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Darkfall (DFO)
Aventurine SA
MMORPG | Genre:Fantasy | Status:Cancelled  (est.rel 02/22/09)  | Pub:AudioVisual Enterprises
PVP:Yes | Distribution:Download | Retail Price:Free | Pay Type:Subscription
System Req: PC | Out of date info? Let us know!

Darkfall Interviews: Interview with Tasos Flambouras

By Dana Massey on January 26, 2006

Darkfall Interview (Page 2 of 2)

MMORPG.com:Your website states that your “crafting system is intuitive, non-repetitive, challenging, useful, fun - and profitable.” Can you explain what this means in practical terms?
Tasos Flambouras:

Consider what potentially tide-turning magical weapons are worth to a besieged clan - who stand to lose their clanstone and everything they've worked for - and you'll realise the worth of craftsmen in a war-torn setting such as Agon. Darkfall is a combat oriented game, and there will never be a shortage of recently slain players who need to have their equipment replaced. As a result, master crafters will be highly sought after, both as clan members and as trading partners.

Crafting in Darkfall involves more than just toiling at the anvil or workbench. In order to create an item, you must first procure the required raw materials, and this can be much more complicated than just strolling down to the local mine with a pickaxe over your shoulder. If you want to create magical items, for example, you'll first need to obtain special ingredients which are only dropped by different kinds of monsters. Some of these resource monsters are hard to kill, others are rare, while yet others live in dangerous and/or enemy-controlled habitats. Even the more prosaic resources, such as iron and wood, must be harvested from a limited number of resource points, which can be brought under a restricting clan's control.

The crafting system is designed this way in order to encourage conflict, cooperation and trade between players. Here are just some of the things we hope to see players engaged in, as a result of incentives inherent in Darkfall’s crafting system: 1) Clan conflict over the control of monster populations which yield valuable resource drops. 2) Stealth raids into the territories of enemy races in order to harvest rare ingredients. 3) Merchants specializing in buying and selling ingredients. 4) Players discovering and researching a new resource several months into the game. 5) Neighbors uniting against a powerful clan monopolizing a resource point. 6) Clans demanding a tax from anyone wishing to use their resource points. 7) Mercenary craftsmen offering their services to the highest bidder in a vicious clan war. 8) Flourishing black market resource trade in neutral cities such as Silvertown.

MMORPG.com:Live Events are something players often ask for, but rarely see. What do you have planned on this front, both in terms of what the players see and what you do behind the scenes to make it work?
Tasos Flambouras:

The currently planned events in Darkfall are player-driven instead of NPC-driven, and are designed to encourage competition between individuals, clans and races. There are plans for traditional live events, but our current focus is on content which we believe is better suited to a huge-scale game such as Darkfall.

Epic spawns, for example, are especially designed monster groups which only appear once, and which disappear forever when vanquished. An epic spawn might involve an ancient dragon and its host of servitors, a rampaging Ice Demon and its army, or a gathering of devil-summoning Malaut worshippers. Each such epic comes complete with a quest sequence which must be completed before the main monster can be killed, and players will race to attain the great honour which awaits those who free the land of the new threat. Most epic spawns take place in a single realm, and its related quests are only available to the members of a single race (and its allies.)

Unlike epic spawns, storyline events occur at predetermined times, and advance the game's main plot slowly towards its apocalyptic (several-years-hence) climax. A storyline event might involve hordes of shadow monsters emerging from the Watcher's tower in the central wasteland, a Celestial Dragon rampaging on Yssam, or mysterious new dungeon entrances suddenly appearing in similar locations all over Agon. They usually take place on neutral ground, and tend to involve players from all the six races.

In essence, storyline events are long and very difficult quest sequences, which unfold over a period of weeks or months. Ultimately, someone will complete the final quest and as the game moves on to its next chapter, these players will have made their mark on history.

MMORPG.com:The usual debate over skill vs. class system rages here. Why did you go for skill-based?
Tasos Flambouras:

Why allow players to take the skills they want and need as their character develops and the game evolves?

In a skill-based system, such as Darkfall's, players can create exactly the character they want to play, without limitations dictated by design choices or by the need to balance a class-based system. It’s more challenging for us as developers, but we feel it’s better for the players and for the game.

In a class based system you get a pretty much already developed character with little room to grow, whereas the skill based system allows you the freedom and the pleasure of developing your character yourself. With the number of skills in Darkfall, each character will be unique.

In Darkfall, you pick and choose exactly the skills you fancy, and if you tire of the combination, you just switch your focus to some new ones - any new ones. In a class-based system the only time you have complete freedom is right before you create your character and then you’re boxed in by your initial, often uninformed, choices.

The skill based system allows the player to adapt, as he learns more about what he needs in the game, to best fit his playing style. New players may not know which class to pick since they don’t have experience of the game, essentially forcing them to be stuck with a gimped character, or having to re-roll and forcibly retire a character that was a part of the community and had its own history. The same applies as the game evolves and new skills become important.

Allowing characters the freedom to grow and adapt allows us to add new content and new challenges without worrying about being unfair to certain groups of player characters. In Darkfall all players will be able to take advantage of the new opportunities that come along with the evolution of the game.

MMORPG.com:Conquest and empire building are heavily touted on your website. What do you have planned in terms of massive battles, siege, mounts, and other tools normally associated with this?
Tasos Flambouras:

In Darkfall clans compete over land ownership, resources, and strategic objectives. A clan needs to apply strategy, tactics and logistics as well as individual skill in order to prevail over their opponents.

The game is designed to support massive battles and these will occur when the players themselves cause them. The game itself has been designed to focus battles during conquest, meaning that players will often want to attack and defend specific locations, bringing a large number of players in the battlefield going back and forth before the final all-out assault. Darkfall features mounted combat, siege engines controlled by players, player controlled ships that may also have siege engines on them.

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