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.