Darkfall Team ignores conventional wisdom

Lets be honest, Aventurine have not been ones to heed conventional wisdom when it comes to Darkfall.  Lets look at how they differ.

1.  If a bad review comes out, don’t post about it on your forums.  The added attention will just get people who are already on your forums to read a review that says your game sucks.  The more responses from the developers, the longer the controversy is dragged out.

Aventurine started 3 threads in 3 days in their “news” forum.

2. Make your forum big and flashy and often updated.  It’s the first thing potential new players see.

Aventurine’s web site is lack-luster and rarely updated.  Looking at darkfallonline.com, a user can’t immediately tell if the game has been released or if the game is in beta.

3. Let people buy your game.  If you need more servers, quickly put more up within the first couple days.

If you can find the link to the store, you’ll find it’s offline approximately 23 hours of the day.

4. Don’t create a system where people can lose all their stuff.  It’ll just cause them to quit when they can’t get their corpse or lose something special to them.

Aventurine’s design philosophy is designed around the exact opposite.

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Suzina is a 27 year old who usally plays the same MMOs as her husband. Games played: UO, EQ2, FFXI, SWG, LOTRO.

23 thoughts on “Darkfall Team ignores conventional wisdom”

  1. Of course their behavior seems all wrong! They were in on the review plan from the beginning! EuroGamer and Adventurine were co-conspirators! Ed Zitron was just their patsy! Exclamation points make my assertions seem more valid! But I have exposed this conspiracy! You can’t silence the truth!

  2. What’s wrong with not heeding conventional wisdom?

    This isn’t a question of a bad review. It’s a question of a review with blatantly wrong facts about a game, written by a reviewer who lied about how long he played the game. So either Zitron was too lazy to play Darkfall and write an honest review, thinking he could make some easy money, else he took the job dishonestly because his opinion was biased and decided regardless of how a play-test would turn out.

  3. On point 1., don’t you think coming out swinging to counteract foreseeable bad publicity is very much a conventional tactic? Aren’t there entire careers for agents, publicists and attorneys built around doing exactly this?

    And, on point 4, this system where players can lose all their stuff is a crucial part of Darkfall’s players’ expectations. There really is a segment of gamers who want consequence gaming. Some people enjoy the existence of the risk of losing it all, and will and do get back up again when it happens.

  4. 1) It’s a slander piece, not a review. I assure you they will ignore the honest but negative reviews.

    2) The forums work fine, and as for the website…

    3) People that really want to can buy the game can, and they warned everyone about this exact situation pre-release. A game like DarkFall simply does not work with half empty servers. By limiting the influx of players, they enhance the game for those actually playing, instead of chasing ‘maybe’ customers. Just look at WAR and how tourists impacted that games server issues for a reason why you DON’T mass release every MMO these days.

    4) Not everything needs to be WoW? Sorry, but the rules are what they are in DarkFall for a reason, and for fans of that style of gaming, it works. For others, they have dozens of other games to pick from. You view the world being harsh as a problem, DarkFall fans view it as a feature. (just like others view WoW being easy as a feature, while I view it as a problem. I don’t expect WoW to return to it’s 2004 form, don’t expect DF to turn into WoW)

  5. Syncaine,

    First off, I keep hearing about the “slander” (which doesn’t even fit the bill here. You probably mean to say “liable”, which itself only fits if you can prove that something stated in print was intentionally untrue and that this “something” was directly responsible for lost revenue, friends, or reputation), but I don’t see any references to what was actually supposed to be untrue. Is there a better inventory management system or is it completely drag-and-drop? Is there automated combat or is it twitch-based? I admit that I do not play Darkfall, so if there are actual factual discrepencies in the review, I’d be interested to hear of them.

    Secondly, you argue that Darkfall is intentionally trying to keep numbers down to remove the “tourist” factor in the same breath you imply a need to refute a “slanderous” review? Why? Wouldn’t the “true” Darkfall players simply ignore a bad review, anyway? Why does it matter to Adventurine if Darkfall has a good review if the players in the game like the game? If the game is good and the players are happy, it seems odd to go after a single review of the game with such venom. …unless bonuses are on the line or something, in which case I completely understand the need to try for a higher score.

  6. Gotta say. #4 is one thing I give them some kudos for.

    If you make the loot your game’s “trophy” you’ll have problems. If you make loot a little more disposable… not something you attach a crippling level of personal value to… it could work quite nicely. (Note, players are so conditioned to use loot as trophies, you’ll have to work hard to break that).

    Done right ( I doubt that Darkfall IS, but still) I find the potential for an epic tale works much better. The constant accumulation of “something better” in current MMO’s to make terrible narrative.

    The great adventurer should win *and lose* a dozen fortunes… and even if he ends without a penny, the adventure itself is a measure of his worth.

  7. 1 was a bad idea, because sending a fanbase with darkfall fan’s reputation to reply to eurogamer is going to hurt your image of the game. Its making something bad worse. Just too much misdirected rage-you wont win converts that way.

    2 and 3 are pretty much saying to outsource work on that to a third party. It can’t be that hard to hire some freelancers to work on the web page or a third party storefront to handle billing and distribution.

    4, well 4 is a gameplay thing, and doesn’t bother me too much. The problems i’ve been reading are not so much on full loot as that items aren’t balance in terms of durability or cost to make full loot work.

  8. Bah, you got me on that one Bonedead, libel is indeed the correct term here techincally.

    Is the sentence “The piece of libel written by EG” grammatically correct though? Can you just replace the word ‘slander’ with ‘libel’? Sounds funny to me…

  9. I agree with 1-3, those really fly in the face of common sense. Despite Syncaine’s counter argument to 3, I find it very hard hard to believe only having the game available to purchase for an hour a day is good for their bottom line. This game is waaay off of the radar of mainstream MMO gamers. I very seriously doubt the server would be flooded with players that don’t “get” the design of the game if DF were more widely available. And well informed MMO enthusiasts know darn well by now what they will be in for if they decide to try it.

    Four is a conscious game play decision. It defines the nich that they are trying to appeal to, and it seems silly to criticize Adventurine for it.

  10. Now if only Aventurine would communicate with their players 1/3 the rate they’ve communicated/whined to the world about eurogamer then maybe we could get somewhere. Their account management was down for three days (while this was all going on) and not one mention of it, yet they made all those whine threads. gfg.

  11. I’d have to disagree with #4. It’s a niche they’re catering to, and as much as a large amount of MMO players dislike having such huge death penalties, it is not this crowd that the game is marketed towards. On the contrary, it is a defining point of the game, even positively so.

    People complain whenever a new MMO is released and say “I can do that in WoW too”. Yet a different game with a set of a rules that these people are not used to comes along and they receive it with such hostility.

  12. We all like having a full loot system, thanks. It’s what makes the game different from the WoW shit shoveled out the past 5 years.

    Also, don’t you think if they COULD sell the game to everyone, they would? They’re a company and they like money.

    And lastly, everyone on the forums had already read the review before the news post and were broiling with how many factual errors it had.

    They really need to update the website though.

  13. “Kill 10 rats, an epic quest” is exactly what’s wrong with the MMO industry, all the quick leveling loot based, no risk vs reward WoW clones that have come out. Good MMOs seemed to die for the most part in 2005, even MMOs like Middle Earth Online did a 180 at the last minute and turned into LotRO WoW clone. Aside from Eve, Darkfall is the only groundbreaking MMO to come out in YEARS.

  14. “Aside from Eve, Darkfall is the only groundbreaking MMO to come out in YEARS.”

    Different from the norm, of course. But hardly “groundbreaking” considering it follows squarely in the vein of UO, Shadowbane and a few others.

    Before someone nukes my pants for that comment, stop and think. I didn’t say ‘clone’, I didn’t say ‘copy’, I didn’t say ‘remake’, I didn’t say ‘knock off’, I didn’t say ‘derivative’. I said ‘follows squarely in the the vein’. Which means its not really breaking any ground, but following in the steps of others. A perfectly cool thing to do in my book, but come on now, we’re not talking about the second coming of anything here.

  15. ““Aside from Eve, Darkfall is the only groundbreaking MMO to come out in YEARS.”

    Different from the norm, of course. But hardly “groundbreaking” considering it follows squarely in the vein of UO, Shadowbane and a few others.

    Before someone nukes my pants for that comment, stop and think. I didn’t say ‘clone’, I didn’t say ‘copy’, I didn’t say ‘remake’, I didn’t say ‘knock off’, I didn’t say ‘derivative’. I said ‘follows squarely in the the vein’. Which means its not really breaking any ground, but following in the steps of others. A perfectly cool thing to do in my book, but come on now, we’re not talking about the second coming of anything here.”

    I’ll agree with you to some extent. But other than Vanguard, Darkfall is the only game out there that’s attempted to make an entirely seamless instance free loading free world, AND it did it while hosting 25 thousand players online, with 500 man battles and twitch combat a la Elderscrolls 4 Oblivion. With the siege works, mounted combat, arrow and spell physics, yes same vein, but for 30 guys its a technological breakthrough.

  16. At it’s highest level, DF is indeed a mix of UO and SB, but at that level everything else is just an EQ clone. If we zoom in only a bit, it’s not like UO because of the combat (all aspects of it), it’s not SB because it works (no sb.exe), and it’s on its own in that for the first time since UO, a real PvP based MMO is solid/stable enough to actually be enjoyed (outside of the EG crowd at least).

    For a small dev without major backing, that SHOULD be viewed as rather groundbreaking, considering the rest of the industry believe you have to have a 50mil+ budget and a major publisher to create a viable subscription-based MMO. Imagine if every niche of the MMO space (hardcore group PvE, exploration, economy, etc) got a DarkFall-like game, each with it’s own unique take on design ideas. I’ll take that over more WoW 1.5 MMOs any day, and would view that shift as rather groundbreaking.

  17. Aventurine’s repeated review attacks have only prolonged the uneccesary attention to this review as a beacon of their attitude toward the outside world, and indeed anyone critical of their game.

    Let’s say none of it is true.

    Why in the world would you CONTINUE to point out this reviewer when you have no other reviews (yet) to back up your points? A single review is quickly shot down if other reviewers come to differing opinions.

    At this point (debatable at the start) they are only bringing this negative attention upon themselves. I personally, wouldn’t have bought, or not bought, a game on a single review (and whose even HEARD of Eurogamer before??). Now? I see a whiny bitch howling at the moon for it’s brightness.

    There is nothing you can do Aventurine, and if you were so morally superior you would have ignored the “big bad bully” instead of pointing him out to every parent you can find. And since nobody can even play your game 90% of the time, maybe you can find some review sites that “actually” played your game.

    P.S. Refusing the re-review was a complete dick move and destroyed your game’s credibility, despite offering to fly one of their members out to your office. Yeah, I’m sure they have the time to spend 3 days out of office just to justify your log claims when you can’t even keep your registration server running for a few hours at a time.

    Eagerly awaiting the next bullshit drama,

  18. i cant believe a person writes a review for a mmo game after playing for a few hours.Several games offer demos to lure customers,usually the first one or two levels of the game. A demo, featuring a level or 2, is enough for a platform game or a shooter but not for an mmo. there is a reason most mmo companies offer a 14 day trial .it takes 14 days to even get a glimpse of what an mmo looks like.
    surely if you start a new character on wow ,and set a clock ticking for only 2 hours ,by the time those hours have passed your opinion of the game will be that it is horrible.It is an autoattack spamfest full of quest of the “kill 10 rats” variant and “fetch me the shopping list” variant.
    On top of that , get a guy whose dream night is ,pizza beer and raid , and get him to play a game that resembles fantasy paint-ball and you have a jackpot .
    I agree the site needs a major change , i also think they shouldnt have made that fuzz about eurogamer review BUT they should stick to full loot and ffa pvp, thats what they promised.thats what will get money inside their pockets, not fluffy pve and holding hands quests.

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