Darkfall Update 2: In Which Some Darkfall Is Played

So, with little fanfare, apparently Darkfall’s released now! The store is open all 24 hours that most days have, and if you want to buy it, by cracky, it seems you can. So I did. After a long download, and a long install, and a long patch, finally, I was ready to master the game of Darkfall. AND MASTER IT I SHALL. verily.

I decided, given the recent foofrah about another website that dared to say unkind things about the One True PvP Game, that when writing these updates, I would follow some basic ground rules. To wit:

I would keep an open mind. Sure, Darkfall has already become almost legendary in its community’s ….uncompromising attitude, but forum hijinks and what occurs within an MMO are almost always two different things. (See: Shadowbane) By god, if there is enjoyment to be had, I would find it! Note: I enjoy killing people in video games, so this shouldn’t be that hard!

I would be an anonymous player. No trading on net.fame here! (Although given the history of this blog and Darkfall, it may be more of a self-defense mechanism.)

I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, but Ayu-chan will comfort me.

I will walk through the valley of the shadow of virtual death, but Ayu-chan will comfort me.

And most importantly, I would listen to appropriate music while playing. This was difficult. What is the most appropriate soundtrack for the dark, harsh, brutal lands of Darkfall? Evanescence? Mercyful Fate? Epica? Type O Negative? Nightwish? Mayhem? Finally I settled on something I felt would help me keep the proper attitude. I would not play Darkfall without listening to music by the Empress of Tokyo Pop, Ayumi Hamasaki.

With that, it was time to play Darkfall.

Or at least, try.

The patcher for Darkfall is… let’s just call it finicky. Perhaps it’s the first step in the long culling process to make sure you’re really ready for Darkfall. Sometimes it would display that it was patching. Sometimes it would display that I had a position in the queue (despite there not being a queue, that I could tell). And sometimes, it would just say, well, this:

denied

Mind you, this is with no “browser and instant messaging applications” open. I was kind of at a loss here for a bit. I checked Darkfall’s technical support, but Darkfall doesn’t have any, nor a technical support forum (even though the in-game help refers to it), nor any apparent CS that I could find, or a manual, or even a README.TXT file. Clearly I was on my own for figuring this out. Fine, I’m hard core, I’m PLAYING DARKFALL. Well, not really, yet. I’m trying to. But, this is another test, and I CAN HANDLE IT. I did have Ayumi’s “Rainy Day” playing in Windows Media Player. Perhaps Darkfall didn’t like “Rainy Day”. I switched to “Step You” and Darkfall launched fine. Fine, everyone’s a critic.

Oh, HELL no.

Oh, HELL no.

The next step involved creating a character. Choices involved picking between the ugliest race ever to be seen in an MMO since Mythic decided undead gremlins would do well for an expansion – and of course, the description tells you that they are dark, emo elves that hate EVERYONE. Well, that’s nice. Then there’s the nice light elves, that I probably should have picked because they had a 0.5% archery bonus or something, but, yeah, elves. No. Then you had the Mahrin, which look like just the thing for aspiring PKers who want you to be killed, then raped, by a huge furry bear. This would be amusing normally, but I already have a Second Life account. So I just picked human, and went through my customization options, which mostly involved piercings.

I made a female character, because if I’m going to play Darkfall, I’m going to by god PLAY DARKFALL, and ensure that the rape references I was fully expecting when breaking my “keeping an open mind” rule would at least be heterosexual in nature. I named her after my favorite NPC in Everquest, and we were off!

I logged in, and was completely naked save for a leather bikini and a dagger that was helpfully called useless in the mouseover. Yeah, this is going to be fun. HARDCORE FUN.

running1

In the grim world of Darkfall, there is only leather bikini.

So, after a few minutes of goblinsmashing and wrenching items off of their carcasses, here you can see some good things about Darkfall. The world itself is pretty well rendered, with nice use of shadowing. You can also see damage modeling where goblins violently objected to my stealing their things. So far, so good.

Then you have the not so good parts. (Note to Darkfall partisans eager to yell EUROGAMER in my face, some notes: yes, this is only after a few hours of play. Also I know that the forums have helpful newbie guides that are only somewhat wildly out of date. Also yes I know you are supposed to join a guild within seconds of opening a Darkfall account or you are a loser and should pray for death. Also yes I know only newbs use anything besides archery and magic missile. Also yes I play World of Warcraft and enjoy it. On an RP server. Eating roast piggeth.)

r_mirdain

What, you needed to know MORE? Carebear.

First is the polish. Or rather, the lack thereof. I’ve already hit on the difficulty in just getting Darkfall to launch. A good portion of the user interface has “This button is temporarily disabled” placeholders. Others, like taking screenshots within the game or shifting camera angles, apparently don’t work. A disturbing amount of in-game text is misspelled or otherwise grammatically mangled. The animations… um… humans don’t move like that. It’s very distracting when in third person view and watching your character have such a strange gait that you want Dr. House to tell you it’s not lupus. The combat animations are… clumsy. Compared with the well-executed world art, it’s quite dissonant.

Of course, that has little to do with gameplay. I’d like to tell you about the gameplay, but I can’t do a good job of it, since I simply don’t know that much. The in-game documentation consists of a helpfile that is enough information to get you into combat mode and little else, although it does helpfully tell you about cannons and warhulks and mechanaughts or whatever the hell else it taunts you with, but it neglects to explain the magic system, beyond a very cursory “drag the icon to your hotbar” introduction. Even with the low bar set by ‘documentation’ in other MMOs, this sets a new low.

What you do learn quickly is that Darkfall’s interface is complex. Or, put another way, cumbersome. To attack something, you unsheathe your weapon with the R key, and then swing/shoot (Oblivion-style, in real time – which is a point in its favor and seems, at least with first experimenting, to work well). Once something dies, it spawns a grave. You then press R to sheathe your weapon, then highlight the grave, then press F to open it, then press B to open your own backpack, and then hurriedly try to drag each item, one by one, into your backpack before someone else opens up the grave and helps themselves. I’m sure there’s a perfectly valid justification for this involving slowing down player looting and realism and tactical decisions and whatnot, but when your first experience is fumbling around pointing vaguely at a gravestone while other goblins whale at your back and other players helpfully loot your kills for you, there tends to be fewer second experiences.

"someone else" knows what's up.

"someone else" knows what's up.

One problem with the client is the fact that most of the interface is actually a web application. This means that there’s a significant delay when opening a dialog and seeing the browser instantiate in the dialog box, and also that the dialog is usually focused on, say, the bottom fourth of what you’re actually looking at, and you’ll need to resize the dialog and scroll around to find, say, a guild listing. This is, like much else in Darkfall apparently, serviceable after a fashion, but only just. The irritants pile up quickly.

Of course, I’m sure most people reading this and having followed the Darkfall saga here, you would probably expect me to regale you with tales of random PKing, abusive “suck it up” tells, and the like. Well, that didn’t happen. The few users I saw while playing were… quiet. Also obviously not new, since they were in full armor as opposed to my leather bikini and using arrows with wild abandon whereas I had to painstakingly collect mine from goblin corpses (I suspect they were there to harvest them). They did loot my kills whenever possible, but didn’t try to flag or otherwise be griefy. I suspect they really didn’t care enough to. Not as dramatic, but more realistic. What, are they going to steal my goblin axe?

But of course, the fun in Darkfall is in joining a clan, right? And laying waste to your enemies! I bet that’s lots of fun, especially as a level zero character that specializes in running away. We’ll see. But for now, enjoy some Darkfall theme music.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Apbpu7h85k

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247 Responses to Darkfall Update 2: In Which Some Darkfall Is Played

  1. Daniel says:

    Sometimes I think Scott you missed your calling in life as a comedian. That was funny. Or maybe it’s just been a long week. Anyway, I laughed. And that’s good.

  2. Amaranthar says:

    Not like anyone familiar with Darkfall can’t figure out who your character is now. *rolls eyes*

    This is Friday night, most of the heavy PvPers are fighting city battles. Wait ’till a little later, they’ll swing by where you are for their “run for the newbies”.

    As an alternative, you can check out the NPC for the quests they offer, helpfully listed under the “services” heading. They’ll teach you the wonders of harvesting. You get to grind harvesting, and earn gold by selling that or use it to grind crafting. After a while, “a while” being defined in the same manner as downloading the game, you will start to accumulate some wealth. Then you can buy some nicer things. Then when the PKers come around, you can d0n8 to the cause.

    Oh, don’t forget to switch your chat tab to the “monster” tab just to check out what the MOBs are saying while you kill them. And check out the “trade” tab to get an idea of what things are selling for, the “Race alliance” tab to get an idea of PKers running around, and the “race” tab if you want to hear guild recruitment spam. Meanwhile, the guy next to you might be asking you a question in the “general” tab chat.

    And remember, Have Fun!

  3. sidereal says:

    The irritances pile up quickly.

    Irritations? Irritants? Instances of ire? Is this a new Darkfall word that carebears do not recognize?

  4. bloo says:

    Will there be any taxiing, to victory or otherwise?

  5. Freakazoid says:

    Besides technical and UI problems, that sounded like a tame experience. I guess they aren’t as hardcore as I was lead to believe.

  6. Julian says:

    Amaranthar :

    Oh, don’t forget to switch your chat tab to the “monster” tab just to check out what the MOBs are saying while you kill them. And check out the “trade” tab to get an idea of what things are selling for, the “Race alliance” tab to get an idea of PKers running around, and the “race” tab if you want to hear guild recruitment spam. Meanwhile, the guy next to you might be asking you a question in the “general” tab chat.

    Why aren’t people talking more about this achievement? Someone goes to all the trouble of making a chat system that is worse than Guild Wars’ and nobody notices?

    Tonight I shall drink from the blood of ten designers in your honor, Darkfall team. Qapla’!

  7. J. says:

    So this means you gave them money.

  8. Gx1080 says:

    All the work went to the gameplay and the scenary. That isnt bad, in fact its very good, but UI and the host download service… look like done in last minute. Aka at least they could put a tutorial that explains how to use magic. And a tech-support forum.

    And i tried WAR a couple months ago and my character twisted and the sheathe animation its clunky. So polish wasnt expected but a browser chat and UI?? Thats a new level of chunch-rush crap.

  9. Amaranthar says:

    Heh, the chat system really isn’t too much worse than other MMOs. I just thought it was funny to put the monster chat separate. I mean, who’s ever looking at it? But the entire modern day MMO chat system, while very convenient, leaves a lot of strangers never talking to each other, players never “overhearing” conversations that pique their interest in something in the game, and overall very bad for immersion and socialization. Darkfall just took it a step farther. But their system actually is pretty well done for it’s kind even though it’s still buggy. You can drag a tab outside of the window and drop it so it goes into the background, and some other nice features. I really don’t remember how well it’s documented in the /help, nor how well some things work. It’s one of those things that remind you just how incomplete the game is.

  10. Sullee says:

    Any semi-current WMP hosts a browser. I know we all like to think we are super technical but with respect to installing applications you should close out of everything as a first troubleshooting step. I’m not saying that was the cause but it could have been.

  11. > Irritations? Irritants? Instances of ire? Is this a
    > new Darkfall word that carebears do not recognize?

    Um… sort of!

    Re: the WMP thing above: if Darkfall is demanding an exclusive lock on all IE processes, then… well, that’s pretty frightening all by itself. Regardless, I was still thankfully able to play my chirpy J-Pop while playing Darkfall.

    Also, chat isn’t a web application. It looked like anything database-driven (like guild lists and such) was loading some sort of web app; it was pretty easy to tell when it was doing so because there would be a delay in anything being displayed and then the formatting of the window itself would be screwy.

  12. Dave Rickey says:

    So is that a typo, or is the name for the werewolf race “Mahrin”? Or did you name your werewolf Mahrin?

    –The artist formerly known as Mahrin Skel

  13. Coppertopper says:

    You’ve already gained more cred then zitron – at this point would you give it more then 2/10?

  14. Aetius says:

    Scott,

    The wolf-people are named Mahirim.

    The patcher uses IE (or Firefox, if it is all you have – that’s what Wine uses) to view the server status page.

    The only parts of the interface that are web-based are the clan and journal interfaces. And yes, they are terrible – it is a Java wrapper around IE and doesn’t really like to share.

  15. Hudson says:

    This is going to be awesome. Please keep playing and ripping this trash

  16. Stabs says:

    Waits with interest for the Corpsecampers are Bastards!!!111222 update.

    Good stuff, Scott!

  17. Dirk says:

    I think Rammstein would be more appropriate music…

  18. Vetarnias says:

    Can’t wait to see you tackle the question of exploiting/macroing.

    Just to get you in the mood: http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/thread/236919/page/1 (Well worth reading.)

  19. Syncaine says:

    “But of course, the fun in Darkfall is in joining a clan, right? And laying waste to your enemies! I bet that’s lots of fun, especially as a level zero character that specializes in running away.”

    Even more so than EVE, a fresh character can join his guild in PvP or PvE as soon as he logs in. Will you be as effective? Of course not, but then again the enemy won’t know you are fresh, and will consider you just as big a threat as the guy next to you, especially since any establish guild will give you some half decent armor. And since PvP combat comes down more to player skill than in-game stats, you can actually contribute a fair bit.

  20. Owain says:

    Very good writeup Scott. I didn’t get a chance to get in game yesterday, but the servers were a bit twitchy Thursday. If the store is open full time now, they may be adjusting to a big influx of new players.

    I think the new interface clumsiness you are experiencing is just that, adjusting to a new interface. I find that now muscle memory is taking hold, and I can unsheath, attack, switch weapons/toolbars, and sheath and loot without having to think about it much.

    Playing solo right now in the noob areas isn’t a big problem, but eventually, you will want to hook up with a clan. For one thing, some training and gear is only available in player cities, not in the generic race npc cities. Further, you get access to resources, both PvE and crafting, with greater security that numbers provides. Also, much of the game play does involve group pvp and city sieges, so you should participate in those activities as well, sooner or later, to see more of what Darkfall offers.

    I look forward to reading your further impressions. It will be interesting to see how they compare with my own.

  21. Gx1080 says:

    About macroing, i got this from the source:

    http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?t=188024

    That “fix” already was with melee skills, so bye bye macroers. I wonder if they will reset the server?

  22. Vetarnias says:

    Gx1080 :
    About macroing, i got this from the source:
    http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?t=188024
    That “fix” already was with melee skills, so bye bye macroers. I wonder if they will reset the server?

    In Tasos we trust?

  23. EpicSquirt says:

    Why are people bothering?

    I was interested in the game before it came out, but hey, getting in line in order to mass exploit and all what a GM would do would be to kick the people so they can relog and continue is just sick ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bj0FoLMDR98 ).

  24. Longasc says:

    sounds awesome…^^

  25. hanshotfirst says:

    So that’s what Tila Tequila would look like without fake boobs and tattoos? Nice.

  26. Iggep says:

    Dude… that music… um… wow….

  27. Iggep says:

    EpicSquirt :
    Why are people bothering?
    I was interested in the game before it came out, but hey, getting in line in order to mass exploit and all what a GM would do would be to kick the people so they can relog and continue is just sick (

    ).

    What the heck was I seeing there? lol

  28. Owain says:

    What that was was a rigor party. Players found that an AOE spell, earthquake, would cause the rigor player attribute to go up. Rigor helps a player defend against most if not all kinds of damage. Casting it against clan/alliance members would cause no damage (I think, kind of fuzzy here, since I didn’t do this myself). So, to maximize the benefit, people would form player pyramids and have casters chain cast the spell so everyone in the pile would gain rigor.

    There wasn’t much if any guidance from devs/GMs at first whether this was a valid technique or an expoit. When I first heard of it, I thought it was similar to a common practice in Ultima Online, casting an AOE spell like Firewall or Poison Feild, and then having people run through the resulting wall/field to gain in the Magic Resist spell. By the time this video was taken, the devs had deciced it was a bug, not a feature.

    Apparently, the GMs have limited power to control things like this, since they just kicked the offenders instead of banning them. Within a day or so, a new patch came out that fixed the bug, so I guess they figured it wasn’t a big deal.

    I don’t think it’s a very big deal, either. The players in the vid should have stopped when told by the GM, but it doesn’t make much if any difference with game play. I’ve found that my rigor has been building just fine by sparring with clan/alliance members, so I have nearly the same benefit as those who attended rigor parties, but I didn’t have to burn up 750+ sulpher reagents to do it.

  29. geldonyetich says:

    It’s sadly ironic that this blog has attracted one or two Darkfall players to refute the horrible, horrible things that Mr. Jennings is apparently saying about their game. Why, that could very well be a sizable fraction of the entire existing playerbase left in the game!

    It’s ironic because, if they had bothered to read the archives they might have noticed that he wanted the game to succeed. I believe him when he says he took the game with an open mind here.

    That said, the man conducts comically lampooning MMORPG that are truly broken enough as a high culinary artist would the preparation of a truly delicious meal.

    MMORPG crafting has come along far enough that you just don’t see that many broken enough anymore. What is to satiate our palate in this world of mostly working but bland MMORPGs? What, ho: Darkfall deliverth “broken enough” in spades!

    That’s why Brokentoys has been largely featuring Darkfall for awhile now. The man was rooting for this turkey but, well, it’s dead now: let the feast begin. It’s nothing personal against those who enjoy the game, really.

    Maybe I’m taking this “commenting on an entry” thing a bit too literally.

  30. Merkwurdigliebe says:

    Constipated Drow for great justice!

  31. GTB says:

    Best blog update in months. More!

  32. Queso says:

    Great post!

    But I want to know more about the crafting system.

  33. Athryn says:

    Man, you made me totally miss Iconnu, Lum. They were the best!

  34. Tesh says:

    Hmm… speaking of the “looting a goblin” trouble with loot ninjas, I wonder if an instanced intro zone would be helpful here. If nothing else, it would be nice to get a handle on the gameplay mechanics before you wind up dealing with ninjas.

    It’s one thing to toss players in at the deep end in an effort to teach them via hard knocks, but is that really the best way to keep people playing?

  35. geldonyetich says:

    @Tesh
    Those are common sense answers, but thing you’ve got to realize about Darkfall Online is that they really trump it up as being a super hardcore game.

    Instancing? OMG, go back to WoW, carebear!
    School of hard knocks? Yeah, that’s just the way we like it, newb!

    Of course, that this hardcore focus might be covering for simple developer inexperience is probably too close to the truth.

  36. Vetarnias says:

    @geldonyetich
    I guess that once the Darkfall fad has passed, we’ll have to be content with old-fashioned lambasting of failed WoW copycats.

  37. Vetarnias says:

    @Vetarnias
    Typical MMORPG.com censorship, the thread is gone, but it was very enlightening while it was there (and I made a copy of the original post for safekeeping).

  38. Vetarnias says:

    Vetarnias :
    @Vetarnias
    Typical MMORPG.com censorship, the thread is gone, but it was very enlightening while it was there (and I made a copy of the original post for safekeeping).

    Couple of backup links, in case anyone’s interested:
    http://www.mortalonline.com/forums/11490-darkfall-hacker-confession-not-me.html
    http://www.darkfallitalia.it/forum/viewtopic.php?f=30&p=8805

    (It’s probably the most insightful look into hacking in Darkfall, even though I question the guy’s motives.)

  39. Gx1080 says:

    @Vetarnias

    About that post, that was typical macroer bullshit: “Im not that bad as the other guys so i didnt do anything wrong and its fault of Adventurine because they cant stop me”. .

    Say it with me: Bullshit. Owain said it the best “if you expend two weeks macroing, you dont thing that you will miss something in the way?”.

    And the typical: “Im sorry but I DIDNT DO ANYTHING WRONG”. **rolleyes**

    A pathetic and egotistical excuse.

  40. UnSub says:

    Of course Nietzsche would be playing Darkfall. Bet Jung plays WoW on an RP server, the carebear.

    Freud plays Second Life. Ayn Rand runs a corp in EvE.

  41. Vetarnias says:

    UnSub :
    Of course Nietzsche would be playing Darkfall. Bet Jung plays WoW on an RP server, the carebear.
    Freud plays Second Life. Ayn Rand runs a corp in EvE.

    And Marx plays Hello Kitty Online?

  42. Vetarnias says:

    @Gx1080
    What transpired of the MMORPG.com thread was that he was quitting because his second account, the clean one, had been banned, and he wanted to spill the beans on what he saw. If that didn’t happen, we’d never have gotten that thread.

    Plus one of the guys mentioned in the post (you know, the one who made that YouTube video proclaiming himself a legend with references to Darwin) showed up and started throwing abuse at those he regarded as his intellectual inferiors (i.e. everyone). (Note to the guy, if he’s reading this: Nobody cares whether you hacked or exploited or did anything remotely objectionable from the developers’ viewpoint. That’s because nobody cares about how leet you are.)

  43. Owain says:

    geldonyetich :MMORPG crafting has come along far enough that you just don’t see that many broken enough anymore. What is to satiate our palate in this world of mostly working but bland MMORPGs? What, ho: Darkfall deliverth “broken enough” in spades!

    You keep saying that, but still, you give no specifics, and I’m still not seeing it.  The game seems to be following an ordered release, at least according to my theory of why they are doing some of the things they are doing.  The released slowly, on one server, limiting the number of downloads so they could control server load.  They gradually expanded their capacity as they tuned their server.  Initally they had server login queue issues, the solved those and expanded the population further.  They’ve had regular patches that have corrected problems as they have encountered them, and now, according to Lum, the online store is open continuously.  This is broken?

    That’s why Brokentoys has been largely featuring Darkfall for awhile now. The man was rooting for this turkey but, well, it’s dead now: let the feast begin. It’s nothing personal against those who enjoy the game, really.Maybe I’m taking this “commenting on an entry” thing a bit too literally.

    It sounds more like Lum considered that maybe they’ve made good progress overcoming their initial problems, and decided that this was a good opportunity to see for himself what was going on.  And SURPRISE, many of the darkest misconceptions held by many did not come to pass. 

    According to Scott:
    Of course, I’m sure most people reading this and having followed the Darkfall saga here, you would probably expect me to regale you with tales of random PKing, abusive “suck it up” tells, and the like. Well, that didn’t happen. The few users I saw while playing were… quiet. Also obviously not new, since they were in full armor as opposed to my leather bikini and using arrows with wild abandon whereas I had to painstakingly collect mine from goblin corpses (I suspect they were there to harvest them). They did loot my kills whenever possible, but didn’t try to flag or otherwise be griefy. I suspect they really didn’t care enough to. Not as dramatic, but more realistic. What, are they going to steal my goblin axe?

    Darkfall’s ‘broken’ seems to exist only in the minds of those who have not played it.

  44. Gx1080 says:

    @Vetarnias
    The issue is that i just saw a bunch of excuses for the OP about his macroism while hes pointing to others. All guys whos have been busted doing something illegal trow a tantrum like that.

    And i said that was typical. How i know?

    http://www.eve-mag.com/wordpress/archives/the-sky-is-falling

    More of the same. “Im just a regular guy like you so i can get away with a EULA violation”. I believe that player skill should matter more than programming skill. But thats me.

    Of course, the “nice guys” are less annoying that the “im uber-leet and all of you are going to be pwned and ass raped for me”. But they arent better.

  45. Nakki says:

    I played Darkfall beta. Before I got an invite when a friend borrowed me his account for a few hours and then I got my own invite afterwards. It did not take long to notice that the game would not be a big hit. Biggest things were outright balance issues and bugs, which obviously could be fixed, so not that big problem other than that the game was due to be release in under a month and there were loads of problems. That was clearly visible at release as they didn’t even fix the awesome bug to turn off NPC AI etc 😉

    Apart from that the world was really empty, their graphics’ engine crappy (changing settings did pretty little to change fps anywhere, even though I did have a high end computer so it did not really matter. Also, face it, it isn’t particularily beautiful engine). The world itself was quite ok, if awfully static due to scrapped player housing and very strictly placed clan cities, but the character models and especially animations were the most horrible I’ve seen in a long while.

    I was willing to forgive all that – Darkfall was what I hoped to be atleast decent new pvp game. Sadly very few things were actually well implemented. Actually, I can’t really say any. Guard towers which shoot lightning instead of actual guards, total of like 4 npcs per town and many others were strongly killing any immersion (well, yeah, the story behind Darkfall is awful with a somewhat round world shared to 6 about equally sized slices of pie for each race as a crown on the top).

    Crafting was dissapointing, worse than many systems in many other games instead of the “interesting and complex” system that was promised. “Quake bot level NPCs” were actually boring and very buggy relatively simply scripted generic npcs, the best way to kill which was generally bug their AI and shoot from range until it dies. UI was awkward.

    Well, yeah, I wanted Darkfall to be a pvp game, even though I prefer to play games where doing things in world matter, not games where only pvp matters, which is why I loved EVE until I got bored with it after 4 years, because PVP is the thing that most often fails in mmorpgs. The biggest turnoff in PVP was the very retarded “stamina means everything”-approach which resulted in everyone running for ages before dying – gladly beta when I played had dramatically fewer guard towers than I hear the release has so it was harder to run to the safety of the guard towers. Other than that the bunny hopping and every single character being more or less the same (there was nor apparently is no point in specializing in one thing, generally you’ll have all three or magic and archery or melee. Mana to stamina just is too good to pass.) were huge turnoffs. The pvp required some player skill, I do grant that, but while the pvp generally wasn’t horrible apart from that sprintfest, it was not enough to complement the otherwise utterly horrible game.

    Personally I got banned from the beta about a week before release when they took off the nda and I started telling on public forums why I didn’t like Darkfall.

    On a side note, btw, why do so many small mmo developers insist on making their own usually very crappy graphics engine? It’s a big resource sink and you could probably spend more time polishing the game to actually not suck in most areas when you just use someone else’s engine.

    What I am interested on now is, how much Mortal Online will suck (hopefully not at all, but I am not that hopeful) and when it’ll actually be released (hopefully before next fall like they promise, but believing that is even more hopeful). I say that because from what material they’ve released it seems like it’s more thought out Darkfall with less generic races and no big, cool but quite useless things like ships implemented 😉

  46. Owain says:

    @Nakki

    I think it’s premature to judge a game by the beta. By definition, the game will have a lot of bugs in beta. That’s why it’s called a beta TEST. Since release, the devs have done a good job of addressing problems. There are still areas that could be improved, to be sure, but I find the game far more playable at this point than Age of Conan, for example. I eventually had to quit that game because it kept forcing my system to reboot, which was a problem that hit many players.

    The world will be empty during a beta as well, because they will be no where near full capacity. Darkfall has steadily increased the population and addressed capacity issues since release, so that now, as Scott notes, the online store is open continuously instead of only intermittently. I experienced the wall to wall houses and crowding of Ultima Online (aka Suburbia Online) where there was precious little wildnerness available due to player housing. I’d rather have wide open spaces than to be constantly tripping over players and buildings.

    What specifically did you find lacking in the crafting system? I’m not a crafter, primarily, but for the crafting I do, the system is adequate. Members of my clan who specialize in crafting are well pleased with it. Most players do not come to a game like Darkfall because it has cutting edge crafting play, anyway. ‘Adequate’ is probably good enough for 95% of DF players.

    As far as graphics go, again, DF is adequate. I didn’t buy the game for the eye candy. Vanguard was a very pretty game, but game play sucked. Age of Conan was very good looking, but outside of the the newbie zone on Tortage, game play was lacking, and some dungeons were unplayable due to bugs. And I hate crashes that force reboots. I have had no performance issues with DF, other than unavoidable lag during large city sieges.

    The game play on Darkfall is largely a matter of taste. I like the large scale battles, the city sieges, the small unit tactics, and so forth. You apparently do not, or perhaps didn’t have an opportunity to try things like that before being banned. Maybe the dev’s tweaked things since the beta, but for the most part, fights are over quickly, with no long distance sprint fests you mentioned.

    In the final analysis, I like DF, and you do not. No conclusions can be drawn from that, other than maybe the problems you saw in beta have been fixed, and people like to play the games they like to play. My point of view doesn’t make DF a wild success, nor does your point of view make DF a dismal failure.

    Right now, Darkfall seems to be doing reasonably well, and is better than many people thought it would be. Predictions beyond that are premature.

  47. Gx1080 says:

    Short version:

    The opinion of people that “were in beta” its pretty much worthless in a MMO. That, for definition is constantly changing.

  48. EpicSquirt says:

    @Owain
    Owain, to some, games like DF are perfectly suited for being judged without playing them.

    For me it is enough to read a couple of reviews and to watch some screenshots and videos.

    @Nakki
    I agree, when you plan to make an MMO you shouldn’t write your own 3d/game engine and/or networking middleware, you should buy/license it and focus on other aspects. I know pretty awesome software for cheap :-).

  49. EpicSquirt says:

    @Gx1080
    Some games are so broken at the end of a beta, you can see it from there that they will stay this way until the end of time. See Warhammer for references.

  50. geldonyetich says:

    Owain :
    You keep saying that, but still, you give no specifics, and I’m still not seeing it.

    I’ve given you specifics several times. You seem to forget them remarkably quickly, so it feels futile to do it again. Even reading Mr. Jenning’s entry here, it seems you’ve completely forgotten the parts where he points out the game has a remarkable amount of missing refinement.

  51. Flimgoblin says:

    @Vetarnias
    Does that mean the “legend” youtube video guy wasn’t just taking the piss?

    I’m so disappointed 😦

  52. Lee Quillen says:

    In honor of you giving Darkfall a shake… I will be taking the plunge into Free Realms and giving it a fair run as well.

    I fear I may find myself far more out of place than you this long week.

  53. Gx1080 says:

    Oh, BTW, those “Alfar” are far uglier than the undead gremlins. And Mahirim would be fun, but i dont want to be killed for a furry sicko.

  54. Steve says:

    Any time I hear J-Pop I think of the movie Perfect Blue.

  55. Einherjer says:

    Whoa. Although you qualify 2 buttons as a “good portion” your critic seems quite in line on what the DF players are saying: it has it’s problems but it’s satisfyingly playable. The graphics are not bad and perhaps the animations feel like that because of the uncanny valley. I know I found the same thing while playing DDO but come to get used to it.

    More than a “good review” I hope you have fun in Darkfall and I hope that you will give a good review (not grade) that will help Aventurine to improve that game. At least I heard some reviewers try to do that, instead of killing the game or just drooling all over it because of the publicity fees.

  56. Owain says:

    geldonyetich :

    Owain :You keep saying that, but still, you give no specifics, and I’m still not seeing it.

    I’ve given you specifics several times. You seem to forget them remarkably quickly, so it feels futile to do it again. Even reading Mr. Jenning’s entry here, it seems you’ve completely forgotten the parts where he points out the game has a remarkable amount of missing refinement.

    Crap. Missing refinement != broken. A game that has features that you do not prefer is not broken. Now, if you wish to indulge in hyperbole, that is one thing. But I think you need to define your terminology, because ‘broken’ does not mean what you think it means.

  57. Ardanna says:

    Einherjer :
    Whoa. Although you qualify 2 buttons as a “good portion” your critic seems quite in line on what the DF players are saying: it has it’s problems but it’s satisfyingly playable.

    I dunno, maybe it’s just me, but I didn’t get satisfyingly playable out of that.

  58. heartless_ says:

    Owain :

    geldonyetich :

    Owain :You keep saying that, but still, you give no specifics, and I’m still not seeing it.

    I’ve given you specifics several times. You seem to forget them remarkably quickly, so it feels futile to do it again. Even reading Mr. Jenning’s entry here, it seems you’ve completely forgotten the parts where he points out the game has a remarkable amount of missing refinement.

    Crap. Missing refinement != broken. A game that has features that you do not prefer is not broken. Now, if you wish to indulge in hyperbole, that is one thing. But I think you need to define your terminology, because ‘broken’ does not mean what you think it means.

    The “features” you speak of, whether one likes them or not, lack refinement. That’s a pretty a clear case of broken (as in doesn’t work properly).

    But then again, I’m told blue screens of death are a “feature” of Windows, so what do I know.

  59. geldonyetich says:

    Since we seem to be arguing semantics at this point.

    Broken (Webster)

    Lack of refinement works for about 4-5 of those definitions. Get over it.

  60. Gx1080 says:

    You know, you have been discusing semantics since the WoW archievements thing.

    Besides that, “broken” its a term too absract, and a little exaggerate. It implies an umbereable fault (see:AoEHammer), when its mostly a general lack of polish, and, maybe my expactations are low, but it appears to me that 1)They run out of money and they needed to launch now and 2)Even with an open beta, some things cannot be tested until the live version (and the naivety of Adventurine didnt help).

    I feel a general mixture of both. Despite that, it works, but if for fixing the damage (people on top by macroing), theres has to be eihter a lot of BanHammer or a server reset. Personaly, i vote with the second, its not too late for that one.

  61. Owain says:

    @geldonyetich
    By this definition, then, every game released is broken. Words do have meaning, and when used with imprecision, you fail to communicate.

    Pundit? Meh…

  62. […] Scott Jennings decided a few days ago, now that you can buy Darkfall without camping the Darkfall forums and now that they apparently have plenty of room for new players, to give the impact PvP MMO a good shot. Right between the eyes, with an arrow looted from a goblin. He found a kinder, gentler game than he expected, with friendly players always eager to help loot a corpse. […]

  63. Bonedead says:

    Can’t wait to see the next one.

  64. Flimgoblin says:

    To some the glass is half full, to others it’s been half broken over their head and ready to be used as a ‘chib’*.

    * glaswegian term for a knife or any other impromptu street weapon.

  65. EpicSquirt says:

    @Owain
    Uh, Owain, it’s not broken, it’s FUBAR.

  66. Owain says:

    @EpicSquirt
    Well, according to @geldonyetich , this applies not only to all games, but to everything in general, given his loose interpretation of ‘broken’. Since ‘broken’ is the new ‘normal’, I don’t see what everyone is complaining about.

  67. Xaldin says:

    I think I’d survive that looting system for about 3 kills before I just gave it up. I have a low tolerance for stupid interfaces anymore. Back in the day I could put up with anything but I guess I’m just getting grumpy about stupidity in my old age.

  68. sigh. I expected a write up at least as much fun as the WWIIO post and terms like “I WILL TAXI TO VICTORY” and the Darkfall equivalent of flying tanks. Lum, I’m dissappointed. But the SL reference was amusing!

  69. geldonyetich says:

    Actually, I’ll happily concede the point that most games are “broken” if I extrapolate lack of refinement with Webster to produce at least definition 5: “not complete, or full.”

    After all, how could I be such a jaded gamer if I did not to consider the vast majority of games out there so very unsatisfactory?

    Binary thinking, that lovable pastime, will lead many of us to believe that something either is or isn’t. However, the reality is that something is usually somewhere between on or off.

    Darkfall Online is broken. Most games are broken. Maybe even every game ever made if I consider “broken” as being “imperfect” as these things are, after all, derived from imperfect human hands. The important question isn’t whether they’re broken or not, but “how broken are they?”

    On a scale of 1 to 10, between completely broken and completely flawless, Darkfall rates at about 2. At least if we’re using the Eurogamer reviewer’s mental list of what he considers vital features for a game to have. Along the same consideration, we can consider a game that scores a 9 to be nearly flawless, and a game that scores a 10 to be a complete lie of a score because nothing man made is truly perfect.

    Now, that said, what does broken or working have to do with enjoyment? A game lacking refinement does produce additional obstacles to finding the fun – does anyone deny this? However, is not a creative human mind capable of filling in the cracks and paving the way for enjoyment nonetheless? Absolutely.

    So, if you happen to have the imagination to still enjoy a 2/10 “notably broken” game, it’s really a point in your favor, not a point against you. Would that I had your imagination and faith, Owain, but we would-be pundits are pigeonholed cynics by professional necessity.

  70. Owain says:

    geldonyetich :Actually, I’ll happily concede the point that most games are “broken” if I extrapolate lack of refinement with Webster to produce at least definition 5: “not complete, or full.”

    Sure you can do that, but there isn’t very much nuance there, is there? When everything is ‘broken’, then broken is useless terminology. As an aspiring pundit, if one is going to critique a game , one should try to achieve a higher standard than ‘useless’.

    After all, how could I be such a jaded gamer if I did not to consider the vast majority of games out there so very unsatisfactory?
    Binary thinking, that lovable pastime, will lead many of us to believe that something either is or isn’t. However, the reality is that something is usually somewhere between on or off.
    Darkfall Online is broken. Most games are broken. Maybe even every game ever made if I consider “broken” as being “imperfect” as these things are, after all, derived from imperfect human hands. The important question isn’t whether they’re broken or not, but “how broken are they?”

    Exactly! That, however, is where your criticism fails. You supply no data, merely opinion. ‘Broken’ is the verdict, passed down from on high, based on what? Direct experience? No. Specific examples, compared to some standard of ‘not broken’. No. When pressed for specific examples, you respond with evasions. At one point in the discussion, I asked for a specific example of what is the most broken aspect of Darkfall, and for a game that is so irreparably damaged, you failed to provide anything specific. I may have missed it. If I did, help me out, and supply a link.

    On a scale of 1 to 10, between completely broken and completely flawless, Darkfall rates at about 2. At least if we’re using the Eurogamer reviewer’s mental list of what he considers vital features for a game to have.

    That’s the best you can do? THAT’S your authority on the subject?

    Hearsay evidence from a reviewer who couldn’t find the tutorial quest givers in the noob areas, and so surmised there was no tutorial information?

    The same guy who surmised that archers or mages were worthless because it was SO hard to drag melee weapons from your inventory to your paper doll, but couldn’t figure out how to define a hot key to do the same thing, just like EVERY other MMO ever developed?

    The same guy who spent about 8 of his 9 hours in game playing with the character creation stuff, and one hour in the newbie zone so he could come to the brilliant conclusion that he doesn’t like whacking goblins?

    The same guy whose reveiw was so thoroughly discredited that EuroGamer is conducting another review by someone competant. THAT reveiwer?

    You aren’t doing a very good job of supporting your argument with that one. Just saying…

    Along the same consideration, we can consider a game that scores a 9 to be nearly flawless, and a game that scores a 10 to be a complete lie of a score because nothing man made is truly perfect.
    Now, that said, what does broken or working have to do with enjoyment? A game lacking refinement does produce additional obstacles to finding the fun – does anyone deny this? However, is not a creative human mind capable of filling in the cracks and paving the way for enjoyment nonetheless? Absolutely.
    So, if you happen to have the imagination to still enjoy a 2/10 “notably broken” game, it’s really a point in your favor, not a point against you. Would that I had your imagination and faith, Owain, but we would-be pundits are pigeonholed cynics by professional necessity.

    I don’t rely on imagination and faith. I rely on first hand experience, which is why I no longer play other recent games, like Vanguard, Age of Conan, or Warhammer. If I relied on imagination and faith to overlook substandard game play, I would still be playing one or more of those, but they were found wanting, and discarded.

    I don’t have to imagine whether the Darkfall interface works or not, for my purposes. I use it daily, and I’m smart enough to figure out how to define hotkeys in order to customize, simplify, and streamline my interface options so that I no longer give much thought to it, just as I have done in numberous other games. I actually get out of the newbie zone before drawing conclusions, so I don’t have to imagine what that must be like. I participate in all the aspects of Darkfall game content. Imagination and faith have nothing to do with it.

    But I’m just a gamer. Would-be pundits may be pigeonholed cynics by ‘professional’ necessity, but ignorance of their subject matter must be a fringe benefit, because it is an ignorance arrived at by choice, rather than necessity.

    ACTUAL pundits, like Scott, at least have the professional integrity to do his own research. But then, I suppose that ‘professional’, to some, must have the same elastic properties as ‘broken’, thus rendering it a descriptively useless term.

  71. geldonyetich says:

    I thought what I wrote was a pretty fair point. All games are flawed but some games are more flawed than other. Darkfall Online deserves panning for being more flawed than usual. However, if you still enjoy the game, more power to you as you’re able to see past the flaws.

    In reply, Owain tells me that he’s once again forgotten where Darkfall Online’s flaws have been pointed out by me, Mr. Jennings, and the Eurogamer reviewer. He has chosen to overlook them out of “first hand experience” and not “imagination and faith” and that anyone that hasn’t overlooked them is lacking in the necessary professionalism to preform adequate research.

    I’d like to say I respectfully disagree, but there’s very little for me to respect about how you’re going about your defense of the indefensible. There reaches a certain level in which you’ve transcended mere fan service and have reached a level of desperate self-delusion so deep and pervading it invokes pity.

    So it is that I pull away my siege engines to allow the asylum’s inmates their well-needed isolation. I will perhaps leave one sentence of advice: abandon those unsound walls, as they can only cave in about you for their lack of adequate internal support.

  72. JuJutsu says:

    “So it is that I pull away my siege engines to allow the asylum’s inmates their well-needed isolation.”

    What took you so long? Fanbois like all true believers will not and cannot recognize value in any dissenting view. Time to move on.

  73. geldonyetich says:

    The blunt answer is that my mind is prone to flights of fancy, a favorite of mine being getting to the bottom of things.

    Owain carries himself with more articulation than most fans, but under enough hard scrutiny, the truth of an irrational desire to defend the undefendable reveals itself.

    You don’t have to be an idiot to fall for it – emotional fixation upon a thing is a piteously easy disease to catch – perhaps a pillar of the human condition. The best thing we can do is attempt to quell the symptoms through rationalization. Often, ignoring them, lest the attention they earn encourage them, is the best medicine, but it doesn’t sit well morally.

    I know, rhetorical question. I’m procrastinating like a champ today.

  74. Owain says:

    Alas, my elegant articulate response was lost among the various internets, so until I can recreate it I have one question.

    @geldonyetich , did you actually read Lum’s post that starts this thread?

    Here’s the Readers Digest version:

    “The patcher for Darkfall is… let’s just call it finicky.” I think this is less a Darkfall issue and more a Windows issue, but it’s hard to say. I had no problems, myself.

    Lum thinks the Alfar are “the ugliest race ever to be seen in an MMO.” No accounting for taste. Has he never seen WoWs Undead?

    “The world itself is pretty well rendered, with nice use of shadowing. You can also see damage modeling where goblins violently objected to my stealing their things.” This is a bad thing?

    Lum accurately notes the game requires additional polish, but concludes, “Of course, that has little to do with gameplay.” I can live with that.

    Lum thinks there is insufficient in game documentation, but I suspect that is because he didn’t find what is available yet. There is a LOT of information in the game. In fact, at the end of the review, he complains that there is so much information in the various game dialogs, he has trouble accessing it. I hope he clarifies this, because I’m confused by his contradictory remarks. As far as the magic system goes, there is a lot of info available in game. As in other games, you drag the spell icons to your hot bar, and with a wand equip, use the hot bar to cast them. If you don’t have the necessary reagents, you get a message in the system window. If you mouse over a spell icon, you get specific spell info. I’m not sure what further info he is looking for.

    “What you do learn quickly is that Darkfall’s interface is complex.” True. You have 700 or so skills, and about that many spells. The looting mechanism he describes is designed that way for PvP. Actions have consequences. If you take the time to loot a corpse, you frequently will end up getting caught with your pants down. Not a good thing in a PvP-centric game.

    He ends with, “Of course, I’m sure most people reading this and having followed the Darkfall saga here, you would probably expect me to regale you with tales of random PKing, abusive “suck it up” tells, and the like. Well, that didn’t happen. The few users I saw while playing were… quiet. Also obviously not new, since they were in full armor as opposed to my leather bikini and using arrows with wild abandon whereas I had to painstakingly collect mine from goblin corpses (I suspect they were there to harvest them). They did loot my kills whenever possible, but didn’t try to flag or otherwise be griefy. I suspect they really didn’t care enough to. Not as dramatic, but more realistic. What, are they going to steal my goblin axe?”

    Yeah, that Lum sure dropped the hammer on Darkfall with that post.

    I think it’s a good thing for @geldonyetich to retire from the field of battle. I don’t see that he’s making an effective argument. Citing Lum’s post isn’t helping much, at any rate.

  75. geldonyetich says:

    That’s all very well and good, but it only confirms what I was saying: Darkfall Online is more flawed than most games, fully deserving of a lower than average review rating, but you might be able to find a way to enjoy it anyway. That you’re such a reactionary fan is why it’s been so hard for you to swallow that’s all we’ve ever been saying.

    You shouldn’t take it as a personal affront that, in considering the vast field of what constitutes a modern game experience, Darkfall Online is greatly inferior in the amount of refinement needed to deliver a smooth gaming experience.

    But you do. You write big long posts about how you don’t see these impediments. We explain them to you, your eyes glaze over, and you pretend it didn’t happen. Or maybe you creatively reinterpret them, as the typical Darkfall fan did the Eurogamer reviewer.

    That’s cute. Real cute. It shows a level of devotion that’s like a soggy puppy you rescued from the docks, starving from lack of proper PvP grief play tripe. That little scrub will never see anything wrong with you. You’re Darkfall’s puppy.

    However, a rotten egg remains a rotten egg no matter how much you claim the smell doesn’t bother you.

  76. Owain says:

    @geldonyetich Must be why Eurogamer is so proud of that review, they are having it redone by someone who does more than play with character creation, and maybe actually plays the game.

    I have acknowledged the various areas where Darkfall requires additional polish, but like Lum notes in his very preliminary first impressions, I balance the flaws against those things that Darkfall does very well.  In future posts, I’ll be interested to see if Lum agrees with me, or not about what DF does exceptionally well.

    There are fanbois, and there are anti-fanbois. In your view, I may have an excess of unjustified enthusiam (which I dispute, in that I at least have first hand experience). From my point of view, you display an unjustified distaste born of gamer bigotry and profound ignorance, and thus are unable to dicern between serious flaws and cosmetic blemishes.

    To an impartial observer, which of us is the more distasteful?

  77. geldonyetich says:

    Actually, Eurogamer is redoing that review because the developer of Darkfall Online made an awful racket when they saw it, so out of fair objectiveness they decided to give the game a second shake.

    It’d be particularly telling if the game ended up with equal or lesser score, but that probably won’t happen on the grounds that they’re trying to act more impartial. Even so, I’d be surprised if the re-review ends up with greater than a 4/10 score.

    You’re completely right that there’s such a thing as being a fanboy and an anti-fanboy, and that both sides are equally distanced from the truth.

    However, if all I’m saying is “all games are flawed, but Darkfall is more flawed than most” is that really the stance of an anti-fanboy? You, yourself, acknowledge that there’s various issues Darkfall Online needs this polish.

    What pushes you up into “fanboy” territory is that you then take great exception to the idea Darkfall Online has these flaws, even after acknowledging their existence. Suddenly, you find these flaws inconsequential, or you reinterpret them.

    NO! The rotten egg is sitting there, on the floor, and we’re pointing at it. I don’t give a damn if the odor doesn’t bother you, if so I say “good for you.” All I’m doing is saying it’s definitively less than fresh. At the point where you start denying it, or insisting we too find the smell of rotten egg appealing, you’re being delusional. The fanboy certificate is in the mail.

  78. geldonyetich says:

    On the other hand, a fellow probably earns his anti-fanboy credentials by just apparently placing himself as opposed to a fanboy’s convictions. It’s sort of an ironic balancing act. I end up thoroughly on one side, true, but it’s because the other side’s doing all the pushing. Sure, I could step out of the way, but I’m having fun getting pushed.

    This is assuming we’re not just quibbling over a failure of English to convey that we are, in fact, of like mind… which is more likely than not as it applies to a vast majority of any apparent point of contention on the Internet. Two people will oft see two sides of the same coin, and quibble over which is the true coin, when the separation isn’t really there.

  79. Vetarnias says:

    @geldonyetich
    I’m not a fan of Darkfall, and I don’t even play it. However, I think it was demonstrated convincingly that the Eurogamer review cannot be invoked to justify a certain view of the game. The problem with that particular review is not that it is negative, but that there are too many question marks surrounding it — Zitron’s playing time, his own assumptions, etc. Give me a credible 2/10 review, and I’ll be more than willing to admit it as evidence; but not Zitron’s. I’ve given the point — and very reluctantly indeed — to Aventurine on this one.

    But Scott Jennings’s review is far more insightful, and far funnier than Zitron’s. And as much as Scott might have been… er… somewhat vocal about Darkfall, there is still an underlying desire to see it succeed (as demonstrated by that earlier post someone linked to here). Zitron? He played it (how long, though?), didn’t like it, people who like it are idiots, and he moves on.

    Also, how much are you allowed to enjoy the smell of a rotten egg — even while conceding that it IS rotten — before being accused of tastelessness? Because I’ve seen such arguments made before, and they never failed to devolve into that. Zitron’s “only an idiot”, for instance.

    @Owain
    However, Scott did point out a few flaws surrounding the game, and they are valid. The lack of polish (I don’t care about graphics as long as the game is playable, but what about that “Description of r_Mirdain Male” screenshot?). Misspellings I’m also prepared to forgive, considering the guys are Greek/Norwegian, and probably didn’t have money to proofread; I’d dump anvils on Blizzard from tall buildings if that turned up in WoW, though. Lack of game documentation? Sometimes it’s an oversight (which I suspect is the case here), sometimes it’s done intentionally to disorient the player (I’m trying to recall a very very obvious example of the latter I came across, but I can’t).

    There is much criticism here about the interface, though, and it does seem to be warranted. And I’m sure we’ll get something about macroing/exploiting in a future update — and it’s something you know of, since you mention how your own KGB were running those rigor pyramids even though you didn’t take part personally. And you can’t get a more blatant design failure than the ability to exploit/macro.

  80. Vetarnias says:

    @geldonyetich
    For the record, the last post that I saw before writing my reply was #24 on this page.

    As for the new Eurogamer review, yeah, I think it will be precisely as you say. If it gives another 2/10, it will just be accused of sticking up for Zitron; it’ll be pressured into giving it a better score, just to prove its “objectivity”.

  81. geldonyetich says:

    @Vetarnias – Fair assessment of the apparent two most vocal spammers here.

    The revised review from Eurogamer has yet to show up and it’s been 20 days since they said they would. I wonder if maybe they’ve found themselves confronted with a situation where they really don’t think the game deserves a better score even after re-examining it?

    In that case, they may fear a general public backlash from improving their score even more than Darkfall Online fan backlash over a poor score. They might just be hoping the whole thing will blow over. Thus, no sign of any revision.

  82. Owain says:

    geldonyetich :</strong You, yourself, acknowledge that there’s various issues Darkfall Online needs this polish. What pushes you up into “fanboy” territory is that you then take great exception to the idea Darkfall Online has these flaws, even after acknowledging their existence. Suddenly, you find these flaws inconsequential, or you reinterpret them.

    So do I acknowledge the issues, or do I take great exception to them?  It’s hard to do both simultaneously.  Since you have never played the game, how are you so sure that these flaws are NOT inconsequential, or that I haven’t reinterpreted them correctly? That can’t be the case, because it doesn’t fit your preconceptions.

    Yes, Darkfall could use some polish, and it is being polished, as evidenced by the 7 pages of fixes listed in the last update.  Yes, it has some odd place holders, such as “Description of r_mirdain male”. It is not a perfect game, but there are no perfect games. So soon after release, I and other consider it ‘good enough’ and improving with each update.

    Where we differ is that my opinions are based on actually playing the game, so I can evaluate what issues are serious flaws, and what are cosmetic blemishes, as noted before. You read something, or hear something, but you have no context from which to evaluate whether the the report is valid or not, yet you are supremely confident that based on such reports, Darkfall is ‘broken’, and when pressed, admit that by that, you really mean Darkfall is not perfect, and refer to the same flawed hearsay to try to quantify that. Your hostility to the genre in general reveals you base your opinion on bias, not fact. Someone like Lum points out legitimate areas that needs polish, and yet adds, “Of course, that has little to do with gameplay,” and that is passed over in silence. You spew lines like “proper PvP grief play tripe” in a thread where Lum states “Of course, I’m sure most people reading this and having followed the Darkfall saga here, you would probably expect me to regale you with tales of random PKing, abusive “suck it up” tells, and the like. Well, that didn’t happen.”

    For an aspiring pundit, you fail the objectivity test. You fail the intellectual honesty test.

    @Vetarnias , there is ample game documentation, but perhaps Lum didn’t know how to access it. I bring up the docs by right clicking the mouse, which among other things, brings up a menu list. I select Help, and in the Help dialog, I select Magic, and I get the following text:

    To cast a spell, first drag its icon onto the hotbar located by default on the top left of your screen. You also need to have a staff equipped. Press R to ready your staff. If your desired spell is in position 1 you press the 1-key on your keyboard to ready your spell. You can see your spell is selected as the activ e spell at the bottom of the hotbar. Now you’re ready to cast the spell. Press and hold the left mouse button to cast. When you have your target in sight, release the mouse button to fire your spell.

    If you’re wearing a lot of armor, or very heavy armor, you’ll have a penalty to your damage output with magic. Your chance of misfiring your spell is also increased. However, this can be offset by raising your Armored Magic skill which goes up while casting spells in armor.

    As you raise your skill in lesser magic, new spells and new schools start becoming available to you. Visit the Mage NPC to buy new spells and new schools of magic.

    More advanced spells require reagents to cast. In order to become good at magic, you need a lot of tim and a lot of reagents. However the rewards are worth it as a powerful mage can influ3ence a battle in an impressive way, healing and buffing allies, damaging and debuffing enemies, etc.

    That covers magery nicely, I think, and better than what I remember from WoW, for one. Individual spells are documented by mousing over the icon. Lum just started when he wrote his review, so I’m willing to cut him some slack because he didn’t know how the in game documentation was organized.

    If you don’t know if a particular game behavior is a feature or a bug, it’s unfair to accuse players of exploiting bugs, as in the case of rigor. The KGB has many former UO players. In UO you could cast an area of effect spell, such as fire field, and other players would step into the effect to build Magic Resist. In UO, that was a feature, and we assumed the same held for Earthquake/Rigor in Darkfall, as initially, nothing was said by the developers. That was caught and corrected more quickly than in other games I’ve played, which was a problem that plagued other games like ShadowBane, which had bugs that were never fixed, or Age of Conan, which had dungeons that were unplayable for months due to crash inducing bugs.

    What will you people do if Darkfall, in the long run, proves to be a success? You have invested so much intellectual energy into convincing yourselves it’s a failure, the cognitive dissonance may be too much for you. Credibility, for a pundit, is an important commodity.

    On the other hand, if Darkfall folds, I have Mortal Online to look forward to, so no big deal. The advantage of being a player as opposed to being a pundit, I suppose.

  83. rocks and holes says:

    Owain :
    You have invested so much intellectual energy into convincing yourselves it’s a failure, the cognitive dissonance may be too much for you. Credibility, for a pundit, is an important commodity.

    If this were true, there’d be Mars Attacks-style splattered brain in every TV news room across the country. Ahh, what a wonderful world that would be.

  84. geldonyetich says:

    Funny enough, my brother bought the game and started playing it and says he likes it. Granted, that doesn’t mean much when he’s only a few hours into it.

    If Darkfall Online is successful, we pundits wouldn’t be crestfallen at all, really. Heck, Mr. Jennings was really hoping it would, and for all the right reasons: it proves a free-action game is viable, it proves indies can make it in the market, and it proves dynamic content can work if harnessed well.

    The only trouble is if the game keeps smacking new players to the face with a cinderblock of a hard to grok interface with poor documentation, and major things like people speedhacking ships out from under players keep going on, it’s going to be really hard for the game to live for long.

    It’s a bad sign for Darkfall Online that it’s most vocal defender here is already looking forward to another game in development. Sound familiar?

  85. geldonyetich says:

    To a great extent, I think what little credibility I have left from announcing World of Warcraft was doomed (and perpetually reminding everybody I did) is safe in this thread. The only claim I’ve made here is that Darkfall Online is less than perfect.

    Aside from that, my entire drive here has just been trying unsuccessfully to point out to Owain that jumping on everybody’s case when they point this out is futile when he, himself, knows that this to be true. I meant it when I said I was pulling away those siege engines from Darkfall itself.

    His scathing judgment I’ve failed in objectivity and intellectual honesty, two of the things a social-life deprived homebody such as myself have left to prize, almost hurts. Fortunately, it sort of falls flat when so many of his posts identify him as being very bad at those things himself.

  86. Er, what? says:

    “You only claimed” Darkfall is less than perfect?

    Huh?

    You said it was 2/10. And then you went all blustery on anyone who pointed out that you’re just talking to hear yourself talk at this point.

    Owain’s been more than fair to you, considering the serious critical thinking limitations you’ve demonstrated in this thread.

    Also, ‘your siege engines’? You’re a guy on a message board. For serious. If you’re going to be consistently wrong, at least be wrong in a way that’s not so gratingly illogical and self-absorbed.

  87. geldonyetich says:

    Actually, what I wrote was:

    “On a scale of 1 to 10, between completely broken and completely flawless, Darkfall rates at about 2. At least if we’re using the Eurogamer reviewer’s mental list of what he considers vital features for a game to have.”

    I know, it’s easy to misread, but that was that Eurogamer reviewer’s scale, not mine.

    I did say I’d be surprised if it did better than a 4/10 in the re-review, but that’s because videos like this make that a pretty safe bet.

    Just as I’m not sweating Owain’s critique of my objectiveness and intellectual honesty on the grounds he’s clearly lacking, I have to say I’m not sweating your critique on the grounds you invest very little critical thought into your reading or accusations.

    I am pretty damn arrogant and egotistical appearing in my writing though, you got me pegged there. I’ve tried modifying the way I write to be a bit easier going, but you know, it’s really more dishonest to act like a twit to please other twits.

  88. geldonyetich says:

    Granted, I could be the Internet equivilent of Pollyanna and come off as irritating to be around when 4/6 of the last comments are from me. (I would certainly seem to suit her theme in my incessant cries of, “When you look for the bad expecting it, you will find it.”)

    So, after this message, I’ll try to make sure there’s at least 5 posts to a thread before contributing. There’s a thin line between generously contributing and just procrastinating to the point where NATO is voting whether or not it classifies as an atrocity, and I’m well over that line today.

  89. Syncaine says:

    Which game is more flawed, the one with all the details in order but it’s overall ‘point’ flawed, or the one that ultimately works, but is rough around the edges?

    WAR gets a lot right, but at the end of the day, T4 RvR is flawed to the core, and short of a drastic change (3rd side, EVE-like server hardware), no amount of new content or bug fixes will change that.

    DF might have odd animations and some missing tooltips, but with just a few months under it’s belt, you can already get 300+ people into one area and have them fight over a city successfully without server lag/crashes, using a PvP model that is already more balanced and deep than any before it.

    Which is more likely to get fixed up, the missing tooltip or the entire reworking of an MMO’s endgame? If you’re a fan of PvP in an MMO, do you see a better future in WAR or DF? And do you place more value on all the fluffy working correctly around a broken core, or the point of actually playing the game being fundamentally solid?

  90. Guy says:

    Owain
    So do I acknowledge the issues, or do I take great exception to them?  It’s hard to do both simultaneously.  Since you have never played the game, how are you so sure that these flaws are NOT inconsequential, or that I haven’t reinterpreted them correctly? That can’t be the case, because it doesn’t fit your preconceptions.

    You may want to rewrite that paragraph… if you want it to make any sense. This comment is not related to the content of the debate…

  91. Guy says:

    300+ in the same siege? For the technical-leaning, is that doable because they load the client with much of the stuff other games choose to load on the server? (Usually to reduce the power of hacks.) Not trying to take away from the accomplishment, just curious.

  92. Amaranthar says:

    Guy :
    300+ in the same siege? For the technical-leaning, is that doable because they load the client with much of the stuff other games choose to load on the server? (Usually to reduce the power of hacks.) Not trying to take away from the accomplishment, just curious.

    Guy, not sure if I understand this, mainly because I’m not technically knowledgeable. Are you saying that other games load on code to detect and prevent hack capabilities, and asking if Darkfall skipped this to be able to handle the large PvP?

  93. Owain says:

    @Guy , let me break it down for you, then.

    @geldonyetich says I do acknowledge that Darkfall has issues, which is true. Darkfall is not perfect. It has blemeshes, but as Lum notes, they do not significantly affect game play.

    In nearly the same breath, he says that I take great exception to notion that Darkfall has issues, which is difficult from a consistancy point of view. I do NOT take great exception to the notion that Darkfall has issues. What I do take exception to is that issues noted are serious problems. I’ve played games with serious problems. Darkfall does not have serious problems.

    Vanguard was nearly unplayable. I’m not even sure that game is open for business any more. Age of Conan had serious problems. They had serious bugs for months, and the last time I noticed, they went from about 40 servers down to 9. The market apparently has spoken there as well. As
    @Syncaine observes, RvR PvP in Warhammer is fundamentally flawed, while Darkfall large scale PvP is solid.

    So how do we evaluate the severity of the issues facing Darkfall?

    My approach, and the approach Lum has taken, is to play the game and see for myself. Those who actually play the game find that most of the problems with Darkfall are not serious, and the problems that do exist are being addressed and corrected by the Darkfall development team.

    @geldonyetich had made his evaluation based upon what? Bias, and flawed hearsay. Which approach is most likely to yield valid results? This is the heart of the debate, in my opinion.

  94. Gx1080 says:

    @Guy.

    That depends, the siege battles are as lagged as WAR T4 (almost unplayable lag)?

    If they arent, well, gameplay wise, they nailed it. And WAR didnt.

    Just as simple. WAR it still “round in the edges” and horribly broken in T4. Thats why all the bloggers (and most of the costumers) jumped out of the ship.

  95. Owain says:

    Guy :300+ in the same siege? For the technical-leaning, is that doable because they load the client with much of the stuff other games choose to load on the server? (Usually to reduce the power of hacks.) Not trying to take away from the accomplishment, just curious.

    I guess that must be a rhetorical question, because no one outside the DF devs know their specific server configuration, and they aren’t giving away any proprietary secrets. The can do it, which is what is important from a game play point of view.

  96. Syncaine says:

    The client lag issue is a bit more complex. Basically, with a decent (not top of the line) machine, you CAN run DarkFall at 30ish FPS in that 300+ battle at normal graphic settings, so the client is capable of doing that (as is the server). The little * to that is you have to disable your sound card to get that performance, because currently the client does not handle massive amounts of sound well (due no doubt to the fact it calculates position of all that sound, which works great outside of the massive battles). Added to this is the ‘out of memory’ crash, which seems random among people (some get it all the time, others almost never get it).

    But both issues (sound and memory crash) will be fixed, without having to instance combat or use other limitations. WAR has already instanced it’s end-game and now caps Fortress battles. That to me is THE most important issue between the two games. DarkFall, once it gets a few more patches to fix the issues, WILL have fully working, epic city sieges, with cannons, warhulks, and everything else that you would expect. WAR will ALWAYS end in an instanced, PvE-capped encounter.

    (As for client-side hacking, it is an issue, but not in mass combat, as Aventurine is quick to ban those players, and few are stupid enough to risk a high-skilled character to get an edge in such a visible area. Hacking mostly happens when players think no one is around, to exploit mobs. It’s an issue, but not a direct problem in mass PvP)

  97. geldonyetich says:

    Is it completely unreasonable a fellow who has been playing computer games for over two decades might feel they have enough backdrop to have an accurate mental picture of how a game is flawed after he reads a bit about it and sees it in action in videos?

    No, not completely. However, I wouldn’t be a truly critical thinker if I wasn’t affording Darkfall Online some wiggle room nonetheless. I’m not really rendering a deep belief about the exact value of the thing until I get to play it myself.

    A great deal of my apparent anti-Darkfall sentiment is just pointing out that we all know it has a greater than usual number of flaws, and so a more-negative-than-usual evaluation of it is justified. It’s a shot-in-the-dark evaluation, an educated guess, but a fair one.

    It’s not my fault if you can’t grok the difference between that and genuine anti-Darkfall Online sentiment.

  98. More blog entries like this. Awesome stuff.

  99. Owain says:

    How many logical fallacies can one forum post contain? Let me count the ways in this one.
    >

    geldonyetich :Is it completely unreasonable a fellow who has been playing computer games for over two decades might feel they have enough backdrop to have an accurate mental picture of how a game is flawed after he reads a bit about it and sees it in action in videos?

    Yes, it’s completely unreasonable.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_authority

    Consider the scientific method. You start with a hypothesis (a particular feature in Darkfall is seriously flawed). According to you, all we need to do is get an opinion from some Authority, and we’re done. But no, first you need to test the hypothesis using direct observation, and from the data observed, you can then verify or refute the hypothesis. You fail to do this, so you offer opinion only. Opinion != data.

    A great deal of my apparent anti-Darkfall sentiment is just pointing out that we all know it has a greater than usual number of flaws, and so a more-negative-than-usual evaluation of it is justified. It’s a shot-in-the-dark evaluation, an educated guess, but a fair one.

    A lot of candidates here. HOW do we know that DF has a greater than usual number of flaws?

    Because you say so?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bare_assertion_fallacy

    Because everyone here says so?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argumentum_ad_populum

    Because Zitron said so in his Eurogamer review?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_fallacy
    Zitron spends 8 hours in character creation, 1 hour in the noobie zone, and gives Darkfall 2/10. If that is valid, I will use the same methodology to evaluate the education of href=”#comment-27271″>@geldonyetich . To do that, I will spend 8 hours watching a recording of his mother dressing him for his first day in Kindergarten. I will then spend one hour observing him play with crayons. Based on that, I decide his education merits 2/10. I don’t have time to consider 1st – 12th, college, or post graduate work, so this will have to do. Apply for welfare now. You are unemployable. How’s that for a fair review?

    While we are on the subject of logical fallacies here are a few of your previous violations.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moving_the_goalpost
    Darkfall is teh ‘broken’, which is serious, “MMORPG crafting has come along far enough that you just don’t see that many broken enough anymore.” When pressed, you backpedal, and now “All games are flawed”, and “the vast majority of games out there so very unsatisfactory.” “Broken” suddenly means “not perfect”. So now, since Darkfall is not perfect (it lacks refinement, horror of horrors), it’s ‘broken.’ See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfect_solution_fallacy

    “It shows a level of devotion that’s like a soggy puppy you rescued from the docks, starving from lack of proper PvP grief play tripe. That little scrub will never see anything wrong with you. You’re Darkfall’s puppy.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

    I’m a Darkfall ‘fanboi’.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_motive

    I’m just another rabid PvP griefer.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_spite

    Darkfall is not perfect. Parts of it are still being developed. It has spelling glitches, and place holder stubs in the interface. There is room for improvement, and improvements are being made. However, the basic game play, in my opinion, is superior to any other game in it’s class. That is my hypothesis. I do not require anyone to take that evaluation at face value. Anyone is free to try the game themselves in order to verify or refute my claim.

    My chief frustration lies with people who make claims and draw conclusions that directly conflict with what I see on a daily basis. “This is true”, they say, when I look at the actual behavior in game, and can only say, “No. It’s not!”

    There are so many flaws in your arguments, it’s hard to assign motivation, so I’ll be generous. You just don’t know what you are talking about. I hope your two decades of gaming provided you with some entertainment. It’s not apparent that you learned anything from the experience.

  100. Guy says:

    Regarding the client vs server and 300+ comment I made, to clarify:

    If you relegate things like position and hit physics to the client (or, as a more concrete example, looting mechanics), such that the client is wholly responsible for calculating certain aspects of what happens to you, and then reports the result to the server, then that takes load off the server and reduces bandwidth, while also ensuring certain things feel more “immediate” to you. At least, I think that’s how it works; I’m no expert.

    The flip side is, if you fully trust the client to do certain things, it makes it easier to hack those functions and hide that fact from the server.

  101. JuJutsu says:

    “Never trust the client.
    Never put anything on the client. The client is in the hands of the enemy. Never ever ever forget this.”

    http://www.raphkoster.com/gaming/laws.shtml

  102. EpicSquirt says:

    So has Darkfall the collision detection on the client’s side or on the server’s side?

    If on the server’s side, does it have at least a client side prediction?

  103. geldonyetich says:

    Owain :
    How many logical fallacies can one forum post contain? Let me count the ways in this one.
    >

    geldonyetich :Is it completely unreasonable a fellow who has been playing computer games for over two decades might feel they have enough backdrop to have an accurate mental picture of how a game is flawed after he reads a bit about it and sees it in action in videos?

    Yes, it’s completely unreasonable.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_authority
    Consider the scientific method. You start with a hypothesis (a particular feature in Darkfall is seriously flawed). According to you, all we need to do is get an opinion from some Authority, and we’re done. But no, first you need to test the hypothesis using direct observation, and from the data observed, you can then verify or refute the hypothesis. You fail to do this, so you offer opinion only. Opinion != data.

    This would be an awesome argument if we were talking about something completely nonsubjective. However, whether or not one can tolerate Darkfall Online’s obvious flaws and still find the game entertaining is anything but. I like Science. Science is good. Game design, on the other hand? Not Scientific: art.

    Exactly what are you trying to convince me of, Owain? Put it into words, if you can. I suspect you can’t. You’re fighting a battle so fueled by emotion that you have no real goal here other than to stick up for the game.

  104. rocks and holes says:

    Owain :
    Vanguard was nearly unplayable. I’m not even sure that game is open for business any more.

    I have no interest in the discussion here, but just had to pop in to say that I’m not sure what Vanguard you’re talking about. I had a blast in the open beta, and it played tolerably on my old laptop. It was a far cry from “nearly unplayable”.

  105. Please says:

    @Owain

    You’ve clearly made your point. There’s nothing more to be said.

    Geld is nothing but a troll looking for a fight and is incapable of understanding rational argumentation. Stop feeding him. He’ll probably go away if you just ignore his nonsensical attention whoring.

    Again; don’t feed the trolls.

  106. Owain says:

    rocks and holes :

    Owain :Vanguard was nearly unplayable. I’m not even sure that game is open for business any more.

    I have no interest in the discussion here, but just had to pop in to say that I’m not sure what Vanguard you’re talking about. I had a blast in the open beta, and it played tolerably on my old laptop. It was a far cry from “nearly unplayable”.

    This is part of what Wikepedia has to say about Vanguard: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanguard:_Saga_of_Heroes

    The game initially sold around 242,000 copies, while the number of active subscriptions (those who play longer than the free month included when buying the game) was estimated to be around 130,000, to drop in the next months to about 40,000.

    I’m not entirely sure what the current status of Vanguard is, but that’s a pretty precipitous drop. It appears that most gamers who tried it share my dim view of the game. It may stagger on in it’s own niche, but it’s performance seems to be the opposite of Darkfall’s. Vanguard started strong, then staggered and fell, and is now struggling to get back up. Darkfall started small, with high initial demand but low supply. They have grown steadily, slow but sure, and according to a recent announcement, will open it’s North American server in July.

    It’s still early days, but for those who played either game, Darkfall appears to have far greater acceptance and retention than Vanguard experienced.

    @Please
    Regardless, disinformation, even from trolls, needs refutation. Maybe if folks would chime in, supporting one side of the argument or the other, I could get a feel as to whether I’m getting any traction, but it may be that most folks here really don’t care either way.

    Truth to be told, I find it entertaining as well, so it may be that we are both trolls, and are busy
    feeding each other. So far, it pretty much been a private conversation between the two of us…

  107. Owain says:

    @geldonyetich
    “This would be an awesome argument if we were talking about something completely nonsubjective.”

    In some cases, we are talking about nonsubjective matters. @Vetarnias fell into the same trap in here post here: http://www.brokentoys.org/2009/05/22/darkfall-update-2-in-which-some-darkfall-is-played/comment-page-2/#comment-27238, where she says “Lack of game documentation?”, taking Lums complaint at face value that the in-game documentation for magery is pretty much nonexistant. However, Lum was mistaken, as I demonstrated in my post here, http://www.brokentoys.org/2009/05/22/darkfall-update-2-in-which-some-darkfall-is-played/comment-page-2/#comment-27241. Vetarnias failed to verify Lum’s statement for herself, and fell into error.

    “Exactly what are you trying to convince me of, Owain? Put it into words, if you can. I suspect you can’t.”

    I can very easily put it into words. You are making statements contrary to fact. I am trying to demonstrate that your bigoted OPINIONS based on a deep seated antipathy towards the free-for-all PvP genre do not reflect reality. My emotions have little to do with the matter. I am not trying to convince you of anything, because you cannot convince the close minded.

    My hope is to inform readers here on the actual current state of Darkfall based on my first hand experience. That, I presume, is Lum’s intention as well. It is my hope, that once he returns with another one of his excellent posts, his views and mine will coincide. Even if we don’t completely agree, it will be refreshing, at least, to debate the matter with someone who knows what he is talking about.

  108. Vetarnias says:

    Vetarnias failed to verify Lum’s statement for herself, and fell into error.

    Owain failed to verify Vetarnias’ gender for himself, and fell into error.

    That’ll teach me to take as my moniker the name of my character in a tabletop game I’ve long since stopped playing.

  109. Gx1080 says:

    “Neither the 13-year old ganker or the guys that is still mad for being ganked in Despise 10 years later should be allowed to win”. Ive said it before and i said it again (although the Despise reference its from Lum).

    We are talking about something nonsubjective, because we are talking not about if its unpolished or not (that it its and thats bad), we are talking if that unpolish its a bother for you, Lum, me or anybody who do plays DarkFall.

    Some people arent bothered, others find it unbereable. IMO, it doesnt seems to interrupt the flow of the game, so it isnt that high in the priority list (fighting macroers is).

    @geldonyetich
    You, just like the EuroGamer guy seem to expect a level of polish based on MMOs that heve been on the market for years. Thats unrealistic. I expect a level of polish that makes the game “flow” and, well make it fun.

    None of the people actually playing DarkFall find that unpolish make the game unplayable. Annoying yes, but in a battle honestly, Are you going to pay attention to the chat?

    DarkFall actually builds for its public, instead of the dungeons/PvP mishmash of WAR. A stable core since the beginning that your audience like its fundamental for a game. And i see the fundamental problems mostly solved.

  110. Owain says:

    Vetarnias :

    Vetarnias failed to verify Lum’s statement for herself, and fell into error.

    Owain failed to verify Vetarnias’ gender for himself, and fell into error.
    That’ll teach me to take as my moniker the name of my character in a tabletop game I’ve long since stopped playing.

    I stand corrected. Probably a reflection of my long standing desire to see more active women gamers. The KGB has several, and they are awesome.

  111. Cymbaline says:

    Owain :
    Maybe if folks would chime in, supporting one side of the argument or the other, I could get a feel as to whether I’m getting any traction, but it may be that most folks here really don’t care either way.

    You’re not really getting any traction. Back in the early portions of the Darkfall post-release discussion (i.e. “By Request, This Week’s Darkfall Post!” or maybe even earlier), there was some decent conversation going on, and you were making some good points. It’s since become a shouting match between two groups of people (well, really just you on the pro-Darkfall side) with their eyes closed and ears plugged. It’s devolved into “I already told you why”s and dismissive hand wavings and other responses that might appear as if they’re conversation, but really aren’t. You’re talking at each other, not to each other.

    Owain, you’ve basically hand-waved away all criticism of the game as invalid, or even somehow managed to turn it (in your mind) into un-criticism. Scott says that the Darkfall (note: Darkfall) downloader is finicky, and you wave that away with “well, it’s probably a Windows problem.” He says the Alfar are fugly, and you say, “well, whatever. Undead in WoW are ugly.”

    Personally, I think you jumped the shark, stopped being a worthwhile voice in support of Darkfall, and otherwise betrayed yourself as having your eyes closed and fingers in your ears when the flaws with the looting system were brought up (it’s in the hands of the client, and thus vulnerable to hacking), and you just waved it away and said, “well, *I* haven’t had a problem with it, and even if it’s demonstrably broken, and such things have been hacked in all games in the past, I haven’t run into issues with it in Darkfall, so it’s not an issue.”

    It is. Just like you’re harping on others for being factually wrong, you’re factually wrong there. Sorry. If you’re playing an RPG on a console and the game defaults to the “New Game” option rather than “Continue”, they fucked up. Fact, not opinion. It doesn’t matter if you don’t mind pressing down before pressing X, it doesn’t matter if you don’t think it’s a problem, it is. Minor? Maybe, but it’s still a problem. Denying that doesn’t lend you any credibility. Quite the opposite.

    I have plenty of criticism for the anti-Darkfall crowd, too, but there’s just too many of them here to call out one by one. The rabid, baseless hating coming from some is pretty eye-roll worthy at times. There have been some good criticisms, too, but most have since fallen to the same pattern of behavior that Owain has. Or maybe worse, really.

    My main observation on that: if you haven’t actually played the game, you can criticize it on theory, you can say why you think you won’t like it, and you can assert that the reviews and videos make you think it’s not worth your time and money. But at some point, if you have any intellectual honesty whatsoever, you have to back out of the fight and say something like, “But that’s just my educated guess. I’ve never played it.” Trying to tell someone that has played a game and thinks it’s fun that it’s not when you haven’t even played it is fucking laughable. If you haven’t played it, you are not a shining pillar of authority on the subject. If you act like you are, you’re fucking stupid.

    I don’t have much vested interest here, as I’m not currently playing any MMORPGs, and probably won’t buy Darkfall. Just passing the time at work. But dear lord, it’s incredibly frustrating even as a spectator to watch this pointless contest of denial.

  112. Raelyf says:

    @ Cymbaline – you win! Thread closed.

  113. foolsage says:

    @ Cymbaline – Nice post.

  114. Vetarnias says:

    In case Cymbaline hasn’t read about today’s comments being lost and did not make a backup copy of her post, I’ll paste it in a file in the meantime.

    It is this good.

  115. geldonyetich says:

    Owain :
    I can very easily put [my goal here] into words. You are making statements contrary to fact. I am trying to demonstrate that your bigoted OPINIONS based on a deep seated antipathy towards the free-for-all PvP genre do not reflect reality

    Ah, I see. You’re misinterpreting me. Everything I said was intended to be taken as opinion upon reflecting on the things we know. That you were taking exception to my opinions was the mistake.

    Anywho, yes, Cymbaline’s won the thread. The tangent I was working on was to see if I could get Owain to realize that he’s basically come to a place where opinions are held based on the obvious flaws we’ve both acknowledge about the game, and is trying to say “No, you cannot hold your opinions about those flaws“.

    Epic fail.

    Even if he was the most intelligent SOB on the planet, that he placed himself on such an impossible platform assured he lost the argument he was trying to make before he even started.

  116. Guy says:

    Agreed, good post from Cymbaline…

    @Owain, commenting on the Vanguard figures:

    I have no opinion on Vanguard. But I’m wondering what the number of subscribers is for Darkfall. I’ve read it might be 50,000, or *maybe* as high as 100,000. Since it was so hard to buy, I figure it started really low, and has been climbing since because not everyone that wanted to try it could.

    So, if Vanguard, with plenty of supply, sells 250,000 real quick, because it can, and then drops to 40,000 fairly quickly, while Darkfall starts at, I don’t know 15,000 or whatever, and has been climbing as supply increases to the 50,000 or so it has now, possibly more, than how do the subscription patterns prove your point about the relative merits of Vanguard and Darkfall? We’d have to wait to see how high Darkfall numbers go as they allow people to buy when they want, and then whether they fall, and if so, how fast. Darkfall hasn’t reached where Vanguard started yet.

    Although, I wouldn’t compare the subscriber maximums anyways, given the different audiences for both (mostly PVE for Vanguard, all PVP for Darkfall, bored WoW/EQ niche vs. hardcore PVP niche). The retention rate is more important.

    And given Vanguard is mainly PVE (and so designed with that in mind) it means sub-par content and missions would have seriously affected retention rates. Darkfall’s focus on PVP gives it a bit of an edge in focussing on self-organized PVP activities from the get-go. Does the lack of as dominant a competitor (WoW for PVE) also favour it? So even looking at retention rates you have to mentally adjust for various factors; but if Darkfall steadily climbs to 250,000, and that’s where it stands after one year, I think that would be easily labelled a success, in terms of interest in the game. Even a steady climb to 100,000 would be pretty good. If there’s a drop-off, it’ll depend on when and how many. Not sure what Adventurine needs to break even; that would be the finanical measure of success.

  117. Guy says:

    Actually, you know what, I am making an assumption about Darkfall’s subscription number. *Have* they been growing slowly since launch?

  118. Owain says:

    Well, everything is going to be lost, according to Lum, but in the meantime, I suppose we can talk amongst ourselves.

    @geldonyetich
    “Everything I said was intended to be taken as opinion upon reflecting on the things we know.”

    What happens when what you “know” is wrong? How does that affect your conclusions? Style points, in a perverse sort of way, are awarded for untilateraly declaring victory without having to actually support your argument. Bravo!

    @Guy , I have no data on the actual number of Darkfall subscriptions to date. I base my opinion on the following observations; Immediately upon release, Darkfall’s population consisted of those players who participated in the beta test. In addition, they sold additional game downloads to a number (unknown) of additional player, and then stopped sales to control server population. After release, they started having problems with long login queues and capacity issues. As they solved the initial problems, they would incrementally open the online store and sell more subscriptions until they starting having problems again. By the time I bought the game, they no longer had problems with login queues, but continued to limit subscription downloads. In the month or so I have been in game, I have observed population density increase.

    Currently, they appear to have solved their capacity issues, since the online store is open 24/7, as Lum noted, and they recently announced they are going to open a North American server in July.

    While Vanguard was predominantly PvE, it did have the Sartok PvP server, which was where I played. Even if the PvE servers did suffer from competition from other PvE games, if Sartok was an acceptable PvP server, it should be able to compete on favorable terms since the PvP on Sartok was essentially unlimited outside of towns. PvP was a dismal failure, and I think Sartok was among the first servers to close, mostly due to balance issues between classes. This isn’t surprising, since as you say, Vanguard was designed primarily as a PvE game, and adding PvP as an afterthought never seems to work out well.

    As I said, it’s still early days for Darkfall. Vanguard has been open for a couple of years now (apparently it is still operating. I wasn’t sure at first) and is still struggling along. My only evidense is strictly anecdotal. At this stage of the game, most Vanguard players were starting to get fed up with the horrible class imbalances, and were leaving the Sartok server in large numbers. Darkfall players are still playing with enthusiasm and gusto (at least in my region) and are still coming in, and an additional server is getting ready to open.

    Well have to wait until 2011 to how DF compares to Vanguard in the long run.

    If anyone has any hard population figures for DF, post a link. I’d be interested to see what you have.

  119. geldonyetich says:

    Owain sayz, ‘What happens when what you “know” is wrong? How does that affect your conclusions?’

    If you need me to answer what to do in this scenario, your rationale for argument is even shakier than I thought.

    As a philosopher favoring existentialism at heart, I take very little for granted in this world. Even the ground beneath my feet is fit for reconsidering its existence.

    Thus, what “I know” about Darkfall Online are things that have to be so implicitly obvious that you’d have to completely doubt your God-given senses to disagree with.

    I know you know what I know because you have agreed with the existance of Darkfall Online’s flaws. Your problem is you simultaneously acknowledge these flaws while thinking that the interpretation of said flaws are up for argument.

    If you honestly think you can bully people into holding the same interpretation you have about anything in life, you’ve embodied the motivations of little more than a common fascist and, as such, are completely unable to comprehend truth in favor of your own agendas.

  120. Owain says:

    geldonyetich :Thus, what “I know” about Darkfall Online are things that have to be so implicitly obvious that you’d have to completely doubt your God-given senses to disagree with.

    Awesome. Since this is so implicity obvious, you must be willing to give me a specific example now, right, or are you still just making glittering generalities?

  121. Vetarnias says:

    Stop, or I run this page through Webcitation for further reference!

  122. geldonyetich says:

    Oh, and just to clarify that you are indeed here to bully people into holding the same interpretation of reality as you:

    Owain said, “I can very easily put [my motivations for being here] into words. You are making statements contrary to fact. I am trying to demonstrate that your bigoted OPINIONS based on a deep seated antipathy towards the free-for-all PvP genre do not reflect reality.”

    I ran into a nice quote from Albert Einstein the other day,
    “Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.”

  123. geldonyetich says:

    Owain :
    Awesome. Since this is so implicity obvious, you must be willing to give me a specific example now

    No, not to you I won’t.

    See the second and third paragraphs of Cymbaline’s post for what you do when people give you examples.

    You’ve had your examples, you just completely bungled them in the name of forwarding your agenda.

  124. Vetarnias says:

    @geldonyetich
    The fifth and sixth paragraphs are nice, too.

  125. geldonyetich says:

    @Vetarnias,
    I take it you’re referring to this part:

    “if you haven’t actually played the game, you can criticize it on theory, you can say why you think you won’t like it, and you can assert that the reviews and videos make you think it’s not worth your time and money. But at some point, if you have any intellectual honesty whatsoever, you have to back out of the fight and say something like, “But that’s just my educated guess. I’ve never played it.” Trying to tell someone that has played a game and thinks it’s fun that it’s not when you haven’t even played it is fucking laughable. If you haven’t played it, you are not a shining pillar of authority on the subject. If you act like you are, you’re fucking stupid.

    The funny thing about the arguments I tend to end up in is that they have a lot do with what people thought I was implying by taking this stance and not with what I was actually saying.

    I’ve already said several times that any antipathy I have towards Darkfall Online is pretty much a loose opinion formed off of what I’ve seen and read about the game in reflection with dozens of like games I’ve played in the past.

    So I’m already well into “But that’s just an educated guess” territory. I like my educated guess, it’s a really good one in that it’s fairly well-researched, but I’m not going to insist on it as fact.

    I’ve already said if you think the game is fun there’s nothing wrong with that, so this whole “telling people who find the game is fun they’re wrong are wrong” doesn’t apply to me.

    Overall, this paragraph of Cymbaline’s doesn’t really apply well to me, so much as the perception of me made by people who think I’m taking it even further than that when I’m not intending to.

    I’m actually mostly here just to see if I can get Owain to realize the futility of trying to influence the opinions of critics who are attempting to be objective. The funny thing is, in doing so, he’s mentally pushed me far beyond the perceived territory of the unbiased Darkfall hypothesizer than where I intended to be.

  126. geldonyetich says:

    Since these comments are going to be rolled back anyway, I can talk more about me which – if you ask anybody at F13 – is apparently my favorite subject.

    It’s actually an American perception, I think, that there’s two sides of an issue and you’re either for or against it. You can’t be a fence sitter, you can’t sit on a completely different parallel to the fence, you’ve got to be for or against it.

    That’s bullshit. It’s popular bullshit, but it’s nonetheless the furthest thing from the truth you can do. If you want to really get to the heart of a thing, you don’t take a side and stick up for it. You remain truly open-minded enough to pick apart the issue.

    You knock down the fence because the fence only serves to divide the whole view of the lawn. That’s where I am in any debate, and anybody who thinks otherwise is deluding themselves.

    Owain (and probably many of you) think I’m arguing with him about the viability of Darkfall because he’s used to the idea of there being people on both sides of the fence arguing with eachother. That’s instantly the mental picture in which I’m slipped because it really suits our societal mindset.

    The reality is I’m trying to knock down the fence because the fence is obstructing everyone’s view needlessly. I see Owain’s putting up a great deal of supports that serve to distance us from the truth, and I’m kicking those supports out because they’re falsehood that exists only to hold a lie of a fence up.

    In kicking out his supports, he thinks I’m trying to support my side of the fence, but what he doesn’t realize is that I don’t have side of the fence. I’m knocking the whole damn thing down as the lie it is, and I’d undermine either side given the opportunity.

    Analogies are fun in that I’m sure most people won’t get what I’m getting at here.

  127. Vetarnias says:

    geldonyetich :
    Since these comments are going to be rolled back anyway

    Not anymore.

  128. geldonyetich says:

    Not anymore.

    Oh well. Some people might expect me to say I’m really embarassed I’ve exposed my fundamental nature and it’s there for everybody to see.

    Actually, as a wholly honest individual, I’d rather my fundamental nature be public knowledge. Even my deepest darkest secrets are nothing special. Better there be no secrets at all.

    I’d rather people realize I don’t take sides, I try to grasp the whole issue and that involves heavy cross-examination (the knocking out of supports) of any overzealousness on either side.

    Unfortunately, what’s going to happen is barely anyone’s going to read, let alone understand, what I just wrote, and probably happily forget it in no time at all.

    Comment threads, like any other forum, are a whole lot of wasted breath in the long run. This is the 21st century, we’re all on information overload. The question isn’t if something has already been said best, but how to get it to the people who really need it, and find them the time to grok it.

    That said, yes, I’m definately procrastinating right now. I’ll crack open BYOND and poke my nose in here every once in awhile, but now that the comments threads are sticking, I’d best get back to my “wait for 5 posts before mine” policy.

  129. Vetarnias says:

    @geldonyetich
    I’m not sure if it’s a purely American perspective; however, it gives the impression of being so because American affairs tend to take up much space, and that in the American discourse those who hold polarized positions tend to speak louder to the point where voices of moderation are shouted down even by their own side.

    However, I think you failed to show restraint in your attempt to counter Owain in his claims. In many ways, Owain’s arguments never went beyond his own enjoyment of Darkfall, and, yes, has had a tendency to brush over the bona fide criticisms of the game you could read here.

    However, you are the one who first raised questions of objectivity (using the word punditry, even though these days the word means little more than the usual vapid talking heads yakking it up on television). And I certainly got the impression that you were dangerously getting close to telling Owain he was wrong to have fun in Darkfall (that business with the rotten egg). Furthermore, for someone who proclaims he is trying to knock down the fence, I haven’t seen much enthusiasm on your part for trying to knock down the supports on your side.

    I’m all for knocking down supports on both sides, and since the start of this debate I’ve been straddling the damn fence perilously enough. So, when are you going to play devil’s advocate and make the case in favour of Darkfall? I’d genuinely like to see you do it. Because so far, all I have seen is that you have taken up the case against Darkfall (the side of the fence on which I’m most likely to fall, by the way) without trying to make a case, if not for Darkfall, for a Darkfall-type game which wouldn’t be made by a bunch of underfunded incompetents who flunked etiquette classes. Mortal Online, hopefully.

    Just writing from memory here, but didn’t you make a quite eloquent case against EVE a while ago, which no matter how repulsive it might appear to me as an outsider I can’t dismiss as unsuccessful design? At what point does it stop being about design and start being purely about your own preferences — like Zitron? That was the crux about Zitron, and it’s starting to be the same here. Not much objectivity in that, I’m afraid.

  130. geldonyetich says:

    @ Vetarnias ,
    You make some really good posts I’d like to reply to, but I’m going to wait for a few more posts because I’ve spammed enough for now. Yes, I know, consider this post just releasing a bit of inner tension to spring to action over here.

    I will say this much:

    We tend to want to make judgements based off the style in which something is written. However, the writer only intended to imply exactly what he wrote, and often any emotion you see behind those words can be as imaginary in much the same way it’s difficult to carry sarcasm in text form.

  131. Owain says:

    geldonyetich :

    Owain :Awesome. Since this is so implicity obvious, you must be willing to give me a specific example now

    No, not to you I won’t.
    See the second and third paragraphs of Cymbaline’s post for what you do when people give you examples.

    I’m not entirely sure what you mean by examples from the 2nd and 3rd paragraphs from Cymbaline’s post, so I’ll try to guess.

    “Owain, you’ve basically hand-waved away all criticism of the game as invalid, or even somehow managed to turn it (in your mind) into un-criticism. Scott says that the Darkfall (note: Darkfall) downloader is finicky, and you wave that away with “well, it’s probably a Windows problem.”

    It would be nice if folks used exact quotes. What I said was “I think this is less a Darkfall issue and more a Windows issue, but it’s hard to say. I had no problems, myself.” Perhaps I wasn’t clear, so let me clarify. I don’t know if this is a problem or not. I didn’t experience it, and neither have I heard this problem from anyone else. Like I said, it’s hard to say. I don’t know what version of Windows Lum has installed, or what other applications he was running. Depending your version of Windows, you can run into conflicts while installing software, which is why most installers instruct you to shut down all other applications. The jury is out on this, as so far, there is only one data point available. Lum had an issue. Noted. Neither I, nor anyone else I am aware of had a similar problem. Take that for whatever it’s worth. In this case, I was not trying to minimize a potential problem. I was just offering my experience to provide another data point. No more, no less.

    ” He says the Alfar are fugly, and you say, “well, whatever. Undead in WoW are ugly.””

    Humor can be difficult to convey sometimes. Lum, for the humor impaired, frequently injects humor in his posts, and I took his comment on the Alfar as humor, and tried to respone in kind. Not very successfully, it seems. Maybe I was incorrect, and Lum was making a serious comment about the Alfar. Ok, let’s go with that. (I thought I had already posted on this, but maybe the reset ate that post. Oh, well).

    In Darkfall some races are neutral, friendly, or hostile with other races. Humans, I think, are friendly with Dwarves and hostile to Orcs. Other races have different relations. The Alfar are hostile to every other race, and every other race is hostile to the Alfar. So, from a game design point of view, how should the DF devs portray the Alfar. Would WoW gnomes be a good choice? Should they look like Shirly Temple? Or should the universally hated Darkfall race be “the ugliest race ever to be seen in an MMO?” So here we have a specific case. Is this an example of how Darkfall is broken, or is this a successful design feature? I think it’s a valid topic for discussion.

    The third paragraph dealt with client based looting. I think at the time, I mentioned that I wasn’t aware that it was a problem. I know of no instances of hacks that exploit this design, and I asked for further information so I could better understand if it was a problem or not. If a reply was made, I missed it, so a link would be helpful. Perhaps it’s not a problem because the DF devs have implemented such that it can’t be exploited. Is this a theoretical problem, or an actual problem. I don’t know. Is it even a possible problem? I don’t know that either. If it is an actual problem, again a link would be helpful. If is isn’t actually a current known problem, get back with me when it is. Theoretical problems that may not even exist aren’t high on my list of priorities. In this case, I have not proven there is not problem here, but then I don’t see that anyone has demonstrated that the problem exists.
    As an argument, I think this is an example of the Burden of Proof fallacy, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burden_of_proof_%28logical_fallacy%29

    Whatever. I would think that you’d welcome an opportunity supply several specific examples of major Darkfall flaws, since if they are “implicitly obvious”, it should be a trivial exercise for you to prove me wrong.

    “Implicitly obvious” seems to be an easy phrase to roll off your tongue (or your keyboard). It must be bugger to try and prove.

    Making an assertion is easy. Defending it is hard. How much simpler it is to demand that your critics simply go away.

  132. geldonyetich says:

    @Owain’s 15:56 post – might want to try some simpler block quotes, that one got messed up bad to the point where I can’t be bothered to see where he left off and you begun.

    In re-reviewing the contents of this thread, I’m not really sure there’s anything concrete being argued here. All I see is exceptions taken to the way words are used. For example:

    * Darkfall is being called broken because it lacked refinement.

    Fair enough, it’s not completely broken. It is, however, more broken than most. If that’s not a fair reflection of a game that has placeholder buttons in its GUI at release, I’m not sure what is.

    * Darkfall being compared to a rotten egg.

    I get in trouble with analogies a lot, and this is a problematic one. The rotten egg analogy was meant to imply, as I wrote, “it’s definitively less than fresh” meaning that yes, it has more flaws than the usual egg. The complete point I was trying to make is that, while some people might be okay with the smell of rotten egg, they’re wrong to demand others find it fine.

    My analogy sabotaged me because a rotten egg is also completely untenable. You can’t eat a rotten egg without getting sick. Darkfall Online is not completely untenable because you can still play it and enjoy it.

    * Pundits and Punditry

    While appeal to authority is problematic in most cases, what you have to consider about a pundit is that their very role is to be an authority on a matter.

    If you choose to undermine the value of your authorities on a matter, you’re basically choosing to start over from scratch with no understanding on it. In earnest seeking of the truth, that’s great. However, in your truth seeking, you’ll eventually end up as an authority on the matter, and if people are going to ignore you because you’re an authority, what good is that?

    You simply set yourself up for a cycle of ignorance by devaluing the opinions of authorities.

    The viability of the hardcore PvP genre

    You know lum is not your friend here, and for the some reason I am.

    The trouble is, strictly speaking, games are games because they’re supposed to be about having fun… and people being jerks isn’t fun. When you’re walking along, having fun, and somebody kills you and takes all you’re stuff, for no good reason and no way for you to prevent it, it’s a very unusual individual who would find this to be an enjoyable situation.

    That said, fun is subjective, more power to you, blah blah blah.

    I’m currently in the process of creating a game in which I want to let a bit more freedom in myself. (Don’t get too excited: the BYOND engine is not super cutting edge, and my one easily distracted man endeavors no doubt will pale in comparison to entire development teams.)

    However, because I hold these beliefs about the ridiculousness of creating a game in which players can freely grief eachother, I’m certainly not going to let that freedom be completely baseless. To me, Darkfall Online’s developers come off as lazy because simply turning everybody’s PvP flags on isn’t that “hardcore.”

    EVE Online and Darkfall Online both attract a lot of criticism from me because they quit halfway through the process. They grant the players freedom, but they don’t really have the mechanisms to focus that freedom in such a way as to prevent the “jerk” factor from overpowering the “fun’ factor.

    Of course, this is all opinion, and you’re free to disagree. Just don’t be too surprised if my massively backed up convictions to hold these opinions remains unshifted. You’re only up against mortar settled by 26 years of playing games.

    Where, exactly, is the basis to argue here? Honestly, I don’t see any argument happening at all now, I just see people getting their dander up over nothing.

    Even I might be affected in that I think Owain’s been supporting Darkfall Online, but in reviewing what he wrote, not really. He’s more offended I find his being offended at what offends me about the game than anything legitimately to do with Darkfall Online’s virtues.

  133. Einherjer says:

    Seeing this thread and how it’s developed I wonder if Owain and Geld will soon meet each other in Massachusetts, Connecticut or Iowa?

  134. Einherjer says:

    And for the record, I think Darkfall is a great game. And yes, i am currently playing it.

  135. Owain says:

    Yes, I was pwn’ed by the blockquote. My apologies.

    “Darkfall lacks refinement.”

    Guilty as charged. Fortunately, as Lum noted it does not impact game play. Polishing is ongoing.

    “Rotten egg analogy”. Clarification is noted.

    “Pundits and Punditry”

    I guess I have a hard time with this one because it seems to me to be such a preening bit of self indulgent puffery. Who approves the pundit
    nominations around here, anyway? What are the qualifications beyond saying “I are one”? On what basis should I accept you as a pundit?

    If you need a self described title to lend weight to your arguments, maybe your arguments are unconvincing. I make no claim to authority. My arguments stand or fall on their own merit. If my can successfully defend my arguments, hey, maybe I’m a pundit and didn’t even know it. If you can’t defend your arguments, perhaps claims to punditry are premature. Just make your argument. Pat yourself on the back on your own time.

    “The viability of the hardcore PvP genre.”

    “People being jerks is not fun.”

    Justify that statement with respect to hardcore PvP genre in general, and with it’s application to Darkfall, specifically.

    In defense of free for all PvP, let me submit that people being jerks is not exclusive to PvP games. There are jerks in PvE games, there are jerks in FPS games, there are jerks in the Sims Online. Hell, there are jerks in single player games. This is a less a case of Darkfall being broken than it is People are broken.

    The problem arises when game companies try to design a one size fits all game, and forces PvE players and PvE players together. They try to address that by having PvE and PvP servers, and battle grounds, and duels, and so forth. My view is if you want PvP, design a PvP game. If you don’t want PvP, forbid it. Problem solved.

    From your point of view then, are FPS games broken because they are purely PvP? Speaking of purely player vs player FPS games, not player vs AI. Those games are very successful, so I don’t see how you could successfully make the argument that they represent a broken design, by definition. Yet here, if you are particularly unaware what kind of game you are playing for some reason, you could be walking along, having fun, and and most definately, somebody will kill you for no good reason and no way for you to prevent it, but it would be a very unusual individual who would find this to be an unexpected situation. DUDE! You’re playing an FPS. What do you EXPECT to happen? If you don’t like playing a FPS, don’t buy Call of Duty: World at War.

    So it is with Darkfall. If you don’t like PvP, don’t play Darkfall. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. It is a MMORPG FPS game. Hard core PvP is not by definition, a ‘broken’ design. As an argument, this seems to me to be a non-starter.

    Be that as it may, for a PvP game, Darkfall is not non-stop griefage ganking. I’ve said that. Lum’s said that. But that doesn’t agree with your theory, so you choose to disagee with the facts on the ground. My sugestion to you is if you want to criticize Darkfall, stick to things that are applicable.

    I’m not offended that you don’t like PvP games. I don’t like sports games. That’s just a matter of taste. I’m offended when you spout shit about a game you will never play, and expect people to agree that you know what you’re talking about.

    I am not here to convince you I am right. That is futile. Think of me a source of information. You may have a theory regarding how you think Darkfall works. Describe your theory and I will verify your theory against the actual game. I may say yes, you are correct. Darkfall lacks polish and needs refinement. Your theory is correct.

    Or I may say no. {Fill in the blank} does not work the way you think it works. You are full of shit. Try again.

    This way, you can test your theories without actually playing the game, which is what you want to do in the first place.

    Even Pundits need to do research.

  136. Owain says:

    Einherjer :Seeing this thread and how it’s developed I wonder if Owain and Geld will soon meet each other in Massachusetts, Connecticut or Iowa?

    Texas, maybe. They have very open gun laws there.

    KIDDING!!! 🙂

  137. geldonyetich says:

    Owain :
    I guess I have a hard time with this one because it seems to me to be such a preening bit of self indulgent puffery. Who approves the pundit
    nominations around here, anyway? What are the qualifications beyond saying “I are one”? On what basis should I accept you as a pundit?

    This is a slippery precepace you put me on because you’re essentially asking me to convince you of an argument that I’d be a pundit. How likely am I to convince anyone in an argument over anything? Given my Internet experiences, not very.

    At best, I might have a chance if I knew what conditions that would sway them. What criteria would you be putting forth is sufficient criteria to be a authority to MMORPGs in general that I wouldn’t meet?

    To a great extent, one is equally guilty of self-indulgent puffery to deny any authority. On what basis should I accept you as being a judge of what does and does not constitute a true authority?

    It’s bad enough to claim I’m a pundit without earning a pundit’s wages. It’d be the whole next level to claim I’m such an experienced pundit as to be a judge of who is or is not a pundit.

    This way, you can test your theories without actually playing the game, which is what you want to do in the first place.

    Even Pundits need to do research.

    Just as soon as the game offers a free trial, I’ll be happy to. I meanwhile, I’ll have to settle for second hand research, which include other people playing, which is not completely without merit. Especially if you’ve played tons of MMORPGs in the past and know the drill by heart.

    You’ve been on the offensive so far, taking examples of the flaws of the game and waving them away. Would you be willing to try things on defense for awhile by providing some examples of what makes the game so great and seeing if we won’t wave them away?

  138. Raelyf says:

    Geld and Owain: You’ve completely monopolized the comments for the last two post and, while you initially had something to say, you’ve long since come around to repeating yourselves over and over and over again. We get it.

    Geld – you think the game sucks because it’s unrefined and unpolished. Yes, there’s alot of shit wrong with Darkfall. We get it. However, you haven’t played it, so your opinion of whether Darkfall ‘works’ or ‘is fun’ or whatever overarching concept you use to judge a game is, ultimately, unsupported. Yes, again, Darkfall has obvious problems – but that doesn’t excuse you from spending a week filling up page after page with comments about how broken a game is that you’ve never even played. Read that last sentence a couple more times. You’ve made your points – WE GET IT. Please, no more.

    Owain – You like Darkfall, fine. We get it. That doesn’t make Darkfall ‘well designed’. It has numerous falts, some of which are forgivable and superficial (awkward and ugly character movement, ect.), some of which are forgivable, since they don’t affect the gameplay, but very serious problems (shit patcher, the fact that you couldn’t buy the game, ect) and some of which are unforgivable and non trivial, such as reliance on the client to handle the loot system, flying boats, and who knows what else. You’ve swept all these away like they don’t matter, but they most certainly do. You’ve argued the awkward loot system was necessary to keep people from looting in combat and such, but then said it was unimportant that people could easily write an autoloot hack since it’s clientside, among many other things. In any case, you’ve made your point as well – WE GET IT. Please, no more.

  139. Raelyf says:

    Oh noes – FALTS

  140. geldonyetich says:

    @Raelyf
    Actually, you didn’t get dick considering that’s what neither of us were really saying.

    In re-reviewing the thread, I’ve come down to it being mostly a slapfight about how we went about expressing our viewpoints. That was silly, but equally silly as your damning us for saying things solid enough to be wrong about the game, which we didn’t, because we were too busy attacking each other.

    However, I’ll lay off because my copious walls of text completely overwhelmed the senses enough to generate this misunderstanding, and who can blame you?

  141. geldonyetich says:

    One more wall of text. I really didn’t address this. It has nothing to do with Darkfall and more to do with the viability of a Hardcore PvP model.

    Owain
    The problem arises when game companies try to design a one size fits all game, and forces PvE players and PvE players together. They try to address that by having PvE and PvP servers, and battle grounds, and duels, and so forth. My view is if you want PvP, design a PvP game. If you don’t want PvP, forbid it. Problem solved.

    If by “problem” you’re referring to mixing PvE and PvP players together and setting up false expectations that result in hard feelings when carebears get ganked, than yes.

    However, the problem with open PvP as I see it has more to do with creating meaningful significance behind it. It’s actually sort of a point against Darkfall Online – or any other game that is PvP based (he quickly interjected) – when you give people the ability to gank eachother but they don’t bother because there’s no point. That’s right, Lum being spared instead of being a constant gankfest may have been a bad sign.

    Darkfall Online has EvE Online have some point in that players can go build their own legacies out there in space and then try to tear eachother’s down, but (not taking account population of the battles) what are the majority of PvP incidents?

    Simple, completely pointless ganking, whose only purpose serves to generate a little excitement in an otherwise boring world of resource grinding (and this applies to both games).

    What gets me all hot and bothered (there’s a bad mental image) about that? Here we have dynamic content and all the developers can think to do have players bash their heads against eachother. How about some real empire building? How about some significance beyond “gank eachother and burn down eachother’s villages/sectors just because you can.”

    What’s the developers’ answer so far? Well, gee, if building a dynasty is so important to you guys, we’re going to make it expensive and neigh impossible for people to tear it down. How did Bob dissolve again? It sure wasn’t by straightforward warring.

    How about some real intrigue? How about logging into the game and being approached by players who see you as a potential ally to overthrow the evil Count Humperdink and his Gankknights Extraordinaire? How about rescuing a town of surfs from being sacked by goblin invaders? How about building something in the game that actually makes the world a better place instead of being little more than a overglorified treefort for you and your friends?

    How hardcore is what we’ve done with PvP Dynamic Content so far, really? Not very. It’s a failure to launch, compared to where we should be.

  142. Funny blog Lum! A couple of snorts and an LOL… Good stuff!

  143. Owain says:

    @Raelyf
    Nobody’s holding a gun to your head making you read this stuff. See the scroll bar on the left side of the window? Use it.

    @geldonyetich
    One last comment with respect to Pundits and then I’m done with that. I don’t care if you call yourself a pundit or the winner of the Miss Persephone contest. You gain no additional authority by claiming either. Make your case. Let the reader decide whether your argument holds water, or not. You are recognized as a pundit by the following you have and the influence you wield. You have to earn it. You don’t apply for it.

    “It’s actually sort of a point against Darkfall Online – or any other game that is PvP based (he quickly interjected) – when you give people the ability to gank each other but they don’t bother because there’s no point.”

    There was no point in ganking Lum, which is why he wasn’t attacked yet. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of PvP in Darkfall. There is, but people don’t waste their time to gank for the sake of ganking, precisely because PvP in Darkfall IS meaningful.

    Most of the PvP I see in Darkfall is resource based. In order to maintain a city, you have to gather a LOT of resources, gold, ore, lumber, and stone. So, you PvP to deny resources for your enemies, to disrupt their harvesters, to claim thier resources for your own, and to protect you own harvesters, and to safeguard your own sources and supplies. If I can interdict my enemies supply lines, he will find it hard to maintain the integrity of his city. He may not be able to build defensive weapons like siege cannons or lightning towers. He may not be able to rank up his barracks to increase his number of bind points.

    You conduct raids on his cities to disrupt his training as well. If his soldiers can’t train, their skills will be lacking, making them less of a threat to you, and making them easier to defeat in a siege. You also attack them to make them expend equipment and gear. If they can’t keep their army stocked with quality weapons and armor, that weakens them further.

    “Well, gee, if building a dynasty is so important to you guys, we’re going to make it expensive and neigh impossible for people to tear it down.”

    It IS expensive. It IS extremely difficult to wage a successful siege. Here we have an example of a theory you’ve advanced, where quite frankly, you are full of shit. Try again.

    “How about some real intrigue? How about logging into the game and being approached by players who see you as a potential ally to overthrow the evil Count Humperdink and his Gankknights Extraordinaire?”

    Try to keep up with current events. That happens daily.

    “How about rescuing a town of surfs from being sacked by goblin invaders? ”

    That happens all the time as well. We have allies who don’t have walled cities, but have open hamlets instead. Out enemies raid them frequently, for the reasons described above. They rely in large measure on us for defense.

    “How about building something in the game that actually makes the world a better place instead of being little more than a overglorified treefort for you and your friends?”

    Well, if we weren’t involved in a continuous state of WAR, we might consider it. I’ll put it on the TO DO list (note to self: first conquer the continent. Second, build the Hanging Gardens of Babylon).

    “How about some real empire building? ”

    You’ll have to define your terms there. What is not REAL about the empires currently being built?

    Most of your questions reveal what I’ve already touched on before. You don’t know enough about Darkfall game content to be able to ask cogent questions. You’re conception of what is going on in Darkfall is flawed, which is not surprising if you rely on tripe that appeared in Eurogamer for information. If you start with a flawed premise, your conclusion will be equally flawed.

    Reexamine your assumptions.

  144. geldonyetich says:

    Big holes there and complete failure to read in many cases. However, I’ve spoken enough already, so I’ll let somebody else have the fun of waving off your silly examples of what you think is going on in that game.

    I particularly found it endearing how he took a point I made about how simply making seiging expensive was missing the point of dynamic content needing meaning, reaffirmed that sieging was indeed expensive, and said I was full of shit because of that.

    At that point, I lost all interest in discussing anything with this fellow, as he had reached a level of such blithering idiocy that it was futile. I’d say you disappoint me, but then, my expectations weren’t very high.

  145. Gx1080 says:

    @geldonyetich

    First, let me tell you that EVE Online has a)all the goodies in the dangerous sections, and b) A free market almost as complex as the real one (i mean, they hired a real economist for analyzing it).

    Besides those obvious and serious overlookings on your part, the answer to your post is so what? What if people build powerful empires and conquer the other empires? What if people gank others for loot -and most importantly- for hearing nerd rage? What if i kill the guy that talked shit about me or steal my stuff? and, mainly What if people do all those things just for -gasp- fun?

    Its a way of a player base, its the way of EVE Online and DarkFall player base and guess what? They love it. You (and many, many others) dont because you HATE that market (being ganked and insulted for them didnt help, amirite?). Another flash news: They dont care. They are having fun, and at the end, thats the objective of a game.

    And about wanting PvP games being succesful, yet diffaming games that are sucessful (EVE Online) and you didnt even play? (that goes for both). Please, that just doesnt hold water. And, sorry but you cant judge a game without playing it no matter how good you are. No exeptions, evidence: Lum. And yes, im also repeting myself.

    TL, DR: They like it. You dont. End of the story.

  146. geldonyetich says:

    I actually have played a few months of EVE Online, and speculated the market a lot in that game.

    I didn’t go much into the dangerous sections, but that’s mostly because doing so is really offputting to a player who doesn’t have years invested or big corporate connections. Entirely different tangent.

    They Like It, You Don’t is completely fair. However, I’m not talking about whether I like the games. I’m talking about how dynamic content hasn’t gone far enough.

    Really, what does “they like it” do to prove the virtues of a game? There’s a lot of pretty simple and unimpressive (in artistic terms) things in this world that a lot of people like. Like professional wrestling, or reality TV.

  147. geldonyetich says:

    Also, I suppose I’ve played Darkfall Online, too – sort of. It’s actually been getting played not 15 feet from where I’m sitting now for the past few days, and I’ve been doing a lot of shoulder surfing trying to pick up on the appeal. Overall assessment, not bad, nothing special.

  148. Makaze says:

    I have to say Owain wins this argument. Not because I agree with him, Darkfall has lots of problems and he’s got some major league denial going on. No, it’s more because geldonyetich emphatically loses the argument.

    1. You haven’t played the game and therefor your opinion is borderline worthless. You’re welcome to have all the opinions you want but they don’t carry much weight. Yes, you’ve played lots of other MMOs, we all have. Yes, you’ve seen Darkfall played. That makes you almost qualified to render a superficial commentary on some general feelings about the game.

    2. You called yourself a pundit. Multiple times. And you weren’t being sarcastic. That’s pretty much an automatic disqualification right there. It’s a minor sub-codicil to Godwin’s Law, subsection E paragraph 4 believe, but someone should check me on that. If your argument needs to be buttressed by made up (or real for that matter) qualifications for yourself, it’s not a good argument.

    You’re a pundit when other people start calling you one without you prompting them. Calling yourself a pundit is kind of like telling everyone that you have a cool new nickname. You only answer to Snake now! Or that you’re on Fox News, either way.

  149. geldonyetich says:

    Gotcha. Owain wins because all my experience with Darkfall Online doesn’t count until I’m actually sitting at the keyboard and manipulating the mouse and keyboard because it’s a magical case of awesome that totally transcends all other games in existence. Oh, and also because I said some things that could be easily misinterpreted to imply I’m a pundit.

    Personally, I don’t give a damn about anything between me and that guy anymore. The second Owain flat out said, “you’re full of shit,” he was dead to me. That’s something you only say when your brain goes, “I have no idea what’s that guy’s talking about, and I’ve decided I’m not going to try anymore, instead I’m just going to insult that guy.”

    Any pretense in my mind he was truly capable of having an open mind was thoroughly disproved through this one point alone.

  150. geldonyetich says:

    Just to clarify, and because I’ve enough caffeine in my system to be very bad at shutting up, what I did call myself was an aspiring pundit. The significance of the difference is that I might want to be pundit, but you’re not a pundit.

    The previous few posts attempted to examine what a pundit is, because Owain made that the question of the moment, but in asking him why he thought I wasn’t one, I wasn’t trying to insist I was one. I was trying to get him to give us a definition of what he thought a pundit was. In vain, it seems.

    The reason why the whole matter of punditry was brought up was also an easily missed point.

    I didn’t want to say, “we’re pundits, therefore we’re right.” What I was trying to say was, “if you come to a place where people are practicing evaluating a game like a pundit would, you’re operating on a very poor premise that whether or not you like the game matters, as they’re trying to evaluate it with as little subjective opinion as possible.”

    For someone trying to operate nonsubjectively, the fact that Darkfall Online has flaws in its GUI is enough, as it’s an example of a concrete nonsubjective detail: they’re there whether or not you can cope with them. That’s why the flaws, and how “broken” the game really was in comparison to other games, was the core of the issue.

    Is that really so hard to understand? For a true fanboy, my goodness, yes it was.

  151. Makaze says:

    geldonyetich :
    all my experience with Darkfall Online doesn’t count until I’m actually sitting at the keyboard and manipulating the mouse and keyboard

    Pretty much, because until then you have no experience with Darkfall Online. It’s a game, an interactive experience and so you actually have to interact to really experience it.

    because it’s a magical case of awesome that totally transcends all other games in existence

    No, precisely the opposite, because it’s just like every other game in existence. You can have some superficial opinions about a game you’ve read about or seen but to say anything that matters to most people, you need to have played it yourself.

    If you don’t get how the whole pundit thing, aspiring or not, makes you look then well hmmmmmmm… not sure I’m qualified to help there.

  152. geldonyetich says:

    It’s an interesting point for an existentialist, really: just how close to a game do you really have to be to understand it?

    I’ve already mentioned I’ve got somebody 15 feet from me whose been playing it for days, and I’ve been watching them play it. I definitely know the whole play experience from the GUI level.

    I’ve read enough about the game to probably know a few things about it that some of its players don’t. Especially if they’re relying on the in-game manual (or lack thereof).

    I might even understand a few things about game design that Adventurine doesn’t – loosely judging by some of the obvious design decision mistakes they’ve committed to and touted as a feature.

    However, until I actually play the game: nope! Diiiisqualified. P0wn3ed, bitch – suck it down.

    It’s like Schrödinger’s cat. Before I play the game, it simultaneously exists in a state of suck and awesome. I’m transcending time and space – whee!

    Of course, it was never my goal to really say the game sucked, merely that it had flaws and this is an example what a non-objective opinion will focus on. But, hey, say it often enough and I’ll inevitably argue myself to being there anyway.

  153. Gx1080 says:

    @geldonyetict

    Exactly. Nice to see that you get it.

  154. Vetarnias says:

    @geldonyetich
    Your post (#40, previous page) is very interesting, for while I don’t exactly side with you on the question of punditry, I find that, based on that post, my position on this sort of game is remarkably similar to yours.

    I have the same reluctance to try out EVE Online for the same reasons. I couldn’t care less about the ganking, but when scamming is allowed in a game, with players in fact bragging about it on forums, no thanks.

    I too am concerned about dead maps that result from the same two huge alliances grabbing everything they can while waging perpetual war on one another until one collapses. That thing with BoB disintegrating? I thought it would kill EVE, because then you would have been left with the Goons — yes, those same guys who don’t have qualms about wanting to wreck games.

    By all means, there should be some hijinks. Placing your guy inside the enemy’s castle so that he can lower the drawbridge at the agreed-upon hour, for instance. But don’t make it the only way to achieve anything in the game, like it seems to be the case for EVE, where your only hope is to find a turncoat with some authority. And even then, the EVE case isn’t exactly a shining example of realism. One guy can disband the entire alliance? Really? I remember mentioning elsewhere the more realistic case of a bank employee bringing the bank to its knees because of illicit transactions; the real-life case of Barings in the 1990’s, for instance. But the EVE case is more a case of not only depleting the accounts of the alliance, but also make the head office vanish into thin air as though it never existed.

    Anyway, EVE and Darkfall (for the record: I have played neither game, and I feel compelled to underline this fact in every post of mine) seem to have the same problem. If you’re a solo player, or a small guild, you have no place in them except if you join a larger guild, even if you don’t want it. Okay, Darkfall (and perhaps EVE) isn’t catering to those small players, they want the large guilds. And I guess it’s fine, if it’s financially sustainable.

    But then you get the large guild/alliance mentality, which can be summarized as follows: “Anything goes”. One side starts cheating (and there will always be one) and everybody else will follow suit, just to avoid falling behind; and then they’ll do the finger-pointing at the other guilds for cheating. That’s the core demographic of Darkfall, and the wiseguys in Athens just welcomed them with open arms. — they went looking for them, in fact.

    The problem is that even if Aventurine didn’t want those guys around, it would have been pretty much impossible to keep them out with the design philosophy it has embraced. So I’m not sure how much significance you can inject into a game which claims to be a sandbox. About this, beyond the original design choice, it’s not the fault of the developers. It’s the fault of the players, and there is not much you can do.

    Just consider this thread: http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm?thread=237487

    I’ve recently started reading the medieval chronicles of Froissart, just for kicks, and the guy who started the thread apparently thinks he’s his spiritual heir. He is, but probably not the way he intended: no matter how much grandeur he tries to infuse into the text, you still get the damn e-peen running in the background (just as those 14th-century wars Froissart chronicled were for the most part frivolous), the same view from the top (which in the case of Froissart was inevitable, because the nobility was his patrons and his only potential readers), and the ceaseless name-dropping to stroke the ego of the protagonists (on the other side of the thin line from preserving their name for posterity). But what you don’t get is Froissart’s eye for detail, nor his stylistic flourish.

    Someone in that thread pretty much described it as it really was: “So, yeah, this game’s pretty much just a giant circle jerk? As far as I can tell, there’re no “politics” in this, only a great deal of empty bragging and zerging. How people can say that Darkfall is a “complex political experience” is beyond me, children’s playgrounds have more complex politics than this.”

    Those players don’t respect games, and you expect grandiose acts from them? No, they’re thugs, they’ve been so in every hardcore game they’ve touched, and will continue to do so until they wonder on their deathbeds whether they might just have wasted their entire lives stroking an e-peen nobody gives a damn about. Hell, if I worked hard enough, I could turn this little text of mine into a three-act play: http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/thread/225892/A-Gaming-Tragedy.html .

  155. JuJutsu says:

    @geldonyetich

    Check out this thread on mmorpg.com (it magically disappeared from the Darkfall forums so you can’t go there…). This guy claims to have put in 750 hours of game time before reaching his conclusions. Count yourself lucky to have reached the same conclusions without 750+ hours of banging your head on a brick wall.

    http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/thread/237567/page/1

  156. geldonyetich says:

    Clearly, I’m asking too much to trust others to acknowledge the existence of my amazing powers of game clairvoyance.

    I’d shell out for a copy right now, just so I could play the game and point out I knew all this ahead of time, but I’d rather not monetary incentivise Adventurine.

    Instead, I’ll just say I look forward to Lum’s next entry about the game.

  157. Vetarnias says:

    Hmm, and I see my latest post still hasn’t cleared moderation…

  158. Vetarnias says:

    Hmm, Scott is probably busy typing up an entry on the announced demise of The Matrix Online, so I’ll just copy-paste my earlier entry here (you can always delete the earlier version when you get around to it). I’ll redo the links in case that was the problem with the first version.

    @geldonyetich
    Your post (#40, previous page) is very interesting, for while I don’t exactly side with you on the question of punditry, I find that, based on that post, my position on this sort of game is remarkably similar to yours.

    I have the same reluctance to try out EVE Online for the same reasons. I couldn’t care less about the ganking, but when scamming is allowed in a game, with players in fact bragging about it on forums, no thanks.

    I too am concerned about dead maps that result from the same two huge alliances grabbing everything they can while waging perpetual war on one another until one collapses. That thing with BoB disintegrating? I thought it would kill EVE, because then you would have been left with the Goons — yes, those same guys who don’t have qualms about wanting to wreck games.

    By all means, there should be some hijinks. Placing your guy inside the enemy’s castle so that he can lower the drawbridge at the agreed-upon hour, for instance. But don’t make it the only way to achieve anything in the game, like it seems to be the case for EVE, where your only hope is to find a turncoat with some authority. And even then, the EVE case isn’t exactly a shining example of realism. One guy can disband the entire alliance? Really? I remember mentioning elsewhere the more realistic case of a bank employee bringing the bank to its knees because of illicit transactions; the real-life case of Barings in the 1990’s, for instance. But the EVE case is more a case of not only depleting the accounts of the alliance, but also make the head office vanish into thin air as though it never existed.

    Anyway, EVE and Darkfall (for the record: I have played neither game, and I feel compelled to underline this fact in every post of mine) seem to have the same problem. If you’re a solo player, or a small guild, you have no place in them except if you join a larger guild, even if you don’t want it. Okay, Darkfall (and perhaps EVE) isn’t catering to those small players, they want the large guilds. And I guess it’s fine, if it’s financially sustainable.

    But then you get the large guild/alliance mentality, which can be summarized as follows: “Anything goes”. One side starts cheating (and there will always be one) and everybody else will follow suit, just to avoid falling behind; and then they’ll do the finger-pointing at the other guilds for cheating. That’s the core demographic of Darkfall, and the wiseguys in Athens just welcomed them with open arms. — they went looking for them, in fact.

    The problem is that even if Aventurine didn’t want those guys around, it would have been pretty much impossible to keep them out with the design philosophy it has embraced. So I’m not sure how much significance you can inject into a game which claims to be a sandbox. About this, beyond the original design choice, it’s not the fault of the developers. It’s the fault of the players, and there is not much you can do.

    Just consider this thread:
    http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/thread/237487/CommentaryTheorycrafting-on-Agon-WW2.html .

    I’ve recently started reading the medieval chronicles of Froissart, just for kicks, and the guy who started the thread apparently thinks he’s his spiritual heir. He is, but probably not the way he intended: no matter how much grandeur he tries to infuse into the text, you still get the damn e-peen running in the background (just as those 14th-century wars Froissart chronicled were for the most part frivolous), the same view from the top (which in the case of Froissart was inevitable, because the nobility was his patrons and his only potential readers), and the ceaseless name-dropping to stroke the ego of the protagonists (on the other side of the thin line from preserving their name for posterity). But what you don’t get is Froissart’s eye for detail, nor his stylistic flourish.

    Someone in that thread pretty much described it as it really was: “So, yeah, this game’s pretty much just a giant circle jerk? As far as I can tell, there’re no “politics” in this, only a great deal of empty bragging and zerging. How people can say that Darkfall is a “complex political experience” is beyond me, children’s playgrounds have more complex politics than this.”

    Those players don’t respect games, and you expect grandiose acts from them? No, they’re thugs, they’ve been so in every hardcore game they’ve touched, and will continue to do so until they wonder on their deathbeds whether they might just have wasted their entire lives stroking an e-peen nobody gives a damn about. Hell, if I worked hard enough, I could turn this little text of mine into a three-act play:
    http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/thread/225892/A-Gaming-Tragedy.html .

  159. Owain says:

    I’ll make one or two final points, then bow out until either Lum returns with an update, or until something else new pops up we can discuss.

    I’m talking about how dynamic content hasn’t gone far enough.

    I had to read that a couple of times before it made sense to me, because I realized that your conception of dynamic content and mine are completely different. We may use the same words, but we aren’t talking about the same thing.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I suspect that by ‘content’ you mean activities and features that you as a game-designer/game-developer insert into a game. That is a trap that puts the developer on a never ending treadmill of having to continually add new content, new quests, new regions, new gear, new player abilities, new dungeons, and new activities because inevitably, players will consume content faster than you can develop it. So what is a developer to do? You supply ‘Dynamic Content’ then. I’m assuming this involves variations on the the questions asked me previously.

    How about logging into the game and being approached by players who see you as a potential ally to overthrow the evil Count Humperdink and his Gankknights Extraordinaire? How about rescuing a town of surfs from being sacked by goblin invaders? How about building something in the game that actually makes the world a better place instead of being little more than a overglorified treefort for you and your friends?

    I presumed these were all player interactions, but perhaps I was wrong. Count Humperdink is an NPC, the goblin invaders are all NPCs, the ‘Hanging Gardens of Babylon’ (or whatever you have in mind for building something ‘to make the world a better place’), this is all content that you develop, but perhaps spawned dynamically using a psuedo-random ‘dynamic content’ generator.

    I’m currently in the process of creating a game in which I want to let a bit more freedom in myself.

    To me, that says your goal is not to provide entertainment for potential players of your game, but rather your goal is to provide an entertaining design sandbox for yourself.

    However, because I hold these beliefs about the ridiculousness of creating a game in which players can freely grief each other, I’m certainly not going to let that freedom be completely baseless.

    Baseless, as determined by whom? The people hopefully paying to play the game, or the designer who is more interested in entertain himself at the expense of his players? Grief, as defined by whom? The developer who thinks that a PvP game should allow players to be walking along, having fun, and under no circumstances should anybody be able to unexpectedly come up and kill you, and quite possibly use harsh language to boot? Lord knows, we can’t have any of that. It might interfere with a players enjoyment of the field of wildflowers the ‘dynamic content’ generator spawned on the hillside that are being brutally trampled by the rampaging Kobold NPC. TO ARMS. There are Tulips at stake here!

    My idea of dynamic content is to have the game designer supply an environment, and get the Hell out of my way. No matter how sophisticated you ‘dynamic content’ is, if it is algorithmically generated and AI controlled, it is crippled, predictable, and ultimately boring. If you allow the players the FREEDOM to develop their own content, it will most certainly not be boring, because players are crafty, unpredictable, dynamic, and completely illogical at times. They are out of your control, and that can be a good thing, because they can supply content in ways you cannot imagine. Some of that content will be very very good. Some of that content will be bad. Some of that content will be completely unrelated to PvP. Some of it will be completely and violently PvP focused. You want a challenging game development problem? Try this one.

    The problem with previous PvP games has always been that it has been too easy for players to attack other players with few consequences. UO was a good example of this. The Recall spell made it trivially easy to literally get away with murder.

    In the real world, you generally don’t have unrestricted gankage in developed countries, although you do have the occasional serial killer. Civilization and Laws combine to limit that behavior. Some parts of the world make Ultima Online look like My Little Pony, and people are killed/starved/brutalized by the hundreds of thousands, or millions.

    So, like Eve, this might be a pattern to emulate. Have one area that is reasonably safe and well protected. Let your dynamic PvE content generator go nuts there. People who want that will be happy. The farther you get from civilization, have things get progressively more lawless, and provide a VERY large zone where people like me can go nuts. Let us make our own content and keep your AI controlled goblin invations out of our hair, and we will either bring civilization to the wilderness, or let chaos reign, depending on who currently has the upper hand, the PKs or the Anti-PKs. Either that or have multiple servers that allow players to dial their own level of pain, all the way from no PvP and maybe no PvE either for those who want a graphical chat room, to the server from Hell, where life is short, nasty, and brutal. Let your PLAYERS decide what they want.

    Darkfall is pretty much the short, nasty, and brutal server chosen by it’s players. It may be unpolished, but it’s not broken. It’s different. It’s a MMORGP FPS, and we like it that way. We are free to make our own content, and to a large extent, we don’t have development team forcing THEIR idea of fun down our throats. We are free to make our own way.

    Finally (and I MEAN it this time, FINALLY), with respect to the issue of punditorializing on games you do not play. How’s this for an analogy?

    There is a new professional sports league that has formed. Base-foot-saber ball. It has elements of baseball, football, and fencing, combined in a unique fashion, and is very popular with a small, vocal segment of the population.

    As a sportscaster, you’ve played baseball, watched football, and heard of fencing, but you don’t really care for it because it’s just a bit to violent for your tastes. The new sports league is just starting out, and there are only a few teams in the league, including the Detroit Engines, the Pittsburgh Blastfurnaces, the Denver Coors-Drinkers, and a couple of other colorful teams. You’ve read an article written by someone who watched warmsups during spring training, seen a few commercials, and your brother watches a game now and then, and you’ve glanced over his shoulder now and then while visiting.

    So here we have sports-pundit, Geldonwhosis, and he’s trying to convince Owen Babowan, the second string saber rattler in the backfield playing for the Coors-Drinkers (along with everyone else within earshot), why Base-foot-saber ball is ‘broken’.

    You see where there might be a credibility problem there?

  160. geldonyetich says:

    This post was a lot more reasonable than when you were simply saying I was full of shit.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I suspect that by ‘content’ you mean activities and features that you as a game-designer/game-developer insert into a game.

    The definition of “content” as adapted by game developers basically applies to most things of substance placed within a game for the players to consume. I know you want to tell me that content results from player interaction with eachother, but that’s not the developer definition.

    That is a trap that puts the developer on a never ending treadmill of having to continually add new content, new quests, new regions, new gear, new player abilities, new dungeons, and new activities because inevitably, players will consume content faster than you can develop it.

    It sure does. However, since content isn’t dynamically generated within the game from player interaction alone, this trap isn’t as easily evaded by simply letting them gank eachother as you might want.

    “Dynamic” content is the alternative to “static” content in that things within the game are actually capable of changing. The creation of player-made cities is a good example, but what do they do with it? Not enough, in my opinion.

    To me, that says your goal is not to provide entertainment for potential players of your game, but rather your goal is to provide an entertaining design sandbox for yourself.

    Why can’t it be both?

    Baseless, as determined by whom?

    Well, anyone who had played grinds long enough to realize that grinding to defeat other players just to continue grinding is ultimately a futile endeavor, I guess.

    There’s no real meaning to grinding in the long run, and I think dynamic content is interesting in that, properly harnessed, it can enrich this meaning by allowing a real story to develop.

    Grief, as defined by whom?

    If you’re going to keep playing this “as defined by whom” game, we’re going to get nowhere. I promise you, in anything in life, you will find someone whose definition of a thing disagrees with yours.

    As a sportscaster, you’ve played baseball, watched football, and heard of fencing, but you don’t really care for it because it’s just a bit to violent for your tastes. The new sports league is just starting out, and there are only a few teams in the league, including the Detroit Engines, the Pittsburgh Blastfurnaces, the Denver Coors-Drinkers, and a couple of other colorful teams. You’ve read an article written by someone who watched warmsups during spring training, seen a few commercials, and your brother watches a game now and then, and you’ve glanced over his shoulder now and then while visiting.

    So here we have sports-pundit, Geldonwhosis, and he’s trying to convince Owen Babowan, the second string saber rattler in the backfield playing for the Coors-Drinkers (along with everyone else within earshot), why Base-foot-saber ball is ‘broken’.

    You see where there might be a credibility problem there?

    We seem to have a disagreement of proximity. You seem to think I’m a sportscaster going back into the fans’ bleachers and telling them why their game is less than perfect. I think you’re a fan who has wandered into the pit of aspiring sportscasters and is ranting at them why they think their sport is the better than most the sports they’ve observed.

    It’s not exactly a credibility problem you have, so much as you picked an impossible goal. You’re not going to convince a fellow who observes all sports that your sport is the best. Neither should you take exception when they point out there’s things about your sport that other sports do better.

  161. Owain says:

    @geldonyetich
    “The creation of player-made cities is a good example, but what do they do with it? Not enough, in my opinion.”

    With respect to Darkfall, your opinion is neither required nor desired. If it meets the needs of those playing the game, that is sufficient. I will not criticise the PvE content of your game, if and when it is released.

    If your design sandbox meets both your needs and the needs of your players, congratulations. You will have threaded the needle. It sounds as though your main objective is your own satisfaction. Put your players needs first, and your personal needs second, and you will probably have better luck.

    “If you’re going to keep playing this “as defined by whom” game, we’re going to get nowhere.”

    The players of Darkfall have decided for themselves what constitutes an acceptable level of grief. THE PLAYERS decide what is acceptable, but you insist that you are the arbiter of what is acceptable and what is not. Who died, and appointed you Pundit?

    “You seem to think I’m a sportscaster going back into the fans’ bleachers and telling them why their game is less than perfect. I think you’re a fan who has wandered into the pit of aspiring sportscasters and is ranting at them why they think their sport is the better than most the sports they’ve observed.”

    I’m not a fan, I’m an active player, yet the uninformed sportscaster is trying to tell me why my game flawed because it’s insufficiently like golf. I didn’t invent the thing, but I am playing it, and so are a large number of others. I’ve never maintained that Darkfall is the best game available. Find a quote where I say that, if you can, and link to it. Darkfall is is the best game of it’s kind for those who want free for all PvP coupled with large scale City siege and conquest.

    If there is another ‘sport’ that does that better, tell me about it. You’re the aspiring Pundit, not me.

  162. geldonyetich says:

    Owain :
    With respect to Darkfall, your opinion is neither required nor desired.[…]
    “You seem to think I’m a sportscaster going back into the fans’ bleachers and telling them why their game is less than perfect. I think you’re a fan who has wandered into the pit of aspiring sportscasters and is ranting at them why they think their sport is the better than most the sports they’ve observed.”
    I’m not a fan, I’m an active player, yet the uninformed sportscaster is trying to tell me why my game flawed because it’s insufficiently like golf.

    This is actually the core of what’s been going on between you and me right here. It’s always been the core of it.

    You never quite understood that when people here point out things the game in which you owe your alliegance to we’re not doing it to slam the game. We’re doing it because this happens to be a place where evaluating the entirety of MMORPG-kind is done, and we’re merely contrasting Darkfall Online against the other offerings.

    Opinions which point out Darkfall Online’s flaws, and underscore them heavily, are both heavily required and desired at this particular location on the Internet.

    Now, if I can come on over to your forums and started slamming the game, you’d be perfectly within your rights to tell me that pointing out flaws in the game isn’t welcome.

    However, that’s not what happened. What happened is you dragged your meddling ass over here and starting telling us we can’t evaluate games on the criteria we tend to evaluate them on.

    Do you have any idea where you are? You’re on a comment thread of Lum’s blog. After much cudgeling, we’ve managed to talk you into reading one of these posts so you can find examples of flaws and wave them away without understanding why we’re bringing them up. Read more of them – maybe that will clear it up to you just how pointless it is for you to defend this game, or other game, here.

    Darkfall is is the best game of it’s kind for those who want free for all PvP coupled with large scale City siege and conquest. […] If there is another ’sport’ that does that better, tell me about it. You’re the aspiring Pundit, not me.

    “Better” is a tricky word in that like “best” and “worst” it carries an unspoken important qualifier, “better in what way?”

    I can find several games that did certain aspects that Darkfall Online tried to do better. Even games that have PvP coupled with large scale City Sieges. Shadowbane, Age of Conan, Lineage 2, even World of Warcraft if you’re not picky about it being in an instance. However, that’s pointless if I don’t understand the exact specifics of this wide scenario that make Darkfall Online so important.

  163. geldonyetich says:

    Another thing to bring up is that the sports analogy breaks down when you realize that there’s really not that much different from Darkfall Online and the vast majority of MMORPGs out there. They all highly resemble a formula of games we’ve played dozens of, and Darkfall Online remains unique only in the ways it has varied.

    It’s not like I’m a guy who played baseball trying to tell golf players they shouldn’t enjoy their game. It’s more like I’m a guy who played tons of variations of baseball, and now here’s a variation of baseball where the players are invited to kick eachother in the nuts when they fail to steal a base. I’m perfectly within my rights to say, “Well okay, I guess some people can enjoy that, but I don’t think it’s a very good change for what I consider the fundamentals of the genre.”

    Another reason why finding something such as a screwy patcher or an incomplete GUI has become important: it’s one of the more significant things the game has done differently as a clone. A hardcore PvP focus with grinding resources into city building isn’t that new – Shadowbane did that years ago, and it had a better accountability system.

    Personally, I think it’s pretty reasonable to point out generalizations about how Darkfall Online unperforms compared to most MMORPGs with this in mind. Now, if you think you’ve read deep specifics as to why Darkfall Online is lacking from me, you’re overreacting. I’ve never made a comment that would require actually playing the game to know.

  164. Gx1080 says:

    What are “the fundamentals of the genre”? If i may ask. (And no, a Diku MUD themepark or a single player game with chat doesnt count).

  165. geldonyetich says:

    You’re missing the point if you’re getting real fixated on the phase, but actually, that’s a good question. I’m going to pull a dick move of asking a dictionary to make an argument for me.

    Fundamentals: “one of the minimum constituents without which a thing or a system would not be what it is.”

    Genre: “a category of artistic, musical, or literary composition characterized by a particular style, form, or content.”

    So, “fundamentals of the genre” in contrast with what we’re talking about now?

    Well, I’m going to put the genre as “MMORPG” as opposed to just “Open PvP DikuMud-Clone MMORPG For Which Darkfall Surely Is But EVE Online Not Quite.” It’s a big difference in that we’re considering a broader aperture.

    As for the fundamentals, lets say little things like friendly GUIs, good documentation, and assigning incentives in such a way as to not encourage players to act like complete dicks. The overall goal that necessitates these fundamentals being to “conduct the best game experience possible.”

    It’s tricky, of course, because some people’s idea of what makes up “fun” differs from others, but you can with experience pick up a few near universals, such as, “one hit kills when you’re out minding your own business is fun for very few people” or “allowing speedhacking to steal your flippin’ frigate right from under you is right out.”

  166. Vetarnias says:

    Hmm, I’d hate to be called a spammer; still, I’d rather have my comments appear on this blog, without the links (which probably condemn my posts to moderation purgatory), before this discussion has lost steam.

    So Mr. Jennings, truly sorry about the spamming; just delete my two previous posts if you get around to it. (And by the way, what prompts a comment being sent to wait for moderation instead of appearing directly? It almost seems done at random from the moment you have links.)

    So, to copy and paste:

    @geldonyetich
    Your post (#40, previous page) is very interesting, for while I don’t exactly side with you on the question of punditry, I find that, based on that post, my position on this sort of game is remarkably similar to yours.

    I have the same reluctance to try out EVE Online for the same reasons. I couldn’t care less about the ganking, but when scamming is allowed in a game, with players in fact bragging about it on forums, no thanks.

    I too am concerned about dead maps that result from the same two huge alliances grabbing everything they can while waging perpetual war on one another until one collapses. That thing with BoB disintegrating? I thought it would kill EVE, because then you would have been left with the Goons — yes, those same guys who don’t have qualms about wanting to wreck games.

    By all means, there should be some hijinks. Placing your guy inside the enemy’s castle so that he can lower the drawbridge at the agreed-upon hour, for instance. But don’t make it the only way to achieve anything in the game, like it seems to be the case for EVE, where your only hope is to find a turncoat with some authority. And even then, the EVE case isn’t exactly a shining example of realism. One guy can disband the entire alliance? Really? I remember mentioning elsewhere the more realistic case of a bank employee bringing the bank to its knees because of illicit transactions; the real-life case of Barings in the 1990’s, for instance. But the EVE case is more a case of not only depleting the accounts of the alliance, but also make the head office vanish into thin air as though it never existed.

    Anyway, EVE and Darkfall (for the record: I have played neither game, and I feel compelled to underline this fact in every post of mine) seem to have the same problem. If you’re a solo player, or a small guild, you have no place in them except if you join a larger guild, even if you don’t want it. Okay, Darkfall (and perhaps EVE) isn’t catering to those small players, they want the large guilds. And I guess it’s fine, if it’s financially sustainable.

    But then you get the large guild/alliance mentality, which can be summarized as follows: “Anything goes”. One side starts cheating (and there will always be one) and everybody else will follow suit, just to avoid falling behind; and then they’ll do the finger-pointing at the other guilds for cheating. That’s the core demographic of Darkfall, and the wiseguys in Athens just welcomed them with open arms. — they went looking for them, in fact.

    The problem is that even if Aventurine didn’t want those guys around, it would have been pretty much impossible to keep them out with the design philosophy it has embraced. So I’m not sure how much significance you can inject into a game which claims to be a sandbox. About this, beyond the original design choice, it’s not the fault of the developers. It’s the fault of the players, and there is not much you can do.

    Just consider this thread: mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/thread/237487/CommentaryTheorycrafting-on-Agon-WW2.html.

    I’ve recently started reading the medieval chronicles of Froissart, just for kicks, and the guy who started the thread apparently thinks he’s his spiritual heir. He is, but probably not the way he intended: no matter how much grandeur he tries to infuse into the text, you still get the damn e-peen running in the background (just as those 14th-century wars Froissart chronicled were for the most part frivolous), the same view from the top (which in the case of Froissart was inevitable, because the nobility was his patrons and his only potential readers), and the ceaseless name-dropping to stroke the ego of the protagonists (on the other side of the thin line from preserving their name for posterity). But what you don’t get is Froissart’s eye for detail, nor his stylistic flourish.

    Someone in that thread pretty much described it as it really was: “So, yeah, this game’s pretty much just a giant circle jerk? As far as I can tell, there’re no “politics” in this, only a great deal of empty bragging and zerging. How people can say that Darkfall is a “complex political experience” is beyond me, children’s playgrounds have more complex politics than this.”

    Those players don’t respect games, and you expect grandiose acts from them? No, they’re thugs, they’ve been so in every hardcore game they’ve touched, and will continue to do so until they wonder on their deathbeds whether they might just have wasted their entire lives stroking an e-peen nobody gives a damn about. Hell, if I worked hard enough, I could turn this little text of mine into a three-act play: mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/thread/225892/A-Gaming-Tragedy.html.

  167. Gx1080 says:

    Ahhh. I just realize that EVE hit in something that DarkFall missed. The most fun EVE stories IMO, arent the ones of huge alliances killing each other, the most fun ones are of the small pirates in low sec and empire wars.

    A complete law-less space of course that is going to be dominated for huge mafia syndicates, but the half-lawless space its the territory of the small corps that just want blow somebody, steal stuff and hear nerd-rage instead of a napoleonic conquest.

    And those people, the small groups that have fun in random killing intstead being 24/7 holding a territory with zergs are the core of games like these, thats what atracts people to PVP without having a huge alliance behind them, hell even solo players. Thats a sucess in my book.

    (Or maybe im navigating a little too much in the EVE Online’s C&P forums, i dont know).

  168. EpicSquirt says:

    @Vetarnias
    You can perfectly solo in EVE.

  169. JuJutsu says:

    EpicSquirt :@VetarniasYou can perfectly solo in EVE.

    I’ve only been playing 1 1/2 months but I’ve had a great time soloing and don’t have any plans to do otherwise for the forseeable future. I’ve been playing with guilds for the past several years and I think I’m ready for a stint of playing without social obligations.

  170. Guy says:

    Owain said (to geldonyetich):
    “With respect to Darkfall, your opinion is neither required nor desired.”

    Wow. What are you, Owain, the thought police? This is a place where games are discussed, by people, who have opinions.

    I think this reveals what’s motivating you: you just can’t stand that there’s people out there, somewhere, who have a negative opinion about the game you’re playing. You may not desire it, and the fans of Darkfall may not require it, but these opinions will be had and shared nonetheless. Just concentrate on enjoying Darkfall.

  171. geldonyetich says:

    @Vetarnias
    Funny enough, the developers thought that BoB thing would kill EVE too, but the remarkable thing about it is that the spectacle of having BoB disintigrate like that made the game more interesting instead of less.

    That’s the really interesting thing I pick up from these games which go, in my opinion, only half way as far as they should by enabling open PvP without giving much method or reason for it. Despite that you, like me, can reason perfectly well that there’s a definite limit to how much hijinks you can allowed until the “balanced game” aspect goes flying out the window, there’s still a matter of how people will have varying reasons to play a MMORPG, and “for the spectacle” is one of them.

    I likened it to Reality TV, but this isn’t to dump on the genre, it’s because there is a pressing similarity there. In Reality TV, we put the focus on creating a really thought out entertainment production aside, and instead we just point the camera at people who are put into compromising situations. People will watch that, not because it’s artistically sound, but rather because they’re drawn to the spectacle.

    Darkfall Online I dump on a little because, even with a casual glance at its feature set, reported flaws, and evidence of rampant hacks, you can tell that this is a second-rate production. They don’t even try to hide it – look at their web page, massively outdated news eventually cumulative in, “OMG, look at the forums for news, okay?” 9 out of 10 things on their feature page is things I’ve seen advertised on dozens of games before them. It’s like these guys barely researched what MMORPGs were before they decided to make one.

    I’m not saying Adventurine is completely worthless. They did have some ambition in that they decided to make the world huge and add a free market and allow players to array dynamic content against an open PvP backdrop, but after that the game sort of goes sour as a substandard example out of hundreds of MMORPGs. They also saw developing a game to its completion, which is more than I can say I’ve done so far.

    However, I’m not going to say people can’t enjoy it because they simply don’t care the kinds of things that gamers who appreciate games as being quality productions would. All they wanted was an environment in which they dominate other players without game mechanics which restrict this obviously negative behavior stopping them. Darkfall delivereth.

    EVE Online, despite having some similarities in the haphazard manner in which they allow players to screw each other, is a lot different of a fish on the grounds that the environment is significantly more ambitious. Where Darkfall was yet another MMORPG in a saturated MMORPG genre made by developers who apparently couldn’t even finish their GUI by release and so covered for it by deciding to adopt this rather self-destructive set of players, EVE Online was conceived as being a free floating space market from the beginning.

    I feel both games have fallen into similar ruts in that the developers couldn’t take the concept far enough: they couldn’t be bothered to design and code meaningful reasons for many player interactions, so they much trust the players to come up for meaningful reasons for them. I wish I could say that the players could be trusted with that responsibility, but you don’t have to look far to see evidence in either games that the players are just screwing each other over to relieve the monotony the games gave them.

    Also, established EVE Online players will tell you that the game is newbie accessible because conditions were a lot different when they were a newbie, and it’s a place they can never return even if they reroll, so they live in perpetual lack of understanding when you or I tell them the supposed best parts of EVE Online are definitely not newbie accessible without massive corporate sponsorship from established players in the game. Yahtzee lambasted the game for all the right reasons.

    Dude, Yahtzee should totally do Darkfall Online. Wait, no he shouldn’t – this game has already attracted waaay more hype than it earned through merit of its creation.

  172. JuJutsu says:

    “I feel both games have fallen into similar ruts in that the developers couldn’t take the concept far enough: they couldn’t be bothered to design and code meaningful reasons for many player interactions, so they much trust the players to come up for meaningful reasons for them. I wish I could say that the players could be trusted with that responsibility, but you don’t have to look far to see evidence in either games that the players are just screwing each other over to relieve the monotony the games gave them.”

    I don’t mind ‘themepark’ games, lord knows I’ve spent enough time playing them and having loads of fun. But I like ‘sandbox’ games very much. I don’t need developers to create ‘meaningful’ reasons for me to play, I can generate my own.

    You sound like my Aunt, always clucking about when we were kids; she wanted us to play organized games. We just wanted to run around whacking stuff with sticks. 🙂

  173. Guy says:

    “Funny enough, the developers thought that BoB thing would kill EVE too, but the remarkable thing about it is that the spectacle of having BoB disintigrate like that made the game more interesting instead of less.”

    I think partly it didn’t disintegrate because although the formal entity known as BoB disappeared, the people in it were still able to reform into a new alliance. They just lost a lot of resources in the betrayal. It’s not a total loss, but it’s a decent challenge to regain former glory. Haven’t read much about it since it happened, though.

  174. geldonyetich says:

    JuJutsu :
    You sound like my Aunt, always clucking about when we were kids; she wanted us to play organized games. We just wanted to run around whacking stuff with sticks.

    That’s a good analogy.

    Me and your Aunt are sitting on the porch watching kids whack stuff with sticks and thinking to ourselves, “sure, I guess that can be fun for a little while, but wouldn’t they rather be doing something actually challenging or meaningful?”

    The kids have no idea what we’re grouching about – all the challenge and meaning they could want are right here. Maybe they’re developing their tactile or social skills by whacking stuff, and that’s all the fun their growing brains need. Me and your Aunt seem like nothing more a couple of prunes who need to get off their back.

    Who’s in the right? Technically, both parties.

    Me and your Aunt need to realize that everybody has their own needs, and perhaps whacking things with sticks is where you are in your life right now. Your kids are the casual players.

    The kids need to realize that, in the long run, whacking things with sticks isn’t the toughest thing in life to master, and after that they’re going to pine for more productive forms of entertainment. Casual players eventually become experienced players (like me and your aunt) and experienced players need a bit more oomph.

    Humor some old prunes as we scheme about bigger and better forms of stick whacking.

  175. Vetarnias says:

    @geldonyetich
    Yahtzee, though, has a reputation for despising MMORPGs. I’m not saying he’s wrong, but that any MMORPG that comes his way already has two strikes against it. Hell, he went as far, in his review of “The Witcher”, as saying that it suddenly dawned on him that “this is like a MMORPG” when he was getting particularly bored with it. Kudos to Yahtzee for one thing, though: unlike most game reviewers, he actually made games.

    But I do remember his EVE review, which before writing this paragraph I had seen for the last time a month ago, and I remembered only one segment from it: “nerds who are to nerds what nerds are to normal people”. Having seen it again, I think he just went out of his way to slam it down because of the forum invasion from the EVE supporters after he ranted against Age of Conan for being a WoW clone (and for the record, in some respects, I preferred Conan to WoW).

    I wish he’d do Darkfall, but the result would probably be the same. But at least it would be fun to watch.

    And Aventurine’s website… what to say of it? Darkfall beta stuff still makes up the latest news. Extremely amateurish.

  176. geldonyetich says:

    I’m not saying Yahtzee is the definitive judge of all games. The interesting for me about Yahtzee is that the man has the same picture of fun that I do and from much the same source: he’s played so many games he’s developed a certain taste for what’s a good game and what’s not.

    When he attacks EVE Online as a “game for nerds who are to nerds what nerds are to normal people” he’s doing so partly because (like Lum here) the man garners a lot of attention by consistently delivering The Funny. He’s really not that fixated on calling people nerds, he’s just trying to put his point in funny terms.

    The point he was trying to make is the same point I was making about EVE Online. As far as being a quality gaming experience is concerned, Spreadsheets and resource grinding a corporate dealings – dealings we’d associate with extreme nerdishness – are counter-intuitive to delivering a good game when they’re taking well out of moderation.

    EVE Online succeeds, not on the merits of being a game, but on the merits of being a great spectacle. Reality TV, as much as it might annoy those whose experience with the stage causes them to crave quality stagecraft, has been anything but unsuccessful because being a part of a great spectacle is a different kind of entertainment value in itself.

    I might turn my nose up at this kind of entertainment value, but that’s because I’m a snob. It’s hard to sympathize with the snob, but some of them deserve your sympathy, as the reason for their snobbishness is because they’re genuinely craving something better.

    Snobs want to see the envelope pushed, and when somebody simply caters to “the hardcore” or “the casual,” because it’s easier, it’s just a disappointment to them.

  177. geldonyetich says:

    Snobs want to see the envelope pushed, and when somebody simply caters to “the hardcore” or “the casual,” because it’s easier, it’s just a disappointment to them.

    I can see some confusion come from this. “Aren’t snobs inclusive in the label of The Hardcore?” The trouble is that, much like “casual,” the “hardcore” is a label that has been assigned rather recklessly.

    As pertains to Darkfall Online, they cater to “The Hardcore” and their hardcore is being referred to as, “people who find PvP restrictions to be boring.” It’s really not their hardcore to begin with, it’s Shadowbane’s “play2crush” mentality, or Bartle’s “Killers.” They’re just milking a highly controversal bandwagon to simultaniously land a semi-loyal playerbase (most of which have probably jumped ship by now) and widespread media attention. Quite successfully, might I add.

    If you ask me, players who have played games for a real long time are very unlikely to end up being under this definition of “Hardcore”. This is because there’s a lesson they’re likely to learn at some point of all the games they’ve played, and that lesson is, “if you let people join whatever side they want and fight eachother, success or failure is less dependent on the skills of the player and much more a simple popularity contest.”

    If you’re a gamer who plays games on the merits of them being games, that the game comes second to a popularity contest is a massive, ugly-looking nail in its coffin. Disorganized ganking is highly counter-intuitive to delivering a solid play experience.

    A game like Guild Wars starts off on a far better platform: organize matches into fair numbers on both sides of the team and shunt them towards ladders.

    Of course, Guild Wars hasn’t quite handled that whole “immersion” thing with its incredible over instancing, so there’s quite a bit of work to be done to bring immersion and balance together. Get cracking on that, Game Developer Kind, the snobs among us demand it.

    A lot of my BYOND work is done in the mentality of, “Oh, so you’re not going to do that because it’s hard or unprofitable huh? Well, I’m going to come over there and do it for you then, punk.” If I succeed and they copy my model, that’s fine, at least this will push the craft forward.

  178. Vetarnias says:

    @geldonyetich
    Another very interesting post.

    Well, yeah, Yahtzee is popular because he’s funny, and also because he’s frank, whereas most game reviewers are seemingly too concerned about their job to risk attacking most games on the market, except small guys that can’t afford to buy advertising — like Aventurine. At the same time, Yahtzee could become a problem if he became so powerful that it started affecting the industry itself. Let’s assume, however, that it isn’t the case for the time being, and probably won’t be.

    The problem I have with snobs is not that they want to see the envelope pushed or that they refuse to be satisfied with less, but that they wrap an arrogance around what they do which is difficult to swallow. Especially so if they decide to start blaming anyone who contributes towards the envelope not being pushed, which usually means the general public that buys games just as much as the developers.

    Regrettably, I’ve seen too many examples of snobs blaming the guys at the bottom, especially in matters of taste. Consider, for instance, food critics, since it’s inevitably the first example that comes to my mind. Hell, you might build a similar case about film or book critics, but I like the food-critic comparison, because it’s one of the most blatant cases. Imagine the food critic, on vacation from restaurant duty, going through a grocery store and testing various products, and picking out the best while dismissing the rest. Now, I’d love to eat good food and try out what is the best, but chances are I can’t even afford it, and the food critic doesn’t care what my reason is. Kind of like blaming me for being poor, if you wanted to put it differently.

    I would be very glad to push the envelope by what I put on my plate, but my socioeconomic condition makes it impossible. So in this case, it means either I buy Kraft Dinner and similar affordable food, or I starve by refusing to endorse such junk food. And all things considered, you’d rather take what you’re given, but then the vicious circle kicks in, where companies grow rich making junk food which is the only type of food the poor can afford to buy, which in turn means the envelope isn’t being pushed because there is no desire to do so as long as profits are made. Look at Walmart, too, and its captive market away from urban centers. I can’t imagine myself screaming at the guys shopping there if they have no real alternative within their budget range.

    And I won’t even discuss television, which is entirely motivated by the bottom line, networks getting dictated their programming by advertisers, and then offering clones of what the competition offers. Really, your only choice is to turn off the TV, which is pretty much what I do nowadays.

    Let me state for the record that I too want to see better games on the market. Exactly how you can do that, I’m not sure, since I’m far from convinced that by shunning what is available, better stuff will appear in its place. This is too big an industry, like film or television, for it to work that way. Here we are, for example, discussing Darkfall, budget unknown yet presumably small, made by a rookie team, and seemingly falling apart, while at the same time hoping (Scott at least) that it will succeed. I’m not sure, however, that a small product, like an independent film, can ever grow out of a niche. Sure, it’s happened, but it’s the exception more than the rule.

    To be honest, I’m on the verge of calling this industry a lost cause, because budgets are simply too high for anything decent to emerge within it (unlike the book industry, where a small press can score a hit by publishing the right book). Or the successes that emerge from niches are quickly gobbled up, corrupted and have their franchise exploited to hell (I’m looking at you, Electronic Arts).

    Richard Garriott got his start programming his games solo and selling them wrapped in Ziploc bags out of the trunk of his car, and I don’t think I could imagine someone breaking into the industry this way today. Yahtzee could disprove that, though, but I’m not expecting him to build a financial empire around his games; he’s more likely to just get invited with open arms to an existing studio as a lowly designer on one of those brain-dead commercial games.

    Romantic notions of the “lonely game designer with a vision crouching over his keyboard in his parents’ basement” aside, I’m not sure where the alternative to the current gaming landscape could come from. Europe seems to have a different take on gaming, and many of the finest games I’ve played, especially strategy games, were from Germany. Can one really have options as far as gaming and snobbery go, though?

    All I’m asking is, do you feel confident that being a snob is the best way to go here? Let’s face it, all you can do is turn away from the train wrecks, but like my plate on a budget, your replacement choices are limited indeed. Limited by what is offered and by the industry, with little taking place outside of it. The rest is niche, sometimes intentionally so, like Dwarf Fortress, sometimes amateurishly so for lack of a better budget, like Darkfall. How do we — and they — get around that?

    I can’t sympathize with snobs, pure and simple, because of all this. Snobs are called as such because they feel superior to the rest of us, while they’re just beating down the guys at the bottom who don’t have an alternative anyway.

    Maybe we’ll get another update from Scott to spur this discussion onwards.

  179. Vetarnias says:

    @geldonyetich
    Hmm, you’re quite prolific. I had not seen your latest post before writing my reply.

    About the hardcore label: Not sure. Darkfall getting media attention is one thing, but you’d have to be the most steadfast believer in the “bad news is better than no news” doctrine. I’m reminded of an old quote by Isildur (of Pirates of the Burning Sea) where he suggested that “play to crush” probably lost Shadowbane twice the players it brought them. The fascination with Shadowbane around here would tend to prove that this belief is widespread, at least among the contributors to this blog.

    It’s also why I love to read about Shadowbane, as there is still some conflicting evidence as to whether it was the premise of the design or its implementation. My first-hand experience of that game came long after its launch, but it was clearly dying by that point.

    But about Darkfall, all I read about just gives me an urge to stay away from it, not to sign up for it. It’s fine to push all the right buttons to get the hardcore crowd, but they’re blowing it by being so incompetent, and the arrogance when faced with it doesn’t help here.

    It takes a particular type of hardcore player to advocate not updating the website to avoid the game becoming too popular (and yes, that was an actual argument on the MMORPG.com forums). And I’m sure that this type of hardcore player is just a small subsection of the hardcore label.

  180. Gx1080 says:

    @Vetarnias
    I see your first point, and its fucking depressing. I mean, Adventurine created a PvP MMORPG game that its more fun than WAR (and it cost waaay less money), but that will be recognized? Noooooo, because people want kill teh giant, and im starting to thing that nobody can defeat teh giant. Why, for gods sake people dont understand that WoW opened the entire MMO genre to the casuals, of course nobody is going to reproduce that moment in the market.

    About DarkFall, well, you cant compare it to ShadowBane, because (and im not the one that said it) Shadowbane sucked, because it builded a bigger hype than WAR (and for longer time) and it failed to deliver big time (i mean it taken years to half fix it).

    The lack of hype its actually good for Adventurine because it buys them time, and its building for its niche, and for that i mean that they faced the reality fast and, mostly countered it.

    @geldonyetic
    If pvp players are too “unsofisticated” for you, well its your right to think that way (and its a serious unmasking of your intentions), but the answer for that its: screw you. Its isnt builded for you, and its defects dont interfere with the gameplay of the game, so their players (not you) enjoy it. You are, basically repeating that you dont like it, and neither Reality TV and we all get it (try saying something else, because theres people who do like both things). Personaly, i dont like Reality TV much, too much talk and emo, not enough action (what can i say? i like the pew pew).

  181. geldonyetich says:

    @Vetarnias
    I don’t think the industry is losing much sleep worrying about the desires of snobs like Yahtzee or me. They just keep cranking out the same casual titles and bathing in their resulting piles of money.

    We probably mostly appeal to the indy crowd. Whether it’s music or games, mainstream sucks. Everybody will probably dig what I’m into long after I’m dead, and by then the right kind of snobs will have come up with something even better.

    You called demanding quality a problem. This is because you seem to be suffering from a negative predisposition that quality is associated with cost. Not so. Consider a few examples:

    Right now, there’s $50 games being sold which suck eggs, and $50 games which are significantly more worth to them. You can go to a posh restaurant and purchase not-quite-rancid fish eggs for $50, or you can go to a supermarket and buy everything you need for an awesome home-cooked meal for a fraction of that.

    This irrational fear that higher quality means unreasonable costs is part of the reason why mainstream sucks. When supply is up to demand, cost falls. When the supply of quality is up, the cost of quality is not a factor. However, when the demand of crap is sufficient, crap will continue to be delivered, because it’s easier to produce and fools will continue to pay for it.

    (Then, of course, there’s all the price fixing, but there’s a 1001 underhanded business practices that people get away with simply because the people they cater to are suckers who don’t know any better.)

    Re: Darkfall Online’s ‘play2crush’ adaptation might have cost them more than they gained.

    It depends on if Darkfall Online really had a chance to have that many players to begin with. In this case, I don’t think they had much of a chance to compete as yet another PvE game – their GUI isn’t complete, their learning curve sucks, and most of their world is cut-and-paste empty – so it was a smart move to by a play2crush game.

    @Gx1080
    That’s pretty much exactly what I said you’d say: “screw you, directing this to JuJutsu’s aunt and geldonyetich on the porch, we’re having fun.” The point I was trying to get at is that there might be some justice to being the right kind of snob.

    I said “right kind of snob” twice now. This is because, as far as the definition of the word “snob” goes, there’s plenty of room for misinterpretation. I’m not exulting a person who belittles others, I’m underscoring that there’s a person who appears to be a snob because they care about improving the quality of something more than you do.

  182. geldonyetich says:

    Adventurine created a PvP MMORPG game that its more fun than WAR (and it cost waaay less money)

    Actually, Darkfall Online more expensive than WAR.

    See Lum’s entry on what he paid for it.

    Those prices are in Euros, and (at the current exchange rate) it works out to $59.33 for the box and $16.64/mo. Include taxes, it’s probably just slightly above that of the cost of WAR.

    No wonder you’re so forgiving about the game. If it were Free2Play, I’d be a lot more forgiving towards it too.

    Also, I have to say that whether or not Aventurine intended to hype the game, they did hype the snot out of it by being such rabble-rousing hardcore enthusiasts. They received way more attention than WAR, and it wasn’t from the merits of the game.

  183. Gx1080 says:

    I was refering that it cost less money to make, sorry for the confusion in there. About hype, you got to admit the “second coming of Jesus” WAR hype was a lot bigger than the DarkFall one that was word-of-mouth mostly (and also, how much money Mythic expend in that e-peen contest with Blizzard? Money that could be used in, i dont know.. keeping their employees?).

    In DarkFall you can notice that in some things they put love and passion, in others was just crunch rush-up crap. But they put the effort in the important ones, and thats better than a bunch of mediocrity spread around (ShadowBane) or a total focus in the wrong things (WAR).

    About money cost, the problem is that for killing the behemoth you are going to need a lot of money. You also are going to need other things, like an stable team and enough time to finish, something that in this industry, actualy is more difficult to obtain the more money you got. Its illogical, but thats the way that it is (and its wrong, but changing that its another story).

    And yeah, you can try to not kill the behemoth. Good luck trying to get 1-5million with a bunch of inversionists that just want the top, or even worst, trying to use a existing IP that you dont own. (For killing the behemoth you need around 15million).

    About quality level, you are both right and wrong. Right because it isnt relationated of how much money you have. Wrong because it is related of how much time and employees you can afford and for both you need money. So it isnt about money, its about capital(resources) that you buy with money. Like economics.

    For closing, they, well, are a small indie company. They have few resource but they used in creating a game, that despite its defects its fun for the audience that it was targeted for. And after the triangle of fail of MMO (Tabula Rasa, Age of Conan, Pirates), the sinking Warhammer ship, a sucess, even if its a small one, its good.

    (BTW, expending some of those resource in a community manager or tying Tasos except for posting patch notes its a good investment).

  184. Vetarnias says:

    Gx1080 :
    @Vetarnias
    I see your first point, and its fucking depressing. I mean, Adventurine created a PvP MMORPG game that its more fun than WAR (and it cost waaay less money), but that will be recognized? Noooooo, because people want kill teh giant, and im starting to thing that nobody can defeat teh giant. Why, for gods sake people dont understand that WoW opened the entire MMO genre to the casuals, of course nobody is going to reproduce that moment in the market.

    The giant will be killed, but not by its competitors, and not necessarily when Blizzard decides to kill it.

    The way they’re expanding WoW now, it’s mostly by stacking at the top instead of building sideways (as Burning Crusade did). They will end up pleasing their current subscribers for a while, but won’t attract new players if they make the endgame even more distant. The whole thing will risk collapsing on itself sooner or later, and might have started already. I can’t avoid noticing those forum threads by people bored of WOTLK already; if they had any resolve, they’d hit the cancel button.

    The low-level content is rather lame; you endure it for 20-25 levels, when it’s still new, then it turns into a treadmill (I’ve never understood people who would start a new character out of boredom). The size of the community isn’t helping, it’s immature as hell, though in a completely different way from Darkfall.

    I’m not even sure why people play World of Warcraft. It’s as though they just gobble up every new property of Blizzard without asking questions, in which case it’s kind of pointless to buy an IP franchise such as Conan or Warhammer when those guys won’t ever hear of it.

    It’s the point at which I tend to understand what Geld means when he says he wants to be a snob. WoW is a perfect example of an offensively mainstream product. By mainstream I don’t mean heavy advertising on gaming forums (in which case Age of Conan has to be one of the worst offenders). I mean a presence outside of the traditional places where one can read about games.

    Take their TV ads, for instance. I remember in the 90’s at the height of the first round of console wars, when both Nintendo and Sega advertised heavily. I don’t watch much TV these days (bless you, YouTube), but I can’t say I’ve seen many games advertised in a similar pattern — not even the various consoles. Maybe the advertising model changed with the internet; at any rate, World of Warcraft is practically the only game (and definitely the only MMO) I’ve ever heard that was given a full-fledged TV campaign of late.

    Maybe that can be explained by the fact that video games fall smack into the middle-class, male, technologically savvy demographic, far easier and cheaper to reach through the Internet. Occasionally you will get something different, such as when the Wii banked on the family-friendly market, and found itself catering almost exclusively not to an underserved niche, but to an underserved vast demographic never served by the Xbox or the PlayStation. And people were saying Nintendo was dead as a console manufacturer before it came out. But for every Nintendo stroke of genius, you will get a plethora of brain-dead ideas such as including every bell and whistle inside the PS3.

    Where does WoW fit in this? It’s probably the same Wii approach extended to an MMO. But here is the irony of the thing. I can’t stand WoW, but I’m probably part of the demographic it’s trying to reach. I’m male, but a few notches below middle-class, and halfway between technologically competent and luddite. Hell, I’m reading this with my 10-year-old monitor’s degauss broken for more than a week (you should have heard the cracking sound when I turned it on), so that only the bottom middle of the screen is the color is supposed to be, and hoping the thing won’t blow up in my face, because I can’t afford to get it fixed or replace it.

    That’s also why I never considered myself a “gamer”. I haven’t owned a console in over a decade. I don’t change computers until they fall dead or they become so obsolete that I can’t do 90% of the stuff a modern computer can do (I remember when the computer I had five years ago crashed every time I tried to watch an embedded QuickTime video). As a result of that, my familiarity with games comes in a wave pattern: much when I have a new computer, very little a few years later when the system requirements outweigh it. I read the Penny Arcade comic, which I’m assuming to be one huge inside joke from one end to the other, and I don’t understand most of the gaming references; I just think the two lazy bums in it ought to get off the couch and get a f—— job like the rest of us, or cut back on frivolous expenditures such as games. There’s a recession on, you know.

    Sorry for the digression, but I thought the example would demonstrate that as far as computer equipment is concerned, I’m part of WoW’s captive market. My most recent computer dates back to 2007, but was by no means top-of-the-line even in those days. Even if I could afford to buy new games, I probably couldn’t play them. It’s like my comment to Geld — my only choice as far as snobbery is concerned is to turn down a conveniently available game like WoW, even though there are no alternatives for someone like me. Result: I play no MMO at present, and probably wouldn’t even if I could afford to.

    I remember raising this point many many times before, and I try to avoid repeating myself, but I think it’s an important one: How can you hope to topple a four-year-old game when you’re producing a game which only this year’s computers will be able to play correctly? Age of Conan was precisely that, a visual hog, and it was unplayable on my system (framerate usually below two figures). Warhammer made boasts that it was more realistic in terms of system requirements, yet it crashed after 10-20 minutes, something which Conan, however sluggish, never did except once. All the new stuff I hear about is all about graphics, 3D, shading — maybe to serve in the usual way, to hide a game with so many flaws that it can only be absolved by looking pretty.

    That’s the problem with this industry. Besides not understanding that people bored of WoW won’t play a WoW clone and that people who love WoW won’t even bother to check out your game, they want to kill off WoW, yet insist on having all the latest bells and whistles in their game. I wouldn’t complain if a game came out today with graphics from 2006. But since they won’t produce one, enjoy my not playing your game, and potentially swelling WoW’s numbers.

  185. geldonyetich says:

    Call me crazy, but I don’t think you necessarily need millions to develop a good game. You need millions to get awesome multimedia assets, true. You need millions to hire a whole lot of talent, true. However, whoever plays games just to stare at a graphics demo is no gamer. Whoever won’t touch anything without a giant pools of talent behind it is just being vain.

    Good games are good games because they’re created by people who know how to make a good games, right in the core mechanic. A giant development budget just introduces a hefty monetary responsibility just means you have big bills to pay afterward, and consequently, you’re going to end up desperately catering to a larger niche (e.g. “The Casual”).

    There are examples out there of games which were played by millions of players without having very big development budgets. World of Goo, Popcap Games’ stuff (though I’ve little love for a casual focus). Even in the MMORPG world – how much development budget went into Runescape (twice the players of Everquest) or Maple Story (five times the players of WoW)?

    Even advertising has a limited impact. Ask any advertiser what the number one seller of a product is, and the answer is something they have very little control over: word of mouth. If only one person plays you’re game, and they’re floored, and they tell 5 friends, and those 5 friends are equally floored and tell their 5 friends, and so on, before you know it you’ve an avalanche. The main people to generate long-term riches by dumping advertising on a bad product (bad enough to generate negative word of mouth) are the advertisers themselves.

    This is why I’m thoroughly into Indy territory. I think people who think big bucks and market demos are the key to success have no idea what they’re even selling anymore, and their main audience is people who have no idea what they’re buying. Once again, the mainstream sucks.

  186. Vetarnias says:

    @geldonyetich
    It’s a good thing we’re debating games, and not films. As much as the mainstream sucks for films, you don’t get many independent films around here. They don’t play in theaters, they never get broadcast on TV, and video stores don’t stock them. Yeah, I suppose there’s Netflix and such, but those films don’t even get talked about in the media, so chances are you’re not even aware of their existence — especially if you get into foreign films. Unfortunate, really; I’d love those films to be more accessible, rather than the same Hollywood dreck.

    That’s an instance where word of mouth ought to matter, but at the same time, such word of mouth is seemingly stuck inside an echo chamber where only the initiated are in a position to know that those films exist; and if you’re like me, you experience slight discomfort in the presence of that type of people, because they’ve been initiated to such films for so long that a sense of superiority has taken over, and in some cases they don’t really want the echo chamber to be enlarged to leave room for you.

    Games have a similar problem, but with rare exceptions (Braid?), the highbrow parallel to independent films does not exist. The games-as-art approach is practically nonexistent, even, it would appear, among game developers.

    Since I know that a few people reading this blog are developers, I’ll just throw this question at large: Do any of you believe that you are creating art?

    Back to subject. What you get, unfortunately, is not so much the artistic highbrow but the techie superiority aspect, entering the equation as far as indie games are concerned. You know, those who only swear by Linux and laugh at the poor guys using Microsoft. In the field of gaming, I like to bring up Dwarf Fortress as an example of this techie superiority thing. In one sentence, the programmer/developer thinks it’s still 1985, he’s made an ASCII game with no possibility to use the mouse, and he’s still building on his game rather than tackle his already byzantine interface (which even he acknowledges is bad; he even wrote that the interface “is not coming in your lifetime, but it’s coming”). Still, he has enough supporters for his game that he can live off donations to work on it full-time. Which is perfectly fine; but it does not make his game more accessible.

    MMORPG’s are already different, aside from the design perspective, because of the logistics involved. Billing, server maintenance, customer service, GM’s, regular updates. You can hardly get more DIY than Darkfall, and you can see how they’re messing up almost every aspect of it. Show me a guy who wants to build a single-player game solo, and I’ll wish him luck and hope he’s persistent; show me a guy who wants to build an MMO solo, and I’ll think he is delusional.

    As for casuals, they don’t really bother me, except when they get to the point of proclaiming the superiority of their lifestyle over the rest of us with, they presume, no lives. The Darkfall guys unfortunately lend credence to the casuals’ views by being so damn serious and immature all at once about gaming. *Nobody* cares about the size of your e-peen or how leet your guild is. Still, I can’t stand to see casuals gloat, especially since they all praise WoW to high heaven about it. They call more dedicated players elitists while turning a blind eye to their own form of elitism taking place in their game, and get annoyed at any player who rises above their mediocrity, for WoW, like so many other games, is all about seniority of play. And I’m not sure if I can say that this is a byproduct of the hand-holding treadmill that is WoW.

    Actual argument made against me, when I said I made 2000 gold in WoW before level 46 through providing the market with small eggs during Winter Veil: “You can’t possibly have known how to make money in WoW after playing just six weeks, so that means you lucked into it”. No. It’s like that Mencken cliche quote about nobody ever going broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public, except that in this case I was banking on the laziness, not stupidity, of WoW players, if you consider that the NPC monsters yielding small eggs are levels 5-7. Any player of a reasonably high level could get the five eggs required within minutes; they just didn’t bother doing it, so I did, hours at a time.

    I don’t know if I should be thankful that the fanboys never accused me of buying the money off a gold seller, but an innocuous act like mine — being rich before I was supposed to be rich — just threw a wrench in their sense of casual superiority — and they hated it, because I had not paid my dues as a player before beating them at their own game, which by their standards means having a couple of years’ experience playing the game. In the end, they just blamed me by citing my collecting the 2000+ eggs as a reason I had grown tired of the game. “If you had done something else…”, you know. Never mind that I went through that gold-making venture because I was bored of the game already.

    Man, I’m wordy. They should put word counters on those things.

  187. geldonyetich says:

    That’s an instance where word of mouth ought to matter, but at the same time, such word of mouth is seemingly stuck inside an echo chamber where only the initiated are in a position to know that those films exist; and if you’re like me, you experience slight discomfort in the presence of that type of people, because they’ve been initiated to such films for so long that a sense of superiority has taken over, and in some cases they don’t really want the echo chamber to be enlarged to leave room for you.

    Couldn’t say – I’ve never been to one. I imagine I’d probably feel out-of-my-element, but nonetheless I’d savor a chance to see what they find so interesting.

    I like to bring up Dwarf Fortress as an example of this techie superiority thing. In one sentence, the programmer/developer thinks it’s still 1985, he’s made an ASCII game with no possibility to use the mouse, and he’s still building on his game rather than tackle his already byzantine interface (which even he acknowledges is bad; he even wrote that the interface “is not coming in your lifetime, but it’s coming”)

    I have a different perspective on Dwarf Fortress, myself.

    This is not being deliberately 1985 obtuse in the name of artsy-fartsiness. Rather, he started out with an ASCII interface (as many roguelike game developers to) and the game turned out to be something much greater than he intended (perhaps because the stagnancy left by mainstream treatment of the PC platform left a void).

    Now, because a text-based interface is naturally tile-based, and he put a lot of machine-code optimization into displaying his text quickly, he knows he’d pretty much have to learn a whole new API and re-write major portions to the code to slap on a better interface. He chose instead to please his existing fans by adding more important features, because all building a better interface would do is try to fish in a wider audience.

    A large part of the reason why he decided to do this is because the game is free and he’s supported via donations. If he were getting paid because he was selling copies of this game, you can bet he’d have a lot of motivation to make it so more people can play it.

    Show me a guy who wants to build a single-player game solo, and I’ll wish him luck and hope he’s persistent; show me a guy who wants to build an MMO solo, and I’ll think he is delusional.

    Funny enough, by developing a game in BYOND, I’m part of a community of developers where many of them have quite successfully built a MMO solo (at least if you count using an existing tile-based quasi-MMO platform such). Reflecting on my experience hosting old modem-based bulletin board systems with door games, it’s easier than you might think.

    That said, it’s true that it’s certainly preferable to have a large support staff to manage the community and the inevitable deluge of support tickets they are sure to product. Not to mention a team of content producers. Everything’s easier when you’ve productive people to help you do it.

    As for casuals, they don’t really bother me, except when they get to the point of proclaiming the superiority of their lifestyle over the rest of us with, they presume, no lives..
    […]
    In the end, they just blamed me by citing my collecting the 2000+ eggs as a reason I had grown tired of the game. “If you had done something else…”, you know. Never mind that I went through that gold-making venture because I was bored of the game already.

    Another definition of the hardcore entirely – the “hardcore achievers.” There is definitely a certain achievement drive, it seems to be tied to the adolescent desire for mastery, that many MMORPGs try to harness. It’s less to do with it being a genuine game-quality mechanic and more to do with harnessing the skinner box for profit.

    Because it’s only a phase, it takes a very unusual fellow to still give a damn about achieving knick-knacks of virtual importance in their 30s, let alone in their death bed. However, you can still love playing games, they just need to be games that are genuinely enjoyable, since the grind no longer works.

  188. Owain says:

    Wow. You guys have been busy. I spent the weekend in a couple of large scale sieges, one giving, one receiving. Both ended with server crashes because they got too intense. (sigh) Both were glorious right up until the point that the Lost Connection With Server message popped up. Quite frustrating, but all in all, didn’t change the outcome of either contest.

    So, where was I? Ah yes. WAY up the page, @geldonyetich said, “However, that’s pointless if I don’t understand the exact specifics of this wide scenario that make Darkfall Online so important.”

    Well, this has been my point for a while. You’re not qualified to critique much of Darkfall’s game play because you don’t understand it. Yes, other games, in bits and pieces, have done many of the same things Darkfall is doing, but it’s the combination that’s important, so let me specify some of those features so you can understand what makes Darkfall so important to it’s players, and why there isn’t another game on the market that serves this community.

    1. Darkfall is first and foremost a PvP game. That may seem obvious, but that design decision has a fundamental impact on why Darkfall is structured the way it is. Every other MMO except Eve, is a PvE game at heart. PvP is slapped on as an afterthought, and typically it’s done very poorly. Balance problems abound, because the standard Tank, DPS, Healer, Nuker formula common to PvE groups doesn’t fit well in a fast moving PvP environment, so you get odd specializations like face melting healers.

    2. To avoid balance issues, Darkfall is a skill based game rather than a class/level based game. In WoW, if I take a Tank class, I’m forever being chain stunned/rooted/paralyzed by ranged/caster types. The Rock/Paper/Scissor theory of game design. Bleh. In DF, players select their own skill set. If something isn’t working for them, they can select a different skill to mitegate the problem. Players have much greater flexibility to adjust to different circumstances, so most players have some melee, some ranged skills, and some magery. Depending on player style, most are heavier in one area than others, so there is a surprising amount of variability from player to player.

    3. To avoid PvP from being endless fighting just for the sake of fighting, Darkfall includes the ability to wage sieges and capture cities. Not all cities are created equal, however. Some have far greater access to resources, and some have facilities that can be added, like shipyards. Control of a city give strategic benefits, and the loss of a city can have far reaching effects in the balance of power of an entire region. The goal of PvP becomes a struggle to deny access to resources. Defenders want to maintain control of resources in their sphere of influence to deny supplies to competitors, and attackers seek to interdict a city’s resources so that it is less able to defend itself. Clans are formed, alliances develop, and competition between alliances form. This is far from PvP for PvP sake alone.

    3. Consequences for death. Darkfall features full loot upon death. It takes time and it can be risky, but once you kill an opponant, you can loot him dry. Some people view this as a griefer tactic, but it is direct componant of the city siege model. If you kill an enemy, and he reappears at his bind point fully equipped, that is where you get the endless rounds of fighting, dieing, and fighting again with no possible resolution. In Darkfall, PvP is gear limited. If you run out of gear, you can’t PvP. Gear, in turn, drives the requirement to compete for resources. If you have no resources, you have not gear, and the best way to control resources is to control a city. Full loot also allows you to take raw materials from harvesters, increasing your own supplies and denying those supplies to your enemy.

    4. PvP in Darkfall is not limited by faction, realm, or even alliances. There is nothing to prevent me from murdering a clan mate for his gear, or an ally, other than laws defined by my clan or alliance. Dwarves can kill Dwarves, Humans can kill Humans, etc. This presents zero problems. Clan members do not kill other clan members or allies because that would get you ejected from your clan, and a clanless player is at a severe disadvantage in Darkfall. Laws, not game restrictions, govern players.

    For gamers used to RvR/PvE games like WoW, Darkfall is disconcerting. For the most part, there are no quests. PvE is present, but it’s viewed as a resource to be harvested, not an end itself. The challenges are continuous and completely unpredictable, unlike PvE in that PvP is not scripted, and no two fights are ever the same. You would think that sieges would get boring, but no two sieges so far have unfolded in the same way because currently tactics, skills, and equipment are all constantly evolving, and what worked last week may not work this week. Skills and equipment will eventually top out, but tactics will no doubt evolve continuously.

    Darkfall is a big game, and no doubt I’ve left a lot out, but these are the important points for me and for the KGB as a whole.

    There’s a lot about Darkfall I’d like to see improved. Server crashes during sieges first and foremost, but here Darkfall is a victim of it’s own success. This weekend saw 4 simultaneous large scale city sieges, each featuring hundreds of players on each side at each location. This is a capacity problem DF had not encountered before, and even in a large scale beta test, they didn’t have enough testers to predict what would happen if this occurred. The DF dev’s had previous capacity issues they have resolved, so I’m hoping this one will be addressed quickly as well, either through software for beefier hardware.

    Oh yeah. DF could still use some additional polish. When I’m in the middle of a siege, I find that I don’t notice that much. It’s important, but it’s not THAT important.

  189. JuJutsu says:

    “Consequences for death. Darkfall features full loot upon death. It takes time and it can be risky, but once you kill an opponant, you can loot him dry. Some people view this as a griefer tactic, but it is direct componant of the city siege model. If you kill an enemy, and he reappears at his bind point fully equipped, that is where you get the endless rounds of fighting, dieing, and fighting again with no possible resolution.”

    I dispute this point. Full looting is not necessary to prevent endless fighting with no resolution. Planetside is a case in point. Although you respawn with junk, you can re-equip in a matter of seconds at an equipment terminal [if you’re infantry]. The difference is that Planetside offers mobile respawn points (AMSs). Tactically the possession and positioning of an AMS becomes very important in taking a tower or a base.

    Planetside has ‘full looting’ but it’s pretty pointless and I rarely saw much of it other than for resupply if you wanted to use another empires stuff. There’s not much in the way of a death penalty unless you’re using a vehicle, then you lose some time. For grunts, you can be back in the fray in a matter of seconds. But someone has to be paying attention to tactics.

    In short ‘full looting’ is not necessary to prevent endless battles, a mix of fixed and mobile spawn points can prevent it and enrich the game tactically. It’s my non-pundit opinion that gear dependency makes full looting appealing to @sshats…the prime target market of Darkfall. Its not neccessary for large scale combat, sieges et cetera.

  190. geldonyetich says:

    Well, this has been my point for a while. You’re not qualified to critique much of Darkfall’s game play because you don’t understand it.

    That ranks right up there with “with respect to Darkfall, your opinion is neither required nor desired” thought-police sentiment. You seem to have fallen into this, “I am authority enough to deem you a non-authority” fallacy. You even have some people who agree with you here. However, just because you can’t grok that a person might be qualified enough to make these assessments without having to play the game doesn’t mean you’re right.

    That said, I already recognize all four points you made about Darkfall Online. I just have a different interpretation behind the long time consequences of those design decisions.

    1. Darkfall Online is foremost a PvP game, and is balanced as such.
    Technically, it’s skill-based advancement game. Instead of having the typical holy trinity balance challenge, it just have an entirely different balance challenge based on open progression and templating.

    2. Darkfall Online has skill-based advancement.
    Whoops, already addressed this point before I got to point #2.

    3. Darkfall Online has meaningful consequences for death because of full looting.
    On the other hand, there’s a real glut of equipment. It drops off mobs fairly consistently, it isn’t be sold for much value, you can’t break it down into base resources, and it naturally degrades over time without a means to repair it. You end up stockpiling a massive amount of redundant equipment and not particularly caring if you lose what’s on your back because it’s just going to degrade to ineffectiveness sooner or later anyway.

    4. Darkfall Online is completely open PvP, and the only real consequences to ganking you face are potentially alienating yourself from your clan.
    The trouble with this is that the less consequences there are to your actions, the less meaningful your actions really are. When killing my neighbor introduces no problems at all, what a hallow existence that is.

    No, the true challenge of a dynamic content developer isn’t for there to have nothing happen when you do something – “nothing happens” is just the default state to anything in virtual world – the true challenge of a developer is to make something happen in the right way as to introduce poignant meaning.

    If you’ve pegged me as somebody who finds Darkfall Online disconcerting because I’ve only played a batch of typical Diku-derivatives, you’re way off base. I’ve played games just as PvP Hardcore as Darkfall Online. Heck, back in the text-based MUD days, I’ve played games where entire players are kicked from the game for months because they failed to defend their clan. I just don’t particularly think an overly “hardcore” focus has anything to do with great enjoyment.

  191. geldonyetich says:

    Sheesh, looking at some of the grammar in my last message, you’d think I was channeling Gollum there. “My precious! My precious Darkfall Online dumping! They hates us for us, they wants to takes it from us, but we tells them hows meaningless it is for them to be murders in their sleep. Yes, my precious!” That’s what I get for writing a post before breakfast.

    Anywho, I just wanted to say that we somehow overlooked that Eurogamer’s Re-Review of Darkfall Online isn’t coming. Funny story about that – the developer basically said, “oh, I don’t think you guys deserve to re-review us because your 2/10 is still up there, therefore we shall wear it as a badge of honor.”

    I’m seeing a lot of Uwe Boll in this guy.

  192. Guy says:

    Good point, JuJutsu, and actually it can be made even more simply: Take any control-point based FPS (Battlefield 2 for example). There is no “looting”, everyone has the same stuff, and yet somehow one side can gain ground. There are other factors.

  193. Owain says:

    JuJutsu : I dispute this point. Full looting is not necessary to prevent endless fighting with no resolution. Planetside is a case in point. Although you respawn with junk, you can re-equip in a matter of seconds at an equipment terminal [if you’re infantry].

    I must be missing something here. If you can re-equip in a matter of seconds, what does this do to prevent endless fighing with no resolution. The point of respawning with NO gear in Darkfall is that it forces both sides to have to deplete their stores on hand. Once replacement gear is gone, that side is done fighting, and the side that is still able to continue fighting wins.

    Planetside has ‘full looting’ but it’s pretty pointless and I rarely saw much of it other than for resupply if you wanted to use another empires stuff. There’s not much in the way of a death penalty unless you’re using a vehicle, then you lose some time. For grunts, you can be back in the fray in a matter of seconds. But someone has to be paying attention to tactics.

    Of course full looting is pointless here, because “you can re-equip in a matter of seconds”. Since that is true, why bother picking things up? And where is the death penalty, since “For grunts, you can be back in the fray in a matter of seconds.” How sophisticated do your tactics have to be when you have an inexhaustible supply of troops continually respawing and jumping right back into the fight?

    In short ‘full looting’ is not necessary to prevent endless battles, a mix of fixed and mobile spawn points can prevent it and enrich the game tactically. It’s my non-pundit opinion that gear dependency makes full looting appealing to @sshats…the prime target market of Darkfall. Its not neccessary for large scale combat, sieges et cetera.

    It would seem that easy endless gear supply and mobile spawn points would server to make battles longer, not shorter. In DF, I kill troops attacking my city, they respawn at a distant spawn point. They not only respawn with no gear, but they potentially have a cross country hike to get back into the fight. Each death is strategically and tactically important. Stategically, because you force your opponant to exhaust finite supplies. Tactically, because each time you remove a combatant, you progressively weaken your opponant, and delay the arrival of reinforcements.

    How then, in this environment, is full loot an @sshat tactic, except in the fevered imagination of someone who is still upset because they had their toys taken from them in some other game?

  194. Owain says:

    @geldonyetich
    Let me rephrase then. Your opinion is irrelevant because it is uninformed? Is that better?

    As an example:
    3. Darkfall Online has meaningful consequences for death because of full looting.
    On the other hand, there’s a real glut of equipment. It drops off mobs fairly consistently, it isn’t be sold for much value, you can’t break it down into base resources, and it naturally degrades over time without a means to repair it. You end up stockpiling a massive amount of redundant equipment and not particularly caring if you lose what’s on your back because it’s just going to degrade to ineffectiveness sooner or later anyway.

    Pretty much the only use for gear that drops off mobs is selling it to vendors for what little they will pay for it. Why? It is so severely damaged that unless you carry a bag full of the crap with you, it will continually break while fighting. Armor that shatters on it’s first hit is worthless, which is why for PvP people wear player crafted armor and weapons, which requires raw materials and gold for it’s manufacture, and needs to be continually replaced. Players have limited stockpiles because gear is easily lost and not so easily replaced. Hence, the strong incentive and sharp competition to secure supply lines and sources of raw materials.

    4. Darkfall Online is completely open PvP, and the only real consequences to ganking you face are potentially alienating yourself from your clan.
    The trouble with this is that the less consequences there are to your actions, the less meaningful your actions really are. When killing my neighbor introduces no problems at all, what a hallow existence that is.

    Killing your neighbor can have negative consequences if you attack a member of a clan or alliance who will turn around and anihilate you, so you have to be careful who you attack to make sure the consequences don’t outweigh any possible benefits. My comments on open PvP was more directed at artificial situations where as a Human, I am prohibited from attacking another human, even though he may be training spawn in on my position to whack me, or other anti social behavior.

    For the most part, attacking your neighbor is usually far from meaningless. You attack your neighbor to disrupt his operations, deny access to raw materials, or push them out of the area entirely. I know of no group who attacks merely for the sake of attacking, with the possible exception of clanless individuals acting as solo highway robbers. These folks usually have very brief, unsuccessful careers before they learn, repeatedly, there are much easier ways of making a living.

    You are doing a good job of confirming my opinion that you are unqualified to comment on Darkfall game mechanics. That is not me trying to be the thought police. That is me pointing out that you don’t know what you are talking about.

  195. geldonyetich says:

    Let me rephrase then. Your opinion is irrelevant because it is uninformed? Is that better?

    Well, you still think I’m less informed than you, so no, you’re still wrong.

    We’ve been over this before with our sports analogy. I’m not the sports commentator walking down to the ball pit and telling the players they can’t enjoy their game. You’re a player walking up to the sports commentator lounge and trying to tell them your sport is the best of all they’ve observed.

    I know all about your sport, I’ve seen it done in dozens more variations than you have, all I really needed was a description of what it did differently to contrast it with the competition. I’d have to have some kind of serious learning disability to have to actually play it to know the difference at this point. What’s more, that I’ve seen it in as many variations as I have gives me a wider perspective you’re sorely lacking.

    That said, as long as you hold on to your belief that I don’t know anything about the game, this conviction will undermine your ability to understand anything I say. You neatly undermined the rest of your post with the very first sentence.

  196. Owain says:

    @geldonyetich
    You must have a different definition of ‘uninformed’ than I do. The problem is not that we have differing opinions about how Darkfall works. It’s not a matter of a faulty analogy. The problem is that you make statements that are flat out wrong, and you are so uninformed you aren’t even aware that you are wrong. Yet you draw conclusions based on faulty premises, that must be equally wrong.

    You are unqualified. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it is something you should try to correct.

  197. geldonyetich says:

    You are unqualified. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it is something you should try to correct.

    Yeah, yeah. Thank you, grand martial of the thought police, for setting me straight about what I do or do not know. The contents of my own head are perpetually a mystery for me, you know.

    I’d feel worse about your little judgement there if it wasn’t for the fact that anyone who has anything negative to say about Darkfall Online is flat out wrong in your mind.

    Here’s a tip from my inner thought police minister: Reinterpretation of what someone else says to support you is easy. So easy, it’s all you ever do. Understanding and acknowledging somebody else’s point is hard.

    Frankly, my credibility has been more hurt by having the patience to try to explain this to you than any point I made about Darkfall Online.

    Kudos to the guy who pointed out the futility of trying to prod a true believer back on page 2, I guess I had to find this out for myself.

  198. JuJutsu says:

    @Guy

    Why don’t you try to explain to Owain why full-looting isn’t necessary to prevent prolonged stalemate battles. Pointing out another pvp game that uses a different system hasn’t worked so far. Owain believes that if you don’t play it you can’t know anything about it and he’s never played Planetside. You used the example of Battlefield 2 I guess he’s never played that either. Try to explain it to him using a game he’s played.

  199. geldonyetich says:

    You know, it’s interesting – this talk about whether or not Darkfall Online is broken – this stuff going on between Owain and me on this comment thread. Why?

    Broken Toys

    The present-day synergy makes this comment thread yet another entertaining tragedy for the Gods.

    Don’t feel too bitter Owain. I’m shutting you down, true, but it’s only because you effectively shut me down because you told me I don’t know what I’m talking about. Well, if that’s the case, why bother talking at all, amirite? I won’t understand you, you won’t understand me, it’s pointless.

  200. Guy says:

    @Owain

    “How sophisticated do your tactics have to be when you have an inexhaustible supply of troops continually respawing and jumping right back into the fight?”

    Considering it’s happening to both sides, this is precisely when you *need* sophisticated tactics to overcome the stalemate. You need tactics to give you the edge, because you can’t rely on gear, for example. (I’m not saying the gear is everything in Darkfall, but clearly it must be important, given your comments about full loot.)

    What I’m saying is: there can be other factors. Using the reason you’ve stated for full looting being necessary presupposes that equal gear would dictate a stalemate. This is not necessarily true in games. But do I really need to be convincing you that skill can mean something?

    But this is a side-argument really…

  201. Einherjer says:

    And this is a useless comment just to make the count reach 200. 🙂

  202. Owain says:

    Guy :@Owain
    “How sophisticated do your tactics have to be when you have an inexhaustible supply of troops continually respawing and jumping right back into the fight?”
    Considering it’s happening to both sides, this is precisely when you *need* sophisticated tactics to overcome the stalemate.

    In most games I’ve seen that employ the mechanism of endless respawn, the tactics is zerg. Endless waves of repeatedly respawning troops. If you know that each warrior in your force will be out of the fight for the 20+ minutes it takes for them to run back up to the front lines, assuming he is able to find gear to wear, a banzai charges isn’t your first choice of tactics.

    Loss of gear gives you a huge penalty in Darkfall, which makes sense, and discourages the ‘naked zerg’ tactic. If you are defending and have no gear, you don’t have much choice other than to hurl yourself into the breach with your newbie weapon (which does remain with you on death), but it’s a futile gesture, since with no armor you fall almost immediately to either spell or melee damage. For an attacker, lack of gear effectively puts you out of the fight. It isn’t worth the effort to run all the way back to the fight if you are only going to drop nearly as soon as you take your first hit.

    Skill is a factor, but since a siege on Darkfall lasts 4 hours or more as it is, I’m glad there are factors like distant respawn and finite equipment supply to make a siege an automatically self limiting event. Respawning immediately in the battle area with full gear would only make a long process longer, and would foster zerg banzai charges above all else. The existing DF siege rules do require both attackers and defenders to employ constantly evolving tactics for either to prevail.

  203. Guy says:

    “In most games I’ve seen that employ the mechanism of endless respawn, the tactics is zerg.”

    Which games? Just so I know which games you’re thinking of…

    Full loot may be necessary in Darkfall, especially since it was likely designed with full loot as a desired feature from the start (meaning the full loot feature dictated the other features of sieging and whatnot so it would work, and not the other way around). It’s not always the case, though. There are other ways to create interesting situations.

  204. ArtV says:

    If Darkfall is such a great game, how do you fanboys find the time to fill up this comment thread?

    I’m sure Tasos expects that every waking moment is spent playing the game. Must be you guys aren’t truly hardcore enough.

  205. Owain says:

    “Which games? Just so I know which games you’re thinking of…”

    Nearly any first person shooter you can name, and any MMO where you respawn with full gear. For MMOs, specifically I was thinking of both WoW battlegrounds and Warhammer PvP Scenarios and the RvR fortress fights. In both games, since you respawn in close proximity to the fight, most players just run right back into the fight, pausing briefly to heal if necessary, and if you are smart, waiting for a couple of team mates to provide mutual support, but usually this time is measured in seconds.

    In contrast, consider a FPS like America’s Army. The last time I played that (quite a while ago, so I don’t know if it has changed or not) when you played a map and were killed, you were OUT until the map reset. As a result, the tactics employed in AA were TOTALLY different than what you saw in one of the Battlefield variants, or the Call of Duty games, to name just two franchises. Less ‘Run and Gun’ and more ‘Stealth and Cover’.

    The siege tactics in DF are considerably different from the RvR fortress sieges in Warhammer, for example. In DF, you rarely encounter a full frontal assault. Instead, you see feints, diversions, probing attacks and so forth, all seeking weaknesses that can be exploited because an attacker cannot afford to just throw bodies into the attack because bodies will be expended too quickly and will not replaced fast enough to maintain momentum unless you have overwhelming numbers.

    In this way, Darkfall is more closely related to Eve as far as PvP is concerned than it is to WoW, or Warhammer, Age of Conan, or Vanguard, all titles I’ve played in the last year or two. In Eve, if your ship blows up, you either escape in a pod, or wake up in a clone tank. Your ship is a cloud of incandescent vapor and debris. If you are taking part in an attack in enemy space far away from your home base, unless you have another ship handy at whatever starbase you find yourself, you are out of the fight.

    The same is true of Darkfall, and it is a feature that drives siege craft in particular, and PvP in general.

  206. Spitt says:

    Might I suggest some Skinny Puppy, for your hardcore gamer enjoyment?

  207. geldonyetich says:

    Personally, I do like the idea of distant respawn in Darkfall.

    When Planetside was first released (or as this late into the beta?), AMS were pretty vulnerable and there wasn’t towers next to bases. So what you basically had to do with drive overland to the enemy base in order to capture it. If you botch your attack, you might respawn at an AMS, but you won’t have power armor support.

    That was awesome. The whole map between bases was involved in an engagement, not just the distance between the tower and the base that was being sieged. Death mattered because you’d be forced to walk a long distance (or at least from the first AMS) to get back into the fight, so an organized assault was important.

    It wasn’t perfect, though. Defenders could still overwhelm you by just respawning and zerging the snot out of you. Hacks often occurred on empty bases before the defenders even knew they were under attack, and this knocked out the spawn tubes (this was why towers were added nearby in the first place). Pain fields weren’t in the game so a number of people just pumped up their kill scores sitting in front of spawn tubes in power armor and blasting them to bits.

    Now, I know Owain’s not going to talk about all these little details in Darkfall Online that equally undermine the experience because he’s adopted the role of a defender. However, to be sure, there’s definite down sides to the way the sieges are currently handled. Foremost of them being that, indeed, being popular will garner you more success than being skilled, like any open PvP game.

  208. Owain says:

    geldonyetich :Now, I know Owain’s not going to talk about all these little details in Darkfall Online that equally undermine the experience because he’s adopted the role of a defender. However, to be sure, there’s definite down sides to the way the sieges are currently handled. Foremost of them being that, indeed, being popular will garner you more success than being skilled, like any open PvP game.

    Well, most of all, I’m not going to talk about those features because I’ve never played Planetside. I’m not qualified to opine either for or against a game I’ve only heard briefly described, but that’s just me.

    “However, to be sure, there’s definite down sides to the way the sieges are currently handled. Foremost of them being that, indeed, being popular will garner you more success than being skilled, like any open PvP game.”

    I’m not sure I understand what you are driving at there. If you mean by this, as Napoleon supposedly said, ‘God favors those with the Big Battalions’, that is a feature of warfare in general, and is not confined to open PvP games.

  209. Guy says:

    I fail to see how you can’t use more sophisticated tactics in the Battlefield series. Those teams that do, end up winning more often. The difference is the downside is lower to dying, so you can be lazy if you want, not adopt good tactics, and still not be too annoyed at losing because you had sufficient “alive” time to enjoy. If both sides are lazy, yes, the tactics will not be great. The same would be true in Darkfall if both sides were lazy, too.

    It would also seem that in an open PVP MMO environment there’s still plenty of potential for zerg tactics, given that, unlike an FPS, the number of people on either side isn’t capped.

    And again, I emphasize: you don’t need to have full loot to have an interesting game. Darkfall was probably designed with full loot in mind at the start, having other features fit with this. If you don’t start with this as a requirement, you can create different incentives.

  210. geldonyetich says:

    I’m not sure I understand what you are driving at there. If you mean by this, as Napoleon supposedly said, ‘God favors those with the Big Battalions’, that is a feature of warfare in general, and is not confined to open PvP games.

    Yes. However: War is Hell.

    As I prefer to be entertained, realism is never a defense you can evoke in the name of fun.

    If you wanted to get really realistic, really hardcore, lets stop the players from respawning at all. Die, and you need to start a new character and grind them up from scratch.

    Why don’t they? Because even Adventurine knows that true warfare has no place in a game.

  211. JuJutsu says:

    “And again, I emphasize: you don’t need to have full loot to have an interesting game. Darkfall was probably designed with full loot in mind at the start, having other features fit with this. If you don’t start with this as a requirement, you can create different incentives.”

    Yes, this is the point I wanted to make earlier. Full looting IS NOT a prerequisite for avoiding endless stalemate sieges & battles. The proof of the pudding is in the taste…other games do it differently. I’ll restate my non-pundit opinion: Aventurine started will full-looting because their target market wants it for reasons that have nothing to do with avoiding stalemates. There are other ways to avoid stalemates, full-looting isn’t required it’s just desired.

  212. Owain says:

    Why don’t you just suggest that players who die in a game blow their brains out if they really want realism, as long as you are making absurd statements? My son is working on the next Call of Duty installment. I’ll make sure to tell him that according to Pundits, accuracy in war games is not a desireable feature. For the sake of entertainment, have weapons shoot flower petals instead of bullets.

    Do you really think that a game that involves combat simulation, no matter how imperfect, would be improved by making it so numerical superiority is not a viable strategy?

    Now THAT’S broken…

  213. JuJutsu says:

    “When Planetside was first released (or as this late into the beta?), AMS were pretty vulnerable and there wasn’t towers next to bases. So what you basically had to do with drive overland to the enemy base in order to capture it. If you botch your attack, you might respawn at an AMS, but you won’t have power armor support.

    That was awesome. The whole map between bases was involved in an engagement, not just the distance between the tower and the base that was being sieged. Death mattered because you’d be forced to walk a long distance (or at least from the first AMS) to get back into the fight, so an organized assault was important.”

    I haven’t played for a number of months now, the population was getting really low… but last I played, an AMS was stil vulnerable and the whole map was still dangereous 🙂 Especially for vehicles 🙂

  214. Vetarnias says:

    I’m not sure I understand what you are driving at there. If you mean by this, as Napoleon supposedly said, ‘God favors those with the Big Battalions’, that is a feature of warfare in general, and is not confined to open PvP games.

    “God is not on the side of the big battalions, but of the best shots.” -Attributed to Voltaire.

  215. Owain says:

    Vetarnias :

    I’m not sure I understand what you are driving at there. If you mean by this, as Napoleon supposedly said, ‘God favors those with the Big Battalions’, that is a feature of warfare in general, and is not confined to open PvP games.

    “God is not on the side of the big battalions, but of the best shots.” -Attributed to Voltaire.

    I’m sure that somewhere, George Armstrong Custer is not entirely convinced.

  216. Owain says:

    JuJutsu :“And again, I emphasize: you don’t need to have full loot to have an interesting game. Darkfall was probably designed with full loot in mind at the start, having other features fit with this. If you don’t start with this as a requirement, you can create different incentives.”
    Yes, this is the point I wanted to make earlier. Full looting IS NOT a prerequisite for avoiding endless stalemate sieges & battles. The proof of the pudding is in the taste…other games do it differently. I’ll restate my non-pundit opinion: Aventurine started will full-looting because their target market wants it for reasons that have nothing to do with avoiding stalemates. There are other ways to avoid stalemates, full-looting isn’t required it’s just desired.

    Never said it was a prerequisite. This is the method the DF devs have elected to use. It is simple, effective, and it works. Your bias is showing when you insist this was the method of choice for the target market, I presume, because you believe it is soley a ‘griefer’ tactic, and by definition, Darkfall players are all ‘griefers’.

    As implemented, there is no particular ‘grief’ involved with full looting. It’s one feature among many features, and is no more a grief tactic than inflicting damage by hitting someone with a weapon is a grief tactic.

    Losing all your uber purple crap in a game like WoW would be catastrophic because of the horrendous grind required in in raids to accumulate that stuff. In DF, if you lose your stuff, you make more, or buy it from your guild crafter, usually for the price of materials you can mine/harvest for yourself for free. You may run out temporarily during a siege, but once the siege is over, you can re-equip reasonably easily and quickly. It’s not that big a deal.

    People who actually play the game know this. People who do not play the game…you get the idea.

  217. JuJutsu says:

    “Never said it was a prerequisite.”

    Lets revisit what you said, quoting is easy enough…

    “Consequences for death. Darkfall features full loot upon death. It takes time and it can be risky, but once you kill an opponant, you can loot him dry. Some people view this as a griefer tactic, but it is direct componant of the city siege model. If you kill an enemy, and he reappears at his bind point fully equipped, that is where you get the endless rounds of fighting, dieing, and fighting again with no possible resolution.”

    again….”If you kill an enemy, and he reappears at his bind point fully equipped, that is where you get the endless rounds of fighting, dieing, and fighting again with no possible resolution.”

    Now lets look at what I said

    “I dispute this point. Full looting is not necessary to prevent endless fighting with no resolution.”

    and again in a different post

    “Why don’t you try to explain to Owain why full-looting isn’t necessary to prevent prolonged stalemate battles.”

    and yet again

    “And again, I emphasize: you don’t need to have full loot to have an interesting game”

    Just in case repetition isn’t sufficient let me type it very slowly…

    Full… looting… is ….not …necessary …to …prevent …endless fighting ….with ….no …resolution

    “This is the method the DF devs have elected to use.”

    Umm yeah. Other games solve the problem differently.

    “Your bias is showing when you insist this was the method of choice for the target market, I presume, because you believe it is soley a ‘griefer’ tactic, and by definition, Darkfall players are all ‘griefers’.”

    If you have any evidence that Darkfall’s target market doesn’t like full looting that would be very interesting to see. What I’ve read indicates that it does.

    Bias? Absolutely. I think the Darkfall target market consists of griefers…internet sociopaths…a hive of scum and villainy that would do Tatooine proud. Don’t like my opinion? Tough shit.

  218. Vetarnias says:

    Owain :

    Vetarnias :

    I’m not sure I understand what you are driving at there. If you mean by this, as Napoleon supposedly said, ‘God favors those with the Big Battalions’, that is a feature of warfare in general, and is not confined to open PvP games.

    “God is not on the side of the big battalions, but of the best shots.” -Attributed to Voltaire.

    I’m sure that somewhere, George Armstrong Custer is not entirely convinced.

    What guild is he with?

  219. Owain says:

    My last post seems to have gotten eaten somehow, so if this results in a duplicat post, I apologise.

    @JuJutsu
    “And again, I emphasize: you don’t need to have full loot to have an interesting game”

    “Full looting is not necessary to prevent endless fighting with no resolution.”

    That’s right, but how do they do that? My point is full looting provides Darlfall players with an additional, economic strategy to employ to end the fight. By bleeding your opponent economically, forcing him to deplete his armory to the point that he no longer has the capacity to fight, you are doing more than just zerging him into submission.

    Unless I’m missing something, the example given, Planetfall, uses the zerg as the primary tactic. Certainly the zerg is at the core of Battlefield games, your other example. The zerg is an effective tactic, but it’s not particularly sophisticated. WoW Battlefields use it. Warhammer uses it as well in PvP scenarios and in RvR Keep battles. It’s pretty much the only tactic available to them.

    So no, if you are satisfied with simplistic 1 dimensional tactics, full looting is not required to have an interesting game.

    Do carry on with your zerg.

  220. Guy says:

    “It’s pretty much the only tactic available to them.”

    Oh, well I guess if YOU say so then it must be true. *Excellent* argument. Right in line with the heavy vibe of “my game is better than yours, don’t you dare say anything bad about my game” you’ve been giving off with every post.

  221. fatbutt says:

    Obviously every game that doesn’t follow the Darkfall Way is shallow and 1-dimensional. Oh, and you’re biased if you don’t agree. Ergo, DF is the master game.

  222. Owain says:

    @Guy
    “Oh, well I guess if YOU say so then it must be true.”

    I say so, to the best of my understanding. I’ve admitted that my understanding with Planetfall is not very good, since I’ve never played it, and I’m only going by the brief comments I’ve read here. If my understanding is incomplete, educate me.

    If other games are able to avoid endless stalemates in sieges & battles without full looting in a way that more than yet another zerg, I’d be interested in hearing it. So far, the only specific description I’ve read comes from @geldonyetich

    It (Planetfall) wasn’t perfect, though. Defenders could still overwhelm you by just respawning and zerging the snot out of you. Hacks often occurred on empty bases before the defenders even knew they were under attack, and this knocked out the spawn tubes (this was why towers were added nearby in the first place). Pain fields weren’t in the game so a number of people just pumped up their kill scores sitting in front of spawn tubes in power armor and blasting them to bits.

    That part about just camping spawn tubes in power armor sounds, I don’t know, a bit ‘griefy’, don’t you think?

    I know I’M certainly relieved to learn other games have found ways make things amazingly more fun and player friendly without resorting to anything quite so mean as full looting.

  223. Owain says:

    fatbutt :Obviously every game that doesn’t follow the Darkfall Way is shallow and 1-dimensional. Oh, and you’re biased if you don’t agree. Ergo, DF is the master game.

    @Guy and @JuJutsu have both argued that other games, Planetfall, for one, use methods that are better and more successful than DF to avoid endless stalemate sieges & battles, without using DF’s ‘greif’ full loot method. @geldonyetich describes the Planetfall ‘Zerg From Hell’ I quoted above, which doesn’t advance their argument very well.

    If you have a better example, by all means, describe it.

  224. Guy says:

    I never claimed other games were better than Darkfall. I also never claimed the full loot model was bad. I am merely counter-arguing *your* claim that full loot is necessary in a PVP game design to avoid endless stalemates.

    Although this is clearly a “my game is better than your game” argument for *you*, it is nothing of the sort for me. I’m merely talking about game design.

    Trying to “educate” you would be useless; you tritely dismiss anything that doesn’t agree with your world view, out of a sense of insecurity over what people think about the game you play. Get over it. People have preferences, make choices, that’s OK, it doesn’t all have to be based on superiority over other choices and preferences. I am totally cool with you enjoying Darkfall. I just don’t often agree with what you say about it in your attempts to justify your preferences as the superior option…

  225. Gx1080 says:

    You know, many wars in EVE ends when you make the other guy lose more money in the war than you, that, tactics (zerging in the right place) and psycologycal attacks guarantees victory. And yes, full body looting does makes that more viable because only a tight-nit group of people can sustain that without jumping ship and/or stop logging.

  226. geldonyetich says:

    Owain :
    @Guy

    It (Planetfall) wasn’t perfect, though.

    […]
    Planetfall, for one

    I wish. No, you mean this game.

    That part about just camping spawn tubes in power armor sounds, I don’t know, a bit ‘griefy’, don’t you think?

    The nice thing about Planetside is you did have a choice upon respawning if you wanted to respawn at that camped base again (and get gunned down by a waiting twat in power armor) or if you want to spawn at the nearest tower, AMS, or squad-leader syned point instead.

    So the grief potential of a camper at the spawn tubes was reduced, you only had about 30 seconds of inconvenience there as you respawn again, and the main wrong done is just that said twat is padding his kill score.

  227. Owain says:

    @Guy is correct, neither he nor @JuJutsu have made the argument that other games were ‘better’ than Darkfall in implementing a method to prevent battles from becoming an endless stalemate. I stand corrected. Their arguments, as I understand them, is that you don’t need full loot to have an interesting game, and full looting is not necessary to prevent endless fighting with no resolution.

    It’s certainly good that I have never argued that full loot is a prerequisite to having an interesting game, nor have I argued that full loot is the only way to prevent a PvP stalemate. I must not have been clear in my previous posts, where my intent was to describe the methods used by Darkfall, why they are used, and why they are so effective in that game implementation. A game design discussion, don’t you know…

    How does that make this a “my game is better than your game” argument, and exactly where do I ever say that?

    @Guy says, “I am merely counter-arguing *your* claim that full loot is necessary in a PVP game design to avoid endless stalemates.”

    I said that? Where?

    I did say, “3. Consequences for death. Darkfall features full loot upon death. It takes time and it can be risky, but once you kill an opponant, you can loot him dry. Some people view this as a griefer tactic, but it is direct componant of the city siege model. If you kill an enemy, and he reappears at his bind point fully equipped, that is where you get the endless rounds of fighting, dieing, and fighting again with no possible resolution. In Darkfall, PvP is gear limited. If you run out of gear, you can’t PvP. Gear, in turn, drives the requirement to compete for resources. If you have no resources, you have not gear, and the best way to control resources is to control a city. Full loot also allows you to take raw materials from harvesters, increasing your own supplies and denying those supplies to your enemy.”

    No where in that statement or any other statement I’ve made on the subject do I say “that full loot is necessary in a PVP game design to avoid endless stalemates.” It isn’t a required method, it isn’t the only method, and I’ve never stated that it’s necessarily even the best method. It is the method selected by Darkfall, and is successful for the reasons given.

    @Guy continues “… you tritely dismiss anything that doesn’t agree with your world view, out of a sense of insecurity over what people think about the game you play.”

    Not exactly. I don’t tritely dismiss arguments so much as others fail to make their argument. There’s a difference.

    For example, @JuJutsu said, “Planetside is a case in point. Although you respawn with junk, you can re-equip in a matter of seconds at an equipment terminal [if you’re infantry].”

    Well, Planetside is not a case in point, because exactly as JuJutsu says, you can re-equip in a matter of seconds at an equipment terminal. (and thanks to @geldonyetich for pointing out that it’s Planetside, not Planetfall.) So not spawning without your gear does nothing avoid stalemates because you can always re-equip at any equipment terminal. You CAN’T always re-equip in Darkfall, which is precisely the point.

    @JuJutsu goes on to say, “Planetside has ‘full looting’ but it’s pretty pointless and I rarely saw much of it other than for resupply if you wanted to use another empires stuff. There’s not much in the way of a death penalty unless you’re using a vehicle, then you lose some time. For grunts, you can be back in the fray in a matter of seconds.”

    Again, this is not a counter argument for Darkfall game play, because looting is NOT pointless in DF. Full looting in DF means that you WON’T be back in the fray in a matter of seconds, which is my point entirely.

    He finishes by saying “In short ‘full looting’ is not necessary to prevent endless battles”, which is true, but not for the reasons he gives, since from his description, full looting is entirely unrelated to how the battle in Planetside is conducted.

    So, is this a case where I tritely dismiss his argument, or is this a case where he simply makes a piss poor argument, and my dismissal is justified?

    In most cases, I do not argue with people on this forum because they disagree with me, I argue with them because they say things that are incorrect. Just as you are incorrect when you say I “claim that full loot is necessary in a PVP game design to avoid endless stalemates.”

    P.S. Thanks to @geldonyetich for clarifying how Planetside works. It still sounds zerg-tastic, but it isn’t quite the “Zerg from Hell” as he originally made it sound.

  228. geldonyetich says:

    Well, to be fair, Planetside did go back to being a Zerg From Hell just as soon as they made one silly decision.

    The thing is, some time near release (or late beta) they realized it was a problem to have people sneak into an unoccupied base, hack it, and then for the defenders to be unable to even reach the base before the 15 minutes are up and the base was taken. Their solution was to put a tower, which is essentially a mini-base, right outside of every base. Thus, if some lone hacker hacks the tower and the base, all the defenders have to do is hack back the tower and now they have a nice spawn point to take back their base with.

    What actually happened was that it set up the perfect Zerg From Hell conditions. The attackers would take the tower and continue to respawn at that tower over and over again to the point where even if the Defenders had several tanks parked outside that were lobbing shells into the tower (which actually only influences a very small portion of the tower) the attackers couldn't be dislodged.

    Now, pretty much 90% of the conflict in the game was gone from the rest of the map, it was just a fight between the bases and their towers. Attackers zerging defenders, defenders zerging attackers, with very little rhyme or reason. Most players didn't care, they were pew pew pew enabled, but it pretty much killed one thing Darkfall Online is doing right by forcing attackers to respawn far away.

    Predictably, these double zergfests were usually broken simply because one side or the other got bored and decided to go somewhere else. Walking outside the tower you're respawning at just to get chewed up by a dozen strategically parked tanks and two dozen waiting aircraft is one such motivation to induce boredom. Still, it's a bad sign when battles are won based off of who gets bored first.

    Planetside has been going steadily downhill since its conception, hemorrhaging players at a steady rate, because for all the coolness of having an open-world FPS, the developers really had no idea what to do with it. They couldn't derive any real meaning to taking bases, seeing how bases that might have taken 3 hours to take during the day could be easily taken back without conflict in the middle of the night, so the whole idea of conflict really lost all meaning.

    You might think this anti-Planetside sentiment is pro-Darkfall Online. Actually, these games are brothers in arms who have a common, thus far unbeatable, foe. Dynamic content has great potential, but you simply can't do it half way. You have to think things through from beginning to end, and if there's no satisfactory resolution to the story, the listeners are bound to bore sooner or later. Neither game really has a satisfactory solution, yet.

    In other news, I'm in the Huxley beta right now. Did they solve that problem? Love to tell you but, even though this is a publicity beta I'm in, it's still technically closed beta.

  229. Owain says:

    geldonyetich :The realism is often not compatible with fun, and even Darkfall Online blunts the true consequences of warfare with this in mind, was a reasonable observation.
    That you blew it so completely out of proportion in this post is anything but reasonable.

    Which post was that? I’ve made quite a few, so you’ll have to narrow it down a bit better for me.

  230. Owain says:

    Scott, just so you know, there seem to be some glitches still in the new comment sytem. My reply to geldonyetich’s post in #29 on this page appears in post #27, which makes it look like I responded before he even posted.

    Confusing…

  231. Owain says:

    Testing again. My last two posts have appeared out of time sequence. I’m posting this from a different computer to see if it makes any difference.

    Edit: yep it’s still hosed. Posts do not appear in correct time sequence. Something probably got corrupted when Scott was trying the new comment system.

  232. Owain says:

    Ah, Scott explains the problem on the “New Comment System, Everybody Panic” post:
    “comments using the old and now current system appear before the aborted new and now deprecated system.”

    So, it’s a feature, not a bug…

  233. geldonyetich says:

    The realism is often not compatible with fun, and even Darkfall Online blunts the true consequences of warfare with this in mind, was a reasonable observation.

    That you blew it so completely out of proportion in this post is anything but reasonable.

  234. Guy says:

    Owain said:
    “How sophisticated do your tactics have to be when you have an inexhaustible supply of troops continually respawing and jumping right back into the fight?”

    This is what I took issue with Owain.

    Also, flatly stating that other people’s points are incorrect is not convincing in the least.

  235. geldonyetich says:

    Owain :
    Which post was that? I’ve made quite a few, so you’ll have to narrow it down a bit better for me.

    It made a bit more sense when it was actually displayed as a reply underneath the post in question, but that was under the comment system that didn’t make the cut.

    Anywho, the overreaction to suggesting “realism is often not compatible with fun” was here:

    Why don’t you just suggest that players who die in a game blow their brains out if they really want realism, as long as you are making absurd statements? My son is working on the next Call of Duty installment. I’ll make sure to tell him that according to Pundits, accuracy in war games is not a desireable feature. For the sake of entertainment, have weapons shoot flower petals instead of bullets.

    Good God, man, cut back on the caffeine.

  236. Owain says:

    What, only Pundits can resort to hyperbole around here? http://encarta.msn.com/dictionary_1861619556/hyperbole.html

    My acknowledged absurd statement was in response to your absurd statement,

    If you wanted to get really realistic, really hardcore, lets stop the players from respawning at all. Die, and you need to start a new character and grind them up from scratch.

    Permadeath has never been considered for any online game I’m aware of, so if you want to be taken seriously, don’t suggest unserious alternatives.

    Speaking of serious comments, you have yet to respond to the main question I posed in the post:

    Do you really think that a game that involves combat simulation, no matter how imperfect, would be improved by making it so numerical superiority is not a viable strategy?

    Now THAT’S broken…

    Which is really where this exchange started, when you opened with this bit of nonsense,

    However, to be sure, there’s definite down sides to the way the sieges are currently handled. Foremost of them being that, indeed, being popular will garner you more success than being skilled, like any open PvP game.

    This assumes all sorts of things, the facts of which, you are ignorant of.

    1. It assumes that sieges on Darkfall are determined by strictly numbers, not skill, which is false. Numbers play a role, but I have yet to hear of a siege that was won by unskilled players against a more highly skilled group, by virtue of strength in numbers alone.

    2. It presumes that a smaller skilled force cannot overcome a larger unskilled force. Again, false. If you actually played the game, which you don’t, which leads to unqualified observations like yours, you know that very nearly everyday, sieges are beaten back, most often by experienced players defeating large numbers of lesser experienced players. It is the experienced players who currently own the cities, and there is no shortage of newer players who would like to supplant them, but it isn’t happening.

    There is a group that routinely comes to the KGB city in large numbers, and routinely gets wiped out to the man by fewer numbers of our guys. We’ve taken to regarding these guys as a loot source, like mobs, they are so pathetic. You have to look at these guys and shake your head, concluding the whole bunch must be composed of 12 year olds, but that would be unfair to the 12 year old Darkfall community, many of whom of are competant players.

    Sometimes, you say things that are so dumb on their face, my ‘mellow’ circuit overloads, fuzes, and starts to smoke. It makes me wonder at what point the Union is going to break down your door and take away your pundid card.

  237. geldonyetich says:

    There’s hyperbole, and then there’s erecting a straw man.

    For you to take my using permadeath as an example of why complete realism is unlikely, and then say “oh, so I guess you think players should shoot themselves in the head when they die, and guns should shoot flower pedals” is definitively over that line. Complete misrepresentation of the opponent’s stance to attack him? Check.

    Sometimes, you say things that are so dumb on their face, my ‘mellow’ circuit overloads, fuzes, and starts to smoke.

    To be fair, my mellow circuit has been overloaded more than once in this blockquote as well. I make no excuses – each time was failure on my own behalf to make a rational point.

    Judging by your steadfast insistence that I make the claims I do out of ignorance, you’re still there. If you were able to keep your cool for more than a few seconds, you’d have acknowledged a point or two by now.

    It makes me wonder at what point the Union is going to break down your door and take away your pundid card.

    There’s another thing. This whole pundit rage of yours falls sort of flat when I never intended to call myself anything more than an aspiring one. Granted, you’re not the only person to think otherwise. I guess reading is hard.

  238. Owain says:

    geldonyetich :This whole pundit rage of yours falls sort of flat when I never intended to call myself anything more than an aspiring one. Granted, you’re not the only person to think otherwise. I guess reading is hard.

    Nice try. The whole Pundit thing arose when you made this statement, in your post here: http://www.brokentoys.org/2009/05/08/by-request-this-weeks-darkfall-post/comment-page-3/#comment-26766

    There’s no reason why you would keep beating your head against a forum largely occupied by gaming pundits unless you have the wrong perspective to understand that’s going on here.

    As I said, this is where pundits reside. Considering a game as a pundit would is an attempt to distance one’s self from subjective opinion and instead consider a game in very technical terms.

    I don’t see any ‘aspiring’ qualifiers to this, and indeed, you are actively taking pride in considerable ability ‘distance yourself’, or something. It was only after I called you on this laughable example of gross public bufoonery that you walked back on it, and lamely added ‘aspiring’ to your lofty self awarded position.

    Reading isn’t so hard, but keeping the various versions of your changing story straight is a bitch.

    So, now that we’ve each taken our respective swings at each other, maybe we can route emergency power back to ‘mellow’, and continue professionally.

    From a game design point of view, you say,

    …there’s definite down sides to the way the sieges are currently handled. Foremost of them being that, indeed, being popular will garner you more success than being skilled, like any open PvP game.

    Let’s leave aside my observation that of all the siege complaints currently on the Darkfall Forums, and based on my own direct experience, an unskilled zerg is NOT the foremost DF siege problem, and to my knowledge, it is not viewed as an issue whatsoever. As I’ve noted previously, in my experience, large formations of mostly unskilled or even lesser skilled players typically experience unsustainably large numbers of casualties. These players do not come to fight. They come to make donations.

    There IS some grumbling in the ranks regarding the size of the major alliances. So, from a game design standpoint, if you want to design a game that features city sieges, large scale battles, and clan alliances, all other things being equal, is it a problem that ‘God favors those with the Big Battalions’?

    If you are familiar with Clausewitz, one of his key observaions was that a superiority in numbers or “mass” confers a huge benefit,
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_von_Clausewitz (Yeah, getting academic here. I mentioned that I am a USAF vet. I also graduated from the USAF Academy, so here’s my big chance to make use of some of this military history and theory I spent 20+ years studying and applying).

    Yes, it is possible to make a combat simulation too realistic and still retain entertaining game play. I’m am not convinced that you can design a game where superiority in numbers no longer is an advantage, and yet still call it a combat simulation.

  239. Makaze says:

    I’m am not convinced that you can design a game where superiority in numbers no longer is an advantage, and yet still call it a combat simulation.

    Actually I’d argue that most games provide an unrealistic advantage to greater numbers when compared to reality. Logistic issues such as food and other consumables that essentially put a soft cap or point of diminishing returns on force size are rarely taken into account. Additionally there is generally no need for anything but front line troops. There are no garrisons or guards needed for supply lines that make holding territory a significant drain on the ability to take new territory.

    And before you say that full looting is doing that, no. Not nearly to the degree that it happens in reality and generally your sole resource constraint is players as they are both your combat troops and means of production. Therefor your ability to support troops automatically scales as their numbers do.

  240. Owain says:

    I think geldonyetich would say strict realism has been sacrifices for the sake of entertaining game play, and in this case I’d agree with him, so far as logistics support, food and such is concerned.

    I think I read something by Raph Koster where he said that about Ultima Online that yes, food provided a benefit, but they didn’t want to take it to such an extreme that lack of food damaged you or resulted in starvation. Famine just isn’t all that fun.

  241. Makaze says:

    Oh, I agree as well. Realism should always take a backseat to fun. Always. Not to say that strict realism isn’t fun to some people, the craziness that is flight simulators for example.

    I was merely arguing that you could indeed create a game where superior numbers no longer provided an advantage and call it a combat simulator since in reality there are a myriad of factors that make overly large forces impractical. And that in fact by including those factors your simulation would be more accurate and thus more a combat simulator. Certainly not that one should include them in every game.

  242. Owain says:

    For games, to maintain the willing suspension of disbelief, I’d presume that if a gamer actually thought about it (but of course, 99% of gamers won’t), they’d say the support and logistics troops are assumed to be there, but not represented in the game world.

    Even so, if I go into a map, or a zone, an area, or what have you, and all other things being equal, if I have superior numbers but do not have a distinct advantage, I would say that is a piss poor combat simulation.

  243. Owain says:

    There are no garrisons or guards needed for supply lines that make holding territory a significant drain on the ability to take new territory.

    Not strictly true. If you follow the link from my name to the KGB web site, you’ll see that the KGB has activated a unit dating back to our days on Ultima Online, the KGB Marshall’s, whose purpose in DF is to provide a city defense garrison and to provide protection for our harvesters in order to keep our supply lines intact. This may not be a feature of Darkfall, but that doesn’t mean that the tactical/strategic need doesn’t exist, and can’t be supplied by the players themselves.

  244. geldonyetich says:

    There’s no reason why you would keep beating your head against a forum largely occupied by gaming pundits unless you have the wrong perspective to understand that’s going on here.

    As I said, this is where pundits reside. Considering a game as a pundit would is an attempt to distance one’s self from subjective opinion and instead consider a game in very technical terms.

    I don’t see any ‘aspiring’ qualifiers to this, and indeed, you are actively taking pride in considerable ability ‘distance yourself’, or something. It was only after I called you on this laughable example of gross public bufoonery that you walked back on it, and lamely added ‘aspiring’ to your lofty self awarded position.

    Reading isn’t so hard, but keeping the various versions of your changing story straight is a bitch.

    “This is where pundits reside” and “a forum largely occupied by pundits” is pointing at the map where we’re at and saying “pundits tend to visit these parts.” This is true – you will see a lot of people who work on or hackle games professionally visit here.

    It’s a far cry from me ever saying, “I am a pundit” — at best, you’d find me saying I’m an aspiring pundit. If you think otherwise, that’s your delusion, not mine.

    The reason why I bought it up that way in that message is because it’s silly for a fan to come over here from his fan board for a game and start telling people in this particular environments that their game is the best in the world:

    It’s back to that analogy of the Football player who comes off the field to tell the people at CBS sports why Football is the best game ever. Fine, you play the game and you love it. Good for you – there are many productive places for you to express your adoration for the game.

    You know what the people around here like doing? They like to compare and contrast different games. If you can’t understand that; if your love of the game is so great that you can’t hear a negative word against it without triggering a kneejerk filibuster; if you wave away every point made about what Darkfall does wrong as “well, I can tolerate it” – then what good are you?

    I spent several pages of this thread trying to explain this subtle but important thing to you but have failed. Thus, while I’d love to address your point about how Darkfall Online does have grumbling about giant alliances unbalancing the game and yet this is suppose okay because Clausewitz who is not talking about a game observed numbers conferr a benefit, at this point I suspect your goals are not aligned in any way other than to defend the game. What good would it be for me to even try?

  245. Gx1080 says:

    Superior numbers is a tactical advantage, but many of you are forgetting the guerrila/hit and run tactics. Mainly follow the enemy players and attack them when they arent prepared. A good amount of those psych-out a guild, who never knows where is going to be attacked.

    Even a tight-nit group can be caught with the pants down, but only the tight-nit group with solid communication between the members can last though that kind of attack. Most guilds just surrender or dissapear. (And even the tigh-kit group its going to have a hard time against that).

  246. geldonyetich says:

    When I think about numbers leading to domination in a open-ended PvP environment, it’s not the little skirmishes I’m referring to. Sure, whether through luck or superior tactics, you will pull an upset every once in awhile.

    What I’m thinking about is more the overall focus – the goal of the game – and who is going to come out on top. Small bands of highly skilled tacticians, or giant amoebic blobs of players?

    If you’re outnumbered, you’re already on the defensive. When superior odds come, you might manage to throw them back once if you’re really good and they really suck, and you might enjoy the spoils of their equipment. However, unless you manage to shore up your population to match theirs, sooner or later your village will fall. Who will win or lose the initial skirmish may be a matter of chance, but who will win or lose the war will be a matter of inevitability.

    If losing a game simply because you’re not as popular as the other guys seems like fun to you – well – lets just say my idea of what’s fun differs from yours.

    So, despite the fact that it’s a fairly easy model to implement, I do damn the typical open PvP MMORPG implementation pretty heavily as being little more than half-completed endeavors whose balance is sorely lacking. Adventurine is hardly alone in that they’ve made that mistake, but that’s beside the point. The point is I’m disappointed so few developers can think things further than that.

  247. Makaze says:

    @Owain

    they’d say the support and logistics troops are assumed to be there, but not represented in the game world.

    Except that said support and logistics place no drain on the groups effectiveness. Generally there is only a single resource that everything else boils down to, that being player time, and the “assumed” logistics have no effect whatsoever on it. So while from a fluffy flavor perspective one might assume they’re there, they have no tangible impact on actual gameplay.

    Even so, if I go into a map, or a zone, an area, or what have you, and all other things being equal, if I have superior numbers but do not have a distinct advantage, I would say that is a piss poor combat simulation.

    I’m going to have to disagree here. There are certainly situations where having a larger force puts one at a disadvantage. Examples include the ease of spotting a larger force or the need to provide food and other supply in excess of local availability thus leading to degraded performance, lowered morale, and perhaps even desertion or mutiny.

    More important is the concept of diminishing returns. Having a larger force need not be disadvantageous but may instead provides little to no advantage at all once a certain force size is achieved. Command & Control problems, engagement frontage, encounter length, or things on the scale of nuclear weapons can make larger forces irrelevant or insignificant after a point.

    Now you could argue that including those factors doesn’t make for a fun game to you. And you’d be right, after all you’re the sole arbiter of what is or is not fun for you. But they do not make for a inaccurate combat simulator or an unfun game in someone else’s eyes.

    Not strictly true. KGB Marshall’s, whose purpose in DF is to provide a city defense garrison and to provide protection for our harvesters in order to keep our supply lines intact.

    Which is actually pretty cool. But hardly on the scale of a real military operation. And I question if it’s really any fun to sit around waiting for an attack.

    @geldonyetich

    So, despite the fact that it’s a fairly easy model to implement, I do damn the typical open PvP MMORPG implementation pretty heavily as being little more than half-completed endeavors whose balance is sorely lacking. Adventurine is hardly alone in that they’ve made that mistake, but that’s beside the point. The point is I’m disappointed so few developers can think things further than that.

    Easy? What exactly is easy about it? It is an incredibly complex problem and one that I’ve never heard an entirely satisfactory answer for, possibly because it doesn’t exist. The natural order of most systems is for the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer. Virtually anything put in place to counteract that momentum is either a blatantly artificial construct of obvious purpose or adds potentially tedious additional complexity that then has other unintended consequences.

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