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Spouse Aggro!

I blog at www.spouseaggro.com, write for www.ablegamers.com, run www.mmovoices.ning.com and post all over the net. HOWDY!

Author: beauturkey

Darkfall: Uhm, this is actually quite fun.

Posted by beauturkey Tuesday June 9 2009 at 9:27AM
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That's it. This settles it. Me and Syncaine are going to be best friends.

Buddies, like Turner and Hooch, Dumb and Dumber...Bush and Cheney.

Can you find Beau in the picture?

Can you find Beau in the picture?

I actually LIKE Darkfall, quite a bit. NOW, stop..stop...no comments yet. I say that after a few days playing only, and I fully expect those strange half-fanboi-half-hater players to tell me "I love this game, and I play it a lot, but it sucks. You will see." In fact, they were out in full force the other night, kind of just complaining about what the game should do, how it should work, what Nectarine should do. (That's my new name for them. It's easier to remember.)

I would show you screenshots from the last few nights of gaming, but although I hit the keys bound to take a screenie, nothing happened. I looked it up: screenshots impossible? (I hit alt-s?)

Let's just get right to it, because there's ganking to do. And remember, this is a basic, basic review that isn't even covering half of what I have experienced. No death threats, please, unless you are 40 years old and living in Colorado.

1) The combat: DUH. That's what we're here for. I am kind of surprised people keep referring to it only as a pvp game, or as an "FPSMMO" (which isn't a bad description) and I can see that, yes, if you spend most of your time pvp'ing you would call it that. Granted, I've only been in about 4 PVP fights so far, but the PVE combat is really damn fun, too. The mobs will run after you, get help, run away...it seriously felt about the same as when I fought a player. You know, they do that annoying side-to-side thing (I jump for CRITS! (tm) )  and basically act as a player. For the life of me I could not kill some goblins for the beginning quests, and started to think that this game might be annoying, but then Jay Jay the Wonder Biscuit (that means cookie in their language) told me simply to switch how I was hitting. I hit T like he said and my lil guy switched to a downward chop instead of  a sideways swing. It worked! I killed two goblins and stomped my feet as the last one ran away.

If only I had a bow.....wait a second...I looted one off that last goblin! I equipped it, drew it, and pushed my mouse key. RrrRRRrrAAAHHhhh said the bow string as I pulled it back. Aiming it was pure fun, and when my arrow slammed into another goblin (I later figured out how to hotkey weapons) I thought to myself  "Ok, this just got A LOT BETTER."

2) PVP: Again, I have only seen a small part of it, but as with all pvp'ing (which I have seen my share in 10 years) it can get as boring as any activity. Seems to me that with the wide open spaces and the ability to actually hide (I LOVE that) you can avoid pvp if you want (or, of course, to allow you to pick someone off from those shadows!) PVP is one of those things that players seem to take great pride in, as with raiding, but I don't see the point of doing anything for such a great amount of time. I kind of want to suck at first, get better slowly, just like my lil demon man thing would if he were real. EVE was the same for me, meaning that I pvp'ed enough, but explored and snuck around more.

Luckily, Darkfall does play like an FPS, meaning that besides losing a few bits of decent armor, you just run right back to the spot you were before. It's ironic that in a "hardcore" game, death means nothing. Make me have to wait in a hospital for a while, make me sweat while my corpse lies there. Just don't let me pop right back up and get right back to it.

But I'll get to pvp later, after I had a chance to see some bigger combat. The whole clan-war-and-land-holding thang looks great, and at the very least I want to sneak around and shoot at people. PVP in Darkfall? Exciting and fun, need to investigate more. Yes, yes, I know...DF is mostly a PVP game. I will get to it. Let me enjoy some of the scenery, first. Speaking of which....

3) Graphics: Wow, Darkfall can sure look pretty in some areas (shadows are beautiful) and downright dated-to-all-hell in others. I WOULD show you a screenshot of this silly "welcome" sign in my starter town (as though demon monsters would build a "welcome" sign) but screenies don't work.

Having said that, I can understand if they intentionally left the graphics the way they are, being that they need the game to run on a wide array of PC's, and with good performance. On my older machine it runs a lil rough until I shut off shadows (which I hated to do, but liked the performance better) but I kept everything else cranked. On the newer machine it runs beautifully, and sneaking through the shadows is pure gaming joy. And to think that you can literally hide from players (and mobs I think?) in the dark is wonderful. Awesome. FUN.

I don't knock the game for looking so rough in some ways...so dated. It DOES look like a game that was started 7 years ago, and added to over time. Nectarine seems small enough, and if they built this engine themselves they should pat themselves on the back. Game-makin' is hard. But the light/darkness of the game is what makes it shine, and that makes up for any poor character design or rough graphics.

Don't get me wrong, the game looks great in most areas. This is a game of fog, shadows, and playing in the dark.

4) The sound: Dear, sweet Dog. Such dated sounds in some areas, and yet such great USE of some of those sounds. If I hear one more of those annoying blood SPLAT sounds (from Star Craft!) I am going to scream. It makes the game feel like they bought the sound file back in '99 and never updated it. Almost every sound needs to be tweaked for volume, and most of the sounds could just be more subtle. I understand, though, that some of these sounds could be audio clues to events like critical hits, but some are just over the top. (You can adjust them in sound settings I think.)

In DF you probably don't want music blaring so you can hear someone approaching, so I forgive the games lack of so many wonderful sounds/music. But it would be nice to hear more, like if players were chatting in a group, you could hear slight whispers.

I love the sound of the bow pulling back, and I love how some of these sounds will warn you of hidden players, but many of them just need to be updated/tweaked. Simple fixes that will probably come.

If you want to give Darkfall a try, go to https://accounts.eu.darkfallonline.com/account/ and go for it. Enjoy figuring it all out, although even finding that page is not something easy to do.

Let's not even get too far into why their website is horrible. Just looking at it will tell you why. At the very least, update it to today's standards...make it larger, center it, update the information. There's one simple, simple thing: add a link to a dev blog on the front, and go EVERY DAY and update that blog. Hell, players have been giving out better information than the developers. It doesn't matter if the dev's just put "Having some coffee while working on some bugs, click here for pic..." on the blog, it would let the community and potential customers know that Nectarines' web guy is not a guy in a basement that has been frozen in time since '01.

But I don't want this semi-review to seem all bad. All these things will be tweaked, I think, with time. I come from being the worlds biggest Vanguard fan (and still am) so if there is one thing I know about it's patience with a wonderful dev staff that might not have all the money in the world. Support them, and do it in constructive ways, and they will try their best. Remember, players and developers are actually in it together. This is the world of indie games, and needs to be treated as a community project. I get a lot of enjoyment out of seeing a small game get better, and the community helping along that process.

Speaking of the community: This community is about what you would expect. Mostly men (just a gut feeling) in general chat talking about a few subjects:

a) The developers suck.

b) So and so is a hacker. Haxxor. Whatever.

c) *beep* *beep* *beep*

d) Other games.

Typical MMO stuff, with the chat filter removed. Woop-dee-do. I have dealt with the worst of the worst community members in some of the players I know from VG (hate mail much?) so this is nothing. The simplest fix is to shut off the chat, which I always do anyway.

In the one-on-one world, the players have all been really cool. Within minutes of playing I had two players give me advice and offer help. While I became quite dead thanks to other players once or twice, that might of been the result of me hitting them first. ( I dunno, still learning all that.) But other than that, the community reminds me of any FPS community which is to say that the bad ones are easily ignored. It sucks that many, many of them are bad ones, but still easily ignored.

There seem to be players that are trying to role-play, but so few and far between that I wonder how many do. This game is PERFECT for role-play, from mild stuff to "hard-core" Immersion rules. The game begs to be role-played in!

And isn't it ironic that in a "hard-core" game in which the players take playing a game SOOOOOO seriously (think raiders after a major patch) that most of their characters names are "_______Mc _______sAlot" or some form of "IcAnHAZyerGear"? How do these serious players have such an easy time with their guild names or characters? Kids these days....

I am going to wrap up soon because I hate long posts and I want to get some playing in before Leala tells me to get off her nice PC.  All I can say is that, so far, Darkfall is one of those "diamond in da rough" that I have grown so fond of over the years. Ryzom, Mabinogi, Vanguard...all games that are taking unique ideas and trying to show you what they can do.  If the community is supportive and recognizes that the development team is not the size of a small town, and does their part in spreading the word (yes, I know it is the job of the developer, IF they have the money) by starting blogs, podcasts and constructive posts, this game could slowly climb up the ladder and stick around a while.

I will go into more PVP next time, crafting and all that other jazz. Understand that most of my info is pulled from in-game, and I usually avoid looking at websites and data-bases. That's a sure-fire way to kill my fun. I want to learn organically.

Now, if you don't mind, I am hiding in the shadows, pulling my bow back!

Beau Turkey

MadnessRealm writes:

[There seem to be players that are trying to role-play, but so few and far between that I wonder how many do. This game is PERFECT for role-play, from mild stuff to "hard-core" Immersion rules. The game begs to be role-played in! ]

I remember seeing a couple of RP guilds on the AV forum so like most games RPers probably act with their guild mates but avoid RP when in public zones to avoid those "lolz look at tat nubz". But if AV were to make a RP Server, that would really be great ( though it's not likely to happen)
---------------------

Anyway, I think I might just buy the game soon. If not tonight it will be tomorrow. Though I wish NA server was out already since while you will be able to transfer your character, it will be at the cost of all your skill levels and equipments, which means that you will start over from the very start (you still get the keep his name and his look at least)
 

Tue Jun 09 2009 12:05PM Report
beauturkey writes:

 Yeh I have heard of role-players, but it's always a little shocking to not see any.

 Having said that, I wasn't exactly role-playing either. Like most games, when one person does it others follow. I'll start using my role-play speech that doesn't stick out that bad! lol

  Beau

 

 

Tue Jun 09 2009 12:45PM Report
Paragus1 writes:

You are not allowed to like Darkfall and post on this site! :)  Me and Syncaine still play a bit, but we have cut back a little since we plan to reroll on NA and leave our current guys behind.  Maybe we will see you in game.   What race did you end up rolling?

Tue Jun 09 2009 3:45PM Report
t0nyd writes:

To be honest, after a couple hours of vertical chopping and horizontal slashing, you might find that you may want a more complex melee system.

At this point you will probably want to move on to spells, because shooting goblins for a few hours, with a bow, gets pretty mind numbing also.

After a few hours trying to level up spells, you will notice how crazy the grind becomes.

 I truly believe that darkfall is a dumbed down + huge grind added, planetside. Seriously tho, you could make a huge map, throw in 20,000 team fortress 2 players with team fortress 2 characters and you would end up with a much more entertaining game with many more options play wise.

Tue Jun 09 2009 4:53PM Report
beauturkey writes:

Para: I rolled one of those demony guys, a Afrrararrarar. Ararrar.

 I wanted something small. Give me a bit to get really good before you guys find me. That way at least I look cool when I die.

 Tony: Give me some time to become bored with it like you, man! I just started! lol Seriously, though, I don't grind. I have played the grindiest of the grindy games out there and I don't do it.

 I will find ways of entertaining myself, in any game! lol

 

 Beau

 

 

Tue Jun 09 2009 5:28PM Report
Trueth writes:

can you cross dress in darkfall and steal money from fans to fund travel?

Tue Jun 09 2009 11:00PM Report
cult7 writes:

I am tired with the comments on shadows and light/darkness in darkfall.

Have u ever played or watch lotro?Technicaly lotro is older game and beats the hell out of darkfall in shadows/light,(lets not speak for gfx in game at all).

Hell even wow has dynamic shadows now and u can see the shadow of a flying object above you,on the ground.

Wed Jun 10 2009 4:03AM Report
beauturkey writes:

Trueth: I am not sure, but I am sure it's possible. As far as funding and "stealing money", of course you can..it's called ganking. Duh.

 Cult: I have played 'em all, seriously. ALL. lol

 I know what you mean, and thought of actually putting comments about other games dark/light, namely LotRO, but the difference is in those games you cannot physically hide from other players. The shadows don't stop you from popping up as a giant name on their screen.

 Seems like in Darkfall, sticking to the shadows and going out at night (thus the Dark part?) is a wiser choice, to stay hidden. And yeh, those other games made nice shadows without the performance being as rough as it is with DF on older machines, but they built the engine themselves, I thought. That's really something to be admired.

 Anyway, thanks for the comments!

 Beau

 

 

 

Wed Jun 10 2009 8:16AM Report
sanders01 writes:

 I had fun just messing around in DF, not really doing anything. The only reason I stopped playing, the ping was too bad and my computer too slow.

Wed Jun 10 2009 1:34PM Report
Inktomi writes:

Nice writeup Beau! I was anxious to see how you held up in there.

It's good to see another honest view on this game that's makes so much bad press. Now I have to ask this, "As a consumer and a gamer, is this game worth my $50.00 and $15.00 a month or is that money better spent elsewhere?"

Considering all the new games that are being released this fall, how do you think DF will hold up against the coming "HORDE!" that are about the same price.

You said some really positive things about the games, but does it have what it takes to go the long term and to attract the newbie or someone who's tweening(tm)?

~Ink

Wed Jun 10 2009 3:01PM Report
kazamx writes:

When you get to the point where you have cleared all the starter quests and explored the noob zones you have a few options, but the number 1 thing is find a clan.

A lot of the content outside of the noob zones is clan based and you will miss out on a lot of the meta game if your not part of one. I am sure Para could sort you out.

Another option could be to head to the Freehold city (Its called Long March) that city has been set up slightly differently to all the others. Most cities are owned by a clan and run for the benefit of that clan. Freehold is an open city and anyone is welcome to go in and use the facilities as long as they don't cause trouble. This could be a safe(ish) place for you to head after leaving the noob city.

If you ever decide your feeling too warm and want to cool off drop me a PM, I am sure I could get you a friend pass to come and spend some time on the Ice Island as a guest of the Death Alliance. It would be a relativly safe place for you to find your feet in the bigger game and get to join in on seiges etc.

Wed Jun 10 2009 5:43PM Report
cult7 writes:

hey beauturkey thank you for clearing this.It was the 1st time someone explained to me why so much talk about light and shadows.

Thu Jun 11 2009 5:20AM Report
Falcon2K writes:

Hi there.

Just a perhaps dumb question but how can you hide in the shadows when the shadows can be turned off by everyone?

 

Thu Jun 11 2009 8:42AM Report
kazamx writes:

@falkon2k

 

Its not so much the shadows that your hiding in (as you said the other player can disable them) Its the environment your using to your advantage.

 

Most MMOs allow a 3rd person view where you can zoom a long way out and so can see anyone coming from a long way away. While DF does have 3rd person its very very close to your char so you can't see behind.

In most MMOs you have your name in massive glowing letters above your head along with your guild, alliance and titles. this means its almost impossible to miss you. in DF you don't have a name above your head and so if your stood behind a small bush someone will run right by you.

The lighting, character models and armour help a lot too. At dusk and dawn the world is bathed in an orange glow. If your stood against a tree you kina blend a little into it (unless your wearing high end armour which reflects light alot) quite a few time people have run right by me as I cowered half hidden by a rock.

 

DF also lock your view when doing actions. For example while mining/fishing/cutting wood you can't look around you without stopping gathering. This means peoples screens are full of whatever they are gathering and they are easy to sneak up on.

Your feet make noise as you walk (alot) and it gets louder as you wear heavier armour. Its possible to negate this by crouch walking. In crouch walk (at higher level) only about 1 out of 5 steps makes a noise. An alert gatherer will stand a chance of hearing you come, but its crazy easy to miss the sound with the loud gathering noises running. 

 

DF doesn't need magic to make players vanish into the thin air, a skilled player will be able to ambush anyone just by using their brains and the environment to their advantage.

Thu Jun 11 2009 8:56AM Report
Falcon2K writes:

@kazamx

Thanks alot for clearing things up for me.

Thu Jun 11 2009 9:03AM Report
MasterWan writes:

damn elves :)

Thu Jun 11 2009 9:30AM Report
beauturkey writes:

"Just a perhaps dumb question but how can you hide in the shadows when the shadows can be turned off by everyone?"

 haha I didn't even think of that. I guess since I am running around with shadows on, I figured a lot of other players would be too!

 Looks like Kaz answered better than me! 

 

 Beau

Thu Jun 11 2009 10:49AM Report
Mortifagus writes:

Nice "Review" Beau

This game has an amazing concept, sad thing is that have so many technical problems, one day  i may give it a try. 

Thu Jun 11 2009 7:22PM Report
MasterWan writes:

your nuts Mort.  Play the game before you make a comment like that,  Idiot

Fri Jun 12 2009 11:07AM Report
Blazz writes:

I believe Mortifagus is refering to things like not updating the website, limited accounts, not coming with a CD, various easy speed hacks and exploits, etc.

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