As we draw closer to the release of DF:UW (which, considering AV just made DF1 free, indicates it might actually happen on Nov 20th?), the launch brings up an interesting question that has often been alluded to on blogs and forums; if a game you loved re-launched, would it still have that same magic it did the first time around, or are people really viewing those experiences through rose-tinted glasses?
If returning clans and general forum interest is any indicator, DF:UW will certainly look very similar to DF1 in terms of who you will be playing with and fighting against. Personally, I’d be shocked if the magic does not return, simply because the core formula works, and on top of that the game engine has had three years of intense beta testing to polish it.
Unlike so many other MMOs, DF’s problems were not core design flaws, but issues that can be attributed to a limited budget or poor issue focus by Aventurine. Rather than the game putting up a giant “game over” screen the minute you hit the level cap, DF suffered because different clans were driven away by different bugs (desyncs,acid pools, bloodwalls, firekicks, city defenses, AoE spam, insta-rays, etc), and as more clans left, the ones remaining lost allies or enemies to drive the game forward. One look at EVE’s long null history and the bitter hatred it has inspired for years is all the proof you need that names and history matter, and without it people are more likely to drift away.
Another example might be TAGN’s recent posts about an unofficial WoW server running vanilla WoW. Maybe it’s just me, but his posts about the early leveling experience have been the most interesting WoW-related posts I’ve read since… whenever I stopped posting about how WoW sucked because of WotLK (and the number of comments to his posts would reflect that). Wilhelm is a great writer, but his posts are also entertaining because the context is far closer to the core of what an MMO is vs the stuff you do in more modern MMOs. Posts about the 1-20 leveling experience in GW2 are mind-numbingly boring for a reason, and that reason reflects more on the games overall design than on the author (and some good ones have tried). How many MoP leveling posts have you read with interest? I can’t wait to start blogging about in-game activities in DF:UW, and I’m guessing more than a few of you are looking forward to those as well.
One of the strawmen of people saying to go back to UO if I liked it so much is that not only is current-day UO nothing like what made the original release great in terms of design, it also lacks the players that made it great. An MMO’s design determines who it attracts. There is a reason The Mittani and players like him play EVE and not GW2. And should EVE ever turn into GW2, those players will leave.
The players that made DF1 so great in its early years are back. Now assuming AV delivers on their end, and a year or so in don’t attempt to release DF2014, the good times should be here again, no glasses needed.