I had a very busy weekend in DF:UW. Here are a few of the highlights and what I’m liking so far.
On Friday I spent most of my time trying to finish up kill feats for the mobs available around our chaos stone. I managed to wrap up goblins, skeletons, ghouls, and trolls. The nice thing about the easy spawn camps is that as soon as you finish looting and skinning, the next wave spawns, leading to little downtime and a quick pace to finishing your feats. They may not be worth a ton of prowess, but every bit counts and these type of camps are easily soloable with just basic (mob-drop) gear.
Friday night I was in a clan group farming a spot when two enemies came by. As we had five in our group, we fought them off at the spawn and gave chase when they ran. They fled across some water onto an island containing a portal chamber (fast travel location you need a portal shard to activate). The island is fairly small, and has a circular path up to the top where the portal itself sits. Along the path up there is a fallen tree that blocks your way, and you can either crawl under it or go to the side and jump over. Our enemies fled up this path, dodging arrows and spells.
Just as I jumped over the fallen tree, they sprung their ambush and suddenly two fleeing enemies became multiple (5-6?) people ready and looking for a fight. On top of the element of surprise, they also had our party a bit separated due to the chase, and the fight quickly turned into a slaughter thanks to the tight confines of the island path. Pretty cool little ambush I must say, and very clever use of the terrain (the fallen tree made it almost impossible to get away quickly).
Saturday started off very similar to Friday in terms of farming mob camps and responding to PvP calls, although the frequency of the PvP was much higher, resulting in much slower prowess gains from farming.
We also had a larger, more coordinated attack on the chaos bank itself that resulted in a near-total wipe after what must have been a 30 minutes, back and forth battle. Even in defeat it was still a blast.
Saturday night a clan member was offering a trip up to our city in the dwarf lands via his boat. A few of us took him up on the offer, and rode out to the coast to catch a ride and do some fishing. The cool thing about the cheapest boat (Wherry) is that it’s actually fairly large, and with its flat deck, makes for the perfect fishing boat.
I also learned that fishing is a great source of prowess, since the body of water you fish in has a lot more resources than a standard node (rock, tree, bush), and each fish yields just under a point of prowess. Better still, treasure maps are worth a nice chunk of prowess, and once dug up provide thousands of gold and rare crafting resources. I’m certainly going to either buy or craft my own Wherry to go on some trips.
Sunday I spent exploring the dwarf lands around our city, seeing what spawns were around and the best paths into the safe zone. Finally being back in a safe zone, I refined some mats and did a bit of gathering to finish up some more feats.
Sunday night consisted of farming a very active ogre bullies spawn, fighting off multiple waves of player attackers, and ultimately losing the spawn when a much large force rolled in. The weekend ended with another boat fishing trip, putting me at just under 8k total prowess.
Compared to DF1, progression in DF:UW is much smoother and more enjoyable. Since launch I’ve just been playing the game rather than focusing on progression at the expense of fun, and I don’t feel like I’m behind or gimping myself because I’m not at a bloodwall or afk swimming overnight. I don’t need to cycle transfers at all times to skill them up, and I’m not fighting players with exploited skills and impossible gains (rigormax).
I also believe that long-term the prowess/progression system is going to hold up very well. The time it will take to near-max a single role is not long (I suspect I’ll be there within a month), but after that there will still be a lot of things to spend prowess points on, and being able to switch effectively amongst roles will be a huge bonus that will give my character some great gameplay variety (but not pure power).
Even right now at lower prowess levels, PvP combat is a lot of fun. It’s a great mix of DF1 in terms of the pace and how it feels, but the special skills and abilities the different roles bring add variety without forcing you to max out everything like in DF1. The few very powerful (30k+ prowess) characters I’ve fought have beat me handily, but aside from simply hitting harder and having more HP, those players were also just better skill-wise (great aim with a bow, better skill usage, doing all of the little things that add up in DF), and I have no problem losing when I’m out-played.
A final note about the in-game population; right now its booming. There are dozens of players in the NPC cities I’ve visited, and world PvP encounters are very frequent. OTG always has dozens of actives in Mumble, and I believe we are just under 200 characters in the clan (recruitment is closed atm). It’s a bit scary to think what is going to happen population-wise once DF:UW is released on Steam.