Dear Innova, I wanted to submit my advice regarding the EU Classic project. About myself: I'm currently the #5 Phantom Ranger on Gran Kain. I've been witnessing a lot of the challenges of the server and have seen the playerbase fall dramatically by 80%. Based on server population, RU Classic is failing. The playerbase went from from 3-4 servers 16,000 population to 2 servers at 4,000 maximum population and it all happened in February, March, April, May several months into the launch of the project. We can make many speculations as to why this happened but I would like to submit my own hypothesis based on my experiences on RU Classic. First, I'd like to give some background on why I think L2 was popular to begin with, how it differs from WoW and why people play games like L2. L2 is a highly competitive MMO at it's core. In WoW players valued feeling like they're in "a different world" and competing quests was more important than, for instance, being the #1 player on the server. L2 does not offer this kind of experience. In L2, what's most important is your class, your level, your equipment and the political movements of your party and clan. Very few players, if any, are playing L2 to kill a few mobs and "pretend they're in the L2 world." Also realize that everyone has already been there. We already know what L2 is like, what some of the top zones for exp, top classes, etc. So what is left? What's left is the competitive nature of L2. For instance, being the #1 Phantom Ranger on the server is what drives a player. Being the #1 clan holding Giran and Aden is what drives the clans, who hold the parties and hold the players. The reason people play L2 is to be a "factor." They want to be in the middle of the interesting wars, the top interesting content and the dramas. Second, I'd like to give some background on the types of people in RU Classic. There is a small percentage of players in RU Classic that hold 12-24 hour per day gaming schedules in their constant parties. Often, these players play for RMT. These are people from lower income cities in already low income countries (Russia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Moldova) who can afford to sit for 12-24 hours and not work or go to school because the cost of living is so low and these countries have a culture of their parents supporting their kids well into their 30s. This small percentage of players "no lifers" or "RMTers" dominate the entire server, eat up all of the good content and they're impossible to compete with for the players with jobs, families and responsibilities. So back to the situation on RU Classic and why I believe the playerbase fell almost 80%. The vast majority of people in Russia do work, have families and hobbies. These players were in their lvl 30s while the RMTers were already hitting 55-60. The RMTers and no lifers took the top spots in Cruma, DV and later EV. Now remember above when I said people play L2 to feel like they are competing? For a game which is only played for competition, when someone physically cannot compete in online time with people who have no job, no life and play the game to RMT, what was there left for that person in L2 Classic? No top clans, parties, spots, or content. The 10% population of no lifers/RMTers of L2 left behind the level 30 guy with a job and a family. Without being able to experience the content, pvp, clans or parties of equal level and without the competition of the server at an equal playing field, that guy no longer has a reason to play. I believe this is why 80% of the players left RU Classic. It was not the grind or the adena. It was the way players who RMT/no-life took the "factor game" away from people who could not play 12-24 hours. RU classic is failing and it's important to at least try not to repeat the mistakes of the past. So what can we learn about the RU Classic project? We need to find a way to either penalize 12-24 hour primes or stop those players from playing EU Classic entirely. Overall, being a "factor" in L2 needs to be accessible for EU and NA players who are going to have jobs and families and cannot compete with 12-24 hour Russian primes. The players cannot have fun when the high end content has been taken by the 10% who use L2 as a means of work. I am strongly recommending that Innova ban Russian IPs (as well as Russian language) from EU Classic for it's own survival. Simply put, there is no way NA and EU players will stay in L2 when all of the "factor" game / top content will only exist between the Russian speaking players who have come to RMT. If you look at RU Classic as an example, even the casual Russian players quit due to the Russian RMT no-life crowd. Furthermore, RU Classic is at risk as well because if Russian IPs are allowed, many people will leave RU Classic to come to EU Classic. Most of the people who care about L2 RU Classic don't want to see that happen either. These worlds need to be split up. They are not equal. If you ask any of the top players or top clans in RU Classic, they will tell you that if Russians are allowed to come to EU Classic, it is already doomed from the start. I hope Innova makes the right decision for the sake of the project.