With two companies signing licensing agreements with Aventurine Studios, the original developers of Darkfall, many of our readers have wanted to see how it is the two new versions compare side-by-side. We spoke with representatives of Darkfall: New Dawn and Darkfall: Rise of Agon to find out more about each one's vision and much more.
MMORPG: Are there any limitations to what can be done with the original IP licensed from Aventurine?
New Dawn: We cannot go into details, but in general we do not have any limitations. We can do whatever we want with our version of Darkfall and have free reign over the changes we wish to make to improve the game.
Rise of Agon: We have the ability to develop the game how we see fit, but there are a few things we cannot change such as the game’s genre itself. Updates to the game engine itself, addition of new content and features, and altering things already in game all fall under the scope of what we have the capability to do.
MMORPG: With regard to the ongoing development of your version of Darkfall, what are the features that you will be keeping from the original title? How will they be altered or improved?
Rise of Agon: We plan to keep all game features that were in the original title in some capacity. We do not see any features that need to be removed outright, but alterations and enhancements will be made to many of them as needed. Our goals are to touch upon a lot of the existing content of the game to make them both more entertaining and accessible. We have the rare opportunity to look back at some of the flaws of the original title and engineer changes that will bring the game closer to the full potential we know it possesses, and we will look towards our community to help us through that process.
One of the main areas we want to focus on is one that the original title struggled with - the New Player Experience. During our early development stages, we want to focus on ensuring that new players have the accessibility to experience as many facets of the game as possible to maximize the chance they will fall in love with it. We will make sure that the power gap between a new and veteran player is at an acceptable level all the while maintaining long term character goals and progression. The power curve of skills and spells will be adjusted so that more skill effectiveness is obtained earlier on but maximum effectiveness still takes time. We will also be focusing on other areas including the simplification of the keybindings system as well as removing the need for macros.
We also plan to focus on travel in an effort to create lasting world activity. Whether by land or by sea, we want to make all ways of getting around the world of Agon more fun and engaging. We will make changes to the way that players acquire resources throughout the world as well. Many of the sought after resources will be tweaked with regionalization in mind to create a more complete and varied experience and to drive conflict over them. The village system that was in the original title will experience several changes to make them more inhabitable by players. We intend to improve mob AI and spawning mechanics to make PvE more exciting and address certain issues that the original AI mechanics had. These are just a few of the areas we want to focus on in early development.
New Dawn: We will be keeping the same feature set than before, but we are completing features that were only in their first steps of implementation with improvements and fixes.
We are focusing our initial efforts to what we consider fixing/finishing the game as it was hyped to be in 2009.
This mainly means creating a meaningful alignment system focused around racial warfare and adding to the player progression systems to allow for more playstyles to exist and reduce the perception of grind. This was where the game was lacking the most in our opinion and what we need to focus our early changes on.
Then, as times goes by, we will be adding more territory control systems, be it at a clan/alliance level, or at the racial warfare level. We will also expand on the PvE aspect with our own version of high end group content and we’ll be expanding the economy and Industry aspects of the game.
The idea is that we need all types of player to create a better virtual world so we need to make all parts of the game catch up to be on par with the PvP content.
MMORPG: Will you be adding new content or altering / deleting content that currently exists?
New Dawn: We do not plan on removing any of the existing content. We will try to iterate over it to integrate our new systems in. For instance quests will now also offer meditation points that can be used to do offline skilling.
As our team’s capacity increases and we move on from the fixing phase into the expanding phase, we’ll start adding more content in the existing world. Different types of spawn mechanics for over world content and a new style of dungeons that will be more of a timed challenge to compete with other players for increased rewards.
But this is very far off, and there is much we need to improve on the game mechanics front before going into new additions. We value systems over content, as the replayability is higher for a well designed system.
Rise of Agon: Yes, adding content will be a high priority throughout the entire development process for Rise of Agon. An MMORPG is not only supposed to provide a great foundation and gaming experience, but also expand and change over time. We will be adding in new items, along with the ingredients required for them, as well as new mob types and spawns. Existing content, such as resource and mob spawn allocation, will be evaluated so that we can determine what changes are necessary to provide the best gaming experience to our players. Increasing the variety of rideable mounts as well as sailable ships and war machines will be an area we work on as well. Areas in and around the oceans will have new life brought to them and naval combat, as well as naval activity, will become more accessible and exciting.
The changes listed above are only some of the things that will be worked on throughout the game’s initial development. As we mentioned in the previous question a lot of what we have planned early on revolves around enhancing the game features from the original title as well as adding in features that will have big impact on the way the game is played.