To get a general idea of how I approach the idea of survival in Agon, I will compare it to our own earthly Mother Nature. Nothing in nature is cruel, but nothing in nature is kind either. It is the same in Agon. Life isn't easy, and you will soon realize just how vulnerable you truly are. It comes down to having the skills to survive in an unsympathetic environment versus getting angry when bad things happen. You wouldn't take it personally if a bear mauled you, right? You just have to be smarter than the bear, that's all. Even the most basic survival skills could mean the difference between life and "phat lootz" or death and a free trip back to your bind stone. As any survivalist will tell you, the best time to practice your skills is before you need them. Here I will outline some basic and advanced survival techniques that will most definitely keep your nose out of dirt, you gear shiny, and your bank full.
Chapter One: General Common Sense
- Let sleeping dogs lie (again no offense to any mahirim intended). In other words, if someone is minding their own business, you do the same (unless of course you've spotted an opportunity for profit).
- Don't look rich or "cool" unless you can back up that status with allies, a fortified city, and a backup supply horded in your bank. Even then, you can still lose it all instantly.
- Treat every encounter as if you are meeting in a dark ally. The minute you let your defenses down is when death is sure (even in town folks!)
- Be wary of groups, especially mounted groups. You can bet they don't want to be your friend. They want your arse!
- Hubris and greed will always be rewarded with loss and death. For example, the urge to kill "just one more" troll because you wanted "just one more" reagent will most definitely ensure you will die, either at the hand of a PK squad, the dude you didn't see in the shadows, or the five trolls that just spawned on top of you. In other words, bank often!
- Always leave yourself enough money in the bank to fully re-equip yourself with "good gear" at least once, and keep a stockpile of "okay" gear for day-to-day excursions. Save the awesome stuff for groups, sieges, and that rainy day when you are feeling your most masochistic.
- Crafters: expect to die, even in safe towns. When crafting turn your character around with your back to to crafting station. This way you can see when someone approaches. Never carry all of a raw material you possess, but only what you need or can handle. It will be painfully obvious when you are walking at the speed grass grows that you are a juicy target. If you are doing a large commission, ask your clan mates to guard you. (If you ask your clients to guard you, there is a good chance they will just gang up on you and take the finish product without payment.)
- Sell/trade in town at your own risk. Be aware who is around you when finalizing a transaction. You could be ganged up on (as in the above example) with no hope of mercy.
- This may get me in trouble but: if you are female in real life, do not correct everyone's assumption that you are male. Getting excess attention in a PvP game is not a good thing as it might be in other games.
- If you are intent on being "red" (outlaw status) realize that no one will ever trust you to do business, you will be a target of everyone, and no matter how badass you feel, life will be much harder for you. On the other hand, if you want to get rid of that nasty red name you've earned, simply head to a chaos stone and wait for opposite faction characters to pop. You can probably clear up a full -100 status in a day or two.
- Join a clan with your play style in mind. For example, there are pirate clans, zerg clans, tactical clans, crafting clans, mercenary clans, hardcore clans, casual clans, and (rarely in a PvP game) family clans. When being interviewed for membership, always as with whom they are allied and who are their enemies. That mercenary clan may sound awesome, but if they have no allies and are enemies of Ginormous Alliance of Pwnage you may want to reconsider.
- People will attempt to jump in front of you during battle to turn you "grey," allowing them to kill you with no alignment penalty. Expect this to be more prevalent in town when innocent macroers... er I mean people trying to skill up... are shooting spells or arrows. Be aware in town, as you would be in the wilderness, of where you are aiming that fireball of doom.
- Keep your ears open. Sound in Darkfall is very important. It may even save your life (or provide for some excellent profit).
- Do not "rez" anyone that you do not know. It won't get you friends. It will only increase the number of your possible enemies.
- If you own a mount, never ever summon it in a city or near a group of people. It will get stolen.
- Learn where large or hostile clan's cities are located so as to avoid them during your travels.
- The world of Agon is massive. If you plan to travel an extensive distance, make sure to know something about your route and bind at chaos stones along the way.
- AFKing is dangerous. Even a minute or two can cost you everything. If possible plan your evening ahead of time so as to avoid unnecessary AFKs. (Keep the beer and cheese puffs close at hand, and use the restroom when in town!)
- Be careful when entering someone else's clan city. Clan leadership knows instantly (via game mechanics) when someone enters their realm. Some clan don't ask questions, they simply annihilate anyone without their tag. You may be sightseeing, but they will take it as a hostile scout snooping around, and you'll be dead before you can extend that olive branch of peace.
Chapter Two: Preparation
- Bank often. Bank often. Bank often.
- Never walk outside the guarded areas with more than you can afford to lose. Leave everything else in the bank.
- Keep your extra reagents in the bank. Only take out to the wilds what you will use.
- Know your server's "prime time" (11am EST - 5pm EST for EU ; 5pm EST - 12am EST for NA) and be prepared.
- Use terrain to your advantage for: tracking, hiding, running away, etc.
- Learn the "hot-spots" for PKing, such as high traffic paths, newbie mob camps, etc.
- Food and potions can be your saving grace. Save them for emergencies only, but if you plan to solo they are a must as well. Getting below half health or stamina almost ensures death.
- Every time you leave town, keep in mind the DF Golden Rule.
Chapter Three: Combat Situations
- Know when it is time to run, and know how to spot an opportunity for profit. This cannot be taught, unfortunately.
- The shinier the gear, the bigger a target you become. If you are planning to do recon, don't wear that pretty new plate mail. Instead opt for studded or padded gear. Also, be aware that your weapons let of a faint glint as well. The larger the weapon, the more of a target you are.
- The rest skill is your friend. Use it often.
- It is never 4 against 4. It's 4 against 1, 4 against 1, and 4 against 1. Learn how to organize your squads to handle these tactics.
- Running is a skill in itself. Of course you gain skill points, but what I mean is don't simply run in a straight line when being pursued. Knowing the tricks of evasion is important. Strafing is not always the best bet either. A few quick movements of the mouse (turn off mouse smoothing) can ensure that you avoid any and all projectiles aimed at you. Try to keep at least half stamina at all times, even when harvesting, because you can bet your attacker's stamina is probably at full when he attacks you. You'll need ample stamina to outrun him. When your pursuer is no longer in your field of view, keep going just a bit further. Run directly left or right or even up at tree/rock, which will hopefully fool your pursuer into thinking you have kept going straight. Once you are sure they have taken the bait, run parallel to your original path or to a safe area.
- Surviving when beset by a mounted attacker can be tricky. Here is a tip: as they lean to one side for a swing, dart to the opposite side by jumping or circling behind them. It is not advisable to just run away, because they will catch up and use mounted frontal attack to gore you. Ouch! In other words, keep to one side of a mount at all times due to the harsh frontal and behind mount attacks. Keep your weapons swinging as well. You may have a chance to kill the mount if you evade correctly!
- Don't let your health fall below half when soloing alone, ever! This makes you an easy target for any passersby. You will most certainly be killed if you allow yourself to fall to 25% or less.
- When someone approaches you in the wilderness, be friendly initially. If at all possible open a dialogue with them. People are much less likely to kill you if they can put a human personality with the avatar onscreen. If you are sharing a mob camp, set up some ground rules. If you PK someone and they come back for revenge, be jovial. Congratulate them on your deserved demise. You might even get an ally out of it. You'd be surprised!
- If death is certain and you will lose something of value, it is best to commit suicide by jumping off a cliff or dying in the midst of a fast-moving stream. This way, your enemy cannot loot your gear. If you can't have your gear, neither should he! Going link dead is not a good method for saving your loot because your character stays in game after you disconnect long enough to be killed and looted. There is also a good chance the PKer will simply camp you if he thinks you have something of value. (Note: there are times you will be moved back to your bind stone when you relog, but I wouldn't count on it.)
- There is character collision in Darkfall, therefore be mindful of getting boxed in by three or four players. On the flipside, always pin mobs/players against walls or other players for easy murdering.
- Everyone has PKing tactics, and I will not share any here (mwhahaha). But if you plan to head out with your squad of death-dealers, you better be well-geared, mounted if possible, and ready to face anything. Never underestimate your victims. You could be full of loot and laughing maniacally one minute, then swarmed by little-newbie-harvester-you-killed-an-hour-ago's clan and alliance mates the next. And obviously, bank often.
Simply remember the golden rule: "Treat others as you would expect them to treat you," and just know that you will be maimed, mutilated, murdered, and profited from at every turn. Fun right!? But now you are asking, "Why the heck would I play such a dangerous and stressful game!?" The answer is simple, my friend: freedom. Darkfall Online is a sandbox game, which means censorship and limitations are nonexistent. You can be, do, and say just about anything you want. Yes, succeeding in life as an Agonian may take an immense amount of time and effort--much more so than any other MMO--but the sense of accomplishment you get from simply surviving in this environment is amazing. I hope this guide has left you with an understanding of what it means to live in a hostile world such as Darkfall, and with this knowledge you can now enjoy it for all it's worth.