Now this might be a first; Tobold starting Friday Blog Wars? Who is this guy, and where has the real Tobold/Gevlon gone?
The funny thing about all of this is we are going by ‘numerical’ measure of content, as if there is a science to MMO content or an official scoring system. It’s going to come down to “I don’t view that as content”, “Well I do”, but since this is Friday, and one can never back down from a Blog War, here goes (Plus if you visit Tobold’s site and increase his page views, Blizzard is more likely to invite him to Bliz Con and give him other ‘free’ stuff, just for promoting their game. Shameless these bloggers, just shameless!).
Tobold left out his biggest weapon in this argument sadly, as he should have said that because DarkFall is a sandbox, it by default has more content than a themepark. He failed to mention that, so I guess its fair game. The amount of content in a WoW starting zone is worth about 10 hours (probably less now with speed leveling), because once you level out of that content, its gone. You can re-roll an alt, but the entire zone is identical, so unless we are counting seeing the EXACT same thing as new content, each zone in WoW aside from the current ‘cap’ zone is very limited. Once you leave you never return, and the space and everything in it only has value for that short time (in MMO terms) you spend focused on it.
That the next zone is just a rehash of the same ‘kill ten rats’ quests you just did is another matter, but lets pretend the lore of WoW matters (hi space goats) and that the quests are in fact different. I think by Tobold’s scientific method, if farmer A tells me to kill wolves because he needs wool, and farmer B tells me to kill bears because he needs meat, that’s two very different sets of content. We are going to ignore that killing wolves/bears requires 1-2-3-2-1 for both, for now at least.
In DarkFall any area has value to a veteran and a new player, and it will never become obsolete because the level cap has been raised or a new instance with higher item levels has been added. It can always be used as a trade hub, staging points for an attack, or simply an area to pass through on your way to some PvP/PvE (and since travel time and location have value in DF, this can’t be discounted). The value of any mining node never decreases, unlike in WoW, and the goblins that you fought to learn the combat system can still be killed for ‘easy’ skill gains or some easy gold, not to mention whatever PvP may occur in the area.
Tobold is also funny in bringing up mob variety as a comparison, stating that in DarkFall you might only see a goblin in your first 20 hours, but in WoW you get to experience a wide variety of mobs. Now if we are speaking only in terms of graphic models (bonus points if you think pallet swaps count as content too), and we also assume the 20 hours of only goblins is true for DarkFall (it’s not, but lets pretend), Tobold is right, you will see more monster graphics in WoW than you will in DF on your way to level 80. Now once you hit 80 the amount of mobs you will fight is a fraction of the ones any player will fight at any time in DF, but that’s just a small detail we need to ignore.
But as graphics only go so far, what about combat? In those first 20 hours of gameplay, those very same goblins in DarkFall (scouts, warriors and shamans, since they all act differently) will do far more in combat than any mob you will experience in your first 20 hours of WoW. Actually they will do more in combat than ANY mob in WoW in terms of AI (not a set script). And that’s just goblins, which fight differently than say Deathless Mages, Menehirs, or any of the dragons.
Now for me gameplay is content, so while I’ll learn how to beat every mob without a script in WoW within 5 minutes (and even if I don’t learn, I’ll still kill all of them and collect ‘epics’), each mob in DF requires a more measured approach. If you just run in without a care, it’s very likely the mob will drop you, and since death in DF matters (in comparison to WoW anyway), you will quickly learn to play smarter or you won’t progress. In WoW, even IF a regular mob could kill you, the only thing you would need to learn is to come back after you ding or buy some no-risk gear on the auction house. Plus there is that little detail of terrain, where in WoW it has zero impact on combat, while fighting those same goblins in DF is night and day depending on WHERE you are fighting them. Add in that what a goblin drops is ALWAYS useful to any DF player, while once you ding gray mobs are POINTLESS in WoW, and the amount of PvE content available to any player in both games is starting to look very lopsided.
Factor in that at any given time, the total number of useful mobs, group options, and the amount of usable loot is greater in DF than it is in WoW, and well, I’m having a tough time seeing all this content Tobold thinks he has access to.
The comedy of course is that one game is basically PvE only (unless you find a challenge in playing the kiddie-pool economy with a gold cap, or you find zero skill cookie PvP fun). Because if we want to talk about the amount of content WoW provides in terms of PvP, and stack it up against DF, we are in for a really good laugh.
Let’s pretend the siege engines in DarkFall (the numerous ships, warhulks, and cannons, all with different costs, values, and power) are on par with the siege engines in WoW’s world PvP… hmmm wait that’s not possible, as Blizzard has come to the conclusion that world PvP is technically impossible in an MMO. Fine fine, lets compare the mass failure of WoW’s Wintergrasp’s world (err, instanced) PvP to a DF city siege. Which city out of the dozens you ask (and shhh about hamlets, Sea Fortresses and villages!), eh lets just pick one, even though every city requires a different approach and strategy, can be in a different state of completion, and owned by different clans with different alliance affiliations.
We want to keep this from being a slaughter, so let’s just pretend DF has only one city to siege. Lets also pretend we always bring the exact same number of combatants to that DF city siege, we all instantly travel to the siege location, and that everyone is hard-locked into one of two sides, with characters all basically equal in level, with zero-risk gear that does more to determine who wins than any actual player skill. Wait, what are we comparing again…?
If I’ve been to a single WG ‘match’, how much of that content have I seen? How different is one WG match from another? How different is the result, how does it alter the game going forward, and what politics and strategy factored into the match beforehand? Oh, there is no politics or strategy beforehand, and everyone just joins at random, with everyone getting a reward win or lose? Eh, let’s not count that either then. I mean politics don’t have a graphic model, so they don’t really count, and solo play in an MMO is basically the same thing as playing with a guild or the whole server, more or less. Plus the result actually mattering is a relic of MMO history, everyone knows the superior solution is to reward success AND failure, otherwise you might upset someone, and we can’t have that.
Ok whatever, PvP is stupid and it does not count as content, plus DF is negative sum PvP and failure-to-launch Lum says that model is doomed to fail, so clearly DF is not growing and gaining players almost a year after release, and will soon die because of that negative sum impact PvP. Plus player skill factoring into combat is dumb, I mean who wants to get rewarded for actual getting better at a game! I should win because my character has a higher item level than you damnit, not because you outplayed me!
Moving on, let’s finally compare the real strength of WoW, the economy! You know, that awesome game-within-a-game that some are so focused on. WoW offers just a ton of content here, as you can literally spend hours and hours every day running your favorite UI mod and opening your mailbox. Plus once you have achieved UI mod mastery, you can in turn use those hard-fought gains to buy awesome, game-changing stuff like… another ‘epic’ mount? I guess you could save up to buy a player house, and then use your player vendor at that house to sell a wide variety of player crafted gear that you either made yourself or ask others for, which in turn you could use THAT gold to hire mercenary guilds to protect you from your enemies. No wait, you can’t do any of that in WoW… but you CAN buy another epic flyer! And once you buy like 20 of them (that’s 20 examples of content, they have different graphic models people!) you get MORE content because an achievement pops up. It’s like a content rollercoaster that just never ends.
But this all comes back to Tobold being a little confused overall on what content really is in an MMO. I mean let’s look at this:
A repetitive part, for which the base rules are always the same, for example combat… (is not content)
I think everyone can see the problem here. In WoW combat is indeed extremely repetitive, to the point where you could spend a minute with your G15 keyboard and teach it to beat every non-scripted mob in the game, at any level, in any zone (for the scripted mobs you need to watch Youtube, or just have someone who out-gears the content carry you through it). It’s easy to see how combat is not actually considered content in WoW beyond the first five minutes, but that might be saying more about your game than anything else. Oh and good luck with that G15 script in DarkFall against those goblins.
The funny part is every class in WoW has dozens of skills and abilities to fill your hotbars with, and yet the combat is far simpler than the ‘click-fest’ combat in DarkFall. Cataclysm is sure to add new abilities, yet it won’t make combat any more skill-based, you will just have different icons in your 1-2-1-3 rotation. The next free expansion to DF (which won’t take 6 months to arrive) is going to add further specialization, and like the two before it, will require a fair amount of adaptation, strategy, and actual consideration.
Let’s conclude with this:
What’s next, “Darkfall has more players than WoW”?
My DF server has more players than your WoW server Tobold, and the thousands on my server impact my game to a far greater extent every day than they do on yours. But hey, I’m sure the hundreds of other WoW servers with millions of players add a ton of content to your game, at least by your scoring method.
(DarkFall-related post disclaimer/reminder. If you click the image link near the top-right of this page and buy a DarkFall account, I get paid 20% of the client cost. If you believe this taints my views and reporting on DarkFall, your opinion is wrong.)