Darkfall Game

Darkfall, also known as Darkfall Online, was a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) developed by Aventurine SA, combining real-time action and strategy in a fantasy setting. The game featured unrestricted player-versus-player combat, full looting, and a large, dynamic game world. The skill-based system was free of the class and level systems that typified most contemporary MMORPGs. Darkfall also completely rejected the usual timer-based combat, embracing an action implementation style instead.

The official Darkfall servers were closed on November 15, 2012 with the company, Aventurine SA, stating, three years later, that Darkfall’s revival was impossible due the large investment in the infrastructure and development support that would be needed. Aventurine SA sold the license of Darkfall Online to two independent companies, Ub3rgames and Big Picture Games in February 2016.



Technology overview

Darkfall Online first launched in July 2009. The December 2009 update created a demand that was so great that servers went down. A massive update added more dynamics to the game with critical fixes being added six months later. In February 2011, Darkfall developers released yet another patch addressing game-play issues in relation to clan bank permissions, War Status Time-outs (7 days from declaration), and bindstone mechanics designating where to spawn in the event changes in political affiliation and alignment. Server stability was improved with hosting moved to Chicago in April of the same year. The final patch in July 2012 increased skill gains and loot while removing the purchase fee entirely and reducing monthly subscription cost.


Game-play overview

Unlike the conventional MMORPG paradigm of character levels for character progression, Darkfall Online had a broad skill-based system where proficiency determined a wide range of a character's capability in the game, including weapons and weapon skills, a few special attacks, spells, and archery and more. Skills are improved through actual usage in game. The amount of damage you could do was based upon player skills, but there was also a direct use of player skill, almost absent in most MMORPGs, as thanks to constant friendly-fire, you were just as likely to kill your friends as anyone else.


Playable races overview

The six playable races of Darkfall are alfars (dark elves), dwarves, humans, mirdains (elves), mahirims and orks (wolf-men). Each race began play in their own homeland, and had their own unique story-lines, histories, and racial alliances/enemies. It was possible to form mixed-race clans of opposing factions.


Attributes overview

Player characters had a set of semi-static attributes, which determined their in-game physical and mental prowess. These attributes improved over time in response to player activity. There were also three dynamic attributes: hit points, mana, and stamina that wavered in response to performed actions and received damage.


City building and conquest overview

Darkfall Online supported large-scale territorial conflict between player clans, so a major part of the game was empire building through the conquest of a finite number of pre-made cities.


Alignment overview

Darkfall featured a player character alignment system that ranged from good to evil based upon the actions of players. Characters started the game with a good alignment, which decreased on performing ‘evil’. Alignment could only be regained by praying at a church in a chaos city.


Geography overview

Darkfall claimed to feature one of the largest online worlds of any MMORPG created at the time, with a central continent named Agon, four smaller continents and numerous small islands and archipelagos. The world included a wide range of diverse terrain types, including forest, plain, desert, ice, jungle/tropical, swamp, and wasteland areas.


Monster spawns and AI overview

Darkfall had a relatively small number of mob spawns relative to land mass compared to contemporary MMORPGs. Mobs frequently called for help, strategically retreated, dodged, and switched, making them even more difficult to take down.


Dungeons

Typical of any fantasy MMORPG, Darkfall featured several dungeons and underground areas, though available for everyone.


Launch

Darkfall went live on 26 February 2009. The launch saw a number of setbacks due to unexpected high demand, plus players stumbled upon a critical bug which the developers took the game down to fix.


Reception

Darkfall Online was praised for its innovations, concepts and world design, clan battles and skill system, but criticised for a lack of polish.

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