Tobold's Blog
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Darkfall beta comments

Aventurine, the makers of Darkfall Online, "selected" quotes from Darkfall beta testers and posted them in a forums thread. Then they asked every blogger and games site to link to that. Well, I'm willing to do that. But of course I have some remarks to make: Reading cherry-picked quotes from beta testers isn't likely to give you a fair and balanced view of the game. Aventurine has obviously not used the more negative kind of quotes. And the beta testers are players who are fans of the game anyway, not a representative sample of the MMORPG population.

I still don't know whether Darkfall will ever come out. But I'm absolutely certain that it will get significantly less subscribers than even Age of Conan, not to mention WAR or WoW. Darkfall is hardcore PvP, where you can not only attack anyone anytime, but you can also loot his complete gear after killing him. Which basically means no gear progression at all, lots of player killing, ganking etc., just like in the "good old days" of pre-Trammel Ultima Online. I'm sure the small handful of pre-Trammel UO fans will enjoy Darkfall, but there just aren't all that many of them. Hardcore PvP is a niche in the MMORPG market, at least in America and Europe. As Darkfall Online has been in development for over 7 years now, it isn't even obvious whether they'll ever get all that development cost back.
You can play a fun game with those quotes called "spot the fanboy!"

It is easy to play. Find the comments that are nothing but gushing praise or the ones that contain excuses for odd, unexpected, or broken behavior.

Count them up and get the fanboy ratio for the comments.
:) granted I may try it and not enjoy it but I will still try it. It is doign a lot of neat new things insteda of the tired old formula. (at least on paper) Another to watch that is out soon is Chronicles of Spellborn.
What is amusing is so many think this is the PvP holy grail. Sadly mistaken indeed.

These remind me of the LOTRO quotings. All so sappy "love story" mentions of stability, beauty....


Right now, all MMO's are suspect. Until they hit the shelves, and I get to actually touch it myself (with either a free trial or open beta), I will never believe anyone or anything again about an MMO that is coming (case in point...the Spellborn USA debacle).
I'm not particularly interested in Darkfall, but they did specifically state that the comments were taken from a range of people in a NON prejudicial way. This seems to be plausible because the comments are not all positive.

As for projected number of subscribers, I predict at the level of or a little higher than Eve, since:

Swords are cooler than lasers
Same PvP gankfest
No time-based skill training
More impressive graphics
I dont think darkfall will be localized very well, and my suspicion is this game is still vaporware even with this beta and recent news about it.

The idea of the game I would actually get into and the hardcore pvp could be something really enjoyable, but after playing lineage 2/vanguard/wow i have pretty high expectations about what is enjoyable and what is wasted digital pixels.

If Darkfall is trying to create the typical big-MMO hype then they are making a big mistake.

Completely open PvP with looting is a niche; and if the average PvE MMO player is drawn into Darkfall by the hype, and is killed once too often while he tries to level -- you will get tremendous negative word-of-mouth backlash.

Niche games however should try to grow by word-of-mouth, not hype that brings in the general punter. At, there are probably 2-3 posts a day by people looking for an "old school" pvp game. This is probably enough for a indie company to make a good living (again avoiding the hype), but wouldn't sustain the huge mass market mmo studios.
the game promised so much ... probably will be forgotten fast... maybe they change for free to play :D
You might as well just left your blog at "selected". whenever it does comeout it can't really do much worse than DnL, Vanguard, AoC, War, or a myriad of other MMO games that have appeared recently. if it does fail, add it to the list, if not, then you've nothing to loose....apart from most of you will need a new game to mindlessly bash
I think there is a market for PvP. A lot of people thought they would get there PvP-game as they bought WAR and/or AoC. I think some of them are pleased with what they got. But if you look in the forums of these two games you'll find a lot of posts of people which are looking for more PvP. I am not sure if this is just the hardcore part of the community. It's just that a lot of people are fed up with PvE as it works today (kill 10 whatevers ..., bring me five X ...) or limited PvP as it is realised in the WAR szenarios. Darkfall could bring new excitement which lasts longer then just 2 or 3 weeks. But that's just hope.
I am a casual gamer who likes fantasy settings and the ruleset of EVE ... why shouldn't I like Darkfall.
I think it all comes down to expectations. If Darkfall expects to get 100k subs and maintain that, they will do fine (assuming the game is not total trash like Fury). If DF thinks they will get WAR/LoTRO numbers, let alone WoW, they will fail, no matter how good the game is.

Hopefully they plan for 100k, and give MMO players another option.
To paraphrase, a screenshot is worth a thousand "anonymous" quotes.

There was no DF in 03, 04, 05, 06, 07. There won't be one this year. There wont be one next year. Or ever. Heck, even the fanbois' cult leader Tasos already planted the seeds for an excuse when he said his "marketing" may cause the launch to delay this Dec (this was during their "1st" public show in Athens Digital Week--a non-event in the world of tech/game shows).
DF is either a massive hoax, an psychological experiment of some sort (fanboy-ism, cult behavior, self-propagating prophecies, who knows), or a massive high school project that's not going anywhere.

The bottomline is this game will NEVER launch.
@ Anonymous : 20/11/08 15:29

... and how did they produce the gameplay trailer and the other stuff on their website?
I mean ... maybe you are right ... but it would be an astonishing effort. Thus your assumption doesn't sound plausible.
It's amazing that no one's pulled the plug on them after 7 years.

That being said, sounds like they're finally trying to drum up some interest with the selected quotes?
@ Sven:

I have two quotes for you: If its too good to be true, it usually is. This is for the super-duper all-encompassing "sandbox" game and collection of the best mmo features in one game. No major developer or publisher accomplished this. What makes a tiny outfit in the middle of nowhere so special that they'd be able to? Oh wait. They haven't accomplished anything. Seven years and counting. Videos, screenshots, "anonymous" quotes, and promised>delayed>unverified by 3rd party beta are big, RED FLAGS that fanbois blindly and willingly ignore. Maybe that's the experiment itself lol.

2nd quote: The more complicated the story and the more far-fetched the tale, the bigger the lie. This refers to the sudden appearance of anonymous beta quotes. One screenshot of the character creation screen would've done the trick. One 10-20 sec video would convince all naysayers. But because THEY DON'T HAVE THAT, i.e. there is no real beta coz there is no real game, Tasos the turd makes up "anonymous" quotes.

Sad. I can't see why fanbois remain blind. Oh wait. That is the experiment. They should release the results of their study soon haha.
@Anonymous : 20/11/08 17:15
I don't like the ascription fanboy. But I guess that's my personal problem.
I hope this game is coming and it's worth to play it ... but of course I have no idea if this will ever happen.

In this case it is very simple. We'll get the answer to the question if Darkfall Online is vaporware or not in about 2 or 3 month.

Besides: There are longer videos (mixed with screenshots):

It is a lot of content for hoax.
If the game is ever released, it will be a niche game at best. The market for full corpse looting PvP is tiny. It exists, but it's tiny. And from what I understand, this does not follow the ruleset of EVE -- the entire world, outside of a few cities, is FFA PvP. In EVE, Empire space, which is high sec, is pretty big, and where most of the players are congregated at any one time. This ruleset is more like pre-Trammel UO, which, as we saw when Trammel came into being, is very much a tiny niche type of market.
Let me just throw this out there, many of you won't belive me. I worked as a programmer for DFonline. I joined about 3 years into the project. This is when the engine was just being drafted, everything before that was just hype and marketing to see if they could draw enough interest in the game to make it appealing to investors. It worked, and the game currently in it's 7 year development time has really only been in development for 4-5 years.

The reason this game will fail, and why it has taken so long is why I'm writing this. Perhaps a little bitter I am, but the truth should get out there. DFonline hired me to program the engine, they put pressure on me right from the start to rush. As soon as I was done with my part they let me go. This is something I would expect from a contract job, a temp job, or even being a consultant. We were hired as full time programmers. There was no proffesional ascpect what so ever, no flow charts, just the managers saying what they wanted and handing it off to a senior programmer who wasn't expierenced in coordinating something as big as an MMO engine.

With in months of getting the engine set up, and bearly working they let all of the programmers go. I guess they figured they could take it from here....I'm glad I didn't bother commenting a lot of my code. I highly doubt this game will ever make it to a major release, perhaps something like DnL if they are lucky. Either way it will suck and they won't make much money from it.
Something makes me highly doubt the above quote. Got any official records of any of this?
@ Sven:

An even sadder thing is (ok I won't use the term you don't like) that DFO cultists create the excuses for the delayed release themselves. Its unbelievably funny to me. As they themselves begin to doubt a Dec 2008 release bec of the lack of info from the supposed "beta" thats going on, they start to convince themselves, and others that "hey its gonna be delayed (again) but its ok, id rather have a polished game blah blah blah..."

Isn't that scary cult mentality?

They make excuses for Aventurine themselves! A year from now these cultists will be saying the same things again. "Its coming out soon!" They will never learn. And they propagate this vicious cycle over and over.

And the experiment continues...
HAHA i love these troll comments when they have no idea
How confusing - two Svens!

I was deeply underwhelmed by the Darkfall gameplay videos: they looked like Vanguard minus: loads of polygons, no artists.

As for the comments likening it to EVE - I think an EVE with elves game would sell very well, but I've seen very little evidence of that kind of complex economic interaction (which is needed to make PvP meaningful rather than just ganking) in Darkfall. Are there really many similarities?
"whenever it does comeout it can't really do much worse than DnL, Vanguard, AoC, War, or a myriad of other MMO games that have appeared recently."
I can't do much worse than selling a million copies like Warhammer? Wow. Too bad we couldn't get a name attached to that prediction.
"One screenshot of the character creation screen would've done the trick. One 10-20 sec video would convince all naysayers. But because THEY DON'T HAVE THAT, i.e. there is no real beta coz there is no real game, Tasos the turd makes up "anonymous" quotes."

sorry, but this sooo NOT logical... how much effort does it take to fake a char creation screenshot? It would have been easier than faking those quotes. And what about a 10-20sec video? Why would it convince anybody if there is already a 17min video out?
Some people have reached a state of mind where they will deny everything, no matter what they get.
I registered for the beta after reading this entry from Tobold and I'm still waiting for a reply.
If i get selected for anything, I'll comment the results here.
But after reading some commentaries, i already think that i have the same chance of getting into that beta as having jimmy hoffa as my dinner guest tonight.

its all a consiracy they're now even taking over MMORPGITALIA so they can advance their vaporwarz, yeah sure, rofl. bah, so whats your excuses now?
Let's not forget that a lot of us hardcore PvP'er types are subscribed to an MMO already- EvE Online. I'm not sayin there isn't room for two games / subscriptions, but the niche' group of players they are going for might have already commited to an MMO. I wanted to play DF when I read the features list a few years ago, but it took too long and now I'm hooked on EvE, so it really doesn't matter to me when they release the game at this point.
Again, I have to disagree with on this one Tobold, I think you are being unfairly harsh.

1) I woudnt consider it cherry picking beta quotes. The first comment I read was a fairly scathing review of the UI, saying it needs a ton of work because at the moment it is clunky and difficult to use. Other criticisms were the learning curve, animations etc.

2) Aventurine has been very hush hush about the whole thing so far, moving slowly and revealing very little. Compare this to something like AoC, where they only let beta testers play a small portion of the game, kept them strapped down by harsh NDA until the day of release, and then sold a bucket load of pre-ordered copies. If Aventurine was hyping Df like mad and shipping out as many pre-orders as they could manage, id be worried. But they arent, they are doing it how they always do - slow, and methodical.

3) I would also disagree with your general summing up of the game, and the postulation that it will have less sub's than WAR, AoC or WoW. Obviously it wont come close to WoW. It would only need 200k subscribers to be competing with AoC, (if that, god knows how many are playing these days), probably double that for WAR.

Calling it a niche pvp game is fair enough, but there is a lot more draw to it than that. People want a game that isnt so heavily focused on item progression or level progression, a game that is actually about playing a game and having fun, not grinding numbers on a pretty spreadsheet all day long.

The makeup of the community so far comprises heavily of crafters and roleplayers, as well as the pvp crowd - just because of the type of world on offer. A world where crafting actually has some depth, and where roleplaying is actually possible.
@ the above anonymous poster:

1. Yes, they are cherry-picked quotes. If they were not cherry-picked, Tasos the turd should've published all of them in their entirety. Also, have you ever been in beta? Comments/feedback from beta testers don't sound like that. Makes you wonder if it came from someone, i.e. Tasos' imagination.
2. "Only a few beta testers play a small portion of the game, strapped down by harsh NDA until release?" Um, sounds like DF to me. LOL.
3. You have no hard proof that forumfallers are "crafters and roleplayers...pvp crowd..." That is baseless conjecture on your part.
"Compare this to something like AoC, where they only let beta testers play a small portion of the game, kept them strapped down by harsh NDA until the day of release, and then sold a bucket load of pre-ordered copies."

This is the sort of information I see people toting about AoC all over the net that simply isn't true. Closed Beta of AoC had at least hundreds of us (yeah I was one of them) and the whole game was open for exploration. Open Beta testers were restricted to Tortage and 20 levels (and had no NDA on them at all!). It's okay if you didn't like AoC, but I get sick of the hearsay about the game.

I personally hope DF does well - there is nothing wrong with more good MMO's being on the market - but their media strategy certainly has me scratching my head. Let's hope we all get to try the client in open beta soon!
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