Posts Tagged ‘Darkfall’

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.


Darkfall (and Hype)

Reading Keen and Graev’s latest article is like watching a kid on a sugar-high right before he’s about to get his presents on Christmas morning (bless ‘em). Man, they are excited about Darkfall. Me, however, well I’ve been a MMO player for a long, long time and I’ve seen many games come and go. All are different, a few make it huge, some survive, but a lot of them flop and disappear. One thing that never fails, however, is the hype that always surrounds them.

The hype with Darkfall seems to have more than a passing resemblance to the hype that surrounded Vanguard. I guess that’s because they both appeal to the same type of players – the hardcore and the nostalgic. I briefly got sucked into the hype with VG and came away wondering why I ever believed any of it. Hype is one of those things – like crowd mentality – were people get absorbed with the emotions that go with it and never stop to actually address the facts. Let’s fix that.

From Keen and Graev:

  • It’s not for everyone.  If you don’t like PvP (especially open pvp), a Sandbox Style, or a skill based system then don’t comment on Darkfall – it’s not the game for you!
  • If you’re wanting the next graphical messiah and can’t stand looking at dated graphics (albeit not so bad, save for animations) then (in the words of Bartlebe) this is the game for you.
  • If you get attached to your phat loots and consider your sword a status symbol, then save yourself the grief. (There is full looting in Darkfall)
  • The game is not World of Warcraft.  It’s not Warhammer Online.  It’s not LOTRO.  Honestly, it’s not like any game currently being played by this generation.  It draws some influences from UO, Shadowbane, EVE  and some other older PvP/Sandbox/oldschool MMORPGs.  You’ve been warned.
  • If you don’t like grinding then this game is not for you.  You gain skills by using them.  If you’re going to B.M.C. about having to raise skills by using them over time as you play then this is not the game for you.  In Darkfall you can raise your skill by shooting a tree or shooting a player.  I choose to shoot players.   You have to work towards what you want in Darkfall – that gives it meaning and worth.   Again, if you see working for something as “a grind” then you’re probably not going to enjoy Darkfall.
  • If you want a Sandbox game that allows you to raise your skills by playing your way; a game that allows you to build cities and take them from enemies; become a crafter and sell your wares in a completely player driven economy; and most important if you want a game that is different in a sea of ‘the same’, then give the game a shot.

So… first off, they’re telling me that most people won’t actually even like the game – O…K. And then they’re telling me it’s got shitty graphics – well, at least they’re being honest. And then they’re telling me it’s actually just one huge grind-fest and that I probably won’t even be able to keep my hard-earned loot cause someone from a guild called ‘The Unemployed’ will have grinded even more than me and be able to kick my ass and steal my shit. Not exactly sounding very appealing.

And what the fuck is a sandbox?

sand·box (sndbks)

n.

1. A low box filled with sand for children to play in.
2. A litter box, especially for a cat.

So there you have it. Darkfall is a sandbox.