What a weekend of PvE questing brings

Over the weekend I did a lot of questing and PvE in DarkFall, all spurred by one title quest turn in. And I had a blast, getting to see the new quest content Aventurine added since release and seeing how it plays out from the perspective of a fairly developed character. It also made me realize that you don’t need to drastically change up the familiar ‘kill ten rats’ formula to make questing interesting, you instead can just place those quests in an interesting and exciting environment.

On Friday night I was 160 hobgoblin kills away from finishing the third and final stage of my strength title quest, and so I went to a fast-spawning spot of grunt and veteran hobgoblins and began my mass slaughter. The advantage of this spot was neither mob was particularly difficult for me when wearing decent armor (scale/plate) and using a rank40 greatsword, and the timing worked out that as soon as I was done looting and skinning the last tombstone, a new mob would spawn.

For whatever reason, I felt particularly ‘grindy’ that night, and all 160 hobgoblins were killed in one trip and the title quest was completed. However in order to turn it in I had to travel back to the human starting area, a lengthy ride south from our normal home of Yssam. As I was riding down an NPC name popped up on my mini-map just on the boarder of orc/human territory, and so I took a small detour and went to see what he offered. He had two quests available, and one was to kill Swamp Hags.

Swamp Hags are of interest to me because they skin for hag hearts, and those are used for upper tier blood crafting. The other quest asked me to kill some Doom spiders, which happen to be close to the Swamp Hags. The nice bonus of questing in DarkFall is that when the quest is active, the target location or mob is marked on your map like in many other MMOs. The key difference here is that in DarkFall sometimes finding the right mob or mob camp is a challenge itself due to the size of Agon, and so having a quest show you a Swamp Hag spawn is a very nice bonus, and a great way to become familiar with the local spawns.

Of course, once those two quests were complete and I had gathered a small supply of hag hearts (with the full intention of coming back at a later time to farm more), turning those two quests in opened up a few more, and this little trend continued for 3-4 rounds. The final quest at this time was to visit another NPC location; the now-famous breadcrumb quest style. At this point I was pulled in by the lore and story going and figured I might as well see this to completion, so I bound myself to one of the NPC cities, turned in my title quest, and went off to continue questing.

I’d also like to mention that the lore behind DarkFall is often overlooked because the games primary focus is PvP. Actually reading the quest text was enjoyable, and at times even helps explain certain locations in the world. For instance, one of the quests talked about a town that is now abandoned because it was sieged by some elves. The quest sets you out to kill said elves camped near the town, along with destroying their siege supplies, but the lore itself explains just why you have a town in Agon that is devoid of any NPCs. Without the back-story, you could easily just assume those buildings are another under-populated area of DF. Another quest had me retrieve a lost amulet from deep within a cave. While just outside there is an NPC spawn, the cave itself is ‘empty’ save for the box holding the amulet, which you can only interact with if you have that particular quest. Without it, it becomes just another ‘cave with nothing inside’.

This highlighted another difference between the more open-ended world of DF versus a themepark like WAR. In WAR, anytime you come across anything of interest, you can safely assume it’s a quest target location, and you know you can pick that quest up from the local ‘quest hub’ in that zone. For me this dulled the ‘areas of interest’ because nothing was a surprise, you never discovered anything because all of these supposed exotic locations were all conveniently placed on each step of your path to the level cap.

On the other hand, even something as simple as a chest in a cave was somewhat of an ‘ah ha’ moment in DF, because while I had passed that cave and countless others like it before, now this one cave and box in particular were of special interest to me, and it was all completely optional. It truly felt more like exploring and discovering something, which was a great change of pace.

The other aspect that separates questing in DF from other games is that you are doing it in Agon, which means that while you might have your mind on a quest objective, someone else might be out looking to gank you. You can’t just ‘not PvP’ and hyper-focus on questing, and while out questing you might get your fair share of PvP. This happened to me multiple times, and since I was a decently skilled character in a starter area, more than once I was actually able to chase down and kill the would-be PK hoping for some easy noob kills.

At other times I would run across an enemy clan member, which meant that we could fight even within an NPC town. This gets rather tricky with other players around, as the enemy clan member is orange to you, but everyone else is blue, and one wrong swing will turn you gray and get you tower zapped. Most of the time, after a bit of sparing, we would both decide to play nice and not risk a ‘cheap’ death from a tower, only to have the dozen or so randoms loot our tombstone anyway.

Regardless of the situation or your intentions, you can rest assure that you always have to keep your head on a swivel in Agon, and that even the simplest quest might turn into a massive brawl.

(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.)

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in Combat Systems, crafting, Darkfall Online, MMO design, PvP, Warhammer Online. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to What a weekend of PvE questing brings

  1. pitrelli says:

    Hmm whilst playing darkfall I really didnt find killing any mob grindy at any time to be honest because of 1. The great AI displayed by what you are fighting and 2. Genuinely struggling to beat them :(

    Ha I’ve resigned myself to enjoying Darkfall from the side lines…… for now.

    • SynCaine says:

      I did not really mean grind in a bad way, but rather than killing them for a more general purpose (skill up, get cash, get mats), I was dead-set on killing 160 of them to finish the quest, which in my mind was ‘grinding them out’. I still enjoyed myself.

  2. bonedead says:

    Hey I noticed you have 2 toons, so I assume you could point me in the direction of a nice little program that can hold shift for me, stop after a bit, press r, 0, left click, etc. Any ideas? What is Aventurine’s stance on this?

    • SynCaine says:

      Unattended macroing is a 3 day ban, and the GMs are out in force about this of late (they come by Talpec at least three times a day sending tells). After the three day ban I believe it’s a week, and then a bank wipe followed by a perma-ban. Your account gets flagged on the first offense though, meaning GMs know to look for you after that.

      My second character is actually somewhat of a waste right now, I hardly ever log on with him. The few people who I know who have a second account and tried the buddy macro stuff got banned, so it seems highly risky. That said in Talpec a group is usually up using the ‘group sex’ macro for autoit (I think), not sure if they are all attended or not, but my guess is yes considering how often the GMs come by.

      • bonedead says:

        I remember using AutoIt to master weaponsmith in SWG. Good to know I don’t have to go as crazy balls to the wall as I thought, thanks.

  3. Sean says:

    “Another quest had me retrieve a lost amulet from deep within a cave. While just outside there is an NPC spawn, the cave itself is ‘empty’ save for the box holding the amulet, which you can only interact with if you have that particular quest. Without it, it becomes just another ‘cave with nothing inside’.”

    This seems to work against the immersion you were otherwise praising in your post. Having quest objectives/items only appear when you are on the quest they are relevant to is one of the things I dislike about WoW’s quest system. Exploring an area only to subsequently go back and find it different because you toggle the “player has quest X flag” makes it even harder to imagine that the space you’re playing in is a truly persistent world.

    If the quest triggered some type of event – say an invasion of trolls into that cave – then it’s easier to believe that the quest objective didn’t simply appear. No, the trolls moved in and it’s up to you to clear them out again. I would have imagined that in Darkfall, a quest like that would not be instanced for the player and instead all players who come upon the cave after you accept the quest will find it swarming with trolls; woe to anyone who happened to be inside as they invaded.

    • SynCaine says:

      The object is always there, you just can’t interact with it unless you are on the quest. So you still see the chest that contains the amulet, or a corpse that you will later search for a ring, but you can’t interact with them to get the item before you are on the quest.

  4. Sean says:

    That’s better but only just. I can understand why many MMOs handle quest objectives like this – it allows many people to simultaneously do a quest in the same persistent space – but it still strikes me as a particularly annoying compromise. I would rather the world be more highly instanced so as to allow for more dynamic interaction between the player and the environment or no instancing at all. As it stands now, there is an odd dissonance between being the heroes of our individual stories and the reality that we’re each taking part in instances of the same story in one persistent world.

  5. I read this a couple days ago, and because I was on the same part of the title quest (hobgoblins), I got to thinking … you did 160 hobgoblins in one trip? You must have been one fat PvP target. Assuming a hobgoblin drops an average of 20g, 10 arrows, and a few pieces of vendorable armor .. say about 50g. Thus, you were a solo player with 160 x 50g = 8000g in mob loot, plus your own armor, regs, weapons, mount, etc. Good thing you didn’t get ganked! :)

    (I usually bank once I get ~1000g in loot on me. Maybe that’s why the quest took me forever :P)

    • SynCaine says:

      There was a hamlet just outside the spawn; I banked every 2000g, but I was only looting the gold/arrows and skinned them. Grunts/Veterans don’t drop stuff ‘good enough’ to sell IMO. I was also wearing some rather junk gear ( often equipping the armor they dropped whenever something broke). But luckily I never had to fight/run, no one bothered to stop and attack.

      • Beleg Firebreath says:

        Ah, I see. That’s rather convenient hamlet placement! :)

        I don’t know why so many people hold this “too lame to sell” mentality. Just get a bag and throw it all in there. It’s not hard, it makes the tombstones disappear (see: quicker looting), and you make a lot of money. Just my opinion, but I humbly suggest you try it out :P

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