Darkfall Unholy Wars: Interview with Aventurine
A little over a month ago, Aventurine surprised the MMORPG and Darkfall community alike when they announced the new version of Darkfall would be releasing on November 20th of this year. Those of you who have followed my blog a while know that in the past I have spent a lot of time covering the old version of Darkfall extensively and also had the chance to do a variety of interviews with Aventurine.
Several members of the Darkfall community have reached out to me to and asked to see if I would be willing to do another such interview. After reaching out to the folks at AV a few weeks ago, they have finally managed to squeeze in some time out of their busy schedule to answer some of the questions that I sent over to them.
1) Regarding servers, the current version has 2 different servers for their respective regions NA and EU. Can you say at this time if the new version of Darkfall will continue with this model or is a single server more likely?
Yes, Darkfall Unholy Wars will follow the same model and will have one EU and one NA server at launch. The location of both servers will remain the same.
2) Darkfall: Unholy Wars is being marketed in many ways as a new game completely given the amount of changes it has over the older version. Given that assumption, is it safe to say that all characters will be starting fresh at square one with a clean slate when the new version launches?
Yes, since this is a new chapter in the Darkfall Saga, everyone will start fresh. As we have explained this is also due to the fact that so many things have changed as far as character creation and progression is concerned that it would be impossible to transfer current characters to the new game.
3) In previous discussion with the community, you said that ..." Skills no longer benefit from macro-ing or scripting in the way they did in Darkfall 1.0". Can you elaborate on any changes that may have been made to the way skills increases work that will make macroing either ineffective or unviable means of progression?
Well for one, it will be a lot faster for a player to reach the famed viable state. With only one role being active at any given time, a player that focuses on a specific play style will be able to become viable and competitive in a very short amount of time. Because of this, the need to macro will be greatly diminished. At the same time there have been many changes to skills and the way they affect and other skills. To give one example, in the first Darkfall, the skills that where macroed quite a lot where movement skills like run sprint and swim because of the benefits they provided to relevant passive skills. In Unholy Wars this will not be the case as movement skills can no longer be leveled up.
4) Some community members have been debating the incentives for clans to hold city or a hamlet given the amount of resources it takes to conquer and maintain a holding. Is there any change in the new version that might make conquering a city more enticing besides bragging right?
This ties in with our new territory control features. Each city is tied to the villages around it and thus is the potential ruler of those villages. However villages are tied to more than one city so you will need to defend villages you have captured and retake villages you have lost. The motive behind all this is that villages now provide rare resources as well as a percentage of the rents to the owning clan.
5) In terms of magic, one of the more hotly contested issues in the community is the role of spell fizzles and spell surges as mechanics in the game. Has there been a final decision yet on whether either of these will be present in the new version and what is AV's philosophy regarding the role of these mechanics in the game?
There has been some progress in this matter. Surges right now are disabled. Skills rise all the way to 100 and stay there. There is still a random critical hit mechanic though. Also, fizzles at the moment are set to 0% so they are turned off. It’s quite likely these changes will be left like this for launch unless testing makes us reconsider.
6) In the promotional video released, there seems to be a lot of changes to the magic system in general. How is the new system different from the old one in terms of the number of spells per school and the progression of learning new abilities?
The new system provides 5 skills or spells from the primary school and 4 from the secondary school. All characters also have access to a common school that contains things like the transfers; heal self and other utility abilities. In addition all characters also have the 3 default attacks, melee, magic and bow, at their disposal at all times. As far as progression goes, all characters will start with 2 or 3 skills/spells from all schools available and will need to unlock the other ones with the use of player points.
7) Some of the new features announced in the new version are the inclusion of a "momentum" and "wobble" systems in combat. Will all of the new character roles be affected in the same way by these systems, or will the various roles be affected in different ways? (Example: Magic and archery mobility being equally hindered by movement)
At the moment momentum affects all roles in the same way. In the case of crosshair wobble, only spells and archery attacks are affected. Keep in mind those effects are quite limited as we do not want to alter the manual aiming and fast paced character of the game.
8) Are there any changes to the housing system in the new version and how has the world make-over changed the number of plots that will be available?
The housing system has not been changed considerably. The only changes have to do with the herb garden and, possibly, the crafting station. There is now one herb garden and the items it drops have been altered as all node drops have been redone. As for the crafting station, we are considering removing the chaos station item and just include the specific stations.
9) Have any changes been made to boats and naval warfare in general to help mitigate the threat of swimmers boarding your boat?
In reality the whole boat mechanic feature is being reworked. All boats have been remodeled and retextured, their crafting recipes have been changed and their visual effects have been revamped. Unfortunately though there is still a lot of work to be done and we want to rebalance their attributes as well as play around with some more ideas and mechanics before we add them to the game. Because of this, only entry level boats will be included at launch. The raft is now a figurine that drops from pirate mobs and can no longer be crafted. In its place, players can craft the Wherry which is a small ship with no cannons. In addition the Launch is a small ship with one canon that can also be crafted by players. All other boats and ships will be added post launch.
10) Have any changes been made to land-based siege weaponry such as warhulks and cannons?
Siege weaponry falls under the same category as ships. It’s a mechanic we think needs a lot of work and discussion before we add it to the game. Because of this only basic siege equipment, such as siege hammers and battle spikes will be included at launch. To keep things more balanced, city player controlled towers will also not be included at launch.
11) In a recent community discussion you mentioned "There is also a completely new feature, that we are very excited about, that will allow clans to play the part of merceneries in sieges." Are you able to elaborate a bit and tell us some new information regarding this new feature?
This is the first implementation of a contacts mechanic that we have in the works. In the future we will add more types of contracts that clans can commit to. At this point, the mercenary contract is ready and will be included at launch. Essentially at this point, this feature allows a defending clan to issue a contract to any other clan in order to be aided in defending their holding. Also, any clan that is interested in this sort of work can issue a contract and send it to the defending clan. These contracts contain things like payout in the case of a successful defense. Also, to stop clans from issuing contracts to any and all defending clans without showing up to actually help, a bond will required that may only be partially returned if the defense is a failure. Post launch we will look into providing the same mechanics to attacking clans if it makes sense to do so and also expand the mechanic further.
12) You recently released a new video showing off the Baresark skill set as a first reveal of the new role system. Could you explain what the concept of an "ultimate" ability is and how exactly they work compared to other abilities?
Ultimates are the most powerful skill or spell of each school. They usually combine multiple effects into one and they are in some way more potent than the other 4 skills and spells of the school. They also require more mana and stamina to be executed and they have a longer cooldown.
13) It's been mentioned that players will have the ability to switch between roles if they want but with a cooldown of sorts. Could you explain how a player would go about switching their role and how long of a cooldown will there be roughly?
Roles can be changed through the Role window in the GUI. Players can change their role anywhere and how ever often they want with the following limitations. First there is a 1 minute channeling cast for changing your role so that it cannot be performed on the fly during combat or similar situations. Second, once you change your role you cannot change it again for 30 minutes. This is to impose a slight time commitment on the chosen role so that it is not changed on a whim without any reason whatsoever. Keep in mind both the channeling and cooldown times can be easily adjusted if needed.
14) Will there be an alignment system in the new version and if so, will be the same as it is in the older version?
Darkfall Unholy Wars has a different alignment system. In reality we are keeping the whole turning red situation when you kill other players in place but turning red does no longer mean you get attacked by NPC guard towers. It is just there to indicate to other players you might not be someone they can trust. What they do with the information is up to them. However because this would make the entire world rather chaotic we felt we needed to create some areas where players can perform some basic activities in peace. All the racial capitals and satellite faction cities as well as surrounding areas where players will make their initial steps have all PvP actions disabled. Even players belonging to enemy clans will be unable to damage each other in those areas. The vast majority of the world of course remains as it was. As a side note, while NPC guard towers are now completely off as they serve no purpose, Player holding towers will continue to faction as before.
15) Will Darkfall: Unholy Wars feature multi-core support?
Yes, Darkfall Unholy wars will support multiple cores.
I would just like to thank the folks over at Aventurine for taking the time out of what must be a very busy schedule right now to sit down and answer some questions with me today. Feel free to post your feedback and comments below!
Co-Leader of Inquisition