4Story is one of the failed 'WoW Killers' from the late 2000s that was heavily if not completely based on PvP gameplay. Gates of Andaron was a more popular branching server of the game that housed altered ingame values such as upgrade chances, max level, names for pretty much everything that had a name, and of course different people. From what I remember, the server was always a patch or two behind the main servers, and GoA devs liked to hand pick the changes that were implemented in their server. I remember starting GoA during 2009 when I was like 9 years old, and it had me hooked until the day the server died, to the minute it shut down. Had to have been somewhere mid-2015.
Gates of Andaron wasn't really all that special for anything but the PvP combat. It was and still freshly remains in my mind as some of the fastest paced and skill based combat I've experienced in a video game. It's hard for me to explain it beyond admitting that movement was so chaotically fluid simply because skills didn't tie into each other at all. There wasn't really a specific queue to use most skills in because a lot of them were simply purposed with singular or basic effects. Despite the fact, there were enough skills and then some to fill up 24 slots (1-12/=, F1-F12 by default). For a preteen boy with small hands and a stunning lack of keybind understanding, it was hard to handle but oh god was it rewarding. The skills had short to no loading times, and any skill without a loading time could be used without impairing movement, so it created this speedy and risky combat that I can't forget to save my life. On top of the straightforward animation canceling, movement was free enough that doing it just right could turn players into machine guns, even the melee classes up close.
Lately I've been yearning for something similar. As far as I can tell, the only servers left alive for the game are in other countries (I live in central US), and even fewer of the few still alive have the mechanics and updates that made the game so incredible. The company that ran Gates separate from 4S didn't follow the same update path, and stayed true to the elements of hyperspeed PvP that 4S eventually nerfed. Candidly, a couple of the six classes were busted when you learned perfect animation canceling, but the way they nerfed those classes hit others almost as hard, if not harder. It was something along the lines of setting a universal 1s cooldown on all abilities after using one, which gutted the speeds of fights. I could never get myself into a server with those mechs implemented because it just wasn't the game I loved.
The nostalgia doesn't come often, but when it does, it's crippling. I've been phased out of the MMO scene for nearly five years aside from Blade and Soul, but that game has become much less than worth my time, or the money I'd need to sink to keep up. The PvP and ping issues there leave a lot to be desired. I guess I'm just looking for a bit of direction.
I played GW2 extensively when it came out, but I fell off the wagon on that because Gates drew me back along with Smite stealing the other half of my attention at the time. I tried ESO near the end of 2016 but never got very far. Neither of those have quite the PvP I'm looking for, though I don't mean to say that I expect to find what I'm really looking for.
Any suggestions would be nice, and I don't mind being told that I'm never going to find what I'm looking for outside of chasing what most 4S/Gates players know as P4Story (italian server). Ultimately I just wanted to jot down these thoughts in a place where I thought some people might listen, understand, and maybe even recognize.
Even if I can find something of the sort, I don't think anything can replace the home I built in that game. During those years, I was never more comfortable than in the countless hours I wasted away while sitting in the main cities, just talking to the other idiots up at 3 a.m. doing effectively nothing.
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