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MMO Money Magazine

Writings on the business of fun: Virtual Worlds and Real Money Makes Online Gaming a Big Business. My economic view on the world of online games - without the hype.

Author: Inktomi

Delving into Darkfall: My First Impression.

Posted by Inktomi Monday March 1 2010 at 6:58AM
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I did it, I finally did it. 

After much deliberation over the months that the Darkfall saga has been unfolding. I have watched Youtube videos, live streaming gaming and read countless threads. I finally took the plunge and logged into Darkfall tonight.

I watched a few fellow bloggers take the deep dark road into Darkfall Online. Almost all of them came back satisfied. Why did I wait? I simply was leery because of the venomous reputation the game had and the fact it had no trial. If you wanted to play DFO, you have to drop fitty bucks.

Call me cheap, but I didn't want to risk it on, "what if it is really as bad as they say it is?" Not that I follow EVERYTHING I read, but when a few established bloggers dedicate their focus to one game. Either by endorsing it or makes it their fulltime game, it says something to me.

That's right, I'm talking about Paragus and Syncaine, author of Hardcore Casual. I want to thank you both for your help and support, even if it took just answering a few questions. It helped a lot. And yes, I did order the game through Syncaines blog, because he answered a few questions for me honestly and I believe in "tipping the house." Its good to do.

So, here is Agon in all its glory. Getting a--raped by goblins on the outset, I had a good laugh. But it also made me realize just how unforgiving DFO is. When I died I lost EVERYTHING. It was not much, just some cheap goblin loot. But it made me realize just how serious this PVP is. You die, you lose. Its that simple.

The skill system is going to take some getting used to. And the GUI took me at least one hour to navigate and fix to my style. Thats when I turned the tables on those poor goblins and handed in my stuff, I'm getting ready for my next session as we speak.

I realized right away what type of game Aventurine was aiming at. A sprawling, no nonsense, open ended, open-MINDED game. Don't expect easy street here. You get in exactly what you put out, you've got to play smart here. In 22 some odd hours I become open game. After I lose my "newbie-shield" I'm going to be bait for all the gankers and hardcore pvp'ers on the server. 

I'm so excited.

The Bad News

So far the game has had some technical issues: blackscreen crash, error at installation and I was stuck at character creation for awhile. I sent in a ticket and the response came rather quickly, but it just told me to hit the next button. That I did eight or nine times. Minor setbacks.

The GUI is a little clunky, but workable. I just had to take my time and go through the menu options. Simply rebound some keys and I had my old Oblivion setup at my fingertips, it felt just like old times. I do have some complaints about the GUI, but they are not worth whining over.

Very PCU demanding game. Holy smokes! I turned my shadows off and lowered some settings and it ran fine. I had some lag, but it wasn't a gamebreaker. I've had worse.

Starting out: All you get is a 6 page tutorial and a slap on the butt. You are on your way to greatness! Absolutely no tutorial and thankfully there is an experienced and helpful community. I asked a few questions in racial chat and someone actually had some answers on demand. The community is very vibrant, friendly and outgoing, so far I haven't seen any spammers or seen any jerks in chat. But thats actually good news.

Tick...tick...tick....

The Good News

Its fun. I really had a good time scooting around with the goblins. The AI is trifle annoying when they run away or gang up on me, but there is an actual AI pattern here. Not the mindless "stand in front of me so I can bop you."  It was the most challenging early experience I've ever had in an MMO. Apart from EVE, but EVE gives you massive tutorials on the outset. I think I've been spoon fed too long.

Graphically: There is a certain edgy, gritty and dark style here. I noticed it right away. DFO doesn't have miniscule details or the glittery saturday morning cartoon style, but it sets the ambiance of a dark savage world early. You are definately not in Kansas anymore. I took to it right away.

DFO feels totally customizable between its window positions and key bindings. I know macroing is illegal and such and such. I won't do it, but I feel having at least something I can use to switch weapons or equip certain items would help. There is a menu for that. I think? I need to play around with the tough GUI more. Oh and by the way, the character creation is not totally bland as people say that it is. Don't expect Aions complete mutateability but their are some cool looks to be made. Its not about having a pretty character here, its about having an experience.

Hey, they started a 1$ dollar trial. Thats what sold me! I don't look at it as $1 for a week of Darkfall Online, I look at it as free and if I decide to own then I just spend $51, I get 37 days before a $15 payment. Thats it. No item shop nonsense or paying for additional content. You get what you pay for and its not a low quality game either. After a 3 hour torrent and just 15 minutes install. It updated right away, with some minor hitches but seamless for the most part. I was in the forums and did read many technical issues posted, all sounded like graphic problems though. I just hope they don't charge for expansions, that will suck.

Ok, so far the good outweighs the bad on first impressions. But I'm certainly not looking at the uninstall button. Darkfall Online has a certain style and it will certainly attract a certain type of mmo gamer. But its only been about a few hours I've been to Agon and time will tell. I have a week to pull the plug.

DFO is not the hand-holdy type of game, but I think that this industry has made hand-holding part of the norm and players come to expect it. Some will respond to this no-nonsense approach and some won't; its going to come down to personal taste. But its made one hell of a first impression so far. 

Play safe,

Frank

 

Paragus1 writes:

Turn off your post processor effects if you haven't yet, it removes the black border around a lot of the objects which makes the good look and run a lot better.

Also in terms of the UI, the Key Binding menu is your best friend.   Since the game only gives you a very limited amount of hotbar space, bind as many things as possible to keys on the keyboard that you anticipate using frequently.  As an example, I have "Rest" set to F1, Bindstone Recall set to F12, Stamina to Mana set to "+" over by the number pad, and whirlwind attack set to TAB.  Once you have your keys layed out right it makes combat and playing a lot easier.

You can find me in-game as "Paragus Rant" if you have any questions.

Mon Mar 01 2010 11:42AM Report
Goronmon writes:

 I gave up on the game after the way the transitiion between the European and American servers was handled. After the European version was released, the devs said that when the American version was released they would allow you to transfer your characters over from the European servers.

Except that when the American servers were released, not only was the character transfer a ways off, but you had to pay full price for an "American" copy of the game to play on the servers. Was an easy decision at that point whether or not I wanted to support the developers any longer. 

Mon Mar 01 2010 2:20PM Report
nate1980 writes:

I really wanted to buy Darkfall when it released and followed the game for years. I was super-hyped about the game, but I refused to play on foreign servers, and so I decided to wait until the US servers came out.

By the time they did, I read countless reviews of Darkfall having a community that resembles "Thug-Town USA" rather than an open world sandbox game that I was excited to play. I love PvP, and being able to siege is awesome, but I refuse to be someone elses entertainment while I level up. It is no fun whatsoever to be gang-raped or jumped by a higher level character and have no chance of surviving. As long as that is the main focus of this game, which countless reviews say it is, there's no way I'll pay $1 to try this game. The effort it takes to input credit card information is more effort I want to put in this game from what I've heard about it so far.

Oh, and the YouTube fight with the Kraken turned me off too. It had horrible animations and music. I'm the type that wants a sandbox game, but PvE, Exploration, City Building, and the Player-ran economy must have equal focus and purpose as PvP does. You rarely hear a thread created about Darkfall PvE or any other feature. It's usually about Darkfall's FFA Full-loot PvP. Well if that's the feature the community focuses on, then I'm not interested. If all I cared about was PvP, I'd of played Fury, Guild Wars, or a handful of FPS games. Hell, Planetside was good too.

Mon Mar 01 2010 3:09PM Report
nate1980 writes:

I really wanted to buy Darkfall when it released and followed the game for years. I was super-hyped about the game, but I refused to play on foreign servers, and so I decided to wait until the US servers came out.

By the time they did, I read countless reviews of Darkfall having a community that resembles "Thug-Town USA" rather than an open world sandbox game that I was excited to play. I love PvP, and being able to siege is awesome, but I refuse to be someone elses entertainment while I level up. It is no fun whatsoever to be gang-raped or jumped by a higher level character and have no chance of surviving. As long as that is the main focus of this game, which countless reviews say it is, there's no way I'll pay $1 to try this game. The effort it takes to input credit card information is more effort I want to put in this game from what I've heard about it so far.

Oh, and the YouTube fight with the Kraken turned me off too. It had horrible animations and music. I'm the type that wants a sandbox game, but PvE, Exploration, City Building, and the Player-ran economy must have equal focus and purpose as PvP does. You rarely hear a thread created about Darkfall PvE or any other feature. It's usually about Darkfall's FFA Full-loot PvP. Well if that's the feature the community focuses on, then I'm not interested. If all I cared about was PvP, I'd of played Fury, Guild Wars, or a handful of FPS games. Hell, Planetside was good too.

Mon Mar 01 2010 3:09PM Report
astrob0y writes:

darkfall. a underground hit.

now ive eve, fe and darkfall to spend my free time. happy time

 

Mon Mar 01 2010 3:45PM Report
Inktomi writes:

 I want to thank everyone for the comments.

Para, I just logged off and did turned off the PPEffects and it runs even smoother now. Technically, I haven't had any problems with the game since first logging in. Thanks again.

2 astro: seems that you hit all the genres, post apoc, space opera and dark fantasy. The key pattern with these three games that you mentioned is that they are all sleeper (underground) hits. I played FE during closed and I have nothing bad to say about the game or the devs. They are a hardworking bunch.

I'm going to play DFO for at least 15-24 hours before I write my next installment. 

Stay tuned!

Mon Mar 01 2010 4:11PM Report
Uziel78 writes:

Good write up. Oh and Goronmon you never had to buy the game again to transfer. For a while transfers where absolutely free and all you had to pay for was the monthly sub. Now you need to pay a transfer fee plus the sub.

Mon Mar 01 2010 4:18PM Report
Yanik writes:

Im 2 hours till my newb protection comes off, im a bit anxious, but all my good stuff is safe in the bank :) should be fun, cant do with all that hand holding, meself. hold onto your hats noobs this is gonna be a rough ride yeehawww!!

Mon Mar 01 2010 4:47PM Report
panchoe writes:

Using a program such as Autohotkey to rebind things is not against the EULA.  For instance, I use my mouse wheel to equip and unsheathe weapons:

Up = Bow
Push = 1 Handed
Down = 2Handed

But you can also tie a macro to the action, for instance when I push down on my wheel, not only does my mace equip and unsheathe, but it also enables Whirlwind as my first attack.

Combine holding down Shift, Ctrl, or Alt with your mouse wheel and soon you can 12 things bound to it.  The possibilities are endless.

Good luck!

 

 

 

Mon Mar 01 2010 4:56PM Report
daarco writes:

I know the newbie protection will "limit" your exploration the first 24 hours...but try and and see the whole world of Agon as soon as possible : )

Dont just stand and kill goblins.

Mon Mar 01 2010 5:02PM Report
DiExMachine writes:

Is it still client side calculations?  If so, have fun with all the hacks and exploits that will continue to plague the game till they change it to server side calculations.

Mon Mar 01 2010 5:22PM Report
angrist010 writes:

@Inktomi

Enjoy Darkfall. I think it is really one of the greatest games I've ever played.

I highly recommend that yes you should turn off post-process effects as you agreed but you should turn ON shadows again.

The sweep of shadows in the environment is tremendously cool looking as the suns and moons rise and set. Gorgeous as you fight for your life ;)

 

 

Mon Mar 01 2010 5:24PM Report
xanphia writes:

Glad you're enjoying your time.

Mon Mar 01 2010 5:34PM Report
ste2000 writes:

I run 2 client on the same computer and it hardly lag (of course shadows are off though)
I never crash either so I guess it depends what kind of system you are running it.

But I am happy you are enjoing it.

The pattern I notice in DF is that whoever tries the game is not repulsed.
This to me tells me that maybe DF is not so niche as people want us to believe.
And that's wahy it probably deserves a better score than 6 in MMORPG.com

I think a re-review is long overdue.


Mon Mar 01 2010 6:03PM Report
MadnessRealm writes:

Glad you're enjoying DarkFall. I suggest you turn off "Mouse  Smoothing" (or something like that), it will play a lot better too.

Also, it's not illegal to use macro for keybinding. I use a G15 and have a few macro that I use (Skill Bar 1+Melee Weapon+Unsheate, Skill Bar 2+ Staff+ Unsheate, etc)

The type of macro that is not allowed though is the ones that allows you to run in circle or swim while you AFK to gain skill points.
---

As for the technical issues you have experienced (Blackscreen), I'm afraid it might be your computer. Especially since you are experiencing lag, your computer might not survive those Large Scale PvP (50vs50, 100vs100 for exemple that we have on a few occasions)

Also, currently DarkFall supports only one Core, so you might want to tweak a few things which should improve your performance.

Either way, good luck and have fun.

Mon Mar 01 2010 6:50PM Report
jango1337 writes:

make sure to turn v-sync/post processing off and if you want max view distance turn object clipping off.

Hope you have fun :)

Mon Mar 01 2010 6:59PM Report
Inktomi writes:

 Wow, I've never had such a powerful reception on one of my posts. I want to thank everyone again for the comments and bumps. 

2 ste2000: I totally agree. I think they do re-review games here after a course of time has passed. Things always change, the devs start to gel and usually the game makes big strides of improvements.

Tue Mar 02 2010 12:04AM Report
MadnessRealm writes:

(That's because the name "DarkFall" is in the title, it really works)

Tue Mar 02 2010 1:10AM Report
Wharg0ul writes:

Glad you're having a good time. I've been playing for quite some time now, and even after all this time, it seems that every day is an adventure.

It just keeps getting better.

Tue Mar 02 2010 1:14AM Report
Quale writes:

Play smart and you'll see that you can work around most of the dangers of Agon most of the time. Once you get to 75 archery or melee, you get better damage output. Around this time, the interface will start to feel like second nature to you and the game will really open up and you'll enjoy the game even more. Once you get that feel that you kinda matter 'around 'ere' and start running with a gang you like, there'll be no turning back. DF is yours and you're DF's.

Tue Mar 02 2010 5:15AM Report
cobaltdemon writes:

As to the comment about EvE having lots of tutorials, that was not always the truth. The initial tutorial was, "Here shoot this, now mine that. Ok, you're trained. Go Get'um." CCP has had many years of feedback from players.

I would have to guess that sometime soon DFO will have a more comprehensive tutorial also.

Tue Mar 02 2010 9:14AM Report
Deewe writes:

 "Starting out: All you get is a 6 page tutorial and a slap on the butt. You are on your way to greatness!"

Thanks for the smile and the review, good read!

MadnessRealm: "Large Scale PvP (50vs50, 100vs100)" ...sight AoC :|

Tue Mar 02 2010 10:11AM Report
Draemos writes:

your not going to get in trouble for using a macro program to do things like swap weapons.  Tons of people use outside macros to do similar things. 

Unattended macros are the only things they'll swing the hammer on.

 

Tue Mar 02 2010 10:23AM Report
kazamx writes:

About free expansions. Yes all the expansion in DF will be free. In fact there have already been 2 expansions and they aim to do one every 4 months.

 

The patch notes for both expansions can be found below


http://www.darkfallonline.com/expansion/

Tue Mar 02 2010 2:30PM Report
MadnessRealm writes:

All expansions in a Sandbox games are free. Same goes for EVE Online. there's several reasons behind this but anyway, it's free.

Tue Mar 02 2010 11:19PM Report
eddieg50 writes:

You did 22 hours of grinding!  Yikes, well they say patience is a virtue and you must be a saint.  the grind is way to much for me and the graphics and controles make it just UGLY

Fri Mar 05 2010 11:35PM Report
Ataaka writes:

I cannot wait for your post 24 hour review. I hope that your eye-glitter is gone by then, and that you honestly report what so many others have failed.

No hints here. Good luck and have fun.

Mon Mar 08 2010 9:06AM Report

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