Apparently, writing about Darkfall from a theoretical or hypothetical standpoint is quite a relaxing activity for me, as I enjoy the feeling of introspection. Therefore, I decided to go lurk in their forums and on Syncaine’s blog some more for an idea to strike me.
One of the things that resonated with me was how some people were going above and beyond the call of duty in making the game a safer place for newcomers. I mentioned the NEW guild previously, but I didn’t get to discuss the fact that they’re going to try to make the NEW guild also work for trial users. I feel this would be a great step for making the game more accessible for people trying to get a feel for the game.
Anyway, here are some things I was thinking about when it came to starting in Darkfall. I’ll probably post this on the open forum in DF as well, but I want to at least keep a record of what hesitations and fears I have upon entering Agon, as well as how these are being remedied or how I wish they might be remedied.
1. I am afraid that Agon will be a harsh, unforgiving environment, filled with player killers and a decided lack of morals. – While this is probably true to some extent, the community is stepping up to the challenge this image brings, not only by offering people starter kits and advice, but also by fighting the known griefers who want to make life hell for the trial players. According to Inside Agon, the NEW guild city was even attacked once by some rather malicious folk, and people rose to the occasion, not only by fighting back, but also by teaming up to repair the tower the sieging enemy broke in the fracas. There is also New Player Protection, which exists for 24 hours, if I’m not mistaken.
2. I am a quester by nature, and I am afraid of a decided lack of intriguing quests to undertake.- I’ve got nothing here.
3. I am hesitant to subscribe to Darkfall not only due to the possible lack of a questline to enjoy, but also the inconvenience that is normally associated with grinding skills to become a viable PVPer. – Soloing may take a while to do, but I hear that finding a group to support you may be worthwhile, if you can make enough connections before you start the trial. Then again, a dedicated trial forum for finding groups to join or newbie-friendly clans may alleviate this problem somewhat, if it were implemented.
4. I do not know where to go, both literally and figuratively. – Now for me, this seems like a complaint that some people might gloss over. Maps do exist for the game, and this game isn’t supposed to be played in a themepark style. The thing is, some people don’t even know the difference between a Theme Park MMO and a Sandbox MMO, much less read the forums.
At the very least, there should be some kind of in-depth downloadable primer (beyond the FAQ, which is actually quite good) on the website AND the forums to inform people that Darkfall isn’t aiming to be played like other, more well-known MMORPG’s in the market, and should probably include links to the well-known mapmaker sites and info sites (this is an idea I picked up from EQ2’s website). In other words, I feel Aventurine should take some time to better integrate its information with the community that supports the game, so that the information can be more easily accessed by less savvy newcomers.
I don’t really have any other or concerns at the moment other than the four above. Some of them are being addressed, while others are not, but I suppose it’s the prerogative of the devteam to go and take care of their playerbase in their own way.