I didnt jump on either side of the darkfall soap opera. I ignored most of the threads concerning this game, due to not really caring to speculate. I have noticed some well written posts on this game and due to boredom with the current flock of mmo's, I figured, why not give it a try. So here is a simple mans perspective on darkfall. Please note, I am a casual player that is mainly interested in PvP with a bit of PvE on the side...
To be honest, the graphics are sub-par compared to most mmo's. I am only running 2x 3870's, but this game wouldnt stress my onboard graphics chip. The terrain looks pretty ragged, but the character models are decent.
Yes, I just said the graphics are pretty poor, yet I dont really care. I like to believe a game is not all about " look at the pretty ". If an mmo was all about "pretty", we would all be playing some square/enix mmo with summoning spells that take 3 mins a pop, while you gaze at the (insert giant anime creature) with flashy explosions and after the 3 minutes of bashing-impaling-chewing, your character takes 9 damage. Anyway... my point is, the graphics are passable. All that matters really is the fun factor.
Skill Based Games
Ive always liked the idea of a skill based game, although in my humble opinion, this is the worst and I mean the worst skill based system that I have ever seen. For some odd reason, a lot of people believed that a skill based game would alleviate all the needless grinding for levels. The grinding in this game is worse than listening to my girl friend grind her teeth at night. Who really wants to kill goblins for hours, endless hours, just to gain a couple skill points. Ive always envisioned a skill based game where you gained skills as you do the things you enjoy doing, This is not the method of Darkfall...
Skill based games should give you options. I want to be a spell caster. I do nothing but focus on spells. The game rewards you by giving you more powerful spells, happy day. Nope. There is no reason to specialize in this game. There is every reason to be a jack of all trades. This here is the worst aspect of all skill based games. You can, be a melee only character specializing in a polearm and heavy armor. You will, gimp yourself beyond belief. All I have to say, if you want to PvP, pack melee weapon and a bow or spells or your gimping yourself. This breeds cookie cutter lameness. I know, there is always going to be cookie cutter specs in mmorpgs, but the key word is specs. Darkfall doesnt breed specs. Singular would be the appropriate word...
The fun factor of this game exists on two levels. Level one is the political structure of the world. This game is basically about socialization. Make alliances, spy on people, backstab people, lead people into battle, these are the mechanics that make this game work. If you do not enjoy political drama, this game probably isnt for you.
The second level to this game is all about zerging armies. The combat tactics are very simple, stay far away and lob arrows and spells, use environmental objects to break line of sight, and when you do get into melee, spam vertical attack. I just do not see how the combat mechanics can be considered fun. For melee characters, you basically have vertical and horizontal slash. Not the most in depth melee mechanics. Spells are decently interesting, but just do not carry the game into what I would call... fun.
If your into political intrigue and zerg combat, then by all means, buy this game now.
If you do not enjoy stabbing the same goblin numerous times to gain a few skill points, If you would like a dynamic combat system, if you would like the idea of specializing and not being forced into a jack of all trades situation, if you want more than two methods of attacking in melee, then run away from this game in fear.
For a sandbox game, darkfall feels so linear, so two dimensional. I have more fun playing team fortress 2. I relate darkfall more to team fortress two than an mmo. The problem is, team fortress 2 melee gives you one less option than darkfall and both play similar in the aspect of, someones always shooting and running away from you...