I like Achaea, and I love the roleplaying, politics, and very unique and VERY deep combat system.
But despite that, bashing/hunting remains very, very boring. Yes, bashing is supposed to be work, with the goal being dragon and, well, not having to bash as much any more. But, in my opinion, any goal is supposed to be about the journey, not the destination. If you don't enjoy the journey, then what is the point?
I get it, too. The main fun thing about Bashing is that areas that are frequently hunted out give less experience, whereas the less commonly traversed areas can give more as denizens give more experience the longer they stay alive. That encourages people to adventure and find uncommon areas for themselves, and it also encourages people to communicate and roleplay with their house or faction in order to more be informed about less travelled areas if that is their cup of tea. These are really good ideas that naturally happen. This isn't a criticism about finding which areas to hunt; simply, what happens when you get there.
Combat for most, if not all classes, simply consists of using the same ability over and over until the target is dead. As you advance in level, you get slightly more health and mana, and as you advance in your pertinent skill tree, your one ability increases in damage. While you grow, you learn a plethora of abilities and a lot of different ways of attack, ways to defend against other people's attacks, and ways to support your group in the giant chess game that is Achaea combat... against adventurers.
Against Denizens, you will rarely learn more than that one ability that you use over and over. Combat against denizens is slightly less complicated than combat in Dragon Warrior 1.
Granted, a fair counter argument is that bashing is supposed to be boring to encourage people to avoid it and participate in other aspects of the game. Maybe bashing is supposed to be not a destination or a journey, but something you do in the off time, between enjoying the intangible aspects of Achaea... and those do exist, I completely understand. But I have two counters to this:
A. Player vs. Player combat is a very important core of Achaea, in both the coded game and the intangibles in the culture. Whether it be raiding other towns, resolving political differences, hunting down betrayers and/or murderers... Conflict is a part of any story, and much of that conflict is resolved through combat. In order to be/stay competitive in said conflict, you HAVE to bash, not even maybe. Modern games have taught us that your journey in end-game doesn't start until you are max level, and there isn't that much of an exception in Achaea, at least not until level 50-80ish, depending on class.
B. There are better ways of handling this using game mechanics. Something could be done that's been done before in games, but to a more extreme. Make it so that someone gets one Achaean day of bashing that grants 10x experience per Achaean month. You can start it by using a command like TRAINING START, and it lasts through the day, and informs you when it finishes.
But that wouldn't address the problem of bashing itself being boring, it just makes it so you have to do less of it. I suggest two things:
1. Somehow think about and improve the grouping system so that you get exponentially more experience in a group, so that there is almost no reason not to be in a group. I know that the experience increases in a group currently, but I don't think it's enough. If it were, people would be forming hunting groups a lot more regularly.
2. Create a denizen combat system so that there is much more involved than using the same ability over and over. WoW does this by adding rotations, and little things here and there like abilities that generate counters, allowing to use a 'finisher' ability that uses said counters. I fully know that this isn't WoW, but these are all things that are done to make fighting mobs much less tedious.
3. Add more opposing factions and quests. Minia has been revamped and has a lot of quests now, but the rest of the world is disappointingly unchanged, for the most part. There are the dwarves and orcs, but those are overhunted for the most part for that very reason.
In conclusion, I believe Achaea is a lot more than it's denizen combat system. But I also feel that a lot of people might get bored of the combat system and leave before they discover the greater parts of the game. Improving the combat system, even if it's done in a manner that is cheesy and weird, is better than what it has now.