DarkFall’s version of EVE University

As frequent readers here know, one of the reasons I greatly prefer a sandbox MMO over a themepark is the amount of control players have in shaping their game and the world around them. While that control is a double edged sword (EVE University vs Goonswarm), I’ll take that risk over a foam sword (themepark) any day of the week.

And much like EVE Online has the player-created and run EVE University to guide new players, DarkFall on the NA server now has NEW. Similar in idea to its Ultima Online Siege Perilous forefather, the idea behind NEW is to give young DarkFall players a chance to learn about the game without getting constantly rolled while trying to solo kill goblins. It is, in a good way, UO’s Trammel. In a good way because its player controlled, it’s not absolute (30 day time limit until players are kicked from NEW), and other players are free to raid NEW’s city of Hammerdale (Yes, Apollo’s old city. In a way we did our part by building it up for all the new guys. At least that’s our story damnit!).

It’s those raiders that, IMO, will really draw those younger players into DarkFall. They will see PvP firsthand, and assuming NEW grows to a reasonable size, they won’t always be sitting ducks. Add in the fact that many of the server’s biggest alliances support the idea, and Hammerdale itself is perhaps the safest city in the game in terms of being taken in a siege, which will help to prevent the previously common ‘city loss ragequit’. And with the city being a well-known location for player activity, that will just make it a natural hotspot, be it for PvE, trade, or PvP. All of these factors added together create an almost perfect environment to show the best of DarkFall, and that’s exactly what you need to get those MMO hooks into someone. Now about that free trial Aventurine…

edit: Oh and speaking of AV, good job for quickly making the NEW thread a sticky and writing a Spotlight piece about it as well. That shows everyone they are paying attention to what is happening in their game, and that they clearly support such player-driven ideas. Also in the Spotlight a few days back was a player-run Bounty Hunter event. Between this and the hints of GM-run events, I’m feeling good about AV’s involvement in DarkFall beyond just adding more stuff and tweaking balance.

13 Responses to DarkFall’s version of EVE University

  1. sid67 says:

    Every time I read one of these blog entries, I want to go buy the game. Then I see a screenshot and stop…

    I’m guess I’m just not a ground floor type of guy. Although I have to say I’m looking forward to the day when there is enough “fluff” added that I’ll be enticed to play. :D

    • syncaine says:

      I’ve long since stopped looking at screen shots for ANY game. Either they are doctored and look way better than the actual game, or they look like crap because the game is not ‘screen shot nice’ looking.

      That said, I’m about as far over to being a graphics whore as you can get, and I’ve not once wished DF was prettier.

      • sid67 says:

        Well… It’s not just the screenshots. This video that you posted is a good example of how plain everything looks IMO. I couldn’t help but think how barren everything looked. And yes, I realize that’s also the type of terrain but it still just struck me as unfinished.

        Am I wrong? Obviously I haven’t played it, so if that video is a bad representation of the game let me know.

      • syncaine says:

        That video takes place on Ruby, the desert sub-continent. Part of why it might look unfinished (I don’t see it that way, but maybe that’s because I’ve seen the area in-game, who knows) is because Ruby is fairly flat, and all the little terrain details get cut from your view before your total draw distance stops. I mean the desert is going to have less detail and charm than say the human land forests, but yea, overall the world in DF has less ‘stuff’ crammed into every square foot than say a zone in WAR or WoW. It’s also however many orders of magnitude bigger overall, so IMO its just different. (I actually prefer the lots of ‘nothing’ with points of interest design over EVERYTHING being ‘epic’ looking and hyper-detailed. After you see 2-3 zones in WAR/WoW, nothing short of god coming down to say Hi really impresses you)

  2. Mordiceius says:

    Didn’t Goon Squad just declare war on NEW?

  3. evizaer says:

    This NEW clan seems like something I’d do to get familiar. I haven’t logged in since Friday and I’ve never felt compelled to. The game is based on a skill gain paradigm that I think is quite flawed–especially in a competitive multiplayer environment. Too bad I didn’t really think about it until I had purchased the game. AV does deserve my money, though, for standing up against the tide of crap and trying something different that’s actually working.

    • syncaine says:

      Any advancement system is going to have it’s positives and negatives. While I don’t directly disagree with any of the reasons in your post (I just don’t think they are a big deal, but they exist), I’ll take those flaws over the ones associated with a leveling system for DarkFall any day.

      As for your motivation to log in, that’s too bad. I guess aside from the skill system, being already distracted with other games and not having a real reason to play (since DF does not outright provide you one) makes things tough. Joining NEW and living out of Hammerdale might be interesting for you though, if only to experience player-city life for a bit.

      But I think for many players, DF is going to be similar to EVE, where the idea of playing it sounds very appealing, but ultimately most won’t be able to stick with it day to day for whatever reason. It’s kinda like PvP, way more people THINK they enjoy it than the number who actually do.

      • evizaer says:

        There are more options in RPG character advancement than WoW and Darkfall. There are a number of hybrid schemes, like the job system in Final Fantasy Tactics, and spend-XP-to-buy-skills systems like Asheron’s Call had (IIRC). Shadowbane had meaningful PvP in the presence of a level-based system, so even class-based systems aren’t inadequate to the task of meaningful PvP. It’s all about balancing the system. In a PvP game that must be delicately balanced, it’s folly to use a system that is inherently harder to balance and easier for players to exploit, like use-based skill gain, in the presence of easier-to-balance systems that afford a similar degree of flexibility but actually encourage specialization.

      • syncaine says:

        The emphasis on having skills in DF is overdone really. It takes a few days to get either decent archery or melee at virtually no cost. Magic is a little longer in time, and more expensive. The issue is that people think you need 2-3 school at 100 to compete, or that without weapon mastery you might as well not show up, and all of that is just false.

        Another thing to keep in mind is that the system in DF is still a work in progress. The next patch is adding archery (and melee I believe) specialization, magic already has some, and overall AV has indicated their plan to add diversity and complexity to the skill system is through further specialization. The next patch, with magic cooldowns, will also have a large impact on day-to-day PvP and make training multiple magic schools even less necessary.

        (And a bit off topic, but AC’s character system would get eaten alive today by powergamers, and SB was similar to GW in that while it had levels, it was basically ‘rush to max and then play’, rather than anything gradual.)

  4. Stormwaltz says:

    Tempting.

    I love the concept of PvP worlds, but I avoid them because I know that I don’t know shit about how to PvP (how Socratic). There never seems to be a way to learn other than “tie on raw meat and jump into the shark tank,” and I hate being the weakest link on a team even more than I hate being victimized.

  5. Fury Mortis says:

    Stormwaltz and others – you should really consider giving Darkfall a try. With the improved skill gain and the NEW clan providing training and gear to new subscribers, there is no better time to buy the game.

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