Saturday, April 27, 2013

Darkfall Unholy Wars: The MMO that shouldn't be compared to other MMOs

Darkfall: Unholy Wars launched on Steam recently and I understand that a lot of the poster comments have been less than favorable.  Many of which say things like "don't buy it, this game takes MMOs backwards" or some such nonsense.

Unfortunately for AV, Darkfall Unholy Wars is suffering from the reputation of the original Darkfall.  The irony is that the thing that made DF1 so grindy was the progression system and that's actually part of what is making the game extremely fun in Unholy Wars.

Darkfall is NOT an MMO
OK, well it is an MMO. But my point is that if you are thinking of trying Darkfall, you shouldn't think of it as an MMO. I wrote this on Syncaine's blog tonight in the comments of his review:

If you like FPS games, if you like MMOs, if you like PvP, and if you like banding together with others — there isn’t a better game that combines all of these things that exists.

Darkfall is a misunderstood beast because people want to label it as just an MMO and then hold it up for comparison against other MMOs.

Honestly, that’s just a very small part of the appeal. Many of the people actually playing Darkfall come from more skill-based games like FPS shooters. That’s why bloggers like Tobold don’t “get” the Darkfall concept — they compare it to WoW and EvE when they should also be comparing it to entirely different games (like Tribes and WWII Online).

To be honest, Syncaine doesn’t really help the cause because he draws a lot of his own comparisons to other MMOs including EvE. This game has almost nothing in common with EvE — it’s so NOT EvE that I find the comparison ludicrous.

It’s a shame because you have a lot of DF haters posting on Steam because they are thinking of this game entirely in the context of an MMO. It’s that, for sure, but it’s also these other things. 
Adding on to what I wrote in his comments, there are things that exist (and work!) in a game like Darkfall that wouldn't work in other games because the game is designed around certain PvP concepts.  It's simply not accurate to say, "well, we can compare this feature to other MMOs and know it doesn't work" -- because it DOES work in Darkfall because the game is DESIGNED FOR IT TO WORK.

The best example of this is "full loot" PvP.  Scary stuff, right?  Nope.  The game is designed to be easy to lose and easy to gain.  I've farmed a few sets a gear, lost a few sets of gear, and battle looted a few sets of gear.  That's simply how the game is designed.  And it simply wouldn't work right if it wasn't designed that way.

Why Darkfall is the MMO that isn't like other MMOs
If you have read any of my blog postings over the years, you'll know that one of the things I despise is when people place labels on games to attempt to put them in a box.

Darkfall can't be placed in a single box.

WoW is it's own box.  EvE is it's own box.  Darkfall is neither -- it's something different and deserves it's own box.  Sure, it has some familiar MMO parts, but it also has parts from completely other genres.  It has just as much in common with skill-based first person shooters as it does with any other MMO.

Combat is far faster paced than a normal MMO and it's not easy.  But it's not always about the individual skill level, it's often about the skill level of the group.  It's a very dynamic game where the objectives and goals are more oriented at PvP.

A game built for PvP
If you don't enjoy the PvP experience, don't unfairly toss your opinions on a game whose entire design is built around making a fun PvP experience.  Shame on you for casting disparaging remarks about a game that's simply not meant for you.

That's really my point of this blog post.  Darkfall is for people who enjoy PvP, who enjoy MMOs, who enjoy fast and skill-based FPS combat, and who enjoy grouping with others to form a common cause.

In this way, the game is unique and as an MMO community we should be fostering the development of these types of games rather than trying to criticize a game that's not entirely in the MMO genre.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The key thing is that DF is an MMO with FPS aspects. So pure FPS fans might not enjoy it because character power and progression still matter, unlike in a FPS.

But overall, DF really is a twist on UO, with better combat.