DarkFall Trial: The day after.

So, who died to a goblin last night?

From my somewhat brief trip around human lands and starter cities last night, I saw a good number of new (halo’ed) players, and the more global chat channels were a bit busier with both new player questions and others trying to show off their impressive four-letter vocabulary. Looks like some of the trial players have brought a bit of barrens chat with them. I also fully expect tonight to be far busier as more people complete the download and get in-game.

The most interesting part so far has been the ‘controversy’ of charging one dollar/euro for the trial, and the tinfoil hat army is out in full force warning all good citizens of the impending doom. Not really surprising I guess, this being the internet, but some of the stuff people are saying brings me back to the good ol’ days of DF launch and the random misguided hate some have for the game.

Stuff like “DF is dying, so AV is trying to squeeze out the last few $ before the server shuts down” is priceless, given that the game still costs $50 a full year later, and has a planned retail release for EU later on this year (it’s already had a retail release in Greece, home of Aventurine), with plans for NA to follow after that. Plus I doubt a studio with just one game would move into a bigger office to fit all the new hires if things were not going well, but hey, the tinfoil hat blocks logic as well as the alien control signal.

Also laughable is the whole “I don’t just give my credit card out at random” argument. One must wonder how those making that argument would have continued to play DarkFall after a free trial, or how everyone currently playing has yet to notice Aventurine selling our CC info to China. Now that they mention it, I should probably block Aventurine from my PayPal account. Sure it might stop them from depositing money into it each Community Publisher cycle, but that’s a small price to pay to protect my identity from such an evil company!

And finally, my current favorite: “They want me to pay to see if I want to pay them to play a game!?” First, it’s a dollar; if you can’t spend that to try a game out, one must wonder just how interested you are to begin with. Secondly, I’ll gladly take the loss of such a sure-fire potential customer over the countless issues that come with a truly free trial, especially in a game like DarkFall that actually puts the trial players into the full world with very minimal (if any, not 100% sure on this) restrictions. I can’t even remember the last time I saw any kind of gold seller advertising in-game, while trial account characters literally rain down from the sky in cute patterns in other games. Plus how much of DarkFall would you be showing off if you put all trial players on a trial island secluded from the rest of the world? That works just fine in a zone-based themepark, but not in a living virtual world like Agon.

My real concern with the trial is not the petty $1 cost, but just how much of DarkFall will a trial player really see in seven days? I mean technically they can see all of it; they can ride anywhere, fight anything, equip any item, join a siege, live out of a player city, go PvP’ing, all of that, but what will the ‘average’ player coming in see? As I’ve said many times, DarkFall plays very differently from most MMOs, even down to its basics. Simple things like being able to rotate or zoom in/out with the camera are not possible in DarkFall, not because the UI is broken, but for gameplay reasons. Yet it’s those kinds of things that someone playing for the very first time will notice immediately, and it’s understandable that without more knowledge, you can look at something like not being able to zoom out and call it either a bug or bad design. Same for the whole looting/sheathing thing. Most people call that bad design in their first week/month of playing, and then after a few PvP battles realize just how important that mechanic really is.

My concern with the trial is that in 7 days, without some serious time invested (or a friends help), most players won’t get beyond that initial “this must be broken” phase. I fully expect many to come away from the trial with an Ed Zitron-like reaction based on their limited time with the game. Just as you stop fighting with the UI and get comfortable and really into the game, the trial ends.

On the other hand a lot of other things, like how unique (to MMOs) the combat is, how the graphics look/perform, how the mob AI works, the basics of gathering/crafting/economy, and the overall ‘feel’ of DarkFall should be apparent in those seven days, and hopefully for some that will be enough to convince them to jump in and make a full purchase. As Aventurine themselves stated long ago, DarkFall is not for everyone, but I think a few people might be surprised that it work for them.

(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, Mass Media, MMO design, PvP. Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to DarkFall Trial: The day after.

  1. Andrea Bargs says:

    AV should’ve just charged $2 and made it a 14-day trial : )

  2. Ardwulf says:

    The 7 days is pretty short, but really, that’s still true of 14 days on a casual play schedule, which covers virtually all MMO trials. (The 21-day trial of EVE that you can get through Steam is the only exception I can think of.)

    Aside from that, unless there’s utter chaos going on behind the scenes that Adventurine is somehow, against all odds, managing to keep quiet, I don’t see any sign at all of trouble. Anybody with evidence to the contrary is welcome to present it, but right now that kind of talk sounds idiotic.

    Adventure are saying that the trails will be totally unresricted, BTW. I see nothing but upside to the whole thing.

  3. victorstillwater says:

    Darkfall will probably take a lot of getting used to, but I’m inclined to give it a shot. I hope my download of the client finishes tomorrow so I can give it a look-see. :)

    I’m still at 9% after 11 hours of downloading. over the past 26 hours.

    • sid67 says:

      Yuck. I used the torrent and had it downloaded in 2 hours. I’ll do the install/signup on Friday.

      • victorstillwater says:

        Haha… I know, right? Living in the Philippines and using torrents to download certain things has its downsides.

        Thank goodness I’m stubborn and patient. :D

  4. sid67 says:

    Count me in the $1 camp is smart. I have a buddy that hacks games for the challenge and I can tell you that he does all his ‘testing’ on Trial accounts.

  5. Ivoldir says:

    Perhaps it is us the current playerbase who should encourage new players to try out as many features as possible.

    Take Mifun’s Event for exemple : http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?t=231628
    He gave a total of 60 Garmir Mounts in one of the dwarven city (Idawoll). This is a good way to encourage players to leave the area and discover a bit more of Agon.

  6. Maladorn says:

    $1 trial is no biggie to me. Not my personal favorite, obviously, but I can understand and accept the reasoning for it. I started a character and ran around for about an hour last night. The UI is different, though the Mortal Online beta gave me some practice with the 2-mode UI. Changed my Parry to Right Click and mode change to Tab to match Mount & Blade. So far, combat feels similar to M&B or Fallen Earth.

    Put me in the “curious and intrigued” camp. I’ll be giving this a solid try for the next week.

    • SynCaine says:

      I have parry on right click as well, but for mode switch I use the ~ key. I found using Tab lead to some problems with the chat system (more user error than anything, but for whatever reason the ~ key gives me less problems, and now its just second-nature).

      • Maladorn says:

        Oh, and I didn’t die to a goblin. I chalk that up to Mount & Blade training me to stay out of range unless attacking. Even took 2 at one time.

        • sid67 says:

          Lancing? Makes sense.

          Is there a particular reason why people don’t use mostly range attacks?

          I always see these videos where some guy is whipping around a sword and only pulls out the bow to shoot them when they run away. I never see some guy circle-strafing through trees while popping you with magic missiles (or whatever).

        • SynCaine says:

          People kite all the time in PvP, and in PvE when needed (some monsters just hit too hard to melee efficiently). Melee hits hard though, does not cost regs/arrows, and is easier to hit with assuming you can follow someone. Plus a character with Destroyer or Indestructible is always trying to get into melee as they then have the advantage.

          Plus until you upgrade a spell, you can’t jump-cast with it, and you also need that specialty to jump-shoot with archery (and then you can’t shoot underwater, since you can’t have both specialties), not to mention that jump-shooting is not as easy as some make it look.

  7. mbp says:

    Why are you whingeing about? 7 Days is loads of time. Sure didn’t Ed Zitron see the whole game in about 15 minutes?

  8. Spidubic says:

    I think the $1 charge for the trial follows what they have been doing all along. Weeding out the chaff. Look at how hard it was to buy the game originally. Slowly letting people play. It has done a good job of getting those in game that want to play and keeping the ‘tourists’ out. The dollar charge is just another way of doing that and fits in perfectly.

  9. The dollar charge also keeps people from creating tons of accounts for the purposes of scamming, spamming, etc.

  10. Douhs says:

    tbh the only people that complain about the $1 charge have to be kids. I know when I was younger the biggest challenge in playing these mmos was extracting the credit card from my parents. For older people a $1 novelty charge is nothing and if you bother to research this game more than not at all you realize its probably a good thing. Just my opinion though maybe I’m wrong.

    However I think they should offer the entire free month you get when purchasing the game for 10 bucks and when that month is up if you decide to continue playing you just pay off the difference plus 15 for the next month and you are good to go.

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  12. Trippin Ninja says:

    Im on day 5 after buying the game last Sunday and have about 13 hours play time so far. This weekend I will get to really put some time in so I would say 7 days ain’t too bad for a preview. Thanks to the guide videos on this site I have done quite a bit. I just bought greater magic, rend and my power attack last night and took some trolls out for the first time. I got a steedgrass already just need to farm the rest of the gold for a mount tonight.

    I read in chat last night that you lose your protection buff if you leave your race’s area so be careful how far you explore if you are looking to take advantage of that buff. I know I am, as I was about to leave the troll spawn last night a red player showed up and started looting the gold off my kills and I was glad he couldn’t kill me because I had quite a stockpile of stuff on me.

  13. Dblade says:

    Of course the first time a trial is offered you will get people regardless. If Aventurine charged $10 you’d still be here posting the same thing.

    The problem is once the initial rush wears off, and people don’t comeback after 7 days. That’s when the dollar charge will start to be a factor, as you exhaust the small pool of the dollar trial and need to reach out to the people who have never heard of the game.

    EVE could have done the dollar thing as well. They don’t, because they realize that they need a lot of trials to get a sizable amount of people to stay. DF will need them too, because tbh it sounds like a worse version of EVE with no empire.

  14. Ardwulf says:

    Okay, so… almost totally unrelated question.

    You have your little banner ad that gives you a cut of the box sale from people who click through your link.

    If people do this with the trial and go on to purchase the client, do you still get credit?

    • SynCaine says:

      I believe when you create the trial through my link, it records that, and then when the trial is made into a full account, I get credit.

  15. Carson says:

    I activated my trial account last night .. enjoy your 20c cut SynCaine! :-) .. and have posted my initial thoughts (complete with patented Zitron-meter™ so you can see how much I’ve played) over at http://blog.eldergoth.com/2010/02/darkfall-cue-ominous-music.html

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  17. Wintersdark says:

    Re: cost complaints:

    Whatever. If you have a credit card, you almost certainly give the number out willy nilly in stores, and they are no safer than an established company online.

    It’s just a dollar. If you won’t front that, I highly doubt you’d pay to play at all.

    Re: Length:

    everyone would like it longer, but it’s long enough I think. I’ve never played (want to badly but I’m between PC’s, in the middle of building a new one) but a week will show you whether or not you want to invest in a month (typically the same cost as a single player game, which likely won’t last longer than a month anyways) so it’s perfectly reasonable.

    If you buy, can you carry your trial character over or do you have to start anew?

    • SynCaine says:

      You keep your trial character, just make sure to actually convert the trial account rather than buying a separate account.

  18. tristo says:

    im 14 and i dont have a goddamn credit card -_-!!!

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