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Reflections on MMO's

This is just a minor reflection on MMO's in general

Author: Ciano

Surving Darkfall

Posted by Ciano Tuesday January 13 2009 at 2:06PM
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This BLOG is going to center around Darkfall and how to survive it's world. Most of you will not have played a game such as Darkfall and will be surprised when you end up with your head on a stick in the middle of an orc Town. Darkfall is not going to be your normal world. There isn't any real safety out of town and you should be extremely careful who you trust. Based on my previous experiance in games such as Ultima Online, Shadowbane, Age of Conan, and other games with survivalist aspects in pvp, I'll lay down a few suggestions.



I say this as a rule because in a world where survival is prime, people will be a bit more unscrupulous in their dealings with each other. Consider trust a commodity not to be given away lightly. Once you give somone your trust they can do anything to you. Usually anything amounts to you dieing and them running off with your stuff. The orders of precedence of trust should go like this in a survival game. Yourself, your close freinds, your guild, your city, your race, other races. Essentially in a survival setting like DarkFall you would be wise not to trust much past your guild.


While traveling the work of Darkfall you should never go out alone if you can avoid it. Death can lurk around every corner and there is no off switch for pvp. By walking softly you should try to avoid main roads and open area. Look for cover whenever possible and try to make sure that you are truly alone if you decide to wander on your own. Always be wary of a strange player especially if you are in combat with an NPC or out gathering resources. By carrying a big stick I mean that you should always be prepared for combat. If you are not a combat oriented individual your big stick should be lots of friends, either NPC guards or fellow players who are willing to whatch your back. If you have niether of the above then you should carry the best gear you can and always be outfitted for a fight. HP healing items should never be far from your reach and if there is some sort of magical escape or teleportation item, you probably want one of those as well.


Darkfall is essentially a game for the socially minded. Players who like to play it alone all the time will quickly find themselves spitted on the end of a pike in front of somone's city gates. It is highly reccomended that you either join a guild or at least take up residence in a player city that doesn't mind you being there. You will find that people in a survivalist setting will not be so quick to refrain from devious actions when they outnumber thier helpless pray. Common psychological issues arise from the MOB "MOB as in large gather of dim witted people not as in NPC create" mentality is that people will very quickly turn violent they feel safety an anonymity in numbers. The only thing to prevent meeting an untimely demise is to have a group of friends that could persuade them the effort and loss of life isn't worth it or to rely on the good graces of fellow man and hope that everyone is essentially good inside. Persnally I would rather rely on force of arms to keep people on the straight and narrow.


Veterans of sandbox MMO gaming will quickly find that there are those who will enjoy subjecting others to thier will. Players who enjoy tormenting others and killing them to relieve stress or what have you. Unfortunately in an MMO enviroment such as this Evil will become the norm. Very seldomly does a gang of players build that can enforce standards of decency and keep the evil players at bay. In fact, normally evil players outnumber the goody players by a margin of 2 to 1 in sandbox games. However, it's not essentially about being good or evil. Essentially it's about being one of the guys or being an outsider. In a game like Darkfall, everyone is an outsider for a while. If you are an outsider you are essentially the an infidel and you will be very quickly killed. It's nothing personal. The only way to survive is to humble yourself before your enemies and join them until such time as you can destroy them from the inside, join them entirely, or leave the area and come back with an army later on. The only way to force decency on people is to ensure that you have enough weapons and armor to make them think twice about thier actions.


Being a non combat character is entirely possible in a world such as Darkfall. Indeed, in a world where everything is made by players, this puts a particular value on somone who makes items. It would be very easy to find a group of players that will shelter you and protect you while you slave away at the forges. It is merely a trade off of skills for protection. You will find that the better gear your can provide a group of people, the more they will be willing to ensure your safety. If you find yourself constantly getting killed while out gathering resources, ask for an escort and offer to keep a small guild outfitted. You will probably find that they will protect you and offer you a spot in their city if they have one.


If you didn't play Ultima Online you wouldn't understand the above statement. One other survival trait that would be valuable in Darkfall is to ensure that you carry the absolute minimum needed on you at all times. In game there will be both housing and banks of some sort. It is essential that you throw anything that is not immediately useful in to some kind of secure storage. Part of the reason people get upset over open looting is because they are pack rats and feel they need to carry everything they own on thier person. Player killers love to see that type of people and enjoy taking all thier belongings. I'm sorry to be insulting but those people are complete idiots. During the 13th century the Knight's Templar understood the need for a banking system and made it much less important to carry large sums of gold when you travel. I do not believe that 13th century peons are smarter than 21st century human beings so I would reccomend that you do the same and store everything you don't need in a bank. It will significantly lower death stress and it will ensure an easy way back on your feet when you die.


Please be aware that in the world of Darkfall you can only claim to own what you can keep with force of arms. Going back to rules from above you will notice that trust is a commoity not to be given out just because somone is the same race as you. Claiming a piece of land only works if you can protect it. You WILL have to protect it from bandits from your own race as much as other races. Additionally, placing a city down does not guarentee ownership of land either. Your city is not worth a hoot if you do not have the manpower to maintain control of the land around it. You will quickly find that your city is deserted 3/4 of the time because bandits and murders haunt the approaches to your land. If you wish to have a thriving successful territory for your guild or band of friends then you must follow these simply rules.

1. Hire NPC guards to fortify and defend your buildings

2. Make alliances or agreements with other guilds to help secure your territory.

3. Make regular patrols around your territory to ensure the survival of your crafters and traders while they are out conducting their business. Additionally you must protect the travelers that will apporach your city to buy items while they are out adventuring. If you can not ensure the safety of business, your crafters can not earn money, you can not pay your NPC guards or make equipment, you can not defend your holdings. You will quickly find yourself out on your bum watching your city being pillaged from the afterlife.



We all understand the frustration that a person feels when somone comes along and metaphorically kicks over your sand castle. It's annoying to see your hard work go down the drain in 3.5 seconds. The one thing you have to realize in a sand box game is that it's just as easy to rebuild as it is to lose. It's far more satisfying to learn from your mistakes and come back bigger and stronger than it is to quit the game and move to somthing where loss doesn't matter. We all have jobs and social lives. We all can't afford to spend 10 hours a day playing a game. You don't need to spend 10 hours a day playing to have fun. Exacting revenge on your enemies is a matter of preparation over time. If you can only play 2 hours a day then you need to prepare for a week before making your move instead of spending 10 hours a day for 2 days making your move. We as players need to step back and be patient when playing these games. I can't tell you the number of time I have played a game and gotten my butt stomped by a particular player only to find him and maybe or week or so later and catch him with his pants down. It happens, revenge is sweet but you MUST have patience. I think we are gamer's are stuck in a loop of instant gratification that is causing us to not enjoy the challenges MMO's present. A perfect example is EVE Online. I believe there is a story where a guild called the Guiding Hand Social Club or some such nonsense spend over a year penetrating an enemy guild. When the time to strike arrived, they decimated that guild's fleet, stole quit a bit of thier gear, and destroyed thier guild's Titan in a massive show of ingenuity and force. Preperation over time will beat the grind monky mentality any day. Superior planning is all it takes.





These are simply some suggestions based on my experiance in sandbox MMO's. The best thing to do is find a group of players and have fun. I have simply warned you that in a game where anything can happen, usually death is the number one cause of player frustration. Treat your trust like a valuable commity and treat everything like a survival situation. If you do that, you will most likely come out on top or dead even most of the time.


Good luck