Cool Aspects of Darkfall – Part III


Will Darkfall go Carebear like the rest?

-Claus – “The term ‘non-consensual PvP’ bugs me because it makes the players sound restricted and powerless to react, like they’re trapped in a world where they’re forced to do something they don’t want to do. If you’re playing Darkfall, then you’ve already consented to not accepting invisible developer-forced barriers to your interaction with other players. You’ve also consented to taking full responsibility for your actions. You are held accountable for what you do by the game’s alignment system, and by the other players.

There are no safe zones in Darkfall, no PK switches, no spin-off PvP-servers. Darkfall by design allows for full and unrestricted PvP activity.”

This is a huge bonus in Darkfall’s favor. One of the reasons UO was so great is that there was always that risk that you could get jumped, killed, and looted at anytime, anyplace. An online world only becomes truly immersive in an environment where the designers do not try to influence the outcome of various scenarios. Most PVP’ers I know will migrate to a game with a more open model, even if the game is inferior from a mechanics, economy, or graphics standpoint simply because of such interference.


-Claus – “We are big fans of statistics, and we are tracking just about everything of relevance in Darkfall. There is a personal stat section in every player’s in-game journal which tracks kills, deaths, kill/death ratio, a list of everyone and everything that’s killed you and you have killed, average kills by time spent in the game, number of assisted kills you have, longest survival streak, longest kill streak, there are really too many statistics available to mention. These statistical figures will not be limited to tracking just the combat activities.

Darkfall’s in-game clan pages will list these statistics as well, both for individual members and for the clan collectively. The clan pages can also be accessed through your web browser if you are not currently in the game.”

Now this is what its all about. One of the biggest draws of First Person Shooters is the ability to get real-time information on who is pwning who. There is none of this smack talking without backing it up- skill and ability is there to see plain as day. In every PVP oriented game I have played where such a system did not exist, the players were always clamoring for one.

Starting Out

-Claus – “A clan operating solely out of a capital city will have limited access to resources, limited access to siege equipment, no ownership of land, and will have to follow the city rules, but it’s definitely possible to operate out of a racial capital. It’s a good way for a clan to get started until it gets on its own two feet.”

This is strategically important to know, as all conquest oriented guilds are going to want to get on the ground running as fast as possible, and knowing how the first moves will start is critical to success.

Damn my ping rate suxxors!

-Claus – “Darkfall isn’t as fast paced as a first person shooter, and so it’s a lot less ping dependent. Our prediction technology allows us to compensate and even things up to a certain extent. We have several other ways of balancing connection speed, to make it as fair as possible, however we won’t be performing any miracles. If you’re trying to compete with a terrible connection, you will be at a disadvantage.”

For anyone who has played first person shooters, you know that ping-time is absolutley critical. If you are over 100ms to the server you are often at a sever disadvantage, and many FPS players I know will move to a server where their ping is below 100ms just so they have that fighting edge. It will be exciting to see how this is balanced out in Darkfall, and a good thing that the developers are looking at this considering Darkfall will be similar in gameplay to a FPS albeit a bit slower.

Guards in Shadowbane are friggin useless

-Claus -“There are several different NPC guard types in Darkfall and they vary among other things in skills, skill level, equipment, alignment, race, and of course in cost. The more skilled and better equipped guards will pose a threat even to skilled players.

Our AI programmer is dedicated to making the Darkfall guards as intelligent as they need to be to be able to deal with the players without resorting to making them too powerful.”

Many of the major cities in Shadowbane have upwards of 200-300 guards. You might as well have a peglegged hobo and a parakeet guarding your city. Guards can be bugged and forced to kill each other right before major seige usually during whats known as “city prep” making them a non-factor. In addition, some of the templates being developed make it possible for a single character or group of a few capable of going into a city and destroying the entire city guard. No invading army, no tactical plans on how to take them down, just pure massacre. At an upkeep cost in the tens of millions of gold per week, this is a pretty lame trade-off. Players shouldnt have to baby-sit a city 24 hours a day because guards are useless and their months long investment in a city could be gone overnight. Looks like they are addressing this issue well.

Phat Lootzors

-Claus – “We have no such thing as “looting rights” in Darkfall. If a character dies anyone can loot him, friend or foe. If you loot someone without their consent depending on the situation, you could take an alignment hit and you also could become a target for a short time.”

Another great idea borrowed from UO. One thing that makes a game more realistic is that if theres a dead body, its stuff is not going to be “magically protected” or any other such non-sense. As voiced by the GM of a long-experieced guild, if you take the incentive of loot away in PVP all you do is reduce the types of PVP that players are motivated to engage in, creating boundries and limiting the gameplay. This is one of their smartest moves.

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