Trending Games | The Crew | Landmark | Neverwinter | Guild Wars 2

  Network:  FPSguru RTSguru
Login:  Password:   Remember?  
Show Quick Gamelist Jump to Random Game
Members:2,850,044 Users Online:0
Games:732  Posts:6,223,520

Show Blog

Link to this blogs RSS feed

Paragus Rants

Rants, reviews, and interviews from an MMO veteran and guild leader.

Author: Paragus1

Review: Aion Beta Weekend

Posted by Paragus1 Monday June 22 2009 at 12:02AM
Login or Register to rate this blog post!

Review: Aion Beta Weekend

After my last entry about some of the upcoming MMOs, luck would have it that I was able to get a chance to play Aion during one of their recent beta preview weekend type events.  Today I am going to try to give you my impressions from playing during the recent weekend event that had a level limit of 10, but did allow players to make characters from both of the game's factions.  While I will be the first to admit that 10 levels is hardly enough to review much of anything, but I think I got a chance to sample the game and take a look at various aspects that were present.

Just to recap quickly here before I get started, I went into this with a few preconceptions about the game in terms of graphics, polish, and whether or not the game would be bringing anything new to table.  I have seen some pretty remarkable screenshots of the game, so graphically I set the bar pretty high.  The game has also been out in a foreign market for a while, so I expected a fair amount of polish.  In terms of innovations I approached Aion with fairly low expectations.  As soon as the log-in screen popped up as seen above, I felt somewhat reaffirmed that graphically I would not be disappointed. So with all that being said, let's get started!


Character Creation

Before we can do anything, we have to create a character.  The game is based around 2 main factions that are to be pitted against each other akin to what we have seen in Warhammer and World of Warcraft.  One of the main differences with Aion is that the game only features 2 races to chose from, the Elyos (Angels) and the Asmodian (Demons).  If your used to some of the other RvR MMOs out there where each team has several races to chose from, this might concern you as it did me.

As soon as I saw the actual character creator, my concerns about character customization for my appearance pretty much vanished.  I have to say in all honesty that Aion sports one of the most customizable character creators I have seen. Aion gives you infinitely more options than many of its competitors, and rivals and possibly exceeds Age of Conan.  For starters, the creator has a color palettes that enable you to make almost any part of your character into any color you can imagine.  This opens the door for some very creative and also very silly looking toons.  Hair, skin, and lip color can be anything from standard colors to wild shades of green and purple.



Sliders and more sliders.  This creator has sliders for everything you mind can think of, as well as stuff probably wouldn't have considered.  When you make your character, the 2 main aspects are designing your face and your body.  The body creator has 12 sliders alone, one of which includes a height slider that can make your character as small as a child or a tall as an ogre.  As if that wasn't quite enough, the face customizer has another 25 sliders!  It's very easy to lose yourself at this point, and if it wasn't a beta, I might have been there for quite some time trying to sculpt my guys face.  In conclusion here, there are enough options to make your character look unique despite the fact there are only 2 races to chose from.

The other decision you have to make is what archetype do you want your character to be, as well as the gender of your character (this is actually done before the customizing step).  This probably where my first beef comes into play.  I am the type of person who would rather pick a class right out of the gate, rather than an archetype.  My concern with this route is that you do not actually get to play the class you want until you have put in 9 levels into your guy.  While this is not really a large time investment by any means (took me 90 minutes my first time), I'd like to find out sooner rather than later if the class I am going to be is to my liking without having to invest the time to find out.  I don't want to put in the time and finally get to my class only to find out it's not a good fit for me, then have to reroll and repeat the early content again just to try again.

 

User Interface

The Aion User Interface is pretty much the cookie-cutter UI we have seen from most of the traditional style MMOs in recent memory.  If you spent any time at all playing WoW, EQ2, AoC, or WAR, you will pretty much feel right at home instantly.

You will find most of the standard UI elements here along with the ability to customize it a bit.  Aion gives you 3 rows of hotbars to be stacked on top of one another, but they remain completely invisible if there are no abilities dropped into them.  Aion also uses the same exact keyboard buttons assigned to some of the basic functions from previous MMOs as well.  Again if you have played a recent traditional MMO, you will find yourself open your inventory, character window, map, etc. without even having to look up the predefined assigned key.


The character window itself is broken into several different tabs of information.  The main screen features the standard equipment paperdoll which is accompanied by all of your characters primary stats, defensive skills, and resistances.  Below that you will find your backpack contents and gold totals.  One confusing things for me was the fact that instead of using the term backpack, Aion calls it the "Cube".  The cube initially only has a limited number of slots, but there is an NPC who will expand your cube for a fee.

Another interesting aspect is that much like Warhammer Online, Aion also features an unlockable title system. It seems that by completing certain quest or quest chains you can unlock new titles to be displayed next to your name.  What makes this system a bit different than WAR's title system is that the Aion titles actually have different bonuses associated to them.  I was able to unlock Tree-Hugger by completing one of the early quest chains that gave me an accuracy boost.  The list seems to have 50 hidden titles in total, so most likely there will be certain titles that end up being favored by certain classes in the game because of the bonuses they give.


Combat

Aion's combat style follows the traditional MMO style combat from games like WoW, EQ2, and WAR.  The game features the standard tab targeting system, and activated abilities that are on various different cooldowns.  The game's mini-map color codes aggressive monsters as red, and when you target them you even see their aggro radius as if it were a tiny radar.

The combat sounds and animations struck me as being pretty well done. While the combat seems to be in many ways the same recycled form of combat we have seen in the last few MMOs, it does feel responsive and look well.  The game's combat does feature positional attacks and a combo type system for chaining weapon attacks together.

They really seem to go out of their way to make the skill chains easy to learn compared to some other MMOs.  As an example, the character I picked was under scout archetype.  One of my stun attacks can only be performed directly after my character evades an incoming enemy attack.  In some previous games, it would be up to the player to watch the combat very closely for the evade message or animation. In Aion, when my character evades I get a visual flashing effect on the ability that pretty much screams "press me!", that get accompanied by another visual in plain view near the center of my screen.  This makes it fairly user-friendly for even new and inexperienced players to know when to seize the opportunity to use a situational skill.

One final quick note here.  This game also seems to feature items that can be socketed with other stat boosting items to give very specific effects much like the Warhammer talisman system.  The stones can be popped into both weapons and armor and seem to drop fairly regularly off of mobs I fought.  They effects I saw ranged from adding HP and MP, all the way to boosting crit chances and evade percentages.  This gives a little bit of room for the player to mess around with various set ups, and the stones can be removed from a special NPC in case you want to try a different stone.

 

Quests

Questing in Aion is pretty lame to be honest, there just isn't really any other way to say it.  You can tell as soon as you talk to your first NPC that your questing career in Aion will pretty much consist of the same drab recycled kill and collection quests that we have seen in WoW, EQ2, AoC, WAR etc. Quest NPCs can be spotted by the usual floating icons over their heads to indicate quest offerings or turn-ins.

This is yet another game where the work of a hero is to collect flowers, kill animals, collect dingleberries, and do some part time work for Fed-Ex.  I won't harp on this too long as I have already ranted on this countless times in the past, but there really isn't much anyone can write at this point in a quest box to make collecting sacks of grain into something heroic.  I didn't really care for it in Warhammer, but at least Warhammer mixed things up with their public quest system, there just isn't anything along those lines here to help break up what will be a long chain of tedium.

The one thing Aion seems to do a little different in the quest department is their campaign quest system.  The quest journal is divided into normal quests and the campaign quests.  Each of Aion's major zones seems to feature a campaign series of quests.  These are pretty much a long series of quests that chain together that help walk you through the area and give you a little story at the same time.  The initial level 1-10 noobie area campaign seems to revolve around the fact that you have lost your memory and need to try to recall it.  The bad news is these quests pretty much are the same exact kill and collection quests you will find in the other part of your journal.  When the campaign starts, you will see all of the quests listed with the recommended character level for it, although at the start you can't see the specifics of the quests.  As you start to progress through the campaign, you will unlock the ability to see quests further down the list as well as their reward.

The one saving grace about the campaign system is that they do seem to go a little out of their way to help drive home the story element that comes along with some of them.  A lot of these quests will reward you with cutscenes at various stages to help give you an idea of what is going on.  Not all cutscenes seem to be created equally though.  In the quest to recover your lost memory, the final stages have some pretty impressive and entertaining ones (as seen above), but at the same time there are some that tell you a farm has been pillaged that seem unnecessary.  I'll take anything that helps break up the tedium though I guess.

 

The World

I wanted to devote a section here about some observations I made about the world and some features it has.

The first thing I want to touch on are the graphics and the games performance.  This game probably has the best graphics of all the traditional MMOs on the market with the exception of Age of Conan which I think has a completely different art style.  Performance wise, the game runs great on a wide variety of systems.  I also have to say the sound and music seemed pretty well done as well.  A lot of the musical scores I heard in some of the various areas seemed to be professionally composed and helped add to the immersion factor.

There are a lot of familiar features to Aion that seems to have been copied from other games.  I noticed right out of the gate that they have flight masters for flying you across a zone the same as found in WoW, EQ2, and Warhammer.  The only difference here is that instead of riding a flying animal, your character uses a special pair if wings to fly himself over to wherever he is going.  Aion also seems to have a working mail system and auction house system in place much like its competition.  One good feature that I think is new to this game is a fast way of selling vendor trash type loot at the merchants with a single button.  One thing that I did find somewhat annoying was the fact that binding to a new location costs money.


 

One of my biggest concerns regarding the world is the layout of it.  The world is divided into 3 parts, one of the Elyos, one for the Asmodians, and the Abyss PvP area in the center.  Each of the race's section of the world map seem to be divided into 5 main zones and a city.  After leveling from 1-10, I had completely exhausted the first zone, leaving 4 more to be explored.  Given the amount of areas remaining, and the number of levels I have yet to climb, I suspect that the game is extremely linear in terms of how you progress through the content and the map.  In a lot of other games, you are given choices on which zone you want to spend your time adventuring in at any given level.  Since other games have multiple races and multiple areas to go with them, in WoW for example if you tire of the human areas, you can head over to the elves for a change of scenery and content.  I fear that Aion will send you down a very narrow set of rails in order to reach the max level with little room for deviation.  This can be worse if you decide to level up an alt because you will be forced to do all of the exact same content you did the firs time around in all of the same places, including the campaign quests.


This leads to me another concern regarding how someone will experience PvP during the leveling process.  In Warhammer Online, each area you level up is connected to an area controlled by the enemy.  This means that if someone really wants to experience the games PvP at any stage, they only need to wander over towards the local hotspot.  While I haven't seen this during the preview weekend, I have heard there are portals that can open up randomly that send you to the enemy area for PvP.  Depending on how rare these occur, your exposure to the PvP side of the game could be very limited initially.  I like to have an opportunity to test my character in PvP even at the early stages so I can see how well the class I picked handles itself in a variety of situations.

 

Flight

No doubt one of the main selling points and innovations of Aion is the flight mechanic.  Initially you can't fly right out of the gate when you start, but once you reach level 9 and complete the campaign to get your class you will be able to glide and fly after a ceremony.

The flight system seems to work very well and I found the controls very easy to get a handle on.  In the bottom right part of user interface, there is a little flight indicator that tells you if you can fly in a certain area, and how much flight time you have left.  If you are in a flight-enabled area, you simply press the "Page Up" button for your character to sprout their wings and take off.  Once you are in the air, you can press "R" and "F" to fly up and down respectively, or you can hold your right mouse button down to tilt your altitude.  The meter will start to tick down and when its out your wings will vanish sending you plummeting.  You can manually land or turn off your wings by pressing the "Page Down" button. Sometimes I found the fastest way to get back to the ground safely from high up was do turn off my wings to fall, then turn them back on right before I hit the ground (use this method at your own risk). 

Having a third dimension to the game is definitely a very interesting feature, and flying was genuinely a fun experience. Having that third dimension made finding some quest locations tougher though, as on several occasions I reach the quest waypoint only to realize my real destination was actually high above me on some floating island.  My only beef is that the PvE areas I explored have certain parts you can fly, and others you can't, so you will find yourself hitting invisible walls that force you to land when transitioning to a no-fly area.  I would love to see more areas be flight enabled.

 

PvP

Unfortunately the limitations of the weekend didn't give me a chance to really be able to check out the PvP.  This is what will inevitably make or break the long term playability of this game.  While I was unable to participate in any PvP, I did notice a few features related to it.

For starters there seems to be a tab on your main character window dedicated to your PvP stats from the Abyss.  The window seems to keep track of your PvP rank, as well as your kills and points earned broken down into various time frames so you can monitor your progress.  Everyone seems to start out as a rank 9 Soldier, and by earning points you can advance through the ranks.  There is also a rank window that breaks down the point totals needed to reach certain ranks, as well as which players on each side are at the top of their game.  Points are earned by killing players in the Abyss, and unlike other MMOs, they are lost when you are killed.  This is one aspect that makes Aion stick out from its competition.  Warhammer and WoW were both notorious for treating people with kid gloves by rewarding them with points even for a loss, while Aion seems to have some sort of consequence for a loss.  This will undoubted stop competitive players from just rushing into fights without any fear of death, which is a good thing in my opinion.

The abyss seems to be the focal point of the Aion endgame and its PvP.  By looking at the map, we can see that it has 3 different layers, and assorted keeps to fight over in it.  I am not really sure how this endgame will stack up against what we saw in WAR, but this is going to be what makes or breaks this game.  The area looks to be a decent size by looking at the maps, and I hope that is the case. If all of the endgame PvP is going to be in this area, it will need to be very large to stop it from getting old.  Despite its flaws, Warhammer had a variety of areas and fronts for people to fight on to add a little variety to the PvP endgame, hopefully this area will offer enough to keep people entertained for a long time.


Conclusion

Aion is a graphically stunning game and has tons of polish.  The game has been out overseas for a little while now, and I think that ultimately that fact will be a large benefit to the North American fans.  Since the game has been out and patched for a while in other markets, NA players will be getting a game that is polished and feels complete.  There are not that many MMOs that have come out in the last few years that players have been able to say that about.  The game has a real focus on endgame PvP, and the patching the game has gone through already has no doubt made class balance less of an issue.  I am glad to see that there is a loss for death in PvP, as bind and zerg rushing seems to plague a lot of other traditional style MMOs that have tried for the same goal.

On the flip side, Aion strikes me as very linear game.  The way the overworld is layed out has me worried that in addition to being constricted, players will be forced to stomach through the same content over and over again every time they level up another character.  Aion also is not a game that is oozing with innovation.  Outside of the flight mechanic, I think a lot of people will legitimately be able to criticize this game for being somewhat of a clone in some aspects of some of the more recent traditional games.  The endgame PvP is going to be the real test of whether or not this game breaks through to people and distinguishes itself from the rest, or if it gets written off as another MMO using an already exhausted formula.  I think despite that, this game will appeal to a lot of people who might be current WoW and WAR subscribers.  The game already has a huge following overseas, so it should be interesting to see how it fairs in a completely different market.

 

Paragus
Co-Leader of Inquisition
www.inqguild.com

The Upcoming MMOs

Posted by Paragus1 Tuesday June 9 2009 at 12:52PM
Login or Register to rate this blog post!

The Upcomming MMOs


With E3 wrapped up, there seems to be a lot of talk on the MMO community regarding some of the upcoming MMOs that we may have a chance at seeing over the next year.  My guild has been easing up on Darkfall waiting for the NA release so we can have our fresh start, so I figure I'd take a break writing about it for this entry to weigh in on 4 of these upcoming MMOs that have some of the members of my guild talking.

 

Mortal Online

This is one that seems to spur the most discussion for my guys at the moment, probably because it seems to be marketing itself as Darkfall's competition.  This game seems to be the fallback game for those people who have decided to opt out of Darkfall, although at present time, my guild still loves it.

The game sounds pretty decent on paper or powerpoint, and I sincerely hope it does well.  I am a big fan of anyone who tries to go the sandbox route and give players freedom and open worlds, which is one of the driving forces behind our interest in Darkfall.  So in this regard, I am happy to see some other companies trying to steer the genre in a direction that doesn't offer linear themepark gameplay.

At this stage, I think I have 2 major concerns regarding Mortal Online.

The first concern is whether or not the graphical engine will be able to handle a fair amount of people on the screen at once without bringing systems to their knees.  Darkfall takes a lot of flack from parts of the MMO community over the games graphics not being modern enough, but at the same time it has shown to handle more people fighting in close proximity better than many zoned and instance based games that are seen as being prettier.  Hopefully Mortal will not succumb to Age of Conan syndrome where good graphics become a detriment in certain aspects of the game.

The second concern I have at this stage is the recent announcement to start selling preorders for beta access even though the game will probably not see the light of day for another 6 months, or possibly more.  I don't mind preorders if they are within 4-6 weeks of release, but we are talking about a game that could be delayed until 2010 before all is said and done, and there is not enough footage (in my opinion) at this stage to justify jumping in this far out.  I wonder if the usual forum crusaders and armchair forum accountants will practice what they preached on previous titles or if they will give these guys a free pass on this.  I suppose if there is an option to cancel the preorder, then it might help a bit.  Still it looks like this is one to watch depending on your playstyle.

 

Aion

This is another game that seems to be talked about a lot lately with their recent North American beta.  I think the one obvious thing about this game that makes it jump out at people are the graphics.  Clearly from a graphic standpoint, Aion seems to be one of the more visually impressive MMOs to come around in a long time.  One of the other good things this one seems to have going for it is the fact that it has already been live overseas for quite some time, so one has to imagine that by the time it releases here that NA players will have the benefit of a game that has already undergone balancing and tweaking from patches.

My main concern with Aion is whether or not it brings anything really new to the table, or will it turn out to be nothing more than "WoW with wings".  The novelty of the graphics will diminish over time, and the game will need to have solid gameplay to back it up.  A lot of attention is given to the fact that you can fly in this game, but a lot of people who haven't been following it may not know that flight time is limited to very short spurts.  I am not sure if there is enough innovation here to peak my interest, but it no doubt might be a threat to WAR and AoC as they share the same target audience.

The other major problem that I think could derail this game's success in North America is the infestation of bots the game has seen overseas.  Much like Lineage 2, Aion seems to have a bot epidemic going on.  Depending on the severity of this, I am not sure if North American players will be as tolerant towards this in a new game.  Hopefully the people behind Aion will find a way to stomp this problem out before the game reaches North American shores, otherwise it may not see the same success it has enjoyed in their home market.

 


Final Fantasy XIV

I'll be the first to admit that I love FFXI.  This is one of those MMO's that a lot of my guild members have gone back to time and time again.  I think FFXI is probably the best PvE MMO on the market.  The game is relatively inexpensive and gives you an absolutely staggering amount of content for your buck.  Naturally when we heard about another online Final Fantasy game, some of my guildies ears perked up.

FFXI to us is like a spicy food that burns when you bite it, yet it's that burn that brings you back for more.  I think the game's challenge is one of the driving forces behind the game's success.  The sense of accomplishment for doing some of the hard content in this game does feel rewarding.  I think for a pure PvE game to succeed as long as FFXI has, it needs to be difficult to have longevity.

The possible kiss of death to me in the recent announcement was when I read in an interview with some Square-Enix people that FFXIV was going to be geared towards casuals.  To me, that translates into an easy game that will most likely have people breezing through content and possibly bored within 60 days (I hope I am wrong).  They have long stated that this next MMO would not be like FFXI, so I can't say I am surprised.  It also doesn't make sense for a company to release 2 MMOs that would compete against each other (see Mythic).  I just hope that they don't make this game cater to the lowest common denominator and end up giving us another WoW style theme park with Final Fantasy written on the box.  I'm sure the name alone will make it sell a lot, especially for some console players who are not used to MMOs.  Hopefully after all these years SE will come up with a better User Interface than FFXI's.

 

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Everybody loves Star Wars, so it is no surprise that an MMO based on this universe is getting a lot of hype and attention from many corners of the MMO community.  If there is one franchise that deserves to have a good game made after it, this is it.  The current incarnation of Star Wars Galaxies seems to not be doing Star Wars any justice, and with a company with Bioware's track record behind it, it could have promise.  I'll give them credit for being smart enough to set the game in an era where Jedi are everywhere.  Let's be honest for a minute, when most people want to play a game in this universe, do you think they will chose to play a wookie like Chewbacca or a lightning shooting Sith Lord with a lightsaber?  Bioware seems to get it in this regard so despite the other classes, this game looks like it might be on a better track than SWG went down.

The concern I have with the game at this point is the hype.  I watched their trailer of a CGI cutscene of some massive Jedi brawl, but where is the gameplay footage?  They are starting this hype campaign a bit too early in my opinion and are going to end up with a customer base that has unrealistically high expectations.  FFXIV was guilty of this as well, showing no footage of the real gameplay.  Even the biggest steaming pile of crap can have a wicked CGI intro, but that doesn't tell you anything about the real game.  Show me something tangible to get excited about please because I want to be excited about a game like this.  I am buying a video game, not a movie, so show me the money!

They seem to have a strong story element going in this game which is a good sign.  There are not that many MMO's out there I have played outside of FFXI that really had a story with cutscenes, and not little kill quest journal crap not worth reading.  I'd like to hear about any PvP elements this game might have, I am assuming there must be one with all of the Sith and Jedi running around everywhere.  They are definitely running the risk of over-hyping this though given how far away the release date is if they continue to show more CGI cutscenes instead of real gameplay.

 

Conclusion

It looks like the over the next year or so, there will be a nice variety of MMOs coming out. No matter what game you are playing now, chances are there is one coming down the pipe in the next year that threatens to steal your interest from whatever you are playing now (if any). We also need to make sure to not over-hype these games based on power points or CGI presentations. Hopefully the companies behind these games will start to show us real and extensive gameplay footage so that we the MMO community can decide whether or not these games will actually stack up in reality like they do on paper.

 

Paragus
Co-Leader of Inquisition
www.inqguild.com

Darkfall: The Transfer Dilemma

Posted by Paragus1 Wednesday June 3 2009 at 6:53AM
Login or Register to rate this blog post!

Darkfall: The Transfer Dilemma

It's been a few weeks since my last entry, but I wanted to talk a bit about the announcement regarding the upcoming North American server, and the character transfer dilemma.  Last week Aventurine confirmed the rumors that there is indeed a North American server coming in the near future, and that they plan to live up to their promise to allow transfers for characters currently playing on the European server.  The essential part of the update reads as follows:

"We will be making our own announcement when we nail down an exact launch date for the NA server,  there are a couple of things which may affect the launch date by a few days that are not ironed out completely yet.  Character transfer/cloning will become available with a significant delay (months) and possible further restrictions."

 

Community Reaction

The initial reaction in regards to the delay of "months" triggered a collective groan from most of current NA players looking forward to moving. I think most players can understand the rationale behind a delay.  There seems to be a fair amount potential customers who have been sitting on the sidelines waiting for the NA server before trying the game.  To have such a large percentage of the population with no skills against another large percentage who are throwing around high level magic would definitely be detrimental to the new guys . The issue seems to be with how many months it will be until the wave of high-end characters enter the world.  Hopefully this delay will give new NA players a chance to narrow the skill gap before judgment day.

This also seems to have sparked a lot of debate within the community about whether or not players should opt to ride it out for an undisclosed amount of time on EU-1, or to jump onto NA right at the launch and start fresh.  I think there are definitely a few factors that need to be considered by a lot of the current NA players.

The first thing you need consider is the fun factor. Depending on how much of the current server decides to reroll immediately, and how many more EU players get the game, there is a chance that the current EU-1 server could see a noticeable decrease in population.  The thought of spending anywhere from 2-6 months in that environment grinding my skills doesn't really appeal to me.  On the flip side, everyone on the NA server will be on even ground for at least a little bit, so if the population is solid, there will definitely be some fun fights to be had.

The second thing you have to remember is that if you are currently playing and planning on transferring, you can't take it with you.  It seems pretty evident at this point that when the transfers do go through, you will be going naked.  If you are allowed one character per server, it means you could roll a character on NA at launch and start to accumulate some wealth for you other character when they arrive.  Again on the flip side of this, a lot of people have stockpiles of armor on their current characters, as well as real estate that a lot of people have been "nutcupping" in order to hold.  You can't take it with you, so you mind as well ratchet up the PvP and have some fun with it.  My guild has been going out almost nightly practicing our teamwork in PvP situations while we have the gear to blow.  This increase in our PvP has definitely led to some memorable hate tells, especially after baiting and egging them on in the midst of their rage (although some are definitely good sports).

 

The Inquisition Plan

So like many guilds out there right now, we had to sit down as a guild and decide what course of action we wanted to take in regards to transfer or rerolling.

When we put our heads together and thought about thing we would do differently given what we know now, the internal guild poll was pretty surprising to me.  Nearly 2/3 of my guild turned out to be in favor of a complete reroll and just walking away from our previous characters.  We like many other guilds, designed our guild around the racial alliances built into the game mechanics, but as we experienced more of the game we came to realize that our playstyle would probably do well under an ARAC (Any Race) clan.  Initially we started out interested in land ownership like many, but after selling our hamlet and going for more a merc style route, we found ourselves having a lot more fun.  From this experience, we now know to focus more on character development and less on getting our name on the political map for our playstyle.

Having played the game for over 3 months now, we have a much better understanding of the differences between the races and how that factors into the game in real terms.  Some of my members have expressed an interest in playing the Mirdain (Elf) on NA because of the innate bonus they have to DEX, which contributes to archery damage.  While we will still probably make fun of them and their manhood, we can't deny the fact that archery plays a large role in PvP and DEX is one of the harder stats to raise.  Some of my guys are looking at the humans which has some of the best base stats of all the races, some others are examining the Alfar because of the lack of PvP restrictions and small size (despite a lower base HP and being KOS to almost everyone).  We still have some people who will remain as Orks and Mahirim simply because they look badass and are familiar with the territory.

One good thing that a lot of my guys like about Darkfall is the fact the guy with higher skills is not always the last man standing.  This game seems to give a lot of room and reward players who can outsmart their opponents and outplay them.  Getting your opponent to over extend, stamina management, baiting, and setting traps are all viable plans that when executed with the proper teamwork can destroy opponents with higher skill points.  It is in this regard that we are not afraid of our fate in PvP by starting fresh, especially when everyone else around us will be as well.

I think the one obvious challenge will be the grind in certain aspects of the game, specifically magic.  Leveling magic up is not only a time consuming venture, but it can be costly in terms of the amount of spell components needed.  I have seen some top level magic first-hand and I can say there are some visually impressive spells that can do heavy wide-spread damage, so in that regards I can understand the need for it to be hard to get.  Hopefully Aventurine will continue to exam the grind in this area to make some of the weaker schools a bit more tolerable to push through.  Looking past this, we are definitely looking forward to having our pings cuts in half or more, and knowing that in our primetime the rest of the server is out and about instead of being asleep.

EDIT: Looks like the patch notes released right after I put this up claim to reduce the grind on magic.

 

Paragus
Co-Leader of Inquisition
www.inqguild.com