Hello Ghost Division, Survivers, Owners, and Admins.
For those who don't know me, My in-game character's name is Drakon. I've been on the Ghost Division cluster for roughly three to four months and have had some of the best experiences in Ark since its release. Since then, I've completed every Alpha boss arena, the Alpha Tek Cave, Alpha Rockwell, and every cave on each map.
I immediately fell in love with the cluster from day 1 when I was able to seamlessly play for hours without rollbacks and crazy lag spikes.
Everything seemed as it should be and boy was I a happy camper.
Building my first little base, trading with the locals, and building a name for myself as a spelunker of sorts.
A month In, I began to run bosses with new friends, and even started some of my own breeding lines.
This is where the Ghost Division cluster really shines, and that is first experiences.
For any players returning to the game, or just starting out, I would not recommend any server other than Ghost Division.
With great, active, and helpful admins, a well moderated forum, and even it's own working currency. My parasaur agrees, those were really the best of times.
While experiencing my time in what I thought to be digital Eden, some strange nuances began to arise. Upon first realizing how drops were changed, I was discouraged but doubled my efforts, getting cave runs down to mere minutes in an attempt to secure the blueprints and gear I needed to further progress. This is where the experience began to feel like an uphill crawl. While I understand loot being handed out like candy on Halloween isn't the right way to keep people playing, It's also the reason people keep playing. This is in the end, a Loot based survival game no matter how you spin it. That grind is what keeps people playing, but it needs to be balanced well or it will have the opposite effect as seen in many AAA titles.
Although Ghost Division absolutely shines to perfection in early-mid game, I believe it severely lacks in lategame progression and rewards. When it comes down to it, most of the truly unique experiences in Ark are one-and-done, such as the Tek Cave or Rockwell. While these both take an extreme amount of commitment, time, and dedication, they offer no reward whatsoever after the first completion. This is also where we can make some really significant changes that will improve both the late and mid game experience.
1. Rockwell and Tek Cave would be so much better with custom rewards (BPs or Element). As this is a private server, there is the option to enable these boss fights to reward those players who commit to regularly running them. This also encourages them to take new players in, and will boost both the Island and Abberation player retention/population.
2. Fishing needs to come back. It's obvious that it was nerfed during the time that multiple people began asking for ASC fishing rods as rewards. Please don't think that we don't know this. I've inquired with Wildcard directly, as well as the mod authors of all mods we use on the server and they have never encountered similar conditions. Fishing rods are difficult to come by and should be removed from voting rewards if you don't want too many people using them for easy BPs, or please find a balance soon. It's been months since this happened and really shouldn't take this long to fix.
3. Boss drop nerfs need to be revisited. This is again, a hit to endgame players, YOUR MOST LOYAL PLAYERBASE. Why this was done in the first place really baffles me, as it doesn't say that boss loot was changed anywhere in the server description, forums, or discord and was found out through a ticket after the boss fight was completed and about %30-%40 less element was looted. Disappointing and unnecessary with the amount of commitment it takes to run boss fights.
I believe these three issues are the main hurdles Ghost Division faces for endgame players. They can be remedied and even improved upon. While you may argue that these players are but the vocal minority, please also remember they are the ones pushing server progression and keep new players interested/invested in their time on GD. Fact is that we don't want to leave, but the lack of endgame rewards is what really begins to push away those who willingly spend hundreds of hours playing and breeding, filling your auction house with items, helping newer players, and creating incentives to voting.
We only want the best for GD, not to make our game easier, but create a reason for us to stay and help propagate the seeds of this digital paradise.