DF:UW – Being right isn’t always fun

One of the better inside jokes around here is the concept of a ‘Jesus patch’, because all too often the fools tossing that term around are talking about an MMO that has either shut down or is a shell of itself. One of the best/worst example of this is/was Darkfall 1. To this day you will find forumfallers who will tell you patch X was a ‘jesus patch’ for that game and caused a ‘surge’ in population. It’s comical, and also a bit sad.

So how is DF:UW doing post ‘jesus patch’ (released 6/10/14)? Woops. I believe the term ‘off a cliff’ would be accurate?

And to make things about a million times worst, that pre-patch population spike was due to the stacking of a Steam sale, the introduction of a buddy key system, a ‘welcome back’ weekend, a PLEX-like system addition, and a bit later multiple “breaking the economy long-term for short-term gain” massive loot buff weekends, plus AV was on its best behavior in terms of communication (overrated) and patching speed (pretty important).

In other words, AV basically fired every bullet in the gun all at once, got a good number of people into the game for the first time in a long time, that crowd saw what the ‘jesus patch’ was really about, and basically everyone and then some left. Even Forumfall moves along at a crawl now, to the point that keeping up with it can be done in 30 minutes or less per week.

To save the game (if that’s even possible at this point), AV needs to pull what CCP did with Incarna, basically roll back the giant mistake that was the removal of classes, forget that ever happened, and return to what, despite being implemented half-assed, was giving them a slowly growing population; getting the economy under control and focusing on producing sustainable content that fit the theme of the virtual world they originally set out to create. They won’t do it unfortunately. At this point they are too far down the rabbit hole that is the current, oversized arena PvP-for-the-sake-of-PvP disaster that the game has become.

Again, its sad, even from the outside glancing back in.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
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21 Responses to DF:UW – Being right isn’t always fun

  1. ~K says:

    Its really too bad too, because DF had really great ideas that just got dicked around in every direction except the right ones.

  2. Davis says:

    I usually agree with just about everything you say on this blog. But… I don’t think it was the removal of classes that’s hurting Darkfall right now, and I think you’re angrier in this post than in most of your other ones.

    Usually you’d never use Steam metrics to make your point. It comes across as if you’re bitter over what happened and looking for a way to justify your viewpoint.

    • SynCaine says:

      Ok, so how do YOU explain that right after said combat patch, the population has plummeted as shown by Steam (which greatly increased right as the in-game population greatly increased)?

      Also I’m not sure bitter is the correct word to highlight that what I said was going to happen, has happened exactly as predicted.

      • Kyff says:

        Steam numbers are not necessarily representative for the entire population. You will know that still more than 70ish players log in everyday. The sharp rise and subsequent fall just might be depending on the steam sale you mentioned and then people finding out FFA PVP is not for them.

        I also think that catering to the loudmouthed FPS crowd asking for counterstrike with swords and wands was the wrong decision but the game already was beyond help by then. Gear breaking on gank was too little too late to help the loopsided economy when this wasn’t even the biggest problem.

      • Davis says:

        Very easy. Darkfall went on sale on Steam. People bought it, the points went up. Many realized they didn’t like it, and they stopped playing.

        Most of the people that would be impacted by the removal of classes would be long term players, who don’t play through Steam.

        • SynCaine says:

          Correct, but if the removal of classes was a positive for the game, why did those new Steam players leave far quicker than previous new Steam players? Also if the game was made better, why have a lot of long-term players also stopped playing, resulting in a lower-than-ever population?

          Patches that make games better don’t result in a mass exodus of players.

          AV made a change that catered to a few dozen players who weren’t leaving anyway. They achieved the expected result; the game now appeals only to those few dozen (who go on Forumfall bitching about low pop, of course).

  3. silvertemplar says:

    The steam sample is way too small to actually say much about, even 5 people going on holiday will make that graph look like the game is going into a tailspin. Seriously? only 76 players playing DF on steam?

    • SynCaine says:

      But the numbers still tell a story.

      Thanks to all the items mentioned above, the peak increased by 100 players on Steam, which if you consider that DF:UW has both an EU and NA server, that isn’t an insignificant number for a game that has a peak concurrence in the low four digits. (AV themselves confirmed that around this time, sub numbers were significantly up in a forum post, would link but lazy)

      So looking beyond Steam numbers (which requires digging deeper, not something I expect readers here to do), we see that post-patch, after getting a large surge in population for a game so dependent on said population driving the content (targets), it took a dive shortly after. Much shorter than after previous gains.

      Now if someone wants to say the combat update was a huge success and makes the game much better, but while that great improvement happened item X also happened and that’s why people are leaving so quickly, I’m all ears, but that update is the only real change made to the game in the last few months.

  4. GamerDroid says:

    The EU server is beyond critical and the game in general is just, well, boring. I’ve been playing since the first week of launch and I’ve only had a 2 month break in that time.

    A number of players have stated that they preferred the old class system and would prefer a return to it. However, the biggest factor is just the sheer lack of content. I appreciate that it’s supposed to be a sandbox but you still need a basic feature framework in place to enable sandbox gameplay.

    Unfortunately, things in Darkfall may get even worse. Archeage is to be released and it will probably draw the middle ground crowd; i.e. those that like sandbox content and PVP but aren’t hardcore with it. Seriously, fuck the fps crowd; they ruined Darkfall already with their moaning.

    • SynCaine says:

      Lack of content is by biggest grip with AV spending time removing classes. Even if the removal had been a positive step for the game, it would still have been a waste of time. No one was quitting DF because of the combat; it was the best in the genre by a mile. But an oversized arena of an MMO can only go so far, even with fantastic combat, and rather than focus on actual issues (creating an environment for sustainable content to exist), they got mislead again by Forumfall into focusing on a non-issue. Whats really sad is even as the game is rapidly declining, certain parts of Forumfall continue to beat the combat-focus drum.

      • GamerDroid says:

        It’s primarily the Darkfall 1 crowd, and AV has listened. AV needs to think beyond its current player base and start catering for the semi-hardcore gamer (or old school gamer). This will, of course, require a shift in direction which will displease forumfall but honestly, it needs to happen. I’d go even further by closing the damn thing.

        They should probably revert back to the old class system, as it was fine and most players prefer a basic class layout. In addition to this, they need to just include a ton of content. They should go back and look at EQ. There is the kind of content in the original EQ that would translate quite nicely. For example, open world raid bosses, more complex dungeons, etc. I’d even like to see them introduce random loot drops (boss drops?) that are unique and have longer durability on them. Like an awesome looking two hander with nice stats, etc. Give players a reason to go out into the world and don’t force PVP; PVP will happen naturally.

  5. Lack of content is not a problem. DayZ has way less content than DF. The game is jus bad and disorganized chasing too many rabbits.

    • GamerDroid says:

      DayZ does not require a sub and has a far greater casual player base; it’s one of those jump-in-and-out kind of games. And in any case, DayZ is, in effect, an arena PVP game. There is very little in terms of progression and only marginally fulfils the criteria as an MMO.

      • As sport coaches say the result is on the screen. Money cash grab WarZ has more players than so called hardcore pvp focused player oriented “made by players for players” game. WarZ has 1500 players right now does it mean if it had progression it would have 150’000 ?

  6. Anonymous says:

    The removal of the class system was the right step. Clans got their ranks filled and a lot of duelling and fighting happend. New builds were tested. People had real fun.
    At the same time people were complaining about farming PP … which you need to test all those shiny new builds. That I think is the main problem. Call it lack of content or the game being to much of a grind. In the end the non PvP-part is simply not fun. The mobs are boring and you have to kill way to many of them to get somewhere.
    I think the decline after the “jesus patch” was due to our hopes getting crushed. PvP was great … the rest was … well … still not so great.

    • GamerDroid says:

      It’s supposed to be an MMO and PVE will always be an integral part of this. The spike in population can be attributed to any number of other factors, as already highlighted by Syncaine, and not just to the changes in skills.

      The game should focus more on including more progression, be it through crafting, PVE or even (non-linear) questing . Only then will the population increase. The combat was fine as it was.

      • Anonymous says:

        There is no other way of charakter progression than crafting, PvE and harvesting. I don’t disagree with you … that’s the kind of thing you’d expect to see in an mmorpg.
        The thing is … the strong point of DF:UW is pvp. Noone sticks to the game because it has those awesomely clever mobs or because they have those brand new ideas about how crafting should work. No, DF:UW players go mainly for pvp. Unfortunately there is no charakter progression for doing pvp.

        … and the last thing the game needs is more progression through crafting. I have all masteries and I got huge amounts of pp just by doing those crafting feats. Was it fun? No! I can stand grinding, but a lot of people can’t. … and those people left the game, because most people want to have fun. Fun DF:UW in it’s current state is not able to deliver. … with or without a class system.

        • GamerDroid says:

          Problem is, there isn’t a big enough community that is willing to play those types of games without that kind of content. So, a simple way to achieve it is to include more content for more middle ground players while simultaneously increasing the population for more hardcore PVP players.

  7. Anonymous says:

    On this we can agree. Unfortunately AV catered the game to the pvp crowd in a wrong way. As mentioned … no pp progress via pvp. … on the other hand they listened to much to the skill/skill ceiling bullshit which has a tendency to scare “normal” people away.
    Those “normal” people can live with loosing their stuff as long as there is enough content to have fun between two random ganks.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Oh. The last one was supposed to be an answer to GamerDroid (August 31, 2014 at 4:22 pm) :)

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