Darkfall Unholy Wars - The MMO you've never heard of
Sat 5th Jul 2014 - 2:52pm
Darkfall, as a title, has been around for years now but has always seemed to slip under the mainstream radar. Why it does is an absolute mystery. The developers, Aventurine, have been working hard to bring huge changes to their original release and we have now been presented with their latest offering: Darkfall Unholy Wars.
From the moment you first create your character and step into the world of Agon you already sense there is something different about this game. (The fact that you can only make one character per server seems unusual but it will make sense later). At first it seems easy to draw comparisons to other sandbox MMOs but as you start to progress and kill your first troll, gnoll or goblin you notice the combat and you begin to see the glaring differences between DFUW and its competitors.
Firstly, you have to remember that Darkfall is a full loot PvP game which means that if you are killed by another player they can take anything that you were carrying at the time. This seems harsh and is probably the steepest learning curve of any game I have played, but you will soon realise that where there is risk there is reward. It is this fundamental aspect of the game that really blows the competition out of the water. As you move around the world and find yourself in fights with other players you notice your pulse is throbbing and your heart feels like it wants to break out of your chest; your moves become fuelled by adrenaline and the “fight or flight” parts of your brain are relentlessly assaulted by the whole experience. Now if you're reading this far I know I've piqued your interest, so to give you a little taste, here's a video demonstrating some of the above.
Note how everything he does he has to aim, that's right, you'll find no tab target or auto lock on feature here. From archery to melee to magic everything you do in Darkfall Unholy Wars requires your skill and precision in aiming and movement to out play your opponent. Those hundreds of hours you've put in FPS arena games directly translates into this Open World MMORPG. Only in this, if you're good, you'll soon earn a reputation for being so.
Now this isn't your "hand hold go from quest hub to quest hub" MMORPG that people have been used to. You'll create a character, pick its race and how it looks just like everything else. You'll run through a quick tutorial which will teach you the real basics, which if we're honest is a bit lacking but is being worked on, and then you're in. The world is yours to do anything you want. You want to kill some bears/goblins/trolls you go for it, you want to go chop some trees do some herb gathering or mine to iron, I ain't stopping you. You want to find someone and try to stick em' with the pointy end of your sword, good luck to you. This is old school style sandbox, in an age filled with games that are forcing you to do what they want and let me tell you, it is liberating.
Character customisation in this game is absolutely, one of it's biggest draws. When you kill mobs or do some harvesting or crafting of materials you gain "Prowess points" you use these points to buy moves, increase your stats and then level them so they're stronger. Someone smarter then me did the maths and worked out there are 4.528.187.928 skill combinations. If you want to be a battle mage that swings a big sword and shoots fireballs, or someone that really likes to support their team mates and heal them, you can. And if you get bored of that it's easy enough to just buy a few different moves and mix it up.
I mentioned before that PvP is the key content in Darkfall and it really is, but there's different layers to it. In this game the players create the content. One way of doing that is by "sieging." Sieging is when one clans owns a holding, think of it like a castle and another clan comes a long and says "I want it, and I'm going to take it" They then declare an attack on it using some in game features and a 24 hour timer comes up and both clans prepare. When the time is they'll fight it out and the to the victor goes the spoils. This is predominately considered large scale warfare consisting of up to 50V50 or 30V60 or more. This is where good tactics and positioning come into play and you can have some awesome fights that can give you hours of non-stop combat.
So you're sitting there thinking that you're a bit more of a lone wolf and don't want to jump into big groups, don't sweat, there's plenty of room for solo play and smaller scale fighting. Small scale and individual skill is a big part of Darkfall and in your day to day play you would gear up from your bank, a place you've stored everything you've gained, remembering whenever you get killed you lose whatever is on you, but not what is in your bank. You go to a local hotspot, be it a player village or some mobs that drop good items and go on the hunt. Very much like DayZ you'll spend a decent amount of time running around this seamless world. There aren't any loading screens to be had here and you'll be on the hunt, or being hunted. It's this dynamic that gives you that constant adrenaline rush, if you find someone, are you going to attack them? Maybe they'll go for you straight away or maybe you'll just hide in the shadows watching to see what they do. Whatever you decide when you're fighting, and you win, there's no better feeling knowing that you simply out skilled the person and get to take everything he's carrying as your prize.
Remember I said that the players make the content? Another way of doing that is by setting up their own tournaments be it 1V1 2V2 and so on. This is where the men are separated from the boys. You pick the date and time you want, people agree to pay an entry fee, and the rest is all about the fighting, this is where reputations are made and people will know your name when they see you in the open world. The players enjoyed participating in these so much that the company who runs the game, Aventurine, saw fit to host their own special 1V1 event which was then streamed over eight days with special unique in game prizes for the top 3 and a bunch of other rewards. They even brought in a player from the game to do commentary.
Now if life on the land has never been for you and you've always considered yourself a bit of a scurvy dog, Darkfall has you covered. Another really cool aspect of the game is the Naval combat. If a player chooses so he can specialise into making ships. You have little diddy ships that can fit you and your friends to absolutely massive ships sporting 26 cannons to reign fiery destruction onto your enemy. But don't let me just tell you about it and make it sound too good to be true, watch and see for yourself.
I know you're probably reading this and thinking I'm really trying to up sell the game, if a game was this good you definitley would of heard about it right? Well I can promise you what I've said about, is just your every day in Darkfall. The game has had it's problems, I wont lie to you, it experienced a bit of a population drought last year, it didn't have all the combat mechanics it has now, but that's all in the past and Darkfall Unholy Wars is without a doubt on the up and up. For the FPS gamers out there that want a little more then a quick 30 minutes arena game, where what you doesn't have an impact other then winning or losing that one time. For people who like to make a name for themselves and gain a reputation amongst a community, there really isn't another MMORPG out there like this. It is simply unique, it's just that no one has ever heard of it.
If you think you want to be involved in anything I've said above, and believe me I've not even scratched the surface on what this game has to offer, you wont be disappointed. Now go, make a name for yourself and tell them I sent you.