Darkfall patch adds epic new feature …

You can now zoom the map!  Anyone who plays/played Darkfall knows that this change alone is probably the best change/addition Aventurine has made to the game yet.  Overall, the patch notes are fairly large but that’s because they’re bloated with listing every spell and skill that was changed.  There are a few changes to the game that are worth mentioning and if you want to see them all you can view the patch notes here.

You are now required to hit a valid target to gain skill in archery
This is a good change. People were able to just stack themselves with thousands of arrows, find a place to hide, and macro their arrow shooting until they maxed out. It’s the same with spells which, to my knowledge, can still be leveled up by shooting off into outer space. The problem with this change though is that those who abused it now have an even bigger advantage: Others can’t abuse it to catch up. The skill disparity is now emphasized. Hopefully the change below evens it out….

Skill progression in archery has been increased significantly and Skill gain has increased significantly in all melee skills
I think this was a mandatory change to go hand in hand with the making archery skill up only if you hit someone. Melee skill gain has always been horribly slow and has always required you to hit a target. This has placed melee at a disadvantage in power when combined with the natural disadvantage melee has in Darkfall was just horrible.

Player Journal and Clan pages now accessible trough external browsers
I’ve already given this change a try and it’s really nice for me as a guild leader. I can access the clan window while away from my home computer and perform administrative duties without ever having to log in.

Melee weapon range has been increased across the board
This is the second (maybe third?) time they’ve increased melee range. Obviously the balance issues that exist between ranged and melee characters is known to them and they’re trying to fix this problem. This should definitely help mounted combat feel more natural as well as allowing melee to kill runners and spaztacticians easier.

While this can be classified as a “great patch”, I can’t help but point out the fact that none of this is a step forward.  It’s another lateral patch or “catch up” patch to fix something that has been broken, unabalanced, or needed since launch to make the game ‘whole’.  I think it corresponds directly with Darkfall’s retention rate.  They have one(1) server that can hold somewhere near 10,000 people and they’re consistently opening the store to sell more copies yet never making a new server.  If Aventurine wants their game to improve and grow then they need to take a step forward with patches.  It feels like we’re still 3 of these patches away from “launch ready”.

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  • These are some very needed changes…that we all (the old players who actually played) have been arguing for. Lower the Grind was nr1 for me (they adressed this to a certain extent today) and get us out of the cities for a reason (no more macroing shooting in the air).

    Now what is needed is resource points (perhaps 3 or 4) that make owning them mean easy warhulks and ships (to make it worth the risk). Make it worth it to gear up and fight over this territory or dungeons – I think that should be the next step.

    Siege changes come next.

    After that they can ad more PVE as in soloable mobs and crap.

    Then the game should be “launch ready”

  • Darkfall still needs a lot more lateral patches before it can take a step forward.

    The two things i think it needs most is a fix to the sprinting and skill cap.

    The way sprinting is implemented in the game is absolute crap. They said they were gonna fix it in beta but have yet to do so. Just crazy monkey running.

    Another thing is also to the total lack of a skill cap soft or hard.

    Still i think the safest bet would to be keep your money on darkfall. MO is coming out sometime but they are going to have to go through the same learning curve as aventurine did.

  • I’d love for them to add a skill cap, but there is no way AV is competent enough to do it properly. The big issue is that a few patches from now they really need to open a new server where people can start fresh. Right now there are thousands of people who have exploited bugs that took them a few weeks to fix. (rigor pyramids, acid pools, melee skill up on shielded afks) The people who are new, or didn’t take advantage of this are shafted and put a pretty large disadvantage. At least they have lessened the grind, so now leveling melee skill won’t seem as impossible as it was after the skill up on shielded people nerf.

    The only thing this game has going for it is the fact that it’s the only option at the moment if you want hardcore twitch pvp. They are extremely lucky. If MO was close to launching they would be doomed. They have time to get things right between now and the MO launch. Who knows if they will be able to do it or not though.

  • I like the fact they keep adding quests as well. To me the biggest problem with the game is the lack of PvE content. They’ve been addressing this every patch adding new quests and mobs…if they can really beef up the PvE content over the coming weeks and months i think it’ll make a huge difference in the appeal of the game to a wider audience, along with continuing to address the exploits and any balance issues on the PvP side.

  • I like the direction they are going. If they do add 3 to 4 good patches like this and create a fresh NA server, I’ll resub.

  • They definately need to overhaul PvE Content (make Dungeons more fluid and important to draw PvP comabt) and Seige Mechanics. Fix those and we start to have a game worth of retail.

    Reducing the grind is a good step.

  • I’ve been testing the increased skillups this morning and I’m not noticing much difference. I killed about 30 bears and got .5 skillups. It’s even slower now to play “legit” because misses are not skillups anymore.

  • If it’s still slow that’s pretty horrible news and likely will cause even more people to quit.

    WAR 1.3 is starting to look better and better until MO comes out, providing they fix the lag issues.

  • I must be in the minority that likes slow skill progression, but then again i don’t grind. And i get to play around 1-2 hours a week, so i’ll definitely be on the low end of the skill curve.

    to me mmorpgs are all about character progression. If i can max out my skills in two months or less that just kills a game for me. One of the final straws when i played Vanguard was when they changed the leveling to warp speed and i started outleveling quest chains when i was in the middle of them. dumb move (but not unexpected for that dev team).

    One of the things i loved about EQ was that i never hit max level, and i played a lot (but not with a focus on leveling). I always loved that i knew i had more character development ahead of me, and it never bothered me that there were many people out there more developed than me. That somehow made the world a lot more “real” to me and immersive…i dunno hard to explain.

    Admittedly PvP is a little different and it’s a bummer there are already a lot of people out there that have exploited to very high skills. That’s why i’m looking forward to a hopefully clean slate when they open up the next server (US or EU). But regardless there will always be people who play more than me and frankly deserve to have higher skills – and that’s ok and even desired in my book.

    Hopefully skill caps get in that next patch too. That’s very important to get some character diversity in the game.

  • @Jordan: Well I like it slower too but the problem here is that some people were able to exploit and macro their way to the top creating a huge gap between the legit and the uber. Increasing skill gains is an effort to try and bridge that gap, except it’s not fast enough. If they could have wiped everyone’s skills then leaving it slow was fine.

  • Agree with that sentiment Keen…that’s why i’m hoping for a clean slate on the next server. At this point, while it’s not impossible (and never will be), they’ve made it much harder to both cheat to win encounters and to exploit/macro your way to higher skills.

  • Is it that easy to get?

    I mean, I check the damn website once a day for a month, still haven’t seen a chance to buy the damn thing.

  • @Jordan/Keen

    I like slow skill progression, but I want to see a skill cap soon. However, if one can (easily) reach or stay at the cap, it kills progression. That is to say, everyone is making a “build” rather than a character. I was hoping DF would eliminate this mentality by opening every avenue to every player, but making it very hard to get too far down that road. Instead, they are heading the opposite direction — every avenue is fast, but you can only pick a few roads. Sounds like a talent point system to me =/

    That (theoretical) point aside, its clear that they haven’t made the skill system too fast. It appears like they have upped skill progression fast enough to compensate for misses if you are actually aiming at something. So it should be the same amount of time, but no shooting at a wall anymore.

    @Toxic

    It’s not easy to get. You can find out the times the store will be open here:

    http://forums.darkfallonline.com/forumdisplay.php?f=29