Darkfall isn’t all that.

by on March 14, 2009

From the moment I saw the screenshots, I knew deep down Darkfall would be a dissapointment. But I’m a big believer in not judging a book by it’s cover, so I gave it a shot. That and the hype around this game seemed quite huge, there’s a queue just to purchase the game! Little did I know queueing would be a thing I’d have to get used to.

Every night when I want to log into the game, I’d have to queue for 3 – 4 hours. This is no over exaggeration, this is a serious fact. You have to queue for literally hours just to log into the server. Disgusting. This is just unacceptable, by any standards. If they are selling thousands of copies, I’m pretty sure they should be able to afford to setup an extra server, and if not, then they’re already in trouble. Demand is there! Unless it’s manufactured demand of course.

I certainly don’t hate this game. I just feel that for the price they are charge (extortion – higher than the popular WoW!) they should have delivered much better. This game feels like a Free2Play title. And if it was Free2Play, I would play. There’s no way I’m paying almost £11 per month.

Once I got in game and turned all the graphic settings right up, the game actually didn’t look that bad. If you look at something in the distance, it’s quite nice – almost a cell shaded effect. I can certainly live with the graphics.

The animations on the other hand are appalling. Amrix put it best with “It feels like your player is struggling to run”, because it really does. The timing is so off, that ‘Run’ looks like ‘Struggle’ and ‘Sprint’ looks like ‘Fast paced walk’. Nasty, but easily enough to fix.

I won’t talk about the interface too much. It’s not the worst I’ve seen, and it’s hardly the most important aspect of gameplay, but a good GUI does make a difference. I just feel they could have gained tremendously by hiring a graphical interface design team. It’s evident this project’s team was heavily biased on the developer side.

The sound effects suck, which probably explains why ‘hit sound’ is turned off by default. Haha, come on, how many games have you played where the hit sound is turned off by default? Seriously. Not only that, the ‘magic’ sound effects drove me so mad (not just the repetitiveness, but the horrible pitched sound), I played the game with the speakers all the way down. It’s that bad.

On a good side, I was really happy to see the game trying to bring back some old school MMO aspects. The persistent PvP world is nearly always good too; fighting enemies anywhere/anytime is all good. As long as the Rogue system works correctly, that is. If a player hits you a few times, he becomes ‘Rogue’, this is supposed to give you the right to fight him back/kill him. But it just doesn’t work that way. The system is either broken, or if it isn’t then the system is flawed. I’ve seen a few times when people get ambushed by randomers, then they turn around and kill the attackers only to be punished with a red name (full Rogue status), leaving them freely attackable by anyone in the entire playerworld.

The consequence of dying is too high. If you die, you drop your entire inventory. All your epic armor, epic weapons, gold, whatever you own is now theirs. Ridiculous. How is this any different from Perma-Death? I’ll be honest, at first I thought it might be a quite good idea, but it just doesn’t work. Loosing all your contents is just too high a price to pay. It brings out the selfish side of people, taking away the team spirit from the game – people become too scared of losing their items.

There is no leveling in this MMO. You do get skill levels, but not a general level. Some MMOs have made this work nicely. Maybe Darkfall’s system will work nicely – I can’t really judge this fully as I haven’t reached endgame. But from what saw, it was a lazy game style. The more you use your sword, the more ‘mastery of swordsmanship’ you achieve, this obviously means you hit for more points. So you just level up naturally as you go through the game, it’s honestly not a grind-fest, because there’s nothing to grind. The huge playerworld is pretty barren for the most part.

I do like how they created a brand new trade skill; taming. To get a mount you have to tame one (or find someone who can), you can’t just buy them in the store. This is great, as I think tradeskilling is vital for building a decent player economy.

The game just isn’t very deep at all. Although this game isn’t a cut&paste of the mainstream MMOs, it still doesn’t have a learning curve – it doesn’t bring enough to the table.

Old School MMO aspects.
Large playerworld.

Only two attacks per weapon style, with only 3/4 weapon styles.
Rubbish camera (3rd person/1st person).
3 – 4 hour queue to log into the game, every night.
Faulty PvP ‘Rogue’ (aka Soul Light) system.
Slow running animation.
Annoying magic sound effects.
Lack of motivation/excitement.

The main reasons why I won’t continue to subscribe: Overpriced, Queues, Poor PvP Rogue System (which is a game-breaker in a PvP based game).