DarkFall Review: One Year Later

Before I get into the review itself, I want to just set straight why I’m writing this review, as judging from the pre-post there was some confusion. It should be very clear to anyone around here that I really enjoy DarkFall, so this is not going to be an EG repeat of how terrible the game (read: character creator screen) is. As requested I will try to point out some of its current flaws or shortcomings, but given that it’s been more or less the only major game I’ve played for a year now, expect more good than bad.

I wanted to write a one-year-later review because far too often, a new MMO will get reviewed at release, but anyone looking for a solid write-up after some patching goes in will be out of luck, and given how much an MMO should change year to year, I see this as an issue. Along with that, the well documented problem of “how much do you have to play before you can review an MMO” is always present, so a years-worth of experience will result in a different review than one done from the log-in screen and forum searching.

If I had to sum up my feeling about DarkFall in one sentence, it would be that it’s a game of daily progress and discovery punctuated by moments of pure greatness, moments that I believe are only attainable in an MMO like DarkFall. I don’t view the game as a PvP-exclusive MMO, but rather one driven by PvP, and to me that is a big distinction. I can go days without PvP, yet during those days I’m still progressing towards some inevitable confrontation, and the knowledge that at some point I will be locked in PvP pushes me to progress forward. Every action has a PvP-derived purpose, be it direct (raising my melee skills to hit harder), indirect (raising crafting to make better weapons, with which to hit harder), or just generally related (learning the layout of a new area, which can later be used as an advantage should a fight break out in that location).

The more I play the better I get, both because my actual character is getting stronger and because my understanding and comfort with the game is increasing. There is something very rewarding about getting into a familiar situation and getting a more favorable result because you simply played better, and DarkFall is full of such moments. And just like the time to ‘cap’ is very lengthy from a character skills perspective, the time it takes to refine your player skills is likewise extensive. You won’t be able to watch a youtube video or read a forum strategy guide and come out a PvP expert, and while you yourself are improving, so is everyone else, creating a truly competitive and ever-changing environment.

And as in any competitive environment, there are those who will do whatever it takes to get ahead. While cheating is present in just about every MMO (Google search your MMO + cheats to see what’s possible), in a game like DarkFall it has an effect on more than just the person doing the cheating. To me there are two distinct forms of cheating; one being unnaturally getting ahead, and the other is doing the impossible.

Unnaturally getting ahead, be it through macroing, buying/duping gold, exploiting mobs, or whatever else pops up, is to me the lesser of two evils. It’s still cheating, but all that player is really doing is something that anyone with unlimited time could achieve as well. Someone who buys/dupes 10,000 gold is in the same spot as someone who has all day to farm that 10,000. If you are someone who can only farm 1,000 gold, both players will be ahead of you. How extensive this form of cheating is in DarkFall is difficult to say, but it’s certainly present (though of course ForumFall would lead you to believe everyone but the initial poster is duping 24/7 and exploiting mobs WHILE duping). GMs, especially of late, have been very active in temp-banning players who are afk macroing or exploiting mobs, and plenty of well-known players have been perma-banned as well, so SOME action is being taken. While I wish DarkFall was 100% free of such cheating, I understand that is simply not the case, and all I can do is play my game and accept that sometimes I’ll simple be behind, be it due to lack of play time or lack of buying gold.

The other form of cheating, doing the impossible, truly ruins a game. When you can run unnaturally fast, stick to someone’s back, radar hack, or aim-bot, there is little to nothing someone can do to stop you. I’ve personally witnessed this behavior three times in-game, and of those three two have been confirmed as players looking to go out with a bang (basically asking to get banned because they are quitting, so blatantly using a hack to fly around in plain sight). The ban dropped quickly (minutes) of being reported, but that it’s possible is at least a little troubling. The third action happened on the EU server a few months after launch, where I was fighting (and winning) against a character who simply melted into the ground. He had a then-familiar hack-friendly name (long strings of I L I O 0 O 0), but since the name-change policy I have not spotted any such characters (though I never found out if that particular character was banned, though I suspect he was).

Hackusations (as they are so lovingly called on ForumFall) are common on the forums and in-game, and in many cases they are from people who got beat and just refuse to believe they got outplayed. One member of my own clan gets accused of aim-botting at times because of his accuracy with archery. We know that rather than running a hack, he is just that good at aiming, but the accusations still fly. Same goes for people who don’t fully understand all of the mechanics of the game. It’s not a speed hack that let me catch up to you mounted, it’s mount-jumping down a hill. It’s not radar that let me find you behind that rock, it’s having seen you sneak behind it when you thought I was not looking. That type of stuff happens all the time, and makes it more difficult to spot the real exploiters, or to judge just how rampant cheating really is in DarkFall. From personal experience, it’s not very common and I can honestly say I don’t think hacking has affected me personally in any major way, but some on the forums will swear everyone is doing it.

Somewhat related to cheating and getting ahead is the topic of how long it takes a new player to get up-to-speed in DarkFall and actually contribute. To me the biggest hurdle a new player has to cross is not the skills/stats growth, but the very concept and approach of DarkFall itself. The game is not a different version of EQ/WoW/LoTRO/WAR/etc. It does not play anything like any MMO you have likely played before, from the UI to the mobs to the mentality needed to succeed and have fun. It’s just a very different beast, and anyone going in needs to prepare themselves for a bit of MMO culture-shock.

The game does very little hand-holding to guide you from one fun spot to the next, and if you are not at least a little self-motivated, you will soon find yourself without ‘stuff’ to do. You also can’t solo-hero the game start to finish; you need to join a clan, get involved, and get mixed into everything going on around you, of which there is plenty. Great moments and rewards are out there, but Aventurine won’t place them in front of you wrapped in a pretty pink bow, and expecting as much will only lead to disappointment.

As far as becoming a member of the community, it of course varies. While not everyone is a 13yr old self-proclaimed badass in his mom’s basement, those players do play DarkFall, and since they tend to attention-whore more than most, you might notice them. But there are also plenty of mature players, both those intent on world domination or to simply organize an RP event. There are casual clans, hardcore PvP clans, and everyone in between (Yes even a few crafter clans). If you take a little bit of time to look around, you should be able to find a group that fits your playerstyle and maturity level, and having a great group around you really makes DarkFall shine. Even in some corners of ForumFall you can find intelligent discussion, but wading through those badass 13yr olds might be too much for most.

Moving on to the gameplay itself (hey it’s only taken two pages according to Word), I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again here: I believe DarkFall has, hands down, the best combat in any MMO. And when your game is so combat-driven, that’s kind-of-a-big-deal. While balance is never perfect, the current state of the game allows for all three styles (melee, archery, and magic) to thrive if played well, and each form requires a unique approach. A great archer might not be the best melee fighter (from a player-skill perspective), and someone who is devastating with magic might be a one trick pony. I don’t want to get into the nitty-gritty details of combat because I believe the countless videos out do a good job of showing it off, and as always, what looks fun to watch is just that much more fun to actually play.

Since release Aventurine has made certain changes that allow a new player to get up-to-speed a bit faster than before, while still retaining much of the slower late-game progress. This means that if you focus on one area, you should be more than competent within a reasonable amount of time (this of course depends on your expectations, but you won’t wait months before being able to at least contribute in a group setting), and even the newest players can contribute in some areas (all players deal the same damage when shooting a cannon, for example). As there is no level or gear-gated content, what you experience and when is based more on you and your clan/alliance than on how many XP points you have or how high your item level is. A day-one player can group up with veterans and head into the toughest dungeon, swing away, and contribute. That same day-one player can head out with his clan and PvP with everyone else. Sure he will be a softer target dealing less damage and have few tools (mainly magic) available to him, but the game itself won’t keep you out.

Combat aside, DarkFall is no slouch in areas like crafting or exploring either. While crafting is not perfect (lower-tier items are undesirable to all but the newest of players, and the upper-tier items are currently very difficult to get for anyone outside of a major alliance due to rare ore availability), its still better than most themeparks, as its more than just a huge grind/money sink (it’s that too) with 1-2 worthwhile items at the end. Given that items will be lost in PvP or break from use, players are always looking to restock, and what you require may change based on your play style (mages perfect one type of armor, melee another). Mobs also have varying weaknesses which will influence what type of weapon you use against them. For instance, I currently farm a Veilron Golem, which is particularly weak to lighting-based weapons. As my weapon of choice is an axe, I went out and bought a player-crafted one-handed lighting axe, plus I had an enchanter put a golem-slayer enchant on it just to give it that extra kick, knowing I would only use it against that particular mob. When I move on from the Golem, I will likely require a different weapon/method to kill whatever is next.

Exploring is another area of DarkFall that has improved significantly since launch, but still has a ways to go. There are countless areas around Agon that are visually stunning, and exploring can yield new mobs to farm or a particularly good spot to harvest. With that said, it’s clear that many areas are still unfinished, be it a deep tunnel that ends in a closed door, a complex city with no real purpose, or dungeons that are little more than a few rooms and 1-2 mob spawns. It can be somewhat disappointing to search a particularly interesting cave/tunnel/ruin only to finally come to the conclusion that there really is nothing to find. As I’ve mentioned before, some of these areas are explained by the in-game quests and lore, but certainly not all of them and its clear Aventurine has left themselves plenty of areas to come back to and flesh out.

Over this last year Aventurine has done what I would consider an exceptional job in refining and improving DarkFall. From noticeable improvement in client stability and performance to expanding questing and PvE, the DarkFall of today is a much improved game from what was launched back in February of 2009, and Aventurine has set a very aggressive pace going forward (three free expansions per year is the goal). In addition to just the sheer size of the updates, very few of the changes could be considered side steps or outright mistakes. The balancing of magic, ships, armor, and PvE rewards have all been well received and genuinely made the game better. It’s this short but successful track record that leads me to believe that DarkFall in 2010 will further see some amazing additions.

As Aventurine has stated before, DarkFall is not for everyone. It can be brutal, frustrating, unfair, and at times make you wish you could reach across your monitor and strangle someone. It’s also been the game that this 13 year MMO veteran has had some of his most memorable moments in, be they epic PvP victories or silly things like playing mana-missile dodge ball with my clanmates. It’s has, without exaggeration, renewed my interest in the MMO genre that prior to this title, was one disappointing or uninspiring EQ clone after another. I’m excited to see not only what Aventurine will add to DarkFall in 2010, but what the players themselves will do as well. More than anything, DarkFall really is a virtual world rather than a string of short and flashy rides, and it’s a world I’m wholly enthralled in.

(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 Console Gaming, crafting, Darkfall Online, Mass Media, MMO design, Patch Notes, PvP. Bookmark the permalink.

50 Responses to DarkFall Review: One Year Later

  1. Airport Security says:

    Nice post. I’ve been playing for just over a month now, and I’m having the time of my life. The openness of the game, sans handholding, combined with the ever present awareness of potential consequences when I leave our city with valuable gear on my back… it’s just exciting and cool. And the community (EU1) has surprised me as being really good.

  2. Dblade says:

    Yeah, you wrote a puff piece. So there is nothing wrong with darkfall except some minor cheating (which the devs jump on and matters less than people think because you’ll be behind hardcore legit players too) the need to switch mindsets to open pvp, and some areas looking unfinished? Come on, I played FFXI myself for years, and loved it, but even then I knew the flaws and problems of it, and could put them down objectively in a review.

    • Adam says:

      @dblade

      So to you “objective” = “aligns with my worldview” essentially?

      What are you saying? What do you think about these things?

      Say something concrete about them instead of drive by whining about “objectivity”.

      • Dblade says:

        I’m saying he shouldn’t call it a review when it just is praise with heavily qualified minor negatives. When I want to read a review I want a balanced statement on a game, and it’s possible to love one while stepping back and noting actual faults and compelling reasons for it good and bad.

        When he doesn’t, when it’s all puppies and roses, then people who do try it are going to come in, find Syncaine glossed over every real fault in it, and leave, thinking he is just talking crap.

        Especially when he has a financial interest in people buying the game.

        • Adam says:

          @Dblade

          What flaws? I don’t mean in the sense that Darkfall doesn’t have them… I mean in the sense of what do you think he is actually missing in the review?

          Give an example.

        • bonedead says:

          Everyone knows that Darkfall is full loot, cut throat, and crazy as all shit (compared to the majority of other MMOs). That is the huge problem the majority of ex-players talk about that you’re wishing he was pointing out. The UI, combat systems, crafting, etc are all working pretty damn good. Cheating is happening, yes, but I’ve heard of 2 people (by name) getting banned in the last week.

          You want him to pull problems out of the air. Have you even played the game? Do you know something that he isn’t mentioning?

          Plus, how is it not a review? It is his blog (which implies opinion) and he wrote what he thinks about the game. What the hell is that besides a review? If I say that I’m going to review Fallen Earth and then I write about what I think of it according to my experiences, how is that not a review?

    • Malakili says:

      A guy admits that he likes the game, and then goes on to write about things he finds good in the game, while mentioning some bad things (but less than the good things).

      Whats the proper course of action? Not care? Ignore? NOOOO THIS IS THE INTERNET!!!! COMPLAIN!

      • Dblade says:

        LOL this from the fanbase that is known for bitching over reviews. Even Kieron’s rereview got bitched over.

        • Malakili says:

          Thats nice, to be honest I have read or commented on either of those reviews and really no nothing about them other than there was some uproar about them. Also, I didn’t know I represented the entire Darkfall “fanbase” now. Someone let me know next time I get promoted to a position like that, its a ton of responsibility!

        • Malakili says:

          *have not

        • bonedead says:

          Kieron’s rereview got bitched over (imo) because reading the review, he gives the impression that it is going to receive a higher score, then he settles on 4 because he has to stay on his team’s side. I read on blogs of people who want nothing to do with DF that they thought it was going to get higher than a 4 just from reading the review itself.

        • Tobias says:

          Maybe that’s because the review was a horrible sham, and anyone who knew ANYTHING about Darkfall could clearly spot massive amounts of FACTUAL (not opinion) errors over every line of text? And then to save face, Eurogamer had to give a low score with the second review as well?

    • silvertemplar says:

      Yea, i agree.

      I’ll show an example of what a review can and should be in one sentence:

      I love Fallen Earth, but the combat is CRAP. If i did not say this to the developers or to anyone it’s not going to change. If i were to be a “good citizen” and say “combat ain’t that bad in FE, i’ve seen worse in the days of UO”…does anyone seriously think it has any merit?

      But oh well, i read this review anyway, unfortunately it did nothing to convinced me to try DF. And come now, be serious, who is this review for? Current DF players? Or players circling around the game? As it is, it’s only useful for those that is being playing, almost like a little pat on the back of saying “yea, you made a good choice” .

  3. Adam says:

    Thoughtful review and it was interesting to read.

    If I had seen a draft I would have suggested breaking out the “hackers/cheaters” section to a completely separate post tbh. Make a short link in the middle of your review to “my thoughts on exploits etc.” Spoiled the flow.

    For me some of the most important part of my experience in Darkfall I didn’t see in your review (bad on me for not posting this in your pre-review post).

    That’s the team/clan pvp group element. There is something very powerful about the way our groups band together and fight the common foe as we go through openworld pvp.

    Another thing- I and my guildmates remember fights from 6 months ago with pretty amazing clarity because of their geographic uniqueness and the sheer random roller coaster thrill of Darkfall group combat.

    Most of us seem to remember “that time when” more strongly than other games…

    • Adam says:

      @self

      “that time when”

      Memories cling to rocks and trees in Darkfall.

      When riding in Darkfall you pass the sights of a hundred battles. It’s pretty amazing as the sight of a rock will prompt a few of us in the group to start swapping a story back and forth of combat from months ago.

      This just doesn’t happen without a large open persistent and (imo) -human scale- world.

      • SynCaine says:

        I would have liked to include more stuff as well, but I mean, it got long as is. I wanted to keep the cheating part in because its brought up anytime someone mentions DF.

        But yea, I have tons of memories about events in DF, the major stuff just sticks with you.

        • Adam says:

          I agree the cheating (and accusations of cheating) needs to be talked about at length which you did.

          I just would have preferred you spent the length on the main review :)

  4. Carson63000 says:

    Really enjoyed this post, Syncaine. I didn’t think it was a puff piece at all, obviously we know you really like the game, and given that starting point, I thought you did an excellent job of explaining WHY you like it, and why other people may (or may not!) like it.

    On the topic of how long it takes a new player to get up-to-speed: it’s common for people to say that games which are more demanding of player-skill (rather than character-skill) give new players more of a chance against experienced players, because they can “outplay” them and overcome gear and character-skill differences with player-skill. Do you think this is the case? I’ve always thought that the more player-skill involved in a game, the HARDER it is for a new player to compete with a veteran, since you’ve got a double barrier to overcome, since they have stronger characters AND a lot more experience playing the game.

    The other thing I wanted to ask: do you think Darkfall is the sort of game that can be genuinely enjoyable if it’s not your sole or primary game, and if you don’t dedicate a lot of time to it?

    • SynCaine says:

      Well if you are a new character AND have low player skills (expected from a new player) then yea, its two hills to climb. But when I talk about being able to compete, I always mention group vs group combat. 1v1 a new player will get slaughtered even with great player skill.

      As for the other part, I don’t see how you could get everything out of DarkFall with a very limited playing schedule, but everyone is different. For me the consistency of knowing what is going on day-to-day is huge in keeping my interest. If you had more specific goals, or were in a casual clan that was also active (so large), it might work. Tough call though.

  5. Beau says:

    You can solo in the game, depending on your goals. True. I solo in it all the time.

    OF course, my goals are making cash (pvp’ers buy mats and weapons like crazy) and exploring very slowly. If you are wanting killer PvP action, don’t like at me. I suck and will always just run or stand there! lol

    Good write-up.

    • Beau says:

      “don’t LOOK* at me” I meant!

    • bonedead says:

      Haha, I’m pretty sure I gave you a scare on Sunday.

      • Beau says:

        AHHHH!! I turned around and looked for you. I only thought “He didn’t hit me very hard. Either he’s new, hits really weak or is taking it easy on me.”

        Some guy ran by earlier that was gray colored (rogue?) and then something hit him and he died. I ran up and took all his stuff. All he put in the local chat was “DOH.”

        • bonedead says:

          Haha, I was crouching around and just happened to see you through a bush doing the same. I am pretty weak and also using a 1 hander. I love that knockback skill, as soon as you landed you just kept running which looked so funny to me (that and being pretty sure it was you) that I just turned and ran. I’d had 500 or so gold on me from my exploits on the human newbs in the area. I’ll make sure to give ya some love taps as often as I can now that I know you’re so close to my home :D

  6. victorstillwater says:

    Hi Syncaine,

    I thought this article was very well-written and rather fair in its assessment of the game. I doubt you’d be able to place everything good and bad into it, but it paints an intriguing picture of the game as a whole, and makes me want to sample the game for myself.

    Thank you for writing this. :)

    -Victor Stillwater

  7. Diametrix says:

    I concur w/ Victor, Carson and Adam; a very well written and balanced post.

    I feel you did an admirable job of adressing the areas of concern (cheating, PvP-centricity, hacking) that many focus on.

    I feel you did an excellent job depicting what a different game Darkfall is when compared w/ the rest of the industry.

    Please do consider doing a post about the incredible dynamics that a close knit clan can bring to the gaming experience. I agree with others that such an experience in Darkfall is deeper and unique when compared with other games.

    Good post

  8. sid67 says:

    I’ll just point out that you DID mention other negative areas besides just the exploits. Specifically, that many places in the world are unfinished or empty.

    Also, depending on your perspective, you might view some of your comments about getting up to speed as negative.

    That said, I do think you glossed over or didn’t mention some of the areas I think take the most criticism.

    You alluded to ‘grinding’ on one mob over and over. That’s a pretty archaic thing. Grinding will always exists, but other MMOs are doing a better job at disguising it. WoW, for example, at least dresses it up as a daily quest.

    I would have liked to have seen you written a little more about your daily expectations. Both in terms of grinding skills and grinding crafting materials. I say that because it makes up a HUGE part of the game. From a time perspective, how much time do you spend grinding on golems versus sieges and other things?

    I also think you painted a rosey picture of the community. What you fail to point out is that while every game has it’s jerks — DF has more jerks and the jerks take jerkery to an all new level.

    And needless to say, you didn’t talk much about getting ‘ganked and looted’ as a new player. Not that I think it’s a bad thing, but MANY people see it as a bad thing.

    • bonedead says:

      He also mentioned the crafted items only really being worth it (to non newbs) if they are the higher skill requiring items, which some could view as negative.

      On the grinding subject, some people want to be lied to and some people want the blunt truth (and some people just want a blunt).

      As for the community, sure they have more jerks. But the jerkery being taken to new levels only seems that way because the game allows you to take many things to new levels in the eyes of your average MMO player(full loot, city destruction, etc).

      Getting ganked and looted as a new player sucks, surprise! That is the best way to be welcomed to Darkfall imo.

    • SynCaine says:

      To me grind != not fun. So when I say I’m ‘grinding’ the Veilron Golem, I mean it’s currently one of the mob that’s the most fun/profitable for me. It’s a challenging mob, not only due to the mob itself but also because a Deathless Mage spawns right near it, and breaking up that double spawn can be tough initially. The other challenge is that the Golem has about a 10 minute respawn time (the mage is about 3-5 min), and since every kill is of high value, it brings up an interesting decision of how many to kill before making the trip back to bank. Some nights that’s one, some I push it to 3-4.

      And because this is DF and not some PvE MMO, my head is always on a swivel when fighting or waiting for the mob, so the situation is tense even when just waiting for it to respawn. Problem is the review was already super long, so explaining every detail like this would have been beyond overkill.

      But to me doing a daily quest is putting the boring grind dead in my face, while something like DF that allows me to pick what skill/mob/location I want to work on is not a blatantly bad grind. Obviously you view it the other way, which is why it’s nice that we finally have some variety in MMO land.

      As for the community, to each his own. I’ll gladly take a little smack talk after a fight over a BG with people going AFK, people dancing naked on a mailbox, and barrens chat. Plus nothing beats a PUG with a ‘tank’ who does not own a shield, or a healer specced not to heal. Again, different tastes.

      • sid67 says:

        LOL. Actually, I hate Dailys. :p But I have to say that I hate grinding mobs with little purpose even more..

        I’m just anti-grind period, tbh. In my opinion, if 90% of what you do is in preparation for the other 10% — AND that 90% isn’t very fun — then your game is seriously broken.

        And yet, in all MMOs, we accept that as par for course.

        But honestly, just grinding on some random mobs for ‘stuff’ is so… 1999.

        • SynCaine says:

          I liked 1999, much more so than 2007-8.

        • Bhagpuss says:

          I love “grinding on random mobs for stuff”.

          Or, to put it another way, I love finding out what creatures have things I need and working out strategies to take it away from them. Much more interesting, and satisfying, than being given an automagic pop-up quest reward. And I absolutely loathe the entire concept of “Dailies”.

          Very interesting review, SynCaine. Not going to be playing Darkfall any time soon, unless Aventurine decide to put up a PvE server, but you always make it sound very intriguing.

    • Adam says:

      @sid67

      “Grind” is very different for -me- in Darkfall for a few reasons.

      Mobs move constantly and do not have the same aggro patterns.

      Mobs react to actually seeing you vs an arbitrary radius so you can hide behind things and do more clever things for pulling etc.

      The FPS play forces you to actually aim every single shot, move in and out of melee etc. You can’t macro the “grind” kill sequence, like you can in most MMOs.

      Mobs you “grind” on typically have some resource that you want not just a blip of XP and some gold. Darkfall is about resources in and resources out vs a quest reward or a rare drop.

      Example- I ground 3 Black Knights last night and know have a set of full plate and 3 rank40 2handers I can use for my next pvp/pve excursion.

      Sometimes I grind to only get a particular flavor of enchanting materials to stock my bank for a few weeks.

      Resource in, Resource out.

      This is a completely different feel than most MMO environments. There is a direct and tangible reward for your “grinding”.

      Questing vs Grinding –

      Before Darkfall I grew to LOATHE questing. In Warhammer I “ground” my characters via scenarios until I could stomach an hour or two max of questing. To me Warhammer had a much much better story than WoW behind the quests I did and I frequently read the quest etc. I still -HATE- the run around.

      “Grinding” for me in Darkfall is fun in both comparison and as in truly “it is fun”.

      • sid67 says:

        Thanks, Adam. That’s a good example of what I mean when I say that if 90% of the game is preparing for the other 10%, then the 90% better damn well be entertaining or your game is seriously broken.

        You make some pretty sound arguments for why that 90% is fun. Also, as you point out, there IS a purpose to seeking out a particular spawn.

        • SynCaine says:

          That’s one of the beauties of the skinning/enchanting aspect of DF. Every mob has a particular set of ‘stuff’ they skin for, and that alone goes a long way to determining their value.

          The Veilron Golem for instance always drops one veilron ore when killed, but can also be skinned for the chance of a second piece of ore. If you don’t skin the golem (or fail at skinning it), you are potentially leaving behind 50% of it’s value.

          Another example is the Eodryn, a tough mob that drops NOTHING, but skins for (sometimes) one quality five eye. That eye is of great value, so makes farming the mob profitable if you find the right buyer.

          Even lowly goblins, who drop 5-15 gold a piece, can sometimes skin for quality 1 hearts, which go for around 80 gold each. The drop rate for those hearts is lower on goblins than some other mobs, but for new players that are in the know, those hearts can go a long way to getting some cash. Plus after killing 200 of them for the title quest, you should have a decent little supply of hearts to sell/use.

      • sid67 says:

        By-the-by, I think that’s what was missing from this review. The context of what you’ll do MOST of the time in the game. And, or course, why you’ll do it.

        I think we all know that the epic moments are irregular — that’s part of what makes them epic. But what do you do during that 90%?

        What is fun about that 90% that lets you endure waiting for that 10%?

        I mean, it might not be the highlight of a game, but from an expectations standpoint — it’s what you DO most of the time.

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  10. Max says:

    Here is my take on grind -for some reason ( I think its lack of experience and in some cases lack of intelligence) developers of PvP sandboxes deem grind and timesinks a necessity for a worthwhile pvp experience . It was the case with shadowbane and an order of magnitude worse in DF

    Until designers realise that its not the grind and wasted time which are fun , but the actual battles with consequences nothing good will ever happen to pvp MMOs.

    Blizzard knows this, and frankly the most pvp fun I ever had was in WoW pre-bg days .And I playeed every major mmo (and many non major ones) (didnt play pre-trammel UO though) .WoW completely destroyed their world pvp, which was not stellar to begin with due to instancing and lack of objectives to take over and control.

    I like pvp. But I take fun minutae over grindy persistence. Hence my “pvp” fix is Tf2, cs:s,cod4 and SC:FA, not some grindy timesink like DF.

    I think eventually when developing niche MMO becomes profitable we will see a good PvP MMO, until then grindy, buggy,laggy , content lacking games like DF will dominate the market and all its 50k subscribers

  11. Prometheus09 says:

    Gday I was thinking of getting DarkFall but was wondering about the servers. I am Australian and wanted to know which server would have more austraians in it. I have to admit Im used to eves single server.

    • SynCaine says:

      I believe the EU server has more Australians, and you would likely get a better ping (the US server is located in California though, so not 100% sure on that).

      I would maybe look on the DF forums, in clan recruitment, and see if any Australian clans are around.

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  14. Kong says:

    Hi i just tried out this game and i like it alot. I killed a clan the other day single handely because of player skill and i only have 32 in great sword. I killed every single one of them. Some of the best PVP’ers in game have heard the whine on race chat and they came to try rescue the elite PVP clan. I had to run in the end cause i was running low on durability on my rank 0 greatsword, so i took to nearest NPC town and bought a new one from vendor. Next time i bring more great swords.

  15. Nnyan says:

    Interesting game but…no thanks…I’ll stick with EVE. Glad there are a small number of people that like this game and best of luck to you.

  16. Juriel says:

    Ive found your review to be honest, I followed this game when it was still in production 4 or 5 years ago. But college forced me to withdraw my interests. My one question is if it is worth getting into for casual use. (lets say… 3-4 hours a day.) Or should i just move on.

    • SynCaine says:

      3-4 hours per day 2-4 times a week is plenty of time to make progress. Don’t expect to 1v1 veterans after a month, but you will see progress with that playtime, and be able to join a clan and participate ‘enough’ to get sucked in.

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