DarkFall: Don’t worry, that review won’t be around for long

Sorry for the lack of posts around here of late; a bad blogging combo of work being very busy and nothing really jumping out at me in terms of topics. Hopefully both situations resolve themselves soon.

One side-bonus to a less active blog is a better view of the ‘general’ traffic that comes in; in other words the stuff people look at beyond the newest posts. In my case here, currently that is heavily dominated by people searching for DarkFall reviews, no doubt in part due to the EG ‘scandal’, and also because DarkFall is a newish MMO that is still generating new-user interest.

Sadly the damage done by top-notch journalist Ed Zitron and the geniuses who backed him is still being felt. Up until very recently, MetaCritic still featured the original 2/10 review for DarkFall, and even today GameRankings has it. Neither site uses the more updated review. In this regard, Tasos and Aventurine were right in demanding EG take down the original mistake, as even today we can see its false message is still being spread while the more accurate review is currently being ignored.

This issue is even more pertinent to DarkFall due to the games more unique rules and setup. A poor review of a WoW-clone is easier to explain, as almost all MMO fans know what to expect from a quest-hub, level grind, item collection MMO, and general reviews usually don’t dive too deep into the finer details that separate one clone from another. If you want a PvE-focused WoW-clone, LotRO should work for you. If you want some casual PvP in your WoW-clone, WAR fits the bill. Both games have finer details that might make or break the game for you in the long run, but from a general overview it’s easy to direct players towards what they might be looking for.

With DarkFall, even something basic like the combat system is difficult for people to full understand without having actually played it, let alone when trying to explain why that combat system fits into the PvP ruleset so well. Add to this that the vast majority of current MMO players have never played with full looting, open PvP, or a zone-less world, and it’s easy to see why so many people would have some rather basic questions about DarkFall that they might not have with more standard MMOs. Combine all that with the simple fact that DarkFall WON’T appeal to a large chunk of even the MMO fanbase due to its design, and again further importance is placed on at least reporting accurate details. DarkFall has enough intended design decisions to dissuade 90% of MMO gamers, it does not need Ed Zitron spreading lies to further drive people away.

And before people jump to the conclusion that “Those who like hardcore PvP know about DarkFall, everyone else does not care”, I’m the perfect example of why this might not always apply. All throughout DarkFall’s storied development I never gave the game much of a shot, having already gone through the launch of ShadowBane and all the wonders that sb.exe brought. Small dev + PvP MMO generally = failure. It was only until I read from a reliable source (The dearly departed Tobold in this case) that the beta client was technically solid that I became interested enough to purchase the game. Had Tobold pulled a Zitron and just copy/pasted ForumFall into his review, I most likely would have never picked up the game, and certainly not at release. When a developer already knows they are aiming for a small niche, they can’t afford losing potential customers because some hack has an ax to grind and picks your game to further whatever troubles him. WoW can brush off a false review and not give it a second though, but that’s not a luxury a developer like Aventurine can afford, and so it only makes sense they would do everything they could to correct the mistakes made.

16 Responses to DarkFall: Don’t worry, that review won’t be around for long

  1. pitrelli says:

    Good post, one thing which still baffles me is the lack of publicity and advertising done by Aventurine

    • syncaine says:

      It is a bit strange. Only thing I can think of is either they don’t have the cash to really advertise, or they still have 1-2 big patches they are finishing up, and once the game is in THAT state, they will push it. It’s strange because to be honest DF is ready NOW, and stuff they change will only make those who like it like it more, and those who don’t like it won’t change their mind if they add/expand the feature set. It’s stable, runs well, has no major bugs, etc.

      • pitrelli says:

        Yeah that is whats holding me back from making a purchase atm, if they are adding new content/tidying things up then I want to be joining when its a ‘finished’ game.

        I’ll be in the Champions Online beta next month so I’ll see how that pans out, darkfall may be on the cards before the end of the year.

      • syncaine says:

        If Champions is holding you off from DF, you will be playing DF the day after you get into the Champions beta…

      • pitrelli says:

        haha yeah ive seen around the blog space alot of people are less than impressed, still superheros, in an MMO world is a win win for me so I’ve got to give it a chance

  2. Stabs says:

    I was very disappointed by Kieron’s review.

    I read the whole thing and the basic tone of the review was positive. Good game for those players who like this kind of thing.

    However the 4/10 score doesn’t match the text.

    Now what I think happened is he wrote a reasonably fair review in text then put a score on it close to Zitron’s in order that his review shouldn’t undermine the earlier effort.

    He’s being false.

    4/10 is basically a score that means don’t buy this game. There are loads of games released each year and no one can play all of them. 4/10 or worse games are a tiny proportion. Anyone just going by the number will never play DF even though Kieron’s review basically takes the line it’s an ok game if you want this style.

    That’s very unfair on DF.

    Kieron does say early on in the review that his primary motivation is to support his writer because if he doesn’t no one will write for him again.

    He has done so at the cost of his integrity.

  3. I’m not surprised with Euro Gamer’s second score – there was no way they could save face and give Darkfall a reasonable score after giving it a 2/10. They’re basically protecting themselves.

    Still, saying that, it’s just someones opinion and it’s just unfortunate that they happen to be a position to have their voice heard.

  4. Coppertopper says:

    Well there’s hope. Word of mouth and buzz are slower but still paths to success. If they keep patching in the things they’ve done recently, they could easily pull an EVE and have growing subscriber base.

  5. Evil Evil Gamer says:

    Fingers crossed. A booming PvP focused game would be welcome.

  6. Coppertopper says:

    …and if that happens all it does is further blacken eurogamers ‘integrity’ or what’s left of it.

  7. Bonedead says:

    EuroGamer HAW HAW more like EuroSHAMER. HAR HAR HAR

    HAR

  8. Solidstate says:

    > “The dearly departed Tobold”

    He’s not dead lol, just on a blogging break :)

  9. Tobold says:

    Quoting Mark Twain, “the news of my death has been greatly exaggerated”. :) I’m just on a break from blogging, and on holiday, reading this in an internet cafe. Otherwise I’d rush and post a “Syncaine credits Tobold for introducing him to Darkfall” headline. ;)

    On the matter of review scores, I always wondered why everyone believes there could be an universal 1 to 10 scale. Darkfall being 4/10 on a scale where World of Warcraft is 10/10 is probably justified, because it says “if you don’t know MMOs or only WoW, you’ll probably won’t like this”. On a scale where 10/10 is UO pre-Trammel, Darkfall would probably score a lot higher.

    • syncaine says:

      At which point I would have to make a comment, to be deleted, and then a post saying that while you are responsible for my decision to buy DF, you did not introduce me to it, and you should get your facts straight. You then die a second time. ;)

      Hope you are enjoying your holiday, and that you plan some grand return to blogging. (maybe confess your hidden love for negative-sum PvP?)

  10. Bonedead says:

    Or they could just have some gay buttseks EQ1 style, heck, why not go full gay and do it in someone’s decked out EQ2 house.

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