Even before launch, Aventurine made it very clear they have a zero tolerance policy concerning issues with cheating or exploiting. Most took this as the usual ‘zero tolerance’ statements made by MMO devs since 1997 and UO, but we are seeing more and more evidence that Aventurine is very serious, and willing to go above and beyond normal policy to keep DarkFall legit. Case in point, this statement released today on the forums:
In 48 hours characters with names made in an effort to confuse GMs and other players, for example adding a string of lower cap L’s and upper case I’s (IlIlIIIl) in their names will start getting their host accounts permanently banned. If you have a character like that, delete him and make a new one with a proper name.
No offer to change your name, no previous warnings or rules governing player names, just a blank “clearly you named your character like an asshat, fix or die” statement. While character skills are not as make or break as levels in other MMOs, it’s still a major setback to have to delete and start back at square one. Not to mention the penalty is not a forced name change, or even character deletion, but an outright account ban. Welcome to DarkFall.
On the subject of cheating itself, Tasos also had this to say:
We know someone’s cheating beyond a shadow of a doubt, and if you’ve even done so once, you’re not safe. There’s no such thing as “clever use” when you own all the server logs. We’ll eventually get to you and ban you. If you’re currently using 3d party programs to exploit with, we suggest you uninstall these programs immediately and hope for the best.
IE: Duck and pray. Personally I’ve only seen one confirmed case of exploiting, where two players were able to exploit a bug and jump much farther than intended at a much faster speed. It’s an in-game bug, as we were able to reproduce it ourselves, and I’m guessing will be fixed shortly (it also does not work 100% of the time, so planning combat around that assumption does not work, not to mention its painfully blatant when used). Many times players THINK someone is speed hacking or otherwise exploiting because they got killed by a better players. Since player (not character) skill is such a huge factor in DarkFall, it might seem like another player is exploiting because of how well they are playing. Our own guild members have been accused of this simply due to being really, really damn good with a bow. That said, I’m sure some people are still using 3rd party programs, and the message that you WILL lose your account still needs to sink in. However the pre-launch predictions that the whole world would be using UO-Assist style programs were incorrect.
We’ve had complaints about random client crashes during sieges which we have addressed to a certain extent and looking at more cases. We will eventually get to the bottom of all these issues. We are getting a lot of reports by players, we are monitoring the forums, and we’re fixing bugs and making improvements to the game every day.
Some players have been complaining about lowered performance during massive battles. Now, let’s put things into perspective here: Small skirmishes in Darkfall are what other games call “massive battles”. We recently had approximately 2000 characters involved in battle in the same area. Battles with several hundred characters are the norm and run very smoothly. Of course you’ll get progressive frame rate drops when you’re working your way up to thousands of players in the same scene. We’re seeing a lot more characters in Darkfall battles than you see maximum units in RTS games. One of our first priorities is to continuously optimize this experience. Massive battles in Darkfall will get larger and run smoother and smoother. Now we don’t mind if people keep bitching at us about getting this even better, we’re never satisfied ourselves, so please keep that in mind.
The above is more or less true. On my system (granted a newer Alienware) the FPS don’t drop much during 200-300ish battles, always staying above 30 FPS (I normally run the game at 60 FPS maxed out at 1900×1200). The two times I’ve been a part of truly massive city sieges, the game did indeed start to chug, but even then it ran above 15 FPS, which is good enough to still play, but certainly leaves room for improvement. Just to compare, this same hardware drops to 5-10 FPS during Warhammer Online Fortress sieges, and has trouble staying above 30 FPS during 100ish player encounters. Normally WAR runs at 60 FPS maxed out at 1900×1200. Of course the two games use very different art styles (although IMO both look good, just different) and overall gameplay mechanics, but the engine behind DarkFall is still impressive. Guess that ‘seven’ years in development was put to good use…