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Eventually the extra damage becomes cosmetic, because AFAIK no content requires you to deal the maximum amount of damage you're mathematically capable of, so the end game competition becomes Battle Fashionogi ultimately.
No, once you've hit the minimum required damage, you've done it. You're now able to clear the content... probably takes you forever and you probably still need help, but you can! Great!
So, here's the question: Why DO people continue to grow their power? Well, I'll tell you. Efficiency. Yes, efficiency! Did you know that grinding content faster via doing more damage and using better strategies means you make more profits? Ah, yes! See, when you can clear Abyssal Lord Elite in 15 minutes -- alone -- as opposed to 120 minutes per run, you can make profits off of the drops more quickly because you use less durability and can do eight more runs in the -- say -- 2 hours of free time you have to play! That means you can farm more materials more quickly and buy more of that fashion you've always wanted to wear while you afk beside the light post near the Dunbarton bank!
It doesn't stop there, friend! You can spend less gold buying crafting materials and erg materials you need to improve your Alchemy gear you've always (hypothetically, calm down) been complaining about since the dawn of time, because you can just farm it all yourself in no time! Plus, you make more gold doing that anyway as you sell off the things you don't need as you speed grind through Alby HM and Tech Duinn with your explosive damage! Rad, right!? I know! It's crazy!
It gets even better! You can even save up some of that efficiently grinded gold you've been hoarding and buy yourself some neat, rare Echostones and even rarer dual/triple reforged gear complete with Gacha-exclusive enchants to improve your clear time for other content, meaning you can start farming other stuff, too!
Calling the idea of going above and beyond "cosmetic" and boiling it down as some sort of "tryhard/competitive" initiative is exactly why people struggle to even get ahead in the game. Not everyone is an egotistical brainlet that feels like they have to be better than the other players in every way just for the sake of being better. There's no competition in the game, anyway, unless you count Clobbermeister. Then, by all means, stroke that ego all day and night!
I'm asking for help on either A.How to enjoy this game again; or B. What to do instead
I got you, fam. Listen up and listen close, ok?
Aight. So. what I do to maintain my sanity in this game when dealing with other players is...!
Not interact with other players. :^)
Seriously. Just focus on the game. Run content. Don't say much more than you need to regarding anything that isn't about Mabinogi or Mabinogi-related activities. It's hard for people to start fights with you if all you're doing is playing the game and stating facts about the game. What are they going to do to you for just saying that having 500 max damage with a 2H sword is not enough for FinalHitting the little dogs in Sidhe Finnachaid? Nothing. Because it's not an opinion. It's a fact.
I also would like to know how Mabinogi makes you feel about yourself.
It doesn't make me feel anything. I don't place my self-value and worth into a video game. :^)
If I did, it wouldn't be this one! Ha-ha!
Ah, yes. I have my fair share of frustrations, no lie.
But, I don't wrist myself and abuse myself if I - say - fail to pass the first phase of kraken elite.
I just scream really loudly and swear like a sailor for 30 seconds about why my pet ran away from me to go hit the orb I just hit.
I decided a long time ago to keep myself out of community affairs due to varying things not excluding this blatant mob effort on Habimaru. Reading this thread was like watching a bunch of people with daggers in their own backs making fun of the guy that just got stabbed. The sheer amount of hypocrisy and projection in this thread is not uncommon from what I typically witness in any online community (let alone Indie gaming communities) and it still sickens me with anger.
Habi, I appreciate the fact that you continue to voice yourself despite the amounts of ridicule you receive. I've read a lot of your threads and posts and I certainly don't agree with a lot of what you say (especially about combat-related things, not excluding what you've said about "end-game").
However, I do agree with your efforts to find non-conventional ways to explore combat. But, that's about all I agree with. It's clear that you're not familiar at all with a lot of things regarding combat, ranging from enchanting to damage to mechanics. I'm not going to personally attack you nor mock you for it. But, please: Try exploring more aspects of the game before commenting on things. It's okay to be wrong and I appreciate the courage you're showing in putting yourself out here to be contradicted and challenged. We do need more people like you in this community that are at least willing to challenge the norm.
As for the rest of you (excluding a select couple that know who they are):
It is entirely possible that Habimaru has done what he says he's done in regards to Phantasm.
I don't understand the rampant elitism within this community that's caused so many of you to believe that a person absolutely requires a certain gear set or reforge set to accomplish certain things and I can see the narcissism in your posts forcing your own cynicism upon Habimaru in that you're no longer even addressing his points in favor of personally attacking his mental stability. Habimaru is allowed to disagree with you and even be wrong (if you can prove yourselves correct). But, putting KR on pedestals like this is exactly why there's little to no creativity in this game anymore (if there ever was) among the playerbase. I know very well that many of you simply head over to YouTube, watch demonstrations of KR players doing content, imitate the styles and weaponry, throw Gacha Dollars at your characters, then lord yourselves over the rest of us as if you've become the best of the best. It's not the case that KR discovers everything nor discovers the "best" of everything. You may have been being hyperbolic, but the point is that I personally can attest to the fact that there are many things a lot of you don't actually know nor understand about certain dungeons and their mechanics (having been a human player that soloed Phantasm within a reasonable amount of time before G22 even dropped and made it a meme, had less than 15k levels, use laughable gear, and didn't use Final Hit -- or any melee whatsoever -- aside from peeling the Queen) and Phantasm clearly isn't excluded from that having run content with a large majority of the stronger players in Nao/Tarlach server and observed their battling. You certainly bring the damage and gear in most cases, but you don't have a clue when it comes to understanding the broad scope of things or adapting to different circumstances. You run with your buddies and pals on the regular (all of them always agree with you on everything), coup yourselves up in your ivory towers, and then somehow get the idea that you can talk down to everyone else when you haven't familiarized nor reminded yourselves with what it's like to not be a stat-jacked, reforge-clad character. I make the same mistake, too, sometimes and I'll admit that I'm not perfect. That's why I'm here reminding all of you that you once were in Habimaru's position, looking for ways to clear content and wanting to discuss new ideas instead of following the KR dogma when most of the ideas are built upon the premise that you have KR-tier ping.
I'm not going to respond further than this post, so feel free to yell at me and also tell me how mentally unstable I am for even remotely defending Habimaru. I'll laugh and go back to solitude because I'm not dealing with the drama from you nor certain biased members with authority again.
What do you think "War" involves? Handshakes and backpats?
I would never stoop to those levels. I do not encourage it, either. But, also I am not my hypothetical enemy. Bringing morality to War is naive.