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When first launching Darkfall Online, there is that sense of hope, combined with excitement that the game might offer something new and trepidation that it may simply retread the same tired material, or seriously kick your butt because it is more for the hardcore group.

There is the customary character creation to start, but this is merely a formality. Why? Because the game plays out mostly in first-person viewpoint, so while the character creation process is not as deep as some MMOs, it relegates a bit more to the fluff side. You don’t get to admire yourself as you run through the woods, or across the plains. You had, though, better keep your head on the cyber swivel, because this world will take massive chunks out of your hide if given the chance. And third-person is available when going into melee mode.

Darkfall recently launched its second big expansion, ‘Conquer the Seas,’ which brings more depth to the world while re-imagining parts of it. While GameZone has not reviewed Darkfall in the past, it seemed like a good idea to jump in and take a look at the world that Razorworks has created.

It’s certainly better to have substantial gameplay over graphical fluff, and while the first steps into the world have been tentative (character creation and a quest), it was an interesting opportunity to get the basics of what Darkfall has to offer. This is a world that advertises itself as one where there are no rules, where the strong survive and can enforce the rules they see fit. In other words, this is an open world where player-versus-player battles are possible at the drop of a hat. In fact, during the first combat instances, against goblins, care had to be taken not to loosen an arrow at another player engaged in combat in the area.

It simply will not do to accidentally attack another player, unless that is your bent and you are willing to back it up with power.

One of the interesting dynamics of the game involves line of sight in combat. When first venturing into the goblin area, a few arrows came from seemingly nowhere. Since the arrows were protruding from the front of the avatar’s body, it was easy to ascertain the direction they had come from. So, without seeing the attacker, the next step seemed logical – duck behind a tree and peek out to spot the enemy. Easy enough to do in first-person mode when the controls work well to that end.

The gobs firing away were a distance off – too far for the newbie weapon, but one came looking for the victim and when it was close enough – still using the tree to block the attacks of the other. The combat is line of site and nothing stands totally still to let the player simply whack away. Movement is not only possible but necessary. There are defensive stances for blocking attacks, but if the movement goes outside the range of the attack, that works better than the chance of blocking.

The world looks vibrant and is on par with some of the best MMOs on the market.

Tentative steps have been taken into the realm, and while the game portends to be for the more hardcore or veteran MMOer, first impressions are positive.

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Michael Lafferty
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