Another entertaining weekend of DarkFall is in the books for me, and also the rest of the server. Personally I was part of a botched but still interesting alliance event, and the server saw it’s most notable use of naval combat to date.
The naval combat in question happened Sunday night between TheMercs and Bad Boys for Life of the Dusk alliance, with TheMercs bringing a midsized ship with cannons against a city. Paragus has the full report here. My biggest take-away from this is that everyone is still learning the ropes of DarkFall, and only the very first steps have been taken in understanding everything. Currently most city sieges involve hammers and perhaps cannons, but it’s almost guaranteed both sides will bring far more complex firepower in the months to come. Counters will arise to both ships and warhulks, and in turn other strategies will be adopted. While the cold war between the two mass-recruit alliances continues, not everyone is sitting inside their city walls asking Glut or Mannus for instructions, but actually going out there and making things happen.
And making things happen is a nice segue to our botched alliance event. On Friday it was decided by alliance leadership to come together, gear up, and head out to get some practice in larger (30+) combat engagements. The gather and gear phase went well, with everyone pulling out their best stuff (full plate or scale, rank 70 transmuted weapons), and our total number of players ranging between 30 or 40. The original plan was to make a large loop around Agon, try to stir up a guild or two to meet us in combat and fight it out. We had set some targets which we assumed would have the numbers we were looking for, as well as the right level of combat effectiveness.
During our trip, the decision was made to head towards the center of the map, into TheMerc territory, and harasses the NPC city they are based out of. This is where things started to go down hill. Initially the city contained only a few players, most naked, and our force managed to kill a few while circling the town and diving in. As more and more enemies arrived, we were pushed out and retreated a bit to regroup. As we were retreating, an equal or slightly greater force pursued us from the city, now mounted and geared. We engaged for a brief moment, but at this point it was clear we were outmatched, and within a few minutes the order to retreat was given and our group scattered in all directions. While most players made it out alive, a few were lost, and with everyone bringing out top-shelf stuff, each loss hurt that individual player a good bit.
In retrospect, we clearly made a few mistakes. Attacking one of the more elite groups in the game was not the best choice for a group trying to organize itself and work together for the first time. Gear and numbers only go so far, and player organization and skill always prevails. If our alliance is to be successful, we need to practice fighting together, and fighting TheMercs made that very clear to everyone. It was a costly lesson, but I think in the end will just make us stronger and the cost will be more than justified. The goal of the event was not to pick off solo players and collect loot, but to get everyone together and out in the field, and in that it was a success, albeit much shorter than we had hoped for.
On a personal note, the few minutes of mass mounted combat was excellent, as it was literally something out of a movie. Amid the total chaos of 50+ players all riding around swinging at each other, I still picked up a few techniques in how to better find and stick to a target, as well as how best to bring them down. Just being involved in something like that was very helpful, and goes a long way to reduce your combat jitters in the future.
Outside of alliance activity, Inquisition itself had a solid weekend of gaming. Regular PvP patrols of our area almost always go well, and rarely are we hurting for targets. The advantage of taking down PK groups over raiding elf or dwarf lands is that the PK groups are always packing gear, making each kill far more profitable compared to killing players hunting goblins. As are hamlet is located along a popular travel route, PK groups frequently stop by, and if we have a group in the area, usually they don’t all make it out alive. Our guild is also slowly expanding, as new members join up and are brought up to speed in how we operate in both PvE and PvP. Keeping your cool in vent during PvP is a critical skill for success, as is trusting and following your leadership. The players who are not able to quickly adapt to our tactics are removed, while those that do soon see the success it brings. Learning when to break off a chase is a lesson you usually learn the hard way; walking into a trap and getting your mount and yourself killed. Those able to learn the lesson after the first time do well, while those that don’t end up donating a lot of gear.