Wow, good to see the monks representing, even if it's over a year later 8)
It's strange, but the mind-numbing difficulty of the game definitely made the rewards that much sweeter.
I remember reading online that you could get mesh gloves (needed to hit some magical monsters, as a monk your options for hand equipment was extremely limited) in this place called "Guk" it was over 5 zones away from my home of Freeport (the city of men, ha!) and filled with danger the entire way. I remember running like hell from a Sand Giant along the way, scared to death (even though it wasn't even chasing me) and eventually getting there and farming Guk frogs for FIVE HOURS, and still didn't get the gloves to drop. I think I logged out there and woke up the next morning and put in another 2 hours to get them. All this just to get the ability to hit magical monsters at an impossibly low level (i'm guessing I was like lvl 5 or something)
It was very, very hard. We have kind of been spoiled by recent titles where there is little/no penalty for dying. It kind of makes me want to pick up Demon's Souls to see if that difficultly level results in the same kind of fondness for the game. Just because I remember the good times doesn't mean I forgot how frustratingly difficult that game was, not only was the environment hard, you had to (for the first time for many of us) deal with other PEOPLE in a co-operative (non-death match) environment. Complete with their insecurities, strengths, neurotic tendencies, and childish squabbles over loot drops. Remember loot ninjas? While there were good times, there were also two holes in my drywall from trying to resolve a loot squabble between two guildies. ( I can't believe a game where this virtual property got me so pissed off, but it did, we lost 10 guild mates from the fallout of that one.)
It was a great game though. Even though it wasn't the first MMORPG, or the most polished, It was amazing in it's depth and complexity.