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Once again, I look for something new. I've realized a few new things over time though. I like having some level of grind because "end-game content" is almost always lacking, excessively rigid, or PvP-based. I hate to admit it, but the grind is a big part of the fun, at least when the grind isn't excessively terrible.
Here are a few criteria I would prefer.
Standard MMORPG style is good. I'd prefer not to dive into RTS/FPS. Action-RPG and strat-RPG might work.
I generally prefer 2d/2.5d. 3d can be alright, but some of the realistic 3d stuff just looks outright ugly.
It should have at least some grind. Quests to lead me on are alright, but I'd like to know that I could choose to grind too. If the quest chain is rigid and linear, that's a bit of a downer. Doubly so if it's required to open up area access.
I like group play, but only when I can reasonably expect to find groups. I'm fine with group play being more efficient than solo play, but if solo play is impossible or near impossible, that's troublesome since I can often be on non-peak hours.
A deep crafting/item production system is enjoyable, but I've played some games with very little crafting that did things quite well too. Crafting is a positive when it is done well, but when crafting is either pointless or based on rare drops that really amount to little more than "Rare item drop spread amongst three bosses instead of one" it's not so impressive.
I am open to both F2P and P2P, but I don't want a game where cash shop provides excessive advantage or becomes nearly mandatory for high end item crafting.
I do not want to touch anything involving Sony Online Entertainment or Nexon. I also understand many games have some level of exploitation, but I'm not interested in a hack-city cheatfest where gold sellers run the show. All other criteria are negotiable, these are not.
I seriously enjoyed Ragnarok Online, but I've hit a point where I've really done almost everything there is to do on it. Trickster Online was fun too, but the cash shop has become completely ridiculous and the constant grouping available at one time has faded away. FFIX was fun for what little time I had, but I wound up without a system that could play it and by the time I could, it had just lost my interest.
Any suggestions are welcomed. Even if it doesn't fit all my criteria, I'm open to ideas. I've been considering Wakfu, hoping Age of Wulin shows up and turns out enjoyable, and I've toyed with the idea of Tales of Pirates 2 even if it's not all that pretty since playing Pirate King Online was guilty fun. I did wind up tiring of it quickly though.