As my adventures in PC MMO Darkfall Online continue, so does the analyzing of its design concepts. Part 1 will venture into the systems which make players attempt to have fun, in Darkfall Online and World of Warcraft. Part 2 will contrast the risk and reward circuits between both games.
Despite Aventurine's self-destructive attitude towards its community, they are in fact continuing to make Darkfall Online a functioning game. Cities finally have gates to go with their gatehouses. They've balanced out more pseudo-exploits that take advantage of the macro mindset.
More people have successfully purchased it. However, they still don't give warning before server restarts, even though players can lose their mounts or rafts when that happens. They say they're working on a fix for that, but in the meantime they give the cold shoulder to unfortunate players. Apparently, a clan managed to bring the entire server down just by building a guard tower, which was glitched to the point it attacked its makers. Two steps forward, one step backward, apparently.
They may not know what they're doing on a Public Relations level, but Aventurine did pretty well for themselves by designing a world system that empowers its playerbase to make their own fun. Experienced players are self-guided in their playspace, as they don't need missions or quests in order to procure a productive experience. Instead, other players and player-driven situations provide opportunities.
Darkfall, simply stated, relies heavily on players being responsible for their own immersion.
Residents of Agon are left to their own devices, with little guidance outside of other players. They become engaged beyond the aesthetics and simple mechanics, quickly joining the rain of pebbles descending on the pond, each attempting to push back the waves from enemy players. In Darkfall, even a newbie can help influence the world stage, if they're at the right spot at the right time. That's pretty exhilirating.
By limiting the game-driven influence on a player, they allow the user to take a larger ownership - and investment - in the game experience itself.