Last night the NA DarkFall server saw its first major player-driven event, a bounty hunter chase that went off very well considering it was the first of its kind in DF. I was able to log on just after the start, and Apollo already had a group together ready to rumble. Most of the server’s big names showed up, and the center of Agon became a PvP hotspot for a few hours on a Wednesday night.
The event showed me two things. First, the DF player base on NA is very willing to get behind community-driven events like this and things like the NEW clan initiative. I think everyone playing DarkFall is just happy to finally have a real fantasy PvP MMO not crippled by technical shortfalls (ShadowBane), and so are willing to pull together and make things happen for the good of the game. When server moral counts so much because your game is so reliant on word-of-mouth promotion, it’s interesting and encouraging to watch the players (with some GM support, which was nice to see) step up and provide some content to mix things up.
The other thing such an event shows is just how much potential a sandbox MMO has when it comes to player-generated content. The best aspects of DarkFall (PvP, huge world, zero instancing) were all on display because a few players decided to pool some funds together and have the entire server hunt them. As it was just the first such event, no doubt future events will not only be more creative, but also more tightly executed and with more refined twists and surprises. Plus like any good sandbox, such ‘content’ will never become obsolete because a new patch brought the next tier of shiny suits to collect. If anything, more options will be added as Aventurine adds more tools for the players to use as they see fit. This event was made possible, in part, because a crafters name shows up when you make an item. That simple feature, along with items never being bound, allows for a bounty hunter event to take place. You don’t need overly complicated systems and hard-coded motivational factors to get the most out of your game and player base in a sandbox, just some creative players and community support behind them.