We have just passed midweek of launch for Darkfall New Dawn, and we are still here. We have survived the daily crashes, we have dealt with the Parisian sense of time (all estimations of updates and downtime being at least 1 hour off), and we have remained patient despite the unstable and bumpy start. It has not been easy, and it appears like the odds are heavily weighed against the developers and players. The graphics are ancient, the gameplay can be confusing at times, and the world itself is unforgiving. It begs the question: why are we still playing this game? Players are putting up with all the annoyances for the same reason the developers decided to go full-necromancy on such an old title: it has potential. Potential seems to be something in short supply.
Why are we still playing Darkfall New Dawn? It has potential.
It is paramount to point out that much of the potential Darkfall may have boiled down to the idea that it has always had great and unique ideas poorly executed. It has never been very marketable, and it has never been in a state where it could be. What has held the game back, every single time, has not been what it was missing but rather the shortcomings of what it had. Take for example something often forgotten about in a PvP title: crafting. While the system of crafting was and is extraordinarily intricate and satisfying, it also forcibly made characters spend an enormous time doing so to stay competitive. Putting players in a position where much of their time is involuntarily being directed detracts from a sandbox feeling. Forced allotment of time is not the only example, and many players would be glad to list such conundrums, but it can merely be left that the list is massive. Much of the potential New Dawn has is that it does not need many new features, it just requires retooling of existing ones.
Another fact is that Darkfall has risen to almost cult-like levels of following and dedication, and this can be exploited to bolster the population. It does not take much to bring back old players, and there is still a vast swath of fans that haven’t returned yet. Currently, there are two official branches: Darkfall New Dawn and Darkfall Rise of Agon. The interest in the later has flatlined of over the year, but the interest in Darkfall itself as spiked along with interest in New Dawn. There is also a wide difference between the spike of Darkfall itself and New Dawn; meaning, not only is it likely that the Rise of Agon players are prepared to move over, but also that players not currently invest in either are showing interest. Check out the graph below for easier visualization.
Darkfall New Dawn has potential, in both numbers and development, and that is why the rough start is so forgivable. There are many people out there who really could use this win, specifically those interested in a sandbox oriented MMO. Darkfall New Dawn is not the type of game for everyone, that is for sure. For the kind of person it does appeal to, perhaps crashes and a more synchronic understanding of what one-hour means (this is a jab at you, Ubergames, a very-very jabby-jab) just are things that are currently tolerable for the sake of something they are excited to support. It should be noted that patience is a finite commodity, however.