Drinking the Darkfall Kool-Aid

Darkfall is rearing it’s ugly head once more to show the world that maybe free for all PvP can have a place in the mmo universe, that is if the horse can ever leave the gate.I have never played Darkfall before but I have heard a lot of talk about how Darkfall was a failed game, terrible bugs, broken combat, and terrible terrible grind that resulted in the game not maintaining many people at all, it had a good foundation which many speak fondly of but it wasn’t enough. It had a rather terrible reputation that followed along with it after release, which as I am told was really quite bad and as we know with mmo’s release day and the subsequent month is the most important thing to get right. First impressions last and now we have Darkfall being reborn but will people see it in the same light.

I actually think Aventurine releasing Darkfall  as a new game regardless of how prepackaged an experience it is is a touch of marketing genius. Enough time has passed between the initial player surge and subsequent abandonment that most people have forgotten the bulk of their experiences, what the combat was like, how the areas were designed, and just generally what they game felt like. The new Darkfall has once again gained that general feel of novelty that is so hard to gain but so easily lost. Even if it is mechanical the same game as before it will still garner enough interest to get a decent amount of sales and if it is more refined and polished experience then before the people who left because of certain issues may just stick around. Just looking around right now you can see that Darkfall is getting more press then it’s had for a long time and that is great for business.

I have touched on before about how hard it is after losing players to get them back, we have so many games constantly competing for our interest that old games get forgotten. Much of the community is driven by a sense of novelty, to experience new environments, new combat systems, to learn and consume everything they can find and I at times find myself enthralled by this feeling as well. It is hard to deny how big a part novelty plays in gaining and retaining player interest, events and expansions are great but it is hard to compete against the novelty factor of a new game.

Also even if it was out of incompetence closing the servers for a couple months before release was the better course as it further reinforces that this is the beginning of a new game. Having the ending of Darkfall so close to the start of 2.0 would have made it a lot harder to avoid casual comparisons by the players. It will still incur this type of thing but that will only happen after the previous players have had a decent exploration of the game which leaves 2.0 as maintaining its sense of novelty until then. A new game in every way except in name and right now from what I hear from some friends and guildies implies it is being treated as such, unrestrained enthusiasm and excitement about running rampant and gaining new awesome memories and experiences in a new world.

It is very good timing on their part for a new mmo as well, especially something with s touch of sandbox as the market is rather quiet right now. 2012 was a huge year for mmo’s with some very releases with a huge marketing push behind them. Not a good time to be a small company releasing in a saturated market. Gaining any interest at all would have been hard especially since a large proportion of mmo players were just waiting it out for Guild Wars 2, whose novelty factor has now just about run its course. There has been a glut of themeparks as well and it may just be time for something meatier.

I am quite excited now and while I may hold out until release before giving it a go (highly unlikely) I am just happy being a part of that new game smell, kind of like new car but muskier. I just hope Aventurine doesn’t mess up their second chance at creating a good first impression, they are already souring some of the good will with these constant last minute changes. Some were rather pessimistic from the start *cough* Syncaine *cough* but they wouldn’t be as interested in these failures if they didn’t feel at least partially invested in the product. I want to be invested as well, as investment implies at being a part of a virtual world rather than a fun ride, i need a decent PvP playground and hopefully Darkfall is it.