Saturday, October 30, 2010

Offline Skilling System

Yesterday, Tasos posted another of those beloved Activity Report and that one contained a very important new. Av is planning to implement an Offline Skilling System to "curbing macroing, giving newer players a better chance to close the gap, and to cut down on some of the tedious repetitive tasks that exist in the game". There already are several threads in forums about this key subject. Most of the people think it's a good adition to the game but some others fear it will empty the world because everyone would like to do offline skilling.
First of all, we still don't know how are they gonna implement this, we only know they'll "start with a small amount of skills and gradually expand it, and obviously many skills won't be included" in the beginning. Knowing how Av works, initially, the offline gain will be very little and only on several skills hard to level like melee and maybe buffs.
This seems like a very good idea and I surely hope it works but as with everything else, we'll have to wait, see and then, rant on forums.

Friday, October 29, 2010

We all like to be patched...

Today, Aventurine has reward our continous pasion with yet another patch. This one was kinda little with only fixing a bug about treasure maps (I haven't found one yet :-o); more upgrades to certain zones (Scaranibben and Thorsland are the only ones I recognize) and the inevitable Halloween theme.
Apparently, besides some Halloween weapons, now some mobs appear in player cities and we have evidence to prove it! This is a cool addition and I hope they keep it after Halloween or tweak it a bit so it can work, not only for a month, but forever. This patch has also ninja-added a new Hellfreeze loading screen. Maybe it has increased the treasure map drop rate. One can only hope. Get ingame to see the changes!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Trade Routes

Yesterday, five clanmates and me did the Fangwall Trade Route. Only Trung had done it before but it was a long time ago, so we decided to do it to check it out for ourselves. We spent 4k gold each, a total of 24k gold, and started riding with our runners towards Nekaria in the other side of Agon. It was a quiet journey, we only encountered a lonely player and were zapped once by a wilderness bank tower. When we arrived at Nekaria we were given 7k, so we got a 3k reward for a full hour riding! Bad, very bad, terribad.
Yes, ok, if you do the Trade Route several times, you have an increased chance to get some special object but come on, it's hard to be motivated to do it several times if you're only getting 3k gold. So, how can Aventurine improve the Trade Routes?
1- Increase the reward: this on is a no-brainer. Nearly nobody does the Trade Route because there's a lot of stuff you can do in one hour that will grant more money and be less risky than the Trade Route. It doesn't need a very big increase, just something to make it worth while. I'll probably would add more special rewards on top of the gold; some of the objects that only drop from Chaos Chests could be given randomly as a reward in the Trade Routes.
2- Instead of saying "so hastely", the NPC at the end point should tell you the exact time that took you to do the Route and that time should be recorded so you can try to break your own records. This is just a small thing but we all know how we like to improve our performance.
3- Make riding something funny and tactical. Mounts should have an stamina bar and the ability to high stamina consuming sprints. Also, the acceleration time is way too fast now and the turning speed should be variable depending on the mount speed. I've been playing Warband and Darkfall could take some sutff from that very good game, how to handle mount riding it's one of them.

The first point will encourage more players to do the Trade Routes and the other would make them very funny to do. I just hope Aventurine has not forget about them because leaving them as they are now is condemning them to oblivion.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


From time to time, a new thread appears on the forum about this subject. Right now, you can find those about it. I think having bunnyhoping in Darkfall is a good thing because it increases the game's possibilities but I agree with those that say : "It's too easy, everybody just jumps away." Because they really do, in Frostbourne we have many lonely or small group raiders that are really hard to catch because of bunnyhoping. It has several problems, one of them is the amount of spells that you can use to bunnyhop. There's simply too many. If they were limited so no player can have them all, it would be an start. Bunnyhoping wouldn't be so useful and the player should think when to use it. The "Death from falling damage issue" is also very important here, if it were implemented players could still bunnyhop at any time but they could not do it when they are very low on health. Aventurine has said they don't want to add this precise cause of death in Darkfall so maybe, they can adjust it somehow so death from falling only applies when bunnyhoping. Within the current system, there could be a global cooldown between them but maybe it already exists (I only have shrapnel for the moment), in that case it's not enough.
The bunnyhop thing and those climbing spells are a good thing, I really think so. The problem with them is the lack of a skill, not spell, to do something similar; the amount of spells that let you do it and the fact that every player can have all of them. Having some kind of physics is great, overuse it's not.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Player Skill

Yesterday I started a thread called "How important is player skill?" with a poll included. Everybody knows that in Darkfall, player skill is an important factor in any outcome; at least, more important than many other games. Despite that, my feeling is that player skill is not important enough. The poll I did is far from perfect but its results are interesting anyway. Right now, 130 players have already voted in the poll and 43.85% thinks "Player Skill is quite important but not like gear or character skill" The second place goes for " Player Skill is the most important factor in Darkfall" with 36.92%. Clearly, as already said, we players know Darkfall is a game where player skill really matters but apparently, there's more people whou would like it to matter even more than those who think that it's important enough as it is.
I guess that most of the people who voted for the second option are players who have been playing Darkfall for some time and are still appalled by the amount of grinding they still have ahead before reaching the vet status. Yep, in a MMORPG, a complex system, most variables affect several things and the grind is a very important element in this discussion. The other two factors in play here, are Gear and Character Skill and both of them are quite grindy. The gear grind is not really bad because there aren't many parts in it, you only need to grind for armour and weapons but the Character Skill grind, what we call The Grind with caps, is just too long.
One of the best solutions in my opinion is to use the health gain system in every skill and stat in the game. Any Skill or Stat now increase faster at lower levels and its bonus or effect per point decreases at high levels. What if Darkfall combat involved the same amount of player skill than Battlefield 2? That would be great.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A nice list of features for My Perfect Darkfall

Today I've discovered a new MMORPG that's still in beta phase. This game, Xsyon, includes many features I'd like to see in My Perfect Darkfall. I'm gonna comment on some of the best with some changes to make them work with Darkfall:

Players rely heavily on natural and found resources: lumber from trees, leather from animals, grass, scrap materials and rare objects of the lost modern civilization.

-Constantly changing resources can be renewed or depleted.
-Availability dependent on season and weather conditions.
-Resources can be claimed by clans.
-A large variety of resources with individual properties. Different woods, cloths and metals have properties that affect crafted items.

Players start the game with a selected set of skills. They gain new skills by learning from other players or by uncovering knowledge in books from the past.

-Skills increase with use.
-Skills decrease over time if not used.
-Skills are affected by many external factors.
-Many actions are dependant on several skills.


-No set creature spawns or re-spawns. Animals multiply based on the current creature population.
-Creatures gain experience and power, potentially evolving into legendary beings.
-Creatures can overrun areas or be depleted.
-Creatures gravitate towards different areas based on mood and weather.
-Creatures can be tamed and ridden.
-Creatures possess realistic loot. If you see armor or a weapon on a creature you can take it. Animals can be carved up for raw materials.
-Creatures are a primary resource for crafters.
There are more features than that and I recommend taking a look at it even if it's only to dream a bit. Apparently, many of those features are not in the beta yet but the idea looks very cool.
I think Darkfall 2010 will polish everything already in-game and besides some more content, it will start to add more tools to improve Darkfall's sandbox. After Darkfall 2010 I hope Aventurine will start working towards making Agon a nice emulation of a realistic fantasy world, if you know what I mean. If Darkfall retains it's arcade/action feeling about combat and improves the rest so Agon feels like a true world, it'll become king of MMORPG.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

It's good to be back

Yesterday I made my way back into Frostbourne. Unfortunately, my friend Anthas has RL work to do and has been unable to log in since a week or so and I'm afraid he'w trial period will be over before can he enjoy what this game has to offer. I can only hope he can try it again sometime.
In Frostbourne everything is as usual and I'm really sorry that I miss a couple of very nice events. Clan events are always awesome and very funny. Some days ago, before I left for Long March, we did a FunHulk race and hearing everybody on vent screaming "That damn Frostwalker is tearing my FunHulk apart!" was just hilarious. One of the events I missed involved the new UseFlags in a Capture The Flag game Mordin organized. I'm always thinking about preparing some events but somehow I end up delaying it ad infinitum. I'll try to change that because playing WITH people is the best way to play. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Damn stupid players...

In Darkfall Official Forum, we see every day posts from angry players who name call or even insult the Devs because Runners have too low health, portal shards don't drop enough, travel is too easy or any other thing you can possibly imagine. Those players are so angry because of the sense of entitlement they feel towards Darkfall, their beloved game that is being destroyed by Aventurine. I can totally understand that feeling, I also feel I kinda own Darkfall but if you stop to think for a second, the rational part of your brain will tell you the truth: you don't own it, you only play it and those who really own it, know better than you. Yes, that's a hard one to swallow, Aventurine developers know what they're doing. That's why it's so sad to see player x tell Tasos he's a retard or any other insult they, imaginative players, can come up with. But this here, it's even sadder. Some Minecraft players have decided to attack the Minecraft server to force Notch, the developer (notice the absence of plural), to create more content because they think he's slacking.  For the love of God, can you even believe it? So, next time you feel the need to insult Devs (or other players for that matter) because they're not doing what you want them to do, take a step cak from the keyboard, have a deep breath and learn some programming to make your own perfect game.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Suggestion: Hang Gliding

Well, I guess I don't need to explain why I'd like to see this new "mount" implemented. Flying over Agon would be awesome and mean a lot of new options for sieges, raiding and travelling; very sandboxy!
This is how it could work: Constructing the ClothWing (BatWing, DeltaWing...) figurine would be an expensive task. To know the specific cost, we'd have to do some testing depending on the Wing "stats" (speed, health, etc...) and balance it properly. To use it, a player must spawn the Wing and press use to "ride" it. Then, the player needs to sprint towards a ledge and instead of falling to the ground the player would start gliding. The driving mechanics of the wing can be very complex or very simple and I guess Darkfall doesn't need the complex one, so the Wing could work like it does in many games (see Far Cry 2 videos below). The Wing has very low health and like funhulks, its speed decreases when its health goes down. It can be repaired with repairshards.Well, what do you think?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


When I created my character I used Lonneh because the RP I had imagined was all about being an orphan and a lonely wanderer. Even if I've done a LOT of solo, now, after having met Lux Arcana, I don't really feel like soloing. Actually I find it hard to understand why people plays solo in MMORPG; I guess if you have lots of friends in different clans and you're able to tag along whenever they do stuff, it can be bearable. But playing Darkfall for months completely alone? That doesn't make much sense to me.
Anyway, my dear friend Anthas has less time to play than I do and so, the last few days I've been playing solo again like I used to do when I started but now that I know how e-life is in an active clan, I've been bored like hell. I haven't seen much of NEW clan either so my nice intentions stated here have gone down the drain. That's why I've decided to go back to Frostbourne with Anthas. This way, when he logs in we can play together and in the meantime I'm still able to play with the rest of the clanmates.
Also, as Lahmage said, being in an active clan that prepares events every few days is really the sauce of life (Does this exist in english? :-P) and a much better way to enjoy this game.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Toad's Tongue: Is life coming back?

It's been a long time since my last TT so I guess it's time for a new one. First of all, this activity report from Tasos initiated crazy speculation that forced him to write another post to explain the whole situation. Despite that, there's still threads about server wipe, new servers and the end of PvP as we know it. As I see it, the only new server coming will be the asian one and only when Darkfall 2.0 arrives. A fresh new server is a temptation and I'm not against a full EU1 server wipe but I won't be playing in the asian server, ping is important, you know?
Recently, some members from Zagenda have left the clan and created Get Good. Apparently, they weren't very comfortable with each other because there have been serious shit talking between them in Eu1 Clan Discussion. Moreover, Get Good has recruited former and current Zagenda enemies like Kokane, ex-DPS leader back from NA1, and Machinist, who has been "talkattacking" Zagenda and Sun for a long time.
I don't know if the Hellbreeze expansion has brought many players to Agon but it surely has jumpstarted sieges again. Lux Arcana hasn't been involved in any of them but EU1 Clan Discussion is full of threads about it. Zagenda, Pandora, Snailparty, Get Good, Sun, the usual clans seem to be back in action and that's surely good news for the game.
From the smelly swamp, the Toad says: Croack!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Disabling Shot and one handers

One of the first things I discussed with my newb friend was which melee weapon would he be using. He said he wanted to use 1h swords plus shield as his main weapon. Unfortunately I had to tell him that all the one hander are severely underpowered partly because of Disabling Shot. First of all, there's some balance to be done because noone uses mounted combat anymore and people uses the 1 hander so they can block with the shield when caught in a bubble. I haven't done any tests so I don't exactly know how underpowered it really is but the fact that anyone can disable you ability to block at any time, even if you are not blocking at that precise moment, is very bad for weapon balance. Also, even if Av has been ninja tweaking the weapons balance if we players don't know that something is viable again, we won't use it and the game will loose variety. On the other side, I'm a knive user, both in PvE and PvP, and I use this weapon because I like it so Anthas might just do the same thing. What's your opinion on this subject? What would you recommend Anthas to do?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Erruk in Noobland

Finally, I managed to convince a very good friend of mine to try Darkfall. He has signed up the 14-days trial and yesterday we decided to go to Long March. He has rolled human so he and I cannot stay at a Racial City and Chaos Cities are too dangerous for a noob, so he applied to NEW. Their SGs hadn't got any problem with me staying around but I had to bind in a nearby Chaos Stone, just a little inconvenience. So, for 14 days I'm gonna stay around Long March trying to show the best of Darkfall to my friend Anthas. This will give me the oportunity to take a good look at the NEW clan and the troubles of noob players.
For now, I haven't been able to see much because I've just arrived there but I hope I'll be able to write some interesting stuff about how noob players face this hardcore game. First of all, Long March is a big city and all the crafting stations are kinda far from bank so the city itself is not very noob-friendly. However, around it there are a good mobs for low-level characters and it's close to both human and ork lands. Long March doesn't seem very populated for now and I think that it'll be a good idea to announce the existence of NEW clan to new players in some way. At least, the NEW recruitment post should be stickied in the forums.

Friday, October 15, 2010

My Perfect Darkfall: Skill System

Today I start a new section in which I'll describe the changes I'd like to see so Darkfall becomes my perfect MMORPG. Those suggestions will probably imply a variation in Aventurine design philosophy and most likely big changes in core elements from Darkfall.
I'm gonna start with the skill system and I've made this quick draw to help me explain what I mean. I've already tried to explain it using how I hope the incoming Prestige Classes will be implemented. Now I'm gonna try it again in a different way.

As you can see I have first drawn how skills work in Darkfall now. This is a summarized version because in Combat Skills we really have several sets of skills per weapon and same with magic, but you know what I mean.
 In Darkfall there are 4 differents Skill Sets and the player is allowed to take all 4 of them. As seen below, I'd like to see more skills ans Skill Sets for starters, I believe Darkfall needs more non-combat skills and maybe few spells more to make the magic schools more autonomous. Then I'd like each Skill Set to be divided in 4 tiers (could be 3, could be 5) of increasing strength. Asuming only these two extra Skill Sets besides Combat, Magic and Crafting Skills Set, divided each in 4 tiers we have 20 tiers. In this example, the player could only choose 12 or 13 tiers. This way, a player could only master three Skill Sets but not all of them.
 If this systems was implemented, there would still be a lot of balancing work to do because the Combat Skill Set would be divided into 8 Weapon Sets, Archery and a common Combat Set with Rage, Throwing, Kick and so on, and Magic would be dividided into 10 Magic School Set and a common Magic Sets. Combat and Magic should be balanced with eachother, the same with each Crafting Set so noone can craft everything. But it's not that easy becasue Magic includes a lot of utility spells and buffs so it should also be balanced with Survival and Body Building Skill Sets.
With this system I want to promote variety and also a meaningful option. Some people say you can choose in the current Skill System but what does it matter if those choices haven't any real meaning or consequences? Well, what do you people think?

PS: Don't forget to take a look at the new models in the official Darkfall blog. The new Arthain and Demon Queen look amazing!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Suggestion: City Raid

Some time ago I asked for more things for clans to do and also some more political tools for clans. The incoming suggestion can cover both of these aspects. The idea is to make raids more meaningful. So here we go:

-Only clans can start Raids. When a clan wants to start a Raid, any clan officer (the rank needed should be established by SG) needs to go to any of his holding's clanstone and Alternate Use on it to Declare Raid and choose any holding from a clan you are at war with. Clans without holdings can do the same at a Chaos City Stone, NOT NPC City. The target clan receives a system message warning about the raid.
Yup, unclanned people cannot raid. This is a clan feature and the prohibition to unclanned players will explain itself in a moment.
-After the declaration has been done, any player from the attacking clan binded at that Clanstone can Alternate Use on it to Join Raid. For every player, including the one that has done the declaration, joining the raid, an amount of gold we'll call "FirstWager" is taken from the clanbank. That amount increases with every player joining the raid.
This wager and the other that will come next are to establish a RiskVsReward and reducing the raid gain if there's an overkill situation.
-The attacking clan has 1 hour and a half to Start Raid. To do that, at least one of players that have joined the raid needs to Alternate Use on the target city and press Start Raid, when any raiding player does that, an amount called "SecondWager" is taken from the attacking clanbank. After the 1,5 hours, if no raiding players from the attacking clan has started the raid, the raid is over.
-Attacking players that have both Joined Raid and Started Raid that damage a target city building or structure will earn an amount called "RaidLoot" per health point taken.
I think it would be really nice if players could destroy the building's interior when raiding. That could be done without siege weapons and would leave a wrecked version of whatever object was there.
-RaidLoot is proportional to the amount of online players binded in the target city WHEN the Raid Declaration was done. RaidLoot is inverse proportional to the amount of players that have done BOTH Join Raid and Start Raid.
This way, a very populated city will be a nice target and will bring more gold than a underpopulated one. If the attacking force is too big that's also uneffective and the amount of gold decreases.
-After the first attacking players has started the raid, the attacking clan has 40 minutes (not sure about this one) to destroy as much as they can. After those 40 minutes, the raid is over and there's no more gain for asset destruction.
-RaidLoot should be balanced with the value of the materials needed to repair 1 health point from a building. That is to prevent allied guilds to raid each other for gains. If there's another way to prevent that, RaidLoot could be increased. The First and Second Wager should be balanced with RaidLoot, this way bringing too much people should be a bad idea but attacking players can avoid paying the SecondWager if they've brought too much people.
Well, that's he suggestion, it surely need a lot of tweaking to shield it against exploits but I think it can be done. This forum thread will surely help me to notice any weak spots. Do you like it?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Blogging all around

Some days ago I was just thinking about it and today, even before the official anouncement, the Darkfall community found a new and shiny Darkfall Official Blog. For now, it has 8 entries but it looks like they'll be posting something everyday. That "something" is kinda precise because right now, there already are very different kinds of posts. I got to say I laughed at the lolcat contest but I'd like more posts like the very interesting interview to John-118 (Better tools for GM incoming!) or the quick view of the motion capture studio. Aparently it will also included TinyTyke Darkfall comic, hopefully TinyTyke will continue to draw them because they're really funny, I like them a lot.
Well, Darkfall peripherical features are falling into place little by little and now it also includes a Developer Blog, something everyone will be happy about. Now, we'll have to see if the community liasons can come up with new and interesting content every day without going into those tasty details we players want to know: future features and so on.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ships and the sea.

Some days ago, when Lux Arcana and Zagenda killed the Ice Dragon I managed to get a taste of ship "driving" and that's the screenshot I took from it. Yup, that was my first time behind the wheel of a ship. Right now, players only use ships to do 2 things: to take the Sea Tower and to kill the Ice Dragon. Well, from time to time, someone uses them to cap a sea village or to do some asset destruction but those aren't common and you don't need a ship to do that. Ships are expensive so people usually sit on them instead of just playing around with them. Their price and "fragility" might be part of the problem but I think we players need more reasons to spawn them. Sea Trade Routes? Speed increase to promote sea travelling? I obviously don't have the magic answer but, do you?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Roads and Villages

The first concept in the title obviously refers to a very much asked feature about increasing the player speed when riding or running on a road. Right now, thanks to the graphic improvement, roads can be clearly seen on the map so a player could easily plan a long trip so he can mostly travel through roads to decrease the travel time. Aparently, Av has decreased the portal shard drop chance and that can only mean they want us to travel more than to teleport. Also, that feature would bring the possibility of ambushes or bandit parties roaming the roads. The classic "avoid roads even if it's slower" line could be used ingame! The work needed to implement it doesn't seem very complicated too, some coding and some animation work. So... why is this not ingame yet? Maybe it's on the list of things to do but that list might be really long. Or maybe they don't want to implement it but why?
After the expansion, where the time under your posesion has doubled, there's still a lot of people who believe that villages are not worth the time needed to cap it. There are some discussion on Forums and basicly two sides: those who want the village reward increased so they become a PvP hotspot and those who don't, saying that villages are supposed to be for little clans or even solo players instead of big clans and alliances (they truly have other ways to raise money). Personally, what I would do is reduce the health of the Village Stone because the problem is not the amount of money they give but the ridiculous amount of time you need to cap it. Some days ago, a clanmate and I capped two villages but it was so terribly boring that I don't think I'm going to cap another one unless Av decreases the amount of time needed.
See? Two concepts with very different debates around them. The point is that most of the suggestions players make are like those village suggestions: there ins't a correct way to do them or implement them. Forgive me for this cheap design philosophy post. :-P

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Fighting the Ice Dragon!

Yeah! Yesterday night, Lux Arcana went to fight the new Ice Dragon in a game first experience we are very proud of. It all started at server up after patch maintenance when Vorax said he found the mighty beast. I log on just in time to see my clanmates leaving Frostbourne to kill it. When me and other last minute additions were very close to them we start hearing fucks, woah, awesome and other things like that and very soon we would discover what was so nice. There are some very nice videos that show what is the Ice Dragon capable of and his great animations and this long thread in which Maejohl explains the whole story from his point of view. This new Dragon is really tough and in our first trip we weren't really ready and we couldn't make his health go down so, unfortunately I was not present when we joined up with Zagenda to finally slay the Ice Dragon. The bad news is that the loot is not as good as the Dragon is but his new animations and general colorful and engaging gameplay are very good news for Darkfall. The video i'm gonna embed shows nearly the whole fight, enjoy it!!

Ice Dragon Slain - WATCH IN HD

Friday, October 8, 2010

Hellfreeze Aftermath

As you can see, yesterday I didn't post a thing and the obvious reason is that I was discovering the new expansion. Right now, as usual, Darkfall is being patched again with the bugs that such changes involve. ForumFall is still ForumFall and I guess it'll be like that until the end of time; lots of people are shouting on forums how bad this expansion is: some talk about FPS drops, some good mob spots now changed or removed, new mount speed is not enough, little content for veterans and lots of other stuff but I think that most of the people is now playing and enjoying the new mobs and dungeons instead of posting in forums and some of the usual posters are also usual QQers.
My personal experience with the expansion so far has been good. I love the new mahirim mount despite it's weird animation and I guess it'll make sound when riding after this fixer patch. I've been hunting some mobs looking for maps and I haven't been luchy thus far but my hope is not lost and I'm eager to get my hands on one of them. The revamped Vilegaunt looks very cool but no longer has 100% R60 Bow drop and the new Gnoll Butcher (that was not featured in the expansion notes) drops R50 polearms. The funhulks seem ok but they are not easy to drive and how can you control the damn beam? I haven't been in any of the new o overhauled dungeons but I guess they'll be ok and I heard that the daily quest rewards you with 3k gold. There are still a lot of features that I haven't been able to try yet like the Runner or the Gorra worm but I will soon enough.
I'm pleased with the expansion but some of the things Frank says in his feedback thread also worry me too. I guess now we have to wait for any bit of information about Darkfall 2010 features. Meanwhile I'll keep enjoying myself and training to be a good fighter.

PS: Now, I'll hit Skinning 100 pretty soon! :-P

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Finally! We have the expansion notes and they are frigging cool! In, you can see the nice presentation behind the new expansion called Hellfreeze but I'm gonna comment on the extended version in the first link. Let's see!!!
NEW TERRAIN: Well, Tasos and co have been trying to get the hype up on this one but nobody has cared a lot. We'll see if it's truly as good as they say.
CHARACTER DEFAUL VIEW: Another surprise, I didn't know this was even considered but I guess it will be nice. We'll see on that one too.
NEWBIE DUNGEONS AND PROTECTION: Dungeons are a great idea but the reduction of the protected time maybe not so much. I feel one hour is a very short time but, well, I had no protection and everything was fine.
PLAYER VENDORS: Well, this is some improvement but also a small step. Without a bubble for the vendor, it will remain the same.
BALANCE: Every little fix about balance they've written down seems good to me but maybe I would have liked some more tweaking in other areas. Maybe that's included in the "many other things" section.
REVAMPED DUNGEONS: I've never liked the concept of "dungeon", it reminds me of my first and worst role playing sessions where the only thing we did was roll dices and not telling a story. Anyway, dungeons can be fun in Darkfall and I guess they are gonna be more important from now on.
NEW SHIPS: Hell, yes! I can make a Ship now. Those cheap ships will encourage naval combat. There's also the ship strongboxes that you can deploy in a ship. All good additions for those sea lovers.
NEW MOUNTS: Another hell, yes! As you can see, both of them look very nice and I can't wait to ride a Runner. Actually, now my problem as a mahirim is what to choose, the runner or the bear?
FUN HULKS AND FUN FLAGS: Ok, let's see. At first reading, it seems it can be very funny to make race tracks but my problem with them is that they also seem pretty limited. Sooner or later, people will get bored from Fun Hulk races, then what will any player use them for? You can't use them for mounted races or even foot races. This feature is not as sandboxy as it looks like but I guess we'll have to wait and see if anyone comes up with something.
PLAYER USE FLAGS: On the other hand, the Use Flags can be used to create all sort of games and they can probably be used for other things aswell.
TREASURE MAPS: Nice idea, more content and more stuff to do.
VILLAGE REVAMP: Well, the expansion notes don't say that the reward has been improved but I hope it has. If not, I think Village Capping will remain a underproductive activity. You need several people to destroy the stone in less than an eternity so...
CLAN JOURNAL and SOCIAL MANAGER: Little steps. In the right direction but little.
WORLDBUILDING: Agon is great already and they're making it even greater. Nice!
MONSTERS: This is the real deal in this expansion. Hellfreeze includes new mobs, revamped mobs, new AI, revamped loot tables, new special abilities and more. Mobs are going to skill up whenever they kill a player. I guess that it's also a little step towards a more complex PvE experience but right now, I don't think that'll have much effect. Right now, monsters don't survive a lot. Maybe they're lucky and manage to kill a player, but the next on is most likely gonna kill it.
DYNAMIC MONSTER ENCOUNTERS AND EVENTS: I swear to god that in one of the post for the next days I was going to ask for this. The random events in games like Fallout saga are so important for inmersion and a key element in getting some fun out of exploring.
OPTIMIZATION: Let's hope that's for real.

That's it fellas! Enough? Too little? Too much? I think this looks like a solid expansion to me and it has a good feel. Some of those expanison notes feel like little movements to make some pieces fit so other and better systems can be implemented in the future. I'm very excited about the new mounts, ships and monsters. What do you think of it?

I don't want to make another "Still waiting" post


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Unknown Attackers

I think that being able to hide your name and clan from your enemies can be a very nice tool in Darkfall. Let's see how could it be implemented. To hide your name other players outside your clan, you'll need a new Hood similar to the Assassin's Hood but much more expensive. When you have this new piece of equipment on, your name will remain hidden and player's will only see "Unknown". The Hood has very low durability and it can be destroyed if someone damages you (it could be nice to hace something special for it but a very low dura can do the trick).
As an special addition, any alignment decrease you have suffered while "hidden" disappears when you take the hood off but it multiplies by 2 if your hood is destroyed while in combat.
So, from the other side: If you're standing somewhere and a hidden player comes to you, the tag will be Unknown1. If another one comes, it'll be Unknown2 and so on. If at some point, one of the first players comes back, you'll see UnkonwnX in red. The red color implies that it's not the first time you've seen that stranger. This way, you can start to deduce who is that player.
I think that this feature may breathe some life into the political landscape and it could be great fun to use once some features are implemented. Do you imagine setting an ambush to a clan unable to retaliate because they don't know who attacked them? What do you think?

PS: YES, they have delayed the expansion ONE MORE DAY... :-(

Monday, October 4, 2010

Wait, wait, wait... wait.

Well, I've got several ideas for good posts but today, somehow, I don't feel like writing them. I would have expected some kind of post about the expansion by now and, as someone has already said in Forums, I'm hammerign my F5 key hoping I'll see a new thread from Tasos with some information to chew. But it doesn't come. That's why I'm gonna try to unplug myself from Darkfall for today or at least, for a while. I'm gonna take a shower, then I'll go to the Library to return some books and get some others. When I'm back, I'll most likely write a bit and then I'll check Forums again. I hope tomorrow won't be like today.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The expansion is knocking the door

In three days, the expansion will start downloading into our hard drives like birds do in summer. Right now, everybody is waiting, holding their breath until the expansion lands. There aren't many forum threads about it because, with all those delays, everything that can be said, has already been said. Some people expect an awesome expansion that will improve a lot the game and bring the people back to Agon. Others have lost hope of something truly meaningful, they are currently enjoying the game and only want their game experience not to be fucked up. The cautious player is already getting prepared for the expansion: the wealthy one has already buyed some deeds because the addition of more house spots in villages is one of the expected features, others have a good stock of steedgrass so they can be the ones to make dozens of Mahirim Bears and Blue Tail Runners, if they are implemented on tuesday.
What surprises me the most is the lack of Expansion Notes or, at least, some spotlights about what's going to be in it. It's very understandable that Aventurine would want to surprise their players with the new and amazing Runner model but players would be so terribly happy if there were a couple spotlights per week or something like that. They keep saying they want to improve Dev Communication and I really thing they should do it. A little effort would be translated in a lot of very happy players and great mouth to mouth advertising.

Friday, October 1, 2010

What do you think Darkfall needs to attract more players?

Yesterday, I created a thread in Darkfall Forums with that same question and a little poll to see what people think about it. I knew what would people say in the thread itself because the real answer to that question involves all the option on the poll but I wanted to know which one of those would stand up. The results are:
Fix some broken mechanics/Properly balance the game 35 41.18%
Increase the noob-friendlyness: safe zones, bigger protected areas... 14 16.47%
Merchandising: box in stores, ads... 37 43.53%
Reduce the grind: faster character progression, increase the loot tables... 39 45.88%
Nothing special, keep improving the game, people will come. 22 25.88%
Other 17 20.00%

Not very surprisingly, the winner is "Reduce the grind", closely followed by "Merchandising" and "Balance". More people than I suspected has voted for "Nothing special" and even if I love the game I realize there's still some work to do before Aventurine can focus only on content. Actually, less than that has voted for "Increasing noob friendlyness" and I expected that choice to be among the top voters. Some ForumWarriors will call me carebear but I believe that if we really want Darkfall to become a very succesfull game, the niche needs to open up just a bit. There's no need to do great or essential changes but some little ones to make newb's life easier. I don't know how many people stops playing because of this and I know this problem is linked with the Grind but I think some more noob help would be apreciated. Finally, what I think would attract more players than anything is "Merchandising". Only if you are dedicated MMORPG follower will you know about Darkfall and the very big crowd of PC players is the real objective. Games like WoW, WAR or AoC have received extensive coverage by many videogames magazines and websites and that's what Darkfall needs.