is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) developed by Aventurine SA that combines real-time action and strategy in a fantasy setting. The game... read more
is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) developed by Aventurine SA that combines real-time action and strategy in a fantasy setting. The game features unrestricted PvP, full looting, a large, dynamic game world, and a player-skill dependent combat system free of the class and level systems that typify most MMORPGs. Darkfall has a 3D world environment and contains mild violence.
Darkfall departs from the conventional MMORPG paradigm of character levels as the main form of character progression, favouring instead a broad skill-based system, similar to that found in games such as Ultima Online, Eve Online, Wurm Online and Asheron's Call. Skills and skill proficiency determine a wide range of a character's capability in the game, including weapons and weapon skills, a few special attacks, spells, and archery, all aspects of player crafting, as well as more basic facets of gameplay, such as the ability to swim, craft various items types, and to ride and control mounts.
Skills may be learned from NPC trainers in the game, however certain skills will require other skills as prerequisites. Without exception however, skills are improved (raised in power) through actual usage in game.
There are six playable races in Darkfall, divided into 3 factions. Unlike other MMORPGs, racial choice does not heavily influence character choices or progression options. Each race begins play in their own homeland, and have their own unique storylines, histories, and racial alliances/enemies. It is possible to form mixed-race clans of opposing factions, however racial alignment adjustments (see 'Alignment') are always in effect.
While certain races have friendships and hatreds with other races in Darkfall, these are not strictly enforced upon the players, and it is possible for allied clans to declare war upon both their own race and their racial allies. Declaring war against a clan will prevent players of the declaring clan from sustaining alignment penalties (as well as gains) associated with attacking and killing players of the opposing clan, regardless of race.
The races, organised by faction, are:
Alfar (dark elves)
Orks, Mahirim (wolf men)
Humans, Mirdain (forest elves), Dwarves
Strength: Increases damage dealt with melee weapons, and moderately affects max health.
Vitality: Grants a bonus to max health and moderate bonus to stamina. A high vitality may slightly reduce the effects of poison and bleeding.
Dexterity: Increases archery damage and may reduce damage taken from area effects.
Quickness: Slightly increases melee and archer speed and may reduce damage taken from such attacks. Also grants a moderate bonus to max stamina.
Intelligence: Increases the power of spells and greatly affects max mana. It also improves resistance against mental attacks.
Wisdom: Grants a bonus to all crafting and harvesting skills. Also moderately affects max mana, and grants a slight resist bonus against curses.
As with other MMORPGs, player characters have a set of semi-static attributes, which determine their in-game physical and mental prowess. These attributes are: strength, vitality, dexterity, wisdom, intelligence, and quickness These attributes improve over time in response to player activity. For example, repeated use of a melee weapon will result in a gradual improvement in that player's strength statistic, which in turn will allow him to deal greater melee damage. There are also three dynamic attributes: hit points, mana, and stamina, which determine a player's overall vitality and capacity for physical activity and/or magic, which fluctuate in response to performing actions and receiving damage.
Likewise, the casting of magical spells requires and expends mana points, and the execution of various physical activities, such as sprinting, the swinging of weapons, and casting of spells expend stamina. All three of these statistics are regained over time at varying rates, and may be rapidly regained through the use of healing and other restorative spells, potions and items.
Darkfall has been designed from the outset as a full-loot PVP game, meaning on death players are able to fully loot other players of their gear and gold on their person. The ability to fully loot other players has been factored into the game as an important facet of the risk versus reward nature of the game.
The ability to fully loot other players is a significant departure from other, contemporary MMORPGs, such as World of Warcraft and EverQuest II, in which the quest for better gear is the primary driving force of player character improvement once maximum level has been attained. In Darkfall, character skills are the primary driver of character improvement, and gear also plays a large role in determining a player character's overall power.
Friendly fire and collision detection are always in effect in Darkfall. Combined with a real-time combat system, Darkfall's combat is anticipated to provide a more realistic combat experience than other fantasy MMORPGs. The developers have opined that historically successful battle formations and tactics will be widely adopted and adapted for use in Darkfall.
City building and conquest
The goal of Darkfall is its support for large-scale territorial conflict between player clans. To this end, empire building through the conquering of pre-made cities is a major part of the game. To promote such conflict, there is a finite number of pre-made cities (97 locations - 44 cities, 53 Hamlets) within the world. The potential pre-made city and hamlet sites are marked in-game by structures known as clanstones.
These pre-made city sites are spread across the entirety of the world, and vary greatly in location, surrounding terrain, access to nearby resource nodes, and consequently, their ability to be defended by the owning clan.
Player clans have full diplomatic control over their relationship with other player clans, and can declare war on other clans unilaterally. Clans that are at war with each other may kill each other freely without alignment penalties. Player-owned cities can be freely attacked and then sieged. Sieges last for 4 hours. In the first two hours the defenders may launch an attack on the enemy's shard holder or city. If the defenders are victorious, the siege ends. The attackers may attempt to capture the defender's city after two hours have passed. They only have two hours to destroy the clanstone. To this end, Darkfall contains a variety of different siege weapons such as cannons and siege hammers, all of which are player-crafted. There is a limit on the rate of destruction of a captured city of 1 building per day, however any number of buildings may be disabled at any time by bringing their structural integrity to zero.
Player housing was later added. Houses were stationed across the world and the owners could built various things inside their home or as an add-on to it once they locate a rare item called a "house deed" and find an empty spot for their home. Players would then pay taxes on their home or else they could lose it to another player who is willing to pay the tax. Clans are able to fight over these villages for control of the tax revenue which adds additional PvP elements.
Darkfall features a player character alignment system that ranges from good to evil based upon the actions of players. Characters start the game with a good alignment, which decreases on performing "evil" actions such as attacking racial allies without provocation, or killing racial allies. The consequences of evil actions include being temporarily attackable by guard towers in NPC controlled cities, and other players being able to attack these "grey" players without repercussion. A succession of evil actions results in negative alignment, and a permanent "kill on sight" ("red") status. Alignment can be regained only by killing racial enemies and/or by killing other evil players.
Update: Can only regain alignment by praying at a church in a chaos city.
In Darkfall, stealth is accomplished by playing stealthily, employing real-world stealth techniques such as moving in darkness/shadow, employing camouflage, walking silently, and using world objects as cover; that is, stealth is not automatic, and not restricted to any particular class or subset of players. Since Darkfall is a class-less MMORPG, any player is able to practise stealth-enhancing skills such as "crouch-walking" and to follow a stealthy play style.
This feature of stealth also comes with semi-realisticlimitations - wearing heavy metallic armour emits audible clinking sounds, and reflects light, and moving more slowly decreases the volume of footsteps. Stealth in Darkfall is also made possible through the deliberate lack of showing players on the minimap and use of first-person perspective for ranged combat and general movement.
Darkfall claims to feature one of the largest online worlds of any MMORPG created to date. The Darkfall world consists of a large, central continent named Agon, on which all six racial capitals are found, surrounded by four smaller continents to the north-east, north-west, south-east and south-west. In addition, there are numerous small islands and archipelagos. It was estimated by one of the developers before release that it would take roughly eight hours for a human to run from one end to the other. In reality, the time to cross the main continent is closer to 4 hours, stretching the time to cross the map on a diagonal up to around six. (For comparison, Blizzard's World of Warcraft continent of Eastern Kingdoms is three hours from north to south.)
The world includes a wide range of diverse terrain types, including forest, plain, desert, ice, jungle/tropical, swamp, and wasteland areas. Every part of the Darkfall world has been handmade by the developers and not computer generated. Darkfall developers have stated that any/all terrain can be accessed and traversed by characters possessing the appropriate skills, e.g. mountains may be climbed by those who possess the ability to climb; islands may be reached by swimming.
Monster spawns and AI
Darkfall has a relatively small number of mob spawns relative to land mass compared to contemporary MMORPGs, in an attempt to reflect a more "realistic" style. Mobs also display generally higher artificial intelligence than in other games, and will frequently call for help, strategically retreat, dodge, and switch between melee and ranged attacks. Consequently, mobs are generally more difficult than in other MMOGs, to the extent that widescale mob rebalancing was a specific focus for the recent Darkfall expansion. The December patch of Darkfall further improved the AI of the mobs, making them even more difficult to take down.
In order for the world to feel more alive and add new elements to the gameplay, the most recent patch of Darkfall included non-aggressive wild animals (such as deer) that players can hunt. They provide a number of resources.
As is typical of any fantasy MMORPG, Darkfall features several dungeons and underground areas. Both the Alfar and Dwarven racial capital cities are located predominantly underground. It should be noted that the dungeons in the world of Agon are not traditionally "instanced" like in other games. An instance is a separate game universe that a group of people are taken to when entering a dungeon so they can fight through the dungeon alone. In Darkfall the dungeons are available for everyone, and are not instanced—so-called open world dungeons as were the norm in first-generation MMORPGs such as EverQuest. The most notable effect of this is that players are fighting with other groups of people that are in the same dungeon in the non-instanced world. This is a result of the fact that the entire game world is seamless; everyone on a given server is sharing the same game session, from towns to dungeons.
The game went live on February 26, 2009, 9:00 AM GMT +1, twelve hours after the announced launch time. The launch saw a number of setbacks due to unexpected high demand; players stumbled upon a critical bug which the developers took the game down to fix, and Aventurine's website was unable to handle the overwhelming amount of traffic to the online store and forums, causing those features to become generally unavailable to customers for several hours. It was also reported by Aventurine that there were problems with the pre-order system. As a result of these problems, customers were awarded with 4 days free game time.
The game launched on multiple online outlets such as Impulse on July 1, 2010.
MMORPG.com gave Darkfall 6/10, praising its innovations, concepts and world design, but criticizing the lack of polish and the missing elements promised before the final release. In early January a re-review was posted giving Darkfall a 7.2/10, praising its clan battles and skill system, but criticizing grinding.
Game Observer gives Darkfall an overall score of 83/100.
Eurogamer game reviewer Ed Zitron awarded the game a rating of 2 out of 10. However, this review was not received well as it contained several basic gameplay description errors, and Darkfall lead developer Tasos Flambouras claims that game server logs show that the Eurogamer reviewer played the game for under three hours, a claim denied by the writer. Eurogamer's subsequent offer to compromise by commissioning a second opinion review (by noted games critic Kieron Gillen) was declined by Flambouras, but was carried out anyway, being awarded 4/10.
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Darkfall, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.