For anyone interested in but not currently playing DarkFall, the number one question/statement is about the upcoming (‘soon’) NA-1 server. People are waiting to buy the game when that server is release, or are holding off digging deeper into DF until that time. At the most basic level it makes sense; if you live in North America, why not wait for the NA release of the game before trying it, right?
The problem is that the perception of this server and its reality are two different things. For starters, when NA-1 does open, it’s won’t really be a North America release. Rumors have it that players on EU-1 will be allowed to transfer to NA-1, but the details of that transfer are currently unknown. Most assume it won’t be a full transfer, as allowing players to bring over items/money would creating a massive land rush in the first hour or so of the server, after which all cities and hamlets would not only be claimed but likely fully built up.
A naked transfer is the next option, which would mean characters with all their skills are allowed to transfer, but without any possessions. While this would delay the initial land rush a bit, it would still only be a matter of hours before the first cities and hamlets are claimed, and it’s very likely that within the first 24 hours everything will be taken. At this point it will only take a few more days for established characters to once again return to their former levels of item power, given how much emphasis the game places on both character and player skill.
Finally a total fresh start could happen; although how that would fall under a ‘transfer’ I’m not sure. Do you just get to keep your character name and customization, but all items/skills are wiped.
If either option 1 or 2 happen, the NA-1 server will certainly not be ‘new’ for new players just joining. If anything, newbie camps will be that much harder to access, with a combination of veterans farming them and high-skilled PKs rampaging through. At least currently on EU-1 most players have moved beyond the starter goblin camps, and while PKs still harass them regularly, it’s not nearly as bad as it was a month ago, and overall those camps are very profitable.
The other major hurdle players waiting for NA-1 will face is game knowledge and player skill, both of which are only gained by actually playing the game itself. Being two or more months behind is going to make the already tough road that much harder. Granted, those that are easily discouraged by setbacks are not the type of player who is going to enjoy DarkFall anyway, so a tough start weeds them out in the first week rather than the first month, but even those cut out for such a game are going to find the first week or so on NA-1 a rougher than normal environment.
Personally, I’m hoping the opening of NA-1 is as close to a fresh start as possible, if simply to level the playing field among players who abused early release bugs to reach impossibly high character skill levels. With the recent removal of skill gain from newbie items, along with shielded players, Aventurine has closed at least a few obvious holes macroers used to get ahead. Players will still find ways to exploit mobs or use other underhanded tricks to get ahead, but with every bug fixed it gets a bit harder for them, and levels the playing field a bit more for honest players. A fresh start would also result in an interesting early scramble among veteran players, who have a fresh start at a familiar world. Hopefully Aventurine will release more details about the whole NA-1 process, but until then we can only speculate.