Darkfall Impressions Part 5

So much has happened the past few days in the game that I can’t possibly keep track of when it happened.  I’ve been playing whenever I have free time, which has been more often than I had anticipated given all that’s been happening in my RL.  Good news out of it all is that Graev comes home today (in about an hour actually).  The surgeon was able to get out all the stones from his pancreas area, the gallbladder, and fix up all the other issues there.  He’s ready to come home after nearly 5 days in the Hospital to play some Darkfall!

The last time I left off I believe my clanmates and I had just arrived in the Eleven area after a nice long trek from the Human lands.  We all rode on horseback which cut the trip down to about an hour and a half or so with only a few stops for safety and scenery along the way.   The world is gorgeous.  The terrain is very well done and everything feels “real worldish”, if you get me.   The world is very empty though.  There are not many mobs running around.  In fact, had we not taken the scenic tour we probably could have avoided seeing any mobs altogether.  Mixed feelings on this one.  I like that I don’t have to worry about tripping over mobs everywhere like I did in WoW.   The mob placement in Darkfall is closer to Oblivion.  You have to actually seek out and find the mobs, or else you don’t find them at all.  It works though, and I think if it were any other way then the focus of the game might shift.

The elf lands were pretty okay.  The layout of their cities is really something.  The design of their tree villages and the ambiance it creates can not be felt anywhere else in the world.  I got a bit tired of the layout though, since everything was so spread out in the cities.  When I’m in town I really want things to be simple and accessible, which they were in the Human lands but just not in the Elf.  The hunting in the Elf lands was far superior to the Human though.  The Elf Land wilderness banks/outposts were much more accesible and had camps of mobs nearby.  This made them feel like the oldschool hubs where people gathered for support, socializing, and trade.   Some exploring of the area yielded a desert not too far off (about 8 minutes run).  In this desert we found Gnolls which were a challenge if we didn’t kite them a bit.  The highlight of this exploration was the Flesh Golem!  It was this massive creature that suddenly came charging at us from across the desert.  As he ran at us we had more than enough time to pull out our bows and staves to begin casting and we had the thing to half HP before it even reached us.  It felt like we were trying to fend off a large beast and the whole situation is one that we still talk about on ventrilo to those who weren’t there as though we slayed some epic beast.

PvP in the Elf Lands… it’s brutal.  The Alfar and Mahirim do regular raiding parties.  You can’t really blame them though, after all who wouldn’t want to cut a few elves down amirite?  We took our licks here but we dished them out too.  We have killed several Alfar groups over the past few days and even stolen a few of their mounts right from under their noses as they tried to mount and escape (heh heh heh).   The highlight of our PvP adventures here had to be the player city we came upon.  IMAGE clan and Redemption (Ork/Mahirim people) clan claimed a city about 10-15 minutes away from the Elf starting towns.  We came up to the town one night and found most all of them AFK (unattended) macroing by running into walls and casting spells over and over.  We did our civic duty and cut them all to pieces earning ourselves some great faction.  After we had killed about 10 of them though they started coming back from AFK and a few of their geared members showed up.  We only had 5 people there and they now had about 15.  We made the mistake of sticking around when we should have just ran away.  We died, and we have suspicions one of them was speed hacking (I have it fraps’d), but it was still fun and worth it.  We promptly added them to our KoS list and chuckle ever time TheMercs declare war on IMAGE.

Yesterday we decided to pack up our bags and make the trip to the Dwarf lands.  It took less time (about 45 minutes on horseback) to get there because it was a diagonal cut instead of a horizontal continental cross and the trip was completely safe.  When we arrived the first thing I noticed is how different the area felt.  It was a harsher climate and much more mountainous.  The area feels very “Norse” and has a lot of dwarvish architecture that makes the area feel really masculine and sturdy.

One of our clan members (Roake Battleforge) has been mapping the dwarvish area for some time and sharing his cartographic skills with us, which has made the transition to this land much easier.  We know where everything is and we have been able to adapt very quickly to our new home.  I did some exploring last night on horseback and found several large camps of undead dwarves, these alien looking things, bears, Hobgoblins, and all sorts of mobs that will keep us busy for days to come.

All of my exploring had nothing on what we found lastnight though.  We came upon this massive underground cavern (location and details I will not give as not to give away our secret spot!) that was full of higher level undead.  These undead were dropping rank 40 weapons and lots of cash.  We spent a great deal of time last night hunting these and earning money for our clan bank so that we can claim a clan city.  It takes at least 4 of us to kill these without risk of death and we had a few mishaps lastnight.  Overall it was the best PvE experience I’ve had in the game yet and I was really floored that we had found such a cool place.

I’m loving the pacing of the game.  After spending slightly over a week playing, I look back and feel like I have accomplished soooo much, yet I haven’t at the same time.  Someone could start playing tomorrow and catch up to me very quickly in terms of accomplishment and even start grouping and hunting with me immediately.  The tortoise beats the hare in this game.  Working towards your own goals at your own pace makes playing the game really relaxing.  It’s reignited that feeling I had when I played Everquest for the first time and leveled my first character from 1-50 without knowing anything.  In the end I could have done it faster, but taking it all in was something that I really thought would never happen again.

The game has obvious flaws which you have heard about by now.  People have been cheating (Speed hacking) and exploiting mob pathing which Aventurine claims they’re now getting a handle on.  This has really bothered me, and others I’m sure, because it does hurt the spirit of the game.   But overall these clowns who want to abuse the game are not the majority.  In fact, they are the vast minority – and they’re only going to ruin the game for themselves and become the first to say “I’m bored”.  I have come across ONE speed hacker and never once seen a person with gear way better than mine.  If they’re out there, they are hiding or off fighting eachother and the people who are playing legit are not being impacted by them.  That’s no excuse, don’t get me wrong, but I feel I must say that so far it’s been a non issue for me personally.  It will be an issue eventually if it’s not fixed, and exponentially worse as time goes on.

Darkfall has been a pleasant surprise.  I thought there would be a lot more that I would have to cope or deal with … but I’m overjoyed that there just isn’t.  Even though I was anticipating the game’s launch and knew all about it, it has come out of left field and pleasantly surprised me.  The mechanics and style might be an acquired taste, but this small company of about 30 people has turned out a product far superior in so many ways to most of the games released in the past four years.  I just hope we don’t have to wait seven years for the next company to make a game their way, instead of what they hope will sell 11.5 million copies.

Below is a sort of introduction video with audio commentary where I show a few things in the game.   Hopefully youtube gets around to making a HD version of it.  I’ll be adding more videos over the next few days.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z62YZ_UBMc[/youtube]

And once again, Haven (a fantastic clan and community in Darkfall) is accepting applications.  If you need a home, don’t go at it alone.

  • I like this entry keen. I love the video to reminds me of your videos from AOC , which made me play it in the first place.

  • Are thirty minute or more travel times normal? From reading your impressions it seems like you spend a lot of time traveling. Darkfall does seem like a fun game but it sounds like it requires a heavy investment of time. More so than say 1-39 Warhammer or 1-79 WoW.

  • That’s a proper assessment, Codersigma. Darkfall does take time. There are no immediate things you must do though, such as leveling. Raising your skills is important, and it unlocks and allows you to do more, but you can do so much in the world right away that your investment of time can really be overwhelming. It’s best to make some goals for yourself and cater your time spent in-game towards accomplishing them.

    It’s easy to spend 2 hours online and do nothing, but doing nothing in Darkfall can be fun. It’s very sandbox.

  • Great stuff Keen. Loved the video, like bludkraze it brings me back to the AoC videos which I loved.

    Is there an AH in Darkfall? What is the market like?

  • No auction house. The market consists of people advertising their goods and building names for themselves as reputable and competitive crafters. People come together and sell their goods in high trafficked areas.

  • Glad to hear you’re having fun in Darkfall. Thanks for the interesting read and video. And I hope Graev feels better soon!

  • Hey Keen,

    Nice writeup, as usual. I was hoping you could elaborate on a question I’ve seen come up in a lot of places but never really answered well. Do you see Darkfall being a game that will remain interesting for long periods of time?

    The sandbox nature and clan warfare dynamic of the game are definitely strong factors towards longevity, but apart from PvP, crafting, and building your clan city, what is there to keep the game interesting in the long run?

    I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts.

  • I’m swaying back and forth on this game. I’ll read impressions like this and want to play. Then I’ll read comments elsewhere and feel like I should wait. Grrr.

  • Hey keen, was that a dwarf mount or human? It looked like the horse had ram horns or something.

    ~Skryre

  • @Raegn: Depends on how much you enjoy the sandbox PvP and clan warfare dynamic. If you enjoy making and taking clan cities, acknowledge that PvE builds wealth and PvP spreads it around, and can have fun participating in the world community then I think Darkfall has about as much potential enjoyment as any other mmorpg on the market – even more if you’re willing to be change up your playstyle from time to time.

    It’s not like it is in WoW where you do all the dungeons, get all the loot, and have to wait for the next patch to do it all over again.

    @Adam: Feel free to ask me any questions that you have and I’ll give you an honest answer (relevant to my opinion, of course).

    @Skryre: Human. The horses have some sort of horns… rather weird alctually. The dwarf mounts are much more ram-like.

  • Hey Keen, have you built a clan city yet?

    I know it’s very expensive (which it should be) and that it takes time to build up a nice city. Do you guys have anything at all yet?

    Thanks!

  • Reminds me so much of UO but with better graphices (compaired to a 2d game) and that makes me want to play it so badly. There using almost ever system exactly the saem as UO from pvp, Inventory, Skills and mounts. I wish i was in beta 🙁

  • Interesting how using the magic wand puts you into first person view. Does this happen with all sorts of spells? Do you need some sort of wand in order to do magic?

  • Hey Keen,
    Do you think this game is playable on constant 400 pings?
    I’m interested in playing but I’m afraid that it will be unplayable for me due to the high ping

  • I miss more than I should and Im usually at 190-240 ping. 400 might drive you !(@)*#!@* crazy…..
    Keen, when the servers go down, how long until they usually come back up?

  • @WalterD: All spells are cast in 1st person using a wand.

    @Arti: 400 ping is a stretch. I’m at 190-200 ping and don’t notice a thing. 400 might be pushing it unfortunately.

    @bluefile2: Servers are rarely down. I think they were down for a patch today for maybe an hour or so? They were down for 10 min the day before for a quick maintenance.

  • @Keen: Hm, think i’ll wait a little while before attempting to buy the game then. Would hate to buy the game then realise that it’ll be too lag for me to play. Thanks for the response, tho!

  • Ping really hasn’t been a problem here in the US. While I don’t actively monitor it, it does seem to hang around 160 for me. To be perfectly honest, I don’t feel like I’m playing on an European server at all.

  • Has anyone noticed relase dates or anything? Is there even going to be a US release? 😛

  • probably not for a looooong time out. they’re still trying to unpooch this launch mess. Get in on this one. Kinda fun to be running around with some group from germany, aussi, japan…. all random and international.

  • Thanks Keen. I was thinking something similar so it’s good to hear your thoughts on it run in the same vein. I wasn’t into the genre at the time of UO so this kind of MMO is still mysterious for me. Can’t wait to get in there and try it though 🙂

  • The game sounds really interesting and I’m really wanting to start playing it. But, senior year of college + job search makes my free time practically null so I guess I’ll have to wait. If they do a 7 day free trial thing I will definitely partake in that though.

    And if not, when school is over I’ll prolly dive on in.

  • @Shnipa

    Don’t play this game until you finish college and land a job>.<. That’s the dad coming out of me.

    @Catastrophe

    I snagged this info from the Darkfall website.

    “The initial system requirements for Darkfall are as follows:
    Operating System: Windows XP, Vista
    Processor: 2.5GHz Pentium 4, or equivalent
    RAM: 1GB for Windows XP, 2GB for Windows Vista
    Graphics Card: 128MB PixelShader 2.0 support
    Hard Drive Space: 12 GB Free Space Minimum”

  • @Elspath: The game is released already. It came out on the 26th of February. The catch is that there are no North American servers, but the NA players can play on the EU servers.

  • Interesting to see your impressions of the different starting areas. I’ve re-rolled about half a dozen times now to check out the different races, and I think anyone’s first impression of the game can be quite different depending on where they start.

    First time around I was an Ork, and the starting area was almost devoid of other players. I almost quit the game right there out of frustration from trying to tackle the marked goblin spawn alone while the goblins quad-teamed me.

    Second time around was a Mirdain, and it was the complete opposite, each marked goblin spawn had a dozen people at it, all competing for the killshot to update the quest, and then for the loot on each goblin that spawned individually. Almost quit a second time there…

    Third time was a dwarf, pretty much the same as Mirdain.

    Fourth attempt was a Mahirim, and I found them to be pretty much “just right”. The starting area had three marked goblin spawns and each one had just enough to mean you had a decent shot at getting the spawns, and occasionally even get triple tag teamed by goblin scouts just to give it that thrill of danger.. Progressed through the kill 4, then kill 7 tutorial quests there with no problem and that for me was when the game clicked and became enjoyable.

    I didn’t really like the looks of the dog characters though, so since then I’ve given Ork and Mirdain another shot, but not sure where I’ll settle. Elf is still very overcrowded and has the raiding party problem you described. I’ve learned to spot those raptor mounts from far away and run for safety.

    One thing I couldn’t figure out though – anyone know if you can zoom the world map at all? I found keybindings for the minimap, but not the larger one.. I could swear I see more marks there for goblin spawns in Elf areas, but so far my exploration attempts haven’t found them.

  • the world map is a major complaint of mine too. its crap and I hope they fix it. A zoom feature would do wonders in finding stuff.

  • Great write and thanks for the video.

    Glad Graev is doing well, and is hopefully home soon.

    One of the dorky flowers…with like some kind of animal vase, ehehhe.

  • @Deigh

    It sounds to me like you’re playing the game solo. I have to emphasize the fact that I don’t feel that Darkfall is a solo friendly game. If you find the goblin spawns tough for a single player to handle, it gets much tougher as you encounter tougher mob spawns. I cannot really recommend this game to people that like to play solo. The game is fantastic with a group imo.

  • I agree with Wickidd… I did reroll my elf cause I thought they sucked (especially solo) and made a wolfman. My guys name (Not sure if this is where I post it, but oh well…) is “Preorder Nerdslayer” so say hello later tonight if anyone is in game!!

  • @keen

    Okay then how do you buy it? i never bought a none US item before. Plus from waht i seen dosent look like it will be ever released for the US. Witch is to bad. Plus how are you paying the monthly fee (if there is one)?

  • Hey keen, been enjoying your blog for awhile now. On March 8 we had a massive battle on EU1 with guilds WSX, Homeless, Mafia, SA, Aesir, Black Company. It was easily 150 vs 150+ fight.

    Huge number for a game a week in retail, and servers didn’t crash or anything. When the sieging engines are finally built + greater magic spells and weapon skills this will be TRULLY EPIC

    The fight:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jsNuwMaK-M

  • We are all races, all class. But…

    Most of us are on the Human/Elves/Dwarves side so being on the opposite side might make things difficult for you. We don’t yet have a guild city so anything we do together as a guild, we do out of one of the NPC cities. If you were one of the other races, you couldn’t come in those cities and it would be dangerous for you to hang out in the territory.

    Just so you know. 🙂

  • Hey Keen, did you hear about the MASSIVE 150 vs 150 attack on Quarrendale Hamlet. There is a post in the official darkfall clan forums and it sounds absolutely epic! Some people are even suggesting 500+ were there!
    Overall the performance wise response of players in this battle seems positive as well. Most that complained of the lag had lower end computers and the majority claimed that it was definitely playable at such large numbers.
    Sounds really amazing haha.
    You all should check that forum post out, gets you pretty excited and there’s even a couple of videos.

  • Apologies for the double post but want to apologise to DM, didn’t see your post. Also here’s a link to one page of the forum topic. If you scroll down one of the leaders of the major clans involved gives an IN DEPTH recount of what occurred and why.

    Great stuff!

  • Keen why do people keep making posts saying you are a notorious speed hacker?

    Haven clan seems to be getting a lot of grief for being botters/cheaters?

    True/false?

  • @Inty: People get bitter when you kill them and they lose everything. I’ve killed about 15 people in the past 2 days by going to their starting areas and wrecking them with my mount. It’s called nerd rage, and trying to harm someone’s reputation is the best they can do in a game where their skill obviously isn’t up to par.

    It’s quite false, and I welcome Aventurine to audit me any day, any time. 🙂

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