Darkfall for a Dollar – Info and Thoughts

Darkfall for a Dollar

Aventurine announced earlier today that its MMORPG Darkfall would be allowing for the creation of trial accounts to commemorate their first year of business on Agon. It’s not an free trial, however, as folks are asked to pay one dollar (or Euro depending on the server they wish to access) for seven days worth of play time.

This to me feels kind of weird. I’ve not experienced a game having a trial that asks people to pay first, unless you count Gran Turismo 5 Prologue on the PS3. This feels like a slippery slope, where my fear would be the rise of an impending massacre of the free trial system, to be replaced by an army of paid trials for games I want to test. Also, it feels weird because I’m stingy as heck.

Tasos, one of the Darkfall Devs, explains the price point thus: “We’ve chosen to include symbolic pricing as a minimum commitment, to protect the existing user-base experience.” In other words, this should keep the gold farmers out, as well as the people who aren’t fully intrigued or unaffected by the idea of Open World PVP.

Overall, the step taken by Aventurine is probably more positive than negative for everyone involved. The price generates some additional revenue, keeps gold farmers and trolls out (which in turn keeps them from hiring more people to combat trolls and spammers), and introduces the game to people like me who want to test their connection out against the game.

In any event, some additional information follows below.

– The Announcement Post on their official Forums

– You can download the client BEFORE you pay a dollar, so there’s no need to worry about wasting a buck just to download the game. Check the announcement post for the Download Information on US and EU servers.

-The Account Creation process requires the dollar to be paid.

– The Darkfall Client is approx. 7 GB in size, but you’ll still need to patch it up to actually play. Be warned now.

I blame Syp for my Restless Sleep

Now, I’m a big fan of Syp of the Bio Break blog, because he writes frequently, has amazing entries, and has a passion for gaming. Thing is, there are times when his passion is infectious, and it’s hard for someone like myself to be constantly bombarded by Syp’s awesomeness.

Prior to his falling in love with Fallen Earth, it was basically off his radar and didn’t think too much about it. Now it pervades a good number of his posts.

As a gamer, I wanted to experience the post-apocalyptic world of Fallen Earth very badly. However, when I tried it during beta, it was connection issues that kept me from enjoying the game. I’ve given the game some time to develop, strengthen its weak points and whatnot, in the hope that I can come back to it at a later time. Thing is, my patience isn’t what it used to be, and I blame Syp for my restless sleep last night.

You see, even though I barely played the game, I DREAMT ABOUT FALLEN EARTH. And I want to put the burden squarely on my readings on Syp’s blog. He’s playing the game as a gunslinging tech, which is exactly want I wanted to be. He’s killing prairie chickens left and right. Most importantly, he’s enjoying a post-apocalyptic world, which I am unable to do because Bethesda hasn’t released Fallout 3 GOTY in the Philippines, and Fallen Earth’s price point is a little steep at the moment without some testing of the connection.

The timing of the compulsion brought about by the dream appears to be horrible as well, because they just finished a a trial key period, according to my research, and don’t have any announced plans of another trial period just yet.

So I’m a bit stuck, but I am doing my best to persevere by playing single-player games with extremely long storylines in them (*coughDragonAgeough*). Hopefully, this feeling will pass, at least until I can find a higher-paying part-time job or something else to distract me and keep me from dreaming about Fallen Earth.

As for what the dream was… I imagined I was in a dilapidated stadium’s locker room, with bodies nailed to the walls, six-shooter by my side, and ready to fire at any hiding bandit or raider. Then I’m approached by a lone gunslinger, which looked very much like the picture in Syp’s Gunslinger profile some time back. And it was Syp telling me that I had killed the bandits and saved his butt.

Then I woke up, and my first dream-induced thought was, “Must save Syp from MMO death.” Sigh…

If Hell is Other People, then The Shire is Hell.

As has been established previously, I quite like Lord of the Rings Online. Great production values, interesting storylines for characters that aren’t meant to be part of the main fellowship, etc. Last night, I ended with a bang, going nearly eleven hours straight just playing my Human Warden main and my Hobbit Guardian alt.

Except, I was mistaken.

You see, I had an extra day’s worth of game time on the account, which basically meant that I miscalculated the date when the trial would end. So I played some more just now on the alt to preserve the awesome feeling on the main, and it was during these final hours of the game that I realized something: I absolutely loathe The Shire.

If what I know of the LOTR lore is true, then hobbits in general are supposed to be a very insular people, usually choosing not to go out of their lands, instead focusing on the little affairs they have in The Shire. I have to say, the quest designers captured that feeling of not exactly pettiness (more of being altogether concerned with their own world) to great effect, which I admire.

The thing is, the Shire quests, when compared to the quests of Man, are an altogether different creature. The impending sense of doom doesn’t exist for them except as hints here and there in certain chains. Instead of fighting off the Blackwolds from their roost, you’re tasked with fulfilling a fireworks order and delivering letters to other parts of the huge Hobbit starting area.

Did I mention that the Shire is huge and requires a certain amount of insane backtracking if you’re there for the first time? Running back and forth is a pain, and probably a strain on my poor hobbit’s little legs.

Anyone out there in blogland feel the same way about the Shire? How could the Shire chains be improved or streamlined perhaps, if it’s even possible?

P.S. The Sackville-Bagginses are horrible, horrible people.

Ten Days on Middle-Earth

So I’ve spent ten days on Middle-Earth, and I quite liked the experience as a whole, even with those hiccups I experienced during the attempt to get the game to work for me. Compared to World of Warcraft, the game is more relaxed, making me feel as if I was welcome to make alternate characters and not rush the experience.

Thanks to the Founder Trial I received, I also was pleased to get a hang of the auction house and mailing system, which worked fine and allowed me to send important goods to my alt characters and vice versa. Enhanced gathering and creation tools for the win, indeed.

I also received some good news from Turbine themselves, who’ve sent me an email regarding the ways with which I can go and add a credit card to my account. It still means I might not be able to play for another week because my credit card is still en route to me, but that’s alright. I’m not entirely sure how the process will go though, seeing as I either have to call their number or fax them my details. I suppose calling them would be the best option though, if I can get permission to do so.

So to recap, in ten days, I’ve managed to enjoy Middle-Earth, save a little kid from the barrow downs, take down a conspiracy between brigands and orcs to disrupt Bree, learned how freaking HUGE the Shire area is, and gotten feedback from Turbine on my worries about subscribing to the game.

All in all, that was an excellent ten days. Hopefully, I can have many more in Middle-Earth.