Agree, the foundation is important, but that foundation should be built 8 years ago. In addition, you cannot build a strong foundation by flooding the foundation with IM. Everything in this game is IM-dependent. Without IM, you would need as much as 10 years to gather everything together, and the game is only 8 years old (if we only count only years it is with GRAVITY). Without IM, max-refine-your-gear is a dream within dream. But with IM, everything is within reach in 1 hour or less. With IM, you have a very high probability of beating non-IM users. Is that the strong foundation? Or is that the total-IM-domination system?
Let's take the most recent gem update for the example. I have farmed everyday since the DEV Team introduced the new gem system (about 2 weeks now), and I have also wore all the best farming gears with the new gem to farm, but I have not seen a single Glaring Citrine Marquise (30% critical) gem drop for me. Then today, a group of players farmed with the medal. Guess what? Within 30 minutes of killing KINGS, they had 8 Glaring Citrine Marquise dropping for them. I repeat 8 (not 1, not 2, not 3, but 8). With only 30 minutes, they were able to do what I could not in 2 weeks because they used IM. Is this a strong foundation? Or is this a IM-domination foundation?
I've been playing this game for about 2.5 years now and since i started i havent bought any item mall points at all (dont have credit card or paypal). Everyone is saying that they arent able to survive without the item mall but here i am playing this game with my knight and battle cleric without any problems.
Refined all my gears without venurunes or plutos, but that was before the last update(still have to test it, if it really is so hard to refine at the moment like everyone says).
I tried farming the kings already and have no problem getting gems(not using the medals) so you must be pretty unlucky. Of course i spent alot of time farming kings since they released the new gems, and it would be easier with the im medals but as long as i dont have to pay and still get the gems im fine with it.
Now that all the passives are available in the valor and honor shop i can get them too. So im users arent stronger as normal players like me anymore. Both are equal now. The only thing that helps im users a bit is that some of the best masks are from the item mall, but if you farm (like me) and sell your stuff it doesnt take that long to get those items too.