I have always tried to predict where the developers of Darkfall might take the game, but they have done a nice job of throwing some curve-balls out there. Let me point out first that I am not currently subbed to the game and I want to wait for ataril to play it again. I had my time with the game, (a few months ago I spent a month in game) and enjoyed it to a point but was thrown off by the few bad apples that are allowed to be openly bad apples. If you have a party and allow fighting, maybe one percent of your visitors will fight. But, those very fewoccurrences of violence will ruin everyone elses good time.
Having said that, it doesn't take a huge fan of the game to see that they are doing nice things, and are taking their time to do it right. Well, they are attempting to do it right, but mistakes will happen. But, like I always say, if they don't make mistakes they aren't trying anything new.
My friend Jay Jay the Wonder Biscuit recently posted about new expansion talk for the DF world, and it looks awesome. More mobs out in the world? That would be good. The place was as dead as a doornail a few months ago.They are listing more improvements on top of that, but the out-in-the-world mobs turned my head the most. The game was so barren that traveling was an exercise in staying awake, and when you finally found a random mob, they acted so similar to each other that you would rather run away that fight another boring fight. So, the mobs in the world thing alone would bring me back.
I think the developers are doing wonderful things, but let me list some things that I think will always stand in the way of Darkfall:
1) The open PvP: This is not a bad thing, and in fact delivers exactly what the developers promised. It's not that PvE'ers will stay away because they are scared of getting pwned and looted (loot meant nothing when I played, and still means nothing. Players just run around naked in many battles.) but they are scared of being bothered. It's not more complicated than that. It's not scary when some kid jumps around in front of your vision in the hopes of being hit by you, or when his name "420NaziHumper420" or "GayTard34" is stuck on your screen, or when you might be in the middle of doing something actually fun only to be attacked and killed by a group of 3 other players, and it's not the "death penalty" because there is absolutely none (the game is a MMOFPS essentially, you die andrespawn/die respawn/die respawn) it's the simple annoying feeling that open pvp brings. While the game is beautifully rendered and has amazing lighting and shadow effects, your sense of immersion is immediately broken when a player named "BlackC*k" decides to follow you around. For an hour. There is nothing hardcore in a PvP system like this, it is actually about as hardcore as a hardcore rock show, meaning that it is really justa bunch of boys rubbing against each other.
2) The system requirements: While it does not take a super-computer to run the game, it does take a pretty beefy one. The shadows and effects simply must be on to really see how pretty this game is, but that takes power. I ran it well enough on this larger PC, but my 2 and a half year old one didn't do it. It might seem obvious to require the latest hardware to run your game, but one look at how successfulWoW is (or Wizard 101 for that matter) will show you that lower system requirements means more machines that can run your game. More machines equals more players.
3) The lack of a trial: This will probably come out at some point, but a simple 10 day trial will not only bring new players to the game but will bring the game out of the "indie" closet. More trial players means more reviews/blogs/podcasts about the game, and more buzz. I will promise you that the most common "buzz" around this game is about how most of the players listen to Nu Metal bands likeGodsmack and want to "rape" other players.
The good news? The developers of Darkfall don't seem to care that anyone else thinks. They are making a game for this very small, very male community. That's fine to me, and in the end the game really deserves more praise than it gets. It is fantastic looking, is veryimmersive and so far the developers have proven that updates will be frequent enough and great.
But, if you compare this game to EVE (another "pvp" game that is actually not a pvp game) you can see why EVE is succeeding, and how similar the two games are.
a) Both are "open PvP", but in EVE there are places you can go to get away from those annoying players.
b) EVE looks great, but gives you options for graphic quality. Even on low settings, however, the game looks good. Darkfall on low settings looks...well, it looks like Darkfall on low settings.
c) EVE has a trial, and a good one at that. While both games are accused of having a "big learning curve" (one of the biggest lies about both), EVE explains themselves and their game whileDarkfall can be clunky, with bloated controls.
So, good luck to Darkfall once again. I think the game developers are being smart in growing the game slowly and accurately. They are squarely pointing their sites on a very specific group of players (white boys, age 17-25,pvp'ers, fans of bad metal) but have been attracting players outside of that group. My friend Jay, for example, likes good music and doesn't even have a goatee! (Wait, do you?) It's nice to see a game doing what it said it would do, and I will be sure to play it some more in the future. I enjoyed it quite a bit when I played, and feel that it might actually be one of the closest games to come to a reallyimmersive experience, but I just don't feel like bothering with more annoying players.