I'd start with what i think is the best feature i ever saw in a private Mu server: the Exp stages.
Growing a character on OldSquad in the first 2-3 months was so much fun, and even if it was difficult from time to time it was not tedious at all. Congratulations on the concept, and i think you should explore and refine this even more in future editions.
What i like about it:
- it provides fun and challenge for all categories of player: hardcore players compete to be first during each stage for prizes and honor, dragging the whole server with them. Hunters are pushed to keep up, being the first party to hunt a newly unlocked map and bringing back the loot is one of the best parts in mu. Casuals still have a chance to compete and not fall behind by too much.
- it allows for players that started later to catch up and not give up. It keeps bringing new blood to the server and competition and challenge for the top players
- new events, bosses and rewards tied to these stages - brilliant idea, brings excitement to each stage and one more reason for top players to be among the first to beat the stage
What i think could be improved:
Better balancing of time and equipment churn in each stage:
In this edition, Stage 1 (lvl 1-240) took only 2 days. I think this was a too short period, for one of the most fun parts of Mu: being a newbie running around Devias, Lost Tower and Atlans in medal gear, happy that you found your first excellent item. Maybe it's the nostalgia speaking, but my guess is that this part is a favourite of most players.
Stage 2 (lvl 241-331 i think) took between 2 and 3 weeks - nice balance, great fights in Icarus for feathers
Stage 3 (331 - 395) took 3 weeks - balance started to break a little, as top players were in full ancient/exc +11-13 while others at the same level were in medal sets
Stage 4 (396 - 480 for 10 players) took 2 weeks, it would've been even shorter if the initial 450 limit would've been maintained (probably holidays xp boost helped with this). Balance went completely off, as some players started exploiting (without breaking rules) certain events, by optimizing the small details. By now, 10% of the server gets 80% of the valuable loot. It's not uncommon for a single char to outdamage an entire party (see BC AEs).
It's been 6 weeks since the last stage, and the top player is currently lvl 572. Since everyone is in the top xp maps now and all content was unlocked, the game is slowly starting to become a chore, getting a couple levels a day while mostly afk and eyeing only the ultimate set, because jewels are scarce. It will probably take another 6 boring weeks for the top player to reach max.
1. Increase the threshold for players needed to finish the stage. Stage 1 - 1 player 241, Stage 2 - 3 players 331, Stage 3 - 5 players etc.
2. To keep it fair for the top finishers, increase the reward to something really special for the first: For example an exc weapon + 3 opts from the next stage, or Old Box, or a pair of wings suited for the stage. It would be a special reward, but still keeping the balance later on. An Exc Legendary Staff + EDR + speed + lvl/20 is a treasure at lvl 241, but only a bragging item later on, keeping the balance.
3. As suggested before, encourage each stage to have it's proper equipment. In this edition, we jumped from medal gear to Ancient, because of OP medal items and early access to top ancient.
If it's techically possible, make CC 1-2 drop tier 1 ancient, CC 3-4 tier 1+2 ancient, CC 5-7 1+2+top tier ancients. This can also apply to Devil Square, providing a source of useful items to flow from newbies to tops (low tier ancients for seeds)
I touched medal items before: Heart tier 1 max +11, Silver Medal tier 2 max +9, Gold Medal tier 3 max +7/8. Encourage players to have multiple choices in picking gear and upping sets that later get sold to newbies. Make resources more widely available, so people up sets that later become obsolete
4. Increase number of mobs on spot gradually, with each stage, if possible.
5. Add other stages to ML: for 50, 100, 150 ML, keeping some content locked until 100ML (For example Wings 4, Selupan + Socket Items 5 socket). It would encourage players to fill up a weapon luck 4 socket at level 410 for example. Not happening now, because seeds are rare and everyone aims top. Lower ML stages can unlock mediocre seeds drops in one map
6. Increase the frequency of BC/DS/CC events and enforce HWID limit for entries to prevent farming, if technically possible.
7. Rework the move level requirement a little, increasing the lvl req for mid maps by 20 (Atlans LT, Tarkan, Aida, Karutan, Kanturu). Also decrease the move lvl advantage MG,RF,DL have a little. Their requirements are a little too low compared to the rest at the moment
8. Limit the maximum upping level from web, based on item: Normal Item - max +12, Exc Item - max +11, Ancient & Socket - max +10
I have some thoughts about character balance and PVP, but another time.
Thanks for one the best servers i've ever played!