Darkfall Hands-On Preview: The Rise of the Ninja (Looter)

Freedom. It was the one thing you heard about any time someone asked about the ideological premise of Darkfall. The game was built on the promise of freedom.

I think Darkfall has delivered...

Freedom. It was the one thing you heard about any time someone asked
about the ideological premise of href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/109"
The game was built on the promise of freedom.

I think Darkfall has delivered on that promise. Unfortunately, freedom
comes with a price, and no matter how you try to finagle your way
around it, someone always has to pay the piper. There are some things
that drive me crazy in the game, yet others are done exactly right. It
makes for an interesting dynamic, perhaps even more so when it comes
from a carebear like me.

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should improve for everyone.

Through all of this, it's only fair to bear in mind that the game is
still technically in a beta phase. I believe the server is still
running in debug mode as well, so while I had no performance problems
(I am running a beast of a system), other players may find themselves
running much smoother when the game launches tomorrow.

After a reasonably sized download (I'm sorry folks, but 9GB for a
modern day MMO is not that big), and some subsequent patching, I was href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/64562" target="_blank">more
than a kid in an arcade to finally hop in the game we've been
hearing so much about. After sitting in a queue for awhile I finally
got in and created my first character.

I can sum up my favorite thing about Darkfall in one brief sentence.
You and your target move during combat. Until I started playing
Darkfall, I really never gave the idea much thought, but looking back
now, the mobs in virtually every other game I play are generally
static, at least until they get below 20% health and begin to run away.
If that's what you expect out of Darkfall's combat, you couldn't be
more wrong... and I bet you'll love the fact.

Combat is by no means perfect. Targets will glitch out as
you’re running and reappear behind you, some will freeze up
while you both stand there and swing on each other for five minutes,
tombstones don't always appear where the mob dies, etc. There are
definitely some minor gripes I have with the combat in the game, but
for all its faults, it gets one thing absolutely correct - immersion. I
can't tell you the last time I was that focused during a battle in an
MMOG. Maybe during target="_blank">some
particularly large or difficult fights
I have been in, but in
this instance, I'm talking about battling a goblin. Don't bother
cleaning the wax out of your ears, because you heard me correctly. I,
Dalmarus, was entirely focused while battling a lowly goblin. Pretty
scary, huh?

I'm not sure if it's just because the
Alfar are the closest thing to Dark Elves in the game, but the Alfar
areas of the game were filled with every type of despicable individual
you've ever had the displeasure of running into. The dregs of the
Internet have found their way here and contaminated the gene pool.
There were some very friendly and helpful players there as well, but
they were *far* out numbered.

One of the favorite actions of these individuals is also the single
largest complaint I have about Darkfall right now. In href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/64247" target="_blank">last
Forever Fantasy, I mentioned how I'm not really in favor of
being able to loot players, but I understood the concept and was
willing to give it a try. I'm proud to report that no player has
managed to kill me yet (though a few have tried) so I haven't had my
body looted. Instead, what these players will do is wait for you to get
jumped by more than one mob, then loot the tombstones (mobs become
tombstones instead of corpses) while you're fighting for your life.
This is old school EverQuest ninja-looting brought back tenfold. I
can’t count the amount of times this happened to me.

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Mounts may
not be desperately needed, but damn, they're pretty!

I've heard the problem becomes far less prevalent when you get out of
the starting areas, but as it stands now, the system really, really
irritates me. If you're too much of a pansy to attack me (especially
while I'm in the middle of fighting something else), then you do NOT
deserve any of my loot. It brings the general arguments against kill
stealing to a whole new level. I think it's something that needs to be
altered in the game as soon as possible, but from what I understand, it
won't be.

While I'm thinking of it, there's something else you should probably be
aware of as well. Just in case, for some unimaginable reason, you were
planning on allowing your teenager to play this game... href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/64541" target="_blank">there
is no
filter. I don't mean there's no filter in the chat channels,
I mean there doesn't appear to be a filter with the naming system
either. A sizable number of the players I ran across had names that I
quite literally cannot type here and still keep things teen friendly.

Speaking of things non-filtered, let me step back and describe the
general chat channels (Public and Racial) a little better. You know how
people like creating various drinking games based around the concept of
a phrase or action being repeated? I strongly encourage you to resist
this urge when it comes to Darkfall. If you had to take a shot every
time someone said newb, carebear, gay, or a smorgasbord of other words
I simply won't repeat here, you would be dead from alcohol poisoning in
less than an hour. While the game is still very much in beta, what I
experienced in the world is still the worst example of an online
community I've ever encountered, without question.

I'll leave you hanging there in anticipation of our full-blown Darkfall
review coming in the near future. When trying to decide whether you
want to get the game, just be honest with yourself. Can you put up
with people looting your kills and a very real lack of
holding in exchange for near href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/64347" target="_blank">limitless
freedom? If so, Darkfall could be right up your alley and you
should probably give it a try. If not, or if any of my complaints are a
turn off, I'd suggest leaving it alone.

My inner old-schooler won't allow me to let it go, so I'll see you in

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