Wednesday, November 27, 2013

DFUW: A wolf in sheep's clothing.

Syncaine has an interesting piece today about sheeps and wolves. It's an enjoyable post and I mostly agree with him. That said, he continues to draw a lot of his Darkfall conclusions based on his EVE experience.
Syncaine wrote:
What the vast majority of these players are looking for is actually a very PvE-focused, social (no not that kind of ‘social) experience, just with the flavoring of an open world and PvP. They don’t play in spite of the PvP, but they also don’t only play for it.
And that's where I strongly disagree with Syncaine. Darkfall is not simply EVE with swords. The games share some similarities, but the core audience for these game is very different. To illustrate this, let's go to the actual websites for both games and look at how they are marketed to gamers.

Darkfall is specifically marketed as the best PvP MMORPG you will ever experience. Whereas, EVE is marketed as a sandbox universe of unbounded opportunity that you can explore, roam or conquer.

Darkfall: Unholy Wars
Prepare for epic battles.  
Made for PVP!  
Hardcore gaming reinvented  
Do you have what it takes?
Darkfall Unholy Wars completely revolutionizes the concept of epic combat.

A game massive by design as well as concept, Darkfall Unholy Wars comes with a host of features, options, and game-styles for you to choose and discover as you travel through the rich, beautiful and deadly lands of Agon.

Find out how Unholy Wars can easily burn through the adrenaline that feeds even the most hardcore of gamers, and discover what makes it the best PvP MMORPG you will ever experience!

EVE Online
One universe to explore and conquer.  
Discover your future in the sandbox.  
Let your mind roam over EVE's creations.  
Be a capsuleer and experience something more.
In EVE, a universe of unbounded opportunity awaits new capsuleers, whether they lust after wealth, crave the fight or simply yearn for adventure among the stars.

Starting as a new pilot in a training frigate, players can choose from hundreds of skills to train and develop. The choice of skills to train is entirely up to the player. There are no mutually-exclusive branches in a skill tree that is both wide and deep. Over time, a character can be honed into a specialist or adapted for many situations.

The central difference is that one game, Darkfall, is a PVP game first and foremost.  While it has sandbox elements, you'll find that it doesn't actually market itself as a sandbox game.  EVE, on the other hand, is clearly a true sandbox and it openly advertises the fact that you have the opportunity to do anything you want within it's game world.

One game will have you "burn through the adrenaline" and the other would have you "let your mind roam over EVE's creations".

Darkfall: A world full of Wolves
The sheep versus wolf analogy, while a good one, is not a perfect fit for Darkfall. The reason is simple: Most players think they are a Wolves.

The game attracts wolves because it's marketed to wolves, so it's simply not a wolf-eat-sheep world. It's a wolf-eat-wolf world. Sometimes, the other wolf is bigger or meaner or simply luckier than you. And sometimes that means that you fulfill the sheep role in Syncaine's analogy while other times, you'll win and fulfill the wolf role.  If the other pack includes a bunch of big alpha males, you simply need to get more wolves in your pack to compete.

Darkfall, unfortunately, is currently not a place for the real sheep or would-be-sheeps. That's not because of all of us wolves. That's because it's a sandbox without any sand. Would it make for a better game if Darkfall had sand like EVE? Absolutely. But it's not currently in a state where you could simply selectively pick a couple of things that would magically make it attractive to sheep.  Quite literally, AV would need to build that part of the game from the ground up again to attract an entirely different player.

But I don't know that we need true sheep.  After all, the problem with Darkfall: Unholy Wars was never that it had too many wolves and not enough sheep.  Wolves, after all, can simply eat the other wolves.

No comments: