Long-time reads know I’ve been a fan of Darkfall since release, and to this day consider it one of the best FFA PvP MMOs out. It had a somewhat rough release, but in the first year Aventurine was quick to provide significant updates and the game seemed to be headed in a positive direction. Subscriber activity reflected this, and all seemed well.
Then Aventurine announced Darkfall 2010, which was billed as a massive update to the game. Close to an overhaul really. 2010 came and went, and the DF2010 update was renamed Arena. Then it was renamed DF2.0, and along with it came wipe/relaunch speculation.
The last patch to hit Darkfall was back in April, and the last real major update was Hellfreeze, in October of 2010. The patch that will bring an updated siege system has been coming “next week” for months now. Frank Sinatra chronicles things well on the forums, and looking over all the “coming soons” and “final testing” talk really is depressing.
It’s depressing for a number of reasons. For starters, Darkfall’s core is very solid. It does what it does well (really well, in terms of combat), it was improving greatly, and anyone who has played it longer than EG can see a ton of potential on top of that solid core. Secondly, it’s not like the virtual world genre is exploding with options right now, or will in the near future. Solo MMOs like SW:TOR are drawing all the big money, and even titles like Prime or GW2 sound PvP-lite compared to Darkfall. If Darkfall fails, you either play EVE to get your fix, or you find a new genre to enjoy.
For a while now I’ve been saying that the next updated, whatever its eventual name ends up being, is going to deliver. AV showed enough with the first three expansions, and with the core game itself, that they are capable of producing a quality release, and that they were no caving in to the latest F2P trend or dumping things down to appeal to ‘casuals’. Plus lessons learned since launch and all that.
I’m not all that confident right now. Who knows what this whole ‘partners’ thing is all about, and the delays are really just too much. Hell even the forums are depressed now. The obvious trolls have moved on, and only the diehard are left wondering wtf is really going on. It’s not even real fan anger either; it’s just this sick-puppy hanging-on kind of feeling. Not cool, not cool at all.