Warhammer Online NEEDS Darkness Falls

The solution to Warhammer Online’s Open RvR problem is simple: Darkness Falls.  That’s right, introduce what existed in Dark Age of Camelot into a system that is trying to mimick Dark Age of Camelot.  Duh, right?  Warhammer Online, back in November 2007, was delayed in order to transform the game to align closer with DAOC’s RvR but it forgot that one crucial element… the PURPOSE.  Sure, city sieges are a purpose but let’s be realistic – a keep is under attack in Praag… why would I go defend if it poses no threat to our city?  It’s going to take like 8 keeps, 2 fortreses, and a TON of RvR to make our capital city vulnerable.  As of right now a city siege is not going to happen.  So, we come back to the PURPOSE.  I strongly feel that Darkness Falls provides that purpose.

What is Darkness Falls?

Darkness Falls Layout
Darkness Falls Layout

In April 2002 Mythic introduced Darkness Falls. The idea behind this dungeon was that only one realm at a time is owner of the dungeon and can enter through their homeland portals or relic-keeps. The realm who holds the majority of the RvR Keeps has control. Whenever another realm conquers the majority of keeps, the entrance for the opposing realms will be closed but other realm-members still in the dungeon can remain and fight to survive against monsters and members of enemy realms.

Darkness Falls entry rules (as detailed by Sanya Thomas back in the day)

1) Server comes up.
2) Whoever has the most keeps finds their portal open.
3) If there was a tie score for most keeps (two or three way tie), nobody finds the portal open.
4) If someone breaks the tie, the team with the most keeps opens the portal.
5) If the situation returns to a tie score, the portal does not close – whoever had been winning still keeps the portal.
6) If the server resets, go back to the beginning of this list. A server reset means a tie score is a tie score – the game does not remember from reboot to reboot which realm had been winning before the return to tied status. Or, to put it another way, once a portal is open, it stays open although ownership may change. The server shutting down closes the portal, and it has to be opened again.

Darkness Falls (back when I played at least) was a dark labyrinth of many halls and rooms open to all members of the realm (public dungeon). It was enormous… don’t think of it as a dungeon – as dungeons are known today – but a huge zone. It contained some of, if not all, the best loot in the game at the time. There were areas with mobs that you could grind and even deep dark pathways that lead to big bosses. The dungeon functioned on a ‘seal’ loot mechanic that players of more recent mmorpgs will be familiar with: Mobs drop seals that you turn in for loot. Simple. What was also crucial to DF’s design was that players of ALL levels could go inside and have wings/areas that they could experience, rvr, grind, farm, etc. It appealed to everyone.

It’s not the details of the dungeon itself that matter though. It’s the idea of this magnificent prize (the zone) only being available to one realm at a time based on being the current owner of the most keeps. This is precisely what Mythic is missing in Warhammer Online. Just think about it for a minute. What if they added a dungeon like Darkness Falls? People would leave scenarios and fight to take keeps. Why? Because if they don’t fight for the keep then they won’t have access to this dungeon. What’s going to happen when your keeps come under attack? You’re going to defend them because you want to retain control of the dungeon.

What would happen from all of this Open RvR? O…m…g.. a city siege might actually happen and… brace yourselves… we might actually have some Realm Pride!

People have been asking for a Darkness Falls-like dungeon for a long time – I’m one of them.  But before when I was asking for one it was because I enjoyed the dungeon’s design and dynamic nature.  However, now I realize how integral it is in a game like Warhammer Online and Dark Age of Camelot.  It served a purpose that we all knew existed but never fully understood – until now.

Warhammer Online needs Darkness Falls now more than ever.

  • That sounds amazing. Here’s to hoping something like that is in the works.

    And if they made the dungeon an open rvr lake, so that the folks that were still questing when the power shifted could get destroyed by the new dungeon owner’s army, ahahhaha.

    It’d be great questing, then getting a message that your faction has lost control, knowing there will soon be rvr enemies entering.

    So how did it work in the past…did the current occupants just get kicked out, or were they 2 different instances.

  • That sounds like a freaking awesome idea. The biggest plus for me is that there’s content for a wide range of levels in there, making everybody care about it no matter where they are.

    Guild Wars had a similar mechanic with its Hall of Heroes… basically, a never-ending tournament where if one part of the world (America, Europe, Korea, etc) won enough, they would steal control of the most profitable end game areas away. Only people from the controlling realms could access those areas.

    However, the PvP-ers didn’t really care about the access to PvE content, due to the fact that PvP-ers don’t have to PvE to get gear in that game. They just did the PvP because they liked it. The PvE-ers would wait patiently for their realm to steal control. It was a funny system.

    But in WAR and its bigger dependence on gear/leveling, I think PvP players would need such an area, and so it would provide great incentive to oRvR.

  • If I’m reading this correctly, you’re asking for a large PvE zone to be accessible only to one realm, determined by RvR conflict.

    Sounds great, except for one flaw: PvE in WAR is rather lacking. As prizes go, I don’t know if that will be treated as all that amazing by WAR’s current population.

    I do agree with the premise though, that sieges (especially city sieges) should mean more than they do. It’s the right idea, but I think it requires better infrastructure than WAR has now, because Mythic is behind on the PvE curve.

    Goes along with my argument that any MMORPG, no matter how PvP-based, needs a strong PvE foundation. IMHO Mythic went below the bar in minimal PvE. Mind you, they do have room to improve mob AI, aggro and threat mechanics. If they could do that, then stuff like this could rock.

  • Agreed. Pickup raids in Darkness Falls were some of the best PvE fun I ever had in that game. Plus, the ability to quietly grind seals for an item you want made for some simple casual play. The fact that you lived in terror of the dreaded realm change and sudden army of enemy players swarming in to kill you only made it sweeter — like stealing cookies from the cupboard at midnight as a kid, the risk of being caught makes it that much more enjoyable.

  • I agree with this, Darkness falls other then the RVR Zones, was the most fun i have had in DAOC. Gear was made accessible at a early level through the lower level mobs found at the beginning.

    It was brilliant thinking that got every level person involved, Bravo on this suggestion I hope this could play out as it would be a savior in this game.

    Rite now i still feel if i wanted SC’s i wouldve been on the wow Treadmill still.

  • @Rog: PvE being lacking only strengthens the argument that WAR NEEDS Darkness Falls. If Mythic could introduce a fantastic PvE environment with loot that meant something (still accessible, but meaningful) then they could have a real solution on their hands for both lackluster PvE and meaningless RvR.

  • I am not a fan of the idea. The cities are the goal, not a dungeon. The cities offer the PvE content you want in dungeons. I do agree something has to be done with the keeps to make them worth defending. Realm pride is reason enough for me to defend a keep but not everyone.

    Why would I care about the dungeon if I have no PvE interest? I really don’t have much of a loot interest as I have not even bothered to redeem my T3 armor set quests. That is just me though.

  • @Werit: Why care? Because as it stands now I hope you enjoy scenarios. This idea augments and brings city sieges to the forefront, instead of scenarios being the most action. With a dungeon like Darkness Falls there would be a far greater chance of action leading to a city siege instead of being stalemated. Realm pride is all I need too – but have you seen it yet? I certainly have not. I welcome any example of real realm pride – it’s nonexistent as anyone who played DAOC can confirm.

    If you’re not interested in PvE then this does not impact your gameplay at all. It actually HELPS you because, like it or not, there is an incredible amount of people who will want to PvE and to get to it they’ll have to RvR. In a way, this will funnel people toward you.

  • I never said I was against it being implemented, just that I didn’t like the idea.

    I do however think issues will arise if people are ‘forced’ to PvP to get to the PvE. It happened on LoTRO, which had the same concept. Again, Im all for content, but this doesn’t appeal to me 🙂

  • @Keen: I agree, it’s possible they could help both situations in one fell swoop.

    But the PvE requires some core improvements. For instance I cannot see pulls being much fun in a dungeon when the initial aggro only has two modes: Perfect single pulls every time– versus hard linked mobs that come no matter what.

    In the push for so many PvP players insisting that they be catered to within this game, Mythic has undervalued their PvE below the threshold that they need. WAR is missing some key PvE building blocks that we’ve experienced in other MMORPGs. It’s years behind, I don’t think PvE gamers are willing to accept an EQ level of mob behaviour at this point. They may not be able to put their finger on why WAR’s PvE is less fun, because it’s the subtle differences that add up, but I think you realize as I do that it’s not up to par.

    So yeah, you’re right, they need a boost here, but it’s going to take more than just plunking down a zone. Oddly, Mark Jacobs has always talked about Mythic being programmer-heavy, but this is an area that needs much better code.

    Overall, I think something like this is not only a good idea, but it’s probably necessary. PvP in a vacuum doesn’t working in an MMORPG IMHO, even if it’s all some players want to do.

  • BRING BACK DF!!!!! I will start the parade!

    I actually had more fun in the dunegon in the rvr zone. Cant think of the name of it to save my life even though i did manage to kill alot of folks there.

    There has to be something unique though to motivate the lemmings, i mean masses. Great idea though!


  • DF was key because it provided not only ok gear and good accessories, but it truly was the economic hub of DAOC. That ok gear was salvegable into base materials that armor and weaponscrafters absolutely required to make the high level gear that drove RvR. So not only did you have the lowbies in there grinding for beginner gear and exp, high levels were farming the higher level mobs for seals that they could sell to crafters who would buy gear to salvage and craft with. They there were the epic raid level named mobs, and low level named mobs with there unique drops.

    It was awesome. But really it was the money making opportunity that kept people coming back. WAR doesn’t really have an economy yet to really make a DF work as perfectly as it did in DAOC.

  • Darkness Falls was the best single idea for DAoC, I remember when we were down in the Legion area wing and a realm change happened, so you know some other raids will come from behind if you aren’t fast enough. Or the fights in the starter areas, etc.

    It won’t replace city sieges, but it will give at least a meaning to every single keep at once.

  • personally i think the solution is even simpler.

    For tier3, use Gunbad as darkness falls; just increase the xp/loot gains from it to make it more desirable.

    For tier4, use Bastion Stairs as darkness falls; just increase the xp/loot gains to make it the most desirable place for 31-39s

    For level 40s, use Lost Vale as darkness falls.

    And then just add a dungeon to tier2; this way; all the dungeons with the best loot/xp for each tier is tied to the keeps; they already have most the dungeons; they just need to tie their portals to them and make them more rewarding

  • It’s a good idea, though I wonder if it will work as well with having only two realms in WAR versus three in DAOC. It seems to me that on many servers that are dominated by one side or another, a DF would just mean a “rich get richer” environment. At least in DAOC you had three realms, and so even if one was the strongest, there was enough capturing going on that each realm got to see DF occasionally at least.

  • Nazgum has almost got it right…

    I was going to state why just a single dungeon would not work and he beat me to it.

    The tier based system in WAR would make a single dungeon useless, if not at least hard to purposely gain control of. BUT if we had a worthwhile dungeon with fantastic rewards inside for EACH tier it would work great. That way, if Order doesnt have control of the dungeon in Tier 2 and, OH LOOK, Fangbreaka Keep (isnt that the one in Marshes?) is held by Destruction, lets go get the keep back so we can get back into the dungeon! HOORAH! I think this could increase the action in ORvR greatly.

    But PLEASE dont make scenarios count towards control…. please please please.

  • Interesting… So I guess Mythic never fully understood the importance either if they have failed to include any sort of incentive for defending or capturing keeps now.

    I guess the important point is that there should be some reward/discomfort factor attached. It doesn’t have to be a dungeon, you could come up with something different just as well.

  • There would probably be more oRvR if zone control worked properly _and_ if the Renown system didn’t penalize the hardcore people who PvP’ed so much they’re at level 40 Renown.

    They have changes coming for oRvR in a patch after 1.05. Mark’s thread on the vnboards indicated that they haven’t much work on the RvR situation yet. His reasoning was that if the classes were not enjoyable to play, oRvR wouldn’t matter as much.

    I’m hopeful. While the tweaks they’ve been doing via hotfixes are nice, it often struck people as rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. However, if there’s been a seperate effort to avoid the icebergs altogether that we just didn’t know about, then I’m increasingly confident we’ll see changes made that we know are necessary.

  • The problem with adding DF to WAR is WAR only has 2 factions, not 3. As such, WAR DF would be 100% Destruction controlled on many servers, and 90% Destro on most others. It worked in DAoC because you had a third side, which helped offset the usual Albion imbalance.

    That and City Siege, rather than DF, is the source of the top-end gear, and works in a similar manner. PvP and control Keeps to open access to PvE (City PQs, King encounter) to gain better loot. It’s just early in the games life and the City Siege mechanic has not really gotten started yet. Once the majority of the server is at 40, it will.

  • As a long time DAoC player (and still somewhat active in that game) I LOVE THIS IDEA!

    Here are some of my ideas for the dungeon . . .

    1) You would need one DF dungeon for each tier, but only the Tier 4 (and maybe Tier 3) would be based on who owns that particular Tier

    2) There would be a “seal” mecchanic like in DF. There would be 3 different seal types with different values.

    With the lowest of the seals (which you can solo farm) you can purchase decent, level appropriate Green items.

    The next level of seals would be given off tougher monsters that would nearly require a group of players to kill. These seals would enable you to purchase good, level appropriate Blue items.

    The highest seal level would be given off PQ boss mob encounters. With enough of these seals players could purchase excellent, level appropriate Purple Items. And of course, these boss mob PQs would also still give the loot chest with the potential for a great Purple Item.

    Of course the seal drops and items purchaseable would require tweaking and balancing.

    3) I guess that’s it for now. Thanks for reading 😛

  • I did not get into WAR so forgive me if I ask a stupid question here. But why couldn’t you just increase the rewards for attacking and defending city sieges? If you made them more than scenarios, you should be able to change player’s behavior. It seems like this would directly get people to engage in sieges, rather than having to add a new content area.

  • That map reminds me so much of DAoC, I remember running around with Kirstina and Immortal Crusaders, good old days /nostalgia.

  • I heard about this dungeon before, hell my guild is called Darkness Falls lol even though I never played daoc long enough to experience it for myself. The theory though is good, players need incentive to go do things other than what is currently available in the game. Just having RvR lakes and keeps isn’t enough and a dungeon like this would work wonders for the game and might make me come back and play again.

  • /signed

    Long ago, I listed this as one of the things that Mythic should include in WAR. It’s a great way to get an overwhelming RvR force off the battlefield, so a smaller realm has a chance at evening up the RvR numbers.

    I was hoping for some sort of Darkness Falls under Altdorf and IC. It would be fun to imagine that the horde of enemies is actually under your feet, and when you swing control back to your side, you get to go underground and clean ’em all out, just like the mad DAoC rushes 🙂

  • Yep, this is an excelent idea. Warhammer also has the lore to be able to link all 4 tiers… The skaven’s underways.

    The skaven have always been against those on the surface so they would provide you with perfect enemy mobs for both realms.

    Bring on the trumpets!

  • […] Warhammer Online, back in November 2007, was delayed in order to transform the game to align closer with DAOC’s RvR but it forgot that one crucial element… the PURPOSE.  Sure, city sieges are a purpose but let’s be realistic – a keep is under attack in Praag… why would I go defend if it poses no threat to our city?  It’s going to take like 8 keeps, 2 fortreses, and a TON of RvR to make our capital city vulnerable.  As of right now a city siege is not going to happen.  So, we come back to the PURPOSE.  I strongly feel that Darkness Falls provides that purpose.  Find out more about Darkness Falls here. […]