Many people are asking for a breakdown of the differences between Darkfall New Dawn and Darkfall Rise of Agon, and at a very superficial level, there isn’t much of one. Both games are based on the same skeleton and have very similar roadmaps. The roadmaps, however, are being approached at different speeds with different prioritization. It also must be noted that both games have different ultimate goals, and the developers of each have different strengths and weaknesses. To adequately break this down, we will need to address several different dimensions of the games to contrast them; hence, this article will focus on gameplay, priorities, and development.
Gameplay for both DnD and ROA differ profoundly from each other. Both games do have some of the same properties, such as ancient looking graphics and high ping for everyone but Europeans and North Americans, but that is where the similarities end.
Quality of Life
DnD takes the quality of life in a definite different direction from ROA. While New Dawn attempts to improve QoL by reducing the grind, they also limit certain things such as “bunny hopping” to even the playing field for all styles of combat. They also artificially expand the size of the world by completely removing portals and other fast travel.
Rise of Agon takes the quality of life to an extreme by removing or reducing the importance of any features outside of PvP. Within the realm of PvP, they streamline the entire process to make fights faster and based on both equipment and skill.
Darkfall New Dawn features an emphasis on race-based PvP and territory control. Plays must join a clan to be truly viable, and their clan must have holdings. There are skirmishes outside of clans, but most of the battles will take place between warring factions. On the other hand, ROA is ganking based. Skirmishes and All vs. All combat is the norm, and less organized fighting is common. The end goal is that tasty loot bag and bragging rights. There are significantly fewer restrictions on PvP in Rise of Agon.
Darkfall New Dawn’s server ping for everyone outside of Europe seems to be about an average of 300. Stability of the network, however, looks quite good with limited packet loss: this would mean that players in Europe have a slight advantage when combat is solo, but in more significant fights it evens out. Rise of Agon’s server is in New York, with low loss and decent ping for both North Americans and Europeans.
In summary, New Dawn appears to be more intended for group players interest in things other than PvP for their downtime. Rise of Agon caters to players who need fast and furious PvP with limited to no downtime from it. The servers are more wisely selected for ROA, but for the intended audience of DnD, this difference matters very little.
Most of the priorities for Darkfall New Dawn appear to be based on forcing player interaction. The economy is entirely player controlled, with most items removed from creature drops and shops. The game needs it’s crafters and traders to keep the flow of goods and gold moving and to enable the PvPers to do their thing. To make this work, many of the bugfixes have entirely fixed duping problems and other problems that may threaten the health of the economy.
The devs also have apparently hired community outreach professionals for DnD. You can get a reply from Justine on Facebook within a matter of 10 to 15 minutes in most cases, and their social media and forums are heavily monitored and replied. They sponsor the community, and an emphasis appears to be made on keeping their existing players by encouraging them to work together and make friends.
Rise of Agon tries to simplify the game as much as possible by not forcing players to craft or collect. They want to cater to their demographic and attract as many PvP focused players as possible. To do this, they have vastly improved the PvP of the game by streamlining skills and fixing bugs that have bogged it down from the beginning. They have worked hard to fix any bugs with combat and included additional systems to help make PvP as developed as possible without the need for downtime.
In summary, if you only want PvP without much player interactions or teamwork then ROA is for you. Otherwise, it would be better to check out DnD.
Darkfall New Dawn prides itself on being as transparent as possible. Players know what is happening as quickly as the devs do, usually. Twitter, Facebook, and their forums are consistently alive with updates from focused social outreach managers; which is only possible due to hiring a larger team, outside of the core development unit. By delegating different tasks to different roles, it is apparently hoped to make development more efficient and less convoluted. The primary weakness at this point is a lack of real professional marketing.
DND developers have fixed their eyes on the performance of the game. The engine itself could use some work, but they are working from within it to try to reduce specifications while increases framerates. The result is smoother overall play than their competitor.
Darkfall Rise of Agon isn’t quite as open, but they do make their roadmap easy enough to follow. While their competitor may feel consistent awareness is essential, ROA appears only to update when things are for sure. Their developers are their social outreach, and their social outreach is also their executives. It is a smaller team, and it shows when it comes to communication. It has, however, more than made up for it during their launch marketing.
The ROA development team have spent much of their time including as many AHK scripts as possible, to remove the need to for external programs. They’ve tried to come as close as possible to DF2012 gameplay, and are very clear about their admiration for it, minus the need for the 3rd party programs. Development has seemingly stalled recently, but there is very little doubt it will begin to move quickly again with a competitor on the rise.
In summary, both teams have their strengths and weaknesses. It comes down to the player perspective on what is essential and what can be neglected.
Both New Dawn and Rise of Agon are beginning to branch off in their directions, and the schism is growing by the day. Despite apparent similarities, it will not be long before one of the two usurps the population from the other: which one that heavily relies on the demands of the players and which development path supplies it.