I've been playing Darkfall for almost two months now and I think I'm done. In many ways, I think Darkfall is a great game. The combat is much more innovative, interactive and enjoyable than what you see in other MMOs.
I also enjoy the on-use skillups despite all it's obvious flaws. There is something uniquely rewarding about focusing on a style of play and watching that level up.
I also found that I didn't lack for direction despite the horizontal nature of the game. I always had something to do and made a couple of friends while I was at it.
It wasn't even the grind. I mean, harvesting isn't exactly exciting, but the full loot nature of the PvP adds a bit of excitement to the mundane. Which is certainly something you would never experience while running around mining or herbing in Warcraft.
No.. It's because I'm a pussy.
Oh, I don't mean unskilled. I suppose that could be it, but I wouldn't even know because every time I get into a fight I'm killed pretty damn quick.
How many hours should you have to log in order to be competitive?
Now I don't mind "working" to make my character more developed. I also understand that people who have put more "work" into their character deserve to have an advantage. For better or worse, that's the nature of PvP in MMOs.
But what started to bother me a few weeks ago, really bothers me today as I'm fully realizing that in order to "catch up" to a point where I am even remotely competitive is going to take not just an incredible amount of time, but an unfathomable amount of time.
I know this because I've played A LOT over the last few weeks. And despite how much time I've put into it, my character has barely broken into the tier just above the 'newbie' stage.
To put this in perspective, I leveled my Mage alt in WoW last year from level 1 to 80 in maybe 3-4 weeks. By the fifth week, I had 4 out of 5 of the Tier pieces and decent pieces in my other slots. All of this was in addition to the raiding I was doing on my main.
The point here is not that WoW is easy to level. Obviously, it is easier than Darkfall.
No, my point here is that I have been known to log some long hours. I talked about life-balance the other day and the part I tend to sacrifice is sleep. I KNOW I play a lot. As evidenced by my being able to level a Raiding alt in five weeks without the benefit of refer-a-friend.
And at that rate of play, I also believe that in Darkfall, it would take me a minimum of another 4 months to build up a character that would begin to put me at a point where I wouldn't constantly get my ass kicked.
Which just makes me wonder, is it even worth it?
Biggest Lie: New players can contribute in PvP
This is perhaps the biggest lie that gets told to new players as they start in Darkfall. The idea is that because new players can deal maybe 30% of the damage that an established player can deal, that they can contribute immediately in PvP.
The problem here is that they can only take 30% of the effective damage that an established player can as well. If they are attacked at all, they are dead.
Now, on the surface, I don't have much of an issue with this whole dynamic. New players need to be more sneaky and try to stay in groups where they don't get focused. OK. All that is fine.
My problem is that after many many many hours, I still couldn't take any damage and live for very long. It's like PvP in WoW without resilience gear. You might be able to DO damage, but that means nothing when you are dead within mere moments.
And again, I have no real issue with that concept, my issue here is HOW LONG you remain that weak little thing who needs to sneak, escape and kow-tow to the much more powerful players.
I'm very competitive in these games. I don't want to be a cog in the machine. I want to contribute. I want to win. That's what drives me and motivates me. I'm just realizing now that I can't keep up that motivation when it's going to take a minimum of four more months to get competitive.
New Player Perspective
I think I would have an entirely different perspective if I had played Darkfall from launch. For one thing, I have no doubt that with the hours I put in that I would have a very developed character.
Also, my "competition" would have always been at or below my relative skill level. At the very least, those far more advanced would be fewer and farther between. My skills might have been low, but so would the skills of everyone else.
The overall experience would just be more enjoyable because I wouldn't feel that I'm losing solely based on longevity.
As a new player, I have a different perspective. I'm at the bottom and I'll be at the bottom until a point where all my more advanced stats and skills begin to cap out.
I have to say that the prospect of playing a game intensely for 6 months as a whipping boy is not an entirely enjoyable thought.
This is a perspective that I just don't think a long-time Darkfall player would understand. I mean, from their point of view, they 'worked' to get where they are at and reducing the amount of work for me is a slap in the face.
But the problem is that it's relative. As I said above, when you are at the leading edge, there is never a point at which you need to 'catch up'. You are always already caught up by virtue of longevity.
But as new players start playing your game, they are behind from the start. Having the same leveling curve for those players is NOT a consistent experience. Those that came first actually have it easier because the competition wasn't as well developed.
I don't know how you fix that in an on-use skill game and keep your veteran players happy about it. All I know is that I've grown tired of it and have lost patience with the game.