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So, if after playing for a while you start comparing your cult to other's cult and numbers popping...let me tell you something. Straight cultivation with no exp balls filled, I get ~280cult. With all exp balls filled I get ~2200 cult per pop.
Want to know how I kept all exp balls continually full? I hit missions at the bottom right, did all the daily things and would log out. That's it. After 6 days of doing that and finding the "golden rule" in wushu that dailies > all for exp balls I made a new account and I have all my abilities at lvl 3, 2 meridians at 9/9 and inner cult is 21 after just 7 days with this method.
So, while the game tries to connect everything like a web, all you *really* need to do is all the daily quests on the mission tab and you will max out your exp orbs quite fast.
That being said, once I found the "hidden secret" (all on my own) I realized how everything is forced into a web and I've since uninstalled.
Long post, not sure what all I'm saying here but basically it's that once I realized the exp balls and how to keep them topped offf...the game really just lost it's "novelty" feeling for me.
(This post has been copy and pasted to my blog. MMORPG.com is known to delete posts and ban on any negativity for a game.)