The straight facts about the Eurogamer slander piece.

Bonedead ninja edit: Please replace the word ‘slander’ with ‘libel’ whenever you see it. Thanks!

One would think the basic facts of a story would be simple to comprehend by people, and the discussion would revolve around the implications of the errors made within, but as Tobold and other commentators have made very clear, sometimes this is simply not the case.

I had originally written a post breaking down the now infamous ‘review’ on Eurogamer, but decided not to publish it after Tasos made his post, thinking it would be unnecessary to point out the multitude of errors in a review that was clearly an abomination overall. What’s amazed me most about this whole ordeal is how far people will stretch details to discredit a game they admit to having no interest in, and what some people accept as ‘opinions’.

Below is a breakdown of the lies or false statements made in the review, outside of the baseless opinions the writer throws out in his slander (a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report) piece.

As with many MMOs, you walk around using the WASD keys. However, to ‘do’ anything – talk to an NPC, bind yourself to a location, loot a corpse, and so on – you have to click the right mouse button to toggle between interaction or movement mode

Lie. The F key allows you to do all of the above, and it ONLY functions in movement mode. What the reviewer calls ‘interaction’ mode is what you use to bring up the mouse pointer and all its functionality, which does not allow any of the functions mentioned above. In fact, the game automatically places you in mouse mode once you interact with an NPC or corpse using the F key in movement mode, or keeps you in movement mode if the F key interaction is something like binding or looting a chest.

Unbelievably, to do anything that involves any interaction at all, you have to stop still – this includes any and all inventory management, looting, chatting – anything interactive.

False. You can chat by hitting the enter key in movement mode, as well as doing so in mouse mode. You can also do any of the above except for looting (by design) while moving using auto run. Using hotkeys, you can also perform inventory management tasks such as swapping out weapons/armor/spells without entering mouse mode.

You can’t turn off the UI

Lie. By default there is a key command to turn the UI on/off.

The lack of hit detection

False. The hit detection is spot on. This is not opinion, it’s a fact. The game detects when you hit something correctly, every time.

your combat skills affect how often you actually connect. It isn’t even an issue of timing your clicks based on the connection with your sword – it’s nigh-on random

Lie. Combat skills have ZERO effect on your ability to hit someone. If you are within range, you will hit whatever you are swinging at if you aimed correctly. There is ZERO randomness to this through ability scores or otherwise.

While playing for a few hours of reasonably solid combat

Lie. Aventurine’s server logs show he never played ‘a few hours’ in combat. He played for a total of two hours, and the majority of THAT time was spent in the character creation screen. Eurogamer declined an invitation by Aventurine (at their expense) to verify the logs, yet claim they are false.

For the most part, your first ten or so hours in Darkfall are spent dying, repeatedly, at the hands of either the AI or a cyber-bully in a wolf-suit. In fact, past that mark, it feels impossible to avoid the clammy hands and bloodied sword of somebody who has specially allocated part of their day to griefing

Lie. The reviewer never got beyond the first ten hours (even if you believe him when he said he played nine, rather than the server logs that show he ‘played’ two). Talking about ‘past that point’ is impossible for the reviewer, regardless of whose side you believe.

Even when you become semi-capable of operation without constant death, there’s little to enjoy.

Lie. Having self-admitted that he never reached this point in the game, it’s simply impossible for the reviewer to have personally experiences with it, and therefore he is attempting to pass second/third hand stories off as his own experience.

It doesn’t even have the basic features that make up even the most lackluster and dull cookie-cutter MMOs, … , or some form of tutorial.

Lie. When first logging in (and every time after, unless you disable it), the game opens up a tutorial screen explaining the basic commands and functions of the game. (many of the commands the reviewer does not understand are explained in this very tutorial)

Darkfall even lacks the basic lore that even the worst games have. There are wolf people, orks, humans, elves, and dark elves

False. The game does contain lore, explained in many of the games lengthy quest chains (starting with the first newbie quest chain a player starts directly in front of). Its opinion whether you think DF has ‘enough’ lore, but it’s a fact that it does contain stories,  quest chains,  and game-impacting racial alignment standings around the lore. Dwarves are also a playable race, but such an omission is slight compared to the rest of the writing.

Finally, to everyone surprised that Aventurine would respond to something like this, answer the following question: If someone at your workplace slandered you, and it cost you either a promotion or your job, would you remain quiet, especially if you had solid evidence to prove otherwise?

This is not an issue of a negative review (DarkFall will get plenty of negative reviews from general MMO players/reviewers, they fully expect that), or how long someone must play a given game before they are able to give an opinion, or whether the right ‘type’ of player was selected for the review. It’s a defense against slander done by a dishonest writer and the unethical website that continues to back him.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
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34 Responses to The straight facts about the Eurogamer slander piece.

  1. WyldKard says:

    The only thing I’d add is the name of the reviewer, Ed Zitron. While Eurogamer as an entity is at fault to some degree, the primary blame should be cast on the reviewer, who is an unethical journalist at best. Zitron embodies everything that is wrong with the game review landscape.

    Eurogamer’s chief mishap is in how they mishandled the affair after it came to light. Rather than “fire” Zitron and take the review down, or at least, agree to take it down when a new review was finished, they simply offered to do a new review yet leave Zitron’s standing. It’s one thing to side with your staff, it’s another to back them blindly in the face of contrary facts.

  2. heartless_ says:

    Oh be quiet. Aventurine got served the dish they’ve been lamely trying to serve the rest of us since Darkfall was conceived.

    The truth is that Aventurine, when presented with a solution (aka the re-review), declined it. That alone shows how shallow Aventurine is on the issue. They wanted to whine and play the role of victim.

    God forbid someone competent like Kieron Gillent be allowed to review Darkfall. It may have brought to the truth of how shitty or great their game is. And since they declined, I’m gonna go with the latter.

    • I think you meant former, Heartless. :)

    • Snafzg says:

      Do you really think they could argue with a 2/10 if the reviewer actually wrote a credible review?

    • adam says:

      heartless, don’t be a jackass. syncaine is making a very valid point. zitron’s review was obviously chock full of falsehoods and outright lies. zitron clearly had an agenda, he was clearly angry about someone or at something related to the game and this is how he vented.

      the point isn’t whether or not the game ACTUALLY sucks, since that’s entirely subjective, the point of a review is to report FACTS and then render OPINION, not to report LIES and then render more LIES. how dense are people who don’t understand this simple fact?

  3. While I’m totally with you on the parts that Ed got wrong about the user interface, I don’t agree with the ending you got there, Syncaine. Yeah, Ed really screwed the pooch regarding the basic functions, and yeah, he really did mess up regarding playtime, but the last few points ring with a sound of truth. Darkfall just does not do lore, quests, and PvE combat well. That’s not what the developers want the game to do, and it shows.

    I’m all for calling out an supposed expert when he obviously didn’t do his homework on the game, but (and I dunno how he did it if Adventurine’s logs are true) he did see enough to form the same opinion I got when playing through the questing parts of the game. The quests were poorly written, sometime they didn’t even point in the right direction (Alfar zone, first quest doesn’t point you in the right map direction to goblins. I bug reported that, so hopefully it’s fixed. I found goblins though in another direction, so it wasn’t a total loss) and that quest journal was badly, badly coded. Popping up a browser window inside of the game engine should have been avoided, but that’s my opinion.

    Aventurine’s PvE content is not the main focus of their game and it shows. It does lack the lore, because the lore that’s present is far from intriguing or fulfilling. I certainly don’t hold that fact against the game in it’s entirety, but it certainly is an area that could be highly improved upon.

    And, lastly… totally agree with you about the hitbox. :3 I dunno what Ed was not hitting, but I had the problem of hitting too much and slamming people next to me. XD So the hitbox does work, and it works very well.

  4. syncaine says:

    @Colin: I’m not saying the PvE or lore is amazing, I’m simply saying it exists, as anything beyond that is opinion. There is/was a thread on the DF forums about the PvE chains, with players who have actually completed them stating how much they enjoyed uncovering the story. Do I personally think the questing is worthwhile? No, but I at least know its there, and what’s there is at least playable. As you said, it’s a PvP-based game, and one should expect that to be the focus, but to claim the game lacks ANY PvE or lore is incorrect.

    Oh and Heartless, believe me my favorite blog troll, they are not trying to serve that dish to you buddy. But congrats on your new achievement, +10 points, you have earned the title “Illiterate”.

    • Gotcha then chief. I can go along with that opinion. Btw, could you e-mail me? It’s colin.brennan AT I want to pick your brain on something privately that’s related to Darkfall. I’d say it aloud, but there’s a chance it might not work out, but I’d like to get planning on it anyway…. yeah, I’ll just explain more in the e-mails. XD

  5. Bonedead says:


  6. michael, St Erroneous says:

    But, one low score – no matter how unjustified – is hardly going to cause DarkfallCorp much harm. It’ll drop the average Metacritic score a little, but it’ll probably be dismissed as a statistical blip…

    Then I bothered to look at Metacritic. And there was the Eurogamer rating, the only “Critics” review.

    Oopsie indeed. Is Eurogamer really the only Metacritic-acknowledged publication to review DFO so far?

    • TariqOne says:

      They’ve kept it hidden from view and hard to buy. It’s supposedly a niche game, but apparently i secretly wants wide acceptance from everyone.

  7. shadowwar says:

    I have zero desire to ever play this game. It looks god-awful to me. Having a mouse mode and a cursor mode is a terrible idea. It sucked in SWG, it sucked in TR, I’m sure it sucks in this game. I require a certain level of graphical impressiveness when I play a game, and no screen shot has made me say anything other than “God, that’s ugly”. Skill systems that can be macroed make me want to shoot babies.

    All of that said, the more I read about this, the more and more it seems like the writer took the cheap way out of his job, jumped on the bandwagon of public opinion, and lambasted the game using anecdotal stories heard second hand. I.e. he didn’t do what he was paid to do, and then lied about it in the written work.

    I don’t think you can actually bring legal charges of libel against someone on an op-ed piece, but this would be cutting the skirt of that issue damn close.

  8. TariqOne says:

    “Darkfall is not for everyone.”

    This has been the rallying cry of the Darkfall faithful — from Tasos to this site to ForumFall — since basically forever. Syncaine, you’ve had a ball reveling in lording it over the WoW Tourisst who don’t get it and won’t ever get it. It’s been one big circle-jerk of niche-game, in-crowd self congratulation. Hell, Syncaine’s opinion posts about Darkfall get covered on Massively as “news” — no outcry there.

    The problem with that sword is you live by it and sometimes you die by it. Wasn’t it just slightly possible that one of these millions of WoW Tourists was going to be asked to review the game for a games site, be confronted by the aggressive opacity of it all, throw up their hands after a few hours and say it sucks? In some objective way, it’s DESIGNED to suck for a large segment of the population! It’s NOT FOR EVERYONE.

    Darkfall is not for everyone. You make a game expressly like that, you turn in your right to whine when one of those people who it’s not for pipes up. Darkfall’s supporters — this site included — have crapped on enough people that they oughta be able to accept a little crap coming back their way.

    Even if Zitron’s review was nothing but a pack of lies, the hypocrisy is screaming about a bad mainstream review is frankly stunning. Darkfall is not for everyone. Zintron and Tasos and Syncaine all agree on that basic point.

    • TariqOne says:

      Lack of edit function makes me sad. Also makes me seem largely unintelligble.

    • adam says:

      making an unapologetically niche game doesn’t mean you turn in your right to defend yourself against blatant dishonesty. i’m still not getting why people can’t understand this. i’ve never played Darkfall, probably never will, and i can see right through all these jerkoffs sounding off in their little WoW/casual/carebear blogosphere echo chamber.

      and for the record, i don’t play any MMOGs right now. haven’t for several months. and i’m about as non-hardcore as gamers get. i’m simply able to intelligently see both sides and not get caught up in the dick-measuring going on here.

      • TariqOne says:

        Leaving erroneous descriptions of your game’s content up on your website does, I’m sorry, strip away some of your right to be morally outraged at factual inaccuracies in others’ descriptions of your game on their own websites.

        Allowing forum participants to chase interested fols off for years with chants of “go back to WoW, carebear” and making your game extraordinarily difficult to buy does, I’m sorry, strip away some of your right to complain that a review is driving potential customers away from your game.

        And this is even assuming the review is naught but a pack of lies. And I don’t think the case has been made that it is. There appear to be some inaccuracies, sure, but they don’t appear to be all that compelling to me. The guy played a game designed to turn off guys like him and it turned him off. And he panned it. So what? It’s a review.

  9. rulez says:

    So is that the final final word?

    Sorry couldn’t resist :P

    All this fuzz really makes me want to give the game a try soon. But right now all my time is used up in Ulduar.

  10. syncaine says:

    WoW is tha… oh wait you are already there… damn :)

    Yea this is the final final word. I might add an ‘extra’ or ‘super final’ word if needed, but definitely this is it for final final (save for more ninja edits, but lets hope not)

  11. Thoms says:

    Darkfall… so hardcore that the QQ never stops.

  12. Einherjer says:

    Syncaine, Ed Zitron did it for me: i just bought the game!

    I was planning to play the game solo and never ever empty my bags and explore the map specially near other clan’s hamlets and so on… ;)

    Drop me a line if Inquisition is recruiting, please.

  13. michael, St E says:

    Previously on HC: “Gay simulator”
    Now on HC: “Straight facts”

    I see what you did there.

  14. Bonedead says:

    Yay the war is over!

  15. Tiber says:

    Thank God, finally someone posted the biggest issue with the review. Not the score. Not how long he played. How many factual errors in the review is what the big stink is over, and for those of you who cannot see it and are much more satisfied just saying “Eh, Darkfall sucks, I’ve never played it, but the review must be right” … something seriously wrong with you.

  16. Joey says:

    LOL. A bad piece piece of journalism speaks for itself. Hysterical and continuos attacks on it also speaks volumes, but about something else.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Meh… Whats this now? The 4th Darkfall vs Eurogamer post repeating the same things.


    I personally thought you could get another 16 posts out of WoW tourism before that nugget dried up and you were forced to write new content ;)

  18. syncaine says:

    It’s the 5th actually, and if you read the comments, some people STILL don’t get the point.

    And who says the WoW tourist posts are done? That’s a gift that keeps on giving, unfortunately I’m a bit limited by the rapid pace that Bliz is now ‘borrowing’ content from other MMO games, even since they put WoW out to pasture.

  19. Bonedead says:


  20. Bonedead says:

    Holy balls. Look at the newb Noob comic.

  21. Swift Voyager says:

    lol. There are SO many examples of this kind of reporting these days. Sadly, some of the other examples are much more important than a video game review. If you really think that you can trust the print media these days, then you are delusional. I truely wish that people would get half this upset over important things being reported wrong. I wonder how many people who are upset about this review think that man-made global warming is a fact, for example. Oh, now you’re emotional aren’t you? Did I press a button?

    The number of people who are happy to accept the Eurogamer review as correct is a good example of how people will believe anything when it is something they want to believe, whether there are supporting facts or not.

    It’s really sad that people will get so emotional about certain things, and voice such strong opinions about those things, but never bother to really learn about them for themselves. When the person in question is in a position of authority, like the reviewer, that situation is especially bad.

    Here’s an example: I’d be willing to bet that very few, and perhaps none of the people reading this really understands how global atmospheric temperature is measured (not ground temperature, but air temperature). You probably think there are satelites that can just look down and use thermal imaging, don’t you? lol. Here’s a news flash, the atmosphere is really big. It’s many miles thick, and all the different layers have different temperatures, and they move, really fast sometimes. I’m not going to get into the many different methods used. Look it up for yourself if you care. Some methods are okay, some are not good, and some are horrible. In the end, there’s lots of room left for opinion to creep into the data, because there’s lots of estimations and approximations involved.

    My point is that “journalists” get away with horrible misrepresentations every day, and most of us are guilty of choosing to believe the stories we want to believe, without ever really worrying about the truth.

  22. Shizniticus says:

    I’ve been waiting to purchase DF and came across that review (and reviews about that review lol). To me it was obvious that it was at minimum “hostile”, but still managed to make me think twice about purchasing. DF. Having read yours and others counter-points has helped painter a clearer picture and I’m glad to say I purchased the game today! Can’t wait to get started…

  23. Pingback: Darkfall: Unholy Wars is What Now? « The Ancient Gaming Noob

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