North American Server could be a real chance for Darkfall to succeed

It actually came as quite a surprise to open up the inbox and see all the emails you guys sent me about the North American Darkfall server announcement.  The K&G Forums were also buzzing with people talking about coming back to the game after being gone for a couple months.  The NA Server is being seen as a “second chance” for the game and a chance for not only everyone to have a fresh start but for Aventurine to get it right this time.  Had Darkfall launched today it would be in way better shape.  It’s a true testament to launching a game when it is “ready” and not a moment before.  It’s the same with Warhammer Online (which would have seen easily 2x the numbers and retention rate) and, well, nearly every other MMORPG ever to launch.  Some just hit closer to the mark than others, and Darkfall was a long shot that missed.

Since this is a huge opportunity to Aventurine to launch successfully in the global market, we need to evaluate how they’re going to go about correcting their previous mistakes and prevent current ones from plaguing a fresh start.  It’s crucial that the tainted exploiters, hackers, and trash from EU-1 stay out of not only NA-1 but additional new servers.

“Character transfer/cloning will become available with a significant delay (months) and possible further restrictions. This concerns only the characters without any of their possessions. More on this at a later date.”

The wording here can be manipulated to mean probably a dozen different things – shocker that MMO devs are spin masters! – but let’s assume that it means server transfers will be available but not for several months after launch and only characters without gear/possessions.  I’m opposed to character transfers at all.  I think it should be a true relaunch and leave everything behind.  But, I’m probably in the minority.  Prohibiting transfers for a significant period of time would allow fresh starts to catch up.  Technically Darkfall has only been out three or so months and I would think that “significant” would be at least this long.  That’s no too bad and given Aventurine’s likely direction (making skilling up easier) it should be even better.

As for Darkfall’s future, Aventurine has a nice long list of things to look forward to.  I’d list them all, but I think I can sum it up by saying:  “We plan to improve the game entirely”.  I’m most interested in how they plan to substantially improve PvE and the economy and add more content.  Darkfall’s sandbox nature suffers from being too much box without enough sand.  You make your own content in a game like Darkfall, but the line is definitely drawn at a point where the player’s hands are tied.  Improve the dungeons.  Improve itemization.   Heck I could go on for pages about how Aventurine could improve the game but I would rather hear it straight from them.

It should be an interesting next few months for Darkfallers.

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  • Can’t say Darkfall is a game I’m interested in trying but I do respect Aventurine’s development style. They don’t seem to be interested in the trappings of success but instead just want to make a decent, honest game, one they want to play and are proud of. I can’t argue with that.

  • As soon as I stop spending cash on the million other games I am playing, I am going to play this one.

    It’s like any new electronic that comes out, though. Always wait a bit and let the new versions come out. I only wanna ‘ play so I can sneak around. I ain’t into all that circling each other while pushing 4 buttons at once. Lazy? Yeh.

    Beau Turkey

  • think they really should hold if off. There have been vast improvements to the game but i still think they are a few patches a way from perfection.

  • That’s why it was a surprise for me. I think the game needs another 2-3 big patches as well. I think waiting until after the summer is a better idea. It will allow Aventurine to get it as close to ‘right’ as possible.

  • For me it will depend on what they get done before the NA server is up. I really like their progress thus far, and will keep my eye on this.

    I’m also still on the fence with the sprint mele. I really love it against AI, because I find it a lot of fun sprinting while beating down an AI. But in PvP it just seems like a CS:S knife fight which is kinda dull in my book.

    If they are going to leave the sprint mele in, I wish there was more tactics to the mele (duck under horizontal swipe, vert strike does more damage, etc). But then again maybe the 2 months I played it just wasn’t enough time. And to be honest I also didn’t spend enough time with the sword n’ board.

  • The key is for them to stop making lateral progress and begin taking a step forward. Tasos made mention that they have plans to improve just about everything, signaling that step forward, but we need to see it first.

    As for gameplay changes like sprint melee, we’ll probably see that stay in the game. I think that they should make sprinting use much more stamina though.

  • I’m with Howdy — the success of the NA server/Darkfall certainly depends on the progress they make between now and server release. However, unlike most of the posters above, I still play this game. So I’d like to generally comment on “sprint melee”:

    Sprint melee is no longer the MO. As people have skilled up their ranged attacks (archery, elemental magic), close ranged archery and medium range magic are being used. Melee is now the counter to these attacks, but it is generally underpowered comparatively speaking. (Or, many people have made the decision to power up their ranged attacks.) Due to this, mounted combat is also becoming less favored for an ambush. Mounts are relatively easy to take down, especially at range. Here is an example of how combat changes as a result of a skill based system:

    A couple days ago, a member of an allied clan and I were farming at a remote troll spawn on a small island. 2 members of an opposing alliance (who were probably stalking us for awhile) came at us with bows drawn. My ally responded with archery, I with magic. We focused fired one guy down, and he took off running. My ally chased him down while I distracted the first guy. By the time my ally had returned, I had just been struck down. However, my opponent was at low health, so he took off running. My ally resurrected me, and I began to cast regen spells and rest. The enemy suddenly came charging back on a mount. (An interesting tactic, considering we were literally in the middle of the ocean.) Since I was out of mana and low on health, I wasn’t much use in the fight. My ally went down, and I swam to safety with the spoils of our farming trip.

    (The point of this book was to point out there was no sprint melee in an interesting, small-scale PvP encounter.)

  • Well, the fact that there was no sprint melee in one situation isn’t an indication that it doesn’t exist, just that when it isn’t present PvP can actually be a lot of fun. Last week when I was fighting members of CotC they were naked zerging with polearms and never once let go of their sprint keys. I won (only because I was geared) but it was close because they sprint meleed the entire time.

    I agree that overall ranged combat is superior. That’s pretty much the consensus with everyone playing. It does more damage, it’s safer, it’s from a distance, it’s more tactical, etc.

    Anyway, sprint melee isn’t even one of Darkfall’s top 20 problems so I believe Aventurine won’t even touch it.

  • These are really good points and I appreciate you taking the time to mention this. This is a perfect example of why you DO need the sprint mele. If ranged is becoming stronger then I see how you need it to close the gap to counter ranged from being OP.

    But I still believe the mele is an extremely important part of any MMO, and in DarkFall the sprint Mele just feels like Rock’m Sock’m Robots. Very limited movement, and very limited options, just moving crazy and trading blows. I know I bring up Savage 2 a lot, but there simple solution is a fantastic way to do mele, and is still the most fun mele combat I have ever experienced.

    But like keen said, the game is to far along to change (I think) and if not then it soon will be.

    I will probably give the NA server another chance even just from a ping perspective. Maybe my ~200 ping make the sprint mele more “sprinty” then it really was.

    Either way, I’m going to try it, and if I like it I’ll play, if not, I won’t. Simple really! ahhahaha.

  • Don’t think sprinting is going away any time soon though I would like to see more stam loss from it like everyone else.

    That said, Keen you mentioned you think the game needs 2-3 (or more) big patches before it’s NA ready and I have to agree. That said, AV has been dulling out big patches pretty consistently and with 1-2 months to go before NA launch (depending on when in July they launch) I’d say they have time to do so. Given that there was no patch last week I’m cautiously optimistic we’re looking at another good patch tomorrow.

  • Sprint melee and bunhopping make the combat unbearable. Throw in all the other problems and I’ve quit like so many others I know. They really would have to overhaul the entire game, along with not allowing transfers to the US servers for at least 4-6 months, before I’d come back.

  • If they release the NA version sometime in the summer holidays, say August, then I’ll get it… but only if they reduce the monthly fee at the same time lol

  • There was a suggestion in beta that sprint should have its own separate stamina bar, that would drain quickly.
    I think the developers even agreed that it was a good idea, just nothing came out of it.

  • I think something will come of it, Aventurine is normally very delayed in their promises but they normally turn out good on them in the long run. As much crap as you can swing at them the stability aspect of Darkfall alone is pretty impressive for an indy company. Plus they did protect themselves from a lot of the issues other games had like shadowbane. In the end i think they were very good on what not to do but had a bad idea of what to do. most of thier mistakes are truly their own.

  • I was honestly surprised that Darkfall didn’t launch with a NA server as I imagine most of their player base is from America. Still, I can understand why – presumably it’s a lot easier to manage a European server. I’d also bet that it’s located right in their office 🙂

    I like Aventurine’s approach of slow but steady. It shows they care about the game, not about the profit.

  • Obviously disappointed we didn’t see a patch today. That’s two..or is it three weeks now with no patch? Hopefully that means the patch coming is that much bigger and better tested? 🙁

  • i can see what you are saying with the range thing coming into favor. To be honest i wished they made the melee more of the core of the combat then the ranged. In the end that might not be their intention so in that case sprint melee i guess can stay. Kind of makes me sad and may be a reason i would leave the game. If i wanted ranged combat i would be rooting for fallen earth, earthrise or global agenda.

  • Personally I think they should make it unable to sprint while melee is in progress just as you can’t use a 2 hand weapon while mounted. Make it so you can sprint to your target but can’t swing while doing so. only block.