Tobold's Blog
Friday, February 27, 2009
 
Small company botches MMO release; film at 11

I wouldn't even have thought it to be news, but the fact that the Darkfall launch didn't go all that smoothly caused a lot of commentary in the MMO blogosphere. The best report is probably that by Keen, because he explains a bit where exactly the problems are.

Other commenters let their prejudices for or against PvP games get the better of them. Scott Jennings aka Lum the Mad had problems with the rabid Darkfall fan community before, so he lashes out in what he himself calls an unhealthy level of glee. Which promptly causes Syncaine to call Lum a whiny fat kid. Must be behaving childishly day, the blogosphere isn't doing any better than my guild.

Pretty much every single MMO launch has some sorts of problems. Aventurine being a small company launching their first MMO it was certain from the start that there would be problems with accounting and servers. Warhammer Online in Europe had pretty much the same stupid accounting problems, and the same subtitled Hitler movies on YouTube as response. Whatever future game you are eagerly awaiting, do you really feel safe and comfortable pointing a finger a Darkfall for the bad quality of their launch, being confident that your favorite game won't have the problem?

I do hope that Darkfall gets their technical problems resolved soon, and that everyone who wants to play that game can do so without server or accounting problems. I don't think Darkfall will be a huge success, even if it ran perfectly, because I don't believe that hardcore PvP is a viable business model. But the last thing I want is to be haunted for the next 10 years by people spouting revisionist nonsense here and on every MMO forum how wonderful and successful Darkfall would have been if only it wouldn't have had all those bugs. There are still far too many people believing Ultima Online would have been a bigger success if only they hadn't ruined the game by introducing Trammel. Ruined, I'm telling ya! When in fact UO was bleeding subscribers and would have gone under without Trammel. So I want Darkfall to deliver exactly what it promised, and see how tiny the niche of hardcore free-for-all PvP really is. So that everyone who tells me what a carebear I am, I can respond to "and why aren't you playing Darkfall?". :)
Comments:
I dunno, I get a kick out of Scott Jennings ripping off Darkfall. While I want to see the game succeed simply for the fact that I like diversity, it makes way too big a target of itself with all the e-peen waving. The players and devs take themselves way too seriously and I just can't help myself feeling the same unhealthy glee when Scott rips into them. Besides, the man is snarky, cynical and above all funny. Best combination.
 
@Plastic Rat
I like diversity
Ever play Oblivion? then you have played Darkfall "Offline". Now, you just get to kill Real people...ONLINE!

I like a little more diversity than that.
(PS: I also have played most games with 1999 graphics, so I think I am good there as well)
 
All this over a game like Darkfall, gotta love it. 4 months and we wont be talking about it at all
 
Haha, I love the last sentence Tobold. :D
 
PS: I also have played most games with 1999 graphics, so I think I am good there as well.

I think 1999 graphics are fine personally. (Depending on how they are done, of course.) If nothing else, it allows more people to play the game. (Though in darkfall's case, it may not have saved much time and money for development.)

I do hope the game is successful as well, for the diversity reason.
 
No matter how big or small a company is, it's product suicide to release something that 'breaks' under very little stress. Lesson that these MMO developers don't ever seem to grasp is, don't release a product that falls way below the benchmark & expect to keep customers to come back for more.
 
A botched release from a small company would not be all that surprising except they botched the release after severely limiting the participants. It is one thing to have problems with 200k like Warhammer Europe on the first day. It is another to have problems with 10k and only 1 game server. The number 1 reason for the 1 month delay in release was so they could get the account management system working because back in December they were bragging about how much more ready the rest of the game was for release than others.
 
"So I want Darkfall to deliver exactly what it promised, and see how tiny the niche of hardcore free-for-all PvP really is. So that everyone who tells me what a carebear I am, I can respond to "and why aren't you playing Darkfall?"."

Everybody knows that hardcore PvP (or plain PvP) based games will never attract thousands, but from what i read about Darkfall the developers are expecting exactly that: a small niche community that can be nonetheless profitable. Let's face it, I don't know how much they have invested in Darkfall, but do you think it was millions? I don't think so.

Anyway, I find sad that people wish failure on others just to prove a point. So nobody is exempt from the childish behavior, Tobold..
 
I don't know if it is always Childish. Sometimes people refuse to believe you unless they see an example for themselves, and that is true for ANY model, whether it is as silly as an MMO model or as important as an economic model.

So, any country out there feel like taking on he Austrian model? ;)
 
While I wasn't going to play Darkfall, I think this just further justifies my argument that developers need to stop planning on patching in fixes and making players Pay to beta. I hope all these bad MMO's go under and people lose their jobs. It's the only way anyone is going to shake the cob webs out of there heads.

The only down side is people are going to think Blizzard is the only one who can make money on a MMO. I think the fact that Blizzard's MMO is about the only one that runs smoothly is what they need to focus on. WAR is starting to come on strong and once they add more content I think it's going to take a decent market share, but it's never going to be what it could have been if they didn't screw up the first 6 months.
 
@Wyrm (I don't know how much they have invested in Darkfall, but do you think it was millions?) :

Yes it was, undoubtedly. Jeez, it probably cost well over a million just to install the hardware. Also Tobold isn't *wishing* failure on anyone, he's just predicting that the market is tiny. Which leads to :

@Tobold (...see how tiny the niche of hardcore free-for-all PvP really is. So that everyone who tells me what a carebear I am, I can respond to "and why aren't you playing Darkfall?") "

Not saying that you're wrong, but what will you say if the niche turns out to be not so tiny? Curious.
 
I get the feeling that all the carpers have no idea how much effort it takes to make an mmo or get it into running condition. It's like a kid wondering why they don't just give everyone in the country a trillion dollars so everyone can be rich too.

I'm sure everyone involved in making these games understands that its better to launch in a not shit state. The fact that every MMO ever has had one degree of problems at launch or another should indicate it isn't as easy as waving their hands and trying real hard.
 
I have to say the MMO blogosphere (and some forums) has been pretty pathetic about Darkfall. I haven't read that much non sense about a game in years. How blindly stupid do you have to be to call this game vaporware ?

Why is there so much hate about this game ? Why don't the people who are not interested just talk about something else or forget about it ? Why is there so many devs that clearly want to see this MMO fail ? The hate was nearly as strong with AoC, which leads me to ask : do they hate european companies ? Are they affraid that a little company could succeed with little money when they struggle with a lot more, and might fail as well ?

When WAR was about to launch we heard things like "MMO industry need a succes that is not from Blizzard". What now ? Would a succes from Adventurine be a bad thing ? Really, i just don't get it...
 
How blindly stupid do you have to be to call this game vaporware ?
It was called vapourware because they kept promising it but it took ages to arrive (and still hasn't properly launched). It's not stupidity, just judging things by the facts.

Are they affraid that a little company could succeed with little money when they struggle with a lot more, and might fail as well ?
Nobody's afraid. We all want good new MMORPGs to play. It's just that many people feel that Darkfall is making fundamental mistakes that will lead to only a tiny number of people enjoying it. Since a lot of people want good new new games, it's disappointing for them to see the designers making a game you won't enjoy. The same is true of AoC - they were warned about the problems (I lost count of the number of bug reports I submitted during beta) and nothing was ever fixed - they just went ahead and launched anyway. I don't see the criticisms as hate - just an attempt to help by getting designers to make a game that more people would enjoy.

When WAR was about to launch we heard things like "MMO industry need a succes that is not from Blizzard". What now ? Would a succes from Adventurine be a bad thing ?
A success by Aventurine would be a good thing. That's why so many people are trying to help by advising them against making the same mistakes that others have made countless times before them.

If somehow they turn this ship around, good. I just don't think it's likely.
 
This comment has been removed by the author.
 
Not saying that you're wrong, but what will you say if the niche turns out to be not so tiny?
I can't speak for Tobold, but I suspect our views are similar on this issue. If it succeeds, good. It means a small company will make money and a large number of players will have fun. It's just that I suspect that the real market for FFA PvP is very small compared to the PvE or regulated PvP market. Nothing wrong with catering for a niche market, of course, so long as your company's business model is set up for that, rather than running a big mass-market game.
 
To add another reason to hope Darkfall is successful: If a game with 1999 graphics is successful, it is another example of how games do not need high system requirements to be successful. (It seems to me that the opposite is true, actually, but a lot of game companies for some reason don't seem to really think about this.)
 
Tobold, don't you think that a lack of a competitor (Darkfall is the only MMO of its kind) would help it become a success? I definitely think there is a market for this kind of game. I for one am making it my second title to play, when WoW bores me. Yeah, hardcore PVP gameplay can be frustrating, but the fact that there is no alternative to explore the Darkfall Universe, I feel it gives more value to equal footing for all. I tend to agree with you on most points, but when its comes to Darkfall's chances at success, I think the business case is there. Aventurine of course has to do more than have a good business case (e.g., quality graphics, servers, connectivity, community) and that may end up being its undoing long-term. But I don't think it will be because you can get ganked all the time.
 
Has Darkfall Online really launched?
Where?
I live in the United States and can not find any information on purchasing this game.
There is no "Gone Gold!" information on their website, only a launch update from 01-15-2009.

Why would I even buy this game?
I also bought Battlecruiser 3000 by Derek Smart.
-nuff said.
 
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