Following the development of Darkfall is far more stressful than actually playing it for me. I have issues, most likely stemming from having more than one MMO I enjoyed crapped on by the developers. Whether it was Tammel in UO, ToA in DoAC, ‘accessibility’ in WoW, or 1.2 in Rift, I’ve played too many MMOs that started good/great and turned into something I no longer liked. I have that fear, constantly, with DF:UW, mostly because of the idiocy cesspool that is Forumfall and AV’s past history of making decisions based off that noise. Again, issues.
That fear is subsiding however. Lately AV has been hitting it out of the park. They have acted decisively to try to fix the economy, ignoring the loud nonsense coming from Forumfall, and that area of the game has seen improvement. They stopped adding one-off content and have started delivering stuff that is sustainable and either improves the core game (AoI, levy) or adds additional layers to it (armor dyes, daily/weekly feats). The upcoming combat changes, something I once feared would bring back the core flaws of DF1 (everyone playing the FOTM), look on paper as a solid, logical step forward for character options while being mindful of past mistakes and pitfalls.
They are also communicating on the forums more, which is at times overrated (I’d rather they act more than talk more, ultimately), but when combined with solid patches that hit deadlines, it works and helps calm some of the lunatics down.
More important than increased communication, they are interacting more with the game and the players, from the very successful 1v1 tournament they recently ran, to the upcoming free weekend and rumored GM events, the ‘new’ AV seems to actually get it and care. It hasn’t really felt like that since the first two years of DF1. Even the soon-to-start mentor system is well thought out and should really help the game retain new players.
For me personally I’m really enjoying the game right now, and having as much fun with it as I’ve ever had. PvP with Last Call (my clan) is very enjoyable win or lose, we PvE in groups and as a clan nightly, and every patch of late has given us new stuff to do or new features that improve the game for us. Good times.
Edit: DF:UW one year anniversary news post + video.
Second Edit: Buddy keys have also been added. If you would like one, contact me via email (top right corner, front page).