Some DarkFall issues

DarkFall has been a very pleasant surprise so far, as I really was not expecting so many things to actually work right out of the gate, and the game to overall be so solid and fun. I was not expecting much from an indie dev launching their first MMO, and one as ambitious as DarkFall. With that said, not everything is perfect in DF land, and some things just seem silly.

For starters, skill inconsistency. You don’t get sword skill if you swing at nothing (good), yet you DO gain magic skill when you cast at nothing (bad). Allowing magic to work like this is just asking people to macro it, like they did in 1997 with UO. Just make it gain skill when you hit something (not yourself) with magic, and at least it will be a bit harder (and more noticeable) when people try to macro it. Along that same line, what is the point of the run, sprint, and swim skills? You gain points in those skills for… running, sprinting, or swimming, regardless of when you do it. What character is NOT going to have 100 run/sprint/swim at some point? Again all you are asking for with this is people to macro the two until they hit 100. Either make it so you only gain skill when using those skills in certain situations (tough to program perhaps), or just dump them. At least a skill like riding makes more sense, since going afk on a mount is asking to get ganked (mounts can be taken, and they are costly). I’m sure more examples exist, but the basic idea is the same. Don’t have skills that can be skilled up in an easy afk manner, and make it so that a player actually has to PLAY the game to get skill gains. I realize some macro program will make this more difficult, but currently it’s just too easy.

The alignment system: Why DarkFall allows you to get positive alignment is a bit confusing. Currently the system is a -100 to 100 system, and anything below 0 turns you into a murderer (red). What this means is that you can go fight the enemy races, build alignment up to 100, and then kill a whole bunch of same-race players without going red. That does not seem like it’s working as intended. Allow players to build up 1-2 free kills through alignment, sure, but not 100 points worth, that just encourages abusing the system. It’s good that players are always more wary of other races than their own, that gives the world some flavor, but allowing alignment to go so high into the positive range just goes against this setup.

City issues: Currently anyone can run into your city and damage your buildings if they have a siege hammer or other city attack weapon. They can do this outside of the official siege system, which creates specific attack and defend windows for both sides. Why can a city be burned down to the clan stone without the enemy ever actually declaring a siege? Especially since cities don’t have NPC defenders, or even a way to keep players outside the walls (DF does not allow you to close your city off from the outside afaik). Make the city immune to attack unless declare on, simple. And while we are fixing that, allow the owner of the city to determine who has access to the bank in the city. It’s a bit ridiculous right now that the enemy can enter your city naked and use your OWN bank to pull their gear out and start hacking away. Silly at best, gamebreaking at worse (and in DF, worse is the norm).

Player identification: Currently any player of your own race shows up blue to you, even if your guild is at war with that player’s particular guild. Since DF is all about guilds, it’s not uncommon to be at war or in bad standing with a slew of guilds, and it’s difficult to keep track of all the small randomly named guilds. The problem is that you CAN attack that player without an alignment hit, since you are at war with them, but the game still shows them as blue to you. Dumb. Negative standing, be it racial, guild, or personal, should always supersede other factors. If I can attack a player without an alignment hit for whatever reason, show them gray or red (if I’m at war), not blue.

Item rank inconsistency: Weapons have a rank characteristic, which is a basic indicator of its power. Rank 10 is better than rank 20, etc. Armor does not have a rank characteristic, so in order to determine if banded armor is better than chain, you have to compare all 10 or so defense stats. Same goes for shields, no rank characteristic. Why? Granted it just take a bit more time to compare the two, but if you give weapons a rank, why not armor/shields?

I’m sure there is a bunch more, but those are just some of the issues that jump out at me right now. On the plus side, the queue/lag issue has been temporarily fixed (until more tourists arrive anyway), so progress is being made. Now we will have to see how quickly Aventurine goes after more core issues. Hopefully they don’t patch at the breakneck pace of the market leader, or I’ll have to wait over a year and pay $35 more for basic additions.

19 Responses to Some DarkFall issues

  1. Sightless says:

    The weapon rankings are directly tied to weapon skill. If your weapon ranking is greater than you skill with use in that weapon, then it breaks faster.

    The weapon ranking is *not* tied to weapon quality. We have several weapons that hit stronger than weapons 10 ranks higher. This is usualy not the case, so you *can* *sometimes* use weapon rank as a rough benchmark for power.

    Armor doesnt interact with this system as armor durability isnt based on skill use, but rather hits (or damage?) taken.

  2. syncaine says:

    Is the rank/skill relation 1 to 1? So rank 30 weapons need a weapon skill of 30? I’ve seen some rank 60 weapons, but never anything higher. That does explain the high rate of weapon wear though… Thanks Sightless.

  3. Sightless says:

    Yes, rank/skill is 1-1. So to avoid fast durability loss you need weapon rank 20 to swing a rank 20 sword.

    I keep trying to hunt you down ingame but your never online >.>

  4. syncaine says:

    I’m online most night, between 6pm-12pm EST weekdays. We have a guild thing tonight at 8pm EST, so I’ll definitely be online then.

  5. Bonedead says:

    I thought weapons were either Rank 10-20-30-40 and the breakdown was Rank 10 at 25 skill, Rank 20 at 50 skill, Rank 30 at 75 skill, and 40 at 100.

    I’ve not heard of Rank 50 weapons.

  6. syncaine says:

    I have a rank 60 wand in my bank. Wand rank different than weapon rank? Bows?

  7. Bonedead says:

    Nope, when I heard that it was from our guild weaponsmith.

    Looking here, it makes more sense heh.

    http://thedarkfallblog.wordpress.com/2009/03/18/weapon-rank-skill-chart/

  8. Bonedead says:

    Damn that sucks, I haven’t even been trying to get higher rank weapons.

  9. michael, St E says:

    Syn – just wait five years, and you may get import/export of bracket settings…

  10. mbp says:

    With regard to run/sprint swim what about introducing skill decay when you aren’t using them. The decay rate could be graduated so that everybody would find it easy to maintain level 50-60 but to staying at level 100 would require regular exercise.

    To avoid the worst forms of macroing I would also hope that training these skills requires some distance to be travelled not just walking around in a tight circle or walking into a wall.

  11. Chris says:

    I could imagine high positive reputation to be meaningful if it, say, allowed you to get discounts with city merchants, increased the radius at which city guards would help out if you were attacked, you know, ‘cuz you’re _not_ a cold-blooded murderer. Then if you “fall off the wagon” and start slaying folks indiscriminately, you lose rep and it takes longer to get back to positive territory the second and subsequent times. Meaning “you fooled us once into thinking you were a goody two-shoes; you’re not fooling us again, criminal.” But I doubt that’s on the developers’ agenda.

  12. pitrelli says:

    In relation to attacks on the city it seems you are taking a bit of a carebear stance syncaine. Sure I dont agree with other players using the bank however I dont think they should have to declare a seige. Its a hardcore pvp game with minimal/no rules as such. I think it sounds great and look forward to giving it a go

  13. mm says:

    One thing that keeps creating an impression on me is amount of timesinks in the game:
    1. The world is so empty and spread out that you have to travel 10-30 minutes to get anywhere without really seeing much
    2. Gear is constantly lost, so you have to go grind more or travel back-and-forth to grab what you banked
    3. Resources take alot of time to build up so you can contribute to the gulid town….

    It seems like the game was designed to not be enjoyed unless you can devote at least 30 hours a week to it. Syncaine’s playtime of 6 hours a day (72 hours a week! O_o) kind of confirms that. Other bloggers who didn’t play as much generally had a more negative impression of the game.

    So if I considered Darkfall, but only had 2 hours a night to play it, is it even worth trying? Something tells me no. I don’t want to log on just to spend 25% of my time travelling.

    MM

  14. mm says:

    Here’s a question.

    People keep saying Darkfall is hardcore. So is it hardcore because of the difficulty in mastering it, or is it hardcore because of the amount of time investment required per play session to feel like anything worthwhile was accomplished?

    You think the current MMOs could be ranked by time contribution requirements/day to derive a feeling of contribution or progress v. the impression of hardcore level?

    Among the modern MMO games I played, I say the time investment is (ranking from top “hardcorenes” on down):

    Darkfall (4h) *haven’t tried yet
    Ultima Online (4h)
    Everquest (4h)
    Everquest2 (3h)
    Age of Conan (2h)
    Dark Ages of Camelot (2h)
    World of Warcraft (2h)
    Warhammer Online (1h)

    It seems that MMO games try to define themselves as hardcore simply by placing in timesinks. Imagine if Warhammer destroyed all your gear when you died in open rvr. The time requirement would just from 1 hour to 3 hours on average. The gameplay is still very easy, but now that you have to keep re-grinding your gear after a death, people would declare that WAR is uber hardcore and not for sissies. I wouldn’t consider that hardcore….just stupidly grindy.

    MM

  15. michael, St E says:

    @mm: “Gear is constantly lost, so you have to go grind more or travel back-and-forth to grab what you banked”

    But isn’t gear constantly _won_ too?

  16. syncaine says:

    @MM: You do realize I’m not actually ‘playing’ the entire time I’m online, right? My xfire shows I’ve played DF 86 hours this week, but that would be rather tough with a full time job and an hour commute. If I get in 2 hours a night, that’s a good night, and you can get plenty done in just 30 minutes in DF (harvest, craft, grind a few mobs if you logged out near them, randomly explore)

    About the gear loss, it’s not as dramatic as people like to make it out. Unless you just really suck, you don’t die most days in DF, and certainly not when you are actually wearing good gear. Currently I have 10+ sets of good gear in my bank, from our PvP raids, mob drops or crafting. I’ve perhaps lost 2-3 sets, and never a top-end set. But I know better than to run out solo in full scale.

    And the idea that the world is ‘empty’ because every square inch is not a mob camp is wrong. Out of the way spots are great areas to farm crafting mats (less chance of a PK finding you, or other players gathering in the same space), and if two groups cross each other, any spot becomes a battle site (with the terrain changing from something you have to cross to having strategic importance)

    @Pitrelli: If the siege system did not exist, that would be fine, attack whenever. But cities are balanced around the idea that an attacker first declares on you, but currently allowing a zerg of people to damage your city is broken, since an empty city can’t defend itself. If they allowed player-built towers, again that would be fine. The risk of tower death would balance out being able to harass a city.

  17. pixiestyx says:

    be intersting to see how mortal online does. incidently there are going to open beta soon…..

  18. Zensun says:

    I’ve got to say, your blog in particular is what got me excited enough to buy the game and give it a try. I’m still in the process of applying to a guild, but I’m having fun learning the game and practicing in the meantime.

    I definitely agree with all the issues you’ve raised here, alignment and identifiction in particular. If they’re going to have the red/grey/blue names at all, they should indicate your target’s alignment relative to you, not your target’s alignment relative to his home race. How/why should I know whether that Alfar is a criminal to his race? What should be obvious is that he’s an enemy to mine, as Mirdain.

  19. Zensun says:

    “I could imagine high positive reputation to be meaningful if it, say, allowed you to get discounts with city merchants…”

    Good reason to keep the ability to record high positive alignment. Perhaps the alignment loss for defeating & ganking a friendly player should scale as your alignment increases so, no matter what, you can still only kill two or three before becoming a criminal.

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