The overall goal of this post is to give prospective Darkfall players a go-to FAQ about the game based on emails and comment questions I’ve received here, along with some of the more common items brought up on the official forums. It is by no means a be-all end-all post, and parts of it very clearly fall under “my own personal opinion” about something. Hopefully people find it useful, and in turn I continue to get mega-rich of the CPP program.
Race choice: The long and short of it is that race is more about whether you like the look of the character than anything else. The bigger races have a longer melee reach while also having a bigger hitbox (easier to hit them), and each race has a few race-specific skills, but neither is really major enough to pick something you won’t like the look of after 100 hours or more. Aventurine has also stated that if/when race choice becomes more important, they will offer players the option to switch races. Finally, you can change hairstyles and such in your races capital city for a small fee, so even that is not ‘final’.
What to do on day one: Rather than type it out, just watch the Valroth videos I have linked under the Darkfall Community Publisher image, they contain all the info you need to get started. Also keep in mind that you can’t skill up the ‘wrong’ skill or work on the ‘wrong’ build in Darkfall, and basically anything you do in-game is going to increase some skill or stat to make you stonger/better. The videos will simply get you on the path to PvP viable a little faster. If you would rather explore Agon, RP, or just meet up with some friends, obviously do that rather then feel compelled to do X and Y just to ‘build up’. That can and will happen as you play anyway.
Spec: While Darkfall does not have classes or decisions you can make that permanently affect your character, that does not mean a little guidance can’t go a long way to making the game more enjoyable and getting you ‘viable’ faster.
The first thing you will want to do is pick one two handed weapon and a one-hander to skill up. Which weapon you pick comes down to playstyle more than one being much better than another. Polearms are slow but have the longest reach along with a slight knockback, Greatswords are fast with good reach but lower damage, Greataxes are slower but have higher damage compared to swords, and currently Greatclubs are slightly underpowered but do cause greater stamina loss. The same more or less applies to one-handers. Avoid daggers as a first choice. Working on your melee skill is not only the first tool you need for PvP, but is also a great way to PvE and build up your initial stats.
When possible, also work on your archery, as this will give you a ranged option in PvP and also allow you to take down mobs you can’t outright melee. Archery is preferred over magic for new characters due to the high cost of raising magic, and the increased length of time before you get stronger damage spells. Archery requires greater aim, but with just 50+ archery skill you can start to contribute some damage to group PvP.
Don’t completely ignore magic however, as raising Lesser Magic to get the three transfer spells (mana/stam, stam/health, health/mana) is critical. Also skill up your Heal Self spell, especially since it costs nothing to cast. Casting mana missile at easy mobs is a fast, cheap way to raise Lesser Magic as well.
Time to become ‘viable’ in PvP: This is perhaps the most debated topic in Darkfall, and ultimately there is not one single answer. The truth is that it will take you a good amount of time (months) and work (focus on PvE and skilling up specific things) to be able to face a developed character in a 1v1 situation, and that’s assuming player skill is about even. However this does not mean group PvP, especially against non-elite clans, is not something you can look forward to just a short time into your Darkfall career. You will by no means carry the group, or even dish out ‘average’ damage, but you will be far from useless, and just how much you contribute will largely come down to your player skill rather than your character. Just because you can’t stand toe-to-toe with someone and exchange melee hits does not mean you can’t take someone down if you and your group play things smart.
You can also greatly decrease the overall time it takes to get a ‘viable’ character if you focus on just one or two areas. If you have great FPS aim, getting your archery to 50+ sharpshooter is very, very possible within the first month, and at that point you will be dealing 80-90% of the damage a veteran character deals. You won’t have access to utility spells, buffs, offensive magic, or high melee, but again the goal is to get at least one tool up to par before focusing on something else. If archery is not your thing, melee is also a viable path to focus on, although it will take a little bit longer and your characters overall newness will be more at risk, as at least with archery you hopefully won’t be in the thick of things taking too much damage.
The best advice I can give here is to not hyper-focus on catching up to veterans and feeling like you can’t compete until you have X or Y to 100. You will burn yourself out ‘grinding’ skills up rather than logging in and just having fun, so set a goal, figure out what you find enjoyable, and just do that. You will get your skills to 100 eventually, and no one skill is a must-have to enjoy playing Darkfall.
Clans: Getting into a good clan is, IMO, more important in Darkfall than just about any other MMO. Agon can be a rough, frustrating, confusing, and unfair place at times, and having a solid group to help you out and drive you forward is critical to really enjoying the game. Even if you are traditionally a solo-minded MMO player, I’d still suggest finding a group that fits your personality and playstyle, as all of the ‘highlight’ moments in Darkfall general come from group play, and being tied to a group of players will likely get you into interesting and exciting situations.
For totally new players the clan NEW is a great choice to learn the ropes and have a solid community to ask all the newbie questions you will have. They are also very active, so if you are not a totally self-motivated player, their activity will help draw you into the game and make things happen around you. If NEW is not your thing, there are also plenty of clans willing to take in new players and help them along, just make sure the clan you are joining is active and ready to assist you, while at the same time be ready to join in to whatever their current goals may be.
Darkfall is 100% PvP: While the core of Darkfall is indeed player conflict and most things revolve around it, there are many players who greatly enjoy other aspects of the game, and how heavily you balance your own personal PvP-to-other-activities ratio is completely up to you. Some players try to PvP as often as possible, while others focus more on character development or exploration, and will PvP only during clan events or the occasion group trip. How often you PvP and its style (solo, small group, large group, siege) is also heavily dependent on your clan/alliance, so take that into consideration when looking for a group to join. While some clans are very focused on improving their style of PvP, others will engage in organized PvE or other activities. As with most things in Darkfall, the options are out there, it’s just a matter of finding them.
And while the paths to PvP viability are well documented, the information to become a successful trader, or middle man, or crafter is not as readily available. The same goes for focusing on PvE. Many players, and most forum posters, will view PvE as an evil that must be overcome to reach the land of happy PvP, and so they ‘grind’ the same 1-2 PvE spots that are the FOTM in terms of profit, all while being terribly bored. Don’t fall into that trap. Mix things up, farm different spots with different people, see what you can do with 2-3 friends. Mix up the gear you bring out; create a fire elemental killing set, or an evil eye set, or whatever you have in your local area. Challenge yourself to get the spawn down as efficiently as possible, work in different spawns to create a profitable rotation.
Always remember that Darkfall will not come to you with content, you have to go out and find it, and there is plenty to find if you know where to look, or are not afraid to do some searching.
Crafting: While crafting can be very rewarding in Darkfall, it’s also a long and expensive career choice. When you join a clan, most will have a few crafters that are able to supply you with anything you might need, but this does not mean you can’t also slowly work on any crafting skills that interest you. Just keep in mind that initially, there won’t be much demand for your goods, so most of the stuff you make will either be for personal use or sold to a vendor. That said, once your skills reach the mastery level, a smart crafter/trader can make a tidy profit, and this is one area Aventurine has stated will see significant improvement over the next few expansions.
Gathering: Aside from being a great source of easy-to-acquire income (assuming you sell what you gather, and things like timber and ore are always in demand), gathering is also a useful activity for raising your base stats. It’s not as efficient as constant PvE, but it’s also far less input-intensive, meaning you can play ForumFall, (not that I recommend playing ForumFall to ANYONE, especially new players), read up on strategies or possible new spots to farm, or watch a DF youtube video or two to see if you can pick up some tips or tricks from some of the games best players. Basically gathering is a nice ‘downtime’ activity (low-risk as well, as you can head out naked with just a gathering tool) unless you are looking to specifically skill up a crafting skill or hit some other milestone. That said, finding the perfect gathering spot (safe, plentiful, easy for you to reach consistently) can be a mini-game itself; one that can pay huge dividends if played well.
If you have other questions not covered in this post, please ask them in the comments section. My plan is to update this post and expand it as time goes on, to hopefully make it a useful as it can be to newer players.
(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.)