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Paragus Rants

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

Author: Paragus1

Review: Darkfall Revisited

Posted by Paragus1 Thursday December 10 2009 at 8:03AM
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Review: Darkfall Revisited

It's been a few months since I last played or wrote about the status of Darkfall and recently a bunch of my guild decided to scout out how the game has progressed in the last few months. With news of the second expansion, we decided to jump back in about a week before Conquer the Seas went live to get an idea of how the game has matured since the NA launch.

What I am going to go here today is gloss over just some of my personal observations on some of the changes that have been added since my last time I played, which was before the first expansion and NA server.  I've noticed a lot of people on various forums and communities asking about what may be different now, so hopefully this will shed some light. I also have to mention that in my return to the game, I have opted to reroll and start a new character from scratch as a different race (Alfar).  This should help add some extra perspective since this will be from the vantage point of what many new players may experience.

 

Skill Gains

Quite possibly the biggest change I noticed in revisiting the game is the ease and speed at which players are able to advance their skills.  During my last tour of duty in Darkfall, the game was plagued with people who would use "blood walls" to gain skills while AFK. One of the most welcome changes is the fact that blood walls are pretty much a thing of the past or drastically diminished.  Aventurine not only changed the speed at which skills are gained, but made it so that many skills will increase up to six times faster in PvE.

As a freshly rolled new character, I was shocked to see how fast my melee, archery, and magic skills were advancing compared to what life was like months ago.  I had never macroed last time I played and I remain determined to never go down that road.  These new changes seemed to have reduced a lot of macro activity drastically because the game now has major incentive for players to go out and PvE instead of macroing inside their cities.
 

To help put this into perspective, I will give some examples of where some of my critical skills were at the end of the first week.  I spent most of my PvE time in the first week fighting goblins and skeletons, both who seem to drop arrows and go down pretty easily.  At the end of the first week, I was able to raise my primary melee skill to a 40, and my archery skill to a 50 just living off of the bows and arrows dropped by these mobs. My lesser magic shot to over 80, and my greater magic to around 50 with a bit of effort. Previously reaching these skill levels without macroing would have taken me upwards of a month or more depending how much time I spent focusing on them.

The only real hurdle I think for new players in terms of character advancement is raising their base stats.  Players who have been around the block a lot longer have a significant advantage here because higher base stats leads to having a higher max HP.  I think I'd like to see them make the stats increase at different speeds depending on how high they are.  As an example, maybe have stats raise much faster between 15-30, then maybe only slightly faster from 30-40, and keep it as is now beyond that.  This could help newer players catch up a bit, but this is just my personal suggestion.


Quests

Who would have thought anyone would have cared about doing quests in Darkfall?  Since the last time I played I have noticed a lot of new quests, especially in the early part of the game experience.  These quests seem to do a nice job at teaching new players some of the basics of the game's fighting, harvesting, and crafting.  They also help give the players some basic tools and cash to help get them going.  Each starter town has the same quests, but new players can travel to each of the towns and do them over again for an added gain.

The most substantial quest addition comes in the form of title quests that are available in every race's capital city.  These quests will have you out fighting literally hundreds of PvE mobs, and reward you with thousands of gold and titles that boost your base stats.  While there is a title for every one of the base stats, you may only have one equipped at a single time.  Upon completion of the basic title quests, players receive followup quests that chain together to get better titles that add even more stats with more cash rewards.

The icing on the cake in this area is that the Conquer the Seas expansion seems to have revamped the in-game quest journal.  The old slow journal was often clunky and awkward to navigate, while the new ones seems to load faster and has a much cleaner look to it.  While Darkfall still remains to be a game that is not heavily quest oriented, it's good to see the journal more user friendly because it a part of the game that new players will probably be interacting a fair amount.


Character Specialization

One of the new aspects of Darkfall that has popped up over the last few months involved new forms of character customization that allows you to tweak various aspects of your character.  While Darkfall has no skill cap, the new system in place still add an element of choice to what type of character you want to play without having to worry about hitting a skill cap.  The character specializations introduced seem to offer way for players to fine tune their magic, melee, and archery in ways that help set them apart from others and fight against certain play styles.

In terms of customizing magic, there is a system in place that lets you tweak the properties of many of the games spells.  Many spells have several different variations that can be purchased for 1000 gold per spell, but you will have to pick a choose because the game only will allow one modification per spell.  Spells can be modified to have their range increased, travel speed increased, or the ability to cast it while jumping.

Archery specializations allow players to pick one special ability from a list that have a variety of effects.  Players can now decide if they want to be able to jump shoot, shoot in water, have increased magic resistance, or do extra damage against casters.  All of these abilities have trade-offs as well such as mana penalties and limited spell access, but the option remains to switch should you want to change your mind.

Finally melee specializations offer players a variety of options to make melee viable as combat method. Players can chose from some mobility related options that allow them to double jump or double tap dodge FPS style, as well as a second group of choices that increase effectiveness against mages or defensive boosts. Melee offers 2 different groups and players are allowed to chose only one from each forcing them to decide which route they want to take.


PvE

PvE seems to has had some changes made to it as well. The recent patch has introduced a system where monsters have varying strengths and weaknesses with different types of damage. The new system reminds me of old Asheron's Call where lugians would take extra damage from lightning and so on. This adds another layer to the PvE side of the game that should hopefully make certain mobs easier to kill once their weaknesses are discovered.

The other interesting and I think needed PvE change is an overall boost to the rewards.  There were many mobs last time I played that simply were not worth killing due to the rewards they dropped.  Monsters overall seem to be dropping more cash and items making it worth the time and trouble to tackle some of the harder monsters in the game.  It's not perfect yet, but adjustments continue to be made in this area so I remain optimistic.  I think my only beef with the PvE at this point is I would like to see more camps of some of the easier monsters in places outside of the starter areas.


Conquer the Seas

One aspect of Darkfall's world that sets it apart from most of the other MMOs is the fact that the water areas of the map are viable playfields.  The new expansion seems to have introduced a variety of new elements to these watery areas by adding the Sea Towers, villages, and even a kraken.  I thought of doing write-ups and taking pictures of these to try to describe them, but instead I will direct you to watch some of player made videos floating around showing some of these features off, as well as some of the game's first real naval battles.

Kraken Video

Sea Tower Video

Naval Combat Video

The patch seems to really opened up a new aspect to the game as you can see in some of the videos here, and I would argue makes the game offer something that you really won't find in any other game.  I think I speak for most players when I say that I hope this aspect of the game really takes off.  They seems to have reduced the cost to make the ships which helps foster this sort of activity.  I think I would like to see the astrolabes become easier to obtain as they are required to build most of the game's ships, but I think most players find this aspect of the game very exciting.


Minor Changes

Given it has been 2 expansions since I last played, there tons of little things that have been changed for the better.  I couldn't possibly list them all here as this is getting a little long as it is, so again I'm going to gloss over some of the minor things that I have noticed at this early stage.

In the recent expansion, one feature added that made everyone in my guild sigh collectively was the ability to name and label your bags.  It may sound trivial, especially if you have never played Darkfall, but this is one of my favorite new features.  No more trying to fumble through my bags trying to remember where my tools or armor is located, a task which can be even harder when you have bags within bags.  It makes sorting your bank much easier and it also makes it easy to tell what belongs to who in the guild bank.

The map was also updated to show where the capturable villages are, but more importantly when each of them is vulnerable for capture.  This is critical because now the players can keep track of when they should make their move to try and grab one.  With the information right there for all to see, it also helps to spur more PvP.

Mounts have also changed in a few ways. For starters, mounts now have a weight of 100 kg. Under the old system it was not uncommon for players to travel with upwards of 3 or more mounts on them at a time. Consider that a new player can only carry 300 kg, when you factor in armor and other gear, the days of people riding around with an entire stable in their pack are over. One change I am not too fond of however is the fact that mounts no longer seem to regenerate their life. Players are forced to use the heal mount spell, which can be an annoyance especially if your near a place where someone can steal it. If I can regen my life, I see no reason why my animal can't even if it is very slow. A new mount was also added that costs more to make but also has improved stats.

Crafting also seems to have received one improvement I suggested in an older article.  Crafting a lot of items, such as arrows, was annoying because you had to sit there and click the craft button every time you wanted to make 20 arrows.  Upon my return I was very happy to see a new functionality added that allows you to set the quantity to craft and make it happen with only a single click.

 

Summary

From all accounts, Darkfall has improved drastically since my last time playing.  There are a ton of features I didn't touch on for the sake of time, such as the new siege system (I haven't experienced it first-hand yet), and auto-stacking of items in your backpack, but needless to say this game has come a long way in just the few months I've been gone, let alone launch.

If you are a former player, you may want to consider taking advantage of the free transfers and checking the game out again for only subscription cost.  If you are considering the game, I would say that now would probably be a good time to jump in as I have seen a lot of new players in the starter towns after the expansion went live.  New players may want to think about joining a clan called NEW that is dedicated for teaching new people the ropes for up to 30 days.  If your like me and getting sick of watching the same MMO being released over and over with a different name on the box, taking the leap into Darkfall may be worth serious consideration.

 

Paragus Rant (Alfar)
Co-Leader of Inquisition
http://www.inqguild.com

Ruyn writes:

Nice article.  See you on the battlefield.

Thu Dec 10 2009 8:49AM Report
Agricola1 writes:

Nice review, PWN you later ;)

Thu Dec 10 2009 9:23AM Report
ProfRed writes:

Nice to see you back in Agon.

Thu Dec 10 2009 9:30AM Report
daarco writes:

I hope MMORPG.com also makes another review. And writes something about the latest expansion.

Ohh, a nicely done review Paragus : )

Thu Dec 10 2009 9:39AM Report
SoullessAven writes:

Hey Paragus, Loved the review. Hopefully you don't quit playing... You might be the only voice online they will take seriously and you got to tell them, cause you know more stuff will change.

See you in game

Thu Dec 10 2009 10:38AM Report
ozy1 writes:

As always a good review.

Thu Dec 10 2009 10:39AM Report
falc0n writes:

 very nice re-review your right so much more has changed in the expanion, using melee and archery are alot more viable now in pvp, especially melee, as before this expansion I would never go toe to toe with a mage using my polearm, but theyve added a combo so if oyu hit them 4 times in a row the 5th strike will do twice as much damage and they increased heavy armor so oyu take less then half the damage from someones spells. but once again great review hope to see you around =)

Thu Dec 10 2009 10:44AM Report
dar_es_balat writes:

nice it pretty much sums up what I noticed too.   The game seems to have turned around significantly since launch, even if I feel a bit silly now botting for 6 weeks to gain stats and skills folks now get in a week!

Thu Dec 10 2009 10:46AM Report
Jupsto writes:

you forgot to mention other little things such as auto stacking of items. and it automatically unequiping weapon when you use things with F..... etc.

Thu Dec 10 2009 11:57AM Report
Paragus1 writes:

Oh god, the autostacking of items in your backpack was a huge change for me.  I can't believe I forgot to mentioned that.

/facepalm

Thu Dec 10 2009 12:11PM Report
Patriota writes:

Well done bro, congratz

Thu Dec 10 2009 12:28PM Report
Giblar writes:

Nice review. My only concern is that you talked positively about the specialization system which I think is very flawed atm. Archery, melee and magic specializations should compete with each other, not with themselves.

As it is now, no matter what weapon you want to focus on, everyone gets 2 melee talent points, 1 archery talent point  AND 1 magic talent point per projectile spell. It's like a WoW character who can't move points between talent trees, only within.

I used "WoW" and "talents" to offend the fanboys.

Thu Dec 10 2009 12:39PM Report
jango1337 writes:

nice review dude but where's nemesis' shout out! :P

Thu Dec 10 2009 3:11PM Report
elf8bliss writes:

Good write-up, you touched upon some great new additions.

Thu Dec 10 2009 3:52PM Report
parrotpholk writes:

 Nice to be ganked by you tonight mate! And good to talk to ya for a bit. Great article also best review to date.

Thu Dec 10 2009 6:49PM Report
Paragus1 writes:

Thanks man.   If it makes you feel better I got taken out about 5 minutes after you went for dinner and lost both of our stuff :)  Don't be a stranger in game.

Thu Dec 10 2009 7:19PM Report
Einstein-DF writes:

 nice article

Thu Dec 10 2009 7:54PM Report
seabeast writes:

Good review, a little on the postive side, I am interested in the game but worry about reported hacks, massive macro's, etc. They still common? Do the noobs still get naild days at a time from day one trying to get started? Is the community any better, that is, disrespectful types???

Fri Dec 11 2009 6:32AM Report
Yamota writes:

 Sounds like the game has improved alot. But I see on the Kraken video that the animations are still horrible. Why dont they fix that?

Fri Dec 11 2009 6:46AM Report
Paragus1 writes:

I highly recommend that new players join the clan called NEW because most of the server respects the fact that they are teaching new arrivals how to play the game.   Most people will not attack them, but there are always exceptions.   I saw a guild last night declare war on NEW, and within 2 minutes 4 guilds declared war on THAT guild.  Macroing is no longer an effective way to advance when PvE yields up to 6 times the results.

Fri Dec 11 2009 7:51AM Report
suxortobu writes:

I also did the reroll Wolf to Alfar, and I agree with you. Lot easier to skill in this game now. for crying out loud lesser magic can reach 100 in a day,. The Stat gain is slow though. But remember you can always undelete your old char..

Fri Dec 11 2009 8:53AM Report
Kyleran writes:

Great write up, I just knew you'd head back to DF after you guys left Aion. Sounds like the game keeps getting better every day, which is great to hear.  Hell, one day even a carebear like me might take the plunge.

Fri Dec 11 2009 6:27PM Report
Paragus1 writes:

Look me up if you ever do :)

Fri Dec 11 2009 8:12PM Report
uBBeRTrOlLin writes:

I would like to mention that aventurine has made a community publishing program wich gives the suscribers to earn the 20% of the sales by just advertising the game .

 

Since i am a suscriber i took the advantage of this great offer , so in case someone would like to buy the game  for EU client this is my link      http://www.darkfallonline.com/buydarkfall/?cp=EU31B74BB166B72FF4FDE7DE120B7ECA73

 

 

Mon Dec 14 2009 7:13AM Report
nighthawkcof writes:

how about saying something about noob players getting ganked continously in the noob area.....the non-existent intro to the game (I had to read pages over pages in the forums to find "rest")?

Wed Dec 16 2009 3:02AM Report
Paragus1 writes:

I think I got ganked twice over a 2 week period in the Alfar noob area, which is hardly reason enough to cry.  Maybe you missed the part where I recommend joining the guild NEW that helps players get introduced to the fundamentals of the game?

Wed Dec 16 2009 7:47AM Report
Holymonk writes:

Im going to give it another shot. Thanks for the review or re-revoew however you look at it =*

Tue Dec 22 2009 9:04PM Report
MISFIT585 writes:

Nice article! Cant wait to buy the game! ok so just to recap, you CAN buy all the different mods for spells, melee, archery etc.. and swap them out as the situation demands? This could be very good for large scale tactical battles... if leaders take advantage of it and use it right. AWSOME VIDS! everyone check out those 3 vids.

Thu Dec 31 2009 12:55PM Report
hellboii writes:

i wanna go play this game aswell i m new and i readed on some forums that u could tranfser form eu1 to na1 and now is eu1 dead.

What should i do, i live in the netherlands (EU in case u didnt know :D) but i dont wanna play on a dead server so i prefer to play on na 1. is that possible for a EU players.

And what ways of paying are there i couldnt find them ...

Sat Jan 02 2010 11:01AM Report
Paragus1 writes:

You can play on either server no matter where you physically live.  I don't know what the population on EU is like compared to NA, but you may want to factor in the time difference.  If you play on a region that is not where you live, you may find that most people are not active during your prime time.

Sat Jan 02 2010 6:59PM Report
Wharg0ul writes:

Funny, I just transferred and re-subbed today, and this re-review kinda caught me up on some of the changes that have gone down (I quit at about the same time you did).

Looks like DF is headed in the right direction, I'm REALLY stoked to get back in the game.

Thu Jan 07 2010 9:57PM Report

MMORPG.com writes:
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