The best PK death ever, thanks DarkFall.

I’m not really going to talk about the tech issues DarkFall is having, as it’s rather simple. Too many people online, the game never kicks people, lag is bad, queue queue, and all that. It’s an MMO, and in exchange for a new, unexplored, non-databased world, you get tech issues. If they bother you, WoW is that way.

That aside, over the weekend I had an interesting encounter that drove home some vital points about DarkFall, full collision detection and manual looting. From the outside, commentators can easily point out that both features are easy to abuse, a pain, and generally something gaming has ‘moved past’. Luckily not all games.

My guild set out to explore a dungeon, this one a bit different than previous areas in DarkFall in that it consisted mostly of narrow corridors rather than wide open spaces. Narrow corridor + full collision = gtfo of my way! Oh, mobs also have full collision, so mob swarm + full collision = ouch. Mob swarm + guild group + full collision + narrow hallway = fun. Fun in that you actually have to pay attention to everything, including players, mobs, room/corridor layout, all of it. Ignore one thing, and you either end up getting yourself or a guild mate killed. You can also set up choke points for mobs to run into (sometimes, damn AI), and beat on something 3v1 while the rest try to swarm you. Sometimes the bastards pull out bows and sit back plinking you, or kite you around a room, but anyway…

We where happily bashing men-at-arms and collecting some nice loot, when three enemy players ran into our hallway and starting swinging. The initial shock, along with the fact that most of us were at half health/stam or worst, meant the fighting soon turned ugly, and we went running in all directions. As luck would have it, the PKs picked to follow me, and soon I was dodging arrows and magic frantically running down the nearest hallway. It’s at this point that I noticed another interesting feature of this particular dungeon; its one way entry point. The room you enter when you zone in has no exit. Recalling in DarkFall takes a full two minutes of standing still, so that was not an option either. I knew I was going to die, but I figured I might as well make life as difficult as I could for the PKs, so I ran into a room I knew was full of fast-spawning mobs. After some fun running in circles, mobs and PKs chasing, I went down and started to bleed out.

With me down, the mobs turned to bash the PKs, and it’s at this point that they noticed how much damage the mobs actually did. They hurt, a lot, and having 4-5 of them on you is bad news. The PKs tried to kite them while also making attempts to finish me, and eventually one got me. Back in town, I quickly run back to the dungeon and ask my guild mates what the deal is. They reported that they could not find the PKs, and that they see my tombstone (corpse after you actually die) in the room full of mobs. Once back inside, they kite the mobs while I loot my tombstone, noticing that some key items (like my mount) are missing. Damn PKs did partially loot me!

In the corner of the room, I notice another tombstone, and since no one had killed a mob in some time, it has to be a player. Sure enough, it’s the name of one of my PKs, and opening the tombstone reveals a full set of top-end gear, along with plenty of regents and other spoils. My guess is the guy got pinned by the mobs and they took him down. I scan the rest of the room, and upstairs behind a cage find another tombstone. PK #2, clearly trapped between the two sides of the cage. More top-end loot, and what do you know, my mount! At this point my guild mates where getting into trouble with the pursuing mobs, so we make a break for the hallway and drop agro. In the end, getting PK’ed was the most profitable thing that has happened to me so far.

That profitability was only possible because of full collision and slow looting. If the game did not have collision, the PKs would have quickly killed me and never gotten themselves pinned and killed. Had full looting been in the game, they would have one-click looted me and been off, again never putting themselves in danger. Had the dungeon not featured choke points and small spaces, I would have left empty handed. But sometimes, things all come together, and some quick thinking pays off; assuming the game rules are there to allow it.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in Darkfall Online, MMO design, PvP. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to The best PK death ever, thanks DarkFall.

  1. Snafzg says:

    Heh, I don’t know if it’s totally fair to tell everyone who appreciates polish and well-thought out mechanics to go play WoW.

    That said, your PK experience sounds totally amazing. Reminds me of my old PK mudding days. I recall many a time I was killed in Moria only to find the guy who killed me a few rooms away because he had died to some crazy black orc and goblin patrols. :P

    So much throwback. So much potential awesomeness. Still, I can’t be bothered until they polish it up a little bit. It would just bother me. And no, WoW isn’t the answer. :P

  2. mandrill says:

    Its refreshing to see an MMO where some quick thinking and knowledge of your surroundings pays off. It’ll be interesting to see how many of the PK greifers give up on it after they realise that they’re going to have to work for their kills. I’m guessing that this is what the designers had in mind. Once the initial rush of tourists subsides what you’ll be left with are the real players, the one’s who are actually good at the game and aren’t there just to look at the new shinys. Then you’ll see some really tactical gameplay and thinking going into a PK romp.

    You see something similar in EVE, and while being PK’d is a pain and not something you want to happen every day. I’ve often opened chats with my killers after the fact and got into a pretty decent conversation about where I went wrong and what I could have done better. Real warriors (be they starship pilots or sword jockeys) relish the challenge and don’t really want an easy kill. Real warriors have honour and treat their opponents/victims with a modicum of respect rather than “LOL I got you good n00b, go QQ in your baby food :P”

  3. Thallian says:

    This story makes me want to play! (with friends, not alone) I think I’ll wait till they expand server load though, its sounds like growing pains haven’t settled down yet.

  4. bigredjeff says:

    great post

  5. Mallika says:

    Out of curiosity, Syncaine, are you in the same guild as Keen and Graev?

  6. syncaine says:

    @Mallika: I am not, no.

    @Snafzg: It’s not about polish, as clearly a 5 year old game from a massive company is going to have more QA money spent than a new release from an indie dev. If anyone goes into ANY game thinking it will be as solid tech wise as something like WoW, well…

    As for mechanics, to me personally DF has more working mechanics now than WoW does, especially for PvP. PvP in WoW is an abomination, from the BG to the Arena. Along with that, I think a ton of lingering issues that persist in WoW (fotm class balance, item inflation, worthless economy, lore bastardization, ezmode everything, fluff-focused ‘challenge’, etc) are steps below what DF (or other games) has going. It’s opinion of course; some people view daily quests as great content, while I consider them idiot sheep feed.

    It’s nice that in 2009, we have choices.

  7. Bonedead says:

    Syncaine what guild are you in? Just curious. I don’t really PvP much honestly but I plan on putting down my tools and picking up my swords soon, would be nice to know who to pester (besides the people I already pester).

  8. syncaine says:

    Inquisition.

  9. Snafzg says:

    Well, I guess I should have been more specific. I mostly meant server mechanics. It’s pretty poor planning on their part to not have some kind of system in place to deal with queues and afk macroers on a single-server system.

    That or these guys just like to roll hardcore in every single approach to their game from buying it, to logging into it, and finally to actually playing it. :P

  10. syncaine says:

    They are banning people for macroing/exploiting. In the TOS they state they can ban you for any reason, even no reason at all. It’s just going to take a bit of time for people to realize they are actually very serious about this, and ARE banning accounts without a single appeal or any process.

    That said, the server not kicking people out for being afk is a bit silly, but I’m guessing a patch will fix that soon. I’ve literally seen people sit afk in town from server up to server down.

  11. Grimjakk says:

    This is sounding more and more intriguing…

    I’m an alumnus of the EQ/Tallon Zek School of Earth-Chewers, and this sounds like some old-school fun.

  12. hah, even if I was the PK who died I can only imagine it would have been fun taking you down only to get swarmed by mobs.

    They really do need to get the technical issues settled as soon as possible though. The server has been down for hours now and I’m starting to worry that Tasos and Brannoc ran off with our money: http://evilbastages.blogspot.com/2009/03/theory-on-darkfall-server-downtime.html

  13. Hirvox says:

    One major contributing factor to the outcome in your story is that dangerous mobs are not safely sealed away in instances like in WoW. The overwhelming majority of mobs in the world are laughably weak when compared to the players. In addition, unless the attacker is using AoE effects, the mob will not lift a finger against the attacker, and just paths back to the point where it aggroed on the victim. If the victim flees, new mobs will always aggro on the first thing they see: the victim. Thus there’s little danger of the attacker getting himself in trouble.

  14. Zubon says:

    It’s a good story.

  15. Tesh says:

    I’m still not sold on the full looting, and I think the tactical interest in collision-based mechanics is still fun on its own… but this is a fun story for how the two can work together.

    Promoting situational awareness is a *good* thing.

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  18. Tallon says:

    wow grimjakk, I remember you :)

    Tallon (WoZ) saying hi. I’ll be getting the game as soon as it’s available.

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