It would seem that I picked a great time to get back into Darkfall, as this update mentions a lot of rather exciting things, chief among them fixes to clan warfare and the expanding of the meditation (offline skilling) system. We will see tomorrow exactly what the patch brings, but last weeks was a welcome surprise, and I’m guessing we will see more of the same tomorrow. Plus it sounds like DF2010 (or whatever it gets renamed to) is shaping up well, so hopefully we see it in Q1 2011.
Having experienced the meditation system first-hand now, I can see the direction Aventurine is taking it, and it makes a lot of sense. Rather than having it be a total character progression system like in EVE, Darkfall’s system is more supplemental. Ultimately (once you can use it for stats and more skills) players will log in and do whatever they enjoy doing, be it PvP, PvE, gathering, or crafting, and then they will be able to set up meditation to either compliment what they are doing, or fill in the gaps of their character.
So say you enjoy PvE with your clan, but you find yourself always using melee and archery, so your magic skills and Int are falling behind. Meditate to get a few spells, then work those into your PvE trips. Without meditation, for some schools you would have to cast spells you had no interest in just to skill up the school itself, and this largely contributed to many feeling like they were ‘grinding’ rather than playing. Character development is a key characteristic of any good MMO, but in Darkfall too often the path to where you wanted to go was filled with poor choices. Meditation cleans this issue up rather nicely.
With diminishing returns, the system excels at getting you to a happy point, but is very costly if you expect it to do everything for you. In a way, this solves the EVE-offline ‘problem’ (if you consider people paying you NOT to play a problem…), because short of buying gold, you won’t be able to sustain simply logging in to set up meditation. Plus those who actively play will progress faster, another common criticism of EVE.
I’m also hopeful that the siege-related changes put an end to alt-clan sieges and other tactics that ‘cheapened’ the whole experience. Considering that a good siege in Darkfall is about as much fun as you can have in an MMO (fact, not opinion), putting an end to loopholes that ultimately lead to players NOT fighting over property is much needed. Sometimes it’s great to give players freedom, but sometimes, it’s necessary to set some baseline rules. In this case, it’s very much the latter.
Much more on all of this as the patch notes are released and I experience things more in-game.
(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.)