With EU to NA server transfers coming (hopefully) sometime this month in DarkFall, there are some who are worried about population and balance being ruined on both servers. Some fear EU will become under-populated, while those on the NA server fear that everyone coming from EU is going to be a maxed-out character.
The EU server population worry is certainly valid, as it’s difficult to judge exactly how many players will transfer and what Aventurine’s plans are to replace those leaving. As it has been noted many times, Aventurine has yet to really market DarkFall beyond a few banner ads, and perhaps they are waiting for this coming expansion to roll something out. I’m not sure if a trial would be possible (although if EVE can do it, DF should be as well), but certainly many are at least interested in giving this unique game a shot, yet are currently unwilling to drop $50 on something so different. DarkFall is not a game for everyone, but at the same time it does have a lot to offer; things that might surprise people who don’t think they fit the description of a typical DF player.
Free trial aside, overall marketing for DF needs to increase. If you check meta-critic the game still only has two reviews, and while another Ed Zitron hackjob is clearly something AV wants to avoid, the game in its current state should garner reasonable attention. It’s not a pretty polished fairy with wings, but anyone who gets beyond character creation will be able to see that DF is more than just a Counterstrike knife fight with a subscription fee. And while DarkFall made a lot of noise when it was released on blogs and other very MMO-focused sites, it’s still something even most MMO fans know nothing about. How many GW or WoW PvP players log in each day wishing they had something more behind their actions, or how many players are out there wanting nothing more than to be a guild crafter who matters? DarkFall certainly captured those who were looking for a 3D version of UO, but now it’s time to expand and reach other potential fans. Assuming Aventurine puts something together, both the EU and NA servers will be fine regarding population.
As for the NA server being flooded with maxed-out EU players, it’s not going to happen. While ridiculously powerful players make a lot of noise on the forums, even on EU they are the exception rather than the norm. Yes certain clans (Apollo included) will get a few jacked-up members with some seriously developed character (70+ stats, 350+ HP), but just like on NA today, most people reach a competent level with their character and then focus more on PLAYING the game rather than building up their skills/stats. The average on EU will be higher simply based on time, but even 10-15 stat points don’t create a huge power imbalance. Add to this that many EU-based characters have been in hibernation waiting for transfer, and NA has little to worry about. The power balance has far more to do with magic being the dominant combat choice than with length of character development. Things will certainly be different come transfers, but that will have more to do with political shifts as different alliances gain more members or become more active than with the few 100 stat characters coming over.