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A Journey through Darkfall Online (Long)

ProfRedProfRed Member UncommonPosts: 3,493

I have been playing MMO's forever, posting here forever, and MMORPG's have really been my core gaming experience for most of my life forming my greatest gaming memories.  The last 5 or 6 years though there has been a lot of shallowness in the genre and very few great memories.  Maybe it is nostalgia, or me growing up, but I feel that the potential of the genre has stalled.  I saw that Unholy Wars launch was incoming and I wanted to come and share the last, and maybe only, great adventures and memories I have had in the last 6 years of MMO gaming.  They were made in Darkfall, a low budget, low resource title that many thought would never even come to be.  The game had many great flaws, but it allowed greater experiences than games with 50x the budget and manpower.

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I began my journey lost and confused, and pessimistic to say the least.  I began exploring my starting human city, hunting goblins just outside of town, and within 20 minutes I was attacked by two Orcs and slain losing everything I had collected in the game up to that point.  I knew that my skill advancement was the most important thing though so I continued to kill weak monsters and scavenge weapons that I wanted to advance.  I loved the bow, and for a week I would go venturing outside of town hunting creatures and slowly building up my stash scared to venture too far from my bank.  There were a few skirmishes, but I had mostly avoided PvP and lived in my sheltered little bubble 50-100 meters outside of my starting town.

Then I decided it was time to set out, and I began to travel between towns in the human area and socialize as I met crafters and players hunting stronger monsters than I could kill.  I met a good friend, who I still have today, and together we gathered and crafted up an arsenal.  We set out adventuring together, heading into enemy territory, killing players and uncovering beautiful parts of the world.  We began to build stashes of mounts and battle ready gear, and we died a lot.  We never macro'd, we never maxed out all skills, but we worked together.

Then I began to create quests for myelf.  This is when I got hooked.  I would map out a journey that would lead me through areas I hadn't previously explored and I would hunt for chaos chests and stalk players waiting for the right time to strike.  I still had no clan, but I would set out on 2 hour journeys exploring, hunting, and growing braver in the world that was so intimidating.  The first time a giant fireball exploded behind me and I looked up to see a giant red dragon in the sky hunting me as I tried to find shelter really got my heart racing.  He succeeded, killing my mount and myself.  I gathered up another set of gear and a mount and set off towards my corpse being more careful to watch the skies this time.  When I arrived I realized I had been looted, but saw the red dragon in the distance so I followed.  I came upon an enemy hiding in an abandoned cathedral with fireballs raining down.  He was injured and I attacked, killing him and finding my loot and taking his.  Now the red dragon was still above and I didn't have time to waste.  I got back on my mount and rode through trees back towards my city with what I felt like was a fortune.  I went under giant trees, and zigged and zagged.  When I made it back to my bank I felt a greater sense of triumph than any game has given me (maybe besides Dark Souls) in many years.

Then one day on one of my journeys I found a scroll that would allow a house to be claimed in a village.  My friend and I were ecstatic.  We spent 3 days travelling the continents trying to find a village where we could make a home.  I came across a small island between continents that was tucked away in an icy village with another small island nearby.  It was perfect.  We created a house in this small fishing village and we moved our home never to return to the starting villages.  We had a great mining deposit on the small island nearby and we used it to further develop our stash.  We travelled to the nearby continent and found a player city owned by a clan we had never met.  They recruited us, and the game changed again.  We spent our time between our private village and the player city, developing and building it, hunting the strongest monsters in the game with our clan, and would daily be involved in small raids both defending and attacking player cities. 

I still created my own quests every day, and eventually we had small fishing boats and ocean paths that were safe leading us to high quality ores and spawns.  We made friends with other players in other villages that had different resources than us and we traded via ocean paths.  Then the Kraken came.  A giant sea beast that destroyed our ship, and mauled us creating havoc over our shipping lanes.  During this time our clan fell apart, and our once peaceful area became too hostile.  We again began adventuring and found a new clan in a new player city in an area, after 6-7 months of play, we had never set foot in.  The politics, the players, and the area were all different and fresh.  We continued here for months still barely travelling and playing in 1/3rd of the game world.  My journeys became more wide spanning.  I would leave the comforts of our city for days on end travelling to see the sites in the rest of the world.  Rarely fighting, but exploring, stalking enemies and enemy cities. 

Eventually the PvP became skewed to those who macro'd on each other in the safety of their player cities.  I refused to do something like this, and as a result I was under powered.  Even if I had much greater skills than some players I could not win.  I am not saying I am uber but I am a solid FPS player and there were plenty who beat me with pure skill, but it was not fun.  I did not want to be in clans who sat around exploiting all day, but unfortunately they all did.  I could not survive in the world against these people and eventually I gave up.  I don't like to use magic in games.  I like bows/swords/shields and so I avoided leveling magic, mastering and maxing out all archery skills and this style of play does not lead to success in Darkfall which also eventually turned me away.

Even with its flaws it gave me the most dynamic, original, and intense game play of almost any game out there.  Now that Unholy Wars is on the horizon and they have addressed most of the problems I had with the game, and many that are great fixes that didn't bother me too much in the first place my excitement level is great.  I feel like I may finally be able to return to MMO gaming.  I can't stress enough how much potential a game like this has if you really take what is given and use the systems in the way you want.  Creating your own quests, and going out of your way to immerse yourself can go a long way.  Hopefully this helps some of you who are wondering what the game is like, and I will answer any questions.

Comments

  • GreymoorGreymoor Member UncommonPosts: 802
    Great read! Yes it's a shame that macroing had to take over a few months into the game... I hated it also and took several long breaks as I couldn't hack the grind. (Not being able to leave my comp on 24/7 to macro). Simply got told I was "too bad" to play the game when my gimped character couldn't beat godlike characters. Really ruined the experience.
     
    After they fixed the leveling, i've had the best times EVER in an MMO in DF1.0. Was a beautiful game.
  • ProfRedProfRed Member UncommonPosts: 3,493

    Yeah I have been so tempted to go back, but I always felt a new Darkfall looming so I have been waiting.  (I also have a 6 month old).  Really the two major problems to me were the lack of roles/skill cap and the grind which supported macro'ing.  This meant players macro'd to max every skill in the game, making it the de facto combat style where everyone was the same and to me the end result, the method getting there, and the fun once there all differed from my view.  I still had an unbelievably good time, and it was one of those you don't know what you have until it's gone type of things.  I had so much fun, and was so immersed in the game though and I can see Aventurine has seen what is wrong with the game and is fixing it where it needs it.  I never felt AV and myself were on the same page really, but now that we are I am all aboard.

    The role system sounds perfect.  Switch roles with a cooldown, be limited in what you can do within a role, but you can still invest the time to max them all out.  Faster skill gain within a single role to bring people in and get them to the fun are two huge steps to make the game realize its potential.

    I really hope that chaos chests/treasure hunting are still in as well.  I really had fun with these. 

    As pessimistic as I was and as interesting as AV is with lack of marketing/contact with the gamers I would buy the game again the second it went up for sale.  This game has crazy good sleeper potential.

  • FluteFlute Member UncommonPosts: 455

    Wonderfully written, thank you for sharing that.

     

    I completely agree with the shallowness of the genre of late, and to anyone who is a serious gamer I would simply say "you must try Darkfall : unholy wars because it is so different to the rest".  Not everyone who tried Darkfall loved it or even liked it, however it is like EVE: if you haven't tried it then you really are missing out, because you very well might love it.  The absolute best time to play Df : UW will be when it opens and the world is new and unknown. 

     

    I realise one of the things I hate most about many games is that everyone expects you to know the story before you get there.  In WoW if you are tanking, you are expected to have studied the dungeon, know the fights, know the tactics someone else worked out for you.  Unknown is somehow "wrong".  In Darkfall 1.0, I delighted in taking my horse, and riding in a direction I had never been to discover things I didn't know even existed.  The butterflies in each racial area of Agon were different - the world was so lovingly hand-made that there really were amazingly beautiful things to find.  Additionally, we really just don't know what various spells will be like when they "grow up" (spells in Darkfall 1.0 improved and changed as your skill at using that spell improved) or are used in combination with other skills/spells. 

    Unknown will be back, and it will be a welcome relief.

  • FluteFlute Member UncommonPosts: 455
    Originally posted by ProfRed
    ...

    I really hope that chaos chests/treasure hunting are still in as well.  I really had fun with these. 

    ...

    If they are not, then we'll just have to have an in-game riot until Aventurine adds them back in!  Honestly they were a wonderful feature in Darkfall 1.0, in particular because they rewarded exploring and created pvp - two strangers see a chaos chest, one opens it and begins to rides away, the other assumes he or she got something good ...

     

    Besides, nothing compares to the utter terror of finding a house deed in a chaos chest just outside Frostbourne when you were on your way there to raid their mine, and you know full well the nearest chaos city is full of reds and there is no other bank on the whole continent that is open for you to use .... good times!  

  • redman875redman875 Member Posts: 230

    What hooked me with this game, was a sort of a cycle of game mechanics feeding eachother.

    Since you can do it all in this game, and everything you do makes you genreally better...usually via the fantastic statistic mechanics.  For instance mining ore will increse vitality strength and wisdom.  Two of those benefits combat more and one benefits crafting more.  So when your doing other tasks in game, just running or jumping or whatever...ends up building the character towards other means.

    I decided to just do it all, crafting, harvesting, enchanting, and all the combat forms.  I would figure out what i needed, weapons, armor sets...what enchants on those weapons and armor would benefit me.

    I would then have to seek out what mobs dropped the enchants i need, where the best spot to mine where...which would determine where i would bank out of...had to figure out if nearby clan holdings were friendly or not (usually not) which would determine how long i would stay out before banking to minimize losses.  Some of the mobs i needed to farm had weaknesses i could exploit through various forms of combat, which made me better all around ect.

    Everything i did seemed focused on two goals.  Get gold and build a warchest of gear for both pve and pvp (seiges).  The cycle of losing gear, farming materials, and making gear became quite addicting since they all would feed off eachother...and at the time progression was seriously hardcore in the game...would take maybe 2 years to max out a toon without macroing skills overnight.

    There was no NPC goal, there were no NPC quests (the game does have some repeatable timed quests for crap, and a title system that is a long kill quest chain that shows you where the mobs are and gives you a title, you can switch titles for a stat boost so its worth it...but thats it)  There was nothing in this game that i did that i didnt decide to do myself for my own gains (or for my clan)  If i had ever decided to enter this game with the goal of stomping noobs in pvp as fast as humanly possible the game would have sucked...many do this...people who macro to take a shortcut...they really miss a satisfying progression curve...well not now since its casino XP mode and trying out wow like progression (god i hope 2.0 doesnt do this)

  • FluteFlute Member UncommonPosts: 455

    Agreed, the progression was great (altough the macro / not macroed divide became problematic).  My friend Eurypylus said it best:

     

    "It's pretty gratifying to pull a useless bit of pixels up out of the muck."

     

    When you became good in Df it was because you earnt it.  And assuming it's still in-game, it's going to be a lot of fun dropping volcano spells on people below the walls (although heaven help you if the archers see you casting before you drop it!)

  • ProfRedProfRed Member UncommonPosts: 3,493
    Originally posted by Flute
    Originally posted by ProfRed
    ...

    I really hope that chaos chests/treasure hunting are still in as well.  I really had fun with these. 

    ...

    If they are not, then we'll just have to have an in-game riot until Aventurine adds them back in!  Honestly they were a wonderful feature in Darkfall 1.0, in particular because they rewarded exploring and created pvp - two strangers see a chaos chest, one opens it and begins to rides away, the other assumes he or she got something good ...

     

    Besides, nothing compares to the utter terror of finding a house deed in a chaos chest just outside Frostbourne when you were on your way there to raid their mine, and you know full well the nearest chaos city is full of reds and there is no other bank on the whole continent that is open for you to use .... good times!  

    YES!  I left this out because I knew it would be too long already.  When I found my house deed I was far from home, at the furthest point of the journey, and I was riding hard straight back to my town instead of being overly safe.  I was paranoid, searching around, and then I noticed two orcs were following me not too far back.  My heart started racing.  I had to get back.  I saw a hill to the left and although it wasn't towards my bank I went for it.  As soon as I crossed over the hill there was a scattering of trees, I went for the biggest and rode directly behind it and waited with my camera turned.  I heard them coming, they were going left of the tree.  I slowly moved my way around the tree in a circle as they passed to the other side of it as they rode down the hill searching for me.  I counted to 5, said out loud 'Lets do this!' and rode back over the hill and bolted home to my bank.  I never felt so good to drop something in my bank.

    It all came back when I had to ride to the opposite side of the continent with my friend and swim to place the deed, but it went off without a hitch.  I will never forget that rush.  I had quit smoking for probably 2 years, but when I dropped that deed in the bank I bummed a smoke and enjoyed the hell out of it.

    This was also a huge point where I realized how special this game was.  What other MMO/online game could you pull something off like this badassery?  None because they would have tab targeted you and just followed your big bright red name on the screen. 

  • CaldrinCaldrin Member UncommonPosts: 4,505

    One of the main things that got me hooked was the full loot open world FFA pvp..

     

    Its such a rush so much so any mmorpg i play without it i get bored of really fast..

  • JakdstripperJakdstripper Member RarePosts: 2,408

    sadly i found DF too late, and by the time i started playing, i was so far behing everyone that pvp was not even worth attempting. I've done quests, explored, crafted but every single time i found someone they would 2 shot me. not being even remotely competitive got old fast and since i was not about to start macroing i just ended up leaving.

    still DF is by far the best open world, fantasy sandbox that is in playable condition. i hope DF 2.0 improves on it.

     

    PS: i hope they do something about the magic though, it's way too much like a halo fight. they have to reduce the reach of spells  or something....the sound for most magic is pretty horrible too. first person melee combat would rock too imo.

  • ProfRedProfRed Member UncommonPosts: 3,493
    Originally posted by Jakdstripper

    sadly i found DF too late, and by the time i started playing, i was so far behing everyone that pvp was not even worth attempting. I've done quests, explored, crafted but every single time i found someone they would 2 shot me. not being even remotely competitive got old fast and since i was not about to start macroing i just ended up leaving.

    still DF is by far the best open world, fantasy sandbox that is in playable condition. i hope DF 2.0 improves on it.

     

    PS: i hope they do something about the magic though, it's way too much like a halo fight. they have to reduce the reach of spells  or something....the sound for most magic is pretty horrible too. first person melee combat would rock too imo.

    Yeah magic was one of those things I never really did, but I did read a lot of improvements.  They are removing some of the cheesey spells/undodgeable stuff, reworking a lot of it, and dividing it out.  To me they have taken all the major criticisms and things that keep new players from coming in like what happened to you and rebuilt those systems.  Hopefully they execute it properly.  They don't have a ton of funds so I expect them to stumble a bit and be a bit of a paid beta early but I have high hopes and I plan to be there from day one and play until I feel like AV's and my goals aren't aligned. 

  • Mike-McQueenMike-McQueen Member UncommonPosts: 257
    I played for a time and enjoyed a lot of it. Me and a handful of friends played a group of bandits and we would regularly hide behind rocks and bushes along well traveled roadways and lay amubsh to the unfortunate passerbys. Some people died in a panic, some of the deft managed a great escape, and occasionally the tides were turned and our perfect plan would come crashing down around us. It had a lot of potential.

    I'm a unique and beautiful snowflake.

  • FluteFlute Member UncommonPosts: 455
    Originally posted by Jakdstripper
    ...

    PS: i hope they do something about the magic though, it's way too much like a halo fight. they have to reduce the reach of spells  or something....the sound for most magic is pretty horrible too. first person melee combat would rock too imo.

    They tweaked magic quite a bit over the life of Darkfall 1.0, and it looks like it will finally be "somewhat ballanced" for Df:UW.

     

    A few of the things they fixed:

    1.  Area of effect spells used to do damage to anything in their radius, so to kill people hiding in a tower on a city wall, attackers only needed to cast the spell on the outside of the tower, blasting everyone inside.  They fixed that, now you need to send the spell through a window etc if you want it to go off inside.

     

    2.  Infinite juggling with spells - some players could literally juggle players with spells, so that they could never move (unless they were skilled mages themselves) and while be bounced up and down the mages would simple roast them with magic.  That got toned back a lot, but we don't know what it will be like in Df:UW

     

    3.  Ray spam.  At one point rays had no cast time and no shared cooldown so people used ray scripts to unleash massive damage at close range without any chance to miss cycling different rays from each school.  Effectively an undodgable flamethrower button.  This has been confirmed as being scratched from Df:UW, and about time too!

     

    The long reach of magic actually isn't a bad thing at all, it was wonderful in sieges.  It's important to remember they added proper cover rules though, so if you see someone launch a long range high damage spell at you, all you need to do is to get into hard cover and you're fine.  Of course, when it is army vs army, then life gets interesting - however because anyone can choose hat playstyle they want to be it won't be an issue in Df:UW, if you want to be a mage to stay as long range fire support at the siege thisafternoon, go for it.  Part of the fun in Darkfall has always been that there is friendly fire, and super long range magic always created deligtful havoc on that count. 

  • XAleX360XAleX360 Member UncommonPosts: 498

    I wholeheartedly agree. Your topic brought back many memories. Guild Wars 2 left me largely unsatisfied even though I hoped it would become the next paragone in the genre, but now I've realized that sandbox gameplay is simply so much more dynamic, diverse, and thrilling then even the most innovative theme park. 

     

    I just hope that they improved all of the game systems and added some polish this time.

    Executive Editor (Games) http://www.wccftech.com

  • bunnyhopperbunnyhopper Member CommonPosts: 2,751
    Enjoyable read OP.

    "Come and have a look at what you could have won."

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