DarkFall: Bounty Hunter event aftermath.

Last night the NA DarkFall server saw its first major player-driven event, a bounty hunter chase that went off very well considering it was the first of its kind in DF. I was able to log on just after the start, and Apollo already had a group together ready to rumble. Most of the server’s big names showed up, and the center of Agon became a PvP hotspot for a few hours on a Wednesday night.

The event showed me two things. First, the DF player base on NA is very willing to get behind community-driven events like this and things like the NEW clan initiative. I think everyone playing DarkFall is just happy to finally have a real fantasy PvP MMO not crippled by technical shortfalls (ShadowBane), and so are willing to pull together and make things happen for the good of the game. When server moral counts so much because your game is so reliant on word-of-mouth promotion, it’s interesting and encouraging to watch the players (with some GM support, which was nice to see) step up and provide some content to mix things up.

The other thing such an event shows is just how much potential a sandbox MMO has when it comes to player-generated content. The best aspects of DarkFall (PvP, huge world, zero instancing) were all on display because a few players decided to pool some funds together and have the entire server hunt them. As it was just the first such event, no doubt future events will not only be more creative, but also more tightly executed and with more refined twists and surprises. Plus like any good sandbox, such ‘content’ will never become obsolete because a new patch brought the next tier of shiny suits to collect. If anything, more options will be added as Aventurine adds more tools for the players to use as they see fit. This event was made possible, in part, because a crafters name shows up when you make an item. That simple feature, along with items never being bound, allows for a bounty hunter event to take place. You don’t need overly complicated systems and hard-coded motivational factors to get the most out of your game and player base in a sandbox, just some creative players and community support behind them.

6 Responses to DarkFall: Bounty Hunter event aftermath.

  1. willee says:

    Syncaine- so how did this event work? (high level)

  2. syncaine says:

    The organizer crafted a ring (nothing special, just something to use), and the goal was to find him, kill him, get the ring, and bring it to another designated player to get the reward (you could be killed while traveling with the ring, and someone else could cash in the prize). He gave hints on the forums about his location, and at least in our alliance people were giving constant updates on not only possible locations, but also the movement of other groups.

    Simple really, but it got a lot of people to an area (the black center spot) that normally does not see a ton of PvP activity, and it was also a nice change of pace from the usual siege-initiated stuff. Every alliance or clan was working separately, rather than having two defined sides like you have when a siege happens, so any group you came across was assumed to be an enemy, and three-sided fights happened.

  3. bhagpuss says:

    There’s absolutely no reason that player-run events can’t happen in any MMO. It doesn’t have to be a sandbox.

    When I first played Everquest events like this went on all the time. The common ones I recall were scavenger hunts, point-to-point races, arena tournaments and roleplayed storylines. Unless I’m misremembering, on the PvE server I played on there used to be a regular weekend PvP event, where paricipants temporarily left their own guilds, joined two new guilds under the banner of Light vs Dark, and battled for various rewards in East and West Commonlands. There were also countless weddings and parties, which scores of people attended.

    One of my favorite memories from EQ is attending a two-hour “open-mic” event at the theatre in Freeport, where various individuals and groups performed poems and dramatic pieces. There’s no reason why these things shouldn’t still happen, in any MMO, and they do occasionally. Back then, though, player-run events were the norm.

    That they are far less common than they were just suggests to me that the demographic for MMOs has changed. Ten years ago there were a lot of people playing who came from relatively hardcore roleplaying backgrounds, who were very used to providing their own plotlines and scripts. Nowadays hardly anyone in mainstream MMOs seems to hark back to that kind of “make-your-own-entertainment” upbringing.

    • Draglem says:

      I wouldn’t say the days of player content are bygone in Theme parks either, but rather there is a large redefinition of average player. Mentality is conditioned to reliance on Dev content only. The emphasis is pushed to killing that 10th rat for the key to the mega-rat’s lair so you have a chance at the glowy underoos’ because before the mean (no pun) player is still grinding when the patch for the new imporved Glowy Red Underoos’ of snazzyness is released.

      Simply put, well funded Dev team equated to no need for player content because the end keeps ahead of the average player, making sandbox games much more economical to produce. Why pay someone to develop and test content when you can rely on your subscription population to do so?

      Granted, this leads to intense examination on subscription regression against updates as history reflects, leading the game to end up on a dive to a theme park when profit is the director of game design (SOE).

      Regardless, creative ideas in theme parks are not attractive when you feel your character is not close to the end of the line. Something else is always more important to obtain and organization is impossible as an overflow of content also means less emphasis on story (actual content) and more on the rewards. I am sure WOW would have plenty of Player run events if organizers handed out purple (or Orange? are they up to orange yet?) items.

      So not impossible, but I do agree you need to pay to socialize with others that have a similar idea of what you want out of your hard earned dollar or Euro, which means Sand or Theme depending on who you are.

  4. Song7 says:

    The more and more I read your blog and the more time and money I spend in MMO’s the more I see your point of view on the whole mmo market. I may not 100% agree at times but it’s around 99% atm. I just tried FE and I’m liking what I’m experiencing. Cheers!

  5. willee says:

    Bhag, i think you’re right that those player-run events happen less now because the demographic has changed.

    And that’s also why they are much more prone to happen these days in sandbox games – because those games tend to attract those with the more hardcore rpg backgrounds vs, say, the millions playing WoW and other similar games who for the most part don’t have that background and are relatively new to the whole rpg concept…and in fact probably want something different out of playing a mmorpg than i and other older/more “hardcore” players want.

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