Darkfall officially opened February 26 with a reportedly less than stellar launch. People rejoiced. I don’t know why. I personally don’t like player vs. player game play, but why should that mean I want a PvP game to fail? I like the thought of a small independent game company like Aventurine finding a niche market and succeeding amid giant game companies like Activision/Blizzard, Sony Entertainment Online, Turbine, and NCSoft. Americans have a tendency to root for the underdog, and I’m rooting for Darkfall to succeed.
Will Darkfall turn into a free-for-all gankfest or will powerful clans form out of the potential chaos to impose order in the world? In my opinion the fate of the game depends on the outcome of this question. If the game turns into a gankfest, all the sheep will eventually leave the game leaving the gankers a world filled with people like themselves. While that might be fun for those people, I don’t know if that will bring in enough money to keep the servers open. If powerful clans form and can impose some sort of social order, players may create a world similar to Eve’s in which the players drive the story line. Reading Keen’s posts on his early experiences in Darkfall gives me hope that the second option may indeed happen. I believe that the issue of Aventurine restricting sales of the game may actually help because organized groups can almost always beat unorganized rabble as long as the odds are not too overwhelming. I have the feeling that I’m going to like reading about the events in Darkfall as the players sort the issues out themselves.
Will I play the game? As I’ve already mentioned, I don’t enjoy PvP game play. The game mechanic that I’ve read about in which a player who just killed you can stand over your bleeding body taunting you as you take 60 seconds to die doesn’t really lead me to want to play the game. And if it is possible for a gang of enemies to revive you after 55 seconds, kill you again, taunt you for another 55 seconds, and rinse and repeat for 5-10 minutes, I would probably rage quit if it happened to me. That said, I might enter the game for the crafting. Some of the most enjoyable times I’ve spent in EverQuest 2 were spent dodging and killing mobs while harvesting the materials I needed for crafting sessions. I don’t like harvesting in the lower tier zones because the mobs don’t attack me, so the harvesting is a little boring. I probably won’t buy Darkfall, but if I get to the point where I can afford another game, who knows?
One last thought. If you are a Darkfall fanboi and your skin isn't thick enough to shrug off criticism of the game, then I wonder if you are tough enough to handle the mechanic that will allow any of your enemies to stand over your body taunting you for 60 seconds while you slowly bleed to death. Perhaps Darkfall isn't the game for you.