I know a couple players who reached the top without spending a cent in this game purely through dedication and effort, which is without doubt reachable.
I personally know one of them, and 6 months of 8-hours-a-day playing aren't exactly what I call "reachable" for anyone. Having to work on a character for 1.500 hours (not play, but work
) isn't quite what I deem enjoyable, and said player told me more than once "never again". It's more than only time-consuming at this point.
If the sole fact that anything can be bought with purely virtual currency is enough to state that a game isn't anything close to a pay-to-win one, then you might look at <removed>
as a fair game for free users. Everything can be bought with gold rather than real money, sure, but the gap between the time it takes for a paying user to reach higher heights and for a free user to come close to this level is what's important ; otherwise most of the deemed "p2w" games are only "pay-to-speed-up", as some might say.
I'm not saying DS is a pay-to-win game (as a matter of fact, I don't know if it is), just that your point doesn't make much sense. A full set of high-tier cards is an excruciating pain to obtain, whereas a paying user can grab one of these within a few hours given the IM buyers are reluctant to trust him. Of course this feature is to be witnessed in any other "free-to-play" game as an income for publishers, but once more, it only is the amount of time it takes to gather these without financial support that's important.
There are two extremes of it : <removed>
and similar games on one hand, with absurd rules that make paying not only an option, but the only viable choice if one thinks that enjoying a game doesn't have to come with being bound to spend 2.000 hours of mindless farm. MOBAs and the like on the other hand, which features are unlocked from the beginning, without a need to pay for anything, ever, as only "skill" and overall comprehension of the game matter after a certain, reasonable amount of time spent playing (way below 200 hours, namely level 20 and some in game currency for <removed>
, less for some other games such as RO2, probably even 0 hour for <removed>
since it doesn't seem to have any requirement other than skill to "reach the top").
DS seems to be around the middle of that thanks to the many decisions taken by the staff regarding access to premium content for free users, but 1.000+ hours aren't quite a reasonable amount of time. It's a number of hours that not everyone can invest in anything other than work, studies and the like, and as such isn't fit for a game with a PvP mode such as this one, where gear matters this much more than skill.
Thus, I reiterate my suggestion about flags decreasing its holder's total, current stats, and support Flubsy's demand of a complete removal of death buffs (both at a time). 10% of current def on a low-to-middle damage mitigation are close to nothing, while it means a lot for a very high damage mitigation : if one were to lose 10% overall damage resistance, the one who took 10% of incoming damage would then see his HP drop twice as fast (90 => 80% damage mitigation), while the one with 50% of said damage resistance would take only 20% more (50 => 40%) * . Removing buffs given upon death would prevent anyone from abusing them, while the flag debuffs would both cripple the greedy ones to no end and promote the defense of your teammates, as flags would have to be scattered among the team (thus requiring teamplay in order to keep everyone as safe as possible) in order to avoid having a terribly weak, single flag holder. Who thought it was a good idea to let any by-runner drop the HP of a carrier of 10 flags with only a few attacks ?
I also insist on a 30% to 50% multiplicative element damage mitigation for every player attending to a Battlequare, in order to cope with hyper-stacking and 2.000 element attack lv.60 attack-speed-reliant classes. You know, the ones that make you go "poof".
*It would work for about any (def -> %mitigation) function, be it linear, square root or logarithmic.
Edit : Daaaaaaaamn. Oh well, just... nevermind. Read if so you wish. Edit by Chimi: please refrain from comparing DS to competitors games, as per the forum rules.
Edited by VModChimichanga, 06 April 2016 - 02:27 AM.