I said I would not do it, but yet again I’m in “excited about an upcoming MMO” mode. This time around it’s Darkfall, and my interest has been raised by unexpected sources. As anyone with access to a gaming forum knows, the core Darkfall community is rather… aggressive in their view of the game, and that makes it tough to get solid information about the game from official sources. Hell even the developers themselves sound like uncontrolled fanboys at times, and you certainly can’t trust ‘selected’ quotes from beta testers.
While the very concept of a fantasy PvP sandbox MMO (UO basically) has always been of some appeal to me, this nicely put together beta preview over at The Noob comic really sold me. Just reading that aspects of the game function as we were led to believe, and that the game itself is playable and overall enjoyable, was very refreshing. My biggest fear for DF was not that it was vaporware, but that it would be horribly crippled by its ambition, with hundreds of little systems never meeting up to deliver a solid product (sounds a lot like a problem the current MMO I’m playing is trying to fix…)
Much like EVE, I think the MMO space needs games like Darkfall to succeed. The space needs titles to fill a niche and provide an escape from well polished foozle slaughter, to push out ideas that might be too aggressive or extreme for every Joe and Jane Casual. If the market only supports WoW and it’s clone army, it can’t possible grow and evolve constantly playing it safe.
Now it’s not hard to predict the first few months for Darkfall. An oversized initial rush by those chasing the new shiny, followed by countless “I got ganked and lost my gear, account cancelled, DF sucks” posts on blogs and forums, and hopefully finally a settling in by the 100k or so players who enjoy the style of gaming DF is aiming for. That final step will only be achieved if DF can actually deliver on its core goal, delivering a world of consequences rather than a theme park of on-rails rides, and bugs or technical difficulties don’t bring it down, which is why the above linked preview is encouraging. It goes without saying that more people will hate DF than enjoy it; let’s just hope those that would enjoy it don’t move on because of server/code problems.