I've been thinking about this for awhile, but I feel after seeing the server only slowly grow I think its time to talk about it. As a server we have mainly address a lot of the bigger gameplay issues over time. A lot of the original complaints of players who left the server have been addressed and honestly even improved upon their original requests or suggestions. Titan is no longer a tedious grindy server and can very much appeal to casual/hardcore players a like. That said, we still fail to really reel in players. We could target some of the main gripes of gameplay I've seen. (Homunclus AI/lack of auto loot being the biggest two) but I feel even without address those there are bigger issues we should look at. Ragnarok, despite having a great PVP system, and a true grind towards end game, is little more than a glorified chat room in the long run. MMOs and especially ragnarok are little more than a social game for most people in my opinion. While its healthy to look at gameplay and balance, we have sorely lacked the most important core of a server and that is keeping the players active and interacting with each other. I was looking at other servers and what makes them popular, particularly some of the more popular pre renewal servers and I noticed that they tend to have very active communities, not just because of population either, but because the staff made an effort to spice things up consistently. So with that, I am suggesting that we try a myriad of things to keep players active. Titan leans a bit too much towards the solo player currently.
I want to note that our automatically functioning events do not count as those do not build community. Sure it might drag a few people to come gather some titan tokens, but in the end they are not very interactive.
1.) Consistent Events
I think we should strongly consider having events every month. A different event each month or every 2 weeks even could keep people intrigued on what is next. I think having events that require people to group up are better for the server than simply "gather X items and make a hat". Sure we could implement temporary cash shop gears that way, but it doesn't really add to the community at all. Adding in either custom content or temporary instances from future content (with drops removed) with a decent reward would be fun for everyone and build the community. This would require more work/planning, but is the easiest way to build community. On another server I played they had custom bosses or special instances that required you to get together to take it down and people ran them constantly with random other people to get the rewards. For Titan, I could see us doing temporary cash shop gear as an incentive to play together.
The RWC format for PVP is popular amongst PVPers and could be a fun tournament format to get new people into the server. Gauntlet appears to be dead for now, but I think holding RWC tourneys with decent in game prizes could be an interesting way to get more PVP oriented guilds onto the server. Further I think if we do this, I think we should really put a fun emphasis on the competitive side beyond just prizes. Rankings for guilds who win consistently for bragging rights, maybe access to the other two guild dungeons (not used for the current woe castle), and stats posted like the old WoE stats in a post or page on the website after the tourney. Maybe awards for the highest performing individual players as well as voted on by participants in the tourney/spectators. Can even host on Trojal's twitch stream.
3.) GM Led Mini Game Type Events throughout the week.
I already know trojal doesn't like this per say, but I strongly suggest it as it brings people together whenever a GM is hosting an active event. I've seen it on multiple servers I've played where a huge chunk of the pop will group up for these random events, even if the reward isn't that great. Especially if its an event that only the GM can host exclusively. (like the bomb porings were one example of these or "fly wing to the mini LP I've set". )
4.) An EXP bonus based on the number of Unique IP address in the party
This would be in addition to the existing on screen bonus that encourages parties to stay together instead of fly winging and NOT replace that. This would encourage at least a few people to get together and play rather than 2 or 3 people dual client everything in a party. Dual clienting will always be a thing and shouldn't be necessarily discouraged altogether, but I do think it is a good idea to steer away from auto follow brigade parties which I've seen a lot on here due to the mechanics of the server. I don't think we should punish players for having a few duals in a party, but when an entire party is ran by 2 or 3 people I feel the essence of the game is lost. I, myself, have experienced being left out of parties because the party was "full" when in reality it really only had leeches. I think if we had a system in place to always encourage bringing another human being in and not just another client then that would never happen.
And for now those are my current suggestions. I would usually do these in a separate post, but I feel 3/4 fall under the same type of umbrella (more events) and the last is pretty short lol.