Thursday, June 25, 2009
Darkfall boycott ended
It turns out I can't keep up my attempt to completely boycott mentioning Darkfall. My readers keep bringing up the game in comments, and the stories around the game are just too outrageously funny to be completely ignored. So my Darkfall boycott is officially over, but I'll step in if the game's fans are misbehaving.
In their latest move Aventurine does something of which I can completely understand the business logic, but which is bound to royally tick off the hardcore players which are the core audience of Darkfall: If you want to play on the new Darkfall US servers on release, you will have to buy the game again, even if you already paid for the European version. You *do* have an option to not pay, reuse your Euro client, and transfer your character to the US servers, but only at some point at least 3 months after release.
I find it highly entertaining to watch how extremely anti-hardcore Aventurine's business practices are. First they punished early adopters by forcing them to camp the website to buy the Euro version of the game, now they'll make them jump through hoops again for the priviledge of being early on the US servers. There is a sublime logic behind it, and a refreshing honesty: Being the first on a server has obvious advantages in a competitive persistent online game. So why not make people pay for that advantage?
Darkfall is like a very exclusive club with restricted access. That is contrary to the policy of every other MMO, all of which try to get the maximum number of subscribers. But by separating those who really, really want to play from what syncaine would call the tourists, Aventurine avoids the fate of AoC and WAR, dropping off a cliff after high initial box sales. That saves them money on server hardware etc., and thus has some justification as a strategy. So kudos to Aventurine for doing their own thing in managing their subscriber numbers.
The downside is that some US Darkfall fans will be less than happy about this. There will be yet another Hitler movie with Darkfall subtitles on YouTube, and the whole gammut of outrage and overreaction on various forums. Might be quite amusing to watch. Anyone got popcorn?