Over the past few months we’ve brought you an array of coverage on Aventurine's reinvention of its flagship MMO Darkfall. After the title being pushed back for release several months, Darkfall: Unholy Wars is officially open to all. I’ve already spent just under a week with the game and over the next few weeks, I’m going to be providing you with a weekly “Review-In-Progress”. Each week, I’ll be detailing something new, hopefully uncovering the good and the bad on my travels through the world of Agon. With that said, let’s break down my first few days in Darkfall: Unholy Wars.
Let’s start with the part that has been on my mind the most. Launch day. The game was scheduled to launch on 16th April. Indeed it did launch, a few setbacks were noted by Aventurine and communication was good between them and us: the community. Darkfall launched a few hours behind its original schedule, but what I was met with was persistent performance issues, crashes, incredibly slow download speeds and server closures. With that said, it wasn’t a good launch. I don’t think I’ve seen an MMO which has had a worse one, but when I was finally able to spend a good few hours with the game, I was pleasantly surprised.
Admittedly, it was incredibly daunting jumping into an MMO billed as a hardcore PvP sandbox. With a sandbox MMO, what you choose to do is entirely up to you. The feat system in Darkfall allowed for some short term goals but never gave any strong direction. So I set myself a few goals, gather materials to craft a set of armour and weapons, explore much as of the world as possible, and venture out into the non-safe zones.
Exploring the world was my main goal, and still is. There’s something about a world which is bound by no loading screens, or instances, that excites the nomad in me. So far from what I’ve seen, Darkfall is brilliantly designed and crafted. Areas ranging from scorched forests, lush fields to smouldering volcanoes are seamlessly connected. Although I’m only playing through the game on medium graphics (changing the video settings results in a crash), exploring the world is one of the great things about Darkfall.
Crafting is a huge focus on the game, and so far I’ve dedicated a large portion of my time in the game to this. At the moment harvesting resources in Darkfall is a huge issue. Metal veins, trees and herb bushes can all be harvested to the point of depletion. These resources “respawn” every three hours and in most cases, all in the safe zones are constantly depleted. Venturing out into the non-safe zones, at this stage, is something everyone has advised me to do, if I want to harvest ores and the like. It’s incredibly unnerving, but also very exciting.
I’ve been rushed by multiple players and I’ve lost all my gear, all this in the game's first launch week. Darkfall: Unholy Wars, is brilliantly unpredictable. The prowess system is also a nicely designed system, and has been constantly keeping me managing my skills. Prowess is gained by the completion of feats; this is then spent within skills such as harvesting, base attacks and class skills.
I’ve come across a few other issues in the game that will hopefully be implemented or fixed in the weeks to come. The chat UI cannot be resized in any way, and this is incredibly annoying as looking at the combat log is just as important as looking in clan or global chat. You can click the relevant window and it will make it bigger, but it will make every other chat window much smaller. Other annoyances such as the ever-lingering performance issues have been refined further, with Aventurine saying this is their main priority at the moment.
It’s been a daunting and great week in such a open, hardcore MMO. I’ve experienced a lot more than I expected to in any launch week. Darkfall: Unholy Wars’ unpredictability is unprecedented, keeping me on the edge of my toes more often than not. Over the next few weeks I’ll hopefully uncover some more of the good and the bad. For now, let us know what your thoughts on Darkfall: Unholy Wars are, and what experiences you have had in-game!
George Dimmock / George Dimmock is a Freelance Gaming Journalist and has been writing for MMORPG.com since 2012. Lover of all things gaming, George has been playing MMOs since 2005 and has been hooked since. You can also find him lurking on Twitter, @G_Dimmock
Take a look at more of our Darkfall: Unholy Wars coverage below: