You know, Darkfall is a fun game. Fun for sure, and still giving me things to discover and do. Funny how such a barren game can excite my imagination.
But the crowds there..the players...nice bunch, I think, mostly. But the cool ones aren't the ones ganking you (actually, I kind of enjoy that part) or using words like "Nazis" or "Big Nick Digger" in their name. The cool ones are busy playing the game, having a good time with clan mates (I need a clan, I'm all awone. :( )
So, the game can tax you just in the way that it kind of stresses your tolerance for bad characters. Names are turned off, but there are so many bad ones that it's hard to pretend that you don't see 'em when you hover over a character. That's right...we're all pretending when we play these games. I just don't like to be reminded that I am only pretending, especially when I am in the middle of a good ole' fashioned night of "immersive" game-play.
I think that the crowds and the reputation of the crowds in Darkfall might be it's greatest block. But then again, I braved pirates and wars in EVE for years (I have a 10 million SP character...not high, but then again I'm never controlling high level characters.) I know how people talked about pirates and 0.0 space. Some people really seemed to fear it, at least to the point that it would stop them from trying to go there, or to play that. Same with many, many other games.
So Darkfall's crowds don't scare me, and I don't see why they should anyone else. But still, there is a difference between being scared and being annoyed. I have no fear, but I can't stand being annoyed.
Having said all that, I will continue to play DF for at least a while. That game has more to offer, I am sure.
But I had to log into Ryzom today for it's new patch and live event. Not only did the new developers start up a role-play web-page, they have shown that live events might be the norm! Seems to me they might go the route of having role-play live events to help craft the world a bit, and if I could tell you how many times I wished more MMOs had more live events we would be here a long time.
And damn, Ryzom is perfect for such events! Granted, not all go off without a hitch (today didn't, for sure) but they all have heart, seem to fit into the normal lore nicely and always bring out lots of players.
As I am running through the event (I seem to be on a mission of TRADE! YES!), editing our podcast, and writing this blog, I am struck by how much NICER Ryzom feels. I mean nicer in so many ways: the way it runs and is beautiful, the community (for the most part) and how it feels like home. My home game. Well, one of them anyway.
When I am on a kick of forum fightin', I notice that when I wake up each morn after that I am stiffer, a little achier, maybe a headache. Something about getting into petty passionate arguments with complete strangers is very do-able, but does stress me out a bit. I love fighting with dumb people, and smart ones too, but deep down I would rather not.
Darkfall seems to have the same effect. I know, I know, most of the players are just regular, cool people..but there are SO MANY players with racist names, sexist chatter and filled with nerd rage (against the game they are playing!) that it creates the slightest bit of under-the-skin stress. Enough to make me feel a big warm feeling of care-bear comfort as I log into a game that not only runs better but that is FILLED with life, life that has amazing AI (if you haven't played Ryzom, you need to just to watch mobs migrate and hunt) and with life in the form of great players who typically do not tolerate names and chat that is more than common in a game like Darkfall.
Understand that I am fully aware that playing Darkfall is a lot like stepping back into the gym locker room in 7th grade: boys making homo-sexual references, girls a distant vision, cursing as though your life depended on it, and basically boys being boys.
But there was a reason I failed most gym classes from then on: I wouldn't "dress out" meaning that I wouldn't go into the locker room to change into my gym shorts. Something about sitting on the bleachers talking to the girls seemed a better choice. Not very manly? True. Much, much nicer? Hell yes.
Go get the Ryzom trial, and when Darkfall has a trial, get that one too. It's fun switching between the two, and although it seems I am busily snapping my towel on Darkfalls' butt, I like how the game pulls out different aspects in me than Ryzom does. Sometimes, you feel like sneaking around and shooting players. Other times you just really, really need to log into a beautiful world to hang out with old friends.