Darkfall New Dawn Officially Licensed

Darkfall New Dawn

You may recall that I mentioned there was a Darkfall revival project underway, but at the time they hadn’t yet achieved a license agreement with Aventurine. Apparently things are moving far better than most people would have anticipated, and the team at Ub3rgames will soon have a fully licensed playable version of Darkfall New Dawn available to the public for testing breaking.

Here’s where I ultimately struggle with these Darkfall revivals: They are still Darkfall. Can Ub3rgames do enough to fix such a flawed game? I think they stand the best chance of any given their direction and what I’ve seen in terms of community. But can the game change enough?

Let’s look again at what they are focusing on.

  • The lack of positive player interactions. Or making the game more than a deathmatch arena.
  • The power gap and player progression. Or making sure new players get a chance in this harsh world while making the game fun for PvE inclined players.
  • The lack of daily activities. Or providing more repeatable and engaging content for players to come online every day and have a meaningful play session.
  • An assembling of secondary technical or incomplete systems related flaws.

Issues have been classified as “primary flaws” and “secondary flaws” on their website. I sorta chuckle looking at the secondary flaws, as they were easily some of the biggest issues I took with the game…

  • Alignment System – This was so broken it wasn’t even playable. This is pretty much the cause of a big part of the negative player interactions.
  • Localized Resources and Banking – To me, this isn’t secondary. This is crucial to the entire game’s economy.
  • Player Holding Value – There has to be a purpose.

My view on sandbox games has changed quite a bit this past year. I’ve even made the statement, and I agree with myself still 100%, that the best and arguably only way to build a successful MMORPG sandbox is to go the isometric UO route. The scope required to pull it off simply hasn’t been successfully executed otherwise.

I’m eagerly waiting to get my hands on the game to see how they pull it off.

Albion Online Private Islands

A couple of you requested that I post a video showing off the private islands in Albion Online. Well here you go!

I think I goofed this part in the video so read on. You can purchase a private island once you have enough silver or gold. You can buy a private island fairly cheap once you have the silver, but it also requires that at the time of purchase you be a premium member. To become a premium member, or get premium status, you pay either gold, silver, or real money. Don’t bother paying silver — it’s ridiculous. Pay gold or $15/month.

Once you have premium status, you can buy the island. As of writing this post, you are NOT required to maintain premium status to keep your island. You just need it at the time of purchase.

Once you have your island you can continue paying gold or silver to upgrade. Upgrading adds more lots for building on the island.

Albion Online Private Island Farming

Depending on what you want to gear your economy or interests toward, you can put anything from crafting buildings to farms to houses on those lots. I’ve gone for an economy build of sorts with farm land, a stables, and a saddler. I want to raise livestock then sell them as mounts — or something.

So what’s the benefit of a private island you ask? Couple of things.

  • Guaranteed space of my own. In the real — open — world, space is somewhat limited. Although the world IS huge, it’s like UO. It’s still finite.
  • Guaranteed safety. I do not have to worry about being ganked. Again, think stepping outside your house in UO when there are gankers about.

What’s the downside? Mainly resources. The real, open world out there has the resources you need. Your private island has T1 resources. It’s more of a place to play farmville safely. I’m a fan.

I’ll develop this character’s island a bit more and showcase it for you in video. I’ll even show a bit of the process I go through to collect resources.

Any questions about Albion Online, housing, islands, crafting, etc? I’m happy to answer. Despite the game not launching (or coming close) until later this year, I am starting to pick it back up and play more. Sorta one of those moth of a flame things for me… it’s beta, but it’s fun.

Want to jump in and play during closed beta? Visit the official site to purchase a founders pack.

Wrapping up January

I want to do a bit of a catch-up post to end January. Is this year really already down by an entire month? Crazy. I have had a really wild past two weeks in terms of everything I have going on. Some of you have left comments with the sentiment that when you focus on your professional lives with the same intensity as you normally would gaming, then you can see some incredible results. I can wholeheartedly agree with and say that I have seen the same outcome myself. Busy is good, but it means sometimes not getting as many posts up as I would like. I’ll figure out a balance.

Personally, I’ve not only improved the work at my day job, but also in my own personal side gig as well as my wife’s music business. I’m doing marketing consulting work on the side for small businesses. I enjoy being able to help companies realize their potential when they actively, and intelligently, properly identify and work toward accomplishing their marketing goals. As for my wife, I’ve done a bit of ‘marketing’ for her as well and she’s grown from having a little website bringing in a little bit of money to a thriving music business where her schedule is packed and she’s thriving — it’s incredibly satisfying to see that happen for her so quickly.

Gaming Lately

My gaming scene has been a little bit weird of late. I finished up all of the Disney Infinity 3.0 games, and I’m finishing up a few games in my backlog. A big part of my play time lately has been invested in Diablo 3’s newest season, but the initial surge is dwindling (thanks to deflating RNG hating me). EQ is still my big obsession. My Cleric is level 18, and I think I like playing him more than my Necromancer! Maybe it’s that I enjoy getting groups.

What I’m Playing Next

I have a few big games coming on my list that I will be writing about and making some videos to show off.

  • Final Fantasy Explorers on 3DS – It’s like an action RPG meets MMO meets Monster Hunter.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles on Wii U – Big RPG that I haven’t dived into, but it’s next on my list.
  • Just Cause 3 – This will be a nice evening go-to game to blow stuff up.

The MMO ‘Drought’ 

It continues… really, there’s nothing out right now except for EverQuest that comes even close to satisfying a TRUE MMORPG experience.  Albion Online is doing a nice job, but still in closed beta until the end of the year. I did promise Werit I would take a video of the private islands — sorry, I haven’t forgotten! I have the video and I’ll upload it for you tonight.

Disney Infinity 3.0: Rise Against the Empire Review

Rise Against the Empire Play Set

Rise Against the Empire represents the final Disney Infinity 3.0 Star Wars play set for me to review. I was originally going to review this one right after Twilight of the Republic, but Graev and I decided to share this one and he took his sweet time getting it to me. Waiting was so worth it; Rise Against the Empire (RATE) is easily my favorite play set.

Story/Presentation/Gameplay

Rise Against the Empire is broken up into 3 main segments, conveniently comprising the three movies (4, 5, 6) and the three main planets on those movies: Tatooine, Hoth, and Endor. While RATE takes enormous liberties with the story, just like the other play sets, it actually works better than the other play sets. I want to break this up into sections on each planet where I can talk about what I really liked on each.

Rise Against the Empire Tatooine

Tatooine

Tatooine is the weakest of the three planets, but there are a number of fun things to do. I think they introduce the idea of credits nicely. Credits are this play set’s currency mechanic. Credits are used to buy buildings and customization info. Tatooine introduces the ability to purchase buildings and erect them in the form of a base. I’m reminded of the toy box mode with how these pop up and give you vehicles/customization.

Rise Against the Empire Hoth

Hoth

Here’s where things pick up. Hoth contains lots of missions, and some base building, but the true gem here is roping walkers. Flying a snow speeder and roping works beautifully — way better than any other vehicle use in in any Disney Infinity game. I had a blast here, especially having to rope 5 of these suckers in the mini Battle for Hoth.

Rise Against the Empire Endor

Endor

By far the best planet. You get to help the Ewoks do Ewoky (Ewokian?) things like take helmets from Stormtroopers, ride their elevators up and down (or in my case not realize these exist while trying to find a way to throw Ewoks…).  My favorite part was wrangling AT-STs and setting traps like swinging lots, slip ropes, etc. Riding a speeder bike through the forest was also a lot of fun.

Rise Against the Empire Space Battles

Death Star Trench Run & Space Battles

The space combat and death star trench runs (plural since there New Hope and Return both had one) were executed perfectly. RATE introduced the dodge, shoot, and evade mechanics for scripted/lightly-on-rails moments which worked great. Saving Admiral Ackbar’s fleet while destroying multiple Star Destroyers was a great space moment. The controls when not on-rails are absolutely horrible, though, and a taint on an otherwise amazing experience.

Rise Against the Empire Characters

Once again RATE shines above the other two play sets, this time by having the best characters. Luke and Leia come with the play set, and others can be purchased individually.

  • Luke – Standard Jedi with a blaster, but has nice saber fighting. Straight up.
  • Leia – Great combos that stun/knock back.
  • Chewbacca – Charge-up on his Bowcaster is an amazing infantry killer.
  • Han Solo – Great combos like Leia.
  • Boba Fett – Flying is great, and has a strong blaster, but his rocket launcher is why I use him.
  • Darth Vader – Saber throw wins.

Overall Thoughts

Rise Against the Empire is the best Disney Infinity 3.0 play set yet, and definitely does the best job providing a mix of vehicle gameplay and interesting/fun character use. If you’re going to buy only one play set, or if you’re looking for a reason to get Disney Infinity 3.0, then I highly recommend Rise Against the Empire along with all of the characters.

Pixelmage Games Cancels Hero’s Song Kickstarter

Hero's Song Kickstarter Cancelled

As of this very moment, 39 minutes ago the Kickstarter for Hero’s Song was cancelled. Hero’s Song is Smed’s new game from his new company called Pixelmage Games.

Hero’s Song – A Good Idea?

I was already planning to write something on the game today. A few of you have asked me for my comments/thoughts/etc., and I guess now is the perfect time to weigh in. In general, Hero’s Song looks fun. The “2D” isometric RPG is, in my opinion, the best was to present a sandbox. The most memorable sandbox (or psuedo-sandbox) games, for me, have always been that quasi-2D isometric view: Ultima Online, Harvest Moon, Terraria, etc. Combine that with RPGs and you have games like Baldur’s Gate, Diablo, Divinity, etc. Good things come in 2D isometrics.

The ideas behind Hero’s Song servers being hosted independently sounded appealing. Is it a MMORPG? No, not by a long shot. Does it have to be? Probably better for them that it’s not. The idea of having the world change so much based on diety choices and story also sounds good. Hero’s Song sounds good to me overall.

I think a lot is still left unsaid. The type of things I want to see in Hero’s Song are farming, owning land, deep character development, and permanence. I’m not sure if those things would have, or could have, ever made it into Hero’s Song given they seem to be drifting dangerously close to a forgettable rogue-like action RPG instead of a deeper sandbox experience.

Bottom line, there is potential. I’m their target market. This is the type of game that I like to buy and play. I want to see Hero’s Song made, and I want to play it. I like the blunt “no f2P” mantra, too.

Kickstarter Mistakes

I’m no fan of Kickstarter for games. I think Kickstarter had its moment in the spotlight and their flame is since flickered out. Running a successful Kickstarer campaign takes hype and planning, and a lot of luck. A failed Kickstarter will hurt your game way more than it could have possibly helped if it succeeded. Hero’s Song Kickstarter has failed, and was destined to fail.

Coming right out of the gate with an $800,000 goal was ridiculous, and a strategic error. They should have had a goal around $200k, especially if they would have funded the game anyway. A success builds hype, and from there they could have launched campaign #2 or other forms of crowd-sourcing — though I’ll say again I am no fan of such methods.

If Hero’s Song survives, and it still may, they better take a serious look at how to market their game properly. Slapping the names and pictures of streamers on your website, immediately launching into a huge Kickstarter for a pixel art game, and failing to communicate the proper details to excite the right people are all amateur mistakes for a supposed veteran team. Here’s hoping they learn from it, and make the game I want to play.