I saw a few posts about MMORPGs that had requests for 2d gaming, customization, and sprite-like graphics. I figured I'd take the opportunity to tell you about a game that I've enjoyed on and off for about ten years now called Dark Ages from Kru Interactive. The game was originally from Nexon. I figured I'd tell you the essentials of the game and perhaps it'll spike your interest. While the game is not 100% free to play yet, you may play from level 1 to 99. (Some quests are restricted, however you may hunt and group with other players.) Otherwise, the game is 9.95 a month and it also has an item shop. (The item shop is not pay to win, a lot of it is strictly cosmetic. However, there are some experience bonuses that grant +15% - not a large advantage.)
The game had around a 1,200 peak playerbase a few years ago, that number has dwindled over the years and it's around 200 peak playerbase currently. The game itself has a lot of potential due to some very unique features for those who enjoy roleplaying, player-run politics and religions. A large issue in part for losing the playerbase it had was botting becoming rampant because of how the PvP arena was set up. Although there is not much more of that going on due to Rangers being implemented, but I'll get to that shortly.
You may download the game, view screenshots and browse the item shop via their website which will be at the bottom of this post. Once you install the game, you'll come to a character creation screen to which you can choose hairstyles, the color of the hairstyle and your gender to which you'll start as a peasent. The tutorial is not very sufficient to understand the entire game, however, I'd be more than happy to help any player that wants to try it out or has questions about the paths you may choose upon completing the tutorial. When leveling your character will receive 2 points to distribute in any way they see fit to help them level from 1-99 and certain spells/skills in each path have stat requirements to be able to learn them. Warriors typically enjoy strength and dex for hitting harder, monks tend to lean towards strength and con for stronger kicking ability, priests tend to enjoy wisdom and intelligence from quicker MP regeneration, wizards tend to enjoy intelligence and wisdom for stronger hitting spells and rogues typically benefit from dexterity and wisdom for casting stronger traps.
The warrior class is typically known as the best PvE class due to their skills. Although they don't have a typical "tank" role in group hunting or dungeons. They do massive amounts of damage via 2 handed swords/axes or 1 handed with a shield. There is a lot of skill leveling involved in warrior classes making the class a bit tedious, but can be worth it if you enjoy PvE in games. The warrior is not typically the best PvP arena character, however, they can certainly do quite a bit of damage in PvP.
The priest class is best known as a supporting class and are sought after in hunts frequently. It's nearly impossible to hunt without a priest at the lower levels of the game due to their debuffs on monsters and buffs on "basher" classes (i.e. monks, warriors.) - Although they are not strong fighters, they are good in the PvP aspect of the game to assist killing in the arena. In the end game content, priests get powerful light elemental spells that do significant damage to monsters as well as players.
The wizard class is also known as a supporting class, however at end game they are the most sought after class for hunting due to a spell that amplifies monsters and players attributes. They are able to solo most hunting areas once leveled and in the end game content. I'll get into more specifics towards the more advanced information of the game.
The rogue class is one of the few classes that can solo most of the game without assistance from anyone. They have poison traps, damage traps, sleep traps, blinding traps and a few high damage output skills making them deadly. It is not uncommon to see a rogue poison a room while hidden to come back twenty minutes later and kill every mob in the room. Rogues may also read the elements of creatures (creatures have fire, wind, earth and sea elements - there are elemental necklaces and spells that can be strong and weak against certain monsters.) Later, the rogue becomes a powerful spell caster, which I'll also go into more depth later in the guide.
The monk class can be a powerful class, but also takes the most dedication to become viable in the game. Monks typically use kicks to take down their enemies. They also have access to what are known as "forms". These forms each have special abilities that help you progress through the game via kicks, spells or being able to hide from other players or monsters. Monks typically have the highest combo damage in the game making them amazing PvP characters end game.
Mastering and/or Re-dedication:
Once you reach level 99 of your chosen path you have a choice to make. You may master your character and be known as a pure-class or you may rededicate your path and choose anew to level to 99 again. If you choose to rededicate, you get to keep your past path's skills and spells you acquired making you an immensely powerful character since you have 2 paths in a single character. The drawbacks to doing this are having to level 1 to 99 again in your new path and pure master characters get a few skill benefits over a rededicated character as well as armor benefits which I'll explain later. Some common rededicated path combinations you'll see are monk to warrior, warrior to monk, priest to wizard, and wizard to priest. Rededicated paths may master once they reach level 99 as well.
Once you reach the achievement of mastering a character, new hunting areas are open for you to hunt. Rather than hunting for levels, you're hunting for experience points. These experience points can be ascended (essentially ascension means you can purchase hit points (HP) and mana points (MP) in exchange for your experience hunted.) However, before you start ascending thousands of hit points and mana points depending on your path, you have the option of maximizing your stats to receive master skills/spells for your class. Each stat has a maximum depending on your class. (i.e. Warriors maximum strength is 215, intelligence is 100, wisdom is 100, con is 150, dex is 180.) Once that is achieved, you may start ascending experience into your hit points or mana points if you wish.
The next step is called "Grand Master", which does not take long to achieve. You may actually wish to go Grand Master before maximizing your stats or hunting as a master at all. The benefits to a grand master is better equipment for your character. As previously stated, at this stage pure classes receive better Grand Master armor and weapons than a subbed path does. The equipment gives better HP or MP than a sub class' equipment does. You become a Grand Master by defeating mini bosses that you summon in preset locations. Typically these mini bosses (known as creants) require help from a caster class such as a priest or wizard. Usually people decide to maximize their stats after they receive their Grand Master equipment due to it helping speed up the hunting of experience process.
Once you maximize your stats and possibly ascend some HP and MP (though not required), you may dedicate to a higher path known as Medenian paths. Each class may do this to their respective medenian path (you may not cross over to a new path.) for 250 million experience points (This number may sound large, but it is not in terms of the hunting areas you will be in.) Upon becoming a Medenian path, a new world opens up to you known as Medenian. From here you may level 1-99 again known as Ability Levels. (The game is not quite at end game yet despite it being 10 years old. There are only Ability Level 80s in the game currently waiting for the new Ability hunting areas to be released.)
Warriors will dedicate to Gladiators.
By doing this you receive new options for swords, armor, skills and hunting areas that also have mini bosses and dungeons. Gladiators are typically very strong hunters even moreso than before by receiving powerful new skills. They have a skill that is highly sought after in nearly every hunting group imaginable and have the highest armor count in the game.
Wizards will dedicate to Summoners.
Summoners have some of the most powerful elemental spells in the game. They also receive a spell that is highly sought after in every hunting group called Liliac Plant which gives back MP points to whomever you target with the spell. Later on, a Summoner receives Vineyard which distributes MP to every person you are grouped with. It's impossible to hunt almost every Ability Hunting Ground without a Summoner in your group. Wizards also receive a spell that does massive damage to creatures despite their element.
Priests will dedicate to Bards.
Bards have a powerful light attack that can be amazing in some hunting grounds and poor in others. Priests also can do high damage by a spell known as Cursed Tunes, that take away a percentage of a monsters total HP. However, priests are more used for healing in large groups and debuffing monsters as well.
Rogues will dedicate to Archers.
This is the most unique difference in terms of dedicating paths, in my opinion. Archers become primarily casters with a few immensely powerful skill attacks. Archers use what is called "Star Arrow" which is a powerful light elemental attack. They excel very well in hunting and AB hunting end game.
Monks will dedicate to Druids.
Druids have a very special Medenian path in which they can choose 1 form of 3 forms that transform them into a beast. (Feral, Komodos & Karura). Each form gives you more HP and a % of damage boost when in that form. Feral is a wolf-like form which gives the most damage percentage increase, but little HP increase. Karura is the balanced form between damage and HP boost. Komodos gives the highest HP boost and least amount of damage increase boost. Each form has their own preset skills and spells. Feral gives 3 more physical attacks to use which is a lot of damage output. Karura gets 2 physical damage skills and 1 spell based attack which is light damage and Komodos gets a healing spell and 2 physical damage skills.
The game itself is fairly complex and has a ton of options. Some people pride themselves on PvP and being amazing in arena, others enjoy roleplaying (there is a dedicated town known as Suomi that is specifically for people who enjoy roleplaying. They run their own events and give prizes to players for participating.). Some even enjoy diving into politics where you can oversee the town laws or become a guard to make sure people are upholding the specific laws set in place or some even choose to be a high priest in a religion to hold masses for their followers and worshipers.
The game is currently around 160-200 player peaks. It took a large hit when arena was solely based on how much HP/MP a character had which meant whoever could grind the most experience was the best player in arena. The game master recently changed that by introducing what is called "Balanced Arena" which turns all characters into 150,000 HP and 60,000 MP - making everyone on the same playing field during end game PvP other than the skills/spells their character has acquired. The game also has what is called "Castle Wars" where each guild has a castle and you attempt to take it over one another. The game has a wide range of being able to customize your character through in game items and the item shop has even more customization if you choose to spend the money on it. You can dye your hair, dye special clothing items, get goofy hats, change hairstyles, etc. Another cool feature to mention is the holiday events where players group to beat monsters, defend the towns and receive special gifts for doing so. (Sometimes the gifts are goofy such as Santa costumes, Frosty the snowman costumes or sometimes they are practical items such as double experience boosts.)
The game itself can be downloaded here:
Welcome to Dark Ages
There are other resources such as these:
:: Wanderlust :: A Dark Ages Fansite ::
DA-Wizard - Divine Wizardry Knowledge
If you still have questions, you are more than welcome to comment on this thread with any of them or pm me. You can reach me in-game as well under the characters: Raspi, Dryad, Serna, or DiNozzo - I also have a ventrilo that any of you are welcome to join and ask questions/hang out or explore the game together. Currently that ventrilo has only 5 slots, but I have no problem expanding it larger for the ggftw community if they decide they want to play and want a place to be able to speak to one another.
Thanks for your time!