Mar 15, 2009

Darkfall Online – First Impressions

Well after days of trying I finally managed to get a copy of Darkfall online, after two more days of trying I managed to get past the queues into the game!!

The queuing system is something I’ll talk about first, as it’s the first hurdle to get past before you can play the game. What a hurdle it is too, hours I spent queuing for the first two days and was unable to get in and play. I have come to the conclusion that the Darkfall Online queue system is random, not a queue at all!! Each time I have managed to get into game it has been from disconnecting from the queue and hitting the server button to queue again. I queue for 5-10 mins and then re-queue, this seems to get me in game faster than just waiting forever until I get a slot.

With regard to the game itself, lets start with the graphics. Whilst top graphics are not a game breaker on their own, they can make you feel more immersed in the environment you are wandering around. Darkfall’s graphics are not up to the standard of something like Everquest 2 or Lord of the Rings and the character models are not that great at all to be honest. The world itself looks good in places though the buildings are poor, they remind me of the original Everquest buildings.

With the graphics out of the way there is the UI system, which allows your windows to be moved about to a certain extent, but nothing like Everquest 2′s UI system which is so far the best I’ve used of any MMO. The main problem for me with the Darkfall system is I couldn’t work out how to add additional hot bars or even make the 1 hot bar I have horizontal instead of vertical. As a result I have to have it sat in the lower left corner of my screen. There is no manual as you download the game from the Darkfall website so all you have to help you is the in game help system, which isn’t exactly comprehensive.

To use your items in Darkfall you have to place them in your hotbar and then hit the numbered key to equip them. To use skills you have to do the same, this doesn’t use the skill straight away, instead it places the skill in your active slot so it can be used by hitting your left mouse button.

Darkfall is a game focused on PvP but it’s here that I find the biggest flaws that the game has shown me so far. You are supposed to be allied with certain races and if you hit a friendly character you go Rogue, which means your name turns grey and your fair game (I think). This turning rogue can happen accidentally as you hit a friendly character in the midst of combat and it does often happen this way. As far as I can gather killing a rogue player doesn’t give you any alignment penalty. The main problem with the PvP side of Darkfall is there is no real penalty for going rogue other than a shift towards an exile type of alignment. If you kill too many of your own you can turn red meaning your an enemy to your own race and city, at least that’s what I think it does. :) The problem is I’ve heard that you can easily restore your alignment by killing guild mates of hostile races, so anyone guilded doesn’t have to worry about killing their own.

Now I’ve not played World of Warcraft but I’ve watched a friend play and heard tales from many other friends about the player base, tales of immature WoW players (I’m not saying all WoW players, just a large amount), are all over the net and Darkfall is no different. Sure there is the odd player who will help you in chat with the workings of the game, but there are many more players that care nothing about their fellow players (apart  from maybe their guild mates). I should expect this from PvP I can hear you say.. well maybe that’s true but this is also a PvP MMO and I expect some degree of co-operation from my fellow friendly race players. Maybe this is just my first experience of the game but lets just say if you edited out the various offensive terms you can utter in a chat window, there would be more blank spaces than text. :)

This leads nicely into “ganking” a term and action that actually has a skill named after it in Darkfall Online. Sure the skill is needed as it’s used to finish off an incapacitated player after you kill them. The problem is that the only ganking I’ve seen so far (and there’s a lot of it), is people killing players of the same race who are supposed to be friendly. Yesterday I was resting after killing a Goblin and some random naked player ran over and slashed me to death with his sword!! The lack of real and severe penalties for killing friendly players is a big problem and there’s always plenty of player coming out of the woodwork to loot your corpse when you die. You won’t see anyone help you either when your killing Goblins and the like as they are better off letting you die and looting your corpse!! Oh and you’ll lose everything if you die as people can loot every item. Losing everything isn’t a major issue as I can see why they do it, but when you can be struck down at random by your own race it’s a problem.

My most valuable Darkfall item - A fishing pole!!Looting corpses is another thing that annoyed me over my first couple of days in Darkfall as it’s a free for all chaotic mess. After your hard work killing a mob you expect to be able to loot the creature for your hard earned spoils of battle, oh no not in Darkfall. You can loot sure, but you have to do it fast as anyone else nearby can loot at the same time, even if they haven’t hit the mob once.

The best Item I’ve managed to hang onto so far is a fishing pole, that’s right a bloody fishing pole!! I haven’t even seen water yet but after seeing the cost of harvesting/gathering tools (a lot to a new player), I ran to the bank and dropped the pole in there for later on. This is something you’ll do a lot as you worry about losing the items you have managed to find on your travels.

Combat in the game is a bit different to your normal MMO system. You ready your weapons and use either vertical or horizontal swings by aiming your cross-hair at a mob and hitting your left mouse button. The mobs will move around and try to get behind you where they will hit for more damage, so the trick is keeping your cross-hair on the mob so you can hit them. Bows and spells work in a similar manner, hold the mouse button down until the bar fills up and then release when ready, the arrow/spell will fire at the cross-hairs location at the time of release. As you can imagine hitting a moving target takes practice, and I need a lot of it.

The skill system is a nice idea and you’ll start seeing increases straight away, such as sprint and run, armour and weapon proficiencies. You only gain skill points by using the skill as there are no levels in Darkfall.

I’ll go more into detail about my experiences with combat and the skill system, (plus maybe gathering/crafting if I manage to do some) in my later posts about this latest MMO. My initial thoughts so far are that the player base and the pointless alignment system may make me stop playing Darkfall early on, but I’m going to give it at least a month of play before I make my mind up. Darkfall has some nice idea’s, I’m just not sure the implementation is right. Plus PvP games should be a bit more structured and make it harder for the WoW gank kiddies to ruin everyone else’s game experience. No doubt many of you will disagree with the points I’ve made in this initial Darkfall post and your more than welcome to say so in your comments. I class myself as a casual MMO player who plays PvE games as my main MMO’s, I like to have a PvP game as my secondary MMO for when I feel like killing someone. ;)

7 Comments

  • You sound like a carebare, go back to WoW.

  • Sounds crap, thanks for saving me some money :)

  • Now If you'd read the post Derrick you'll see I've never played WoW. :) I'm simply saying I'm not sure if the game is for me as the alignment system is a bit daft. I mean come on, surely the point of friendly races is to work against hostile races rather than your own kind?

    Also the penalty for fighting naked isn't there, something that is all over the Darkfall forums.

    I'm not saying it's a bad game, just that my initial impressions are not great. It's not a sleight on your gaming, everyone has their own opinion. ;) I've still a lot to learn about the game and there are things I like, the skill system is a nice idea and I think if the alignment system could be improved a bit, the pvp would have more meaning.

  • I am mainly a PvE'er, simply because the main thing I like about MMO's is the cooporation with fellow players to achieve a common-goal. Im not in to testing my personal skills towards other players which is why I haven't done much PvP. Now I know that when PvP'ing in teams, it takes LOADS of cooporation and tactics between your fellow gamers, and this aspect of PvP is VERY intriguing to me…I just never got to try it out in the PvP-games I have played, as I never got through the constant ganking, berating, egotism and disregard of tactics of some players. In some games these guys where the majority in some games the minority, but they always ruined my PvP gaming experience.

    When reading up on Darkfall before release, I noticed this "going rogue" system and thought to myself: Perhaps this is the game for me to try out real PvP! It seemed like killing off friendly players would have a negative impact on your gaming experience in a way that friendly kills should be used only when REALLY needed, and not just the norm.

    This way the story of the world would make sense too..I mean, not many societies condone killing off fellow citizens on sight…it simply isnt very progressive. So this whole idea of killing off your fellow man not being severely punishable really kills off my immersion into the Darkfall world. It would be exciting to implement the ability to assassinate friendly players and use a good bunch of time and skill planning it, so you won't get caught.

    Killing on sight of opposite factions is a given, but this anarchy of killing is just stupid. It serves no purpose at all, and it will probably end up being the reason i won't be a subscriber to Darkfall.

    I know that a world of dwarves, elves and trolls arent realistic, but some sociological realism MUST be implemented in these games for us to immerse ourselves into the world…afterall MMO's are games of social interaction.

    Here's to hoping that Darkfall won't be just another gank-fest filled with less than mature players…personally I like using foul language when it's needed, just not all the m*therf*cking time!

  • The 'going grey' part of the PvP system reminds me of playing Myth of Soma, in which you had degrees of good/bad alignment by your player name appearing in progressive shades of blue to red. If a player PK'd, he'd turn grey, indicating he was fair game for anyone to PvP without penalty. Any initiated PK attempt was always a move toward evil and a 'blue' character could rapidly become 'red' due to PK'ing, facing a long and arduous struggle back to being neutral or good. I think it worked quite well that way, with any PvP action being fundamentally a negative action. The only exceptions I think were during the regularly hosted 'War of the Worlds' and 'Guild Village Battle' events in which PvP was encouraged between the warring factions of good/evil or inter-guild conflict.

    //HoC

  • I have played EQ, EQ2, WoW, AoC, Warhammer, and Guildwars. I love pvp and pretty much play MMO's for it. With that said one of the main reasons I stopped playing AoC was the costant ganking. I barely had enough to rez and I would ganked. If this the case with Darkfall, then I will certainly not enjoy my gaming experience.

    I love the idea of having to have some skill to to do well in Darkfall. THe whole idea of the game sounds more realistic and has the potential. Like most MMO's they have things to work on before it will be where it should be. For instance, WoW and EQ2 did not become what they are today without numerous patches.

    I just hope Darkfall will be the MMO I have been searching for a long time. Full of lots pvp with not excessive ganking.

  • The first reply you got (from Derrick) is an excellent example of what helped kill this game. That being, it has the worse community of any MMORPG.

    It's an OK game, but paying a sub free to play amongst the internet's most angsty, whiny angry losers just doesn't seem like a bargin.

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