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I played Space Cowboy in beta long ago, I remember a very grindy game where the missions would require you to kill a monster, only one of the types spawned in the zone, had a very long spawn time and there were 50+ people all going for that same monster. Which you also had to kill that same monster 80-100 times only to receive 5% (exaggerating a bit) of your level.
Fast forward to now with ACE Online, I played it yesterday; I think I logged on during a special event they were having. Called Happy Hour only it lasted for more than an hour. Had a bunch of bonuses but what stood out the most was the 400% experience point’s increase. On top of that, the GMs issued everyone a ton of "Chance Items" I got a ton of items and money from this including some really crazy Gear frames which are far better than some of the higher level frames at the NPC vendors in game.
So I played for around 6 hours (not straight, I took breaks) I went from level 1-37. I was getting around 4-5% exp per kill and I was going with 1 mission per level up until the level 30s where after completing a mission, I would have about 25% left to go.
As for the game, I found the respawn times to be great, the missions where not exciting though they were acceptable, the layout was not "Go kill 80 X, 80 B, 80 A but instead kill 10 of X. Small amounts rather than going on long boring quests.
The community was somewhat big, the local and world chats were active and it was more than two people talking. The in game mail function was also active with a constant update on pvp action taking place across several areas (not just high level areas) The main hub was filled with people running around and not just afk.
The only thing I have to wonder is what the game will be like after that 400% exp boost wears off.