DarkFall: CtS gets a Q&A and a release date.

Taking a break from tourist talk and doomed MMOs for a moment, lets talk about what really matters to MMO gamers, DarkFall!

First off the next expansion got delayed until Thursday, with a notice that DF might be down for 24 hours as the patch is added and some last-minute-testing is done. Aventurine has stated that players will be credited for however long the game is down, which is a nice (and rare) move. Place your bets on how many things will get borked by the patch now.

Next up is a Q&A from MMORPG.com about the upcoming expansion, with some talk about what Aventurine will be doing after as well. Between expanding the DF staff, moving to a larger office, and hinting at finally have time/resources to devote to areas outside of game development (like advertising and community relations), clearly Aventurine is very happy with DF’s current and future success. Shame on the usual trolls over at MMORPG.com though, the comments section for the FAQ is far too friendly. Have the haters given up already? What happened to DF shutting down after 6 months because all the sheep would leave and the wolves would get bored?

Finally I just wanted to make a note related to my current in-game activities, which have mostly consisted of PvE around my new home city of Dagnamyr with the occasional PvP trip to mix things up. Around the city we have a great selection of PvE camps, from higher-end stuff like Blood Knights and Forest Golems to easier prey like Revenants and Wind Lords, all within a five minute ride. It’s also possible to ride around for an hour near Dagnamyr and not see a single mob if you don’t know where to look. Sure some of the camps are a bit more obvious (like the Blood Knight in the middle of some ruins), but others are not (like the Forest Golem in a random spot in, well, the forest). My point is, and this applies to basically all of Agon and DF in general, is that if you don’t know where to go, the world seems very empty as you ride past mob camp after mob camp. If you have a good understanding of your local surroundings however, you should never be lacking for PvE options. That understanding takes either some time personally exploring, or… wait for it… interacting with others in an MMO and asking for help. Stupid niche game design and encouraging/rewarding multiplayer play in a massive world. Who needs that, right solo-heroes?

(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.)

21 Responses to DarkFall: CtS gets a Q&A and a release date.

  1. Stabs says:

    I think it genuinely is dawning on people that DF has employed a much shrewder business strategy than all the overhype > money grab > crash and burn games around.

    It’s dawning on people that Eve started small and niche with a loyal and passionate group of genuine fans who loved it and helped make it great.

    Remember all the jokes when DF launched and they kept the online shop closed most of the time? “My credit card’s not hardcore enough for Darkfall!”

    Bet those guys feel pretty silly now as they grind levels in Aion.

  2. Malakili says:

    I’ll be honest that I wasn’t convinced that Darkfall would later very long, but a year later and new patches still coming changed my mind :)

  3. coppertopper says:

    With such fantastic opportunities with the “Conquer the Seas” patch such as players no longer being able to outswim ships, and a hugely improved collision detection that means ships will now push swimming players with their apparent nerf bulwarks (maybe falling damage and collision damage will get patched in ’10), I can totally understand the overwhelming excitement all 6000 DF players are experiencing right now!

    • Stabs says:

      Well it’s not 6000 but a small number going up is probably a more enjoyable situation from a player’s point of view than a big number going down.

      Enjoy Aion as it crashes and burns and NC Soft do a Tabula Rasa on it.

  4. Dblade says:

    Thing is, people forget that EVE has had zero competition, encourages multiboxing heavily, and has 90% of its action in empire space. Even with all this, it sucks as a game compared to a PVE themepark. Its combat is bad, its PVE is braindead, its travel times are atrocious and add nothing to the game, and its main player focus is on screwing other players.

    Everyone seems to think it’s a model or something, but it’s niche never had any real competition-space-based PVP MMO combat. It’s like how FFXI never had any real competion for console MMOs for how long it’s been out. Of course it will keep a sub base, because there isn’t the alternatives.

    I don’t think DF can replicate that, because its soon going to be competing against many more persistent world shooters and pvp-based games, and even something like Dawntide will siphon people away. Going to be interesting to see how it will do when its niche is challenged, same as EVE when alternatives like star trek online and jumpgate evolution surface.

    • Stabs says:

      Eve, like WoW, is a very good tool for satisfying people’s egos.

      Eve, unlike WoW, is full of clever people each of whom feels he has a special edge over the rest of the playerbase. The multiboxers? Well they’re probably not even paying for all those accounts, someone else is (another player). The plex buyers? They fly around in T3 ships with a 30:1 kill ratio. The Empire carebears? They’re building their fortunes for the time one day when they will unleash their awesomeness upon the unsuspecting null-seccers.

      Agreed a lot of the game is banal but I think that misses the point of good MMOs.

      An MMO is a tool for creating an alternative personality you can be proud of. If you just want gameplay play single player games, they’re much better games.

      If you look at Eve as an experience rather than a game it’s a very enjoyable experience well worth the time or money needed to keep one’s subs active.

      • Dblade says:

        I have yet to see this alleged enjoyable experience. I see a lot of people talking about it, but playing the thing doesn’t really seem to show what it’s about.

        I can’t even see how you can be proud of the persona you create. Most of the pve stuff is worse than kill ten rats quests in wow, and to be successful in PvP is how many ships you can bring to the gatecamp, or how much money you spend if you get a rare 1 on 1.

        I tell you, I’m trying, but I really suspect that people hype this game way too much and gloss over the downsides.

        • Malakili says:

          Not every game is for everyone. If you don’t like EVE, then don’t play it. It does satisfy a lot of gamers though. I think the “downsides” that most people talk about, such as “mining is boring” “I don’t know what to do” “I lose all my stuff when I die” Most of the stuff like that isn’t a downside to the EVE player base.

          “It sucks as a game” is probably even a compliment as far as a lot of EVE players are concerned. I’m not even convinced it deserves to be discussed in the same genre as most MMOGs. When I explain it to someone who doesn’t know what it is I like to use the phrase “sci fi simulator” because I think that conveys the experience better. So, maybe it does suck as a game, but then, I don’t want it to be a game. I play TF2 when I want that.

        • Dblade says:

          The problem though is that people are holding it up as some good aspect of MMO design. If you constantly have to qualify it with stuff to call it a “success” maybe it isn’t.

          If you are going to go lolthemepark and constantly hold CCP as some paragon of game development, I expect their game not to suck. You cannot say “It’s a success, but it fails as a game” and then expect me to believe you that following its model will help the genre.

        • Malakili says:

          I think we are getting into an argument about definitions now? My point is, if your definition of “game” is “always exciting” then, ok, it fails. But I want “games” that are more than that, and EVE delivers in that respect.

          So, whatever you call it, game, virtual world, simulator, yes, I want more MMO developers to take their approach when designing their “game.”

        • Stabs says:

          I think the point is Eve has enough game that the extra element can be enjoyed.

          The extra element is the constant feeling of risk and tension (whether you are feeling risk to yourself or causing risk to other people).

          No single player could reproduce that risk in quite the same way which is why people point to Eve and say that’s a good MMO.

          WoW is the opposite before you hit 80. It’s a very interesting single player game but if you level up a character you do sometimes stop and think why play this for $15/month instead of some single-player CRPG like Oblivion that just charges for the box?

          Of course WoW wasn’t always like that and the game changes completely at max level.

          But that’s why people like to compare with Eve. Eve is massively multiplayer and very in your face about it from day one, most other MMOs aren’t.

        • Dblade says:

          Malakili:

          The game does have to be a good, engaging experience though. If it isn’t, the “more” wont matter.

          I agree that not all games are constant highs, but EVE does a lot of things wrong in design on a gameplay level which robs people of what it purports to offer. I think that’s why I i’m irate about people constantly holding it up as a success. It’s not good enough of a game to offer the “more.”

          Stabs:

          Single player games can easily reproduce that. Pick up any roguelike like Shiren the Wanderer-you can’t get more tense than losing everything when you die. Steel Batallion forced you to hit eject or it would erase your save. I don’t think offline games are solely limited to themeparks-from what I understand Demon Souls for the PS3 lets other players come in and try and kill you in your own game.

          I just think that people really use EVE too much as an example of design people should aspire to, and its becoming unrealistic to do so. I think being honest would need to realize that there are many other games that outstrip EVE in the terms of Syncaine’s argument, and that you can’t just take one game and make a model of it, even WoW.

        • Malakili says:

          What problems do you have. I think when people cite EVE they mean the following:

          Player driven economy, focus on crafting and local economies
          Large game world with large player population.
          Territory control
          Full PvP/Full Loot
          Focus on working together
          Skill System that allows Day 1 (limited) viability in end game, continued advancement after years, but leaves new players able to become nearly as competent as veterans in an area relatively quickly.
          Ability to contribute to the game world in a meaningful way without having to focus on combat.

          I think those are all features that EVE implements pretty well that I would like to see more game developers consider when making their MMOs.

          If you don’t agree, fine, but I don’t see why you are saying you get so angry at this.

        • Adam says:

          There are also several features of EVE that are horrible and shouldn’t ever be emulated.

          1. Indirect control. Right clicking and flying to one of the 20 fixed locations in the solar system to which you “orbit”. Right Clicking and autopiloting across 1/2 the galaxy is like the WoW Griffin ride from hell…

          This lack of control is completely deal breaking for me. Feels like I’m completely on rails (probably because it’s true).

          2. Heavily Instanced. People ooh and ahh over how Eve can support as many people as it can. They fail to notice that every star system is essentially an instance. Its trivial to gate people from instance to instance and thus server to server.

          To follow the EVE model in the outdoor world and freemovement you would expect in a normal game you would need giant instance “gates” every few feet. Remember the EVE star systems have an extremely limited number of positions in them vs any game with a real 2d or 3d gamespace that things move around in.

          These are things that are deeply bad and I agree to some extent with Dblade that it can be painful to hear uncritical devotion to EVE.

        • Stabs says:

          “Single player games can easily reproduce that……you can’t get more tense than losing everything when you die.”

          OK we’re just different psychologically.

          For me it’s as if you’re saying there’s no difference between missing the goal when you are kicking a ball against a wall on your own than missing a penalty in the World Cup Final.

          In a MMO you can have a large group of people with whom you are on voice chat depending upon your gameplay.

          If that’s not a factor in how tense you get Eve is pointless for you but it still has substance for other people.

        • Malakili says:

          I think you underestimate how much control of movement you have. If you really think there 20 places per solar system, and that you can only orbit them, I have to wonder if you have ever played the game before. Its a gross oversimplification, and it isn’t really even very accurate. I can, however, understand disliking how you move in EVE, its more like plotting a course (and being able to change that course at any time), than it is your traditional moving system. That might not work for everyone, but its hardly “on rails” to the extent you describe.

          I don’t think we are using the same definition of “instanced.” If you simply mean going through a loading screen (in EVE’s case, a Jump Gate), then yes, I suppose its instanced. However, instances generally refer to multiple spawns of the same area (for instance, a raid dungeon in WoW where each guild has their own instance, or even something like Champions Online, which has larger shared instances of their main zones) , which is NOT the case in EVE. Not to mention that within the framework of EVE, where jump gates are required to move between stars, it fits the game world as isn’t a giant immersion breaker, which may seem like a technicality, but it really makes a rather big difference in whether or not the game world feels coherent.

  5. null says:

    Darkfall really sounds like my kind of game. It’s just every time I think Darkfall, I think slot machines now. That’s some lame shit.

    • Adam says:

      Yes it’s either slot machines are some lame shit or possibly you are for using this as an excuse not to play?

      Click Syncaine’s link and stfu :)

  6. SynCaine says:

    @Dblade (too much threading): I disagree with you about EVE, and clearly a lot of other players do as well, given that EVE is the ONLY MMO to continue growing after 5+ years. It’s not an arcade shooter in terms of action, but search this blog and you’ll find a bunch of posts about why EVE does X better than almost anyone else in the genre, and as a complete game, it might be THE top in terms of design.

  7. Adam says:

    @Malakili

    You quibble a bit but my points stand.

    Random survey of Eve Allakhazam map shows 20 items in systems but I guess asteroid belts had 20+ more “locations” within them as I remember from my non in-depth playing?

    There are some admirable things to Eve which you correctly point out.

    There are some horrible things about Eve that make no sense in any other non space game. I think the heavy autopiloting is bad even in a space game (even if its more realistic).

    Many times people point at Eve specifically in regards to server capacity with no understanding of the basic game dynamics (which I personally loathe) that allow that.

    Wouldn’t you agree that expecting something like the uninstanced free movement of Darkfall to have 400k players on a server(cluster if you will) vs Eve is grossly out of whack?

    As another point the sophisticated economy of Eve arises out of that extreme server population. Smaller server populations economy are just never going to be that sophisticated.

    Both of these really distort the accomplishments of Darkfall in my mind.

    Darkfall was the first game to provide such a huge seamless outdoor world with full fps non-laggy play. Very large server capacity in comparison to what it’s providing.

    Major accomplishment that is instantly discounted by people with no grasp of how Eve does what it does and the serious limitations that brings.

    Otherwise I’m glad Eve exists, its amazing in its way and yes it really helps the sandbox game community point at an accomplishment.

  8. willee says:

    I tried Eve several years back and really wanted to like it, but i just couldn’t get into the little 3d spaceship from a 3rd person view being my avatar. Went running back to the tired old fantasy genre as quickly as possible.

    I could potentially get into the space mmorpg thing but i’d have to have an actual person representing me and not a little lifeless spaceship. And sadly i don’t think the next star wars game is going to be my cup ‘o joe either.

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