I actually like a lot of the ideas you have here. I can see you’ve put a lot of thought into what you have said. Only thing i would say i partially agree with and i know a lot of people disagree with me is the donation system.
Ok so big picture yes we want more people and to have them stick around. Donation system as you said almost everything can be got from ingame with exception to i think antheras earring. Which btw is a pretty much useless raid jewel as of right now because none of the vamp or healing affects dont work on it right now. Also honestly i know its not entirely easy to get everything ingame from doing raid bosses. But thats half the fun right? What fun is a game when you already have everything? From there you just basically pvp and seige castles. Also you can effectively do every raid boss in game right now with 3 mages and a buff squad. Not terribly hard if you could line up a group for random times of the day with just a simple mass message crossed server you could more then likely assemble something.
Now why i believe donations are so vital to growing the server and why there has to be unique things involved. I honestly do agree it does kinda suck when some servers make it a so called “pay to win” server. I dont think this server is even remotely close to that. I can see where people can see a donation NPC and be deterred, but what is the whole point of a donation system? The point in my eyes is that as long as its controlled correctly it gives the server moderators a form of sustainable cash to maintain what they have and hopefully be able to put back into the game in form of new servers and more time invested into developing new things to keep it interesting. At this point i will tell you it is very hard for me to play because of server location, i click and 3 secs later my game reacts. Now how is game moderators going to be able to bring in newer players around the world if they log on and the first time playing has to deal with that?
This is a problem that can be fixed with either better servers or more server locations. But in order to do that it requires money, money needs to come from donation systems. Honestly majority and i will say vast majority of players out there will not donate, they just wont for various reasons no matter how great or terrible a server is or what they get for a reward. Then you have a very small fraction of people that do donate weather it be for personal gain ingame, or something you where talking about with “Cosmetic Things”. But i think we can all agree most donators WILL not donate unless it gives them some sort of advantage or personal gain, even if its something very small and simple.
I fully believe to make a game grow you need a healthy balance of donator and non within a game to keep everything even so the game doesnt become a pay to win or a place where moderators loose interest in their game. Because everyone knows this isnt free for everyone, someone has to pay to keep things running, someone has to donate the time to debug, update and renew the server.
I will say openly yes I am a donator. I am apart of a small fraction of donators that could care less if i gain something from doing it or not. You could ask silentzor, majority of what ive donated for is still in the form of tokens on my character. I genuinely donate because i believe in where the server is at and where it is going and its pretty much a gamble that i and other donators are taking because we have no idea if moderator will pick up and say well im done tomorrow. I do it to hopefully see the server grow and become something bigger and it makes me happy to be apart of helping that. Some people do it in other ways, Baoulettes for instance you do it in form of helping with new ideas and coding and detailing which is something i could never do, and you do an amazing job, and to be honest is worth more than any donation in my eyes.
Anyway i digress, i hope everyone gets where im coming from with this and im not to all over the place with how i said it.