is a fantasy-based MMOG being developed by Aventurine S.A., a
development group based out of Greece. Rather than a run-of-the-mill,
been there and done that carbon copy of most other games, Aventurine
seeks to give the gaming world a sandbox in which they can play out
their fantasies. Darkfall
uses a skill system to measure character
progress instead of levels, and the game promises to let players have
direct impact on the development of the world in some ways.
In the third installment of Ten Ton Hammer's
Access series, Premium Members had the chance to get their
questions answered by the folks at Aventurine. Fielding
questions were Claus Grovdal, Lead Designer and Tasos Flambouras,
Associate Producer. Trond Evanger, one of the Darkfall designers
provided additional feedback.
subgenius5150: Could you go
for us about the ways that your skill-based character advancement
system works? Is it pure skill-based where you can learn every skill
you want over your career in the game (like style="font-style: italic;">EVE), or is it a
limited skill based system where you have a set number of points (like [ style="font-style: italic;">Ulitma Online])? Is
it a training queue like EVE,
or is it "the more you use it the more you learn it" like [ style="font-style: italic;">Ultima]?
style="font-style: italic;">It makes
sense to be concerned about the appeal of the graphics of a game in
development so long, but Darkfall looks good in
theoretically learn 95% of the skills in the game. A few are race
specific spells, meaning that they can be learned only by certain
races. Some of the skills have prerequisites, like Greater Magic, which
requires at least 50 skill points of Lesser Magic before you can get
Skills improve through usage. The same goes for
spells. So if youre casting fireballs a lot, your fireball will
improve and start doing more damage. Same if youre using a certain
type of sword, you improve at its use.
We have a soft cap
to the skill point total. If you pass this soft cap your skill
progression is slower. Theres no hard cap where you cant get new
skills. Skills and spells are weighted and only the important ones
could toward the soft cap. A mundane skill like fishing
makes any impact at all.
megaflux: I would like to
know if the
game will be visually dated by spending so much time in development
(weren't we using [DirectX 8] when it was first being made?) or if you
have managed to keep everything up to snuff so we can look forward to a
FULLY [DirectX 10]-supported game.
engine has been updated continuously throughout the development and
were very happy not only with its current performance but also with
its potential for future updates.
Monis: Will players towns
amounts of resources and money so that only the most wealthy and
organized guilds will have cites? Or could a small group of people
build a small settlement on their own?
It does take
considerable resources for the largest cities to be built. That said,
there are cities of all sizes to be built from racial capital size to
tiny hamlets. Even small clans can take, hold and develop their own
centrik: Why have there been
little to no in-game presentations if the game is so close to
several in-game and gameplay videos, the latest being 17 minutes long
showing off many different aspects of gameplay and unique features.
These videos are in-game and have not been scripted or modified in any
way. We recently presented the game live to a large audience at an
event for around 30 minutes. This was recorded by members of
audience and uploaded to several sites. Our screenshots are
gameplay screenshots and since the beginning we have been honest with
everything weve shown. You can see Darkfalls development progress
this way, rather than concepts, doctored shots, rendered
Overall I believe weve shown a lot of the game and of the game
progress as well.
Even now during beta, weve allowed one of our
testers to talk about the game and make an unsupervised presentation
about it without any direction from us. This is published online at href="http://www.thenoobcomic.com" target="_blank">thenoobcomic.com.
Since there isn't much time left to release date, will the distribution
be mainly digital download? Can you tell us something about your
overall release strategy?
We will start
with a digital download first and well include a physical
distribution, and client localization will follow. Our publisher came
into the game fairly late and there hasnt been much time to cooperate
and organize this properly, so were moving forward with what can be
handled right. Furthermore were seeing a lot of interest in the game
and staging our release may be necessary, meaning we couldnt handle a
very large number of players right away, should this become an issue.
first release is the European release. The North American release will
follow as soon as possible but not until a few months later. Were
allowing players from N. America to participate in the European release
due to this fact. Of course well make some allowances for these
players if they would like to move to the US server when it launches.
a flesh wound!"
Kralle: Some people don't
grouping or having to join a guild. From your experience through beta
so far, is the "lone wolf" a valid play style in style="font-style: italic;">Darkfall? Can
people survive and flourish without the backing of a clan or other
they can and they wont be forced to join clans. They can group up with
like-minded players to complete objectives where a group is needed;
they could become affiliated to a clan, selling their services in
exchange for protection, money, resources etc. and therefore have the
clan experience without needing to commit.
As mentioned in
a question above, a small clan made up of a few players can have a
small town. A small group of lone-wolves can band together for this
purpose and build a town out of the way. One solitary player can also
have a base of operations out of the chaos stones, some of which have
minor support infrastructures.
makes it easier for a lone player to survive. The lack of radar, the
lack of bright colored name-tags, the vastness of the world which is
even bigger if you take into account that every single square inch of
it is accessible, the fact that a player in style="font-style: italic;">Darkfall
is never helpless even when starting out, the fact that the skill
system allows for a jack-of all trades character, the fact that every
item in the game can be crafted by the players, all this makes a solo
player very viable in Darkfall.
The game gives you the tools to survive even so, playing solo is a
challenge which is also part of the attraction to this particular
Metal: Regarding the
crafting system, how
customizable are items? Are we able to change the shape of a sword, say
making it serrated or something similar?
able to customize crafted items to that degree, but you still get the
ultimate customization which is tagging your name to your crafted item.
Remember that the players can make any item in the game.
a lot of customization and discovery in our enchantment system however.
Since theres discovery involved, please allow us to not elaborate
waku: My question would be
on PvE content and PvE raids. I find lopping a fellow player's head off
to be wickedly fun, but I also enjoy grouping with some like-minded
gamers to take down challenging PvE content. Could you discuss these
PvE elements a bit more? What would be the reward for such epic
raids...if loot is not that much of an issue in style="font-style: italic;">Darkfall? Perhaps
keep the storyline moving along? Riches?
There are no instances or traditional raid content like you have in
other MMOs. We try to steer clear of anything limiting the multiplayer
experience. That said, we have epic monsters like dragons and demons
which require large numbers to defeat and include epic loot.
The PvE in Darkfall
is challenging and fun on day one. The style="font-style: italic;">Darkfall monsters
operate like player bots and are quite sophisticated. PvE hones player
skills for PvP; it provides a medium for player skills to advance,
monster loot, and needed ingredients for crafting. Finally youll face
PvE inside Darkfalls
dungeons which are both fun and can be very profitable.
Metal: We know there are a
number of magic schools in Darkfall.
Could you give us a brief overview of these schools, including any
strengths or weaknesses each of them has?
style="font-style: italic;">A convoy
or a battle party?
Im going to oversimplify this because the number of spells under each
school are pretty diverse and the balance between the schools is too
complex to go into much detail. The current magic schools in style="font-style: italic;">Darkfall are the
Lesser and Greater: these have to do with the level of magic
performed; they include spells used in all kinds of situations. Lesser
magic is the beginning school and is mainly a utility school with weak
but useful and diverse spells.
Air Magic, Earth Magic, Fire Magic, Water Magic, which have to
do with the elements to be used in various appropriate
situations. Fire Magic for example has to do with destruction
and damage and includes several strong area of effect spells.
Arcane Magic and Necromancy where holy and unholy types of
spells can be found.
Spellchanting and Witchcraft where buffs and debuffs are
berecsl: Have you decided on
having universal banks or not?
style="font-style: italic;">Yes we have
universal banks but they will be limited and their locations can be
destroyed except for those in NPC cities like the racial capitals.
berecsl: About melee
fighting: will there be directional swings, or are they just random?
style="font-style: italic;">Swings are
currently random but blocking/parrying is not. We also have directional
damage so you want to avoid being hit in the back.
Directional swinging is a feature weve done a lot of testing
on and weve found that its tricky to get right and make fair due to
internet latency. We are continuously evaluating this though and have
come up with a way to implement an overhead directional swing in time
for the launch of the game.
Kralle: Related to the
openness of the game: Are there any tools or mechanisms in the game
that support player driven content (from a bounty on the head of
someone you don't like to such things as nameable items you can use in
your own story lines)? Stuff that lets players create their own
"quests" and supports their own lore?
style="font-style: italic;">We do have a lot of
freedom that allows quests of this type and were sure well see a lot
of these happening informally. There are no systems in place currently
however to set up a formal player quest system like you describe here. style="font-style: italic;">Darkfall of course
is entirely player driven. Players build towns and cities, declare
alliances and wars, they drive the economy; they drive the
lore forward, and they change the political landscape of the
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