Darkfall: Unholy Wars is What Now?

The story of Darkfall is a saga unto itself.

The game was initially announced back in August of 2001, a time frame I put into perspective this way back in 2008:

…in August 2001 Dark Age of Camelot was readying for release.  I was still playing EverQuest, which was on its second expansion (count now: 14), on my 400 MHz Pentium II system with a hot TNT2 based video card, having finally ditched the 3Dfx Voodoo2 configuration. And Duke Nukem Forever was only approaching its fifth year of not being available yet.

The game stayed in development, only starting to show signs of launching back in 2008, by which point there were plenty of people who viewed the game as vaporware, never destined to see the light of day.

The development history of the game has its own long section in the Wikipedia article.

The game promised a long list of features, which I copied into a blog post as a reminder to check against what was actually available at launch.  Of course, I never actually did that, because I never actually played the game, but I am going to guess somebody did.

And the game did launch!

It went live in Europe in February of 2009 and in North America in July of 2009, which opened up a whole new can of blog posts.

There was the great EuroGamer 2/10 review scandal, which gave SynCaine meat for a week’s worth of posts, plus an ongoing metaphor for crappy reviews, though I thought that the whole thing was a false flag operation to build community.

Then there was conflict about the mechanics of actually playing the game, which did not adhere to some of the past principles of MMO convenience.  Some of the things complained about were listed as features by Aventurine.

And then there was yet another Tobold vs. SynCaine face off over what counts as content when SynCaine declared that Darkfall had added more content in its first year than WoW had added in its first five. (Though neither of them knew the true powerhouse of content.)

Then things settled down and most people went back to not giving a damn about Darkfall.  Even SynCaine stopped playing.  There was peace in the world.  Or at least we found other things about which to bicker.

And then Aventurine decided to disturb the peace by announcing… something.

Oh, Darkfall: Unholy Wars… which has a feature list that sounds like a subset of… Darkfall.  So clearly I am missing something here.

  • Massive Land and Naval PvP Battles: Thousands of players can participate simultaneously in wars and sieges on land and sea, in real-time, on a single server.
  • A Huge, Seamless World: The world of Agon is a large open world that consists of both land and water and gives the freedom to players to uncover its hidden secrets.
  • Flexible Roles: Choose role at will, switching from meat shield to master mage to benevolent healer. Players can switch between roles, skills, spells, and ability boosters on the fly. Develop your skills in all roles and experience the game in a multitude of different ways over time or specialize in a single role and be the one your friends depend on to fulfill that calling.
  • Full Loot: You keep what you kill. Players can loot all of the goods from a slain enemy, and vice versa.
  • Persistence: Players can affect the fabric of the game world, constructing and fortifying cities across Agon and building empires that last as long as they can defend them.

Is this a rewrite of the original?  It sounds like a new game on the web site, though the features sound like the original.  I suppose there are some nice screen shots, but what else it is?

This, of course, ignited… something.  Well, SynCaine seems dutifully, if somewhat laconically, pleased.

Meanwhile, Tobold wasted no time trying to spark up the passion that has been missing lately in his relationship with SynCaine by trolling him as quickly as his fingers could type.  SynCaine may be evil, but he is our evil I guess.  (Though the “needs the money desperately” line seems awkward from somebody who himself has a donation button on his blog.  By that logic I guess I should thus assume that Tobold cannot afford coffee.)

And while those two warm to this new stage of their relationship, other people… well one other person… seems to be saying what I was thinking, which is probably best summed up as, “Huh?”

So, Darkfall… or Darkfall 2… or Darkfall: Unholy Wars…

What does it mean?

9 thoughts on “Darkfall: Unholy Wars is What Now?

  1. mbp

    I can’t comment on Darkfall because I have never played it but I think that releasing a brand new mmorpg so shortly after their first is a master stroke. In fact I think that this may just be the future of mmorpgs.

    There are too many games out there and I think that the gaming public no longer has the attention span to play one game for five years.

    A lot of recent mmorpgs have been labelled failures because they failed to hold onto their audience for more than a few months.

    Why not embrace this new reality and design games (and their economic model) that will keep people entertained for a few months before they move on to a new game.

    Look at Guild Wars. Some bloggers are already fretting over whether or not it has longevity. Why does it matter? There is no sub so Arenanet make their money as soon as you buy the game and if a player gets a couple of months entertainment out of that purchase before moving thats a pretty good deal.


  2. NoAstronomer

    “Full Loot: You keep what you kill. Players can loot all of the goods from a slain enemy, and vice versa.”

    Vice versa? Wouldn’t that mean that slain enemies can loot all of the goods from players?


  3. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @NA – I *think* it means “oh, and when you die, you lose everything on your corpse,” but there is certainly enough ambiguity there for humorous interpretations.

    Vice versa seems like unnecessary short hand and I am not sure that if you just said you can fully loot anybody you kill, you then need to turn around and explain that if you get killed your own dead body may be picked clean as well.

    So maybe it does mean that an army of the dead roams about looting the living. That would certainly be something new.


  4. Davis

    What exactly is confusing? Unholy Wars is the release name of what has been known as Darkfall 2.0 for a while now. It’s essentially remaking the game from the ground up. The core design and goals are the same, but little else is.

    Darkfall’s success story is actually quite impressive and more people should “give a damn”.


  5. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Davis – I am sure if you were involved and knew all the background, it wasn’t confusing at all. If you did not have that knowledge, the announcement and information provided seems to be quite insubstantial.

    And that seems to apply to some people who have actually played Darkfall.


  6. Kyff

    Concerning Darkfall the statement shows what Darkfall players knew all along: Darkfall is a payed beta and now the real game will be released.


  7. zulim

    as far as ‘paid betas’ go, i had more fun in darkfall 1.0 in 1 year of playing it than i ever did in all 5 or so years playing other mmo’s.


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