A long time ago (yeeears), I used to play this game—but I quit upon realizing the relative futility of developing a combat-oriented character without funneling money into the game. I asked something related to this a while ago, but, the more I play, the more the concern is coming back:
Currently, I'm playing a Jester and I'm really enjoying the game. Yes, the RP, expansive maps, GUI, etc. are factors of my enjoyment, but, behind all of that, is the motivation to eventually engage in combat with other players. When I hunt, I do so specifically to maximize my gold-income so that I may trans one of my skills. The idea of being able to make use of the huge array of possible abilities, geared specifically for Adventurer-to-Adventurer combat, excites me. My playing and enjoying the game is fueled by my anxiously charging towards a combat-viable character.
I plan to spend $20 on 2,000 lessons. I might even spend more on other credits—but the price of everything is so steep that I'm discouraged from doing it at all. I just finished reading a thread on some artifact earrings which, apparently, cost $250. I see artifacts which cost 1,000 credits ($300). I see people selling relatively simple things (specifically, +1 Dexterity for [i]twelve days[/i]) for 35 credits ($17), etc.
Unfortunately, I am not willing to even consider spending that kind of money for singular in-game items. If that unwillingness creates a glass ceiling, the motivation behind my playing this game will pretty promptly die. It seems, at least from the forums, like a solid proportion of the fighters are.
Let's say that I manage to tri-trans ($20-2,000 lessons, ~Level 75 bound credits, gold-bought credits)—will I stand a chance against these people who are spending multiple-hundreds of dollars buying items and lessons to beef themselves up? That is, how much of an advantage do these things give you?