It's the whole MMO genre which is in decline, playerbase left for other "short matches like" games (PUBG, etc).
I personally don't recommend projects which :
don't allow to edit sources, making you a puppet to the project owner's will to backdoor your face ;
force you to use some sort of auth server - even if it's easy to remove, it's imho poor approach for security and the sort of ppl adding backdoors as ultimate, hidden security ;
permanently spit on other projects/owners - it often means they aren't confident in their own packs or will have a childish behavior towards you ;
use a base pack and claim it's their work - if one lie is found, how much others ?
reuse shared customs without even trying to optimize it - which generally means lazyness and copy-paste ability, but nothing helpful in case a real problem happens ;
don't go deep in the refactors, or don't touch "touchy" files such as geoengine/movement/... - which means if a real problem happens, you will have to pay someone else.
In any case, before paying someone, you should :
make some search regarding the dude on forums, to see how he talks/his reputation/his posts ;
get opinion from different places/forums/ppl regarding the dude ;
see if the dude is known under different names, which should be an instant redflag since it means he is probably banned ;
request at least one self-made code exemple (being public or not, generally decent developers also publically share), which could be checked by other ppls if you suck at Java ;
clearly doubt the dude if he says he is the best or seems too cocky.
About payment :
you should use a middleman if you fear anything. It's costy (generally 20% ? I don't know prices), but it will be safe. After few transactions with the same guy, you can probably stop to use one.
you should pay when the tests are done and you don't see more issues. If the dude is normally brained, he let you test on his test server, you test everything, you say it's ok, you pay, he gives you the code. If another problem is found after transaction, well there are 2 schools : dev is really friendly and will fix for free, or dev considered you said it was ok, and you pay for untested stuff. On that matter it really depends about the dude himself.
I also personally don't recommend any BR as developer - even if nowadays, it's one of the biggest L2 community. That's my own personal experience, and I would like it differs, but really, I didn't meet (did I ?) a single, decent, enjoyable, friendly, non-scammy BR developer on my 12y of aCis. You will be deceived in 90% of cases, all their custom packs are rebranded packs with copy-pasted customs. Please, BR community, make me wrong and be finally an enjoyable piece of humanity. Thank you in advance ! 😄
(About my pack, ty for the kind words, you will get your payment in the end of the month - 0.001% of total profits, 100.000€, as always ?)
I didn't deceive anybody. We had two issues with customers from russian forum because I couldn't spend time on development. They've been told about situation and they will receive their money until end of the april. Stop saying a bullshit.