If you only know one thing about DarkFall, you likely know that a LOT of people just outright hate the game, or more accurately, the supposed playerbase behind the game. If you have been playing MMOs for any decent length of time, you surely have come across a ‘griefer’, so when an MMO supposedly designed to cater to that group is announced/developed/released, you have a clear target to vent all the pent-up frustration you hold for that one guy who corpse camped you in the Barrens.
DarkFall does its part to perpetrate that image in a number of ways, most notable through ForumFall. You don’t have to be employed by EuroGamer to swing by and read a few threads, pick some winners, and believe you understand exactly what goes on in DarkFall. Then apply free-for-fall PvP and full looting to the context of your current MMO (WoW or the like), and you continue to build on your idea of why DF must be a place of constant misery. You mean someone can jump you and steal your hard-earned pixels, bah what fun is that?
On top of all that, there are some who currently play DarkFall (or ForumFall really well) that would have you believe that anything grief-like is good, and anything else is ‘carebear’, and that every last person currently playing feels exactly the same way. Those players tend to be non-factors in-game due to the fact that no respectable clan wants to be associated with them, but boy can they post quickly on the forums. It’s those same players who both argue that DF needs to be more sandbox, yet then criticize anything that does not directly relate to PvP, or god help us removes things like mount-killing without going gray. Real PvPers fight mounts without fear of retribution, in case you did not know.
The reality, and more important the direction Aventurine is taking DarkFall in, is quite different. Take one look at the upcoming expansion and you will see far more PvE and non-PvP changes than that hyper-focus on PvP some expect. PvP will always be at the core of what DarkFall is all about, but veteran MMO players and AV understand that in order for that PvP to have any impact, there must be systems in place to make that a reality. Fighting for the sake of fighting is all well and good, but the reason for the fight is what ultimately separates MMO PvP from a FPS and gives a game its longevity. So in addition to making changes to what actually happens in PvP (magic nerf, specialization options being expanded), a lot of effort is being put into given players various reasons for PvP to happen, be it on land or (soon) at sea.
The other uncomfortable reality haters of DarkFall miss is that this style of MMO requires far more effort and ‘work’ than being successful in a themepark requires. By design the themepark is ‘easy’, and its job is to make sure you stay on-rails and get rewarded at every step. True success in DarkFall requires a solid clan and alliance (or a seriously strong-willed solo player), and leading/directing/guiding large groups of players is not something the average 13yr old basement dweller is capable of doing. And unlike a themepark, a sandbox WILL hand you your far share of tough breaks and setbacks, which again requires strong leadership and a solid core to persevere through. It’s those same setbacks that make success so much sweeter, but it will never be handed to you on a silver platter.
As development continues and DarkFall gets fleshed-out, more and more features will be added that will test a clans/alliances leadership and decision-making. The more tools for war that one has available to them, the more interesting and complex the battles become. For some, this will allow them to further excel thanks to good organization and leadership skills, while for others their reliance on individual skills at the expense of others will further reduce their value. Eventually they will either adapt or be forced out, crying ‘carebear’ all the way down.
(DarkFall-related post disclaimer/reminder. If you click the image link near the top-right of this page and buy a DarkFall account, I get paid 20% of the client cost. If you believe this taints my views and reporting on DarkFall, your opinion is wrong.)