Darkfall: New Dawn, by Ubergames, seems like a good idea at first glance, but is it? In the new F2P world, games just aren’t what they were ten years ago. The general landscape of MMORPGs these days is one of the casual players, visually stunning backdrops, and forgiving gameplay. It appears the new generation prefers it this way or at least is resigned to the direction things are going. Who knows, maybe this will lead to a more broader demographical focus in the future; however the current environment is less tolerant of consequences, punishments, and bugs than it once was. Darkfall: New Dawn has come at a perfect time, catering to a niche of people that have long been starving for attention. It will thrive through launch and beyond contingent on a few very simple caveats: it needs a stable and fast connection to North America, it needs ways to circumvent issues created by the localized banks and markets, and mistakes of other similar games need to be studied and not repeated.
Darkfall New Dawn, by Ubergames, seems like a good idea…
Primarily, the number one concern of most Darkfall: New Dawn players is the ping, as is the case will all PvP oriented games. No one wants to see players rubber-banding all over the place, and the edge a good ping gives is a huge difference. Ubergames has been criticized for choosing a host in Paris, and for good reason. One needs only look at the network forecast provided by hosts in Paris, such as OVH, to see congestion problems. Furthermore, it’s noted that a datacenter on the East Coast of the USA would give no issue to Europeans and Americans alike, but one in the middle of Western Europe may provide problematic latency to Americans on the West Coast. Currently, the average ping before launch has been 200 for Americans and sub-100 for Europeans: there are very few complaints so far. Perhaps Ubergames is undertaking some load balancing behind the scenes, which is a possibility many European Minecraft services do as well to accommodate players from North America and mitigate DDoS attacks. Eve Online is another good example of clustering, which allows them to attract players across the globe. Other suggested solutions have been to rehoming the server to North America, opening up multiple servers, or having a universal latency of 200 given to all players. Considering the entire platform of this issue is based on future conjecture, it is hard to predict if this will even become a factor in the success of the game. The primary worry of most inDev players would be completely nullified if Ubergames manages to control the ping and stability.
Secondly, there seems to be wild disagreement on the topic of localization of banks and markets, to which many players of inDev DnD seem opposed. It appears the developers have a vision on this that is not on the level with the convenience of today’s gameplay. While the developers may believe that there will be elements of risk in transporting items that are on par with the inherent values of a full loot PvP, some players disagree that it is an unnecessary inconvenience that makes the game less enjoyable. While both sides have valid points, the developers’ choices will most likely end up in the game. It is the nature of having a vision; a vision is often not shared. Rather than make every player happy, a solution could be allowing circumvention via online marketplaces and trade. There is already an online trading post on the official forum, and if it is actively promoted and supported through additions by the devs, transporting other peoples’ goods could be another possible income stream for powerful players and groups. Taking Eve as another example, it is easy to see the value this feature could bring if supported in the right way. Ultimately, it comes does to the support of the developers on implementing new options for transport if they genuinely want to take this decision in a direction players will support.
“It’s a new company. A new vision. A new hope.” the text reads before launching into a number of key ways the game has evolved in the company’s hands.
Will you be playing?
New Dawn has an excellent opportunity here,
Finally, learning from the mistakes of others is a trait that is extremely valuable to anyone, with very few exceptions. New Dawn has an excellent opportunity here, as there already are many good examples of mistakes in this tiny niche. From Mortal Online’s failure to listen to input regarding a brand new continent, leaving it mostly abandoned (looking at you Sarducca)to Eve Online’s tendency of turning bugs in to features (time dilation, anyone?). Also, the more inherent problems of Darkfall: Unholy Wars and Darkfall: Rise of Agon. There are many more, but these small examples should work for the sake of argument. It’s easy to completely ignore the mistakes of others and not learn from them: history has a definite pattern of that. We could take a lesson from Vizzini on this one, pay attention to common mistakes and make them a priority. After all, one of the most significant resources one could have for developing anything is free, the failures of others. In this case, there are more failures than successes. The solution here would be that the developers need to do their homework if they have not done so already. They need to be continuously reminded of historical blunders in the genre, somehow. Not only that, the developers need to consistently allow the players to know that they are aware of those issues and are considering them. In the end, it comes does to how thoroughly the developers research, and how well they communicate this to their player base and those interested in becoming part of it.
The full-loot PvP crowd needs more than a space-opera
Darkfall: New Dawn has a chance, based on the ability of the developers to listen and take action on the loudest concerns of their demographic. They should be active on Reddit and other social communities where their game is being discussed and must be very mindful of their responses. The three most significant concerns of the players, thus far, have been all speculations and they have gone unaddressed on most platforms: this is concerning. When we take into consideration all of the recent failing games in the hardcore genre, one consistency is a failure to embrace their community and address their concerns. A considerable part of any successful endeavor is to support your supporters and build loyalty in doing so. The player base has made their case; only time will tell what the developers will do. On the other hand, the developers have taken a real love of theirs, and run with it. A labor of love, and a love that is shared, really does give significantly more traction than otherwise possible. The full-loot PvP crowd needs more than a space-opera and spreadsheets to adequately cater to them. For the most part, all other options have plateaued or diminished, that leaves a sizeable niche for Darkfall New Dawn to attract. The outcome is somewhat unclear at this point, but the most important thing is that the game is a good idea and the time is right.