tl;dr : Read the colored text If you don't understand the reason behind the colored statements, then you might as well read. Preface This is not a suggestion thread (though I do make suggestions at the end) so much as it is a post to bring up a glaring issue with the game design that is leading to a lot of problems being brought up on the forums, namely griefing over grind spots. Anyone who plays this game can surely state that it is very grind heavy. Although a player can profit well from the various life skills available in game, the best money per invested time is generally grinding. Players grind to earn money. Players grind for specific drops that are hard to find on the market. Players grind for experience and levels. Players grind for skill points. To help paint a picture, I did a little math with grinding rotations at various end game grind spots. Please note that the numbers may be different for some because each player might have a different idea of what makes a proper grinding rotation. I also included smaller and less efficient grind rotations, so the numbers may be more generous than practical. Also note that the size of the rotations are such that a player with 210 AP can handle it well enough solo if not overclearing (with some obvious exceptions). End Game Grind Rotations per Hunting Ground: Sausans/Shultz: 7 Pirates: 10 Bashims: 4 Nagas: 6 Fogans: 5 Cadry: 3 Crescents: 4 Gahaz Bandits: 4 Basilisks: 4 Centaurus: 4 Sulfer Mines: 3 Pila Ku: 3 Ahkman (3 player party): 2 Hystria (5 player party): 2 Fadus: 3 Feather Wolves: 2 Manshaums: 3 Mirumok(3 player party): 2 Ronaros: 3 Gyfin (5 player party): 2 If you add all that up, there are 74 endgame grinding rotations in the game. If you assume a single endgame or near endgame player is grinding solo unless stated otherwise and in uncontested (no one else competing for the spot): Only 100 endgame players can grind uncontested on any single channel. That's the same as just 1 endgame guild... How many guilds are there? Think about it... If we ignore Olvia channels (40 channels total), this means that 4000 endgame players can grind at any one time uncontested in the game. This number is extremely generous because not all grind locations and rotations are created equal. In reality, I would estimate half that number is more accurate and reflects the current state of the game and the competition of the best grind spots. The Issue So, lets highlight the biggest flaw of this game's grinding design and mindset: Grinding in this game is designed around killing an incredible number of mobs as quickly and efficiently as possible. With the decrease of HP and DP of many mobs in recent patches of the past six months or so, the developers have further expedited grinding to the point that rotations that were once large enough to be handled by a 5 player party can now be soloed by a single endgame player. Simply put... There are not enough endgame mobs in the game to handle the number of players that play it. This is further compounded by grinding incentives and exp buffs in game that further push players to grind at the same time or in the same place: Night time exp Weekend exp Golden Bells Marni Stones The developers are hard-set that their grinding design is the best, and address this issue by increasing the number of mobs in popular grind areas. This mindset is incredibly flawed for two blatant reasons: The game is only growing. Despite the memes, this is not a dead game, and for each player that quits, multiple are trying it out for the first time. There is only so much space in various hunting grounds for an increase in mobs. Some are already bursting outside their node coverage, making players have to invest in different or multiple (sometimes completely unrelated) nodes depending on where they grind. Expansions add more hunting grounds, but with expansions come an influx of new and returning players. The Negative Effects Developers, GMs, and CMs, have openly stated that competition for grind spots is an intended part of the game, as this game is, at its core, a PvP game (poor PvP balance and other class issues aside). But what this creates in the famine of endgame grind rotations is players abusing any advantage they have to steal, annoy, or otherwise kick players out of grind locations they want. Stronger players will kill weaker players in hunting grounds that are meant for the weaker player. Players will antagonize others into flagging up and killing them to make them lose karma and then return and repeat, even purposely removing gear to increase the karma penalty. Players in the desert will purposefully die to another player to give them the Rogue debuff and then return and kill them, sending them to jail. Players will grapple or CC others to get them killed to mobs to make them lost exp and crystals. ...and the list goes on. This is not competition for grind spots. This is abuse of game mechanics to grief others. Day after day there are players who come to the forums complaining on both sides about how some player griefed them while grinding and they could do nothing about it. The only channel that can be said to have true PvP competition for grind spots is the PvP channel, but even there many of the griefing methods are possible, and the PvP channel is not for everyone. Lack of mobs to grind does not create healthy PvP competition for grind spots, it leads to griefing. Possible Solutions Countless solutions are proposed on the forums to handle the griefing of other players. Most of which rely on making penalties harsher or more lenient depending on the type of griefing or what side of the griefing you are on. Penalties are there for a reason but can also be abused. Adding more penalties or removing penalties will only increase the ways someone can grief another! Hardly anyone in these discussions address the underlying problem that causes the griefing, looking only for band-aid or superficial solutions. As mentioned above, the real issue is that there are not enough mobs to go around, so players abuse whatever they can to stake claim to those mobs. We need a solution to this problem, and... A solution should benefit all sides and penalize none. Below are a few solutions I have thought up, and there are likely others. Increase Party Benefits Give players a reason to party up. Right now, there is little incentive to party with others, especially lower geared players. Party incentives exist, such as special deals and possible increases in exp IF each player pulls their own weight and there are enough mobs to supplement the increase in numbers and kill speed to counter the individual drop in exp gain. Sadly, in most cases the current incentives are negated or even create worse grinding due to inefficiency or lack of good rotations that can handle 5 players without spreading them out and further decreasing exp or wasting a lot of time running to the next distant mob pack. If players had more reason to party up, being able to turn two or three single player rotations into a 5 player party rotation, then there will be less competition over grind spots, and anyone trying to grief will find it harder to grief multiple players at once. The only downside to this idea is that those players who would rather grind solo would feel that they are less efficient by doing so. This is not a penalty on them, as nothing was made worse for them. They are just made to choose to revoke benefits by grinding solo. If we assume half the current rotations could be combined into a single party rotation to be handled by 3 to 5 players, the number of players that could grind at once in the game uncontested increases to about 5200 to 7800. Decrease Mob Spawn Timers This is the best ides in my personal opinion. Those who played on the first day of the headstart launch when the game came out would remember that the mob spawn timers were about a quarter of what they are now (a misguided headstart benefit to balance the HUGE influx of players jumping into the game). People who focused solely on combat exp leveled too quickly because there was no competition for mobs, causing the fear that the headstart players would be too far ahead of those who would start on the actual game launch day, so they immediately increased the spawn timers back to normal. At launch, this was a bad idea. Now, it could be a solution. Increasing the rate of mob spawns does not change how fast players can kill the mobs. It only increases the number of mobs there are to kill. A rotation that could be cleared by one player could now either be split into multiple single player rotations or handled by a single party. The exp or drops players get would not change, and there are no negative effects to this idea that I can see. If we assume that the mob respawn timers are halved then essentially all rotations could be divided into two. It could also make many locations that had too few mobs for a standard rotation become a rotation. This would double or more the number of players that could grind uncontested to at least 8000. If the respawn timers were dropped to a third their current rate, this would further increase the number to at least 12000. Increase HP of Mobs and Buff Rewards Accordingly This idea goes completely against the current grinding philosophy of the developers. Instead of making the players 1-shot as many mobs as possible, make each mob take longer to kill. Please note that this does not mean make mobs harder to kill. This is a flat HP increase, not a DP increase. If an HP increase was all that was enacted, exp and drops from mobs would plummet, actually hurting everyone's grind. To balance this, increase EXP, silver, junk drops, and rare drop rates proportionally to the increase in HP. For example, if HP was tripled and you were to kill a Crescent Guardian, your exp and drops would be the same as if you killed three of them. The downsides to this idea are that geared players in locations without AP caps might still be able to 1-shot mobs, drastically increasing their income and exp gain, and that due to mobs being able to survive combat longer, they have more chance to attack the player. What mobs get what HP increase and if a damage decrease is also need would need to be addressed on mob by mob basis. Similar to the decreased spawn timer idea, increasing the mob HP by a factor of 2 or 3 could potential make single rotations into two or three rotations, meaning that somewhere between 8000 and 12000 players could grind simultaneously without being contested. The Sum of All Parts As a practice of curiosity, if all three ideas were to be implemented, a single player would only need to focus on a couple mob camps, leaving the entire hunting ground for other players to use. A party of five would only need a very small rotation. If we assume better party benefits so that 5 players is optimal in all cases, the mob respawn timers were decreased to a third their current speed, and mob HP was increased by a factor of three, the total number of players that could grind uncontested at any one point of time in the game increases to 136800, far greater than the current active (not AFK) player count.