Darkfall Online FAQ

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.)

22 Responses to Darkfall Online FAQ

  1. bjp2592 says:

    Chuck Norris Fail.

    • SynCaine says:

      I just figured since this post is going to be referenced repeatedly (hopefully), it did not warrant a Chuck joke. Never fear though, tomorrow the accessibility project will continue.

  2. Tanek says:

    Thanks for the FAQ, it was very useful! I do have one question, and I’m not certain that you would even know the answer, is there any sort of Role-Playing presence in Darkfall? Any guilds that focus on it? I’ve always thought that PvP games offer amongst the best settings for RP opportunities.

    Thanks in advance!

    • SynCaine says:

      I know back on the EU server Yew Militia was an RP clan (I believe they are still around), on NA Shield of Maricia (I believe that’s the name) is an RP clan. I’d check the recruitment forum, and if you can’t find anything there just ask in-game. They are around.

  3. Beleg says:

    1) Your FAQ needs more formatting.

    2) Some information about “What should I do first/now?” is probably justified.

    3) “Avoid daggers as a first choice.” is a bit short. They are viable in PvE and PvP, but I understand why you would say what you did. However, for a player really excited about the prospect of using knives, seeing you say they are functionally useless might be … frustrating to say the least.

    • SynCaine says:

      1) True.

      2) I think Valroth’s videos cover this well, and I left it out mostly to keep this somewhat reasonable in length. I could update it pointing people to the videos directly though.

      3) Yea daggers are certainly viable in the right hands, but they are by far the toughest weapon to start with, especially for PvP. If someone is dead-set on them, my guess is they will do further research to find out exactly why they are not recommended but not awful.

    • Benjimon says:

      Dagger are not viable in PvP, you know this if you’ve done any real pvp.

  4. Adam says:

    Good stuff.

    The “Darkfall is 100% PvP” paragraph needs work. You aren’t clear what the “other aspects” are?

  5. sid67 says:

    Not mentioned, and important, is the need to gathering. Even if you don’t “craft” doing the whole gathering thing (from catching fish to mining) is important on several levels ($, crafting, stats). Not to mention there is a whole strategy in doing it safely.

    • Adam says:

      Yes.

      There is also a whole aspect of Darkfall’s crafting and gathering being more like an RTS in the sense that instead of getting blues and purples you are instead gathering resources that you’ll constantly -spend- fighting in PVE and PVP…

  6. Really awesome FAQ here Syncaine. Certainly stuff I learned during my short stay in Darkfall and then some. I also love the note about how a character may not be awesome in solo-PvP, but there’s absolutely nothing stopping them from contributing to group PvP. I think that’s something many people may forget when they’re chasing after skills and not thinking smart.

    I may not agree with you on everything, but well done FAQ. :3

    ~Sera

  7. Okra says:

    “the three transfer spells (mana/stam, stam/health, health/mana)”

    shades of Asheron’s Call! i was a 4-school mage there.

  8. […] This full-PvP niche game comes by its dog-eat-dog reputation honestly, and the players who love that sort of thing thrive in the environment. It can be pretty daunting for a new player, so a little hand up is always welcome. Syncaine over at Hardcore Casual provided that very thing with yesterday’s Darkfall Online FAQ. […]

  9. Ursus says:

    I think the main problem and one of the huge reasons why I don’t play DF anymore and you didn’t touch on is the fact there are NO skill caps in the game.

    IMO to be viable in PvP, your melee mastery has to be at least 25pts if not more. That means at least 75 in both your 2H and 1H and 25pts in your mastery. Then you need high archery and at least one elemental school that is75+.

    Just to be viable in PvP takes a VERY long time. I would say a good 2-3 months minimum.

    Until this point you are pretty much cannon fodder to most vets in DF.

    If I was to recommend a progression for a new character, it would be to spend your first 2-3 weeks just gathering, starting with fishing then cooking to at least 75, herb gathering, logging and finally mining. Get those, except possibly cooking to 100/100 first. It will boost your stats considerably and give you materials you can sell/trade for weapons/armor if you don’t want to craft. This will let you have a much easier time fighting goblins, kobolds and trolls and will give you a bit of help (running back to your city) if you’re out newbie pve fighting when a vet comes to gank you.

    • SynCaine says:

      Sounds like you have not played in a bit.

      I agree with 25+ melee mastery, but only 2h. 1h is for mounts only and that also has recently been adjusted. 25+ mastery in a 2h is easily, easily doable in under one month at a casual pace with some focus. When you hit 25 mastery, you will also have gained some good str/vit gains, collected some starting cash, and worked up side-stuff like Rigor a bit. Skills go up 6x faster now in PvE, which is HUGE for early characters. The recent change in the HP formula also means a new character will quickly hit 300+ hp as well.

      I also agree with archery, but again 50+ sharpshooter is cake to get, will earn you even more money than 25+ melee (since you can bow down much tougher mobs), and get your dex up some.

      Magic beyond the Lesser Magic transfer spells is no longer needed after the last AoE nerf patch. Melee/archery is now 100% viable. Of course having access to utility and buff spells is always nice, but if we are talking contributing to group combat, not a pre-req by any means.

      The problem with the “gather for 2-3 months” advice is that its boring as hell, yields slower gains than PvE, and puts the player into the ‘you must grind in DF’ mentality from day one. With all of the recent changes, that’s simply no longer the case unless you want to be someone in the top 5% with 100 in close to everything.

      Skill caps are not needed though, just like EVE is perfectly fine without a skill cap as well. Specializations help a bit here, but its been mentioned more than once that Prestige classes will really address the ‘everyone will eventually be identical’ issue. Hopefully a soon-to-be-released FAQ will shed some more light on that, but I doubt it.

  10. SynCaine says:

    FAQ updated June 28, 2010.

  11. shadowwar says:

    I’ve been playing mental hot potato with giving the free trial a go. I am curious though, as a person who loves to play ranged careers in general, and archers in specific, is bow-use as a primary combat mechanic viable in PvP?

    • SynCaine says:

      They are now more than prior to the magic AoE nerf patch. That said, you can’t go 100% archery, as you will still need some magic to at least heal+stat up, and at least enough melee to get by. But yea, if you want to focus on being an archer and sit in the back picking people off, its possible to do so in DF, and someone with sick aim using a bow is a major threat in group PvP. Of course in 1v1 duels, you generally need all of the tools available to beat the best of the best, but that’s more of a side activity than the ‘core’ game.

  12. Pedersen says:

    Just to be clear, are there factions in DF? I researched and have seen evidence going both ways (Apparently some races are allied while others kill outsiders indiscriminately, yet apparently clans defy racial boundaries). It would be nice to get an answer from someone who plays the game, as this might have an influence on my choice of race.

    Also, is there mounted combat in DF? I have seen some screenshots and it looks pretty sweet.

    • SynCaine says:

      There are factions, but they are not hard-set. Characters take an alignment hit if they kill a blue of their allied race, but they can still do it.

      DF has mounted combat, yes.

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