I’m back and full of Darkfall goodness

Did you miss me?

I’d say it’s good to be back, but really being back at work rather than sitting on a patio overlooking the caldera (google it) while eating breakfast that was just delivered is, well, not as cool? The honeymoon was amazing, as was the wedding, and Aria and I both had an unforgettable time. Greece was phenomenal all around as well; great people, great food, crazy sights, very relaxing. What more could you ask for?

But this is a blog about MMOs and gaming, not my personal life, so let’s get back on topic. As I mentioned before I left, while in Greece we had a visit set up with Aventurine to check out the studio, meet the team, and get some info about everyone’s favorite MMO. While I can’t say that was the highlight of the trip (Aria skims the blog), it certainly was a ton of fun, as was the dinner we had that night. Can’t really beat talking MMOs while eating great Greece food (and booze) until 2am, now can you? Plus we got a ride back to the hotel in the Darkfall mobile (ok just Tasos’s car with a DF sticker on the back, but still…) Everyone we meet at AV was extremely nice, and they really went out of their way to make us feel welcome and comfortable.

It was genuinely very interesting to talk to them about Darkfall, how they viewed the game, how I believe players/fans view it, and what the overall ‘vision’ for the game is going forward. Talking to both Klaus and Tasos, it was very clear that this is their baby, along with being the dream game they created as MMO fans themselves. Whether it was the early issues the game faced, the ‘unique’ relationship Darkfall has with certain media groups, just how aware they are of the community (they love you Ginger Magician), and how they react to the fans response to updates (Henning, the lead artist, needs some love. The man can’t fix bugs people, and the new terrain tech IS a big deal). I think, as fans, its not always easy/possible to put faces to the games we plan and the work that gets done, and seeing things from the other side was both eye opening and just very entertaining for someone who has been a fan of the genre for so long. We talked for many hours about Darkfall, and yet at the end I felt like I barely got to the different topics I wanted to bring up.

I got to talk to a lot of different people at AV, seeing what everyone does and what they are currently working on. While AV did not specifically say not to talk about anything (which was rather shocking), I did ‘accidentally’ see a few things that I just don’t think they want out their right now. That said there are things I know I CAN talk about that I think everyone here will find interesting, and the plan is to go over that in the next few days.

The first and perhaps most surprising item for me was just how happy Tasos and AV are overall with Darkfall right now, and when I asked about expanding the game to make it more attractive to a wider audience, ala EVE, they seemed somewhat taken aback by that. Maybe the question simply surprised them, but overall I just got the feeling that they like where Darkfall is at the moment, and are very confident in their plans going forward. I was surprised by this because while currently Darkfall is very strong in its PvP game, it has the potential to be a standout game with its PvE and economy as well. If those two areas see their full potential, it would attract a much different, and bigger, crowd to the game. One would think a company would be trying to attract all of their potential customers, but it says something about the PvP focus AV has that this is not a more pressing issue. That said, as time goes on I fully expect both PvE and the economy to get some major updates and hopefully reach that potential. It is reassuring to know however that we won’t be seeing F2P Darkfall soon, or an item shop selling $25 sparkle ponies. I think cash shops are just below EG on the AV list of things they dislike.

Speaking of PvE, I did get a chance to see some upcoming content, including a completely new dungeon that is set to arrive with the next expansion. The new dungeon reminded me heavily of DDO in terms of its look, layout, and overall feel, which is a good thing IMO as DDO has some of the most interesting dungeons in the genre. Inside the dungeon players will find an NPC belonging to some new neutral factions, who will hand out quests related to the dungeon. From what I gathered, these quests will be somewhat similar to the titles quests in the game, intended to be completed over a longer period of time rather then instantly, with suitable rewards. That’s subject to change based on balancing and testing of course, but the overall idea is to not only get players into the dungeons, but give them a reason to return or stay around, hopefully creating some PvP hotspots along with more focused PvE. Beyond the addition of the NPC, there are bigger plans for dungeons as well, but those are still very preliminary.

As with basically everything else, the plan here is to slowly role things out, and build upon a solid base one change at a time. It’s a design style that clearly frustrates some fans, but seeing it from the other side now, it certainly makes sense in terms of being able to deliver things within a reasonable time, as well as being able to get feedback on ‘phase 1’ of something and react by the time phase 2, 3, and 4 come around. Player feedback plays a huge role at AV, and this style allows them to get that feedback before becoming overly committed to a certain direction.

It feels good to be back and blogging again, funny how much I missed it actually. Guess doing something consistently for 3+ years now (yearly wrap-up post is on its way) kind of grows on you.

Chuck-o-the-day: Before Leo Tolstoy meet Chuck Norris, his book was called Peace.

(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 Darkfall Online, Mass Media, MMO design, Patch Notes, PvP, Site update. Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to I’m back and full of Darkfall goodness

  1. Ravious says:

    Glad to see you back, and of course congrats on RL stuff.

    Now give us a gd DF story on triumph, betrayal, and noobs!

  2. Sleepysam says:

    Welcome back – I guess the rumors of the implosion of Greece have been exaggerated?

    • SynCaine says:

      Sickeningly so actually. Things were perfectly fine in each location, and everyone was extremely friendly. Everything was on time, everything was open, and we never felt unsafe or got the feeling that something was off (other than the fact that the country is struggling and tourism is down, which hurts the local shops and restaurants greatly)

      • Sleepysam says:

        Good to hear. I enjoyed doing some island hopping in Greece years ago. Would like to get back sometime.

  3. Suncross Chapel says:

    What a treat that must have been: going to Greece for your life, leisure and entertainment. I’m Glad you had a good time, and a good read this article is. I should ask Tasos for a 1v1. I wonder if he would accept :)

  4. Huck says:

    You’ve mentioned the new dungeons have the same feel as DDO which really excited me. In the few weeks I played DDO I REALLY enjoyed their dungeons especially the traps and other interactive things they had in their like hidden passages and levers and such.

    I was wondering if you had any info on Darkfall Dungeons having any interactive things other then the NPC’s or if it’s heading in that direction?

    • SynCaine says:

      The one I saw did not have interactive items, although it did have a ‘hidden’ area of sorts with a boss-ish encounter. They are working on the tools to make more complex things possible, the problem is something like that simply takes a lot more time to add to the game engine, rather than using the current tools to add ‘more’ stuff.

      Think simpler DDO instances rather than some of the trick/trap-heavy ones here, for now.

      • Huck says:

        I figured traps and such wouldn’t be in since it would take some reworking of their engine, though in the future I’m hoping to see at least some doors / hidden passages that can be opened since they already have it in the game with clan city entrances. Thanks for the info!

        • SynCaine says:

          Actually they DO have working doors that require a special item to open them in some dungeons that are in the works, just not the one I saw. That totally slipped my mind until you wrote that. As for traps, I think some stuff (like acid pits) are already possible, while more complex stuff like swinging spiked balls would require some heavy coding.

          They do have big plans for dungeons though, and I’m sure other ‘secret’ stuff is in the works as well.

        • Huck says:

          Oh nice! I like the sounds of the working doors which require special items. Thanks again.

  5. Ginger Magician says:

    Nice write up.

    Could you possibly send me a mail with what Tasos and Klaus said about me.I would be fascinated to know.

  6. ISVRaDa says:

    Nice article SynCaine!

    Did you get a cute poster? I have mine sleeping close to my every night hehe.

    Farewell o/

    • SynCaine says:

      Two, one signed. Plus two copies of the boxed game, DF notepads and stickers, and two pens, all in DF bags.

  7. Blackwings says:

    ‘They love you’….sounds like you amuse them to me. :)

    Nice write-up, I’m jealous, I’d love to get a peak into a studio such as AV’s.

  8. Suxbad says:

    Glad you are back and again, Congrats…

  9. Jeremy says:

    Wow they really let the cat out of the bag with you.

    Thats interesting about the quests from dungeons thats a bit of a bombshell right there.

  10. Ryan says:

    Thanks for the info! This is good news on the dungeons. Glad Iona pointed me over here. How tough would it be to get you to join me for a cast sometime… sometime soon (at mmosmacktalk.com)?

    • SynCaine says:

      I’ve done podcasts before, so its certainly possible. Email me so we can set up a time and what you want to do.

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