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Weekly “What I’m playing” Update 5/11-5/16 & Comparing WAR vs. Darkfall

This week I had the rare (as of late) opportunity to put a good deal of time into both Darkfall and Warhammer Online.  I’ve known it all along and said it a few times before that these two games play very different from eachother.  Playing them at the same time, or rather in the same day for a good deal of time, really reinforced a few things that I want to share.

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Last week I asked for your help in deciding where (as in what server) I should play.  My decision came down to Phoenix Throne (where I have an 18 Choppa) or Dark Crag (where I have a 37 Shaman and a 30 Squiggy(Who I thought was ~35 but I mixed up with another char)).  With your help I was able to decide on going with Dark Crag for now because I would be able to enjoy the leveling content of LotD with a Squigherder and the “end-game” content with a Shaman.  I joined up with a great guild on Dark Crag and I’m now working my way towards 40 with my Shaman.  Yesterday alone I made over 20% of a level and an entire realm rank (now rr36).

The majority of my WAR time yesterday was spent defending keeps and fortresses.  On Dark Crag the Order have Destruction completely outnumbered to the point where they can push two zones at once and succeed.  I wasn’t aware of how bad it had gotten in my absence – when I still played on Dark Crag Destruction had Order running away every day.  Order made the first North American “legit” (?) King Kill and now Destruction is in really bad shape; demoralized, outnumbered, without city dungeons, and without strong alliances.  I admit, I’m worried that when Land of the Dead comes out that Destruction will never have the chance to own it.  We were successfully able to defend a Fortress last night and hold the Order zerg back, which should give people confidence that during prime time we’re able to win.

The 1.3 patch coming soon is going to make a ton of changes to the game.  AoE’s are being nerfed across the board for everything from Choppas to Shaman AoE heals.  I think that it will be better for the game overall with these changes, but they have me scared.  Mythic has a track record of doing a scalpel’s work with a hatchet.  This could either turn the game towards a more meaningful pvp experience with balance or send the game into a tailspin that takes months to recover from.   My Shaman’s class mechanic is being completely reworked and all that I can hope for is that he’s fun after the change.

Ironically, my time spent in Darkfall isn’t all that different.  Our alliance’s capital city was sieged at 3am (EST) in the morning last night and lost to a group notorious for exploits early in the server’s life.  I wasn’t able to stay awake to see it go down, but from what I’m told the people who came to help ended up turning on us in the end and it was a done deal.  We’ve had some great pvp in the past few days though.  The glass in half full on this one for me.  I enjoy the smaller pvp in Darkfall (as I do in most games) and being forced to live out in the wild (which is what we decided to do voluntarily, even though we own a Hamlet) makes for some interesting pvp.  As a result of losing the property I imagine our alliance will be working together to cause some real havoc out in the world.  We’re a solid bunch and all that most of them need is a little practice.

Haven (if you need a smaller guild of great friends check us out) is doing well.  We’ve seen the effects of attrition on the game in our ranks but we’re managing at about 10-12 strong right now.  The key for us is that we have friends.  We run with another guild regularly where we’re able to muster up easily 15-20 which is a sizable force for hit and run tactics.  The consensus among us is that Darkfal would benefit greatly from a new server where, after the exploits are fixed, players can finally start on an even footing and the game can be played how it was meant to be played.

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Warhammer Online is fast and furious with non stop action.  If you want to fight other players all that you have to do is click the scenario button and within seconds you’re whisked away to fight.  Maybe it’s the lack of mez from DAOC or the overpowered AoE’s, but WAR feels really like a clusterfluck of chaos everywhere.  Intended or not, the individual’s contribution is almost lost completely.  In Darkfall, the individual is everything.  Even in a big 200 vs. 200 fight the individual matters.  If you don’t pull your weight in Darkfall it’s apparent and you’re going to die and probably cost your team the victory.

Even in smaller fights the importance of the individual in Darkfall is seen as more important than WAR.  This is because of the class system.  In WAR a good healer can make up for some shortcomings in his team or a DPS who knows how to really play can end a fight quicker.  Darkfall’s skill system has essentially made it so that everyone fills every role.  You are your own healer, you are the DPS, you are the tank, you are the caster, you are the melee, and you’re all of them at once.  Whether you consider this a positive thing or not for Darkfall (it can be both) it’s different.  Personally, I like playing a role and playing it to the best of my ability.  This is where I wish that Darkfall’s skill system really mattered.  I wish that I could build my character in Darkfall to be a heavy melee where people on the battlefield would say “okay here comes a heavy melee character – look at his plate armor” but instead everyone sorta looks the same and you never know what the enemy is going to do.

Where WAR is fast, furious, and a never ending source of action, Darkfall is slower.  It could be a week before you see a huge siege or even two weeks as we saw this past month.  You really have to go out and look for the action and make it happen.  There is no incentive to fight in Darkfall unless you make your own incentives.  Ideally there has to be a middle-ground between these two games where players can feel like action is out there to be had with a purpose.  Ultimately, Darkfall suffers from being underdeveloped in some areas and released well before it was ready and WAR suffers from trying to be something it was not and always trying to recover from it.  Both games feel like they’re two or three major (and I mean major) patches away from being really close to ideal.  That’s a good thing.

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Dantes - May 17, 2009

Hey there Keen! Man I just resub’d almost a month ago to WAR and now leveling my Zealot in Dark Crag. I’m with my guildmates of a SWTOR guild using WAR as a temp game(ExGS) atm and we have around 10 strong dedicated players.

Yesterday I dusted off the cobwebs on my now 35 Zealot. I got chapter 20 out of the way and looking to do some more t4 stuff so hit me up and say hello old friend.

Welcome back to the game!

WeFlySpitFires - May 17, 2009

WAR is one of these games that I’d really like to love but something about it puts me off. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Your point about the ‘clusterfuck’ is pretty accurate and maybe that’s one of the reasons why I don’t enjoy the PVP as much as in other games.

Warden - May 17, 2009

@WeFlySpitFires

I was in the same boat as well when it came to WH. There was just something about it that didn’t sit right with me. Though who knows I may give it another shot once my connection issues eventually resolve themselves.

Bhagpuss - May 17, 2009

I just stopped playing WAR two days ago. My GF and I lasted 6 weeks there. It was just coming up to time to pay for the first sub when we both realised that the major effect playing WAR was having on us both was that it made us depressed.

Not bored, not angry, not frustrated, but down-in-the-mouth miserable. The reason, when we discussed it, turned out to be pretty much what Keen says; we never felt our contribution mattered. Often I couldn’t even tell what my character was doing. Targetting was difficult, staying on a target near-impossible. AEs accounted for most of every battle.

Playing a grunt in a vast army in an attritional war with no respite, where you always have to fight but none of your victories matter is a deeply depressing setting and doesn;t make for good entertainment. WAR needs better mechanics, but it also needs light and shade.

Keen
Keen - May 17, 2009

Hey Dantes, my Shaman is named Morkeen. We should definitely group up and do something.

Hades - May 17, 2009

After the good defense last night, Order put together a big zerg today and punched through to IC. As I type this, they are sieging IC right now.

While the RVR tokens have provided more of a regular PVP incentive, it has really messed up organized guild efforts. Now you have disorganized PUG’s coming out, getting destroyed, causing supply line issues that stall fort fights, and creating faster zone flips due to all the deaths they amass.

The end game in War needs major work, but at least as you said there is a lot of PVP to go around. Until the next game comes out, I just want to be able to find fights and have some fun. War does a decent job of providing this, and perhaps they will solve the Fort Fights/ City Invasions in due time.

Dantes - May 17, 2009

Yes Hades is right…its becoming a daily thing and Destro is just far too outnumbered and demoralized to make a difference…hope it changes soon.

Proximo - May 18, 2009

I too left WAR cos I just didnt feel that my contribution mattered. People like to feel like heroes, and WAR misses that one simple fact by so much I think it’s impossible for Mythic to solve, they’d need to completely redesign the games mechanics to focus less on large scale battles where the individuals effort drowns in the masses.
It’s a real shame cos there’s no other game neither out now or on the horizon that I’d like to love more than WAR. Everything about the game is imo perfect bar that one issue, but as said it’s a major one thats not easy to fix 🙁

Ling - May 18, 2009

Re. Darkfall – your opinions always seem to align with my own. I’m curious to find out what alliance you are in. I am looking for new territory for my clan to explore and new guilds to ally up with. You may not be suitable to hang with given the number of wars going on right now 😉 I couldn’t find it anywhere on your forums!

Howdy Doody - May 18, 2009

I’d like you DF players to let me know if you like the sprint combat system in place. Every time I think about what annoys me the most I think it’s that.

The funny part is I like it fighting AI, because its kind of cool to run something down at light speed beating the hell ata it. But in PvP it’s just horrible.

Is it me and I just need to give it more time, or is it as annoying as I think it is. I really like the mele speed in WAR vs the mele speed in DF. But I know that would be a major change that I’m sure would upset a ton of folks.

Howdy Doody - May 18, 2009

Yea Prox I agree. They really need a way to spread out the zergs. It still dumb founds me that they have not found a more create way to make BOs a more important part of the game other then farming. If there was some sort of mechanic that rewarded sides for taking all BO’s at the same time that may force Zergs to split up.

wufiavelli - May 18, 2009

Howdy Doody i hate the sprint combat, sucks even more playing it with a 300-400 ping. I think they will change it sometime though and turn sprint into more a charge. They said they wanted to do that in beta but did not have the time to implement it. Figure like a lot of things it is on their too do list.

PeZzy - May 18, 2009

Darkfall and WAR are so different that they really shouldn’t be compared. Everyone has their biases about what a game should be like.

Darkfall has a horribly repeditive grind system that results in people using the latest exploits to level up. In order to PvP successfully you need to spend hours upon hours harvesting for crafting materials. If you’re not in an active PvP area, you have to spend an hour travelling to a seige and if you get jacked by a larger group on the way there…well…fun times. 😛

Should you be comparing that to a game that promotes instanced battlefields?

Do individuals matter more in Darkfall? Maybe in small scale battles, but in massive seiges everyone’s template is fairly similar so your contribution is insignificant (ie. you are easily replaced by anyone else).

Combat is very simplistic in Darkfall. Individual tactics are diminished as a result. It’s all about the zerg.

Nobs - May 18, 2009

Being a soldier and not a general is kind of the point of Warhammer. That is why classes fit into such a specific role.

Kazamx - May 20, 2009

Pezzy Says:Do individuals matter more in Darkfall? Maybe in small scale battles, but in massive seiges everyone’s template is fairly similar so your contribution is insignificant (ie. you are easily replaced by anyone else).

I think your very very wrong here. In a game like Darkfall you can’t swap out one player and replace them with another just like that. While stats do make a big difference they mean nothing at all if the player can’t control their character. Trying to juggle healing, tanking, archery and magic all at the same time without any form of Autoaim lets a good player really really outperform crap players.

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