Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ganking a Serial Ganker

On Thursday night, I was on the verge of a /ragequit after playing Darkfall. I was beyond irritated. In retrospect, I wasn’t legitimately at risk of outright quitting, but I was close. Darkfall is a not a friendly environment. There are no safe zones. And this was made painfully clear to me on Thursday.

If you don’t like sad stories, skip to the section titled Epic Moments. For what follows in these next few sections is merely the harsh lesson I learned about the world of Darkfall.

My clan status
I haven’t joined a clan yet in Darkfall. I had planned to join NEW, the newbie starter guild, but had read enough bad feedback about the organization on the forums to sway me against it.

Also, after playing for a bit, it seems to me that NEW players and Hammerdale (where NEW lives) perhaps attracts a lot of unwanted attention. I may still join NEW, if my skills aren’t too high, but at the moment I feel like I might be better off freelance.

I suppose I could somehow leverage my limited blogger celebrity in some way to find a clan but if I’m being blunt, I prefer anonymity. I don’t want people to know who I am. I don’t ever want to feel like my hands are tied about what I write because other people’s feeling might get hurt. I have real life friends that don’t even know I blog about gaming.

So at the moment I’m clanless. Not without friends, but clanless.

Hard to semi-AFK
Darkfall is an interesting game in that combat is so intense, it’s not something you can do while semi-AFK. In WoW, I could quest and simultaneously watch a movie. With Darkfall, it’s a struggle to even take a drink of soda while in the middle of combat.

For me, this is perhaps one of the hardest adjustments I’m having to playing Darkfall. I’m used to being able to semi-AFK lots of content. Instances, Quests, Arena matches, even many Raids. Hell, I once ran three wings of Naxx 25 on my Mage alt using just my mouse hand while holding a serious conversation with my mother on the phone.

So what I’m finding is when I want my semi-AFK time, gathering is the way to go in Darkfall. If I want to play, but not seriously play, it’s a good time to pick up my pickaxe and head out to do some harvesting.

Gathering resources has the benefit of providing me with ‘stuff’ and increasing my base stats like Vitality, Wisdom and Strength.

A hard lesson
As a gatherer, I’ve mostly been mining. My general feeling is that Iron Ore is more valuable than the other basic resources. Just like WoW, once you have mined Ore, it needs to be smelted before it’s usable in crafting.

On Thursday (also known as /ragequit day), I decided to convert a good chunk of my harvested Ore into Ingots by smelting it. Also like WoW, smelting can only be done in front of a Forge which are located in Cities.

I haven’t yet ventured terribly far from the starting areas, so I chose a nice newbie city protected by a bunch of towers to smelt my Ore.

In Darkfall, you can attack anyone anywhere. However, if your alignment is RED or you attack another player in an area within range of a Guard Tower, the Tower attacks you dealing a considerable amount of damage. It’s possible to hit someone and make it out of tower range without dying, but any prolonged combat is going to kill you.

In my limited experience, areas protected by Towers were very safe.

On Thursday, I learned I was wrong. Very wrong.

While smelting upwards of 400 Iron Ore, I was ganked by one player and his friend unceremoniously pilfered my body for all my Ore.

Gathering 100 Ore has been taking me, on average, I’d say about an hour. So in one fell swoop, I lost upwards of four hours of game time. While in a protected newbie area.

I think my exact words to my wife were, “Fuck. That sucked.”

Obviously, I didn’t /ragequit on Thursday. I was pretty irritated and upset, but ultimately I accepted what happened as a difficult and hard lesson.

There are no safe zones in Darkfall.


And I’ll never ever carry 400 Ore that I can’t protect ever again. A part of me is glad that I learned the lesson and it was only 400 Ore and not 20,000 gold. It was a bitter pill, but one I am willing to swallow.

Epic Moments
Have you ever wished that you had recorded something? I’ve never recorded anything in any MMO, but I wish I had recorded the events of Saturday afternoon.

I’ll freely admit that Thursday had me really bummed. I felt used and abused. What follows in the story I am about to tell explains why all of that crap was worth enduring.

As I mentioned above, my semi-AFK time has been spent mining. So it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that’s exactly what I was doing on Saturday afternoon while talking to my mom on the phone.

When suddenly, I see a heavily armored guy in full plate coming at me with a big ass two-handed sword out.

I dropped the phone and ran like a bitch.

After about 30 seconds, I turned to see if he was following.

Yep. Oh shit...

At the time, I had about 100 Ore on me and was about as far away as you can get from a guard tower.

I bunny-hopped down a hill (speeds up run) and ran towards some rocks. I quickly flipped around to see if I was still being followed and saw that my attacker was now on a Horse and was almost within striking range.

Oh fuck.

I have a mount, but I’ve rarely ridden it and didn't have one on me. Attacks while mounted are powerful attacks. But I also knew that it’s hard to steer a mount.

A player can quickly move in any direction quickly, but a mount needs to be turned. I was standing next to a huge rock, so I decided that I would be harder to hit if I circled it.

I ran around the big rock several times while being chased, including changing directions. I thought I might have lost him and paused to rest and regain stamina.

Nope.  He rounded the corner and was suddenly almost on top of me again.

I ran towards and past him.

Then I did some circle-eights around some more rocks until I found a nice big rock with a ledge. I hopped up on the rock and he followed on his mount.

I dropped to the ledge and he tried to jump down to it.  But he was having trouble steering the mount to the ledge and once he made it down, I popped up back to the top of the rock.

At which point, I lost sight of him. But it occurred to me that he must be getting off his mount to try and kill me. So I ran back around to the edge of the rock and saw him dismount to chase me down.

But in Darkfall, when you dismount, the mount stays until you unsummon it.

So I stole his mount.

And as I ran away and looked back to see him chasing me on foot, I have to admit that this was one of my most memorable and enjoyable moments in any MMO.

Fucking Epic. And now I’m hooked.


Carson 63000 said...

I assume you read SynCaine's piece the other week about a night of horrific losses in Darkfall?

Jesse said...

My method for gathering is to stay near the ocean or a river. Creative swimming/diving can be very useful, especially if there is a guarded town on the water nearby.

sid67 said...

Oh sure, I read it. But what bugged me on Thursday wasn't the loss -- but where I lost it.

I've always maintained the position that 'griefing' for me personally only occurs when players take advantage of broken game design to harass other players.

Spamming chat channel, sitting on mail boxes, and so forth.

I'm pretty much willing to accept anything else as part of the game.

Now if I had been attacked by one guy and he had time to kill me, loot me, and run out of the area without getting killed by the towers. I have no complaint.

But I was killed by one guy who suicided himself to the towers while his buddy looted me without consequence. That's broken IMO.

But I chalk it up to a lesson learned now. One that I'm glad I learned this way rather than when trying to trade something valuable.

Mig said...

I do all my crafting at one of the lesser used NPC cities. I also wear some decent armor, keep my back to a wall, and keep a sword and board on me so if any of the griefers try to kill me I can just parry until the tower zaps them to death. However this does force me to remain at least within eye-shot of the comp so I can tell when I am being attacked. It is also good to stay solo, otherwise the griefers will just wardec your clan and kill you freely.

Carson 63000 said...

Yeah, it seems that the guard towers provide the same "CONCORD is here to punish the guilty, not protect the innocent" level of security as in high-sec space in EVE - and that the exact same "suicide gank" techniques used in EVE are also being used in Darkfall.

sid67 said...

The difference between DF and EVE is that at least the station is safe.

Its understood that traveling is unsafe anywhere, but at least when you get there -- there is some measure of safety allowing you to freely craft or trade items. Such places don't exist at all in DF.

Stabs said...

That's a wonderful story!

Tarik said...

Liking Darkfall drops you some in my estimation. Telling Darkfall stories on your blog drops you more. A lot more.

That said, I understand. I have some nice EVE stories I wish I could tell, like getting podkilled wormhole mining and coming back and finding and taking my killer's jetcan stuffed full of arkonor. Or taking an obvious shill courier contract and totally evading the setup gatecamp, winning millyuns and millyuns of juicy ISK for 40 minutes' work.

Anger me again with Darkfall stories and I shall tell these tales ... and more.

Dagda said...

You have to admit, a game where two people can conspire to bypass a safe zone like that is an interesting emergent game mechanic. Cruel and clearly not what the designer intended, but. . .

Well, I guess what I'm getting at is a caveat to your definition of griefing: Sometimes a "broken" game element is better left unfixed (or doesn't actually merit the title, if you'd prefer to see it that way), because the gameplay it winds up creating is actually more interesting. One example would be "skiing" in the Tribes series, a radical bug exploit which went on to become a defining game mechanic.

Of course, it still sucks that you had no warning.

Anonymous said...

First, jacking a mount and getting away with it never gets old, ever. Sure it may only be worth 700-800g and they are readily available in trade, but for whatever reason, stealing a mount feels better than getting other loot worth twice the value.

As for your town ganking, you must have been more than semi-afk right? Because that strategy only really works if the player never moves or if you box someone in (which usually takes more than two people and is obvious if you are watching the screen). If you had started running around as soon as the guy landed the first hit, he would have no chance finishing you before the tower got him, especially since I doubt he was tower-ganking with a good weapon.

War-dec abuse (fixed in the next patch) is one thing, but ganking an unclanned player in an NPC city is more or less impossible unless they are afk.

sid67 said...

but ganking an unclanned player in an NPC city is more or less impossible unless they are afk.

LOL. Nope. I was semi-AFK at best. Laptop was in my lap, I was watching little bars move while watching a movie. I wasn't even alt-tabbed.

I can't tell you exactly what happened or what they did, but I died in maybe 8-10 seconds. I fully realized what was happening about 5 seconds into it.

Part of this has to do with me being new (which is why I say lesson learned). Had I been more paranoid, not been naked, or faced in such a way that I saw them coming -- I might have survived it. Or might not.