I made mention in yesterday’s entry and subsequent comments that I feel the pacing in Darkfall is off. I want to expand more on why I believe this to be the case and why I feel that this is the chief cause of my issues with the game. If you’re not interested in reading how I feel Darkfall could be better, then move along or read the notes at the end. Oh, and if you choose to link to this post then please carry over the context in which I say something and do not twist what I have to say to make your content more interesting.
The game’s various systems, as flawed as they are, function; Albeit they function poorly at times. I’ve mentioned before that I really like how the game’s combat feels for the most part and how it exceeded my expectations; all true. The city building is good. The siege system is decent, although I don’t like the 4 hour wait. The skill system sucks but it still works all things considered.
For a game that is built around being a faster pace action oriented game, everything leads players to play at a slower pace. I can travel from one side of the map to the other, but why would I? There is no destination, purpose, or incentive. Players have no reason to congregate anywhere publicly outside of their own Clan or alliance circles. There are no regions of the map which someone would say “I need to go there to get x or y or z”. It’s one big world of complacency. Players aren’t encouraged to get together, they’re encouraged to stay apart. If you’re one of the lucky ones to get a city then you have everything you need right within your own borders.
Commerce does not exist in the game. There are a few people who still religiously spam race alliance chat selling their goods, but anyone in a clan or circle of friends has absolutely no need for any of it (Unless you need to buy mass quantities of spell reagents to macro with). Even if there were things people would really want to by and sell, the game does not support player run cities turning into hubs of trade. There are no player merchants or carts or ways to facilitate trade (even if it were to exist).
The entire game has become one of giant complacency. Aventurine needs to implement neutral cities, without towers, that people would want to go to for something. In these neutral cities and around them should be rarer resources that players will fight over or share – it’s up to the community. Players need alternative incentives and the ability to police the server. Lines must be drawn and the server community must be able to take over. As it stands now, no community really exists in this game which is not good for a sandbox style. There must be incentives for players to get out and do things.
Too much grinding and/or preparation for not enough return on the time investment is required. The game is high stakes, but no one has anything to lose aside from their big property. Taking that property requires (on EU1 because of the alliance situation) hundreds and hundreds of people. The zerging nature of the game is another way in which the pacing is off. One guild sieging something from another guild would be rare. It’s more like ten guilds against one or ten guilds vs. ten guilds and whoever brings the most people wins. This forces huge sieges to go down rarely; Or rather huge sieges of worth.
If the game is going to remain this way, then it’s a detriment to the part of the game that is functioning properly. The political struggle and the actual taking of areas is the fun part. That’s ultimately what the game boils down to. So, if it’s going to happen rarely then we need something in the interim. Adding the neutral cities with resources or other incentives to go after in places around the world would work, but we also need some solid PvE. As they say, PvE builds wealth and PvP spreads it out. I want to suggest better dungeon crawls, loot, and other PvE incentives but I think that’s beyond Aventurine’s abilities.
Bottom line: We need stuff to do. Yes, in sandbox games it’s all about making your own content. However, when you’re given so little to work with you do reach a point where it becomes impossible or the pacing drags the game into the gutter. The game just gets boring far too quickly.
Keen’s Notes: Solid ideas in Darkfall. Unique and interesting approach. Some good, some bad mechanics. Malleable world. Need more to do. Overall poor execution across the board on implementation. Fun? Only sometimes. Worth buying? Wait for the N.A. release. Am I still playing? Yes. For how long? I don’t know.
I encourage people who comment to try and brainstorm ways in which Aventurine can fix Darkfall’s predicament, assuming you agree, or things Aventurine can add/take away to make the game better.