It had to happen sooner or later. I died in Darkfall. Some of you may not even know what happens in Darkfall when you die, and I think it’s important that you really take to heart what I’m going to tell you if you’re still on the fence about the game. When you die in this game, you leave behind a grave. The person who killed you, or anyone who comes upon that grave, can loot everything you had on you; all of your money, all of your armor, all of your food, your mount… if it’s on you, it’s gone. It’s tough to come to terms with what that really means and what it really does to the gameplay, until you’ve experienced it.
I died twice yesterday.
The first death came when I was hunting Man-at-Arms at their little fort about 5 minutes run south of Sandbrook. There was four of us there and we were having pretty good success looting weapons and armor that were all complete upgrades. I found three pieces of banded armor, a really nice 2h axe, and everyone else had upgrades as well. We were on top of the world at this point.
Then it happened. We got one too many mobs and we were really close to death. It was then that the Alfar made their move. Three of them came up to us and finished us off without any trouble. We couldn’t fight back because we had no stamina and our HP was about 20%. They took all that we had. On top of it all I was a complete fool and had my mount on me at the time. I should have left it in the bank because I wasn’t even using it.
We all spawned back at the newbie town and had to reequip with the backup sets of armor that we banked. This is crucial! You must have backup gear! With this backup gear we headed back to fight these three Alfar fairly. Full HP to full HP. We wanted revenge. When we arrived back at the spawn we saw 10+ Alfar all on mounts. They saw us. Bloodcurdling screams ensued (I didn’t know Vryn’s voice went that high…) and we turned around and started running as fast as we could using all of our stamina. They chased us and ran us down. It was actually sorta cool… The Alfar killed us without ever leaving their mounts. Mounted combat is in the game and they used it to keep up with us and swing at us knocking out heads off.
We died and lost it all again.
The weird part about it all is that I’m not even upset like I thought I would be. I’m upset from a pseudo-roleplay perspective in that I want nothing more than to kill every Alfar I see in retaliation – but I’m not upset out of the game. Death is part of Darkfall. It’s going to happen, and it’s going to happen a lot. Use every death as a learning experience. I learned the hard way to pay closer attention to my inventory. I learned that it’s not worth going back for revenge. I learned that I should never allow myself to get into a situation where mobs can take me so low that I can be so easily killed.
After the deaths I was a little discouraged because I lost my armor that looked like rusty plate. I had no pants and a leather tunic on (I looked rather funny) but I had 250G in the bank. This was more than enough to answer the ad of a crafter selling full chain gear for 75G a set. Within 20 minutes of losing everything twice I was in better gear than I lost. A clanmate (Roarke) who is going pure crafter put a Dwarven Zwiehander in the bank for me. Your luck can change in Darkfall very quickly.
This death penalty alters gameplay drastically. Some will see this change as positive and some negative depending on how they view full loot, but neither side can deny the elements of gameplay a death penatly like this will bring. It impacts every decision you make. Do you go out alone or with a group? Do you chase someone or not? Should you go plate armor or cloth? Should you use your best stuff all the time or save it for special events? These questions and hundreds more are just a glimpse at the decisions players will be faced with making in Darkfall that the full loot penalty impacts.
If full loot is something you can’t stand, or can’t fathom being able to cope with, then Darkfall is probably a game you should skip over. If it sounds scary to you, and you’re worried about losing your gear, but you might be able to cope with it, then I encourage you to at least give it a try. I enjoy how scared I get when I see the enemy. I enjoy the importance that it places upon everything I do. I win sometimes and I lose sometimes, but I’m having fun all the time.
(The quality in these screenshots is horrible. FRAPS butchers the quality for some reason. I’ve taken some video and I’ll take more screens today to show you guys the game.)