Earning the crown

Note: Someone please inform work that I have a blog to write, and hence I can’t be actually working all 8 hours of the day. I mean, come on!

And actually, being busy at work feeds right into today’s topic, inspired by a comment from my Darkfall siege post: what does it take to get the most out of a game like Darkfall, one that at times requires 3-4hr straight gaming sessions?

A game like Darkfall has a lot of things going for it, and most activities can be accomplished in as little as 30 minutes or so. With that said, the highlight events are sieges, which at the very least require two straight hours, and most go between 3-5 depending on the amount of action and whether you are attacking or defending. The question then becomes, if you are unable to set aside 3-5 hours to play, is a game like Darkfall ‘worth it’?

The quick answer is maybe.

If you really, really can’t set aside 2-3 hour blocks every now and then, probably not, unless you don’t mind only chipping in on a siege, or missing them altogether. That sounds odd for a PvP-focused game, but maybe your goal is just to explore the world, or to become a trader, or to be a behind-the-scenes type helping to run a clan. While sieges are indeed the highlights, the game offers more than just that in terms of unique selling points.

The other question to ask is whether the highlight events are the reason you signing up, or if those are a very nice extra on top of everything else. As I’ve written here before, one major difference between a game like Darkfall and WoW is that in DF, the high points are much higher, but their occurrence is much lower. WoW might not deliver unique or memorable moments, but you can predict and control what will happen every time you log in. If you are someone who has to get a cookie with every login, DF will disappoint you too many times to make the highlights worth playing for. If on the other hand you live for those high points, and accept that in order to get them, you valleys are part of the equation, DF might be your game.

It’s those uncommon extreme highs that draw attention to a game like Darkfall, but it’s the ‘everyday’ life of the game that might not be your style. For many, they enjoy following the game from the outside (reading a blog) than actually playing it. EVE is exactly like this for many, where the stories sound amazing, but the actual game falls short. And unlike WoW-ish games, to be a part of those stories you have to go out and get yourself into them. No one is going to take your hand and guide you, and certainly no one is going to hand you the crown and call you a hero just for showing up. In a game like DF/EVE, being a ‘factor’ takes a lot of ‘work’, and even then nothing is guaranteed. It all sounds obvious, yet for many it’s a deal-breaker they have trouble admitting/accepting.

(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, EVE Online, MMO design, World of Warcraft. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Earning the crown

  1. AirportSecurity says:

    Good post, Syncaine. I don’t agree with the statement that “most activities can be accomplished in 30 minutes” though, not because you can’t do meaningful stuff in 30 minutes, but because it’s difficult to separate one “activity” from another in DF, and the activity you intended to start more often than not turn into something else :)

  2. Drew says:

    This pretty well sums up my thoughts on Darkfall from the few weeks I tried it. The game within the game is certainly the draw – the politcal intrigue, the planned warfare, etc. – but it requires a specific time investment that I just don’t have available any more. Several years ago? Absolutely.

    Great concept, and very fun to read about those high points – I really enjoy the pieces like your most recent siege post – but I’ve accepted the fact I have to enjoy those stories from the outside.

  3. Visperas says:

    This game certainly requires a certain amount of time and 30 minutes seems too little. You can certainly do things in 30 minutes but not many things. You have to account for bank managing time, gear up and ungear, travelling time and so on… If you also want to craft stuff from time to time, you cannot do that without spending a serious amount of time gathering.

  4. coppertopper says:

    “…the game offers more than just that in terms of unique selling points.”

    …the big caveat being: ‘while some douchebag can completely ruin your attempts at enjoying these unique selling points’.

    Aventurine is missing the target by catering to a very very small niche market.

  5. Saucelah says:

    I’ve only done a two week trial on DF, but no douchebags ruined my attempts at enjoying the game. On the other hand, during the few months last year I grudgingly agreed to play WoW again in order to spend time with a friend who had moved halfway across the country, half-retarded little asshats managed to make it difficult to enjoy any of WoW’s not-so-unique but highly polished selling points.

    Aside from blocking 90% of the people in the game, there’s nothing that can be done to soften that blow. At least in Darkfall I knew I could be ganked, and every time I left the starting city, I left expecting it to happen, carrying only what I could afford to lose. It’s no different to me than preparing for a trip through low-sec in Eve: ditch the expensive ship, unplug the expensive implants, and grab something fast and agile. Basically, if you expect to die, that expectation becomes a selling point and can never ruin your attempts at anything.

    Right now in Eve, a pirate corp is squatting a gate in low-sec right near my base of operations. There happens to be an agent in there that is very much worth the risk to visit, and I can’t even begin to relate how much the adrenaline pumps just from flying in to get a mission. If you get that much enjoyment from finding an NPC with an exclamation point over his head, well, good for you, but I’m concerned that you should see an endocrinologist.

  6. coppertopper says:

    Maybe you don’t agree with the term douchebag, of which yes there are many in WoW or any game with a global chat channel. But if Darkfall had 1/10th the subs EvE did you’d rarely get out of the starter town just like you now rarely get out of high sec space in EvE. How much game do you actually play in that starter town? And in high sec space? Aventurine needs two changes to make sales go thru the roof.

  7. Saucelah says:

    Let me be clear — of course I left the starter town. Everything is outside its walls. I did see other players; one even gave me a “scare,” coming up behind me and drawing his weapon but laughing before I tried to run and chatting with me for awhile about the game. I never got ganked, but I’ll be honest: I was disappointed. I wanted to have to run. That’s the point of the game.

    Not sure how you think I rarely leave high-sec. I go into low-sec every day.

    I’m pretty sure that Aventurine does not need to cater to your opinions in order to have a popular game.

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