Darkfall and Schadenfreude

I’ve decided to write another article about Darkfall today because the blogging community is buzzing with articles about it and most are pretty negative about it’s lastability and long term appeal. I started to wonder – are people just suffering from a bad case of schadenfreude?

Schadenfreude is a German term which means to take pleasure in other people’s misery and I think a lot of people would actually enjoy seeing Darkfall flop. Am I one of those people? My previous article about Darkfall wasn’t exactly a glowing hype-fest, so I wasn’t sure where I stood on the subject. Time to retreat to my Meditation Chamber and do some serious thinking!

- Hours pass -

Ok, I’m back. And yes, I’ve done some serious thinking… and you know what, I think I am actually having a mild case of schadenfreude towards Darkfall. Sorry Aventurine! I feel kinda bad about this because to Aventurine’s (Darkfall’s developers) credit, they haven’t actually hyped or marketed the game a lot or trolled forums and blogs trying to promote it. They seem pretty happy just going at their own pace and getting whatever players they can. Kudos to them for being the calm centre in this emotional storm. The two big problems I do have with Darkfall are that I just absolutely loathe the type of MMO that it’s trying to resurrect and I can’t stand all of the hype some people are heaping onto it.

Darkfall is essentially trying to recreate the original style of MMO like UO and EQ from 1999. It’s a nostalgia fest and blast from the past all packed into one. And it sounds God awful. It frustrates me because I hate MMOs that reward time over skill and that’s exactly what Darkfall is doing. It’s also going by the mantra that ‘hardcore’ is ‘unaccessible’. When EQ first came out, it didn’t have a map system, a quest journal, a convenient travel system, a friendly death mechanic or any of the things that todays more accessible MMOs have… and you only need to look at the evolution of EQ to understand that these things were not done on intention but were simply there as the developers didn’t know any better. Darkfall is a game that encourages activities like grinding and, to me, it simply demonstrates that they are trying to ‘pull another Vanguard’ – recreating nostalgia by making the game less friendly to play, without consideration for playability.

The other thing that bugs me about Darkfall is the hype that surrounds it, something beneficial to Aventurine but completely uncontrolled by them. I really hate seeing comments aboutow  hgreat a game is going to be before anyone has actually had a chance to play it. It also bugs me when people start applying abstract terms to a game to somehow prove that it’s introducing amazing new game mechanics to the genre. We saw this with the whole ‘Third Generation’ maxim of Vanguard and now we’re seeing it with the term ’sandbox’ for Darkfall. I highly doubt Darkfall is going to be any less linear than any other MMO out there – removing character levels and making people grind skill points a non-linear game does not create.

So there you have it, my feelings towards Darkfall. They aren’t very noble feelings but I guess that’s what makes me human and, if anything, if you didn’t like the article at least you can now use the word ’schadenfreude’ during a conversation with your friends over dinner and sound like you know shit.

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One Comment

  1. Nobs says:

    I don’t know. I agree that I dislike hype. It breeds fanboys and those are unproductive to any game.

    As for the style of gameplay it is creating, I’m torn. I loved EQ. I played it addictively for 5 years as much as I could. No other MMO has grasped me the way it did. I think it was more the community and the amount of content that required raiding that kept me interested.

    You could raid 5 days a week, 6 hours a day, and still not have killed everything due to spawn timers. I know it was a less friendly game and I know it had alot of faults.

    The problem is the community had less ass clowns. For some reason MMO’s are just teeming with horrible people now.

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