Darkfall: Developer Journals
Darkfall Dev Journal #24: Full Freedom Gameplay and Substance

Dana Massey | 28 Mar 2008 21:29
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Conquest is something we're going to demonstrate, rather than talk about again. I'll say this however: You may recall a couple of screenshots we showed of a siege, and the size of the clan cities in that, and in our latest video. There are 44 unique massive clan city sites like that one in Darkfall and 53 unique clan villages and hamlets. Global and local bonuses are associated with the development of cities. There will also be several world wonders clans can build to gain permanent bonuses. The game has been designed from day one for city and empire building and conquest, and this is at a massive scale.

I'm going to continue with some random thoughts that have to do with our realization that very few people understand that Darkfall is a completely different game than what you're used to. Many of the questions we're asked are in the context of other games and they almost don't apply, so our answers to these questions are often mistaken as evasive:

More than anything else, Darkfall is selling full freedom gameplay. The game and the technology have been designed and implemented from the ground up for to be a full sandbox PvP game. When we were talking about this concept and about full PvP, about a dark and realistic world, about blood splatter, decapitation etc. a few years ago, everyone else was playing it safe and using terms like "Quakefest" and "dudefest" to describe our concept while simultaneously discounting the PvP community as a whole. Now everyone is jumping on the bandwagon and suddenly it's all good because they found out there's a market there. They've hacked in the PvP but that doesn't even come close to offering freedom, so they have to sell the byproducts of PvP. We never tried to exploit the M rating, and we never felt there was a need to tease our players with promises of ultra violence or sexist sexual innuendo. For us, it's all about the features that come from offering full freedom gameplay with accountability. We've remained true to our original vision to this day.

Let's talk about real-time: You can't have a true real-time game when you can select your targets, and 'set up' your attacks allowing the system to attack for you. You lose control of your character by default even if you've set up your options. When you enter into an action, the result is already determined no matter what crazy thing happens in between. In Darkfall between the time you swing a sword, launch a spell, an arrow and the time it connects, a million things could happen. You can duck, someone could run in front of you and take the hit, you can put up your shield etc. Nobody knows what's going to happen until it does. It's true real-time, in fact the only true real-time MMO out there. Other games may try to imitate real-time action by giving you the illusion of control through options. There's a world of difference and in the end it affects the gameplay in a big way.

As a result Darkfall is more action packed than anything out there and this is supported by its features as well as by the lack of gameplay restrictive features: no target selection, aimed attacks, full physics, no radar, no floating names, no floating damage, no fuchsia, or chartreuse colored circles at your feet, no invisibility, 'true stealth', visual and audio cues, full mounted combat, naval combat etc.

Darkfall is a sandbox game, the storyline connects everything without being overbearing. It's about substance and it's not bogged down by franchise or license requirements. You won't be buried under tomes of lore just to know what you're doing in the world. The players in Darkfall start fresh and will ultimately write their own stories and shape the world. In Darkfall the lore supports the gameplay, and not the other way around. There will be many of you that never read a single line of lore in this or any other game they play. In this game, this won't hold you back.

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