and we multiply it by 99. We get a total of 10,031,967 experience needed, which is much closer to the actual figure of 13 million. But which player is going to grind 101,333 experience points with mediocre equipment on mediocre monsters? Grinding is a pretty ingenious solution to solve a huge problem.

But does the curve really have to be so steep? Well, that’s where private servers come in. They offer anywhere from 50x to 1000x rates, which makes the actual experience needed for level 99 become 26,608.862. In the normal server, that is the equivalent of a level 36/37. (Assuming a 500x rate) For the casual player who has 30 minutes on his lunch break to while the time away and experience most, if not all, of the content one would normally only experience through weeks of non-stop grinding.

I’ve played the private servers of two games – RuneScape and MapleStory, and I have to say both of them are pretty damn bad. The graphics in RuneScape private servers are old and clunky, while MapleStory private servers lack features like the recently-released Evan and not-so-recently-released Aran. (Plus, the ability to jump down.) Both of them also have lousy communities, though there are a few exceptions. However, they do let you experience most things the real games have, and you can do it in much shorter a time frame.

So, private servers – worth your time? I’d say yes. Depending on how new the private server is, it will offer more features and hopefully a less jaded, more friendly community. For some strange reason the more people in a community, the meaner and more retarded the people. If you don’t have much time and want to just mess around, go for the private servers. If you want an “authentic” experience, well, go for the legitimate servers. It’s all up to you. Or, you could play both! 😀

Next up: Borderlands

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