It’s difficult to really explain how big an impact sound has in DarkFall to anyone who has not played it, yet has played other MMOs that promote sound as being important. Usually in those games the sound is ‘important’ because an audio cue will tell you when to dodge or block, or alert you to a secret. If you miss the cue, you are likely not playing at maximum efficiency, but it’s not a make or break issue. Sound in DarkFall is deadly.
I was out farming some trolls near our clan city of Hammerdale, a location that is only a few steps away from an Air Elemental spawn. The Air Elementals however are not found on the ground, but rather on a floating island high above, accessible only by a floating platform that travels up and down on a regular interval (no fairy wings here). It’s something that unless you specifically look up, or you just happen to cross the platform’s location when it’s near the ground, you can entirely miss the whole thing as you pass by. That is, you could if no one is fighting the elementals; because if someone is there, you can hear them. Not only does the sound of combat travel a great distance, the sounds of magic being used is much easier to pick out, and the Air Elementals love to cast lots of noisy spells.
So as I was wrapping up with the trolls, I rode near the location of the Air Elementals and sure enough the sounds of combat can barely be heard from high above. The spawn itself is only three elementals, which makes it ideal for solo farming but a waste for two or more people. The drops are decent but not great, and generally it’s not a hugely popular spot (it’s somewhat hidden location no doubt helping in this regard). The plan was simple, jump and gank whoever is farming. As the Air Elementals are a glass cannon-type mob they deal some rather considerable damage, and most of the time they leave you heavily wounded after a fight.
So my adrenalin is now pumping as I slowly, slowly ride up the lift on my way to see exactly who is farming the Air Elementals, and in what shape they are in. A lot of things can go horribly wrong here. If the person farming is resting, they might be watching the lift location and if they see me riding up, they are going to nuke the hell out of me. They might also spot me before I want them to, and if that happens they can quickly mount up and ride away with little hope of being caught. And of course, I could catch them in-between spawns, we fight it out, and they beat me, taking all the loot I’ve been farming off the trolls in the process.
Finally at the top, I still hear the sounds of combat and casting, which is a good thing because it means the player is going to be focused on the mobs and is very likely to miss the sound of my character walking around to spot him. I’ve been to this spot to farm before, so I know the layout and what areas are best for creeping around. At one corner, I can look around and see the other player fighting while he can’t see me, and the plan now is to attack as soon as he kills the last Air Elemental. As luck would have it, he does this and ends at around 25% HP, with his back to me. Perfect. I sprint out, two-hander drawn, and rush up and swing away. After taking a few hits and dropping to 5%, he jukes me enough to get out of melee range, and manages to jump off the island. You can’t die from falling damage, so his 5% HP won’t factor into that, and I leap off the ledge in pursuit. As we fall, I switch to my bow and start shooting arrows downward, bullets-flying-as-you-fall Matrix style. Luckily for me I’m a crappy shooter, as I’m fairly sure if I killed him while falling his tombstone would have remained in the air (not 100% on this though).
We both land on the ground, and he quickly spawns his mount to make his escape. Before he gets more then a foot further, a well placed arrow hits him in the back and off his mount. Win. After some quick looting, I jump on his already-spawned mount and make my way home. It’s only at this point do I realize how tense I was that entire experience, all to jump someone at 25%. Sad and yet very satisfying at the same time, and all thanks to the sound actually having an impact in DarkFall. Good times.