Bank Heists in DarkFall

A player by the name of Darwoth recently compiled and posted 20 of his DarkFall clan vault heists (part one here, part two here), including how he did it, the conversations related to the events, and the contents of the clan vaults. As expected, it has caused quite a stir on the forums. (Warning, if you have virgin eyes, some of the language may offend you, fgt*)

Personally I find what Darwoth does very interesting, as it really exposes just how overly-trusting or careless people are, and just how simple the most effective scams can be. While some try to deflect and blame the game for some of this (in particular the now fixed and bannable I/L font abuse), ultimately all of these could have easily been prevented by a simple vent check, and when you are in charge of a bank used by a large group of players, it’s the least you should do. No amount of font changes, clan vault tabs, or whatever else would have stopped Darwoth when he was promoted to the highest rank in a clan only minutes after talking to someone. In those examples, it’s hard to feel sorry for the victim. Shame on the leaders for letting it happen, and shame on the members for placing their trust in such poor leadership. If anything, Darwoth simply expedited the process of such a weak setup collapsing.

The other aspect of all of this is the old “how many people ragequit because of one person”, and how much money Aventurine would have saved if they had just banned Darwoth (which also assumes he would not buy another account, but let’s pretend). My feelings on this are that it’s a foolish argument. If someone ragequits because of a bank heist, I’m guessing they would also ragequit the day their player city gets taken, or the day a powerhouse PvP clan decides to wardec them and make life tough. In short, if you ragequit over losing pixels, you would not have lasted long in DarkFall anyway.

And for a game like DarkFall to continue to thrive and grow, the weak MUST be culled. If every clan/alliance you take a city from ragequits the next day, that has negative impacts on everyone. People are less likely to declare a siege, a sense of ‘doom and gloom’ permeates the community, and wars only last for one round. Hyperion from EU is the perfect example of this. The day things got rough for that alliance, it folded and left a huge void in the world, with many in the community predicting DarkFall’s demise due to the heavy player loss. As we can now see, the downfall of Hyperion simply removed many of the players that were not cut out for DarkFall, and today the alliances that exist on NA1 are (mostly) made up of players who can take a hit, get up, and fight back; and THAT is exactly the type of community you need to make a game like DarkFall work.

* The ‘fgt’ part is an inside joke relating back to this post on KTR.

(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.)

28 Responses to Bank Heists in DarkFall

  1. Hudson says:

    I don’t normally agree with you but you are dead on here. Numerous WoW vaults get ripped off everyday and people dont ragequit over it. Heck OURS got ripped off but it was OUR FAULT.

    Deal with it…jesus

  2. keystone says:

    I think a lot of people try to carry their old MMO’s rule-set with them when they transfer games. A lot of people could actually avoid getting killed and all their loot taken if they looked around more. Games like WoW have instilled a tunnel vision to PvE and other game mechanics.

    I played EvE for 6 months before getting podded, and even then it was because I was careless and cocky.

    This bank heist is most definitely the players fault, and if they do ragequit, then it was only a matter of time before they would have quit anyways.

  3. mbp says:

    Great story and fair dues to him for getting away with it. Too bad he comes across as an arse-hole personally though.

  4. sid67 says:

    I don’t agree with you on the /ragequit thing. This type of thing can break a guild and once people lose that — they might lose the motivation to continue playing.

    Basically, it’s not the catalyst itself that causes the /ragequit but the ensuing drama in the aftermath. It’s not ‘weak’ to leave a game because in-game friendships have been destroyed by the inevitable finger-pointing.

    That said, I completely agree that the interesting part of this story is how effective these simple fishing tactics are against people. Particularly the one where he circumvents the ‘secret answer’ by digging up information on their guild website.

    • SynCaine says:

      Right but if your clan breaks because you lost your vault/city, how strong was that clan to begin with, especially once you factor in that DF is all about losing gear/cities/ships/etc? A solid clan will look at a bank heist or a loss of property as just another motivator to rebuild and learn from the experience. That’s a huge factor in getting better, and is really the core of what is needed to enjoy DF.

      And, if the clan was NOT a tight group, how strong was your motivation to play DF if such a loose knit group falling is reason for you to leave?

      • sid67 says:

        So your saying that if..
        *A new player buys DF
        *Finds a Clan
        *Grows with Clan for a couple of months (building friendships)
        *Internal drama ensues breaking up that guild

        That if the player then quits because they feel like they wasted two months and lost their only friendships in the game — they are weak? They need to be culled?

        That THE PLAYER needs to be culled? (not just the Clan)

        See, that’s what I don’t agree with. I see that person as just being a victim of circumstance. A simple twist in fate (recruited by a different Clan) and that player never leaves DF.

        • SynCaine says:

          Well, if the friendship he has built up over those months is worth anything more than a few pixels in a clan bank, even the breaking of said clan should not end those friendships. That GROUP of friends will either start their own clan, or join another as a group.

          If after a few months those ‘friends’ are names you just group with occasionally out of your clan city, and once the only thing keeping you together (clan tag) is gone you never talk again, was it really that big of an investment?

        • sid67 says:

          I still don’t think it’s quite as simple as that…

          What keeps you connected to a game? The game mechanics or the relationships you establish? Obviously, for most of us, it’s the people who keep us connected to a game.

          Lose those connections and what’s holding you to the game?

          And your group of remaining friends manage to settle in some new home — you are still effectively starting over in many ways.

          Stature and reputation within a guild takes time to acquire. It could take months to become an accepted member in the new home (if ever).

          I just don’t think that someone who is ticked at losing that status or progress within a Clan and deciding to quit is “weak” or in need of getting culled.

        • SynCaine says:

          For most games (solo-hero adventures aside) it’s a combination of social and game mechanics. I might be with the worlds greatest clan, but if the game we play sucks I’m out (Inq and Aion for example).

          Again though, we are talking about losing status in a clan that folded after having it’s bank/city taken. What real worth is a clan like that? Would you really have been better off not having your bank/city taken today, spent another month+ in that clan, only to have it fold when the inevitable (something bad) happens?

          I mean I just disagree, if you are someone who quits a game because your easily-broken clan fails and you don’t have the friends/drive to continue, DF is not the game for you.

        • sid67 says:

          I think you have a valid point about the depth of relationships, but I’m talking about the sundering of deep relationships.

          Would your opinion change if the catalyst wasn’t a “bank heist” but some other catalyst?

          For example, several prominent members and close friends leaving the game altogether — perhaps because they all started playing EvE instead?

        • SynCaine says:

          Inq left DF on EU to go play Aion for a bit (damn tourists), and while that was certainly a negative for me, I stayed with the game and found another group to play with. Sure if I was meh about DF at the time maybe I would have gone with them, or played something else, but the game was good enough to stick with. I totally agree that if someone is just lukewarm about DF, their clan breaking might be the trigger for them to leave, but the difference between most MMOs and DF is that such triggers are fairly common, be it your clan collapsing, your city being taken, or whatever.

  5. Bhagpuss says:

    I think you’re right when you say that for a game like Darkfall to work, “the weak must be culled”.

    Given that, and given the wide range of possible events that might prove too much for an underly-committed player in Darkfall, what would you say might be the potential eventual upper-limit for DF’s playerbase?

    Do you reckon, for example, that it could grow to the size of EVE, which would seem to have some similarities? Or is the endless, unforgiving, feral nature of the world and the ever-shifting sand of constantly-changing political alliances going to limit growth to a few tens of thousands?

    • SynCaine says:

      Honestly I don’t know. There are days where I think the common ‘sheep’ player is 90% of the user base in MMO land, and there are days where I think a large section of the player base is more mature than that, and looking for more than just a solo-shiny hunt with a server.

      In regards to DF though, I honestly don’t care too much. Even as-is the population is high enough to provide good in-game action, and also high enough that AV is expanding and planning to develop big things for the future. If I had to make a guess, I’d say it will continue it’s moderate growth in 2010, and perhaps in late 2010/early 2011 it could see an increased rate similar to EVEs growth. By that time the polish level will be quite high, and the list of features will be even harder to beat.

  6. Curious George says:

    If a game provided in-game punishment and restitution that was available for players to control then I would agree the developer should do nothing. But as we all know no game has that ability to date so I would support any company policing its players for abuse that can not be corrected in-game.

    Still by not taking action the devs will see no bad consequences. As Eve has shown people will leave a game over issues like this but eventually people who don’t care or who actually like environments open to abuse like this will find the game and enjoy it.

    Doing nothing seems to me Aventurines best option. They may lose a few people but they will maintain the “hardcore” appeal.

  7. Dblade says:

    Oh god Syn, no, You don’t want this.

    Scams like this tend to weaken the trust you need to make good guilds. Do you really want DFO to be like EVE, where most corps don’t want alt or trial players and often require an API check just to get in?

    You are thinking about ragequits, but scams tend to make the game harder for new people to get into, since everyone becomes suspect and not trusting. You talk about relationships, but the potential for scams prevent relationships from being formed, and if you befriend someone who stabs you in the back, its a wound. Even if its over internet pixels, because it shows he valued them more than your friendship.

    Scamming is one of the worst parts of EVE. You don’t want it to become anywhere near that level in DFO, trust me.

    • SynCaine says:

      Actually that’s one of the things I like most about EVE. Scams weed out the weak clans, and distinguish the strong. I’m all for that.

      • Dblade says:

        Meh, the problem is Darkfall can’t really afford that. It’s sub numbers are way too small as it is, and it’s going to need to get a lot more people before it hits peak and you start to see attrition. If you weed out the weak clans, and it leads to loss of people, you are hastening the attrition that will come naturally as the game ages.

        EVE survives mostly because of Empire and multiboxing. DF has no such luxury.

        • SynCaine says:

          But all these scams happened on EU, and DF has more subs today than it has since just after the release peak (maybe even more, harder to judge since there are two servers now), but if you use any available metric (forum activity, city activity, NEW clan numbers), it’s growing).

          Scams were legal when EVE launched, and it too had a tiny player base back then. They did not kill EVE, and I don’t see them killing DF.

  8. Jynx says:

    did anyone point out that that guy is a racist, that uses the “n” word about 50 times >>> including this:

    “what a bunch of n***, i hate n***”…

    Syncain you should not post these types of links, even tho it serves another very funny purpose…

  9. Kyff says:

    Though I do concede that Darwoth does not appear to be the nicest person in the world, I think that the page should be linked as a warning to every overly trusting clan leader. Not everyone does read the Darkfall forums. Apparantly even several guilds of the same alliance fell for the identical trick. There cannot be too much transparency on such a topic.

    For the players of this game it means they will have to thoroughly investige which clan they will join eventually. I now know wich ones to stay away from.

  10. KaKTy3 says:

    A funny guy. I would thoroughly enjoy smashing his face in irl for his antics.

  11. victorstillwater says:

    As much as I’d hate to admit it, I agree with Syncaine’s statements above. While Darkfall isn’t meant to be a friendly place, I don’t think it’s really intended for passersby.

    It’s a bitter pill to swallow, perhaps, but the allure of Darkfall lies in the fact that it’s not a forgiving world, and the people are battle-hardened.

    That said, while the heist might be… legal in the sense that DF’s devs aren’t saying, it’s not the nicest thing in the world to do. I condemn it as an action, but at the same time, I marvel at the social engineering involved to get it to work properly.

    Of course, this also makes the thief a possible pariah, but I suppose that’s an intended consequence of his actions.

  12. victorstillwater says:

    EDIT: That said, while the heist might be… legal in the sense that DF’s devs aren’t saying, “THATS BAD”, it’s not the nicest thing in the world to do. I condemn it as an action, but at the same time, I marvel at the social engineering involved to get it to work properly.

  13. Callan S. says:

    I think this is proper gameplay about as much as tampering with the other sides shoes in a football match. Ie, that’s not gameplay.

    On the other hand, they basically handed him their shoes to tamper with.

  14. Callan S. says:

    Oh, and sorry for the double post, but he’s just a rude shit as well.

    Since they handed him their bank, fair enough. But I hope your not condoning how he treated other people – look at his responce after someone says how stupid does he think they are. That’s what puts people off competative games – morons who think winning means they get to treat other people as less than human.

  15. [...] of all, I love hearing expressions like “the weak must be culled” when related to a MMO. It makes my MMO-loving self feel all warm and fuzzy inside, like the [...]

  16. Lukane says:

    There is a lot of e-peen self stroking in this post. You keep talking about how little these pixels matter. I would say if you need pixels to make you feel strong, instead of these weak that you are culling, then maybe you should go outside for a bit.

    Reading this post and some of the responses was lke watching a dude stroke himself. I’ll sum it up for you. “I’d play a game after somebody was a complete jerk to me, even if I wasn’t having fun anymore. So if these people quit then they are not as hardcore as me and my awesome self. Besides we need more people around so we can ruin their game time.”

    0/10

  17. [...] was inspired by a comment by mbp (the second comment) on Tobold’s Blog, which leads to Syncaine’s Blog, which leads to Darwoth’s account of 20 clan vault heists he did during some time he spent in [...]

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