Launching Is Hard

Darkfall’s status as of 8:00PM CST/2:00AM GMT:

Servers: Down.
Forums: Down.
Website: Still advertising your chance at joining the Darkfall beta.
Stratics IRC: Wait a minute… Stratics still exists? And it’s our only source of Darkfall news? My god, they DID recreate UO!

<Brannoc> We are currently processing all pre-orders and when that phase is complete the game servers will be available for play. The forums are offline temporarily while we make adjustments. The IRC channel will remain locked during this time.

Well, that explains everything, then.

From the SomethingAwful threadnaught about Darkfall:

Darkfall is on the verge of another MMOG first. Some games have had horrific launch days, plagued with constant crashes and bugs, but I don’t think any other game has completely failed to start the servers up.

Apparently, the developers, Aventurine, were overwhelmed with the amount of pre-orders, despite having a limited preset number of pre-orders, and in a very fair display of even-handed fairness are not bringing the servers up until every pre-order has been added into the system, presumably by Eastern Orthodox monks illuminating vellum parchments and carefully integrating them into the Book of Woe using Perforce.

And now, while you wait, forlorn, in a Stratics chatroom waiting for SRC Wackyname to come answer your GM ticket, here are some quotes from the past from the humble Darkfall development team.

“So why don’t we announce a date already? It’s because there’s no way we’ll miss a release date and we’re not going to just set a date as a goal, and either postpone or be forced to release something unfinished.”

— Tasos Flambouras, Darkfall producer, from a dev diary.

We welcome the “too good to be true” or the “Darkfall promises everything” ranting about Darkfall because we’re in a position to know that we’ll offer more than we promise.”

— Tasos Flambouras, same diary

Darkfall could launch today. It’s more ready for launch than most, if not all of the MMORPG titles at the same stage that I’ve personally sampled and it has been for quite some time.”

— Tasos Flambouras, interview, December 2008

“A lot of communities would like to be like Darkfall’s. Slandering our game is a way to get a reaction.

We have a thick skin; this kind of thing doesn’t touch us. It actually makes us feel like we’re on the right track. It has also served to fire up our community and has created diehard fans. It got a lot of people to take a closer look at our game and realize that this is what they’ve been waiting for. All the “trolls” have achieved is to inadvertently help perpetuate the buzz for Darkfall.”

— Tasos Flambouras, same interview.

For good game performance, you should have a PIII-800 and a GeForce1-2 or ATI Radeon. The game engine will also take advantage of the latest graphics cards that are coming out, like the GeForce3 or the upcoming ATI 8500. So if you have one of those, then the game will look stunning.

— Kjetil Helland, Darkfall lead programmer, IGN interview, 2001

As for the board whisperers, they’re a reaction to a highly anticipated and ambitious game by an independent studio. ‘Whispers’ have proven in the past to have an agenda or two behind them, and whether it’s competition, attempts at forcing information, or manipulating an active community, we shouldn’t propagate them by rehashing them.

— Tasos Flambouras, MMORPG.COM inteview

The “PvP stigma” you speak of, is proof that PvP hasn’t been handled well by MMOGs so far, in contrast with the mass market where PvP games are the overwhelming majority of multiplayer games being played. It’s a shame, especially since MMORPGs are the most suitable games for epic battles, conflict, glory and shame. It’s our ambition, through Darkfall, to alter the negative perception some MMOG players have of player on player combat.

— Tasos Flambouras, same interview

Hype surrounding Darkfall is huge right now, despite our best efforts.

— Tasos Flambouras, Darkfall community announcement


58 Responses to Launching Is Hard

  1. TariqOne says:

    You’re banging on these dudes pretty hard.

    That said, this is about as appalling as the industry gets. These guys wouldn’t even make terribly good modders from what I have seen so far. I think it takes a lot of sack to bungle a commercial release of anything this badly.

  2. TariqOne :

    You’re banging on these dudes pretty hard.

    Only for 60 seconds, until their death timer expires.

  3. VorpalK says:



    ah, even the producers aren’t hard core enough for this.

  4. Ross Smith says:

    “Darkfall could launch today. It’s more ready for launch than most, if not all of the MMORPG titles at the same stage that I’ve personally sampled and it has been for quite some time.”

    Sadly, remembering some of the MMOs I’ve played shortly after launch lately, I have no trouble at all believing this one.

  5. Azaroth says:


    Would laugh again.

  6. Rekuul says:

    I wonder if servers will be up in time for the scheduled down time.

  7. Vetarnias says:

    Somehow this should be the crowning moment of their incompetence. But I don’t doubt that there are some überleet players out there who will try to defend them.

    This is just pathetic and, I have to ask, at what point can we legitimately call it a scam?

    Even if your game isn’t ready, you should at least give one guy an hour to redesign the website’s front page and indicate that something, anything, has changed since summer (fill in the year of said summer yourself).

  8. Melf_Himself says:

    I’m…. not sure why you are still so quick to jump on the Darkfall rage-wagon. Why does the concept of a game that you have no intention of playing make you so insecure?

  9. JuJutsu says:

    Now there’s a last minute bug fix holding things up.

  10. InterSlayer says:

    Rage wagon? We’re all just trying to help Darkfall succeed by letting them know they’re on the right track.

  11. dartwick says:

    Bill and Ted make a video game.

  12. jinstevens says:

    @Scott Jennings
    Hahahaha…so mean, so funny. Make sure you loot him too, Scott.

  13. Darkfall says:

    Bahahaha thats some quality stuff right there.

  14. Vetarnias says:

    I can’t claim to speak for Mr. Jennings. However, in my case it’s a combination of several factors:

    1) Tasos’ excuses over the years and his smug and arrogant claims about Darkfall. In this particular case, it’s the technological readiness which is in question, something Tasos assured was entirely under control despite the repeated concerns over the lack of stress tests (not to mention sheer exploits such as macroing). Not to mention…

    2) The numerous things that were promised and never delivered. I’m not just talking about beta reports versus the initial promises of in-game features by Aventurine. I’m also talking about the missed deadlines over the years (wasn’t there supposed to have been a guild beta back in 2006?) and the complete refusal of Aventurine to offer even the slightest explanation when those never took place.

    3) The rabid “community” that developed around the game over the years and would end up backing Aventurine on everything it did, including the January pushback, even jumping the gun on it, actually: “Better delay than release incomplete”, they said. Oh wait, didn’t Tasos say in December that the game was ready for launch? I’m pretty sure that despite this latest embarrassing moment, there will still be plenty of fanboys jumping to the defense of Aventurine — while discreetly calling Visa, just in case.

    4) Said community abusing and dismissing the slightest questioning of Aventurine and Darkfall as “trolling”.

    5) Aventurine, instead of offering evidence to dispel ongoing rumours of vaporware­, apparently capitalizing on it for free publicity (while doing otherwise no effort to promote its game, not even doing something entirely in-house like updating its website).

    6) And yes, the “play to crush” mentality which Aventurine not only tolerated but facilitated, claiming it was superior to the rampant carebearism of the industry. I’d like some alternatives to WoW’s superficial dreck, true, but what Darkfall goes for is the other extreme, just an excuse for leet guilds and alliances to develop their e-peen at the expense of every other type of player, including small guilds (which is the form I prefer), and if the pattern holds, at the expense of the game itself. It’s not like there isn’t plenty of evidence to this effect already, so nobody will be weeping for a company that stuffed plugs up its ears.

    So yes, there’s an element of schadenfreude involved, and I’m savouring every moment of it.

  15. Freakazoid says:


    Dude… this is non, non non, non heinous!!

  16. Jessica Mulligan says:

    All that is needed to complete this picture is to find that a coder left the GM teleport command available to the average player.

  17. GTB says:

    “Launching Is Hard” needs to be the title of your next book.

  18. axegrindmorenoob says:

    In the spirit of hate, and obvious bitterness infusing this post: I hope more of the people you know, and care for, lose their jobs and have their lifesavings flushed down the toilet. After the tirades about ethical behavior one would think you’d know the golden rule.

  19. GTB says:


    I’ve been laid off since November. Cry some more.

    Additionally:The cover of “Launching Is Hard” should feature something getting launched from a DAoC treb towards the reader. Maybe Scott himself, photoshopped in.

  20. hanshotfirst says:

    Wait, is Tasos Flambouras some kind of anagram for Uwe Bowl?

  21. Vetarnias says:

    Update, courtesy of the MMORPG forums:

    Finally, game launches, twelve hours later than planned.

    Server crashes 20 minutes later.

    In the words of another hardcore game, “Are you tough enough to take it?”

  22. Vetarnias says:

    And this just in: The guy who made the Hitler-tries-to-beta-test-Darkfall video made a new masterpiece:

  23. Raad says:

    Awesome launch brah.

  24. Githnaur says:

    Game mechanics and raison d’être aside, the contempt for the would-be-player base regarding this new ‘release’ is scandalous, especially in an already beleaguered industry – I would go so far as to say it’s in the same league that US mmo companies in the main treat EU customers.

    It would take moments to remove the “apply for beta” button from the front page.

    It would take moments to put a statement on the front page (and link it to the URL for the pre-order page) making people aware that pre-orders were sold out (which surely would be a great thing to advertise – the record time in which they sold out???)

    It would take moments to do any of the above.

    I’ve heard the “They’re too busy to waste time on small things like that when they have servers to get running” argument. This is of course a complete crock and the scant moments invested in the above would help allay many fears and reduce potential customer frustration the world over.

    You have become better at Fail (42)!

  25. Triforcer says:

    20 minutes of actual launch time (as a real product that exists!) is still more than I ever thought they would accomplish.

  26. Raad says:

    I’m really confused as to whats happening, but the general jist I’m getting is that no is able to play. Damn fanboys and smoke tactics.

  27. D-0ne says:

    With great profit comes great scams.

  28. Raad says: That you vatarnias? I’m not going to read the full thing but what’s happening brah?

  29. Metta says:

    Ah. Schadenfreude.

  30. gyrus says:

    Vetarnias :
    And this just in: The guy who made the Hitler-tries-to-beta-test-Darkfall video made a new masterpiece:

    I love the ‘sorting the pre-orders’ part! Just about wet myself.
    All this just goes to prove that there are people who will pre-order anything.
    It’s not like there were not multiple signs it would go badly.
    They may still be able to get a game out of it – but that could be days (weeks? months??) away?

    Anyway, I for one am glad it is here.
    It will help sort the real PvPers out from the wannabes and the ganker (so long as I am doing teh pwning) set.
    I look forward to forums where wannabes no longer dribble on about their utopia of ‘hardcore’.
    It’s here – they can play it. My bet is that 99% of them don’t have the stomach for it.

  31. Vetarnias says:

    Raad : That you vatarnias? I’m not going to read the full thing but what’s happening brah?

    Yep, that’s me. Not one of my finest moments, I agree, but then a guy can only suffer so many unfounded accusations before he starts demanding that the situation be addressed.

  32. Mordiceius says:


    I think the difference comes in that a lot of the people laid off from the other companies were hard workers that put out good work. I wouldn’t care if the entire Darkfall team was fire because they’ve only proved themselves to be lazy and deceptive.

  33. Openedge1 says:

    I was going to rail against these guys, but man, you are doing one fine job..

    They deserve it all as well…This game took 10 years to make, looks like it was made 10 years ago…and they want to charge the price of REAL games..

    Sad, sad…

  34. Anticorium says:

    I think that the reason people read Scott as bitter is that they’re mistaking the source of his pessimism.

    The Darkfall well-wishers see a bitter old man scowling “Mankind will never fly! If we were meant to God would have given us wings! Oh god my crippling acrophobia! If anyone achieves flight I will be undone! I fear change.” And then Orville and Wilbur Wright are drifting over the land at Kitty Hawk, and poor crazy Scott is left to moan about how they didn’t really fly because he could probably be six feet off the ground, so that isn’t good enough, and anyway get off his lawn.

    I see it more like watching a film montage of people trying to fly by wearing a special wing harness and flapping their arms really, really hard… and then along comes Darkfall insisting that it can fly, by wearing an extra-special wing harness and flapping its arms really, really, really hard. And there’s Scott on the sidelines in a spiffy bowler hat saying “Uh, you know that people have already tried this, right? Shadowbane’s shoulder still hurts when it rains.” And apparently what happens next is that Darkfall sneers “Shows what you know, old man!”, runs off a nearby cliff, falls twenty feet while flapping its arms, and breaks a leg in two places.

    Darkfall isn’t doing anything new. It’s doing the same things that have failed in the past. And while it’s true that past failure does not guarantee future failure, if the newcomer is doing the same things that have failed in the past only harder, failure’s the way to bet.

  35. Bleaktea says:

    You know expectations for your product are low when people exclaim, “It actually launched? For twenty minutes? Amazing!”

    Mind you, I’ve sworn a lot of crazy oaths over the years about Darkfall (“Bah! If it launches, I will turn myself inside-out like a fancy raincoat.”), I really hope people don’t start calling me on them.

  36. Hatch says:

    This is hardcore. I love watching people experience this level of disappointment about a game, let them whip themselves into a frenzy and quit. Let the game die, or survive and adapt into a better game. All this, so that in six months I can buy a copy if it is getting good reviews and play then. These people are my raging proxies. They suffer so I don’t have to.

  37. Tobold says:

    I totally agree that Darkfall will fail hard, because nobody really wants to play hardcore PvP in the long run. But this post is a bit below you. You’re basically accusing a small Greek company of not having solved the server problems much bigger companies elsewhere had with launch. That shouldn’t even be news, one kind of expects that at launch.

    As for the comments calling Darkfall vaporware and a scam, well, I played the beta for a couple of hours, and the game definitely exists. I didn’t like it, hated the underlying philosophy, but it sure isn’t vaporware.

  38. markalot says:

    Does Darkfall actually exist? Everything I’ve read is coming from people that can’t get in.

    I’m not convinced they are a company, I picture 2 guys in the basement convinced that their home internet connection can handle the load.

    Good luck all! 🙂

  39. Raad says:

    You forgot to mention that the game in question was in competition with duke nukem forever for the title of “Game That Will Never Launch”. Come on brah, the game has been in development for freakin’ years, Scott had a blog invasion from them (I still lol at the part where he goes “except they forget that I was complaining about these same issues YEARS AGO”) and lest not forget how everyone loves proclaiming that it is the MMO to end all MMOs.

  40. Raad says:

    @Tobold, my last post. Woops.

  41. Random Poster says:

    Vetarnias :And this just in: The guy who made the Hitler-tries-to-beta-test-Darkfall video made a new masterpiece:

    “Give me a break.”

    “You want a Kit Kat Bar?”

    “No I don’t want a fucking Kit Kat bar”

    That mad eme laugh.

    And then at the end when tells them to get one…laughed loud enough people over from me asked what was so funny.

  42. Amp says:

    “For good game performance, you should have a PIII-800 and a GeForce1-2 or ATI Radeon.”

    *raises hand* OoOOoO
    I got one of those…actually mines a 900 sitting on the floor beside me in pieces! And it maxes out at 512 ram.
    I was building a Mame box out of it until I realized just…how… freakin… slow… it really is.
    This is pacman I’m trying to play. Not an Mmog.

    On a side note Quakelive, runs pretty well in a browser (with an updated computer).

  43. It seems like the servers being down means that the game is actually better than expected, no?

  44. paul says:

    When you fail to plan for forseeable problems in an endeavour of this kind you deserve all the ridicule you get, moreso when you have had innumerable chances to learn from the mistakes of others doing the same thing over the years.

  45. Arkazon says:

    This industry does not tolerate abject failure. It’s one thing to put out a solid product and have a small niche group of fans to keep you afloat. It’s quite another thing to hype your game from the mountaintops and then produce only crushing disappointment. Poor products and poor management should be met with poor reviews. If you’re going to hype your game to that level, you better deliver.

    Granted, I’m still bitter I bought the collector’s edition of Age of Conan when only the first 20 levels were ready. Still, it’s a lesson hard-learned: you don’t get a second chance at a first impression.

  46. Bleaktea says:

    Phil Sandifer :It seems like the servers being down means that the game is actually better than expected, no?

    … er, no. This would be the opposite of a logical conclusion. The best you could say is that the game is more popular than expected – which is by no means a mark of quality. It could also mean the server software is terrible.

    But given how most MMOs have rickety launch days, I don’t put much stock in this. I mean, I’m sure it’s just the tip of the Fail Iceberg, but on its own it’s not that big of a deal.

  47. Tholal says:

    Ha! Those are some funny quotes! Talk about biting yourself in the ass with overconfidence.

    And I should see if I still have a GeForce 2 card sitting around that I can play Darkfall with!

  48. Gx1080 says:

    Well, pride from devs, and specially taking in account that pride it must be the only thing holding the proyect together for years and years is expected.

    Uber crap launches are also expected, look the WoW 3.0.9 patch mess. But i think that now they should polish the game a lot.

    Yes they are going to bleed customers in the process but they are going to keep their niche if they do polish and i mean what ive said before: exploits, BIG and EMPTY world, etc.

    Of course is not going to be perfect from day one (It would be good, but it isnt going to happen). And all that karma biting the developers in the ass its fine but in the next few months they are going to work their ass off if they want to survive.

    Yeah getting all “second coming of christ” and developing a niche game it sucks, but lets face it: stockholders want to put their money in the second coming and “the WoW slayer”, not in niche games. That means that, just like the EA news, those BIG news arent for players, they are for stockholders.

    And only a 1/4 of the guys that buy that game are going to stay in the next few months. All of those things arent ok but if money werent an issue, if people stop trying to get the WoW success instead of their own, if people undestood that MMOs are a service. If.


  49. EpicSquirt says:

    It could be worse: It could be Mark Jacobs calling Warhammer “the most successful launch in recent MMOG history” while K8P is doing automatic rollbacks, scenarios are unplayable and the client itself is one giant memory leak.

  50. Larry Lard says:

    I really can’t see any of the hate or bitterness that some commenters apparently can in this article. This is pure snark – the taxi-to-victory Lum of the old days. Thumbs up!

  51. Technogeek says:

    “Stratics IRC: Wait a minute… Stratics still exists? And it’s our only source of Darkfall news? My god, they DID recreate UO!”

    That was the point at which I knew I would never stop laughing.

  52. The Claw says:

    This isn’t hatred or bitterness. It’s just hardcore PvP (poster vs. poster) action. Darkfall’s fans and developers should enjoy it!

  53. Wufiavelli says:

    God i cannot wait till this over and i can enjoy the game without all the rabble, zergs, and fly by night malcontents (many will stay) leave.

    Said this would be tragically bad.

    Game will likely survive it though.

  54. […] dude has a real need to pick on Adventurine about it. The best theory is that it’s payback for all those times he […]

  55. TariqOne says:

    Wufiavelli :God i cannot wait till this over and i can enjoy the game without all the rabble, zergs, and fly by night malcontents (many will stay) leave.
    Said this would be tragically bad.
    Game will likely survive it though.

    We’ll see.

    The problem is that right now it looks like a mad rush to buy Darkfall, but that is more because they created a situation where 10,000 customers was an overwhelming number. What is the real amximum market for this game? I doubt it’s 300,000 or even 200,000 people pounding on the door. Is it 100,000? Hard to tell.

    Whatever that number is, experience tells us that this is likely the high-water mark. With a launch like this, and the general STFU-or-GTFO nature of the core Darkfall community, what sort of retention rates is Darkfall going to see in the first three months.

    The numbers just don’t seem to work, in my view. I personally can’t see more than 30,000 subscribers by the time the dust settles and that’s likely overstating it. Given that the world was designed to have a PvP focus in a large landmass on 10,000-concurrent-user servers. 30,000 total subscribers or anything less just seems like a recipe for a big, empty, moribund PvP world at most hours of the day.

    Sure, it might survive, but Aventurine seems to be quickly using up what little margin for error they had to pull it off.

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