Darkfall Online, an MMO developed by Aventurine, launched their North American server on July 12th 2009. The second time around, Aventurine has really pulled it together. Their launch of the shard named NA-1 went off perfectly and without any tedious downtimes, and no wait to buy or play like with the EU launch. Overall I have had an extremely good play experience on NA-1 this last week. As a member of an established gaming community, "The Exodus Syndicate" I have been part of several server firsts. Including the first guild created, first city claimed, first village captured, first keep created, to name a few. I am going to give a quick breakdown of the first 24hrs of the game, from my perspective and share a few of my experiences on this new NA server.
The first few minutes after launch where chaotic, everyone was logging and grouping from across the world. The Exodus Syndicate has developed a plan and practiced on EU-1 for weeks to establish a guild and create a city in under two hours from scratch. With weeks of practice we finally had our chance to take what we had learned and put it to work. But first we had to wait for the servers to go live.
The wait for the servers to go live was filled with wonder. Would it be 12am? Would it be noon? No one knew, so we made a system of sending texts to every member of the community who signed up for alerts. Within 15 minutes of the servers going live, at about 3pm EDT. time July 12th over 75% of "The Exodus Syndicate" was online and logging in. All players rolled one of three classes: Alfar, Mirdian, Orc. We chose these classes based on proximity to the spawn locations we intended to farm. All members played these classes for first two hours of game, then re-rerolled to desired class after gold for guild and city creation was collected.
As soon as groups where formed in the starting cities players ran to the chosen farm locations, and zerged high end NPCs for loot. A break was quickly caught when one of the first mobs farmed dropped a rare Veilron key. This key allowed The Exodus Syndicate to pull way ahead on clan creation. It was taken to a dungeon by a backup group and turned in for gold needed to create a clan. Once the clan was created players from all three farming locations could deposit money in the universal clan bank. Everything was going too smoothly, so smoothly in fact, that we thought at any moment our luck would change. Just after the clan was created however we realized we had a good lead on the rest of the server. Thirty minutes from server up, The Exodus Syndicate was the first guild on NA-1.
However all of us where on edge knowing that at any moment our luck could change; someone could get killed turning in gold, or we could lose our farm spot to a large group. Worries however where quickly defeated, when The Exodus Syndicate got another Veilron key. One hour into NA-1 we were already 70% done with farming for our city when the second guild was created on the server. Constantly aware at any moment things could change, we pushed on until finally one hour and 15 minutes into NA-1 launch the Exodus syndicate become the first guild to claim a city, beating the nearest competition by over an hour.
With the rush for the first guild and city created, players rolled their respective races and ran to our player city, Erinthal, our first choice city of over 100 in the game, located in the elf area of the map; after completing their respective starter quests for basic armor and harvesting tools. Once players started arriving, gear that was farmed while the Mirdain players waited was handed out. Then the rush to build the first structure in the city was on, the bank. It went relatively quickly taking a little over an hour to complete.
Several players started spreading out at this point. We broke into teams: harvesting, crafting, and gold farming. It was starting to get late, and many players had already been up for over 24 hours waiting for servers to go live. But we pressed on. Several harvesters started getting ganked by various clans bitter at not being able to claim the city of Erinthal, but despite losses to PvP we still were able to farm up enough resources at last to put up our merchant. By this point however, most players had passed out. It was six in the morning when the first players went afk at the top of our new mountain top city. Our bloodwall was the final contribution of players too tired to stay awake. Those who had fallen off earlier awakened to a few hours of un-interrupted skill ups.
The first twenty four hours saw the creation of several more structures in the city, and several s small scale fights from wandering bands of homeless guilds looking for a city to claim. Every goal was accomplished on day one, and then some. Our goal of two hours farming was not only met but exceeded with over 45 members contributing in the vital first 24hrs.
During this time, the game was so smooth that players who had been on EU-1 launch where in complete shock. Several comments in public and race chats about how perfect the launch of Darkfall was were flamed by players explaining that Darkfall launched 4 months ago in EU. Most players, however, in those chat channels had never played EU-1 server, and actually thought July 12th was the first day of the game's launch. This lead to me to an all too obvious observation: The vast majority of players in Darkfall online playing on the NA-1 server have never played the game before. Watching the chat channels was amusing, with equal amounts QQ, and Insta fan-boys flaming them out of the channel.
Overall my personal experience day one of NA-1 was very positive. The game ran smoothly, and my ping was amazing compared to EU-1 server. With a 60 ping I was in complete awe of how quickly my character responded. I am glad I didn't miss the day one festivities. It was truly one of the best "launches" I have ever seen, but to be fair I am sure most games if they took an extra four months would be just as flawless.