Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Darkfall, the next Messiah of MMOs?

A little MMO called Darkfall is looming on the horizon, with its release date currently slated for February 25th, 2009.

This game has been in development for many years and has made enough promises to make it seem like it will combine the best aspects of Ultima Online, Shadowbane and Age of Conan. A skill-based character development system, the ability to build towns and villages, ship and mounted combat, the ability to craft almost any item in the game, dynamic weather and NPCs, smart AI, meaningful factions, open PvP, twitch-oriented combat, the ability to loot your enemies and 'real' stealth. Sound too good to be true? Well, it probably is!

Besides the fact that this game has been hyped since 2001, with only a few marginal gameplay videos and screenshots to go on, and the fact that they took applications for a Clan Beta test in 2005 and never followed through, and that previous games over-promising something different and grand in the MMO universe have generally flopped, probably the most disheartening part in my opinion are the latest patch notes. You would think that something as basic as 'Dungeon monsters are now enabled' would have been taken care of and tested sometime before the final month of development!!

That being said, there are still lots of high hopes for Darkfall in the MMO gaming community. And I expect those high hopes will be crushed. I'm taking the route of low expectations to avoid disappointment, myself. I'm expecting to pay to play an early beta release, with lots of bugs, exploits and balance issues. I'm just hoping that they do indeed have a diverse, interesting and fun core game that can be tweaked and polished on a regular schedule after release.

The developers have certainly talked the talk over the last seven years, and I applaud the fact that they've stuck with the game this long, I only hope that they can deliver on enough of their promises to avoid turning this into another Horizons, Roma Victor or Pirates of the Burning Sea.

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