Monday, February 28, 2011

Comment on the 25th Feb. Activity Report

As usual, last activity report is bitter-sweet. You'll see there's a lot of sweetness in it but there's also many bitter things. Let's get going.
Aventurine keeps updating and improving Agon's geography and apparently, they're nearly done for real now but I'd expect to see that in the upcoming game-changing expansion and not one day before. For me, Agon's already quite pretty but "the redistribution of everything" is a key change. Right now, Yssam and Cairn are too good while Niffleheim is kinda bad. That could also mean a regionalization of resources but we shouldn't take that for granted. Tasos keeps expanding on new models, mobs, weapons and props that we've been hearing about for quite a long time. More of everything is good, there's no discussion about it but I'm more concerned on the current systems than in the supposed lack of variety in armor, weapons and mobs out there.
The alignment changes they've announced seem very cool but it looks like it won't be enough. Aventurine has said nothing about defending your clan city without going red, healing reds and stuff like that. We can just hope Aventurine will make alignment a meaningful feature.
The new GUI is a very awaited improvement and everyones is just praying so Av can improve its performance. The new tools (political map and vendor information) are also cool. BUT, no news on chat bubbles. I want to be able to cry for mercy or swear on someone's grave or just ask for some quiet conversation. Mmmm well.
Probably, the bit that has made every player happy is the fix to the player lag. Noone thought Aventurine could fix that so, if they truly do, 10 points for them!
Tasos also speaks of a new light system that looks very good even in low settings. Does that mean compulsory shadows for everyone? If that doesn't mean shitty performance, it's also great news. I really really want to sneak up from the shadows.
Besides a very vague statement about the conquest system and a mention to Quest Rewrite, there's only the new armour system to comment. There's been a lot of discussion in Forum's around what is this system going to bring to the table but nobody really knows yet. I'm not very excited about it but I guess we need to wait for more information.
The bitter part is the lack of updates or even mentions about the Prestige Classes. Have they been completely scrapped? Are they coming? Not a word since months ago. I'm hoping for a lot from those PC and well, I know I'm not the only one. A word about it would be nice, Av.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Conversations out of Forumfall

Since I was really curious about Sun's opinion on their own size but couldn't really create a thread on Forumfall because trolls and flamers siege and destroy any interesting thread, I decided to pm Frank Sinatra himself and ask him. I've edited just very little pieces to make it more readable.

Hello Frank!
I got a question that I think is shared by a good share of this community and I believe it hasn't been asnwered due to the amount of trolling and flaming this forum has. So, even if I'd like for everyone to share his opinion in a correct way, I can't really expect that so I've decided to ask you.
It looks pretty obvious that the current negative opinon on Sun comes from the size your clan+alliance has obtained. Right now, the population of EU1 isn't willing to ally up to confront you, I'm pretty sure that the reason behind it is that it doesn't really affect their actual gameplay time, maybe just a little, some sea towers and being unable to siege you without hiring. So, what are your thoughts on this?

You are welcome to relay this, I'm all for getting the chance to say anything without getting attacked . My answer to your question is that I beleive that most players need a vent for their frustrations. I kinda look at it like Aventurine allways gets blamed for not putting more sand in the box, and Sun allways gets blamed for how we play with the sand there is. So i dont really think its personal hate, but more a outlet for frustrations. Its quite insane really because Darkfall has massive flaws, but its still the best mmo ive ever played which says a lot. I think the main frustration is that this game is so full of potential, but AV simply seems to small a company to fullfill this potential, and the almost provocating slow speed that new stuff is implemented just makes it a tough love.
As for the other part of your question regarding that it doesnt really affect other players gameplay then I think you are partly right.  I agree that it's a point that people don't really gang up on us because we dont really hurt their gameplay except in few circumstances like some seatowers.
However someone always wins the seatowers, some win the diceroll (I really think the seatower loot should be placed in the capping ships strongbox to be sailed home) and some win the battles. Sometimes its us and we get massive blame, and sometimes its others and they get massive blame. The short truth is simply that those who win in a competetive game will allways get the blame.
I wrote that I only partly agreed, because I also firmly beleive that another point is essential here. Running a large guild, or a big alliance is hard work - and the administrative tools needed for this is non existant.
Its really annoying that Av wants large battles but doesnt spend time on the organisation of these large groups.
The problem is that some of the things that would be helpfull to make organising large guilds and alliances easier are also sometimes anti sandbox, ill give some examples:
-Raidgroups where each groupleader is shown on the other groupmembers maps.
-Layered banking, make a sg bank a captain bank etc. Make sure that flowign income comes to the sg bank like for villages,workbench, seatower etc.
-Tax, implement a tax to be bound to a holding, that works just like the houses except instead of loosing your house the sgs can define what to do, for example get kicked from stone and kicked from the guild.
The tax part is MASSIVE work, and so easy to solve.
-City vendors, either just have then standnig with their wares or make a warehouse with the vendors in them.
-Make groupleaders be able to kick members of the group, so stupid that you have to remake the whole group if someone is afk.
-Have a looting chat channel, where you can see what is being looted and by who and when for the whole raid.
-Let allies travel for 1 portal shard.
-Make a alliance bank that sg's have access to.
-Make a alliance tax.
-Make payment schemes possible for city protections
-Make a auction house
-make some guild achievements, for example slaying a major mob like dragons and demons will give a Guildwide buff that lasts until serverdown.
-Let raidleaders set waypoints for the whole raid in another colour than the group waypoint
-Let the beacon spell have its effect where it hits and not only if it hits a player.
-Ingame parsing of node hits on holdings
-Let the city vendors sell bags with items in it for a set price. So the alliance crafters can make full sets and sell them instead of having to buy a item at a time.
And i guess i could go on.
So to sum up, I believe people always need someone to blame and for the moment thats us because we are the strongest. In 6 months its probably someone else and thats just how it goes. As for having more larger groups, i simply think that the main deterent is that its so much work due to a severe lack of tools for organising bigger guilds and alliances, and the above points would help that part a lot. The only reason we pull it off is that we have a big group of leaders in Sun, and we are good a dividing tasks and giving each other room to take a breather when we need a break.

I agree with what you say and I'd also like to see some of the tools you mentioned (I think most of them aren't that anti-sandboxy) in this great game. I also understand that some players have chosen you to vent their frustrations because you are the most powerful force in EU1 but part of that strength comes from your sheer numbers.
What I meant to ask was if you would consider downsizing so EU1 Political Power Struggle is more balanced or to reduce that negative trend towards Sun. Maybe you'll stay like this until server population increases and balances the PPS or until enough people ally up to fight you?

We cant downsize since downsizing means throwing friends out of a guild. We are a old guild who plays several games and we obviously cant throw memebrs out due to suddenly being too many because the other clans lost people. All we can do is to disband the alliance but it wont change much since vogue isn't having that many actives. (5 at the last seatower).
We field 50-60 Suns currently in sieges, and if thats the largest force in the game, then the problem isn't us but the rest of the guilds. My point in the former post was to make it easier to handle bigger alliances or guilds, and then im sure you would see more of those.
Everyone in our guild has a Alt in Sun and some has several - you can safely dovide our numbers by 2 and we are simply not that big in my oppinion. Even if we had 80 or 100 players i dont see that as a problem since someone has to be the strongest, and compared to US1 thats not even remotely high numbers.
I might add that you are right that we would love a strong enemy. Even though people dont belive it then we would be perfectly happy living in a hamlet or a chaos city if it was because there simply were stronger forces than ours, and while we do give quite a bit away, we are not really here to be nice to anyone or to be saviours of anything.

Thanx for the answers Frank!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Toad's Tongue: Sun Overshining

Zagenda has one holding left but noone knows when or if Sun is going to siege it from them any time soon. In the meantime, the amount of hatred towards Sun seems to be increasing. Why? Well, last night they did pull a very nice tactic in the Sea Tower but the problem is not the tactic itself but the fact that with their numbers is really hard to win them. Currently, Sun has good players with really good gear plus more people than any other clan. Even more so, if any clan plans to siege a Sun holding they better have a lot of gold to hire mercs because it won't probably work any other way.
Sun members are probably enjoying this whole situation because they are winning their combats (winning is always fun even if you do close to nothing) and all this rage towards them is probably making them a closer bunch. The rest of the server is also enjoying theirselves because this game is so great but it's also a MMORPG and a lot of people doesn't like the presence of such a force that noone can take by himself.
So, what can we expect from the future? Well, Sun might downsize a bit to decrease the hate that is currently building up or enough people will decide that's it, create an even bigger alliance to take them down. If neither of this happen, well, Sun will remain the USA clan in Agon for a long time.

Friday, February 18, 2011

No more Titles

Today I've finished my Title quests. Well, not really, I still got the Rank 3 Intelligence Quest to do but I gotta kill 10 mobs of Deathless, Crypt Guards and something else and I'm surely not gonna do them like I did the previous ones. I've only done the title quest because I had my Greataxes skill to grind (I also got the Mastery already!). This way, killing low-end mobs can be kinda profitable if you take into account the 2k-3k prize you get and the bonus itself. BUT anyway, this title quest are very grindy and, more important, very uninspired.
We're all used to the "Kill X goblins" quest and they're an easy and quick way to get something done for some players but Quest, Title or not, should be better and funnier. Right now, there's not a lot of tools to create better quests but despite that, they can be improved. There could some kind of choice involved, puzzle solving and some other stuff. Darkfall has the potential to become a great game but for that to happen, there are many things that need to be improved and a lot of content to be added. Title Quest are surely one of those things.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Siege Report: Skogul and Quarendel 14th February

The day before yesterday, Lux Arcana sieged Skogul from Small Unnamed Alliance and, in retaliation they countersieged Quarendel. So yesterday night, we had a double siege on our hands! When the time was upon us, we rode to a cave near Skogul where one of our siegestones was placed. There we spawned three stronboxes to create a tighter bottleneck and three cannons to blow it to kingdome come. After a while, SUA camed and the standoff ensued with lots of spells and cannonballs flying around. Due to some confusion I was in one of these cannons but low-fps and no preparation make it very hard to hit the bottleneck properly. Then, they full blinded us and made a Battlehorn Charge that succeeded in creating chaos among our lines. I was so confused that I died at the damn cannon before I could disengage from it. They wiped us there.
Back in Andruk, we regeared and started to port over Skogul again but when I managed to port, there were already several combats, one of them with a fleeing ship, around me and one minute after the cancellation of the porting was called. I was with 5 or 6 other people, in different mumble channels, and when the order to regroup in Andruk once again was called everyone just tried to run for his life. I managed to get away with my second siege bag and to recall to Andruk unharmed. When I arrived there, people was already out of the city taking those Quarendel siegestones to protect our hamlet. Unfortunately, they didn't even tried to take it and after some destruction, we just went back to Andruk.
From the player perspective, it wasn't a great siege: we lost the offensive, a nice siege bag or two per player and, above all, it was really short. But I think that as a clan, we learned some nice stuff today. I'm eager to try and take the hamlet again.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Chaos Luck

I think I've already explained that but on my first three days of Darkfall I found a Chaos Chest with 10k gold on it. At the time, I thought I got the best possible reward from a Chaos Chest since 10k gold was a lot of money for me. I managed to buy every skill for the first two months without farming efficency, just playing the game.
After that, some months ago, I got a Nexus Exit which was cool. And nothing else. Ever. I mean I've got plenty of low gold and low gold plus a major potion but nothing better than that.
Today, after a long farming session, on my way to the bank I see a Chaos Chest and I think: Should I just go to bank not to risk the 2k+ I got on me or...? Surely I went after the Chest hoping today was my lucky day. I can say that already, it wasn't. A hundred meter away, I see another one and even before claiming it I was thinking, this will be shitty too and in front of the bank I'll find the lucky third one. Of course, that second one was also crap, less than 100g, but the third one is just few meters away. Excited I go for it and guess what, less than 100g again. A bit bitter, I follow my way and just in front of the bank I find a fourth Chaos Chest in less than 5 minutes. Guess what? Less than 100g, AGAIN.
Ok, I'm surely unlucky but come on, those damn Chaos Chest could do better than that. Some time ago I posted a Suggestion in ForumFall about Chaos Chest increasing their reward over time if not claimed. I still think it's a great idea and it doesn't seem very difficult to implement. Anyway, Av, please, make Chaos Chest better. No more 53g, make it 300g at least or something. Finding a CC, going for it with illusion to get that miserable amount of gold is just discouraging.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Comment on the 4th February Update

Despite Darkfall Arena main mistery is still that, a mistery, last Tasos update was pretty juicy. Let's take a look.
 First of all, this week, we're supposed to get a new patch with some very nice features like serious bug fixing, bank permisions and War Deccs expiration times. There's been a lot of discussion about those last two features: some say the world is over because of it and some others believe it's an improvement, I'm obviously in the second group but, like always, we'll have to wait and see how's it done.
It seems Aventurine is working hard on Darkfall Arena but they have a lot of balancing issues to adress with all the new Armor System and still no news about Prestige Classes (I'm starting to think Aventurine won't include them in Darkfall Arena).
Then there's this:
There’s also a lot of work being done on the point system of the competitive structures of Darkfall Arena. I understand this might not mean anything to you yet,  but it’s what we’re working on at the moment and this part by design is dependent on player input.
If you combine it with last update's: The second prong has to do with a competitive component on a completely level playing field for all players. What do you got? I still have no idea but if it's dependent on player input, I guess Av will explain better soon enough.
Aventurine is also looking to improve Darkfall's Crafting System and that's very good news but I guess they won't turn it into old SWG system or add minigames, so I'm not that excited despite new mats and salvaging looks pretty good.
We’re also looking at changes in enchantment, including possibly being able to mix different quality materials using gems.
You already can mix different quality materials in enchantment, don't you?
Fishing boats will fish more than just fish and the things they pull out of the water may lead to new options.
Content FTW!
Tasos finishes this update, generally teasing the new expansion as making Darkfall look like a different game. Well, I don't want it to be different but there's a couple of areas where Darkfall needs serious work to become a GREAT MMORPG. IMHO, those areas are content, sand, PvP Balance and Grind.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Toad's Tongue: Sun vs Zagenda

Well, well, the war between Sun and Zagenda is apparently nearly over since Zagenda only has three holdings left but Sun is not in any hurry either and they're taking their time. The ForumWar, on the other side, had an interesting development (besides ANG semi-announcement) in this very thread. The thread is already 39 pages long but the good stuff is on its last 10 pages or so.
According to Frank Sinatra, Sun main voice in ForumFall, Xzyzz threatened him with peace (whatever that means). Then Beyond and Heldana claimed Xzyzz told them that Frank was lieing or trolling. Frank then asked for permision to post the screeshots that can prove what he said but he hadn't got said permision and so, he's not posting them. Do you follow me?
In my opinion, there's a couple of things that can be going on here. A) Frank's telling the truth about the PM from Xzyzz and he won't post the screenies because Xzyzz won't give his permision. (aka Frank's Forum Honor). B) Frank's telling the truth about the PM from Xzyzz but he won't post the screenies because Xzyzz has threatened him with posting other incriminating screenies (aka Cold Forum Screenie War). C) Frank's lieing about that PM but we won't know the truth until Xzyzz comes back to ForumFall to give permision to Frank.
My favourite choices are obviously A and B. Also, if B's the correct one, this Cold War is leaving Xzyzz in a worst position than Frank's so, I guess that if someones points a gun to my head and ask me to choose only one option I would chose option A which, in cas it's true, leaves Xzyzz and the whole Zagenda alliance in a really bad and ugly spot. We'll see how this evolves!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Interview with Ginger Magician!

Well, what else there is to say? Enjoy it!

EL: Can you tell us something about you for those that don't know you?

GM: Well its hard to imagine any DF player who doesnt know who I am but I am basically the most famous soloer in the game with the most kills and the biggest reputation. I am also active out of game on the forums and my threads are usually some of the most popular ones around. I also have a long and distinguished history as a MMO player going back to 2003 with Neocron and then Eve Online.

EL: Can you tell us something about you IRL?

GM: My real name is Jonathan and I'm 40 years old and male and an English gentleman from the SE of the country.

EL: How do you feel about being a popular player of Darkfall? Do you feel loved or hated by the community? Do you enjoy it?

GM: I have never cared what people thought about me good or bad. Popularity and fame or even infamy in my case have their uses. For example I should imagine its much like the case of a real life celeb who everyone knows and who never needs to introduce himself to anyone. My gaming profile is much the same and being famous as a gamer can help you get certain infos and access to people easier.

EL: What do you think about the current EU1 server status?

GM: I think its pretty healthy. Playing for such a long time now we have ofc become accustomed to relatively low population and its nothing unusual. I always said since beta testing the game that it would not have a very wide market and so it has proved. One of my main concerns is the zerging seems to have gotten worse lately and to have 50% of the active population in one clan can't be good for anyone.

EL: What's your opinion on Lux Arcana?

GM: I quite like Lux Arcana to be honest. They always seem a well organized and discplined clan to me and the leaders are very mature and dont tolerate smack talk. For the casual and more mature player they are an excellent choice.

EL: What's your opinion on the Grind and Character Progression?

GM: Well this recent patch claiming 2 times increase in skillgains for me I have not noticed any real difference and the grind is probably still too long. There are very few players of my level around and 1v1's nowadays are usually pretty boring. A lot of people run as soon as they see me or attempt to hide and log off. If the grind was reduced there is also the question of whether the game is interesting enough to keep people playing once they max out. Atm I would have to say that its not so AV need to tread carefully with their grind reduction strategy imo.

EL: Do you miss big scale fights, sieges and other big-sized clan stuff?

GM: I have done all these things and tbh I dont find them very exciting or even particularly skillful. A lot of luck comes into play with large scale fights and the vast majority of them are pure numbers affairs where the side with more numbers always wins. Being solo means its a lot harder when it comes to pve and there are a lot of mobs which I cant kill solo but then again I really dont like pve and darkfall pve in particular so I dont feel like I am missing out at all.

EL: How's your average day on Darkfall?

GM: Depends what I feel like doing what I need at that particular moment and what gear I have available. Too much of my time is spent making gold and getting gear but its the same for everyone. My best days are those spent roaming in a gear set I am happy with and having and winning various pvp encounters around the map.

EL: What's the most enjoyable moment you recall having in Darkfall? And worst?

GM: There are so many enjoyable pvp fights that its hard to pick out one special moment. Beating Evaner Mordred 1v1 and then having him post the video in a thread was a special moment and it made a lot of people realize that there was more to me than just the forum talk of the haters. Coming fourth in the EU server melee/archery tournament and beating 2 alfars in a row was another highlight.
One of my worst moments was losing a full set of infernal that I had just crafted 5 mins before because of a crash and losing all that gear to a naked scrub alfar was very annoying.