Darkfall New Dawn Officially Licensed

Darkfall New Dawn

You may recall that I mentioned there was a Darkfall revival project underway, but at the time they hadn’t yet achieved a license agreement with Aventurine. Apparently things are moving far better than most people would have anticipated, and the team at Ub3rgames will soon have a fully licensed playable version of Darkfall New Dawn available to the public for testing breaking.

Here’s where I ultimately struggle with these Darkfall revivals: They are still Darkfall. Can Ub3rgames do enough to fix such a flawed game? I think they stand the best chance of any given their direction and what I’ve seen in terms of community. But can the game change enough?

Let’s look again at what they are focusing on.

  • The lack of positive player interactions. Or making the game more than a deathmatch arena.
  • The power gap and player progression. Or making sure new players get a chance in this harsh world while making the game fun for PvE inclined players.
  • The lack of daily activities. Or providing more repeatable and engaging content for players to come online every day and have a meaningful play session.
  • An assembling of secondary technical or incomplete systems related flaws.

Issues have been classified as “primary flaws” and “secondary flaws” on their website. I sorta chuckle looking at the secondary flaws, as they were easily some of the biggest issues I took with the game…

  • Alignment System - This was so broken it wasn’t even playable. This is pretty much the cause of a big part of the negative player interactions.
  • Localized Resources and Banking – To me, this isn’t secondary. This is crucial to the entire game’s economy.
  • Player Holding Value – There has to be a purpose.

My view on sandbox games has changed quite a bit this past year. I’ve even made the statement, and I agree with myself still 100%, that the best and arguably only way to build a successful MMORPG sandbox is to go the isometric UO route. The scope required to pull it off simply hasn’t been successfully executed otherwise.

I’m eagerly waiting to get my hands on the game to see how they pull it off.

  • Hi Keen, thank you for talking about us.
    Hopefully, we will convince you that Darkfall can be successfully (re-)implemented. 🙂

    On the secondary flaws, some are secondary only in the sense that they are key components of a primary flaws, but were bad enough to deserve being mentioned on their own. It is more of a Russian doll secondary than a lesser importance secondary.

    On another note, what about Eve? Doesn’t it count as a working 3D sandbox?

  • EVE is a great game. Its biggest weakness I think is the skill training system basically means everyone is progressing at the same rate which means someone starting today will never catch the top tier people. That’s more than a little daunting but I do think it’s 3rd for subscriber numbers so it’s definitely a successful sandbox MMO.

    I think you could also argue that EVE is actually a 2D game set in a 3D world. Hell, I’d go so far as to say it’s a text/list based game and you just get to see the results of those actions in 3D. Still an awesome game. I really just wish that using a certain weapon for a few hours and having enemies beat on your shields would give you a bonus to training speed on those skills or something.

    The biggest challenge in any sandbox is how to make it feel like it’s not a FFA deathmatch. That’s not realistic. If I see a random dude on the road it can’t be a 99% chance he’ll jump me and try to kill me. He should have to consider his actions. Even a negative alignment hit can eventually be fixed. A charge of murder should never go away.

  • @Marc Thompson: I think you guys stand the best chance of all Darkfall revival projects out there. I like your ideologies and your style the best.

    Regarding EVE, I see EVE as caught somewhere between 2D and 3D, but ultimately falling back more onto the 2D design side of the fence. Definitely would not have been the same game if you were in the cockpit. I agree with Gringar that it is even borderline text/list based in its execution. So I have lumped EVE in with my statement that the isometric/2D style has been the only successful execution of a sandbox MMORPG.

    @Sience: I’ve heard about Das Tal. I know it’s isometric 2D as well. The biggest turnoff for me there has always been the overemphasis I see on PvP combat. Every video is a bunch of people running around killing each other. If there’s more to see there let me know!

    @Gringar: Amen to the consequences and unrealistic play. I completely agree.

  • “Its biggest weakness I think is the skill training system basically means everyone is progressing at the same rate which means someone starting today will never catch the top tier people.”

    That’s just a straight 100% incorrect statement. In a month or so you can be at 100% power compared to someone playing for 10 years straight for a single ship (and you can only fly one ship at a time, so the fact that the vet can fly a dozen of them at 100% doesn’t have any impact on that particular fight). The skill system is in fact a huge factor as to why people play the game for so long; there is always something to train/progress towards.

    I also think calling it 2D is a bit odd. Combat (or really anything in space) is full 3D. The 2D stuff is in stations, which while a large part, is like saying Darkfall is mostly 2D because your bank or inventory view is 2D. Just a strange way to view a game…

    On topic regarding this initiative, hopefully this is up and running for testing soon, and we can see if tweaks to the original formula that was DF1 make as big a difference as many hope.

  • @SynCaine: That’s why for me Eve is in this weird place between 2D and 3D. Although “full 3D” in space, the gameplay in that full 3D is using more “2D” friendly concepts. Whatever side of the line it falls on, whether more 2D in execution or 3D, it’s either another great game supporting my position, or the only exception.

  • In EVE combat takes place almost entirely in your targeting list. That is where your enemies appear and even distance is calculated in that list. I interact with the list to orbit and attack my targets. Even though I see a spaceship in flight all of the combat data is in the target list. Wrecks are looted from the list, stations entered… you guessed it, via the list.

    People always make that same argument about being good in one ship but a month is a little too generous. You can’t even get a single skill relating to a t1 frigate to 5 in one month. What if you want to fly a capital ship? This and the fact that corporations generally post astronomical SP minimums now leaves a lot of people feeling that there is and will always be a game of catch up going on.

    This new Darkfall does interest me. I definitely will keep an eye on it. I’ve been playing Minecraft to satisfy my sandbox need.

  • You don’t need a single t1 frig skill to 5 to compete as a tackler. You can bump a whole slew of skills relating to that vessel up to 3 and do perfectly well holding onto someone as your corpmates blow them up.

    The problem is most people don’t WANT to be tacklers, they want to fly big massive ships and make pewpewpewpew. But like any MMO, becoming a big boy takes time.

    And I personally find EvE to be an amazing game, wholeheartedly super in every respect as far as games go. The only issue I have, and the only reason I never stick around long… is that I never feel a real connection to my character. You are simply the ship you are in at the moment, and to exacerbate that it really is basically just a spreadsheet with a 3D display. I just can’t connect with it the way I can with other MMOs. So I guess I love the premise, just not the output?

  • @Syncaine Let’s hope so. it will take us time to reach a point were the spirit of the game is really impacted, but the goal is that at Live launch, New Dawn will be Darkfall as it should have been.

    @Gringar I believe we only played Eve 9 months then another stint of 3 additional months and we didn’t stick to it for similar reasons.

    The over time aspect of the skilling up was interesting but also frustrating for a player used to earning his xp. There was also a lack of connection to the world or our characters. Having a character does help a lot, and despite being a lesser virtual world, Star Trek Online had a more enjoyable “vibe” and space combat in my opinion. (but I’m a trekie so i’m biased)

    @Keen I see your point about the 2D aspect of Eve but as far as i understood it, it was only at lower “level” that the 3D aspect wasn’t necessary to use. In high end battles, many tactics depend on 3D positioning, bubble placement, directional scanning and so on. Perhaps it is a learning curve issue where those aspects were hidden behind the complexity of the game?

    One aspect in which I feel we are losing on with 3D worlds is Roleplaying. Simpler graphics allowed for more abstraction and imagination, but the days of Rp as a common playstyle may be long gone. I often joke about the Hyperion war being the final stand of the RP community in MMORPGs.
    We hope to rekindle this with dynamic events, but maybe it is too late.

  • That is a good point about the EVE 2D/3D thing. You CAN play EVE combat in 2D, either as an F1 grunt in a large fleet, or in ‘simple’ small scale combat. 3D only matters at a higher skill level, either when you play a more important role in a fleet, or get into more skilled small scale. IMO that’s a better system than forcing you into 3D combat at all times without a choice (haven’t played it, but something like Elite:Dangerous maybe?)

    In some ways DF1 combat was like that too. You could spam AoE spells or just melee-swing away, but at the high-end people did a lot more with more abilities, tricks, etc, and really took advantage of the 3D (among other things).