Darkfall Feats, Player Points, and UI

Darkfall Unholy Wars supposedly launches early December.  I say supposedly because I believe we won’t see it until at least January.  Nevertheless, information about the changes to Darkfall is finally being offered up by Aventurine.

Darkfall Bank GUI
The new bank menu with paper doll and inventory management.

Interface – Slicker, more console-like experience

I really, really like the look of the new UI.  I have no idea how it will actually behave when playing — I may despise it when I actually get to experience it.  I think visually it conveys a more action-like approach with radial menus for combat abilities, almost console-like menus, and a much more polished and informative GUI.

In particular, the Bank interface looks to be vastly improved.  I wasn’t a fan of the chaos created by the random, throw yourself anyway bank space.  The new paper doll looks good, and I like the general aesthetics of how information is being presented to the player.

Darkfall Feats
A list of Feats on the left helps to guide players toward activities, and rewards them for doing things.

Feats – Achievements meet Quests

The Feats sound to me like an achievement system and quest blend.  The game will suggest these objective-like tasks and the player can choose to complete them or not.  Look at the screenshot I took from the video, it looks like everything from exploring a town to killing monsters, crafting, PvPing, sieging, and just about every aspect of the game will give points.  I see a colored point value next to each Feat; I’m not sure if those are general Player Points or special points of a particular type matching the type of Feat.

I think Feats will give players direction.  One complaint I often hear from inexperienced sandbox players is, “What do I do next? What is my goal?”  This will provide that goal in an open way that will hopefully maintain the spirit of the sandbox game.  If these become more like chores that become required by the min-max meta game to be competitive — meaning the points associated become important — then the system will be a failure.


Player Points – Character Development Currency

Player Points appear to be the equivalent of experience.  They are used to buy new skills, boosters (whatever those are Titles with stat bonuses), and yet-unnamed “features” that allow you to develop your character further.  As I mentioned previously, Feats reward you with points, and simply playing the game however you want is supposed to reward you with Player Points.  Crafters can earn them by crafting, PvPers from killing other players or sieging, etc.  Sounds like this could work.

Overall, Aventurine is finally taking steps to modernize Darkfall.  I like the game I’m seeing on paper, and I’m anxious to get my hands on these changes to know for sure whether or not Darkfall will be worth investing my time. (more…)


Darkfall Unholy Wars

Well, I'm going to give Darkfall another try.  I can't say it's because Darkfall suddenly deserves being played again or because I missed the game.  I'm simply curious about the…


Why we’re excited for the Wii U launch

The Wii U launches on the 18th of this month!  You all know by now that we enjoy console games, and we’re fans of Nintendo consoles.  Some of you have expressed skepticism over what the Wii U will offer gamers.  Back during E3 of this year we wrote at length about the console, some of the games coming out, and how we felt that Nintendo and the Wii U had the best overall showing of games this year.

Here are some of the games coming out for the Wii U (at launch) that really convinced us that the Wii U was a must-buy.

ZombiU for the Wii U

What really got us excited about ZombiU were the parallels we could see between ZombiU and games like Dark Souls.  We’ve read that the game will be brutally hard, and filled with the same trial and error gameplay experienced in Dark Souls.  A game about surviving against zombies should be difficult, unforgiving, and provide that sense of complete danger.

Some of the features look great.   When you die, your character turns into a zombie that you will encounter while you play the role of a different survivor.  You can actually kill your zombie-self and take back your gear.   Integrating other players in their own single-player games, like Dark Souls did, is something we’ll probably see a lot of on the Wii U and in ZombiU.  For example, when you die your friends will get alerted and get to come hunt you down.

The Wii U GamePad is going to really make the experience unique.  If there’s anything that ZombiU will have that other Zombie survival games can’t have, it’s the integration of these controls and what they allow the player to do.  The video below highlights them nicely.

More after the break. (more…)


Skylanders: Battlegrounds and Lost Islands

We love all things Skylanders!  Skylanders: Giants came out recently, and already there are more games in the works.   Activision released Skylanders: Cloud Patrol earlier this year, and we found…

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Dragon’s Prophet: Doesn’t take a prophet to see what’s coming

Dragon's Prophet Dragon
Fight, capture, train and ride 300 different dragons that come with their own set of abilities.

Shortly after I wrote about an ideal MMO sandbox which takes elements from very specific games, I discovered details about a SOE game in the works called Dragon’s Prophet.  Dragon’s Prophet seems to come close to what I want, but illustrates how easy it is to miss the mark with a few awful decision.

Features in Dragon’s Prophet

Dragon’s Prophet will feature an odd skill system that I am still trying to wrap my head around.  Someone correct me if I’m totally wrong, but what I gather about the system is that you find a dragon and gain a random set of abilities.  There’s an element of fighting, taming, and training going on here. I’m sure another class system will also be in place.

Non-instanced housing will let players claim plots and plop down a house out in the world for all to see.  I want to know if it’s like SWG and houses can be placed freely anywhere, or if there are designated plots of land.  I’m leaning toward the latter because what I’ve read seems to indicate that certain plots cost more. Sounds better than most systems, as I am a huge fan of open-world community-centric features.

What sounds really neat about Dragon Prophet is the idea that players can claim areas of land almost like the kingdom idea from my previous entry.  Out in the frontiers, areas of PvP land that can be colonized (again like my ideal MMO), players can become subject to taxation from other players.

Combat will use what the official site calls “auto-targeting”.  It has been likened to DCUO’s combat, which isn’t bad, or like TERA but faster (or something like that).

Overall, a nice set of features.  Implementation could be all wrong, but at least the ideas on paper are good ones.  That said… (more…)


Rift: Storm Legion Tour Part 3

In this last look at my tour of Rift: Storm Legion, I want to outline some of the details I gleaned about the world, souls, and overall Rift experience from Community Manager James “Elrar” Nichols.

Changes to the World

Rift: Storm Legion Tempest Bay
Tempest Bay finally brings that real capital city feel to Rift.

Storm Legion adds two new continents and a new capital city.  According to James, each of the new continents are bigger than the original game world.  That means the new areas roughly triple the size of the world. There are two starting locations — one on each continent — and a different experience can be found playing through each of the continents.  Brevane is all about discovering what is going on, figuring out the mystery, and exploring.  Dusken throws the player into the middle of a war.  James emphasized that players can find a unique experience on each of the continents, allowing for additional playthroughs without repeating content.

Quest Hubs are story-driven locations.  The team wants to get away from having a player go to a camp and pick up a ton of kill quests.  Now the kill quests are available in a slightly more organic way.  If a bear is slain it can offer a quest to kill more bears.  You can then turn that quest in to an NPC.  I was reminded of the “bears bears bears” Paul Barnett line back from the WAR hype days.   So like I said, quest hubs are for the story aspects whether for you personally or for the zone.

Read more after the break for my impressions of Rift: Storm Legion. (more…)


Rift: Storm Legion Tour Part 2

In Part 2 of my Rift: Storm Legion hands-on Tour I want to focus on Raids and PvE content.  Storm Legion will launch with 1 20-man raid, 1 10-man raid, 7 new dungeons, and after their first big patch a second 20-man will be added.  Listening to James explain Trion’s approach to content in Storm Legion, I got the distinct impression that Trion really wants to come out of the gate strong.  Their story is important to them.

Regulos and Crucia are some nasty villains.  Regulos, The Dragon of Extinction, The Destructor, and a slue of other titles, is planning his comeback.  His presence (Plane of Death stuff) is clearly visible in some of the new zones.  Crucia, leader of the Storm Legion, Dragon Goddess, and lover of oddly-attractive succubi-harpy-things, is of course center stage during the entire expansion.  These bosses are so big and important to the story of Rift that the only fitting way to emphasize their strength is through raiding.

Rift doesn’t do a whole lot to change the concept of raiding for themeparks.  These will feature tiered loot progression, be instanced, and be very familiar to veterans of contemporary MMO raiding.  I’ll leave it up to you to decide if this is a good thing or not.

I took a ton of screenshots.  Perhaps too many.   Instead of a wall of text, I’m going to give you a picture tour and briefly talk about each image.  Any images I do not include can be found at the bottom in the embedded gallery.   Is it still appropriate to give a 56k warning?

Since I was shown many of the new raid bosses, including the current final encounter for the expansion, I was asked not to reveal any strategies.  Here’s a hint though: Having an invulnerable insta-kill-wielding CM with you helps.

Storm Legion Crucia Returns

Read on for more after the break.



Rift: Storm Legion Tour Part 1

Rift: Storm Legion launches November 13, 2012I had the opportunity to take a private tour of the upcoming Rift: Storm Legion expansion with Community Manager James “Elrar” Nichols.  As many of you know, I played Rift when it first launched back in March of 2011.  I played for a few months, got a couple characters almost to the max level, but didn’t continue playing because I felt like something was missing — I wasn’t hooked by anything in particular.  After this awesome tour, I’m able to see many of those ‘hooks’ making their way into Rift when Storm Legion launches November 13, 2012.

During the tour I was introduced to the story and shown the dungeon that would lead up to the new content.  I was shown the Dimension system (player housing), and also the major end-game raid zones.  Elrar also took me to several of the new zones, explained to me how the content would progress during the expansion, and provided me insights into Trion’s thoughts of Rift’s end-game and its future. I was also granted a max level character for the duration of the beta test currently underway.  So as you can tell, there’s a lot for me to share. I’m going to give you guys my honest opinion of what I saw and fill you in with as many details as I can. Be sure to check back for the full look at my tour through Rift: Storm Legion.

Read more after the break for Part 1: Dimensions! (more…)