A Sheep among Wolves: Darkfall

I admit that I am still a Darkfall noob, a hardcore PvP noob, and maybe even a little bit of a carebear despite my lust for combat. Apparently, by these social tags I’m probably not suited or even welcome in Darkfall, so decrees the trolls in global chat and the forums. I’m ridiculously stubborn though and very much wanted to experience this exclusive hardcore club I’d been missing out on and so far it has been a rather interesting experiment to say the least.

For me as it is a very new experience in terms of mechanics and gameplay as it is so far from what I’m used to; battlegrounds and instanced affairs mostly with the occasional no risk open world pvp. Suprisingly the experience is growing on me and after a couple of weeks of really not that much play I’ve started to get more and more into it. I still mostly have no idea what I’m doing or have any defined goals, I am unaware of feats I should be maximising for prowess or even how to allocate my stats and I’m perfectly happy with that.


The good thing is there is plenty to do for a noob like me. The safe zone areas are rather generous and there is a decent amount to do in them in order to progress. Harvesting nodes are rather plentiful, easy mob types to kill and skin and you can use these prowess points gained on many non-combat activities during a time of complete protection to upgrade your combat strength and abilities so as to offer a bit more protection for when you do venture out into the unprotected zones.

DFUW crypt

Most of my “play” in Darkfall this last week I’ve been doing while web surfing, studying or watching a TV show… Just park yourself next to a full point then check back in in 10 or so minutes. It earns you that prowess everyone is after and that expands your options a little and quite a bit of what I’ve gathered has brought me a bit of money too, everyone is after these common ingredients as they are usual an item needed in abundance for housing and such.

Venturing into the red zone (unsafe areas) is easy as well, your starter armor and weapons can’t be taken and that is pretty much all you need. I’m stubborn though, as I said before, and went roaming with less then 1 k prowess. I got ganked many many times, but it was rather comical most of the time, a few people even ressed me up after killing me for a bit of a chat so in saying that there are safe zones they are really only a guide on how you can play.

The full loot nature of the world works out better then you would think as long as you always keep it in mind. Darkfall nearly has a good balance to it. With items continually being used, degraded, stolen, and salvaged there is a constant demand going for many items be it low or high level. A ready supply of materials from in safe areas and out provides all the resources for this. Amazingly you can be a full time Crafter within the game very easily and still progress as you please, in fact many of the bigger clans have one or more full-time crafters and support them with all the resources they need.

A rather contested monster Spawn

A rather contested monster Spawn

Where it fails I think is that gear and progression makes too much of a difference in a fight. I know it is a combination of prowess and gear that has created a large disparity but there are different degrees to which these two matter. Those that have played a lot have gained a huge advantage over others, sure there should be a certain extent that time equals power but the difference these bigger guilds have just from a few days of power leveling is massive. This has created a rather bad dynamic wherein the rich keep gettiing richer and the poor will have a much harder time catching up, if they ever do. The power they have allows them the control over areas of greater resource, to take from whoever they please, and keep squirreling away their ill gotten gains.

That saying about wolves and sheep really holds true for Darkfall but it is just not the right balance, a game with an abundance of wolves just doesn’t work. Eventually there won’t be enough prey as they would have been griefed it into extinction yet I think the majority of the Hardcore “OMG you noob” playerbase are rather oblivious to this. There is an underlying cause to the predominance of griefing and the war against noobs but that’s probably a discussion for another day

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2 thoughts on “A Sheep among Wolves: Darkfall

  1. This reminded me of an old article about Ultima Online, which illustrates the rose-colored denial of a lot of ‘hardcore’ PvPers have had for years about the whole ‘wolves and sheep’ situation in these games.

    http://web.archive.org/web/20130208134146/http://www.brokentoys.org/2004/12/18/the-unbearable-darkness-of-ultima-online/

    UO could survive with it because there weren’t alternatives. Nowadays, such games are just going to implode over time. For whatever reason, the fans of these sort of free-for-all anarchy-type games just can’t accept it.

    • Yeh, that’s kind of it. No one really wants to pay to be treated perpetuaally like a “stupid Newbie”. And now there a many many choices for people to choose between more tailored to their interests. One key phrase in that article is rather important though “The fact that people actually played in spite of all that actually speaks a great deal to the potential of MMOs”, Uo had a certain potential and appeal that other more tailored games could never have. A virtual world…and that is an important ideal. It’s also not just that there weren’t other options back then because there was whether it be a mud or pnp, what UO had was something for everyone.. economy.. gathering.. dungeon crawling… building.. thief…knight…the list seriously goes on.

      Darkfall has one playstyle and that is kill people, and that will severely limit it’s appeal to other playerbases (that’s actually what I intended to write about next) which it so sorely needs to not only maintain a reasonable margin of profit but also to enable the social dynamics we expect in a sandbox. It needs to be more like UO or eve to build a stronger playerbase. People need to have long term goals that are both intrinsic and extrinsic. People need motivation for conflict and economic gain. people want purpose in game… and Darkfall just doesn’t have that and so, if you want something to do you just aimless go around ganking people.

      I still hold that a more brutal world can work that involves a large collection of varying populations the industry just needs time.. and more money to further iterate on the idea, kind of like the pve industry has had for a decade to get where it is.

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