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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.
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.