It’s that time again for Surly to publish his new column and this time he talks about PvP not being a ‘feature’ in Darkfall. Want to know what he means? Then read on!
Darkfall is not a PvP Game. I say this not as I draw back a fist in preparation of delivering the cliché of a childish notion that Darkfall is ‘more’ than a game, ‘more’ than a PvP Game. No, Darkfall is just a game, and is not, nor will it ever be, a PvP Game because it has not implemented a PvP system. PvP is an act; it is the one constant among all multiplayer games regardless of their design goals.
Column by Surly(Darkfall Warcry Columnist)
To curtail the untoward conceptions of the sagacious few whose curious travels from the status quo have charmed their souls at the altar of Darkfall is to make clear a very simple notion. It is a simplicity, though, which does not belie an importance worth the ribaldry of a thousand drunken sailors to accent its sweet bouquet. That is to wit, PvP is not a damn feature.
It is not nearly common enough for those who’ve recently learned of Darkfall to be filled with the wondering of an infant drawing its first breath. Too often are the conceptions of known PvP Games brought aboard a ship of cynicism to the land of Agon and used to build the ramparts of tradition in a place which has none. It is my great pleasure, and indeed my duty as a gamer, to herald reality for the confused and set truth to the accidental deception of the innocently jaded minds.
Darkfall is not a PvP Game. I say this not as I draw back a fist in preparation of delivering the cliché of a childish notion that Darkfall is ‘more’ than a game, ‘more’ than a PvP Game. No, Darkfall is just a game, and is not, nor will it ever be, a PvP Game because it has not implemented a PvP system. PvP is an act; it is the one constant among all multiplayer games regardless of their design goals. It is competition, the inherent competition implied by setting two conscious minds in a controlled environment. What people speak of as PvP Games are systems of controlled competition, no more creative than the philosophical adaptation of bumper cars. Designed from the ground up to be an independently developed part of the game, a feature, PvP systems are the bane of the free formed world.
Darkfall’s overlying design concept is simple, basic. Deceptively, it is that simplicity which taunts and derides any whose concepts of it are not clear because it is a fundamental difference in not only the function of a game, but also of its purpose. So although simple, the concept is entirely new to most gamers. Even veterans of such sinews that have held the genre together for so long (Ultima Online, Shadowbane, Asheron’s Call, EVE Online, etcetera) have yet to truly see the concept reach the fruition which waters our mouths and has us enthralled with its temptation. It is the realization of a ‘sandbox’ MMO. A world where players are given a plastic shovel and bucket and let loose to build, destroy, and control whatever they wish, however they wish.
To state what a sandbox is, does little to explain the concept. Far more important to its depth is what it isnot. Oh, how the questions rendered by the inquisitive betray them their former inculcation. ‘What happens when a player takes control of all the resources in an area? What happens when a clan conquers an entire region? What happens if you sink a ship?’And yet to answer, the word will strike fear into his mind as he recalls the months of his life spent previously in the pursuit of mere items.
‘Nothing.’ The shrill chatter of repetitive memories turns his guts inside out, ‘othing happens. The will of the players, the whims of the world and the politics subjected to it are the only consequence to any action.’ ‘How can this be?’He grinds his teeth in defiance and looks to the ground to hide the swelling redness of his eyes, ‘How can it be that there are no safeguards, no prevention, no preemption?’ Broken, to his knees, he weeps.
There is no PvP ‘feature’; there is no honor point tracking, no grinding for PvP gear, no silly loot restrictions. No items of profound power or item grinds. There is no invisible hand to save you from the consequences of your actions; the retribution of angry players against you for your transgressions will be unfettered by game mechanics. No classes, no dependencies. Most importantly, there is nothing in the game that you must do to be successful. Everything is available, everything optional, and everything free. This isn’t PvP, this is choice; this is freedom.
It is perhaps the truest form of a role-playing game. A novel of endless pages with no words beyond the title, where the living hedonic reflection of one’s mind is haphazardly scrawled in the margins as hands of strangers feverishly scribble pieces of their own tattered realities on the pages. It is the one luxury of utter madness, and delivered without the consequence of delusion.