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Darkfall Interviews

Darkfall Interviews

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Published by dirtknap
A compilation of Darkfall developer information
A compilation of Darkfall developer information

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Published by: dirtknap on Dec 17, 2008
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09/07/2012

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COMPILATION OF DARKFALL DEVELOPER POSTS

by Dirtknap. last updated 16/12/08

Table of Contents
Compilation of Darkfall Developer Posts 2008

Noob preview 5 – Fizzz 12/12/08.............................................................................3 Noob preview 4 - All about goblins, part 1 of 25 08/12/08..........................................6 Noob preview 3 - A disclaimer about vomit (my best title ever) 04/12/08.....................7 Noob preview 2 - Showdown at the Goblin Corral! 02/12/08.......................................7 Noob preview 1 - There's no place like home 01/12/08.............................................10 Noob Darkfall preview – Introduction 01/12/08.......................................................10 Darkfall beta preview on The Noob 01/12/08...........................................................11 January 22nd 2009 Launch Date Announced for Darkfall Online 05/12/08....................11 MMORPG.com Interview with Tasos Flambouras 04/12/08..........................................12 MMORPG Italia Review 21/11/08............................................................................15 Beta Report 1- Tester First Impressions 18/11/08.....................................................15 Overall Impressions..........................................................................................16 The World-Graphics-Technology..........................................................................17 AI...................................................................................................................19 Controls..........................................................................................................22 PvP – Looting...................................................................................................23 Crafting...........................................................................................................25 Final Thoughts..................................................................................................26 Update 11/11/08..................................................................................................27 Update Part 2 31/10/08.........................................................................................27 Update Part 1 31/10/08.........................................................................................29 Athens Digital Event: New Video 17/10/08...............................................................30 The Athens Event 16/10/08...................................................................................30 Forum post - Progress update 03/10/08..................................................................31 Forum post - Bogus Beta Information 02/10/08........................................................31 Forum post - Hardware Configuration Test 26/09/08.................................................31 Forum post - Unauthorised Darkfall Pre-order 24/09/08............................................32 Forum post - News 13/09/08.................................................................................32 Forum post - Beta Registration Corrections 05/09/08................................................33 Forum post - Beta Selection / Beta Information 01/09/08..........................................33 Forum post - Beta Registration Open 29/08/08.........................................................33 Forum post - Darkfall Gameplay Trailer 29/08/08......................................................33 Forum post - 22/08/2008......................................................................................34 Forum post - European vs. N. America Launch 29/07/08...........................................35 Forum post – Status update 18/07/08.....................................................................35 Forum post - Community Q&A 02/07/2008..............................................................36 Forum post - Publishing and game site article 30/06/2008.........................................41 Forum post – Status update 20/06/2008................................................................41 Forum post – Status update 23/05/2008.................................................................42 Developer Journal #26: Questions Answered 09/05/2008..........................................43 Developer Journal #25: Philosophy 11/04/2008.......................................................46 Developer Journal #24: Full Freedom Gameplay and Substance 28/03/2008...............48 Warcry - Three Exclusive Screens of Severii 21/03/2008..........................................51 Darkfall location test video and screens 26/02/2008.................................................52 Developer Journal #23: 29 Fan Questions 25/01/08..................................................52 Developer journal #22: Community Q&A 18/01/2008...............................................56 Developer journal #21: Summary Status 11/01/2008...............................................59 Status Update 17/01/2007 ....................................................................................60

2007

2006

Developer Journal #1 26/01/2007..........................................................................62 Forum post: Trolling 02/02/2007 ...........................................................................63 Developer Journal #2: The Video 09/02/2007..........................................................63 Developer Journal #3: Artifical Intelligence 23/02/2007............................................65 Developer Q&A - City sieging 15/03/2007................................................................67 Developer Journal #4: Odds & Ends 22/03/2007......................................................70 Developer Journal #5: A Look Under The Hood 05/04/2007.......................................71 News in the Dutch press 13/04/2007......................................................................78 Developer Journal #6: Hacker, Beta and Screenshots 19/04/2007..............................79 Developer Journal #7: The Elves 04/05/2007...........................................................79 Developer Journal #8: The Sands of Rubaiyat 17/05/2007........................................80 Developer Journal #9: The Beta Question 31/05/2007..............................................83 Developer Journal #10: State of Development 15/06/2007........................................83 Developer Journal #11: Aerdin Cat Gameplay Video 19/07/2007................................85 Developer Journal #12: Progress Update 02/08/2007...............................................86 Developer Journal #13: Development Update 31/08/2007.........................................87 Developer Journal #14: Progress Report 14/09/2007................................................89 Developer Journal #15: A Visit From a Fan 28/09/2007.............................................90 Developer Journal #16: The Details 26/10/2007.......................................................91 Developer Journal #17: Business Models & Clan Cities 09/11/2007.............................92 Developer Journal #18: Economy, Prestige Classes & More 23/11/2007......................94 Developer Journal #19: A Round-Up 10/12/2007.....................................................96 Developer Journal #20: Fan Answers & Three Screenshots 21/12/2007.......................97 MMORPG.com interview 26/01/2006.....................................................................100 RPG vault #20 08/02/06: Ork capital....................................................................105 RPG vault 01/05/06: pre-E3 interview...................................................................109 MMORPG.com interview 09/05/06.........................................................................109 E3 combine interview 17/05/06 ...........................................................................111 Warcry Darkfall Online E3 2006 Interview 17/05/06...............................................113 MMOReports.com E3 impressions 19/05/06............................................................118 Warcry Q&A #1 26/05/06....................................................................................119 Ten ton hammer DF impressions 29/05/06.............................................................121 Warcry Q&A #2 02/06/06....................................................................................123 Warcry Q&A #3 09/06/06....................................................................................124 RPGVault DF peek #21: Handcrafting the Darkfall World 13/06/06............................125 Darkfall Community Exclusive - Recent Updates, Ingame Footage 15/06/06...............127 Warcry Q&A #4 - Mounts 16/06/06.......................................................................128 RPGVault DF peek #22 -- Populating the Darkfall World 20/06/06.............................129 Warcry Q&A #5 23/06/06....................................................................................130 RPGVault DF peek #23 -- Mounted Combat 27/06/06..............................................132 Combine Q&A #1 30/06/06..................................................................................133 RPGVault #24 -- Darkfall's Skill System 04/07/06...................................................135 Darkcry feature – Zombies 07/07/06.....................................................................136 RPGVault DF peek #25 -- Sensory Cues in Darkfall 11/07/06...................................138 RPGVault DF peek #26 -- Risks and Rewards of Trading in Darkfall 18/07/06.............140 Warcry Weekly Update: Ithwen, Ciel Fey, and the Church of Malaut 28/07/06............144 WarCry Update: The Impact of Death 18/08/06......................................................145 Womengamers interview -- The Passion Behind Darkfall Online 25/08/06..................147 Darkfall Peek #28 -- Darkfall's Dynamics of Conflict 29/08/06..................................149 WarCry Update: The Dragonbound, Orkish Quest Faction 01/09/06...........................151 RPPVault -- Online Worlds Roundtable #12, Part 1 05/09/06....................................153 WarCry Update: Metal golems 08/09/06................................................................158 Darkfall Peek #29 -- Clans in Darkfall 12/09/06......................................................160 WarCry Update: Manual blocking 15/09/06............................................................162 Darkfall WarCry Weekly... Debate? - One Char or Race per Server? 23/09/06.............162 RPGVault Darkfall Peek #30 – the Dwarves 26/09/06..............................................163 RPGVault Darkfall Peek #31 -- Darkfall Tactical Overview 03/10/06...........................167 Tasos Update 11/10/06 .......................................................................................170

2005

Tasos Update October 17 ....................................................................................170 Henning Darkfall Art interview 30/10/06................................................................172 MMORPG.com interview 30/11/06.........................................................................173 Bakatron preview -- Darkfall is Coming 15/12/06....................................................176 Tasos update – Happy new year 29/12/06.............................................................177 MMORPG.com interview 04/05/05.........................................................................177 Claus IRC 06/08/05............................................................................................183 RPGVault 28/11/05: Multi-dev interview................................................................190 RPGvault 29/11/05: Alignment and Player-Killing in Darkfall....................................195 RPGvault 30/11/05: Darkfall Signature Weapons....................................................197 RPGvault 01/12/05:Demigods of Darkfall...............................................................198 RPGvault 02/12/05: Cities of the Arthain ..............................................................200 Henning IRC 13/01/04.........................................................................................201 Claus IRC 16/01/04............................................................................................203 Claus IRC 21/01/05............................................................................................206 Claus IRC 26/01/04............................................................................................208 Gamemethod interview 12/02/04..........................................................................211 Claus IRC 12/03/04............................................................................................212 F13 interview 13/05/04.......................................................................................214 RPGvault 15/01/03: MMOG player retention...........................................................218 Action4Life interview 02/05/03.............................................................................219 GameBanshee 03/08/03 .....................................................................................220 MMORPG interview part1 27/08/03.......................................................................223 MMORPG interview part2 28/08/03.......................................................................226 PK-HQ Developer Interview 01/10/03....................................................................229 Warcry Q&A 07/10/03: server tech.......................................................................231 Claus IRC 01/12/03............................................................................................234 Claus + Tasos IRC 09/12/03.................................................................................236 Claus IRC 18/12/03............................................................................................241 Human Dungeon Competition Winner 20/06/03......................................................245 DFDogma interview.............................................................................................252

2004

2003

2002

Interview 16/01/2002.........................................................................................255 MMORPGdot.com Interview 15/02/2002................................................................256 IRC Stratics chat 13/06/02 ..................................................................................263 Interview Gamer Norway 9/9/2002.......................................................................269 Interview TechNGCentral.com 15/10/02.................................................................273 Interview RPGVault 29/08/01...............................................................................276 Interview GameBanshee.com 03/09/2001..............................................................283

2001

2008

Noob preview 5 – Fizzz 12/12/08
http://beta.thenoobcomic.com/df_preview/part5.html Magic! I know that you'd like to see lists of spells and magic schools - or at least screenshots of their menus - but please understand that I am not allowed to post them. Still, I can try to give you a general idea of how magic works in the game (at

least at the moment, because I have no idea of what changes -if any - the devs may have in store). Everyone starts the game with one magic school (Lesser Magic) at skill level 1 and two free spells in this school (Mana Missile and Heal Self) also at skill level 1. In order to cast it is necessary to have a staff, which can be found on monsters, in shops, or on other players. Once you equip and unsheathe a staff you are in first person view, but before you can start casting you must select and load a spell. When you load a spell your hands and the staff appear into view in front of you and the spell icon appears in the unnumbered slot under the hotbar. It may be easier to follow this description if you click on the image below to view the full screenshot. Look at the hotbar on the left. You'll see that there's a symbol that looks like a bluish comet - it's the icon for Mana Missile. It appears in two places: in slot 8 of the hotbar, so that I can load it by pressing 8 (or in theory by clicking on it), and in the unnumbered slot under the hotbar, to show that it's the spell that is loaded at the moment. If I was using a bow, that slot would show the bow icon, if I unsheathed a sword, it would show the sword icon, etc. Once your spell is loaded you can cast with the left mouse button. If it's a directional spell it will hit where you are aiming at with the crosshairs. Mana missile doesn't have a cooldown and is very quick to cast, so you can keep firing it until you run out of mana. Heal Self has a longer casting time and a cooldown of a few minutes, displayed on the spell's icon by a semi-transparent grey layer which disappears gradually. Mana Missile doesn't hit the spot in your crosshairs immediately. It takes a few moments to fly there (it's the blue circle in the image above), so you need to anticipate where your target will be if it's moving just as you'd do with arrows. In the image above my mana missile is about to hit the point that I was aiming at with the crosshairs when I cast it. It looks as if it may miss (that hobgoblin was moving), but actually it's likely to hit because Mana Missile does splash damage (i.e. area damage in a very small area). If it was an arrow I'd have probably missed (no splash damage with archery, at least not with normal arrows - assuming that there are other types). Splash damage means that you may shoot at the ground right under a target's feet or at a wall right behind them and still hit them, but I haven't checked whether you do less damage than with a direct hit. There is also critical damage, and again I don't know if there are differences in frequency and/or damage for direct hits and splash damage. If anyone - friend or foe - is close to where you hit with the spell, the splash damage will affect them as well. Bye bye blind zerging! Mind you, I don't know if splash damage applies to all damage spells - I've only tried Mana Missile and there are lots of spells and magic schools. Which brings me to the next point, skilling up and branching out. Every time you cast a spell successfully you receive a small increase of skill both in the spell itself and in its magic school. When a skill level reaches the next integer you see a skill-up message like in the screenshot (e.g. if you go from 20.1 to 20.9 you don't see a message, but if you go from 20.1. to 21.3 you do). It won't come as a surprise that the two starter spells are very weak, especially at the beginning. Someone who skilled up Mana Missile to an x amount said that he was now casting two blue circles but the damage was still not great.

In addition to the two starter spells there are other spells that you can use at skill level 1 of Lesser Magic if you buy them at the store. I bought one, Magic Shield, and when I tried to cast it I was notified that I missed nacre, which is an item that you can find when fishing. I went fishing for about half an hour and found a dozen nacre. I cast Magic Shield and it didn't last for very long (although it would be enough for most PVP encounters), but maybe its duration increases when the skill goes up. It seemed that casting this spell raised my skill in Lesser Magic faster than the two starter spells that don't require components (I can't remember if they are called components, reagents, or something else altogether, lack of sleep is getting at me). Anyway, when you gather materials while you collect ore, stone, wood, etc. or when you skin or fish animals, or as loot drops, you get a variety of items that have tooltips informing you that they are components used in spells. I can just imagine the dollar signs lighting up in the eyes of future crafters/gatherers... As you skill up in Lesser Magic (and I suppose that it'll work in the same way for all magic schools) you unlock spells that vendors will now sell to you. At the moment you can see all the spells that a vendor sells, but if you don't qualify to buy them they are greyed out. Once you reach a certain amount of Lesser Magic skill, you unlock Greater Magic. Finally once you reach a certain amount of Greater Magic you unlock the other magic schools - or at least so I am told (I never reached the point where I could unlock even Greater Magic, although some testers have). I almost forgot! Armour gives a penalty to magic (and to a lesser degree to archery). I know this by looking at the character's stats, but I don't know if the penalty affects how much you fizzle or also the spell effects. I'd imagine it's limited to making you fizzle more. I saw that by using archery often (I haven't used magic nearly as much) I was skilling up in "armored archery" and while I am not 100% sure I think that when I looked at my stats the armor penalty for archery had gone down. I may be wrong on this. I assume that there may be also an "armored magic" skill but I don't know for sure. I hope that this update wasn't too confusing, it's quite late and I'm very tired so I am not sure if I'm making much sense. I saw someone on the forums ask if I actually thought that the game is fun. The answer is yes. It's fun and I enjoy playing it. The reason why I don't wax lyrical about it is that until it happens, I have no idea if it will run just as well with lots of people as it does with few. I'm very confident that the devs are doing a great job because what I've seen so far has exceeded my expectations, but I don't want to start saying that this game owns in font size 30 and capital letters when so far I've been in fights with at most 4-5 other people. Please don't take my restraint for lack of enthousiasm - I'm just trying to write updates as objectively as possible and to limit them to what I've experienced rather than to what I'm wishing or guessing, but I do like the game a lot. Sorry for the lack of screenshots. I'll post a couple of landscapes of the human lands even if they aren't related to today's topic. Click on the thumbnails for the full image. By the way, see that big mountain? I ran up to the top after taking the screenshot. You can go wherever you like, and although you won't be able to climb perpendicular cliffs you can run around and find other ways up. In addition, castles, docks, etc. sometimes have ladders that can be climbed. G'night!

Noob preview 4 - All about goblins, part 1 of 25 08/12/08
http://beta.thenoobcomic.com/df_preview/part4.html Or not. Parrying with a shield is a skill activated by the player, who can also block with a weapon in the same way but deflecting less damage. To parry/block, press the V key (default, I remapped it to the mousewheel) and hold. As long as you keep the key pressed, your character will bring up the shield in front of him and deflect a large amount of incoming damage. While blocking, however, you cannot attack and you burn stamina, which is extremely important (run out of stamina and you're screwed, since you won't be able to sprint or even swing your weapon). Beginning characters are mostly melee hybrids. With a group of them block is a useful skill in PVE to take down tough mobs, since the player with aggro backs off slowly with the shield up and the other guys hit the mob from behind - it does more damage and it makes it easier to avoid hitting friends with splash melee damage. I thought I'd taken a screenshot with block up while doing this with a group against an ork soldier (npc) but the image I have shows me with the shield down because I was still hitting the monster while backing away. Once I hit block, I bring the shield up to the front of my body. The two cute guys behind the ork npc are players in my party. I can't speak of block in PVP because I haven't used it - stamina is even more precious in this case. There are however stamina potions, as well as spells (e.g. I saw a spell called 'mana to stamina' listed at the mage store and there may be more), so it may well play a part in PVP when people have ways to recover stamina quickly while fighting. Archery is a lot of fun, but difficult as well. The screenshot below shows my ork group fighting an npc ork. I am using archery. The guy just in front of me kept strafting right and left to avoid getting hit by the archer mob (you can dodge arrows and spells if you are quick). I hope that those arrows sticking out of him were shot by the monster and not me, but they seem to be sticking out of his back... ahem... I've decided to make a human character and try to play it mostly as an archer to see how viable it is as principal weapon skill at higher skill levels. The project is still work in progress, but here's a screenshot of me shooting an approaching skeleton. It's much easier to use when a monster stops to cast or shoot at you, but I'm trying to use any opportunity to raise the skill, even if I have to switch to melee when a monster is on me. You can just about see in the image a fading message of a skill-up in Armored Archery. This skeleton is close, but shooting at moving targets at a distance is quite difficult because aiming is not sufficient. You need to guess where they will be when the arrow gets there and aim at that spot. You need also to work in a curve and shoot slightly up from where you want to hit, because if you shoot straight ahead at something far away your arrow will end up planted in the ground somewhere between you and your target. Arrows fly in parabolas and leave a tracer line for a moment which can help people see where they're coming from. As an alternative to farming arrows from monsters who use them or buying them at the store, I've decided to try making my own. You need a wood axe and a pickaxe to collect wood from trees and ore from ore-yielding rocks. Then you must use a saw at

a workbench to obtain wood planks and smelt the ore (using tongs at a smelter) to obtain ingots. THEN you must take your ingots, ore and a woodworking knife to a crafting bench where you obtain arrows if you also spend some gold (why?!? Why do you want my gold? I just ran around town like an idiot for the last ten minutes with my backpack full of crap to make these arrows!). Not all crafting requires so many steps, though. Cooking for example is less involved - at least the simple fish recipes I've tried. Finally, I've made a human for a change of scenery. And what scenery! Running around the human lands is a constant Oblivion flashback.

Noob preview 3 - A disclaimer about vomit (my best title ever) 04/12/08
http://beta.thenoobcomic.com/df_preview/part3.html First of all it seems that I stirred a hornet's nest with the comment about being sick in 1st person view. I was joking! If necessary I'll post photos of my keyboard to prove it! Please don't kill each other. Actually the current combination of TPV and FPV is fine and it works well. I don't like to run around in FPV in general. Some games don't give me any problems at all (TF2 for example), others, like Half Life, make me feel seriously sick in minutes. I don't have these problems in Darkfall, even though I prefer to unsheathe a melee weapon when running around as a matter of preference. The first screenshot today was taken outside one of the starting elven outposts. I stood as far as I could from the NPC that gives you the starter quests and moved forward until its name displayed next to the cursor. The distance at which I'm looking at him (actually it may have been a her, not that it matters with elves) is the max distance to get the name on tooltip, a step back and it disappears. It may seem pretty far, but you have to put the crosshairs exactly on the person and at that distance he's little more than a few pixels. It's a lot harder with people who're moving. The fountain-like thing in the image above is a clanstone. Before I forget: an unexplained thing in a previous update was the head with triangle buff icon at the top of the screen. That's the nourishment icon that you get when you eat (to recover faster). Another thing that I didn't mention are the graphic settings that I use in game: I left them as default, which I guess means medium. I'll conclude with the other two screenshots for this update. They are taken in the Ork capital city, one with shadows on and one with shadows off, at the same location and time of day.

Noob preview 2 - Showdown at the Goblin Corral! 02/12/08
http://beta.thenoobcomic.com/df_preview/part2.html I bet that you read the title and thought "oh shit, now we get to read some stupid roleplay story!". That was the only purpose of the title, so I hope you did. So, why wasn’t I looking behind my back when I got ganked, as I described in part 1? Aside from me just sucking, that is…

Well, forget mouselook. The only time that you can mouselook around you is when you sit down to rest. At any other time, the only way to check if anyone is sneaking up on you is to turn and look. Now, if you are fighting a monster in melee, you also have to be aiming at your opponent to hit, because there’s no such thing as autotarget like in other MMOs. This means that if you are in melee and you want to look behind you, you have to either circle around the mob while still fighting or stop aiming at it and turn around. In 3rd person view the camera is pretty close to your character and it’s fixed, so you can’t mousewheel back until your character is tiny and you can see for twenty yards behind you. Your chance to spot other people is to actually turn and look. Period. This is not all, though. If you happen to be a tall guy, like my ork, and you’re fighting someone shorter, like a goblin, you have to aim DOWN at the little fucker while he runs figure eights around you, which means that you have even less awareness of your surroundings. This particular thing is something that I dislike, just because it might give an advantage to dwarves and alfars - who can hack away at big guys’ ankles while enjoying the view at the same time. On the other hand, it would probably look strange if you could hit someone who barely reaches your chest by swinging at the air over his head, so I guess it makes sense the way it is now, it’s just that I find it annoying. Otherwise, once I got over the first trauma of “OMG! What happened to my right mouse button?!? Where’s mouselook? Aaah!”, I really warmed up to the fact that you actually need to look around you, because it brings a whole new element of player skill to sneaking up behind someone. From what I’ve seen there are no such skills as stealth, vanish, hide in plain sight behind a twig, disappear, and so on. I haven’t checked all the magic schools and I don’t know if there’s anything in there of this kind, but otherwise if you want to creep up on a guy, you have to do it in the old fashioned way of moving from cover to cover, shadow to shadow, behind his back, until you’re on him. This is made possible by two things: 1. You don’t get a big ass name on your head, so it’s quite possible to hide behind trees and rocks (not like in other games where some poor sap is trying to ambush you from behind a tree and you can see the end bits of his <really, really, really long guild name right here> tag sticking on the sides. In order to see your name a guy needs to hover on you with the mouse and you have to be close-ish (not sure of the distance, but if you see a moving figure far away on the horizon, you have to get closer to see who/what it is). 2. People and monsters aren’t particularly visible. It’s quite realistic in this sense. If you don’t know that they are there you really have to look. If it’s night, and you are in a forest, they’d have a much easier time jumping you than if you are in a plain in daylight. On the other hand you can hear footsteps, so that will give away a guy sneaking on you, unless of course you’re in combat with plenty of yells and screams and footsteps noises of creatures running around you. Which leads me to another thing, that I quite like… combat is NOISY. Not in the sense that you need to lower the volume of your speakers, but that it can be heard from quite a distance. This means that you have to watch your health and stamina when

you are fighting monsters, because the racket that you’re making is broadcasting to everyone within a hundred yards radius or more, “HELLO! I AM HERE! YES, LOOK! HERE! I AM FACING AWAY FROM YOU, I'M FIGHTING A MONSTER, AND DID YOU NOTICE HOW MY HEALTH IS QUITE LOW? WOULD YOU LIKE ME TO WEAR A TARGET SIGN ON MY BACK? WOULD IT HELP?”. It’s a really cool feature because combat should not be silent, and for people out and about pking it’s quite exciting to hear all this “victim over there ---> ” noise and sneak up on them. Just to conclude on a negative note in true beta tester tradition, I don’t like most spell sound effects. The first time I heard a spell’s “fizzz” while visiting the Alfar capital I thought that my speakers had broken, or that some tit was broadcasting static in vent. I almost sent a bug report, “there’s a really horrible, shrill sound like a thousand banshees tuning their TV sets at once, at location x y z” before I realised what it was. But then again, badass sounds are not at the top of my wish list right now. -P.S. Something that I didn’t mention last time is that when I talk about the game, it’s only about how the game is right now, as experienced while playing it – and since it’s beta anything may change, for all I know. Please take all you read here with a big pinch of salt. Clarifications (Dec 3, 2008) I don't have time to post an update this morning (I should be on my way to work already) but I had a look yesterday at the forums on the Darkfall website and I'd like to address some of the concerns that were raised there by these previews. 1. Public beta. This seems to be a really big issue and I can see why. These previews are NOT a replacement for it, they have nothing to do with it, and most of all I have no idea if that's going to start tomorrow, in a week in a month, etc. If I say, "in the next few updates I plan to... " please don't start consulting the astronomical calendars of the Maia to determine the date of beta from what I wrote, because I know it as much as you do. If that's any consolation, every day I see new names and there seems to be a steady stream of people joining. 2. Stability and state of the game. Relax! It's not been wiped at all since last week, and even if at some point it's going t o be wiped twice a day it's because they are testing things according to their test plans, not because something's gone horribly wrong and they have to shut down everything. The game is stable. I crashed once to desktop, which is a lot less of how much I crash to desktop in the released MMO that I've played most recently. How ready is it? I don't know! From what I can observe, assuming that it would play the same with thousands of people instead of hundreds, it's less buggy in beta of some games a month into release, but this is just an observation of what I can see, I have no idea if they are opening black holes and rips through time and space by mistake in their server room even if we don't notice. 3. Stealthing. I didn't mention (oops) that if you crouch and sneak up on people like that, while you don't go invisible, semi-transparent, etc., you advance silently. Having shadows turned off doesn't mean that you are particularly able to spot a guy who's using cover to sneak up on you and being clever about it, but you'll see it for yourselves when you start playing, it's something that has to be experienced and cannot be described. 4. "There's nothing new in these previews". Duh! Most people on the Darfkall forums could easily win University Challenge, Jeopardy, etc. etc. if the topic was Darkfall!

Please consider that the previews are aimed mainly at the readers of my comic who may or may not know about the game and who may not have followed it with the same level of attention as you did. I hope you'll enjoy the screenshots, at least :)

Noob preview 1 - There's no place like home 01/12/08
http://beta.thenoobcomic.com/df_preview/part1.html Beta started a couple of weeks ago (for me anyway), and I've tried humans and alfars. They are still making a ton of changes and activating new stuff on an almost daily basis, so there are often server wipes. Since the most recent wipe, I've decided to try out an ork. You start in stock fantasy newbie clothing - i.e. underpants - and with three basic weapons in your backpack, a sword, an axe and a mace. What these weapons have in common is that they are incredibly shitty. I remember that the sword is called something like "Leafblade"; the axe and the mace are probably called "LOL" and "Whatever". They have however a very important trait: they are the only things that you will not be dropping when you die. After a few days (or even hours) of play people will build up stocks of spares in the bank for when they get looted, but at first they are very handy, especially because the only time that you go in 3rd person view is when you equip and unsheathe a melee weapon, and since 1st person makes me dizzy this is my alternative of choice to vomiting on the keyboard when I run around. Anyway, I went to kill the local npc goblins to get some gear and complete a couple of starter quests (pve is surprisingly fun, I'll talk about the AI in the next few days) and I made the very basic mistake of not looking behind my back. After all, it's ork country, I'm 100 yards away from the outpost, as far as I know there's a system of 'hit a fellow ork, go grey, gank him go red' reminiscent of UO, the nearest enemy would have to run for ages before getting here... OK, I wasn't thinking all these things, but I wasn't being particularly cautious either. Next thing I know, I am meleeing a goblin and thinking "hmm, these goblins sure hit haAAARGH", and I take a dirtnap with just enough time to see, before I die, that a fellow ork newbie has just planted his "leafblade" (or "LOL", or "whatever") between my shoulder blades. So yes, there is a rogue/murder system in place, but it's not a one-strike-you're-out kind of thing. Trust no one! Keep your leafblade handy! A fair question could be "So why aren't you looking behind your back when you're fighting, newb? Can't you just mouselook?" Nope! But I'll elaborate on this topic in another update. For the moment let's leave my looted, half naked ork as she looks at the rising sun, hoping that the future will bring more loot, or at least a shirt...Tomorrow is another day!

Noob Darkfall preview – Introduction 01/12/08
http://beta.thenoobcomic.com/df_preview/intro.html Aventurine have lifted my NDA obligations to allow me to post screenshots and comments as a preview of the game. I've been playing in beta for the last couple of weeks. This NDA lift is limited exclusively to what is posted here and I cannot otherwise give additional information, discuss the game, etc. etc.

- Don't email me with questions, requests or comments - I can't answer (NDA, my mom saying that I shouldn't talk to strangers, etc.). - I haven't followed the evolution of the game before beta, so don't expect any deep insight. The skinny goth dudes are called Alfar and I'm catching up on the rest. - I've been a good friend of Claus and Tasos for many years and we've often played MMOs together in the past. - They've hosted The Noob since 2005, which is great or I'd have to sell my furniture to pay for bandwidth. I've reciprocated the favour by asking them "wtf, when's beta starting?" no more than twice a week for the last nine years. Finally if you click on any cropped image in the preview, it will take you to the original screenshot (but with names etc. covered). I tried to make some of the cropped images pretty by removing the crosshairs but I have left the screenshots untouched so you can see what I see when I play.

Darkfall beta preview on The Noob 01/12/08
http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?t=85880 In the spirit of sharing beta information with the community, we’ve given an NDA release for a regular feature to Gianna Masetti, friend and creator of The Noob comic. Gianna was interested in doing this, and we think it’s a great idea. I’d like to ask the Darkfall community to appreciate her effort to do something in her own way. She’s still under NDA so please respect that she cannot answer any query whatsoever. You can find the Darkfall preview linked on her site http://www.thenoobcomic.com

January 22nd 2009 Launch Date Announced for Darkfall Online 05/12/08
http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?t=87239 Athens, Greece – December 5th, 2008 - Audio Visual Enterprises SA and Aventurine SA in a joint statement today announced that their highly anticipated MMORPG title Darkfall Online will launch across Europe on January 22nd, 2009. North American players are also welcome to participate in the European launch of Darkfall which will precede a North American launch. More details to be announced as they become available. About Darkfall Online Darkfall Online is a massive multiplayer online (MMO) fantasy role-playing game featuring a fun, fast-paced, real-time combat system, massive battles, clan warfare and empire building. Darkfall combines role-playing, action, and strategic gameplay. Darkfall has been designed to create intensely realistic and highly immersive combat and a challenging, realistic environment for a more immersive experience. With full collision detection battle lines really matter and well-aimed spell blasts will send opponents flying. Darkfall's goal is to provide players with a fun and challenging experience through a seamless and zoneless, non-instanced, "sandbox" game world.

www.darkfallonline.com About Audio Visual Enterprises SA Audio Visual Enterprises SA is a leading home entertainment company located in Athens, Greece. Audio Visual is a group of companies which encompasses a large range in the field of entertainment, including video, television, cinema, and amusement parks, and is the official partner of entertainment industry giants such as Warner Bros, The Walt Disney Company, and Village Films. With Darkfall Online, and the creation of a Games division, Audiovisual enters into the field of online gaming. www.audiovisual.gr About Aventurine SA Aventurine SA is an independent computer games developer located in Athens, Greece. Aventurine is fueled by passion for gaming and game technologies. Aventurine's main project is Darkfall Online, a groundbreaking game scheduled to launch January 22nd, 2009. Development of the game, the technology platform, game engine, and tools began in 2003. The Darkfall team consists of thirty veteran developers. www.aventurine.gr Contact: info@aventurine.gr +30 210 6897185

MMORPG.com Interview with Tasos Flambouras 04/12/08
http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm?bhcp=1&game=4&feature=2494%2FIntervie w-with-Tasos-Flambouras MMORPG.com: Can you tell us, as of the answering of this Q&A exactly where Darkfall stands in terms of nearness to being a launch-ready title? Tasos Flambouras: Darkfall could launch today. It's more ready for launch than most, if not all of the MMORPG titles at the same stage that I've personally sampled and it has been for quite some time. Everything has been tested internally and since November 10th we've been using an ever-growing number of external testers. MMORPG.com: Darkfall has been in development for a very long time, can you please tell us why this game's development process has been so long? Tasos Flambouras: So long compared to what? We've been in development since 2003. Look at all that makes Darkfall stand out compared to other MMOs. In order to deliver all that we've had to develop proprietary technology from scratch. We also had to develop a company from scratch and everything associated with running a long game development cycle. We've done this independently. Even games that license all their technology are taking 5+ years, while still using teams several times the size of our own. All this usually with the backing of major publishers, and most of their everyday problems solved.

So I would say that our development time is consistent with the making a breakthrough game, all the reusable technology to run it, and limited resources to do so. It's a long time, sure...but not for what we've achieved. MMORPG.com: The length of time that this game has been in development have led some to speculate that this game is vapourware, can you speak to that point? Tasos Flambouras: We don't pay much attention to speculation but it's not the length of development that has led some to speculate...this has been going on since day one. I'd question the motives of those speculating all these years. We're almost talking about obsessive "trolling" either looking for a reaction, more information, or trying to hurt our efforts. Darkfall is a game that stands out, it's not a clone. Some people doubt it's possible, others worry that it is. Either way it generates a lot of interest. If people were dismissing it, then they wouldn't be talking about it. The well-meaning gamers root for efforts that try to raise the bar. So who's left? It's so easy being a skeptic. Another red flag is Darkfall's large, active and very passionate community. A lot of communities would like to be like Darkfall's. Slandering our game is a way to get a reaction. We have a thick skin; this kind of thing doesn't touch us. It actually makes us feel like we're on the right track. It has also served to fire up our community and has created diehard fans. It got a lot of people to take a closer look at our game and realize that this is what they've been waiting for. All the "trolls" have achieved is to inadvertently help perpetuate the buzz for Darkfall. We know exactly what we've got on our hands. Our best answer is that our game is coming out and then the voices will have to find something else to talk about. MMORPG.com: Darkfall is a game that has many within the MMO community buzzing. Can you tell us why we haven't seen a marketing campaign similar to those conducted pre-launch by many other MMO studios? Tasos Flambouras: The MMO community is buzzing, and then you ask why we don't have marketing. It's somewhat of an oxymoron. We've done what we could with the resources we've had available.' This has been a time for development. We're not going to sink development resources into traditional marketing before Darkfall is out. We need to be able to support this game and the response is overwhelming as it is. What would a traditional marketing campaign achieve? To help sell some more game boxes? This is not a single player game. When you sell an MMO you're in it for the long-haul. The best marketing for an MMO is having a great game that retains your players. Our marketing effort will be in response to our needs. The game speaks for itself...we expect a great deal of word of mouth. Darkfall can compete on merit with any MMO out there, but we can't compete against their huge marketing budgets. A traditional

marketing campaign is not where our strength is. Having said that, we'll focus on working with online media that has been supporting Darkfall, and we will have a traditional marketing campaign as well, when we feel that Darkfall is best served by it. MMORPG.com: Can you tell us, at this time, how many players are in the current incarnation of beta? Tasos Flambouras: It amazes people that we don't have leaks yet. Our explanation is that people in our beta are serious about our game and they like it. You don't leak information easily unless you don't care, you're disappointed, or feel let down. Our testers seem to care about our game. Most of them have left MMOs they just started playing and are invested in our beta. We find that amazing. We can't talk about our total number of selected testers to date, but several hundred testers are in the game as I write this. We're adding more every day, and their numbers will go up considerably in the days to come. MMORPG.com: Why is Darkfall's beta being run differently from betas that we have seen other MMO companies run? Tasos Flambouras: I'll agree that we're different. Even though we're a small team we've invested early in testing the game as much as possible. We know that even large game development studios keep testing as an afterthought, if that. We knew that with the complexity of Darkfall, we'd have to make sure that everything works well together. We're banking on our game being stable. In addition to our overall QA philosophy, we've had a team of professional testers on the game for over a year. An MMO is very complex software..We're not going to depend on playtesters for everything...the game is already tested. We need the playtesters mostly for extra gameplay feedback and to test hardware configurations. Having said that, there's certainly no prescription on how to run a QA phase of development. Our development certainly has little to do with traditional MMO development. We have a great deal more features, more technologies, and more innovations to test. We're doing our QA in such a way that we get good feedback on the game, so that we can handle our bug reports. The game is very stable, we're continuously patching, the testers have been impressed at our debugging turnaround. In short, we have to do what's best for Darkfall. MMORPG.com: There is a great deal of confusion surrounding Darkfall's beta and release schedule. Could you clarify any of this for us? Tasos Flambouras: We've been trying to get our partners up to speed and there will be an official statement in the next few days announcing a release date for the game. This should clear things up.

MMORPG Italia Review 21/11/08
http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?t=83013 We have allowed 2 journalists from MMORPG Italia to do a preview of Darkfall. They have been playing for a few hours here at our offices and we've been helping them out. They requested this visit over a month ago and we agreed. We'll do the same for any professional gaming media that's interested in coming here to get hands-on experience of the game. We will allow media wider access to the beta soon enough, but for now this can only happen on site. We have not lifted the NDA, we have only allowed them access for their review, but not to answer questions after this is out. We will ask you to respect this, and our willingness to share information about the game, even when there's an active NDA. We take the NDA very seriously, for the good of the game. This is still a testing process. They have taken some screenshots: http://www.mmorpgitalia.it/forum/f29...nshots-212903/ They also posted the Italian language review, with an English translation here: http://www.mmorpgitalia.it/forum/2620242-post3.html The Italian links: http://www.mmorpgitalia.it http://www.mmorpgitalia.it/forum/f82...review-212919/

Beta Report 1- Tester First Impressions 18/11/08
http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?t=82111 Before the next wave of testers we thought it would be a good idea to post a representative sample of quotes from the current testers taken from an unsolicited first impressions thread in the beta forums. In doing so we cooperated with the testers in order to get a good balance of the good and the bad. I posted this update in the beta forums last night, and asked for help in order to make it a fair assessment of the experience so far. Everyone had the opportunity to pitch in and they seem to agree that the resulting preview accurately represents the sentiment of the testers. Having said that, I have to mention that our tester sample so far is diverse. The testers range from our biggest fans to our biggest critics, and from near “carebears” to the most hardcore players out there. Most of these comments are first reactions. Many of these have changed over the course, mostly for the better. There are many topics that haven’t been addressed enough to get a good sample of quotes on. We’ll post more when we feel we have a good balance of feedback. We’re also asking for feedback on specific topics to be used in subsequent updates. The lack of comments on some topics are due to the fact that the players are in the starting phases of their characters, and we wipe often so they haven't been able to advance enough to test advanced options. This is about to change soon.

These quotes are completely unedited so please make allowances for grammatical and spelling errors. I will be posting these by category one after the other under this post.

Overall Impressions
Overall we’ve been getting very good feedback about the game, we were hard pressed to find anything negative and actually had to dig for it and to ask a few times for something more critical. “i am testing for 3-4 Days now and have seen just a minimum of all the world has to offer, but i must give you compliments about the design... i tried out most starting Areas, and i find they are really great done (maybe Mirdain needs a bit of pimping so it fits adequately to the lore-part) and i find the surrounding area are all varied and give a good feeling of a "real world". “I love the sandbox feel of the game. I can chop a tree for wood, skin a tombstone (doesn't feel right), mine a rock, and whack some weeds for herbs and feel like I'm in constant danger running around in the countryside doing so.” “So far the game exceeds my expectations. I didn't think so much would make it in and it would be this stable of a client.” “I'm very excited by what I've seen so far, and can't wait to see more and play more.” “archery is really well done. I just wish there was a way to abort my shots. The graphics are nice and immersive, and that musical score is top notch. I'm incredibly shocked that the AI is as good as it is.” “Anyway the servers are up and I'll go back in to play - amazing game! I really love what I've seen so far” “I've followed the game for a while, and I'm glad to say it was not in vain. It's not vaporware or anything like that. It really stands out as a quality game, and even after just a few hours, the addiction is already starting to get me.” “All in all its hard for me to judge Darkfall even in the slightest right now, the content is there, it just needs to be enabled/turned on and switched out of debug mode for me to get a real feel for it, there is a lot of various things I can comment on all day long as well, i've done this type of thing before with various server emulation builds etc for previous mmo's before, so having this little content activated/turned right now is nothing new to me, I want to help make Darkfall a huge success and cover the entire potential player base.” “I have played MMO's for 10 years, there have been games I liked and games I did not. I played them because of the friends I made and kept along the way. Together we tried several games but although some were fun we always felt like interlopers, playing in a game that was made for others and that those like us were an afterthought. As I wound up my first session, I realized today I was no longer a trespasser, today I was home.” "Over all I'm having fun as I learn this game. This is no easy hit "A" and go get a coke or something. You do this even with those goblin souts you are dead big time!!"

“This game is extremely solid, and just needs polish. They've done all of the fundamentals right, and the remaining problems are things like UI, tweaking AI, hardware compatibility issues, etc.” “Today I found some excuses why I needed to work from home instead of heading right into the office. Thanks for shutting the server down earlier today because I'm sure that DF was hurting my productivity. I'll probably have the same issue tomorrow though. I've never taken a vacation day or sick day for a game, but I can see how I might think about it for DF.” “The biggest fear out there (and a sentiment shared by most of my guild mates) is that Darkfall has been in development for too long and has promised too much to be realized. Well, after my first weekend in game I honestly feel that your are onto something here in regards to the overall premise, that adequate resources are being devoted to the development, and that developer interaction and response bodes well for the future.”

The World-Graphics-Technology
The consensus about the graphics is that they’re much better than expected, something we’ve been saying all along. The game has been very stable and smooth overall, even in the full debug mode it’s running in. We’re experiencing really good gameplay from all over the world, even though our beta servers are in Germany, we’ve had no problems reported by testers in Western N. America, or in the Far East. "The Client is astonishingly stable (except for the Crashes while changing resolutions/graphic settings - though this has got a lot better since the last patches too.” “The meticulously detailed world map is as huge as promised and feels so much more 3-dimensional than past MMORPG's that relied on height mapping. The overpasses, caves, chasms and crags, they add huge amounts of atmosphere to the environment.” “Only testing for a couple of hours now, but i just have to say, everything looks just so detailed... i am not really into gfx, but i am really amazed on all the things i've seen so far... very impressive...” “I walked from Chopping Necks (westernmost Ork starter town) to the coast to the east over 2 or 3 hours and NOT ONCE was I bored with repetitive landscape. There is almost always a settlement of goblins, freaky bird-men, hivekin, or something going on, and it's on all sides of you. I swam to an island off the coast, then to a second island. In total, the trip took about 4-5 hours one-way. I explored what looked like ~3% of the total map. Do the math! The world is gigantic!” “Build 50 is extremely stable. I haven't crashed once and I've been playing a lot of hours. I have found very few bugs.” “The amount of scaling possible with the graphics is genius. You have more options than ever and they all make sense. You don't have to have an enthusiast-level rig to

enjoy df.” “From the moment of logging in I was in awe. The world is simply amazing and one cannot describe the intricacies and details of the vast world of Agon. I have never been a visually captivated gamer but I can't help but stop to admire the craftsmanship that formed this virtual world.” “The graphics scale pretty well apparently. The game looks fine. They need to do some optimization, but everything is running in debug mode and I get 60-90 FPS.” “The world is amazing, I must say. I've only been around the Alfar parts so far - pure awesomesauce there - and every part there feels unique. I walked around fighting some goblins near one of the starting zones and looked up and thought that the sky looked abit strange, but then realized that it was not the sky that I was looking at, I were inside the mountain and I was looking at a huge cliff that were hanging over me. So you can see that they have spent alot of work shaping the world, which is again, pure awesomesauce. Climbing mountains feels really cool as well. To stand up there looking down at the world and you get the feeling that you can almost touch the sky. I've only been around the Alfar parts, but never get bored exploring. The world really is huge, when you look at how long it took to walk from A to B on the map.” “I wont nit pick for silly things but the game it self ran very smooth I was running at 120-150 ping to the European servers. I only ran across one lag spot as I was running around the land. I love seeing the skill gain system working just from using abilities, it's been to long to see that. I have a high end system but I run on an 8800GT (waiting for release to get my new card) and it still ran smooth.” “I think there should be more about the quality of the graphics as that was one of the major criticisms made by your detractors. After playing, I honestly think you guys managed to make fools out of them.” “The client is very stable, haven't had a single crash. The worldbuilding is very good indeed (as other's have noted as well). It looks and feels believable as a world filled with strange creatures, and that you can go wherever you want is really fun.” “Performance is better than I would have ever imagined on my machine.” “The graphics are strange in some places and absolutely superb in others. Some stuff like rocks, gardens and books just blew me away with the detail and beauty. Some rocks looked like a photograph while others had some pretty sharp edges to them and didn't look very real. Note that I have not seen much of the world and it is strictly limited to the dwarven starting area.” “Main thing that has impressed me so far is the quality of the worldbuilding. The people responsible for that really outdid themselves and should be proud of their work. It is sheer delight to go striking out in a random direction and seeing what you can see; both overall settings and nuanced details are superb.” “Have u ever stop playing, sit back and admire the sunrise or the sunset in ANY other MMO? Darkfall was my first... Yes the graphics ARE that good” “Every bit of the music I've heard so far fits the setting it's in, especially the Alfar

starting areas and Shoal itself. It's not the typical fantasy MMO style tunes that I had expected but more eerie and dark, sometimes hollow feeling. Even the weird almost digital/ambient-industrial sounding splash screen music is well done and gets you in just the right mood to play. And the sound effects are everything they should be, from the blocking of a wooden shield, the tinking of metal on metal, the character's vocal grunts and the spattering of blood... on everything. Even when I don't have arrows sticking out of me already, I can tell something is shooting at me and usually from which direction, when I hear the whizzing of an arrow fly past my head.” “Client is stable and amazing, i've been playing since the MUD/"The Realm"/ UO 97 before T2A (The Second Age) and i've seen bad clients and good clients, ive seen non-stop .exe crashes and memory leaks (shadowbane.exe anyone? lovely memory leak that took over 6+ months to address) to amazing stability (darkfall client) WoW was another well done and stable client, even with all the add-ons that could be attached to the GUI, I also beta tested both WoW and Warhammer, my experience with warhammer was less than satisfying and there graphics aren't as good as people claim they are because for the graphics I receive compared to the performance I get, to me indicates they did not optimize their graphics/polygons/etc. In closing the Darkfall client does not seem to have any noticeable memory leaks, however cluster loads can seem completely random at times, however are short, 5-15 seconds range = great.” "The world is massive feeling and as I looked up at the sky I saw the sun moving. The shadows drew closer to me from a tower up on a hillside and I was looking at how the shadow changed as the sun moved. Then I got annihilated by a pack of goblins scouts because I was paying too much attention to the wrong parts of my surroundings." “I can't give enough credit to the art direction. Everywhere you go, you get a pretty clear "Darkfall" ambience that is truly unique and immersive. There is a lot of attention to detail and you can tell that there was a lot of love put into some of the design. The quality of graphics and animation have a little inconsistency, but overall there is a "wow" factor that I never expected from an MMO that gives you free range over everything. Just watching the sun/moon phases takes up way too much of my time. I never thought I'd be sitting in the swamps of Morak and commenting on the beauty of the sun eclipsing as it sets under a misty horizon.”

AI
The AI has been reported very tough, even the newbie AI. When they’re very damaged they flee and are hard to catch up to. We’ve done some tweaking and as the players familiarize themselves with the game more, they seem to be enjoying the experience. Again these are not your run of the mill MMOG AI. “The AI on the goblin scouts surprised me. They kept running from me when they were low on health and peppered me with arrows until I got exhausted from chasing them and died miserably.” "Those little bastards are the bane of my existence with their strafing. I have never wanted to squash an NPC as bad as that before. I love it." “Did some goblin hunting with [censored], explored for a bit and stumbled across a large cave system where we eventually found a nest of kobolds (ugly bastards).

Eventually they got the better of us though.” “The first mobs I found in dwarf area were hitting from extreme range and then did special attacks that were stamina draining. It was rather brutal for a starting area and I died several times to repeat the 5 minute run.” “"When I engage a goblin in melee and he starts to run I quickly get my staff and nuke him from a distance, then when he is down I sprint to his buddies to engage them aswell. Its not easy but then again taking down 3-4 humanoid opponents at once 1 day from character creation should not be." “Also the monster pathing is in need of tweaking and collisions of PCs and NPCs with environment or each other results in "bouncing" quite a bit.” “The AI is very cool, and just needs some tweaking. You can get it trapped trying to run away from you in some cases, for example. Otherwise it presents a big challenge. One guy trying to take on 4 goblins is not simple - the goblins will melee you and then sprint away to kite you around while the other ones shoot you, and the second you go for them instead, the one that was running will pull out its own bow...” “Intelligent AI? This is something I've not experienced until entering Df. It's as if fighting the mobs mirrored fighting other players. They actually work together attempting to kill you rather then serving as your training material.” “Also, with regard to the AI. I found myself dumbfounded when fighting Ork Beastmasters who are mainly magic users in combat. I sat there staring at this Ork who was staring at me, waiting for me to fire another mana missile at it, anticipating where I was going to shoot and then firing back at me and hitting me! I was sure a dev had jumped into the body of the Ork and was playing a joke. It's like nothing I've played in an MMO.” “I can take out goblins pretty easily by meleeing them until they run, and then playing LOS games using bow/magic. The spell is AE so shooting it at their feet works best. Arrows travel really fast and you should have no trouble hitting them most of the time when they're shooting at you too. Arrows don't really do enough damage though.” “It's extremely entertaining to fight 2 or 3 goblins at once. Swings of my sword hit two or three at the same time, and part of the time I get to watch them kill each other from errant swings. Great stuff.” “BTW [censored] got his freaking head chopped off by an Ork protector. I laughed so hard it hurt. Completely awesome though.” “Starting in the game is rough, unlike most MMos where things are handed out to you on a plate at the beginning you need to work to get somewhere. The work you have to do in Darkfall is killing the newbie mobs in order to get resources to start off your ingame career, however, unlike other MMos these mobs aren't a joke. By the time you kill your first one you will probably be smiling to see the bastard dead infront of you and even happier if you actually get to loots the mobs corpse instead of being chased off by its friends.” "The monsters are tough. I was looking for a challenge, but these things are just too damn smart."

“AI is great, it provides a challenge, but im no idiot, the AI knows exactly where my cursor is pointing and it zigzags and responds to it lighting fast, im a old time quake 3 player, predicting movement and using splash damage was a requisite to becoming a great quake 3 player, these mobs currently put the highest level of quake 3 bots (nightmare bots) to shame, they respond much too quickly to cursor (aim) position for ranged attacks, even utilizing splash/aiming at feet technique. Another AI behavior i'd like to address is...are mobs really ALL supposed to have range abilities? I'm sorry, that's silly, yes it cuts down on players just messing up melee specific mobs with range/magic, but its a tad bit repetitive when mobs start hitting you from 200 yards away, if ogres have the ability to use bows, they should realistically drop a [heavy] type bow or at least a different type of bow. Others may agree with the fact that all mobs have access to ranged abilities, but I may just be a different type of person, I know I won't be the only person that disagrees with ogres hitting me with arrows, boulders or rocks? Sure, but it comes down to always being hit from 200+ yards off by every monster under the sun, regardless of size, being humanoid, etc...” “The goblins seems to have been toned down considerably and I can farm them VERY easy now with my starter sword. That is the way it feels for me atleast. I used to get 1 goblin hitting me with a sword while 2 or 3 of his pals walked in a half circle around me hitting me with arrows. Now I just kick their asses. Have I gotten that much better since last time I played or have they been toned down alot?” “For anyone who has kited mobs in other MMOs... Goblins are a very cruel payback.” “The thing I hope will change the most is mob spawns and town npc's. The world is beautiful but it feels like a deserted wasteland for the most part. I understand that this is only beta so I will not comment on this more for now in hope that it is one of the things that are about to change.” “I do very much love the game so far but my other huge gripe is with the AI strafing and running around like lunatics. I understand there is supposed to be more of a challenge then just standing toe to toe (or twenty feet away with bows pointed at each other) but the way the mobs run/jump/strafe reminds me more of a Quake Deathmatch then a serious role playing game even if it is a roleplaying game with heavy FPS elements.” “The AI on the goblins in the newbie areas definitely needs to be toned down. I would even send out patrols of one or two goblins farther away from the spawn area with the great A.I. But having 2-3 linked and calling in even more so quickly as it is now makes soloing virtually impossible. Unless you're really really good which new players aren't. In other words, the AI in the newbie areas is TOO good. I know it is good training, but I've been getting my butt handed to me all day and as a new player it would be very frustrating.” "There was a good dialogue about this in global chat last night. The consensus was the AI for noobie mobs (the first ones you encounter after creating a character) are just way to difficult. There needs to be a gradual progression of difficulty in the game to allow new players to adapt to the interface and learn the combat mechanics. Where are the bunnies and deer and cows of UO? Or training dummies? Or if goblins are intended to be the first mobs then they need to be toned down considerably."

Controls
We started out the beta without any instructions whatsoever. This was done to assess the intuitiveness of the game. Darkfall isn’t like your average MMOG. There is a lot you can do in it and an unprecedented level of control. As such, you have a lot more controls and UI feedback you need to navigate. It has to be said that you can remap everything to your liking, and you can move everything around and set-up transparency on all the GUI elements. While there’s quite a lot of tweaking to be done, we’ve found that after the initial shock, the GUI and controls works well for the players. It seems that the people having most trouble with the lack of documentation are players of other MMOG games. Those who play FPS games have reported fewer problems with the GUI and controls. However this is the area where we had the most criticism, so we’re looking at ways of improving the understanding for the new player. “My initial impressions so far are not very favorable based on the newbie experience. Looking beyond superficial aspects such as non-functional character creation options, the interface is extremely non-intuitive and cumbersome. It took quite some time to learn the basic combat process, namely having to unsheathe before being able to attack.” "I was very interested in checking out the keybindings available for the game, but then I saw this nasty little pop-up say "Don't push this button again". I just closed it and pretend the button doesn't exist any more." “It's a unique experience, albeit frustrating none-the-less even after figuring out how to properly use things such as "rest" "looting a monster"sheathe/unsheathe" "attach/detach weapon/item", i'll be honest, even after learning it, frustrating and clunky is the only way I can express my feelings in regards to it, I have to watch my system messages like a hawk just to make sure i've attached/detached a weapon from my hands before I even want to try and go into a sheathe/unsheathe type stance. I can say even with how it functions right now I can handle 4-6 goblins at a time quickly and efficiently and loot them without needing a break, I currently am very proud of how well I can melee them down and finish them off via magic/range...which leads me to my next subject." “I know that the interface becomes second nature after a day that you use it, but it's NOT intuitive when one first starts. For the love of God, get people to go through a mock-up of the equip/sheathe/load/fire etc. etc. when they first start, when the game goes live.” “The UI is very different from all other games, but once you get used to it, it is excellent. There are still some minor things to work out, but the core is there. One problem for example is that you must manually unsheath your weapon before attacking, but if you press the attack key, it does not automatically unsheath your weapon, even though the user would expect that to happen.” “I dont want to offend anyone who would rather like it all easier and more "intuitive" i just have a different opinion ... I love the fact that this here is no Clone of whatsoever.” "I personally like the fact that there is no "tutorial" ... first steps can be written into a handbook inside the DVD-Box. As i entered the world of DAoC a very long time ago.. i did know nothing - and it was

great learning how everything worked... what different colors on Mobs meant etc.. I would wish everyone would feel that same "pioneer" feeling again. sure.. its more comfy if you know about all the internal processes and stuff.. but in my opinion this game should last for years.. so keep the learning curve hard, and the requirements really high." "Its a matter of personal taste, really. I prefer to manually unseathe my weapon the same way i cannot autotarget the enemy. I also like the idea the game starts hard mob-wise (its a cruel world) and, according to an "upscaled" difficulty gets even harder. Imho people that come to play darkfall dont want to see carebaring ruining hardcore aspects of the game." "I do understand some concerns people have with the UI and the whole "equip and then use" system instead of just click to use but since it's an fps style game I don't see any alternative. Plus I am getting quite used to it and it will allow good players to shine in combat as other will be strugling to equip their staff and then ready their spell to cast it. I believe it promotes the "player skill" element very much." "The chat and Interface is a little tough to get used to, especially without directions. At first I was wondering why everything stopped and I couldn't move after I right clicked. It would be nice if I could organize my pack and chat, look at icon descriptions etc... while I ran long distances. Or even had a mouse option for checking out the icons at the top of my screen when I get hit with a spell so I could see the description. I am completely vulnerable while I'm chatting, looting, selling, looking at options, spells, skills, etc... But that's also the beauty of it if anyone attacks me."

PvP – Looting
We’ve been wiping characters very often so it’s still hard for the testers to dive headfirst into PvP. We expect a lot more feedback in the very near future. "My biggest gripe at the moment is looting corpses. It's easy enough to switch between weapons during combat but I find it near impossible to quickly loot something. I have to drop out of FPS or combat mode, switch into pointy clicky mode open up the corpse, drag everything at once, pray i'm not dead yet, switch back into combat." “Furthermore, the everchanging surroundings allow for great stealth/ambush tactics. Crouching behind an abandoned cart alongside a large road, waiting for your target to pass by and quietly landing a few arrows in their back was a very gratifying experience.” "Seriously guys, the drag & drop looting is something that should not be touched. It *should* take awhile to loot corpses and sort through piles of things. This worked great in UO and there's no reason why it shouldn't work great in DF." “PvP combat in this game reminds me so much of watching a sword fight in a movie where the fighters almost dance around each other looking for a weakness to strike at. There is no break and there is no breathing space. Every moment of combat contains so much movement and requires constant brainpower. You won't have time to turn away from your screen or take a phone call, even while fighting mobs.” "As i have understood this game is not targeted to the absolute casual player that logs in now and then for 30 minutes.. In Darkfall roads are long and dangerous - and its

good this way.. Looting takes time.. and its good this way... even if it bothers sometime - go buy a sack !" “The PvP actually takes skill! I stood toe to toe with another player with equal stats, equipment, and still got owned!” "Is looting intented to be that hard? I reply to myself "yes" since when real pvp starts looting should be hard and not automatic." “Group PvP is going to be neat. It's already dangerous going 3v1 because the '3' side will constantly hit eachother in melee or with spells accidentally. A skilled solo player can definitely pull off some cool stuff there.” “I love the fact that you can hear someone fighting from quite far away. The other day myself and a couple of others ran from the alfar land to the human one, which took a while btw, and we eventually found someone killing goblins when we started hearing the sounds of fighting. Of course our attempt at ganking didn't exactly go as planned, since we didn't really have any way of slowing someone down and the one starter spell available to us does about as much damage as a ball of yarn at the newbie skill levels we had, so our target was able to escape back into a town. We did get him eventually though, when he came out to bait us and stayed for a bit too long before retreating back to safety (the npc towns have guard towers that do some damage, you can handle one tower for a while but as you go deeper in you get in range of multiple towers and the damage starts to mount up).” “And the sound effects are everything they should be, from the blocking of a wooden shield, the tinking of metal on metal, the character's vocal grunts and the spattering of blood... on everything. Even when I don't have arrows sticking out of me already, I can tell something is shooting at me and usually from which direction, when I hear the whizzing of an arrow fly past my head.” “Yesterday I had my friend lure somebody out of town, where the rest of us popped out of the shadows and took all his cool stuff. He couldn't see us because it was night out, and we had taken off our shiny armour. Pings from north america to the EU server are in the 150-200ms range and are very stable. Ping shouldn't make a difference until people get really good.” “Looting is fine UO style and I don't want it to change. Yesterday as an Alfar I ran into a human town and PKed someone while getting attacked by the guard towers. I didn't have time to loot all his stuff and I didn't notice his mount figurine piled under some other stuff, so he was saved that by the cool looting system.” “Oh, and you'll be crouching a LOT. Surviving while hunting is done by being inconspicuous. Breaking line of sight is -not- a surefire way to get rid of monsters on your tail. They'll keep coming and firing at you until they're comfortably sure you know they mean business. Currently I hate them, I hate it, I need thicker armor and hax. Or maybe I'm just going after Ogre's by myself and that's absurd to think of.” "Yeah looting is suppose to be hard. For those of you that never played UO, this isn't anything." “Oh a thing that is not directly linked to PvP but does affect it quite a bit is sound range. You can hear other characters jumping or fighting a mob from quite far,

probably as far as you would hear it in real life and you are alerted of their presence. Sneaking up on someone will be quite hard but very rewarding too.” “What I liked with the PVP, was that you never know what the other player might have as skills or equipment. You can sort of see it, but if he wears a robe over the armor, you have no idea until you see you're doing little damage. The tricky thing about PVP was actually hitting the other player, when both are running/sprinting around it requires real skill or luck to keep hitting the other player repeatedly. I assume when you gain more skills it will be a different experience, but the x noobs can kill a highly skilled player story is still true. When we'll get into clan wars, ambushes and such will really be a lot of fun. Because of how the world is made, spotting hidden players is almost impossible, because of the vegetation and such.”

Crafting
The testers haven’t been reporting on crafting much yet. I suppose you start delving in it after you check out the basics, so we expect more on this soon. "Crafting is pretty neat, rudimentary and to the point. Nothing big and fancy like Vanguard, but it gets the job done without becoming a hassle." "Did some cooking and the crafting system is alright. It's nothing new but it is straighforward and works fine, at least for the few things I crafted." “none of us have located any leather and many of the more advanced crafting skills such as smithing and bowcraft require it even for the first few produceable items in the menus.” "I would like to have a more clear message about resource gathering results. At the moment is says that either I failed, but it doesn’t tell me if trying again will make any difference, I succeeded, but I get nothing in my inventory and that I succeeded and get some material or whatever. Last part is ok, the other 2 need clearer messages I believe." “Crafting made sense. It was basic and easy to get, but you could make almost everything you want. I would say it was like how crafting should be in a game.” “Yesterday I finally got the money to start crafting arrows and bow. I really wanted to try out arrow making but was a little mad that one the items you needed was 5gp. I believe that money should never be needed to craft anything. The only time you should be ask for money might be for rent of the crafting table you are using but then you should be able to craft everything without having to spend more money. I think it’s easier and faster to just farm goblin scouts for their arrows then the time and money it would cost to make arrows. If I sell these arrows to vendors I get 5gp which is a lost to me on time. Now true you can sell these arrows to other player for more money for the vendors sell 5 arrows for 20gp. I just have not seen at this time where or how you can sell your items. You can trade which is in game but have not seen any market options yet like in other games. I plan to test jewelry crafting here soon but please take the gold requirement out of anything that you can craft.” “Not sure if its a bug right now, but I've probably utilized every single gathering skill there is (Woodcutting/Fishing/Herbalism/Mining) minus skinning, the animation for

gathering for all the different types of things is great (however fishing could probably use a animation upgrade of some sort) ive only gotten most of my gathering skills to 25-30 range and for ex: fishing im able to access 8 types of item pulls right now woodcutting 2 item types, timber and risen, zzz boring) right from the get go, failure and success rate doesn't seem to vary much regardless of 1.0 skill level compared to 25.0 skill level. There's also the progress bar, very plain and boring and set in stone 10.0 seconds, maybe increase in skill level can/should decrease the time? I know a lot of this stuff is still rather specific, but if characters are being wiped on a regular basis, will we ever get the chance to acquire 75-100 skill level to see if there are in fact different types of items that can be pulled from resource nodes? Or are we supposed to have access to every type of resource on a node from the get go? A lot of this is completely subjective on if we are going to get beta phases under various types of conditions (all skills set to 100.0, 100,000 gold in everyones bags, etc)” “Crafting so far seems fairly simple but very robust; there's nothing really new or groundbreaking here but it works and it covers a ridiculous amount of stuff. One really nice touch I appreciate here is the fact that any equipment-grade crafting acts as a gold sink - a very cunning ploy by the devs there, and one that should go a long way towards maintaining equilibrium in the in-game economy once in the long run. It all gets stamped with your name too, so pretty satisfying!”

Final Thoughts
This was just posted by one of the testers, I think it gives you a good idea of what to expect, so I'm including it here: "Oh well, on a lighter note... I went exploring the world today with a few other testers. As we traversed the landscape, I was constantly reminded of the gameplay video. Always, in the past, I've seen gameplay videos and screenshots touched up by a professional staff and given a production quality that surpasses the game experience. So I've come to be a little cynical against trusting what is more accurately "marketing propaganda" instead of genuine advertisements about a game. This wasn't the case at all in Darkfall. As we made our way through the world, the feeling of adventure and awe was just as much there... no, more pronounced than the gameplay video would have you see. If I could correlate the majesty of Darkfall in any sensible way to some one who hasn't played it, it would be to tell them "Look again at Aventurine's long gameplay video... and this time, even if it's hard to do now that you're grizzled from all the lies and deceit you've been fed by other games in the past, don't be afraid to let your imagination run wild". Upon running to a distant castle we spotted over a frozen lake, hopping between the floating ice blocks as fast as our stubby dwarven legs would take us, it was like a book coming to life in front of me. Only in this case the book was a particular scene from the gameplay video where that very thing had played out. Something so simple as that in a video can spark the imagination. Sure, we all looked at that and said "Man, those guys in the video are going out on a cool adventure!" but is the game really going to be like that? Are you really going to be solemnly exploring the rich world with your friends at your side, without a watered down experience where you're more practically chasing down some flashing waypoint in easy-mode? Yes, you absolutely are, and every bit of back-story and reasoning you interpreted into the motives of those intrepid explorers are there as well. I guess with the current trend in gaming, the grandeur of simple things has been completely lost on much of the current generation of gamer... but I sure in the hell was impressed that I could have such a fulfilling experience from something so base as mere wanderlust.

Of course, it helped cap off the night that the location we were traveling to was just itching to dish out wholesale slaughter on anyone curious enough to take a peek. I felt like I was being shelled by artillery after some of the mobs unloaded their repertoire of spells on us. Screen shaking, firebombs exploding all around you, your friends screaming obscenities and running away... the game definitely has a tendency to abruptly take your head out of the clouds and grind your face into the dirt with its heel on the back of your head with no warning at all. And this was just the PvE! PvE!" We'll follow up with more of these reports as we progress with beta.

Update 11/11/08
http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?t=80190 A very quick update: We sent out the second batch of beta invites last night and we’re going to continue inviting people as needed by our testing process. There’s no ETA to the invites, we’re moving along based solely on our needs. We might invite more people in as early as tonight, and as frequently as every day. The testers are under strict NDA and it would be very unfortunate if we had to ban people and/or to modify our testing - so we would like to ask everyone to respect our process and procedures, even those of you not yet in the beta. If you’re not in the beta yet, please don’t take this personally, it’s likely you don’t fit our immediate testing needs. There are a lot of criteria, but it can be as simple as hardware, location, time zone etc. We appreciate your understanding as we're trying to get Darkfall ready, we take this process very seriously. Another thing: We mentioned this before but there is no official Darkfall pre-order. Sites that offer Darkfall pre-orders are not affiliated with us, and we don’t support their offering in any way. Finally, in our beta invites we’ll never ask you for your password. We’re not asking for any information, we have everything we need in your beta sign up. There are fake beta invites circulating, and you need to use some common sense and be careful. That's all for now, we'll keep you updated about any changes or developments.

Update Part 2 31/10/08
http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?t=77574 Ok now for the Darkfall community update: As you know we’ve been conducting the first phases of the Darkfall beta, specifically the hardware configuration testing. This is where we test that Darkfall runs on most hardware configurations without problems, and we also test the absolute basics. We’ve been putting the testers through the motions: they download the client, log in, patch, create a character, enter the game and run around long enough to make sure that they’re not experiencing any weirdness and that everything is running smoothly.

All this needs to be done so that in the next phases of testing a greater number of testers won’t experience any problems with the basics and so they can focus on other important testing. These have turned out to be very productive and useful testing phases. During this time we’ve addressed various hardware compatibility problems, compatibility issues with programs running simultaneously with Darkfall, we identified and corrected some patcher issues, some login server problems, and various small issues around the game world. At the same time, it’s business as usual with our internal testing. Let me give you an idea of what’s been happening during these first testing phases: Right now, the entire Darkfall world is up on its servers. It’s being kept up most of the time. We’ve been running a methodical and functional testing environment. We started the hardware testing with the minimum of options enabled. Since then we’ve been enabling and disabling features needed to be tested. This is done so that we have the minimum noise in case something happens on the server side and we need to isolate it. We’ve been wiping characters as often as once a day, usually within 2-3 days. This is because we’re not testing character development yet, and we’ve been making some optimizations in the way that things are stored. We’ve been enabling features gradually and we’re to the point where most are enabled. Some of the things we still have deactivated are mobs outside the starting areas, most of the dungeons, most of the clan city building locations. Another thing worth mentioning is that during testing, testers have options and tools available to them that they won’t have during the retail stage of Darkfall. Our goal during this testing phase is that the important things work perfectly as we move all the way down to the polish during the subsequent testing phases. The game had always been in a state to be run in its entirety, but this would have been a huge waste of resources and would have hindered this early testing. This is where Darkfall differs from other MMOs. We could have easilly had it running full featured if this was a railroad game, but it’s not. Darkfall is a sandbox game and there are infinite paths that players can follow. This is not some quest driven game where you could go through the motions quest after quest until you’re ready to actually play a few months down the road. You actually play Darkfall from day one. So as you understand, there’s no single path of testing. Player behavior in Darkfall varies wildly and we need to try and predict all eventualities. This is what has been happening until today. The reason we’re mentioning all this is to familiarize those of you who aren’t in the beta already with our testing philosophy, and to catch the community up with what’s been going on. Moving along, and we’re about two weeks behind schedule announcing this, but we’re going to start opening up the beta to more and more testers on or around November 10th to coincide with the next phases of our server deployment. We will be enabling a lot of the features we currently have disabled – as needed and dictated by our testing needs. Again I must stress that this beta period’s purpose is for us to get Darkfall ready for release so we’ve been operating under strict directives. Having said that, I can’t help mentioning, that even in this current stage of testing, the game is a lot of fun and we hope to see all of you enjoying it while helping us test during these next phases. Thanks for reading.

Update Part 1 31/10/08
http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?t=77544 Catching you up with our activities to date - in this post a brief recap of our activities surrounding the first official presentation for Darkfall during the Athens Digital Week. The Darkfall information we’ve been giving out lately has been targeting civilians. While there have been a few interviews, on a variety of local (Greek) and fewer international media, there is really nothing new. We’ve shown about 10 different version of the Darkfall trailer, we’ve given a few presentations about the game, there are some Darkfall ads out there, and more waiting to be deployed, a couple of local television presentations etc. but it’s the general information that people need to be introduced to the game. You probably already saw Shaar’s update on the Athens Digital Week activities. He did a good job giving the information about what all happened there, but here’s the official take on things: The presentation didn’t contain much new information. It was meant for a general audience. The video shown was a shorter version of the Darkfall trailer. We played the game live on the stage during the presentation for about 20 minutes and we stopped when the internet went out. The announcement during ADW was that the open beta phase is scheduled to end early in December. More importantly this means that the game will be ready to release at that point. Marketing consideration kept us from just announcing a release date. The game will be ready for release, and the launch may follow directly, or shortly after, depending on the marketing landscape at the time. Obviously the earlier the better for us, but there are a lot of things needing coordination for the launch, internal and external. So our side of things (meaning the development end) will be ready. Some general information on the Athens Digital Week activities because a lot of people were asking: We organized the entire gaming section, mainly to support publicity for Darkfall’s first official presentation. There was an international Quake 3 and Warcraft 3 event, the ESWC Masters of Athens, where the best professional players in the world competed for the top spots. It was nice to know that most of them knew about Darkfall and a few were waiting for it to come out. Then we held the World Cyber Games national finals, there was a large LAN set up for the public, and a bunch of game consoles with the latest Xbox 360 games. There was a concert with the symphonic orchestra of the city of Athens playing videogame themes. Last but not least we had a small game developer’s conference for game developers in Greece. We were happy with the attendance of the event, a lot of international journalists covered ESWC Master’s of Athens and had a lot of question to ask about Darkfall, and we met a lot of fans during the Darkfall presentation, but mainly in the days following it. I was very surprised at how many people were asking about the game, and about when we would have another presentation. We didn’t know we had such a strong following in Greece. Unfortunately our time slot for the Darkfall presentation was during normal business hours and many people couldn't attend. I’ve posted some pictures from the event in the gallery. We’ll follow this up with a Darkfall status report within a couple of hours from this posting.

Athens Digital Event: New Video 17/10/08
http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?t=74776 A couple of videos from the event have been posted by the folks over at Darkfallworld.com You may find them here. Please discuss them here. Thanks to Shaar and Mork for your work on this!

The Athens Event 16/10/08
http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?t=74539 As far as I'm aware at this time no new information is being released at the event. However odds are people who attended will begin posting their perceptions of the event today or tomorrow. An update on the event and how it went will come from Aventurine at a later date, however as this was basically a local PR sort of thing don't expect that they got information you guys don't have. It's the sort of thing to get more people who don't know about the game interested in it. Some community members spotted this, some of you may enjoy it. http://www.pcmaster.gr/forum/forum_p...TID=16974&PN=1 Rough translation: Well guys just come from, the first substantial presentation of the world live Darkfall Online, in Gkazi I want to say that the videos have emerged which does not flatter the game-we saw the game live (in beta server with a little world of course), and is much more polished graphics. Another one has flowed in: Originally Posted by Shaar Ok I guess you’ve all waited long enough for a little something. Not enough time for more right now but a video and some more pics will be made available as soon as I can unload it all from my dv camera… The event was great, about 120 people watched the presentation although at first Tasos feared there would not be many people because of the day an hour it took place. The game was there, running live, over the internet and not some offline version. Performance is great although I don't know what kind of machine they were running it on and it was running for a good hour I think without crashing, glitching or showing any other problems. Right at the end of the presentation the game seemed to crash to the desktop and

everyone when uh-oh. But the message that poped up was that the connection to the server had been lost… Greek internet connections ftw. The big news that I was told I can share with the community is that OPEN beta will be FINISHED by the start of December and release will follow soon after. So… stay on your toes. Here are some pics. New Darkfall Banner A Dev worshiping a Darkfall Banner Presentation underway Tasos and Kjetil getting everything ready The short one is me keeping my eyes on the monitor the game is running on. Some of the developers

Forum post - Progress update 03/10/08
http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?t=72204 We've been running the hardware configuration testing as you know. We had some issues with our patching system which we've dealt with and now everything is running smoothly. We're patching several times a day and testing various hardware configurations. There's no playtesting , just some professional testing on the actual servers getting things ready for the rest of us. As you can probably understand we're running full steam with everything and time is very limited but we'll keep you in the loop with these short progress updates.

Forum post - Bogus Beta Information 02/10/08
http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?t=72056 Predictably there are several claims of Darkfall Beta participation. We won't be addressing these posts in the future, this is just a general reminder. We'll state the obvious: the posts we've seen so far on this are bogus and the information contained in them has nothing to do with reality. Please be very skeptical about subscribing to claims of participation in Darkfall beta. This is a very large community and this kind of disinformation can be exploited only if you're paying attention to it.

Forum post - Hardware Configuration Test 26/09/08
http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?t=70992 Hello, this is a small update on our current activities: Since September the 22nd we've been running tests to make sure that Darkfall runs properly on a variety of hardware configurations. Any external people are being selected strictly by their hardware configuration and are selected and let in gradually.

Absolutely no other criteria come into play other than hardware. Also, we are not playtesting. If you are selected for this hardware test you will be notified by email to the address associated with your Darkfall community forum account. Once we've concluded this phase, we will gradually allow more people in based on various other criteria associated with the testing needs. We may not announce the start of every phase. All the testing up to the open beta phase is protected by NDA. About the Athens Digital Week event, there will be a Darkfall presentation and possibly announcements based on our progress by then. Any information on the ADW site concerning Darfall is currently inaccurate and a placeholder. We're not directly responsible for this content but we've asked for the information to be corrected. We'll keep you updated on any significant developments. Thanks for reading.

Forum post - Unauthorised Darkfall Pre-order 24/09/08
http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?t=70676 It has come to our attention that there are some sites out there offering a Darkfall pre-order. We have not authorized this, and we are not associated with it in any way. When and if there's a Darkfall Preorder it will be clearly announced on this site.

Forum post - News 13/09/08
http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?t=68539 First, we have a few new screenshots up in the gallery. Several people found them already, there's a thread in the forum about them and a lot of comments on the nice graphics. We've said this before, and for what it's worth... Darkfall in-game graphics look considerably better than the screenshots and much better than the video. We're also not using a screenshot setting, you're looking at the setting we play on. We just happen to lose a lot in the image and video capture and compression. It was in our plans to make a followup update to the Darkfall Trailer, but a few sites asked us for the same thing, so we'll wait to do it that way. There's also an announcement out about an ESWC international event we're organising in Athens in October. We're partners with the ESWC and we've been promoting e-sports and hosting events in Greece for a few years. There will also be other tournaments, like the ESL Pro Series, a lot of gaming, and a Greek game developer conference. All this is happening during the Athens Digital Week. We're using this opportunity to host a Darkfall event and it's the reason we're taking the time to arrange all this. Details on this event will be posted when they become available. Have a nice weekend.

Forum post - Beta Registration Corrections 05/09/08
http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?t=66774 A small update to the Beta Registration form: We made it possible for you to log-in and correct your DXDiag information as well as your Clan information (name and URL).

Forum post - Beta Selection / Beta Information 01/09/08
http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?t=65348 Hello, First of all, if you've made an error in your beta application, don't worry, we'll offer a solution for you to correct it. Please don't send us email about this. The Beta selection will be in stages, based on criteria which include: * * * * Hardware specs (we need to test on a wide variety of hardware) Your Location Clan beta applications Darkfall community involvement

A degree of randomness is added to the process giving everyone the opportunity to be accepted. There are no guarantees that long-term followers or that clan beta applicants will be accepted, but there is extra consideration which applies. We'll keep you updated with information as it becomes available. Beta sign up order is irrelevant to the selection process.

Forum post - Beta Registration Open 29/08/08
http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?t=64329 http://www.darkfallonline.com/beta/ It's pretty straightforward, follow the instructions. If you get a confirmation at the end, we've received your beta application. There's no confirmation email.

Forum post - Darkfall Gameplay Trailer 29/08/08
http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?t=64217 This is where you can download the Darkfall Gameplay Trailer from: At Rapidgames http://games.rapidshare.com/gamesnew/detail.html?datei=_2008_09_mmo_darkfall_

.xml&rubrik=games Direct download link: http://media.darkfallonline.com/Darkfall_gameplay_trailer.zip On GamersHell http://www.gamershell.com/download_31814.shtml On FileFront (click Download now! under the player) http://files.filefront.com/Darkfall+gameplay+trailerwmv/;11645449;/fileinfo.html Torrent: http://media.darkfallonline.com/Darkfall%20gameplay%20trailer.wmv.torrent On youtube (in 6 parts): http://www.youtube.com/DarkfallOnline For those who don't know what to do with a torrent file here are some instructions: Step1: Get a BitTorrent client. For example uTorrent http://www.utorrent.com/ Step2: After installing the BitTorrent client, click the torrent link I posted to download the torrent file. Step3: Double-click on the torrent file to open it in your BitTorrent client program. I'll update this thread with any new information. We just wanted to get this out to you as soon as possible. Edit: It's Windows Media Player 9 codec

Forum post - 22/08/2008
http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?p=1574681 Hello, I thought to quickly check in before too much more time passes. As we step up publishing activities, the updates should increase in frequency and quality, which should make up for the ones we’ve been missing the last months. We take for granted sometimes that the Darkfall community is savvy enough to understand the limitations of independent game development and make allowances, however we’re also keeping track of what we need to give you in order for you to know exactly what you’re getting into with Darkfall. On progress, there are no major problems to report, some minor delays maybe here and there which don’t affect our timeline. Most of us had a short break, the last for a long time. Everyone is back and we officially entered into our crunch period on Monday. We’ve had several new people join the company the past month, and more on the way. There's a video coming out, most probably next week, or shortly after. We’re talking about a long 100% in-game pure gameplay trailer with no scripting, no simulation, no

post-processing. It’s us play-testing while fraps is running on free cameras and playercams and all the footage was collected and edited. The scenarios for it had to be run as part of our testing and development schedule as they came up. Nothing is scripted. We wanted to give you something that can put you in the true spirit of the game and this requires us to be actually playing the game like you would be, and not just taking you on a sightseeing tour or have a company make a marketing cinematic trailer for us. If you're experiencing problems with the website and the forums it's because these days we're upgrading our webservers and this should be going on most of next week as well. Thank you for your patience. Our next update would be the video, so until then, thanks for reading.

Forum post - European vs. N. America Launch 29/07/08
http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?t=61038 The answer to the question on whether we're going to launch in N. America and Europe at the same time is: "Right now it doesn't look that way" I’ve been frustrated by issues like these while waiting for a game myself, and I’ll try to explain this as well as I can: 1. First of all, this isn’t an issue of us being located in Europe. It just means that things are moving faster for Darkfall in Europe. A few months ago, it was the other way around and that’s how fluid things are at the moment. 2. It would be a publishing and a logistics issue that the European launch might precede a N. American launch. We have a publishing partner in Europe; we haven’t settled on one in N. America yet. Unfortunately as things stand right now, we can’t launch in both regions at the same exact time but, of course, we would like to. 3. While the actual status on this hasn’t changed much since our friends visited our offices, things are moving at a fast pace. 4. What we can say with relative certainty is that the first beta test will be on the European servers. This isn’t to say that N. American players will be excluded from it. 5. It also doesn’t necessarily mean that N. American players would be excluded from playing on a European server. 6. While we haven’t selected a publisher in N. America yet like we have in Europe, this doesn’t actually mean that we need one, or that we're going to wait for one, in order to launch the game there. 7. Our publishing effort has been for a common infrastructure and we’ve been adopting solutions with a global reach so that the setup in one region could be shared by- or quickly duplicated in the other. I don’t want to say that we could be up in N. America in no time, but that’s our intention. 8. It’s important to remember that our preferred scenario is to launch Darkfall in N. America and Europe at the same time. This is on our mind as we move forward. Even if we don’t manage this, it’s our intention to move very quickly to catch up.

Forum post – Status update 18/07/08
http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?t=60100 Briefly checking in with you on our progress:

We're working on two fronts, development and publishing. Development is mainly focused around testing and fixing bugs. We're also optimizing client and servers. We're playtesting a lot, we've also logged many hours of large battles and we're very excited with what we're experiencing. While playtesting we're getting a lot of video footage that's going to end up in a video we'll be releasing next month so you'll get an idea of what we've been talking about. As far as publishing activities go, we're working on the servers, customer and technical support, billing, and distribution solutions along with our partners. We've been hiring people in all departments, and we have eight new team members. Since it's summer and a lot of people are on vacation in Greece, we've been getting a lot of requests to visit the studio. We've already had a few people come over and we had to say no to a couple of others due to the bad timing of their visit. The people who have been here may or may not write about their visit, we didn't make them sign NDAs and we showed them the game. We enjoy these visits, but unfortunately we can't spare the time unless it's media so we won't allow more visits for at least a couple of months. We've also had some media over here and there should be a couple of articles in the local press. We've been putting in the long hours, so the next three weeks we're on a weekly vacation rotation, the last chance we'll get to rest for a long time. The next update will likely be in a couple of weeks. Thanks for reading.

Forum post - Community Q&A 02/07/2008
http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?t=58769 Here’s the QA…we worked with lists sent to us by community members and tried to answer as many as possible without too much embellishing. There was an effort to answer question categories that weren’t addressed in the previous Q&A’s. We didn’t address the questions having to do with beta and publishing due to recent developments, we would like more time before we get into that. Do different weapon types damage them (mobs) easier, like a spear, mace, etc.? Different monsters are vulnerable to different types of attack. In some cases they could be nearly immune to certain attacks like a fire elemental may not take fire damage. This applies to various armors and protections as well, the varying degrees in which they could protect the player against specific types of damage. There’s a whole system in place behind this, and players will learn from experience and through various information sources within the game. In regards to this (link) info, are factions in the way described still in? Factions work like they were described and this is through the quests. You get the symbol of the faction you’re working with when you accept the quest. Factions in Darkfall aren’t meant to be an active part of the world in themselves, but rather more

of a storyline element of the lore guiding the actions of the players. Will flying creatures (dragons, birds, etc) actually fly or just hover like in most MMO's? They fly, turn, they swoop down, and they hover as well depending on the situation. They work like a proper flying mob should. Will we see mobs walking around, with one mob every 5 meters, on a "zone" (EQ, wow, style)? Or will they be more spread, and you'll have to find them a bit? (Oblivion, morrowind style) More like Oblivion and Morrowind but it’s usually more complex than that…In Darkfall monsters have their own habitats, they’re not just scattered randomly. In the generic example of the goblins we tend to use, you would likely find them in a goblin village. Can you tell us anything about the way crafting materials are gathered? You can gather crafting materials from killing mobs, and looting and/or skinning them. You can harvest materials from the environment, for example from rocks, trees, bushes etc. You can get the materials faster from organized resource production, like mines and farms, while collecting in nature is slower. You can craft crafting materials used to build complex items when they’re made of building blocks. Finally you can kill players and take theirs. Are solo players able to venture into a clan controlled mine and harvest there if it’s not guarded? You can harvest in someone else’s mine, however they’ll get a message that you did. So as with everything else in the game, you’re free to do whatever you like, but you’re held accountable for your actions. What kind of explosives does DF have in it? By explosives I mean anything from exploding arrows to explosive traps. And I don't mean siege weapons--I mean explosives that someone can craft and use on his/her own. Darkfall has a thrown explosive called a battle spike, they’re crafted and there are various types. They’re used to damage structures and vehicles mostly. Darkfall also features several explosive spells. What about maps? How do maps work in game? Will it be possible to mark a map with an interesting location on? Darkfall has a global map and a mini map interface. There is also a weather map where you can zoom in to get local weather. You can add your own markers on the global map. Will the whole world map be visible from the start or will players have to explore to view the whole map? Yes it’s visible. The world is pre-existing; this isn’t the dawn of time in the storyline. We could have opted for map fog, but it’s just going to be a pain and someone will have a full map online anyway relatively quickly. I'm wondering is the cave system going to be complete at launch?

Nothing is ever complete in an MMO, but we’ve done what we planned to do for launch. How extensive is it? There are caves all over the world, the dwarves live inside a mountain, some clan city locations have caverns and tunnels going through them, there are the Dungeons, and the underwater passages. Can caves lead you well into another races territory going undetected below the ground surface? No they don’t. There's no need for that....the world is so massive you don't really need to sneak underground to go undetected. Will you actually have employees that’ll work closely with the community to record the happenings of a server and put it on the website in the form of Lore? We have talked about a journal before, and there will be an effort to have one. We have an automated feature like a newsreel in place which reports events as they happen. Players can access these newsreels even when they’re out of the game. You've mentioned that if you are attacked by someone of a "friendly" race and kill him while defending yourself, there is no alignment penalty. My question is what if you are attacked but the attacker misses, and you end up dealing the first blow to your attacker? Wouldn't this be interpreted by the game as you attacking the other player? Yes you’ll get hit with the alignment penalty. Turn-based games know what’s going to happen before it does, but Darkfall is a real-time game. You cannot lock a target, you actually have to aim. When you let an arrow fly towards a target, the system can’t know where it’s going until it hits. Between the time you let it fly and it hits something, many things can happen: someone could run into its path, the intended target could duck etc. While a turn-based game could deal with this specific scenario by penalizing the attacker, it misses out on all the real-time coolness. Is there an option for chat bubbles? No chat bubbles, no damage numbers jumping, no neon rings around your feet, no glowing characters, no radar, no attack indicators. You can spell-cast a beacon on someone that signals his location for the duration if you like but that’s about it. Do clans that don’t have a clan city have access to clan vaults? Yes they do if they go to a city. Will a clan member’s rank be visible as a title? Yes it’s visible right after his name when you identify them with a mouse-over. Are there writeable books in-game? Not really other than your player journal, various in-game public and clan forums there isn’t anything you can write on at this time.

Are offensive skills going to be dependent on supporting skills? For example, like in UO, to take up swordsmanship you needed Tactics and Anatomy. Is DFO going to be like that or if you want archery you can just take up archery? Both; there are skills that unlock others, but there are also skills you can just learn and practice without prerequisites. What’s the status on taming? There are no pets and no taming. Our goal was to move Darkfall as far away as possible from MMOG half-measures like instancing, zoning, use of NPCs where you can use players, various automations etc. So taming falls into that category in a way, on the other hand we give you mounts you can use in combat, which you can control to attack while you’re riding them. The functionality is there, we just don't feel that pets would add much to the game as it is. Will there be a sprint feature? There’s a sprint feature, using it will use up stamina. You can sprint for a reasonable amount of time before you run out of stamina. What happens when you run out of stamina? You can’t sprint, you can’t do melee attacks, you can’t run with a mount, and various other discomforts. Also, for the most part swimming in any MMO usually sucks major balls because it is so damn slow. Any idea how it will be in DF? In real-life, running is about 5 times faster than swimming so it’s an existing analogy. You can sprint-swim in Darkfall, it’s not that slow but if you want to get somewhere fast, you should probably use a vessel. Do you need a skill to place buildings (architect)? No skill, you need appropriate rank in the clan, or be the city mayor to place buildings. Can characters go into prone mode? No they can crouch though. Before someone feels this might be some pvp limitation, I’ll remind them that you can’t go prone in Counterstrike or Quake. If two people are dueling with swords, will their swords bump in to each other when they attack at the same time? Will there be sparkles, as a special effect? (In other words, is there weapon collision?) This is probably too much to ask for from a MMOG, and from most games for that matter. In console games where you might have seen something like this, it’s not the collision detection on the weapons that creates that effect. Can we move while we have an arrow stringed on our bow? Yes, you can move, jump, and crouch freely.

Most spells will burn up reagents. How common are these? Some spells don’t require reagents. For most of the ones that do, you can get them all over the world by harvesting, buy them at vendors, loot them, or you could build farms for higher outputs. Will they "stack" easily in our inventories? Yes they’ll stack. Does the low level spell/special ability become completely useless when you earn high level one like we can see in other games? That’s a good question actually. In Darkfall, the early spells are not useless at all. Some of them don’t require ingredients and they cast faster, fail less, so they’re very practical. Others are unique and really useful so they are used regularly throughout the character’s game-life. Is a staff/wand and reagents needed for healing spells as well? You always need a wand or staff to cast, but some spells don’t require reagents. Other than spells for healing you can use potions, food, and resting to recover hit points. In a war is it possible for me as a lone wolf, to hide in the city about to be sieged, and then kill whoever I want, or will the city be closed apart from to those involved? I said earlier in the Q&A that we try to move away from MMOG half-measures. So you’re free to do what you asked if you could do. We don’t lock any players out of events or locations like sieges, quests, dungeons, etc. Will there be sabotage that can be performed against enemy towns which doesn't involve siege warfare? You can destroy buildings at the rate of one per day without a siege. You can disable buildings without any limits. By ‘disable’ I mean that you can bring their structural integrity down to zero which negates all bonuses the building may give out, and functions that it may perform. Can boats sail from ocean to river and sail deep on into the continent? Yes you can depending on the size of the boat. If it’s too big, it could run aground; not fit inside a small river, it could get stuck under a low bridge etc. On the subject of mounts can I get knocked off in the middle of a battle? If your character gets incapacitated or killed, or if your mount is killed, you get knocked off. If I do what happens to my horse if everyone else dies will it just wander around the map so anyone can take it, or will it stay in the same area? The horse stays in the area for a while, then after a while it will die.

Do we acquire mounts except stealing them from other players? Do we buy them from vendors, are they bred/crafted or do they spawn in the wilderness? You summon them through a medium which is crafted. You can also loot this from players. Will mounts be allowed everywhere or will there be places where you can't mount? They’re allowed everywhere, and they can also swim.

Forum post - Publishing and game site article 30/06/2008
http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?t=58589 I see the community has already discovered a couple of news items so I'll briefly comment on them: As we've mentioned before we had been working on a self-publishing deal, and we've signed with AudioVisual Enterprises to work with us on the European distribution end of Darkfall's publishing. We will make an official announcement on this when it's time for it. Being a public company they are obligated to make a report of their dealings to the stock market and that's the announcement you read about. We're very happy to be working with them especially since we participate in the management of the project. About an article that appeared on a Greek game site on a short presentation I made at a Greek game developer conference, it's obvious that it contains many inaccuracies and mistakes due to limited knowledge on our game and company. I'm misquoted and misrepresented in the article and I sent them a correction request a few days ago but I see they haven't fixed it yet. What I said about Neocron specifically is that before Darkfall, the principles of Aventurine had looked at that game as a possible MMO title to be involved with.

Forum post – Status update 20/06/2008
http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?t=57888 Things are going well with the game testing and with the publishing activities. There are no serious problems to speak of, and we’re on schedule with our milestones. A couple of things that have us excited: The Darkfall world has been up in its entirety and seeing it all together we have to say that it’s a truly massive world, it’s larger than some countries. You can spend many hours just running through it, and there are so many amazing locations to explore. There's a focus on optimizing our massive battles capability; we want them to run as smoothly as possible with as many players as possible. We’ve been simulating massive battles and sieges with more than two hundred characters and getting a good 30-60 fps on average machines so far. Under normal loads we typically get over 150 fps and there are still several optimizations to be made so we expect these figures to improve quite a bit.

A little on what’s going on here other than development and business: We've started collecting in-game footage for a video update which is taking a while being low in the immediate priorities list, but moving along. There have been a couple of magazine interviews; we’ll let you know which ones when they come out. There are a couple of requests for online interviews which we’re doing as well. We made a Darkfall presentation at a local college with a videogame development program while there to recruit some junior QA personnel. Kjetil and I went there and we were happy to meet a lot of friendly and capable people. We were very pleased with the reception and the reaction to the game. We’re expecting some community members here in early-mid July, people who will be passing through or vacationing in Greece. These are people we’ve never met before that sent us emails on the occasion of their visit. We hope to be in a position to receive them properly; we really can’t plan that far ahead at this stage but we’ll do our best. Over the years we’ve received several visitors that just popped by, a recent one being Asp from the Lords of Death who wrote a piece about Darkfall and another being Bakatron who also wrote about his visit. There are a couple of updates that are forthcoming, and we’ll try for a Q&A a journal, or something along those lines for next week.

Forum post – Status update 23/05/2008
http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?t=55937 This is not an update as much as it is checking in with the community. Just to inform you about the sparse updates: they’re due to an urgent health problem that landed me in the hospital for a week and I’m still trying to catch up with work. Our main contact has left Warcry so we’ll see what we’ll be doing with the Journal there. We will be giving out a few interviews to various mainstream media and we will try to keep some specialized updates for the core Darkfall community. We’re looking at releasing a comprehensive video sometime in the next few weeks. We’re doing this ourselves and our first priority is working on the game, so we can’t just slap something together in a couple of days. We also won’t hire a production company to make a Darkfall-inspired cartoon for us, so we’ll be using actual Darkfall gameplay footage like we always do. I don’t have the time to continue last week’s Q&A but I’ll address some specific concerns stemming from it: I never said that public beta would be two weeks. I said several weeks. Public beta will be as long as it needs to be. We hope and we’re working hard so that it won’t need to be very long. The clan beta will likely be a stage of public beta. The announcement of launch within the year is an official company commitment and it’s not a guestimate. We’re making strides with publishing in the direction where we maintain full creative control on the game. The universal banking system we’re implementing in Darkfall is because we found it was very tedious not having it. Universal banks have become an industry standard for a reason. We've found that their existence does wonders for the fun factor as opposed

to their absence. Darkfall is challenging in every way, you don’t need it to be tedious. We’ll balance universal banks to work as well as possible and we’ll continue balancing them if we have to. As for caravans, firstly, we never confirmed that they were in the game. They were never in the original design; they weren’t announced as a feature, they were just brought up and have been promoted by some community members. We have looked at them as a possible cool feature but to be honest, I can't say they're that cool in practice. As things stand you can form a caravan using mounts, ships etc. With them you can move large quantities of goods, fairly fast, rather than running small loads back and forth over and over. The world is huge and the distances to travel are great and there will be a need for transport of large amounts of resources such as those intended for city building. You do have the freedom of forming caravans. You also have the option of universal banks. When we make design decisions like these, we’re thinking of the majority of players and we speak from experience. Few players would initially enjoy the absence of universal banks, but even they would get tired of the wasted time commitment. Finally, these raised undead armies, armies of dead players, and armies of NPCs etc. we keep reading on the boards: What’s this NPC fascination about? Why not raise a player army instead? Every bot takes up resources players could be using and Darkfall is a massive multiplayer game. Even if it’s all the rage in MMOs lately we want to further the multiplayer real-time aspect with Darkfall rather than go the other direction. There is no progress in having to introduce single player features such as more NPCs to a MMORPG. As for underscores, numbers, etc. in names it's just the way it works right now. If you don't like them, sure we'll take them out until you petition them back in when you run out of naming options. : ) There's no ETA for the next update, but we'll do our best on that. Thanks for reading

Developer Journal #26: Questions Answered 09/05/2008
http://www.warcry.com/articles/view/devjournals/darkfalljournals/4883-Darkfall-DevJournal-26-Questions-Answered In this week's update, we answer questions from the community. There are several we haven't answered on purpose, hoping to be able to demonstrate instead. Many of you are asking for a video. We hear you, and we're on it as soon as we can. There were also many questions on the public beta and release dates. To this I can say now, that during a planning meeting we determined that our launch date will be inside 2008, with the public beta preceding it by a few weeks. This is official and internally we're a lot more specific, but pending an announcement, we cannot say more at this time. On with the questions: 1. How many people can now bind to a clanstone? The number will depend on your buildings and upgrades. There's a base number which isn't finalized but it probably won't exceed 50. This number goes up with new

buildings and upgrades to buildings. 2. On "all race clans". There are several questions on this. The only change we made to our original plans is that we took out the clan city NPC reaction to the owners of the city regardless of race. This means that NPC guards won't attack racial enemies if they belong to the clan, and NPC vendors will trade with them. It makes sense that it would work this way, but the main reason we did this is in the spirit of player freedom, and not wanting to overly restrict player socialization for reason of race. This is not a game with factions as seen in other games. You don't have races with limited interaction or limited ability to interact. There will be one character race per world, so again this makes sense to us. Having said that: All race clans cannot go everywhere as a clan. Certain members are always at risk of being attacked by racial enemies, and present an alignment problem to defend (see question 3 below). There's concern by the community that mega-clans will form and own cities in all areas of the world. Size presents serious management problems, but also in Darkfall, the more you own, the more you have to lose. All things considered equal, a compatible race clan can have an advantage over an all race clan. 3. Imagine if a Mahirim and Mirdain player are grouped and are playing in (For example) Mercia. They bump into a human who wants to kill the Mahirim for extra alignment. If the grouped Mirdain attacks the human to help his Mahirim friend, will the Mirdain get an alignment penalty? Yes, he will take an alignment penalty and this is a limitation for all race clans and groups. 4. What are you working on right now? As far as Darkfall development: polishing the game in every way imaginable, and working on quality assurance of the beta version, updating it several times a day. Even if it's a short description, it's a huge job but it's going well. 5. Have any steps been taken to ease the meat grinder effect on new players as they enter the Darkfall world? Let's assume for the sake of argument that there's an area in Darkfall where "lowbie hunters" like to camp for newbs. Most of the time, these individuals or groups will end up fighting each other. In Darkfall you're never sure how advanced or new a player is since we have no levels. Furthermore, in Darkfall, starting players are not helpless and can defend themselves well enough, and in groups they can discourage people from preying on them. There are guards in starting areas providing protection. There are guards in clan cities if the new players are in a clan. There's an invulnerability period of several minutes after death as long as the player doesn't perform an action. The world is truly huge so it's very easy to avoid people, especially with the lack of radar. 6. Magic vs. Melee combat. Pound for pound melee has more power but this is not a pound for pound game. Darkfall is a real-time game requiring player skill, and the attacks are aimed. It is not

a reaction game, it is not a turn based game, it's not a game where you sit there button-mashing and trading blows with someone. Nor is this a game where you're pigeonholed into being a magician, or a tank etc. The spell user could switch at any point to a two handed axe and the melee fighter might switch to a bow or to a staff and cut down the fleeing opponent. The Darkfall answer to this question is that it depends on the circumstance, the player position, player skill, readiness, tactics etc. 7. Will armor protect from spell damage? Yes it can. 8. Is magic going to be primarily for damage, or primarily for support? Both and depending on the situation, a spell could devastate a group of players. Personally I would use magic in a specialized, rather than saying a support role. I'd use it for range, for area of effect use, to blow people away and off of things- and to finish them off.. whether I was playing solo or in a group. 9. Will close combat be primarily for damage, or primarily for protecting the mages and archers? Again, both. 10. Will magic require players to carry around a wand/staff to use spells? Yes players need to carry a wand or a staff, and the components to cast their spells. Very few spells don't require components. 11. Can you give us some more details on the blocking system? Parrying, is it in? If so does it work like blocking? Blocking works by choosing to block, during which you cannot attack. You will often still take damage, usually reduced. You have to be facing your opponent to block. Parrying works the same way. 12. How is the naming going to work and what characters are permitted in names? Right now we allow only letters of the English alphabet, the underscore, and limited use of numbers. You select a first and a last name and this combination has to be unique. 13. Is there underwater combat? Are there any restrictions? Yes there is. Spells and ranged weapons can't be used in underwater combat. 14. How is the "deleting loot" issue going to be addressed? You can delete only one item at a time, and there's a timer between items. You won't have time to delete much at all, even if you train yourself to do it. You have a better chance at fleeing than dropping your guard in order to delete stuff which you could possibly salvage should you get away. 15. How does incapacitation work?

When your hitpoints go to zero, (unless you're killed outright through decapitation or scull crushing) then you're incapacitated. You're on your back and there's a timer running. In the time it takes the timer to run out you can be revived, you can tap out, or you can be finished off. When the timer runs out you're dead. 16. Do spells travel at different velocities? Yes they do, they can also have different physics and different ranges. 17. What is the status on in-game message boards? They're in the game, you can look at your player journal and interact with it, you have your clan controls there, a variety of message boards and a lot more which we prefer not to mention at this time. 18. More info on the development on universal banks please. I'll give you some insight as far as our decision goes to include them. We decided on universal banks for practical gameplay reasons: This is a full loot game. You'll have to re-equip yourself often and it's convenient. It allows you to explore without having to always go back to where you came from. It promotes socialization between players; you can go to a clan city and use their bank perhaps if they allow you to. We also use universal banks in our game mechanics: they're tied in with city building and conquest but I cannot elaborate on that yet. Thank you for reading. Tasos later also added: As much as I enjoy seeing heated arguments on the community board, I think some of you are getting a bit ahead of yourselves: When I mention one race per server I'm making an argument in the racial context. The reason you can choose to play only one race is because we allow one character per server, and this has been explained before over and over as the only way to ensure player accountability. So let me confirm again that Darkfall has one character per server and that's not going to change. We wouldn't go changing a feature without announcing it and explaining why we did it. We're not in the habit of just 'slipping in' feature changes. Sorry if this created any confusion, I'll try to be more careful next time.

Developer Journal #25: Philosophy 11/04/2008
http://www.warcry.com/articles/view/devjournals/darkfalljournals/3570-Darkfall-DevJournal-25-Philosophy In this journal we'll talk a little about our beta testing process, about playtesting, our philosophy on announcing a release date, and I also have some comments on the reactions to the last journal.

Darkfall is feature complete and we're doing beta testing using professional testers as we've said before. Our policy on testing has always been that it's to aid the developers in making Darkfall as stable as possible, and not to aid some artificial goal like investor relations, or public relations. We don't care about that and the effectiveness of testing based on these goals is very questionable judging by the beta leaks everyone is accustomed to and which have been hurting the games in question. It's also not good for the players because they usually don't enjoy the experience. We don't expect playtesting to sort out major problems, other than getting reports on hardware configurations and further testing out some gameplay features. We prefer to do our testing this way so by the time we get to the playtesting, we'll have as close to the actual game as possible. We would like to let the playtesting carry on for a while uninterrupted just like the actual game would be instead of allowing access for a few days here and there. That's the best way to decide if the game is fun, something you really can't have an opinion on when it's not nearcomplete. In the playtesting phase, we're not looking for testers, we're looking for players, the same way most people enter a beta: to try out and play the game rather than help the developer with quality assurance. Darkfall testing put simply consists of testing each and every feature of the game and all associated features in a pyramid structure. It's not the same as testing a railroad, linear game. There's no path to follow, Darkfall is a sandbox game and we have to make allowances for numerous combinations of occurrences. Take the closest Darkfall comes to anything scripted: even in quests there is no instancing and there are more than one ways to complete it including PvP ways. There is no single set of actions and the end justifies the means. image Something that Darkfall has that other games may lack during testing is help from the AI. In Darkfall the game doesn't really distinguish between a player and the AI. The AI are bots actually living their life and skilling up within the game. The AI has been helping us test a large part of the game almost as if players were in it. Our tools allow us to test features locally, we can run servers on any operating system and we run multiple clients per machine to which anyone in the office can connect to, in order to assist with what's being tested. At the moment we're testing clans and conquest and we're continuing the terrain testing which has been a long process. Based on the above, it's conceivable that we may be further along in development than several games in beta, or with announced release dates. So why don't we announce a date already? It's because there's no way we'll miss a release date and we're not going to just set a date as a goal, and either postpone or be forced to release something unfinished. We resolve to stick with our release date because we know how people tend to plan around this as far as organization, time and hardware goes when they're looking to make a commitment to an MMORPG, especially a competitive one like Darkfall. In the last update, several people took exception having recognized a game they're playing, or a game they're waiting for in what I wrote. Different people identified different games and felt they had to defend them. The truth is that I wasn't referring to a single game and that definitely wasn't the point of that journal. The point of the previous journal was that Darkfall is completely different, that we're putting so much into delivering gameplay and to giving players all the freedom to

make the world anything they want without guiding them one way or another. We're not known for our graphics, because as with everything else we've been honest with them showing you the game's progression (who does that?), and yet today they're as good as anything out there. The bottom line is that, even if the feeling isn't mutual, we don't feel competitive towards other games because Darkfall is indeed a totally different game. We welcome the "too good to be true" or the "Darkfall promises everything" ranting about Darkfall because we're in a position to know that we'll offer more than we promise. If we're going to be called anything right before we come out, "too good to be true" is about as good as it gets. We dismiss this kind of ranting though because it's almost never well-intentioned, and often created in a negative effort to boost other games, or they're stunts trying to use the active Darkfall community to fire up their own. It's easy to be cynical: Why should Darkfall work if nobody's ever tried this before? I would think however that this should be a compelling reason to root for it, as many of you do. Either way, you'll be the final judge of this game by playing it and that's all that matters to us. Thank you for reading.

Developer Journal #24: Full Freedom Gameplay and Substance 28/03/2008
http://www.warcry.com/articles/view/devjournals/darkfalljournals/3070-Darkfall-DevJournal-24-Full-Freedom-Gameplay-and-Substance We've been under the radar for a while now working hard on testing the beta among other things. In the meanwhile we unveiled many new screenshots in the official site's screenshot gallery and as part of the racial descriptions, as well as here on Warcry, for those that missed them. These screenshots show upgrades in our graphics yet again. The typical reaction to the screenshots has been for people to wonder what kind of beast they're going to need to play the game. It's not like that at all. Everything in Darkfall has been optimized for speed since it has been made for massive warfare. To give you an idea, you could get good gameplay displaying graphics like our latest screenshots using an average - above average system and a Geforce 6600 graphics card. The graphics are very scalable, with the difference that you won't look at the screenshot graphics, and your own scaled-down graphics will look like crap in comparison. I see official screenshots from other games that look amazing, then I see some in-game screens and they're an insult. We don't have a 'screenshot setting only' to sell you the game - all of Darkfall's graphics settings are fully useable. Furthermore, the Darkfall engine can be set to auto-scale real-time to maintain your desired framerate. Our number one priority is gameplay, and this is why the graphics have just recently started coming along in a big way. Having said that, the screenshots and videos still do not do the live game justice...your game screen will look far better than anything we've shown you so far. I've been reading the official forums and I'll offer some information here on some of the things the community has been asking about: The size of the world: From the ones we know about, It's at least more than twice the land area size of the largest announced or released MMO out there. This world is also

seamless and zoneless. You won't see people popping up everywhere, or camping your zone drop. We feel that this is crucial for a PvP game. To run from one end to another at regular running speed could take more than 8 hours. This is just an estimate: It could take less or more time depending on your route. It's not the exact size of the world which is that important though, it's what's in it. We could conceivably make an endless barren world but what's the point of that? In Darkfall our world is full of content, we keep adding more every day and it's all usable: Movement is not restricted, you don't have to stick to road travel, there are no invisible walls, no impassable mountains. Furthermore, you can go to places we didn't necessarily mean for you to go to by running, swimming, diving, climbing, using ladders, elevators, get blasted up, boosted up...any way you can get there, we've placed no restrictions. The scale of the Darkfall world is closer to realism than any other MMO we've seen. In Darkfall snowcaps are earned. This effectively multiplies the size of the world in a much bigger way than in most scaled down MMO worlds. The crafting system in Darkfall has been designed to be useful first and foremost. It's not very complicated and we haven't tried to reinvent the wheel with it. You can craft any and all items in the game. In Darkfall having good gear is one of the elements needed for maximizing your combat potential. Each item you craft bears your name on it for the life of the item and that has a value in itself. The question I'm replying to is variations of "why is the crafting system sophisticated, intuitive, and fun?" I'm not going to describe it more than we have already, but I'll say again that the value of crafting in Darkfall is that it's so very important in the game, more so than in any other MMO. Enchanting items is more challenging in that you have to discover the recipes, research, there's a process which is challenging and fun for those who enjoy that kind of thing. On the topic on figurines: mounts which can be summoned using a crafted figurine which can be stored in your backpack. There are a hundred of pseudo-realistic ways to implement mounts in the game of which most are just a pain in the ass of gameplay. We believe that our way is the most gameplay, player, PvP, and crafter friendly approach. Other than that, the mounts are full service, you can do combat on them, move anywhere you like, they can be killed independently or from under you, they don't magically disappear when you dismount, they can be stolen, abandoned, and looted. Anyone can have a mount in Darkfall, and you don't need to fulfill a special set of conditions, reach a certain level, save gold for months, win a contest, or preorder the game to own one. The reason we don't allow items on the ground is because there's no reason for items to be on the ground. Darkfall inherently supports this option but we don't have it enabled as to avoid exploitation and specifically the creation of lag by placing hundreds of items on the deck. Same reason why corpses after a while turn to gravestones. Our progress with publishers is steady, unfortunately everyone moves at their own speed. Unless something unexpected happens, we are self-publishing in at least one territory so we've been working on that and using our time constructively to that end. Our publishing capability allows us to go ahead with public beta if this process looks like it might take much longer. Speaking of public beta, I read someone wished we would give a date, and equated that to professionalism on our part. I won't disagree with that, however giving a public beta date in order to get preorders, even if that means you have to announce consecutive delays, while professional, is not part of our business model. We'll announce a public beta date when we know for sure that it's the right date. Until then, at best, we can give you an idea of our milestones. Darkfall

preorders by the way aren't applicable. Our hope for Darkfall is that you won't spend a cent on the game until you've tried it and decided you want to play it. At the moment, our target for public beta/ playtesting is ASAP, and we're doing everything we can to get there. We want our public beta to be the full game; we want this period to be a solid gaming experience and not one day here and thirty minutes there. We want it to be fast, fun and stable. This is why at the moment we're engaged in heavy internal beta testing using professional testers to get the game ready. Someone asked for a description of a typical PvP and a PvE encounter: To this I'll answer that there is no typical encounter in Darkfall. There are too many variables and you never know what you're getting into. Here's a quick PvE encounter for you nevertheless: You ride up to a seemingly abandoned village and you get off your mount to explore it. As you enter through a gate, you hear a sound just as a mob jumps on you from above and connects with its weapon. You back up trying to mess up its range while you pull out your battleaxe. You rush the mob which circle-strafes you and you miss in your initial attacks. You manage to trade a couple of blows with it and it turns and runs. You pull out your bow and you notice it's doing the same as it's running off. You aim for its back and right as you release, your aim is thrown off by the explosion of a fireball which knocks you back and you miss. By the time you recover, the initial mob starts landing arrows on you and its friends are shooting spells while a couple are closing in to engage you with melee weapons. You run to your mount under fire and you try to get away but it gets killed from under you and you have to run away zigzagging because your character is in bad shape. Just as you think you're safe, an arrow, fired by another player you haven't seen in all the commotion, finishes you off and you're summarily stripped of your belongings. The End. 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. When you hear character development, most other MMOs start talking character creation. Character development is the substance however. Darkfall's skill system means you can't mess up your character and it makes for the most versatile character development system out there. How many times have you rerolled your character after choosing some weird class you knew very little about? If a game has levels it's going to be a grind plain and simple and you can't sugar-coat that. If a PvP game has levels, the higher levels typically have an impossible advantage so you have to get to maximum level just to be viable and to hope for an even playing field. In Darkfall everyone is viable and can PvP from day one. We vehemently resist the notion that too much player freedom is a bad thing so we're pushing the envelope wherever we can on that, despite popular opinion. I would be remiss if I didn't thank the community for their patience, their continued feedback, their initiative, and support. Thank you for reading.

Warcry - Three Exclusive Screens of Severii 21/03/2008
http://www.warcry.com/articles/view/screenshots/3045-Darkfall-Three-ExclusiveScreens-of-Severii Today we have three exclusive screenshots of Severii, a stronghold which houses an undead army commanded by the will of Cyriacus. Cyriacus is a godlike and ancient

skeletal dragon. Severii fortresses are found throughout the Alfar nation of Nagast and Cyriacus himself (the Alfar area demigod) is said to occasionally manifest within its borders. Aventurine SA also passes down word that they are going to release updated images of the Alfar, Orks, Dwarves and Mirdain on the official site's race section later today. Also, next Friday, Associate Producer Tasos Flambouras will be back with a new written update here on WarCry.

Darkfall location test video and screens 26/02/2008
http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?t=50282 For today's update we put together a medley of location test videos taken from and around clan cities and racial outposts. You can download the video here (approximately 114MB) You can also find six location test screenshots in the gallery section of the site which closer resemble the actual screen quality of the game - free of the considerable video compression degradation. No journal this week, we'll post one when the Warcry guys are back.

Developer Journal #23: 29 Fan Questions 25/01/08
http://www.warcry.com/articles/view/devjournals/darkfalljournals/2868-Darkfall-DevJournal-23-Tasos-Answers-29-Fan-Questions Continuing last week's QA, here are 29 questions answered. I'm trying to answer everything and I'm not cherry picking as some people suggested last week. I'm just going down a list of questions. There are a lot of questions which are very poorly worded, difficult to understand their meaning and some which are just totally foreign to the Darkfall spirit and are inspired by other MMOs which we also try to answer in a Darkfall context. Next journal ETA is unknown due to a heavy workload I need to focus on, and I hope you can appreciate that I didn't break this week's up into 2 installments. Fan Question: Will the crafting system works with blueprints? Tasos Flambouras: No, you learn your recipes as you raise your trade skills. It's different with enchantment, and advanced crafting. In crafting you have a failure rate based on your skill level and when you fail you'll burn crafting components. The rarer the component, the lower the chance you'll lose it. Fan Question: What will the construction system be like? Also, will players be able to create a city in mountains or in underground locations? Tasos Flambouras: I'm not going to directly answer this question because we intend to show you at some point how the construction system works. Describing it here is not

descriptive enough. We've said before that "building anywhere" is relative. In Darkfall you can't build in any location you want, but this provides with unique clan cities built in awesome locations. So your clan city can be built on top of a glacier, have a waterfall hiding its entrance, be built on several levels on the side and in caverns inside a mountain, have secret underwater entrances, on a remote island...that kind of thing. These clan city features are not just about aesthetics, like where you ask about customizations, there is functionality in their layout. Darkfall's clan cities are extremely impressive and no two will be the same. Furthermore their location is strategic as far as geography and proximity to limited resources, making them points of conflict. Fan Question: If there are any regular clanstones off of the main continent, what kind of NPCs will be available? Tasos Flambouras: Every clanstone is associated with a race, even in the subcontinents. Fan Question: Does the main continent have chaostones throughout (i assume that silvertown has one) or does it only have regular (player controllable)clan stones? Tasos Flambouras: There are a few chaos stones in the neutral areas around the middle of the main continent. Fan Question: How long does it take a build city from a let's say guild with ~80 working hour a day (with sufficient funds given)? How long does it take to tear down a city from group of ~80 who have already conquered the city? Tasos Flambouras: I hate to estimate but let's say you could fully build up a city if you're working hard at it in about a month. That estimate could be way off at launch, but at least you know that it doesn't take three days or a year. Then you can break down the city a building a day or a building section (for fortifications) a day. Of course it's not efficient to do that when you could keep the city you conquered. image Fan Question: How much is player involved in crafting? Is it the collect items and automatic transform when you have enough skill, is it something with success %, is it something completely different? Tasos Flambouras: Crafting is pretty involved...you have to collect, or trade to acquire the raw materials, then the crafting of complex items is broken down into crafting sessions and you have to craft the building blocks first. There's a crafting time of a few seconds to several minutes. You have a success probability based on your skill, and the quality of the finished item will also vary from crafter to crafter. There are different considerations in enchantment and advanced crafting as well, which we'll leave for another time. Fan Question: Can a single character max out/top end multiple fields in crafting. IE My dwarf is an armor smith, weapon smith and enchanter maxed. Tasos Flambouras: You can max out multiple crafting skills assuming you're using them a lot, but it will take a long time to achieve. Fan Question: Will farming provide a challenge or will it just be a grind fest?

Tasos Flambouras: Farms are mostly located inside and around clan cities. Farming is a harvesting and logistical exercise. You also have to control who is using your farm. You can deplete a farm's resources but they'll grow back, so careful management is required for maximum yield. Fan Question: Can items be recycled (turned into gold or resources)? Tasos Flambouras: They can be recycled by selling to a vendor or another player, by crafters modifying them, and there was a salvage skill which is not active at the moment for economy balancing reasons. We may or may not reintroduce it. Fan Question: Will there be any way to visually detail the items you craft? i.e. If my clan had a logo or emblem would i be able to visually put it on my crafted items Tasos Flambouras: No you cannot and this is done for practical reasons. The crafted item however has the name of the crafter on it. Fan Question: What are the requirements to start a clan? i.e. A minimum number of players, charter fee like WoW or a combination of different things? Tasos Flambouras: There's a small charter fee. Fan Question: Will ARAC and/or negatively aligned clans be able to hire guards/NPCs? Will ARAC clans only be able to bind to Chaos stones? Will Alfar be able to join clans of other races? Tasos Flambouras: We're working through different options here trying to make it less annoying for the players who just go into the game and choose a race without knowing the details about the clan restrictions, and then going to their clan and finding out they messed up. It won't be optimal, and a single race clan will have an advantage within its area, but we're making an effort to minimize the pain for ARAC clans. At the same time we're trying to maintain the racial aspect of the game as much as possible. NPC's are an issue and we have several ways of addressing this which will be tested in the beta. Fan Question: Camera mode. Is it adjustable (changing back and forth between 1st and 3rd), is it forced and can we roll it around if not in combat (aka. with cumbersome system to prevent anti-sneaking tool)? Tasos Flambouras: You can't see your character's face in Quake unless there's a mirror surface or your character gets killed. In Darkfall you can see it when on a mount, or on a ship, or when you're on your back incapacitated. We're considering a vanity setting where you can look at how pretty your character is without compromising the gameplay. image Fan Question: What are the spell casting mechanics going to be like? Similar to wow? Different casting times for different spells or more like oblivion having them all cast instantly but dig much deeper into your mana pools? Tasos Flambouras: You have different casting times for different spells depending on the spell. Also different mana usage, reagent burn, and recast time depending on the spell.

Fan Question: Can magic spells *fail* to cast due to skill level? Tasos Flambouras: Yes they can. It's not to the point of being annoying but it will happen, especially in the first few times you use the spell. Fan Question: Bardic Spells - Are they in the game, if so what do they do? Can you explain what a "Bard" is like in Darkfall? Instruments required? What kind of instruments do you have? Can you actually play these instruments, or is it the same tune and you simply press a "play" button? Tasos Flambouras: No bardic spells. Fan Question: What are the current schools of magic? Anything changed inside those 12 known ones or are you willing to reveal more schools? Tasos Flambouras: There were 12 schools that were upped to 13 schools which got cut down to 10. We may reintroduce the three which were cut (Ritual, Divine, and Wild magic). They were cut because they were redundant the way the other schools worked. The schools that are in at the moment are: Lesser-Greater - Fire - Water Earth - Air - Witchcraft - Necromancy - Spell Chanting - and Arcane magic. Fan Question: Is there mass disease rituals and can those diseases spread. How large is the scale of those mentioned effects, basically what´s the biggest aoe within your skill system? Tasos Flambouras: There are disease spells but not area of effect, rather individual. They are not contagious. The largest area of effect spell we have is pretty impressive but I can't say yet how impressive. Fan Question: Since you have to aim spells do they have a max range and/or an arch system like arrows or do they just fly for 'x' amount of time. Given your proposed weather system will this effect bolt style spells? Tasos Flambouras: There's a maximum range, and there are spells which arch as well. The weather system doesn't affect bolts. Fan Question: What's the largest successful conflict occurrence that testers have had without latency/lag issues? Tasos Flambouras: I can't say what the largest was but we simulate more than a hundred without problems. Keep in mind that this is before optimizations. Fan Question: How's the situation with prestige classes? Are you going to implement them after release, or are they dropped out completely? Tasos Flambouras: No, we're putting them on the backburner and prioritizing them for after release. It's an option which would be available a bit later in the evolution of a character anyway so we don't think anyone's going to miss this feature by the time it's implemented. image Fan Question: How many crafting skills are intended for release? (rough estimate? more than 10, less? more than 20?)

Tasos Flambouras: More than twenty. Fan Question: Is there a possibility of having multiple skill levels to perform a single spell? Tasos Flambouras: Spells go up in power based on skill level. Take a fireball for instance; there are a few points in a character's skill progression where the spell gets a power boost until it maxes out. This boost isn't linear. The difference between a 99 skill and a 100 skill fireball for example is really large. You get one really powerful fireball at 100 and then your skill drops to 99 again and you have to get it back up to fire it again. Another answer to what this question may be asking is that there are skill tree-like prerequisites for casting certain spells. So you need one before you can start casting the other. Fan Question: Can we stack spells before releasing them? like have a fireball, ice shard and lightning bolt charged at the same time before releasing them all together like a torrent of magic...?! Tasos Flambouras: No we can't Fan Question: Will there be alignment hits for attacking but not killing a character of the same race? Tasos Flambouras: As things stand right now, there is none. The attacker however goes gray to everyone of a positive alignment and can be killed without a penalty.

Developer journal #22: Community Q&A 18/01/2008
http://www.warcry.com/articles/view/devjournals/darkfalljournals/2813-Darkfall-DevJournal-21-Community-Q-A Thanks to everyone for submitting their questions, I'm not sure if I expected this many. I answered a couple which I thought were important to be answered immediately, and then picked some random ones. We'll go down this list of questions and answer as many of them as possible. We just have twelve today, I wanted to do more of them and balance out the topics a bit, but it wasn't possible due to time constraints. I'll continue on to next week with more. Thanks to Shaar for categorizing these questions for us. In answering the specific question, I try to answer related questions as well. I may answer yours as part of someone else's. The questions posted are just there for reference, and that's why I won't add the name of the person asking. Here's the first batch: Community: Will the game be downloadable, or do I have to wait for a CD to ship to the nearest EBgames? Tasos Flambouras: We strongly believe in digital distribution so Darkfall will definitely be downloadable with a number of options available for that. Of course there would also be a DVD option for those who prefer it.

Community: why has Darkfall had such a hard time securing a solid publisher and with the impending release of both age of Conan and Warhammer online aren't you concerned that the game will be unable to maintain a self sustaining profitable player base considering that the other games have giant budgets and giant advertising campaigns. Tasos Flambouras: In very simple terms, it's not so much as Darkfall having a hard time securing a publisher as it is that publishers have had a hard time securing Darkfall. I'll explain: We do have the capability to self-publish, so the competition to any publishing offer, aside from other offers, is our own plan for self-publication. In our self-publishing scheme we hire the same services that most publishers use so in effect "cutting out the middleman" is usually to our advantage, especially since as a newcomer in the gaming industry it's rare to get a fantastic deal. Furthermore, getting a publishing deal isn't crucial to us in regards to development, and we won't just jump at offers. We have the "luxury" to try to do what's best for the game in this context. That being said, we have been and still are in discussions with publishers who present a good and viable alternative to our self-publishing plan. Giant budgets and giant advertising campaigns demand giant paydays. We definitely don't need to be a World of Warcraft killer to be successful, but the same may not be true about some of the other games in development. When faced with the question of budget allocation we decided that it's more important for us to first make as good a game as possible and then to market it on its merit. The opposite doesn't work in the long run, and quality would be compromised by taking some of the development resources and throwing them into marketing so we're betting everything on our strength. We couldn't compete with some of the large titles when it comes to marketing since it all comes down to dollars and cents, but we can still make one hell of a game. Community: How common will mounts be? Will they be cheap so everyone can afford one or will they have a high price to give a bit "Risk Vs Reward" of using them. + Related questions Tasos Flambouras: Mounts won't be cheap so there will be the Risk vs. Reward aspect. However, they'll be affordable to the intermediate player, so we expect to have a lot of mounts in the game. They're fantastic for transportation and their use in combat is specialized. In many cases, fighting on foot is better and we believe there's a pretty good balance in place. Mounts are crafted into a figurine that you can carry on your person, so they're also lootable. When deployed, they're also killable. There are five different types with several color variations, also with the possibility of more mount types being introduced in the future. Community: Can you teleport to each of your clans cities? Tasos Flambouras: You could by using runestones and tying them to your cities. They're expensive, they have limited uses and they're lootable. If someone were to loot your runestone, they could go to wherever you've tied it to. Community: What happens if two ships crash together? Tasos Flambouras: You can't ram another ship for damage. You can block it though and fire into it, board it from your ship, take it over etc. There are many tactical reasons why you wouldn't want someone ramming your ship a certain way, especially if it presents a firing opportunity to their cannons or if they have a large boarding

party waiting to jump onto yours. Ramming other ships or blocking them in will probably be used in naval battles where several ships are present. Community: Clarification of the statement from Journal 20 that it matters where you get hit. Does this mean it matters in relation to knockback or that hit boxes have been added? Tasos Flambouras: It matters in relation to knockback which can mess up your aim, but also to damage you take when hit in front and the back. You take much more damage in the back. There were more hitboxes available but not anymore and this was done for practical reasons. Also as things stand now, there are no one-shot kills in Darkfall. Community: Siege engines- Will they only do damage to structures or can they hit people too? Tasos Flambouras: They'll do damage to characters, mounts, other siege engines, and boats as well. They're used in city defense. We also want to see players setting up and positioning cannons and other siege engines for massive battles. Depending on the type of siege engine, new dimensions are added to battlefield tactics. Community: With the more advanced AI of enemy monsters, how relentless will they be when it comes to pursuit? Will they follow us a set duration of time or distance, would they be smart enough to stop if we ran to a city? Also, along a similar line, if an enemy monster is outnumbered and out matched will it flee to find nearby allies? Tasos Flambouras: They'll follow you around but they won't follow you forever, they'll return to their area. They will call for help, and they'll also flee when the odds are stacked up against them or if they're damaged. The AI constantly assess the situation and will react accordingly but not in a consistently predictable manner. This is something I have personally never enjoyed in other MMOs that I've played, but it's fun fighting AI in Darkfall. Community: Beta ETA (we all understand possible setbacks that's nature of the industry but a 1 month 2 yrs or something would be great) Tasos Flambouras: Previous estimates on beta were honest educated estimates based on facts at the time. Circumstances have a way of changing, so we don't want to try to estimate again when so many things are in flux. The only thing certain is that we expect everything to come together one way or another within a few months so that our launch can be within the year. When we decide whether to go with a publisher or to self publish we will announce a beta date. Community: How much will light armor exactly hamper my spell casting? Will it be so enormous that robes are a must for every spell caster and that leather is already a big no-no? Tasos Flambouras: If you're a serious spell caster, you'll probably want to be in robes since wearing armor to a varying degree will add penalties to your spell casting time and your spell casting ability. Community: Will there be pole arms long enough to create a phalanx type formation? Tasos Flambouras: There are some polearms which are pretty long, and reach matters so I suppose you could simulate this if you can maintain discipline in your ranks.

Community: If a player of a friendly race attacks you and in defending yourself you have to kill him, do you take an alignment hit? Tasos Flambouras: I'm assuming in this answer that everyone involved is of the same alignment. When attacked you'll get some time to attack and kill your attacker without the penalty. If you're with friends and they help you, they won't take the hit. If a bystander sees you getting attacked and kills the attacker, he won't get the hit. You could say that the attacker "goes gray" to everyone of a positive alignment. In order to negate this effect in accidents we've removed it from clanmates and people in the same group. So if you accidentally swing into your clanmate or someone in your group, you won't be open game to everyone. As you can probably deduce from this, you can spar freely with clanmates or with people that you're grouped up with because there's no alignment penalty.

Developer journal #21: Summary Status 11/01/2008
http://www.warcry.com/articles/view/devjournals/darkfalljournals/2796-Darkfall-DevJournal-21-Summary-Status I skipped last week's journal and was almost forced to do the same this week, trying to get back into the swing of things and catching up with a lot of backed up work. I'll do a summary status update this time, and if Warcry is OK with it, I'll do a QA type update inspired by Darkfall community postings for next week. Anyway, since the last journal some people had a few precious days off to go home and spend the holidays with their families. This year we had a very short break, less than we've ever taken, trying to get back to the loads of work waiting for us. We're regrouping now getting back to work on some really awesome new equipment. We've been doing a lot of work around the office setting everything up to run as it should. The new equipment has been helping to speed up the remaining tasks and making our lives a little easier with a lot of things. A sound studio is being set up on-site to help with the final sounds for the game. Also at the moment, we're building a new server cluster. Overall, we have a near complete implementation of the game, speaking of the technology and our feature list. A few things that are not implemented yet but in the works are some clan controls, the environment system, and some AI optimizations. The Darkfall AI resembles Quake bots in the Darkfall context of course. They are not the stupid predictable AI you meet in most MMOs, waiting around to meet their fate. They challenge the player and help train him since they behave like someone's controlling them. A new tabbed message system is also being implemented where you can move and arrange your tabs anywhere and any way you like. It's full of cool features like for example you can drag and drop items in there to show someone their stats, or you can arrange for your kill messages to pop up FPS style in the middle of your screen etc. We're running the game through proper QA testing at the moment, and doing full optimizations to make sure everything will run smoothly even when demands on the game are high. Content of course is demanding a lot of our attention, and at the moment we're building and placing infrastructure like roads, towers etc, still adding quests, and art assets for these are continually being made. Sounds are being added to everything

and more effects on spells and wherever else they're needed. We're making some strides in filling some needed positions. A new artist has already joined the team. We still have a few positions to fill, especially internal testers, and we're always on the lookout for good people whether we have job openings or not. Since the positions we need are on-site and we're in Greece it's never easy since a great deal of qualified applicants need to relocate to come and work for us. It's depressing sometimes to hear that some game studios have "screenshot teams" larger than our art department, on the other hand that's what independent game studios are about. I've been checking out the community forums and I have to say that I've enjoyed the level of discussion for the most part. I like some of the polls you've got up, and find them useful, and some opinion posts have been very interesting to read. I didn't have much of a chance to look too far back after the break but I'll check out your questions for next week's QA. This would be the time to start posting some questions you'd like answered, and I'll be checking forums every day for them. Right before and right after the holiday break we showed the game to a couple of groups of high profile industry veterans. They were very enthusiastic about it and this gave us a big morale boost. I can't be more specific, but it was a notable event around here, and this is a developer journal so I thought I'd mention it. There's nothing to announce on publishing yet, and nothing on the beta but there's been a lot of related activity on both. I know I've said this before, but when I say "I" it's important to know that I carry the voice of several people on the team in these journals and it's not just something that I sit down and knock off in a few minutes. So depending on how busy we are, several of the Darkfall developers contribute in this journal. When I speak for myself I usually specify it. Thanks for reading, Tasos Flambouras

2007
Status Update 17/01/2007
http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?t=30347 Hello everyone, we hope you’re doing well. Today we have a small status update for you which we’ll follow up with more as needed. The beta development milestone was met early in December. Since then we've had a fully functional and stable beta build up on remote servers, which is being patched regularly. At the moment we're using part of this system to show the game to prospective partners, distributors, publishers, technology providers, etc. Our motivation here is to provide the best quality assurance, distribution, and service for the game and its players, so we consider this to be a very important phase for Darkfall.

We've already planned for self-publishing, but we need to know who's willing and able to do it better. We can’t announce a clear ETA on the first phase of the public testing yet, but we'll keep you posted on developments. In the meanwhile we're working overtime on balancing, optimizing, beautifying, adding content to the game etc. We've added some new features, and a few surprises that we weren't sure we'd be able to get in before launch. We've also hired a few extra people to help in the final push, animators, worldbuilders, and sound engineers. There's a lot of work to be done in all these fields, and in applying the final polish on Darkfall. Development-wise we’re grinding away, a lot of repetitive tasks, with little to report but you should know that everything is going well. That’s it in broad strokes, now we’ll try to give you a little insight on our update inconsistencies so that you know where we’re coming from: It's easy to imagine that 5 minutes is all it takes to make an update, a developer will pop online to say hi, or that we could just appoint someone from the community to generate updates. Unfortunately, that's not the way it works in a professional environment. There are clear guidelines, we're bound by NDAs, and all disclosure needs to be approved, as is the case with most development studios. Often due to disclosure issues we’re forced to be vague, or talk around topics and this is sometimes mistaken for coyness, by those who wish to interpret it that way. We get plenty of requests for publicity, most of them involve us having to create regular content, or answering interview questions we've answered a million times before. Answers to questions we haven't answered before are often in the realm of information we're not allowed to disclose. As all our resources are put into game development, it's a stretch for us to deprioritize in order to create Darkfall features and updates. Even so, taking a look at what other MMOs in development are doing, it seems that we've produced more substantial content than most, while giving the community an extensive and truthful look under the hood. It’s important to remember that we're just game developers making a game, not trying to string anyone along, we're not looking for investors, we're not looking for pre-sales, there's no conspiracy, so we don't invest a lot of time in hyping Darkfall up, when we need to be in our perpetual development crunch. We firmly believe that the game speaks for itself. Whenever we’ve dropped off the radar, it's because we were working hard, and not because some catastrophe had befallen Darkfall development. If we don’t update there’s nothing substantial to report, but we’ll try harder to communicate this and to stay in touch with the community. We’ll follow up with some fresh updates within the next couple of weeks, and keep you posted on any developments as permitted. Thanks for reading.

Developer Journal #1 26/01/2007
http://df.warcry.com/scripts/news/view_news.phtml?site=7&id=68059 I’ll use this journal to share a little information about our company, and about the project's background: While most of this information has been communicated in the past, Aventurine seems to remain a mystery and a point of discussion for some of the Darkfall community. It reminds me of an "America's Army" developer who visited us at our offices and said something like "wow this looks like any other development studio in the US". I'm not sure what he was expecting. Aventurine was originally formed to fund and publish Darkfall. The development team was in Norway, at the time it was four developers working on design, concepting, and prototyping. While working with Razorwax to put the development team together we realized how high the operating costs, and the cost of living is in Norway. We decided to move our activities to Greece under Aventurine to get more game for our money. It took a while to organize and assemble the team and to get into full production which started about three and a half years ago. Aventurine was now developing the technology, the tools, and the game. At the time this project started there was no technology available that would allow us to do what we wanted, so everything had to be made from scratch. Our unofficial tagline and battle cry for Darkfall development is “No compromise”. We've had vertical slices of the game before, and we considered moving towards a launch a couple of years ago. We didn't go forward because, to put it simply, we all knew we could do so much better if we gave it more time, and we had the resources to do so. I believe that the resulting game can stand up to any MMO out there and it's much more than the game we originally committed to making. Aventurine currently employs 24 developers in-house and six professional contractors. The staff is international from Norway, Greece, Italy, the UK, the US, Denmark, and France. Its activities, other than Darkfall, are research into game and simulation technologies. We've also advised war-game simulation military projects in the past through other companies in our group, activities that have given us some valuable perspectives to be used in game development. The company also sponsors and supports sporting events, athletes, and competitive gaming tournaments. Aventurine is organized under the laws of Greece and the European Union as an S.A. Corporation. Not wanting to sign off without any Darkfall current info, as you know from our last status update, we have Darkfall up on remote servers and we're running a demo of it for prospective partners. What I can share at this time is that everyone who’s tried it out made a point of telling us how much fun they had playing it. We're very happy to hear this, especially since we’re not looking to make the demo fun, rather to just demonstrate functionality. The closest I can dare to describe the current experience is that Darkfall plays like a massive fantasy "Battlefield". We’ll hopefully have a chance to talk more about the game itself in the next journal here on Warcry. Until then, have a good one. Tasos Flambouras, Associate Producer – Darkfall

Forum post: Trolling 02/02/2007
http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?t=30909 We really didn't think we'd ever need to explain the obvious, but sadly a few of you have been asking: There's a pet troll/stalker we've had with us for about 3 years, the ex webmaster of a now apparently defunct MMO project, who's been sending private messages through our boards, and posting for whoever will listen, claiming that Darkfall is/was up for sale among other things. This of course, along with everything else he's been saying over the years has nothing to do with reality. This guy has been sending us hundreds of email messages for about 3 years from his home computer, apparently unaware that hotmail reports the originating IP. The content of the emails ranges from hate mail, to spam about his game, to threats, to childish attempts at impersonating publishers, investors etc. He's also been diligently, trying to slander Darkfall on game boards, again from his home PC and using a lot of aliases. While this has been amusing, in a village idiot kind of way, it's about time we clarified for those who are susceptible to buying into this pathology. This kind of thing has happened before, and it's extremely sad to see the ugly face of what some people think are competitive practices. Up until now, the Darkfall official board moderation policies have been focused on allowing everyone to freely express their opinions about the game. This is in sharp contrast to most other MMO communities which are very strongly moderated. This freedom however has been taken for granted and taken advantage of by a few people. I'm afraid that we'll consider suggesting stronger moderation of the boards if this trend continues. -Tasos

Developer Journal #2: The Video 09/02/2007
http://df.warcry.com/scripts/news/view_news.phtml?site=7&id=68574 In this journal I'd like to pass on some information and developer commentary about the latest Darkfall video. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can get it here. The video was made from internal testing gameplay footage we took using Fraps. Ricki and Henning spent the most time on it, which wasn't more than a few hours. Panayiotis, our sound engineer, wrote the music. The test builds we use are optimized for testing and not all elements of the game are enabled in them. The footage consists of highlights from developers testing on older test builds. Darkfall is in a more advanced state at the moment. The graphics for the video footage are set to "default" which means that you're not seeing dynamic shadows, among other things. Two different regions are shown in the video. BT Oren describes them: "Monkfield lies just west of Sanguine, the human capital. A walled mining village called Longstowe lies in the heart of this region, in the in the shadow of the majestic,

snow-clad Hermitage mountains. Elsewhere in this mountain range, a dwarven village clings to a narrow plateau among cloudy peaks, while goblins have carved out a precarious home on the steep northern slopes. Away from the mountains, Monkfield is dominated by sparsely wooded, grassy plains which are home to a rich variety of game, as well as a small but vicious tribe of gnolls. The Stormcove Islands is an archipelago in the Mirrorsea, which lies west of Agon's main continent. The largest of these islands is home to Threshold, a bustling freeport which welcomes visitors of all races and moral inclinations. On a less hospitable note, the Stormcoves are home to several tribes of hobgoblins which were recently united by an ambitious warlord, and a necromancer who is disturbing the dead of a longruined dwarven colony." We see three different mounts, the horse, the death pig, and I believe we catch a glimpse of the garmir. In one scene the mounts are crossing a river and they are actually swimming across. In another, you see the death pig doing a frontal attack. There are four character races shown in the video, the ones missing here are the Mirdain and the Alfar. Both are done but they didn’t exist in the test builds. We'll showcase them properly in the future. We can see a great variety of armors and weapons being used and mixed in with other items. Even so, these are developers playing around and they don't go to great lengths to pimp out their characters, they’ll just throw on whatever. The fighting starts with a human and an ork fighting outside a gate. Some of you get this scene, and it was nice to see that. The human character uses distance well, anticipates the ork's miscalculated attack, moving out of his striking range, and then moves back in for the hit as the ork misses and overextends. This scene, while very commonplace in Darkfall melee combat, illustrates what we mean by Darkfall realtime combat. You see a simple example of player skill and timing at work. Henning wanted me to point out that there is much more than the hack and slash attacks you get to see here, many different skills and special attacks that come into play which weren’t enabled in the test builds. We can also see some fast paced and seemingly chaotic FFA combat. It's not that chaotic if you're in it. Sure you can just swing wildly and hope that you'll connect to something but that's not going to put you on top as we notice with the orkish-human duel we see earlier in the video. You may realize the precision and purpose of the human female character killing the ork standing in her way using dual wield daggers as she moves off to her next target which is standing behind. The well-placed exploding firebolt spell blowing two opponents apart is used like that for maximum damage. They continue moving apart on their own, both on fire, as they keep taking damage by the explosions. You may also notice a couple of human characters working together to box in a couple of orks which they kill. In the naval combat scenes we notice several types of ships including a pretty large one which can hold more than 30 cannons. This is not our largest one. Kjetil likes to describe the largest ship we have as being "as large as a Quake level.” We see naval attacks on the coast, a coastal dragon cannon firing against the ships, a fireball slamming into one of the ships, ships smoking, and one sinking. When a ship sinks, the passengers get to swim. Those inside the ship have to swim out or drown trapped.

Henning also wanted me to mention that the ship's sinking animation does have many more effects to it than what we see in this video. We see an ork running to man the helm of one ship and in another scene a boarding party taking hold of another one. The mounted combat scene where the human rider seems to be a bit too far to achieve the hit on the ork rider, Claus explains is because the striking distance, and swing radius values are a bit high at the moment for testing purposes. The cannonball graphics you see are placeholders, and Kjetil explains that per-pixel motion blur, not enabled in the testing, makes it look good. Claus explains that the cannon’s rate of fire is indeed higher for testing, and that the load time will be activated in beta and well balanced for release. In the first person cannon scene where it appears that the cannon is firing repeatedly, there are two rows of cannons below the one we see firing and more on each side, which are also firing, as well as cannonballs hitting, all of these shaking the ship so it’s hard to say what’s going on. Ricki explains that the slight choppiness some people reported about in the battle scenes, doesn't exist in the game and the perceived choppiness might have something to do with recording / playback issues. We're running in debug mode but we're still getting really good framerate. We’re glad you enjoyed the video. Claus had pointed out that this is a very small hint to intensity, fun, and action possible within the Darkfall combat system. There's so much more to Darkfall, and now that we're at a much better position to produce video fairly quickly, we'll follow up with another one as time permits. Tasos Flambouras Associate Producer – Darkfall

Developer Journal #3: Artifical Intelligence 23/02/2007
http://df.warcry.com/scripts/news/view_news.phtml?site=7&id=69008 I was messaged yesterday by a community member alerting me to a thread on the Darkfall boards having to do with global chat: whether to limit it or not. Claus got the same message, and this is what he has to say on global chat: "We've limited global chat channels compared to many other games, but guild chat is something we simply can not remove for many reasons, one of the more important being that we see it as an effort to level the playing field between people who use 3rd party communications, and those that don’t use them. Guild and group chat are the only global chat channels we have. We also have single recipient /tell PMs." I think that people will find a way to communicate no matter what we do. Making the game overly realistic on principle alone, whether or not players easily find ways around it, only makes it unfair to those who don't. I generally don't enjoy PvE in MMOs. The first time I fought against MOBs while testing Darkfall, I was really surprised that it was so much fun. Everyone that’s tried it thinks so too. The real-time gameplay mechanics have a lot to do with it of course,

that you're actively controlling your character during the fight, but the AI itself helps a lot. I needed a topic for this journal entry and this led me to speak with Mirco Sanguinetti, a Darkfall AI programmer, fellow aikido practitioner, and all around cool guy. Mirco has a background in military simulation, and unmanned vehicle controls, among other things, and was selected for the job out of a pool of about 200 applicants. Mirco's goal for the AI is to provide a fun and convincing PvP training experience for the players. Quake bots are not a bad PvP vs. PvE analogy for the way the Darkfall AI feels compared to an average player, although I hesitated writing that for fear of it being taken literally. You can use all the tactics you can use against players and the AI reacts to it. If you manage to land a MOB that doesn’t have a swimming skill into the water with a spell, or by pushing it off a cliff, it will drown. You can physically block them from advancing, you can blow them away from you with using spells, etc. This has nothing to do with MMO PvE as we know it. There are different aggression levels depending on the MOB ranging from cowardly to aggressive. The cowardly MOB for example may hesitate, is likely to run away, or to call for help. MOBs may fight in groups or not depending on how social they are. If there's a boss, it makes the decisions. Mirco explains that the Darkfall MOBs have survival instincts. They won't just stand still attacking till they're dead, they’ll strafe, try to evade, try to flee, call for help, switch tactics, switch weapons, etc. Mirco was happy to point out that he has made sure that the standard tankingtraining and agro management tactics used in most MMOs won’t be effective in Darkfall. The MOB won't choose a target on most damage dealt to it alone. Darkfall AI is opportunistic. MOBs will switch to go after hurt and weakened targets. The MOB will chase you around, it will jump, climb, swim after you if it has the skill to do so. It will switch to ranged weapons or attacks when you try to run away. The MOB will even remember you. Monster species will remember players who have attacked them and increase their aggression level against them even if their race isn't a prime target for the particular monster. For example, some goblins won’t attack orks, but they will add specific orks to their kill-on-sight lists and remember them for a while. MOBs have kill-on-sight lists. The player characters are on most of them, and in some cases other MOBs as well. Monsters can detect players through sight, sound, and smell. You can probably sneak up on a monster from behind, while moving crouched and downwind. Mirco talked about behavior based AI. Depending on the state the MOB is in, there are sets of behaviors associated with it. It will ponder its behavior and chose the most appropriate at any time. Behaviors compete and the MOBs constantly assess the situation, so for example, a fleeing monster might decide it had better call for help, or to turn around and fight depending on what weapons its carrying, what its physical condition is like, the position of the player etc. The variables are many and the behavior is dynamic. In similar situations the MOB will often behave differently so it's difficult to predict its behavior, and players will need to make quick decisions when facing a tough monster. I asked Mirco if Darkfall AI cheats in any way. He explained that it doesn't need to and we’ve it made a point that it doesn’t. An exception to this rule are the starting-city guards. They're really tough and they will probably kill you if you're misbehaving. These starting-city guards shouldn't be confused with regular guards like clan city

guards who are a match for the players. As things stand right now, the guards are in various fixed positions like towers and posts and not roaming around. There are potential gameplay issues with the roaming guards that we are trying to work out. While you can't call Darkfall's AI revolutionary as far as game AI goes, and Mirco avoided trying to reinvent the wheel, he invested his resources trying to make things very interesting and fun. Darkfall is a PvP game without leveling so one may think that we wouldn't pay that much attention to PvE. It's quite the opposite. PvPers have much higher standards for their combat experience, they like to be challenged, they like to have fun, they have to train, and I believe that those needs are fully satisfied in Darkfall’s AI system. Some of you expect a proper update from this journal, and while that's not exactly its purpose, I try to give one. There will be other updates in addition to this. Right now there's a combination of hectic testing and demo activity, plus flu season owning us bad (especially me), but things are going very well and we will keep you updated on any noteworthy developments. Thanks for reading. Tasos Flambouras

Developer Q&A - City sieging 15/03/2007
http://df.curse-gaming.com/articles/details/1130/ Here it is, I've really enjoyed the answers. I've made up some of my own questions and also gathered some old questions (regarding city sieging) from various darkfall forums. First things first, here's a quote from Tasos Flambouras regarding this Q&A: There's a lot of detail in conquest and city building that we cannot talk about. We wanted to answer all the questions, and if some answers seem vague or raise more questions, it's in an honest effort to give as much information as we're allowed to. Here comes the good stuff: Answers by Tasos Flambouras, Claus Grovdal, and Kjetil Helland. 1) Is the Gloomer system still in? Do we need it to weaken the clanstone of an enemy city, so we can proceed to destroying enemy walls and structures? The gloomer isn't in the game in its original form. The concept remains but has been added on and improved. The attackers need to protect their assets and their challenge shard - which isn't stationary anymore but in the hands of a clan leader. While in possession of the challenge shard, the holder is a bleep on the defender's and attacker's maps and global messages are issued. He cannot use magical means of transportation, and his clan has to protect him while the defenders and allies need to kill him within the allotted time in order to break the siege. There are other ways to break the siege, by taking attacker territories, or defending your clan stone. 2) What is needed for an attacker to construct the Gloomer, and other siege equipment used to conquer a city?

Siege equipment is made by crafters, who use the appropriate resources. These are player spawned. For the higher level siege equipment you need a siege workshop which can only be constructed in clan cities. 3) How much time does a newly constructed clanstone need to become invulnerable to enemy attacks? No time, it’s invulnerable immediately until the challenge phase. 4) Can we use cannons, or are the cannons only available for ships (apparently, gunpowder wasn't invented in Agon) ? Players can spawn cannons, city defenses can spawn cannons. There are several different types some of which can fire different elements and projectiles aside from the cannonballs. 5) What types of siege equipment do the defenders have at their disposal? The defenders have all the siege engines available in the game, in addition they can use huge defensive bombards spawned by the clan leaders, defensive structures, towers etc. 6) Can the defenders set traps in front of their city, or some kind of obstacles for mounts? There are several options along these lines, but we cannot be more specific at this time. 7) What types of siege equipment do the attackers have at their disposal? They can use cannons, siege weapons, mobile attack platforms, warhulks, and ships. 8) How long does a siege usually take? A siege can last several hours, depending on how evenly the opponents measure up. There is a time limit when the siege effort fails. 9) Can you burn down wooden structures with fire arrows shoot from outside the city walls? Can fire spells set wooden buildings on fire? There are spells that can damage structures, and the structures will catch on fire at some point. The arrows will not set buildings on fire though. 10) Are walls and/or other structures repairable when the actual siege has taken place? If it is, does it take up resources (like stone)? Yes they are repairable, during the siege. You need to craft the repair materials, so you need crafters and resources. A well prepared clan will have the materials needed

for repairs stockpiled in advance of a siege. 11) Is there a limit to how many structures the attacker can destroy after they conquer the city? There is a limit - per day on all buildings except for the walls which can be destroyed liberally. You have to consider that since the attacker has conquered the city, destroying the buildings is destroying his own property. The limit serves the purpose of allowing the original city owners to fight to recover their lost city. 12) Do large clans have an advantage over small clans when it comes to conquering each other's cities? If yes, how big of an advantage is it? We've talked about how a small disciplined unit that trains together can fight back the zerg. Also, a large clan has a lot more to defend. When you issue a challenge on a clan city, all your assets become vulnerable to attack by anyone. So size is both an advantage and a burden. 13) What prevents or discourages "Ninja Raiding", aka 3 am raids on your city while everyone is asleep? Will NPC guards play an important role in this aspect of the game? There is a process which takes a while to be able to begin the siege, it's not instant. Also, universal messages are issued and the attacker's assets all go vulnerable for a certain time. Allies are alerted, enemies are alerted, the 3am raid may not be the optimal time for a clan to try to attack and defend at the same time. There is also outof-game messaging, so the clan which is being attacked can be alerted. City defenses can be spawned by few defenders, and the guards will also help in fighting back. If all else fails, the defenders always have the option to mount a counter-attack to take back their city. 14) Will clans instead of destroying or taking over their enemy clan's town be able to just take some control or tax them for a period of time? It’s not a game mechanic, but players have the freedom of playing out a scenario like that. There are some resources that could be taken over and taxing those who want to use them, mines for example. 15) Can attackers "starve" a city until it surrenders by cutting out supply lines, for example? They can starve a city logistically by waging a war of attrition on the population and controlling resources. Full loot can eventually exhaust defensive resources, making a city takeover attempt easier. 16) Is it even possible to conquer racial towns, or even racial capitals? Most of the cities in Darkfall are clan cities and are player controlled. There are a few NPC cities and racial capitals that cannot be conquered at this time.

17) Can you tell us anything specific about attacking port towns and the importance of ships when attacking ports? Imagine a quiet port town. Now imagine a couple of 50-cannon ships, or worse, firing on it. 18) Do you think that the servers will be able to handle a large scale city siege without much lag? The game and the technology have been designed from the ground up for massive real-time battles. So far we've simulated battles with a couple of hundred players, and it works great every time.

Developer Journal #4: Odds & Ends 22/03/2007
http://df.warcry.com/scripts/news/view_news.phtml?site=7&id=69850 It has been a month since the last journal, with GDC and all that. Darkfall didn't go to the GDC this year, due to brutal development schedules and deadlines. There were a few business meetings however which took place there on its behalf. There were a few things that we wanted to talk about, so I'll just cram them all into this journal. A journalist from Japan asked us what "next generation MMORPG" means. That's actually a really good question. There's an answer in our FAQ: What do you mean by next generation? By “Next Generation” we mean that while Darkfall was inspired by the pioneers of online role-playing games, such as Ultima Online, Everquest and Asheron’s Call, it has advanced features and technology never before seen in online games. We are confident that Darkfall will help to advance the genre further. It does go a lot deeper than that. Everyone claims to be making or to have made a "next generation MMORPG", but what does it really mean? The players seem to want it all: graphics, gameplay, a high level of interaction, freedom to shape the world, player created content, as well as some off-the-wall features (by today's standards). The reason we decided to make Darkfall is because we want it all too, or to get as close to it as possible. I would like to know what "next generation MMORPG" means to you. If you want to contribute to the answer we're going to give for the Japanese interview, you can start a discussion thread which we'll use for reference. On another topic, I was following a thread on our forum on declaring war in Darkfall. There was quite a bit of debate so I’ll give you the overview on how it works: Clan leaders of sufficient rank can declare war on another clan. When they do, both sides are at war. You can go into the fetal position and refuse to accept that someone has declared war on you, but the other guys will crush you where you lay. You're notified of the change of status and so are your allies, but your consent to the

declaration is irrelevant. If one party wants war, both are in it. The "Weary" diplomatic status has to come first and this serves as warning. There's a very short time restriction between "At War" and "Weary" so it’s not much of a warning. There is no cost to declare war, but you can only do it once per day. It lasts indefinitely until you negotiate a peace treaty. Now there was some debate in the thread on anarchy, having a free-for-all, declaring war being an excuse to pk, that it could be used to exploit alignment etc. These points might be valid under the rigid gameplay systems most MMOs use. In Darkfall players will tend to take matters into their own hands, and will never be helpless to react. Let's use the example of the clan which eventually manages to declare war on everyone on their server: This means that the whole server is against them. If they own a city, it will be hard for them to hold on to it, and they certainly wouldn't be able to lay siege on anyone else's with the entire server waiting for their holdings to go vulnerable. Being in multiple wars could be fun for a while but there's a point where the clan will be overwhelmed. Our conquest and city building has been fully implemented, and we were talking earlier with Kjetil and Claus about some of the RTS-like elements of Darkfall, the types of buildings you can build and what they mean in terms of different types of bonuses for the clan. We'll talk about these in another feature, and there’s a lot to be said, but I'll give you an idea using the example of defensive bonuses: clan members might receives extra bonuses to defend while in the vicinity of their city such as extra hit points, attack speed bonuses, damage reduction, etc. which can be customized to suit the clan's play style. One last thing: we had said that farms and farming were out, but we've managed to get them in the game. We’ll talk about them in the near future. Thanks for reading, Tasos Flambouras

Developer Journal #5: A Look Under The Hood 05/04/2007
http://df.warcry.com/news/view/70315-Dev-Journal-5-A-Look-Under-The-Hood This document is a gameplay document from the first Darkfall demo from last year. This was a very limited version which we put together whose purpose was to demonstrate functionality and to give a clinical glimpse at what the game is supposed to look and feel like. It was also used as a war server where we tested PvP. Even though it wasn't meant for fun, everyone, including us, seemed to have a blast playing it. Since we're done with the demo, and we've moved to the next stage, I thought you might find the document interesting to check out. Giving a look under the hood is usually a bad idea, but we'll take our chances. - Tasos Flambouras, Associate Producer of Darkfall Darkfall Limited Demo Server Gameplay Document [Removed legal disclaimers]

Disclaimers Darkfall demo is pre-beta software and has not passed Aventurine's quality assurance program. Nothing has been finalized and performance should not be taken to be indicative of the final release of Darkfall. Darkfall demo is a limited in functionality and features version of the game. Darkfall demo is in debug mode. The graphics setting is set to default. (geforce 4, pixel shader 1.1, vertex shader 1.1) Higher graphics settings cannot be enabled prior to optimization. Characters used in this demo are using a default skill and attribute setting that is not balanced or optimized. Weapon reach and radius is not optimized. Character movement, speed, attack speed, rate of turn etc. are subject to balancing and optimization based on testing. Animations are not complete or finalized in the demo. Textures: many are temporary and will be changed or updated. Effects like particles, blood effects etc. are placeholders and will be changed or updated Terrain textures are being updated and issues like the overlay noise that stretches on vertical surfaces will be resolved. Spawning effects are missing. Water effects are missing and water appearance is temporary and will be upgraded. Sounds are temporary placeholders. Final Darkfall sounds are in the process of being completed. AI behaviors have not been optimized in the demo and exist only for testing and demonstration purposes. Quests in the demo are placeholders and exist to test functionality. Features Present in the Demo Four of Darkfall's six character races to select from (male and female) Basic character creator functionality Character dressing system A variety of weapons and armors Player vs. Player combat functionality Two Monster AI types complete with weapon /dressing functionality and spell casting ability. Collision detection on characters Spells and skills Ranged weapon attacks Player spawnable assets (mounts, cannons, ships) Three of Darkfall's five racial mounts Mounted combat Two of Darkfall's ship types Basic Naval combat functionality Cannons Jumping- Sprinting- Climbing -Swimming Vendors Basic quest functionality Basic crafting functionality[li]Basic Environmental system functionality Starting Out

Character creator Character Race selection screen: Select a race for your character between the four (4) available in the demo using the arrows to cycle between them. Once you've made your selection, click "Next" to continue Gender selection screen: Choose the gender of the character using the arrows to cycle between "Male" and "Female". Click on "Next". Character Appearance Screen: Personalize your character's appearance by selecting the facial characteristics of your choice. When done, click on "Next". Character Naming Screen: Type in a first and last name for your character and click on "Next" to continue. Character Attribute Screen: Allocate points (20) to your character's attributes and click "next". This is a placeholder; the demo characters have a default set of attributes. Character Skill Allocation Screen: Allocate specialization skill points and click "Next". This is a placeholder; the demo characters have a default set of skills. Starting and Racial Spell selection Screen: Select your starting spells and racial spells and click "Next". This feature is disabled in the Darkfall demo. Spawn Point Selection Screen: Choose your starting point on the map and click "Next". This feature is disabled in the demo. Your character will spawn in a predetermined location. Character Creation Warning: You will be asked "create this character?". Press "yes" if you want to save your character and start the game or press "cancel" if you want to go back and make changes.(Once a character is created it can not be modified in the demo). Controls The most common default keys are now: Character Controls Right Mouse Bring up / Close the User Interface windows W,A,S,D movement: forward, strafe left, backwards, strafe right Mouse Turn, mouselook F Use/ action key (vendors, mounts, ships, guns, vehicles, looting) R Sheathe / Unsheathe (equipped weapon or staff) C Crouch Space Jump Numlock Autorun L Shift (+WASD) Sprint Ctrl (+ WASD) Walk 0-9 Hotbar Slots skill/spell selection Shift + 0-9 Hotbar selection(For fast access to the hotbar use shift 0 - 9) First Person Mode Controls (Ranged, Spells) Mouse left button - Fire Swimming Controls

W,A,S,D - Forward, left, backwards, right C - Dive Space Bar and movement key - crawl-stroke swimming (faster) Special Controls To revive the character needs to have its weapon sheathed. Z - Revive (LMB/Attack bind to use) X - Gank (Press LMB/Attack bind to use) SPACE - Release(die) when incapacitated before the timer runs out. Mount Controls To deploy a mount, double click on a mount figurine from your backpack while aiming at an appropriate spawning location. To ride the mount, sheathe weapons, target it from close proximity; use the "F" key. To dismount, sheathe weapons and use the "F" key. F - to mount/dismount R - Sheathe/Unsheathe a weapon on mounts W,A,S,D - move forward, turn left, move backwards, turn right Mouse - Mouseloook Q,E - Lean left, right Space - Jump Movement +Ctrl - Mount walks Numlock - Autorun Left Mouse when mount is standing still - Mount attacks Forward Left Mouse + S when mount is standing still - Mount attacks Backwards Left Mouse+ W,A,D - Weapon attack when mount is in motion Ship Controls Deploy a ship by double clicking a ship figurine in your backpack, while aiming at an appropriate spawning location for it. You'll need to swim to the ship and climb up the rope ladder to enter it. target the helm and press F key - Character takes control of the ship WASD - move forward, turn left, move backwards, turn right Mouse - Mouseloook Numlock - Autorun Cannon controls Deploy a cannon by double clicking on a cannon figurine in your backpack, while aiming at an appropriate spawning location for it. target cannon and press F key - man / abandon the cannon (with weapon unsheathed) Mouse - aim Left Mouse - Fire cannon For all other options, and to change the default bindings, go to the Options -> Input Options, Key Bindings

Player Guide to Darkfall Demo See "starting out" in this same document You start Darkfall in first person mode. You can move around with the WASD keys and your mouse. Right click to bring the interface up. Open your backpack and in them you'll find loose equipment and more containers with more equipment. Double click on items or drag them on the paperdoll to equip them. Equip a weapon by double clicking on it in the backpack or dragging it on to the paperdoll. Use the -R- key to unsheathe a weapon and to go into melee combat mode. Your character is now in the 3d person perspective. The figurines in your backpack are character spawnable mounts, cannons, and ships. Mounts To summon a mount, double-click one of the animal-shaped figurines in your backpack. The selected mount will appear somewhere in front of you. Run over to it and press F to jump onto the saddle. Please note that you can't mount anything while in combat mode. Press R to switch between the combat (3rd person) and movement (1st person) modes. While riding press and hold Ctrl to make the mount walk Press F again to dismount after you've sheathed your weapon. Since figurines can be looted and summoned mounts can be killed, it is quite possible to run out of mounts. Replacement figurines can be bought from Aldan Rein, who runs the marketplace in the center of Threshold. In this demo, the following mounts are available to you: human (Mercian) warhorses, orkish death pigs, and dwarven garmirs. Deploying Cannons To deploy a cannon, double-click on one of the two cannon figurines in your backpack while aiming at an appropriate spawning location for it. If you get an error message, try again aiming at another spawning location. Use the F key to use. Cannons can be destroyed Spawning and Driving ships To launch a ship, double-click on one of the two ship figurines in your backpack while aiming at an appropriate location for it. Go up to the helm and use the F key to take control of the ship. Whether or not someone is behind the helm, the ship's cannons can be manned and used. Ships can be sunk Monsters in the demo: locations There are two primary monster haunts in this demo: a zombie-infested dwarven ruin which lies east of Threshold, and two hobgoblin forts on a mountain plateau to the north. To get to the ruins, first go to the statues which stand sentinel at Threshold's

northeastern entrance. From there, travel straight east through a short pass, then follow the rock wall on your left until you see some stone buildings in various states of disrepair. The majority of undead in these ruins are Zombie Warriors equipped with graveplundered weapons and improvised suits of armor. These undead grunts are commanded by much more dangerous Dire Zombies, who prefer to bombard enemies with spells while the Zombie Warriors do the dirty work. To get to the hobgoblin forts, travel north from the twin statues in Threshold's northeastern corner. Keep left through the mountain pass, then travel northeast through the forest until a plateau rises in front of you. Travel east in the shadow of the plateau until you reach a north-south pass. Once on the plateau itself, travel left until you see the wooden hobgoblin forts. While all hobgoblins are tough fighters, you should be extra careful around the fierce and relentless hobgoblin stormtroopers. Hobgoblin Heroes are very rare, but each such individual is extremely dangerous. Quests In Threshold, pure player vs. player quests are handed out by Maugre, a sophisticated necromantic construct who serves Oncylus, a wizard bent on the village's destruction. Maugre stands in the northeastern part of town, just outside the inn. She only gives out quests that involve killing other players. A more conventional chain of quests is initiated by Skuldgrim Bighammer, a dwarf who owns a smithy in the western part of Threshold. This sequence immerses the players in an ongoing struggle to save Threshold from the machinations of Oncylus. Subquests include delivery missions, gathering missions, and several quests which involve killing the local zombies and hobgoblins. Vendors Aldan Rein runs the marketplace in the heart of Threshold. He sells items needed for crafting, such as wood, leather, cloth, and iron ingots. Skuldgrim Bighammer is a blacksmith who stocks a wide variety of weapons and pieces of armor. His smithy stands in the eastern part of Threshold. Swimming The character can swim by going into the water. See the controls section for character swim controls. Mounts also swim when controlled by the character. Using melee weapons Use the crosshair to aim at your intended target and with the melee weapon unsheathed, click the left mouse button to attack. Weapon reach has not been optimized. Using Ranged weapons Arrows need to be equipped, double-click on them in the backpack, or drag them on to the paperdoll. Equip a bow and use the R key to ready it. Aim at the target, take arrow drop, and distance into consideration before firing. Bow and spell rate of fire is very high in the demo for testing purposes.

Using Spells Open up the spell interface Select the spell school - see which spells are available. Drag the spell icon into the hotbar Equip a staff and use the R key to ready it Select the active spell by using the number key for the position the spell holds in the hotbar. Aim and Click the left mouse button to load and deploy the spell. Basic Crafting From the initial spawn point, run south down the hill and through the twin statue gate into Threshold. Turn right after the inn and continue through the village's main street until you see a marketplace on your left hand side. Within that marketplace stands an old human merchant (Aldan Rein) who sells crafting supplies. Position the pointer over him and press F to bring up a trade menu. For the purposes of this demo, the only raw material you'll need to buy is iron ingots. Double click and choose yes to buy ingots. Continue west through the village until you see a hammer-and-anvil sign on your left. Move close to the anvil on the adjoining stone platform and press F to start crafting. On the resulting menu, first choose either weaponsmithing or armorsmithing, and then select a subcategory by clicking the plus sign next to it. Finally, click on one of the available items in order to preview its stats and see a list of required ingredients. At the bottom of the item window, you'll see your current character's chance of successfully crafting the item in question. This percentage chance is tied to your character's proficiency level(s) in the requisite skill(s). If the crafting check succeeds, all ingredients and money will be lost and the created object will appear in your inventory. The equipment (i.e. the hammer) will be lost after several uses. If the check fails, the money and some ingredients will be lost. Player vs. Player Combat You can freely engage in Player vs. Player combat in the Darkfall demo Mounted combat, mount vs. foot and foot vs. mount. Basic naval combat Land to ship combat using cannons and ranged weapons. Dying When your character dies in Darkfall he's incapacitated for a short time. You can release by hitting the space bar, or wait to be revived, but you can also be finished off (Ganked). There is a tombstone which appears in the spot your character has died. Looting Target the tombstone (which appears after a character or monster dies) and use the F key to open. Drag items from the opened window into your backpack to loot. Chat commands

If for any reason you get stuck type in the chat box: /do commit_suicide When your character dies he respawns without equipment type: /exec backpack For a list of emotes type /list_emotes and type /emote name in the chatbox to execute the emote.

News in the Dutch press 13/04/2007
http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?t=33483 “At the end of March the software manufacturer, Aventurine, caught a Dutch intruder in the act. The intruder had made an illegal copy of a part of a trial version of Darkfall Online, a highly anticipated online computer game under development. The intruder also placed an affiliate banner to a well known "gold farming" website on a hosted site on Aventurine's webserver. Aventurine immediately reported the illegal actions and the Dutch Public Prosecutor's Office took firm action and traced after which he was remanded. The equipment was confiscated. It was not established that any further copies of the game had been made or distributed via the Internet. The effect of the intrusion is minimal to the release date of Darkfall." That’s a rough translation of the statement we had to make for the media in the Netherlands through our representative there. A news story ran there about a “hacker” breaking into the systems of a game developer and stealing a copy of the game. The story didn’t name us, however it was about us. The article mentioned other gaming companies as “victims” of the “hacker”. What happened basically is that we caught an intruder on our web server sometime in March. We forwarded our evidence to the Dutch Public Prosecutor’s office and they promptly made an arrest and confiscated the intruder’s equipment about three weeks ago. What’s important to know is that the Darkfall source code is safe. We keep our valuable assets offline. What the intruder managed to do is to download an older test client. The client, for those who don't know, is the software that every user installs on his computer to connect to the game server and play the game. Dutch authorities have informed us that there doesn’t seem to be any distribution of the test client. To be on the safe side, we have been taking all measures necessary to protect the game - as if the test client had been distributed. There’s a lot more we’d like to say on this topic, but there’s an ongoing criminal investigation and the person in question is in custody. In the original article there’s mention of the intruder being an enthusiastic fan of online games. Any little sympathy we might have had for him went out the window when we discovered a “gold farmer” connection. He placed an affiliate advertising banner for a well know gold farming company on a hosted site on our web server. If his motivation was gold farming profits, then that’s one less pimple on the ass of online gaming.

Developer Journal #6: Hacker, Beta and Screenshots 19/04/2007
http://df.warcry.com/news/view/70839-Dev-Journal-6-Hacker-Beta-and-Screenshots I don't have a lot prepared for this journal for lack of time. We've been really busy since the last update. Aside from all things to do with Darkfall, we've had to deal with the added time sink of that hacking attempt on our webserver. I got some private messages from community members ranting something like "WTF HOW IS IT POSSIBLE FOR SOMEONE ...." regarding the intruder. I'll remind our friends of incidents involving colossal projects like Half Life 2 and World of Warcraft, and so many more you never hear about, and say that at least we caught the guy before he could do any real damage. These things happen. As far as we know he's still in custody. We hate seeing people in trouble but this guy did everything he could to land himself in it and there are also other gaming companies involved. Shulgan Drake again!This happened right in the middle of our huge effort to prepare the beta, so I'll say a couple of things about that. There are a couple of variables to be sorted out before we talk about a date. It will happen in phases leading up to the open beta. We're not looking forward to a prolonged beta period, and we've already performed extensive internal testing in order to minimize it. The first beta build will be very close to the full game: all races, the whole world, full gameplay, around 300 quests, countless adventure areas, hundreds of monsters, all the mounts, ships, cities, sieging, with as few limitations as possible. Since this journal is short, we've got a couple of screenshots of the Alfar mount for you, the Shulgan drake. We recently added it to the game so we've been riding those around testing them. I would also like to thank everyone who responded to our dev sparked debate on what a next generation MMOG is, there's some great stuff there. Until next time, Tasos Flambouras

Developer Journal #7: The Elves 04/05/2007
http://df.warcry.com/news/view/71431-Dev-Journal-7-The-Elves Elf on Aerdin Cat (Exclusive)The Mirdain of the Forest Republic The mirdain are a sophisticated and cultured people, who tend to prefer diplomacy to warfare, and subtlety to brute force. They are a race of merchants and politicians, whose networks of intelligence and trade extend like sinuous branches from the Mirendil Forest, forming an empire which controls and manipulates extensively while remaining in the shadows. Whether hunting game in the Mirendil, or cutting and slashing their way through the battlefields of much-contested Rubaiyat, the Mirdain move with an innate grace that other races cannot emulate. In battle, they compensate for their relative lack of muscle mass with the speed of their movement and the precision of their blows, as well with their superior magical aptitude. The Forest Republic Since time immemorial, the Mirdain have lived in a forest which covers the southwestern reaches of Agon's main continent. The forest itself is called Mirendil, while the Mirdain-controlled realm which occupies it is referred to as the Forest

Republic. To the north, the Mirendil is bordered by the rolling plains of the Mahirim Tribelands. To the southeast lies Nagast, the poisoned and spell-blasted homeland of the Alfar, who are implacable enemies of the Mirdain race. Across the Ruby Sea to the south lies Rubaiyat, a desert continent which was recently overrun by the seemingly unstoppable undead hordes of the Red Pharaoh. The Mirendil Forest is intersected by several broad, winding rivers, the most famous and majestic of which is the Irthan, which rises in the darkest depths of the forest and empties into the Eirandar swamp-delta of western Mirendil. Elf on Aerdin Cat (Exclusive)Along the Forest Republic's borders with Nagast and the Tribelands lives a violent race of axe-wielding ursines called Beastmen, who despise the Mirdain, and who see the Mirendil as little more than a collection of resources waiting to be exploited. Trouble also brews in the heart of the forest, where a circle of fundamentalist mirdain druids called the Forest Prophets have taken up arms against the Republic. In their desperate quest to return the Mirendil to its pristine, pre-civilization state, the Forest Prophets have resorted to casting terrible spells on the animals which they originally set out to protect, turning them into curse-crazed monsters which are sent to rampage through mirdain communities. Aerdin Cats The mirdain ride enormous cats which have been bred for size, obedience and ferocity. They resemble the Snow Leopards of the northern continent of Niflheim, with their black-spotted white fur, long, bushy tails, and pale blue eyes. Unlike Snow Leopards, however, Aerdin cats have huge tusks which protrude from their upper jaws, and which they use quite effectively in combat. The mirdain tend to equip Aerdin with soft and simple saddles which do not inhibit movement too much.

Developer Journal #8: The Sands of Rubaiyat 17/05/2007
http://df.warcry.com/news/view/71873-Developer-Journal-8-The-Sands-of-Rubaiyat For thousands of years the Angra flowed across Rubaiyat. She nourished life with water, she carried ships on her broad back, and she ground down mountains to make farm-soil for her people. To the Sharjad people, the Angra river was eternal and unchanging. Her daily gifts were as certain as the rising of the sun, and her flood-cycles were as divinely foreordained as the coming of spring after winter. But one day the inconceivable, the cosmologically impossible happened: Almost overnight, the Angra simply stopped flowing, and the farms, river-barges and cities of the Sharjad lay stranded along the sad, dried-out husk of their provider. Meanwhile, a red, rune-covered pyramid rose slowly from the pit which once housed the Angra's heart-spring. As the ancient structure rose, its architect bid his longburied followers rise from out of the desert sands, to conquer Rubaiyat once again. The Return of the Pharaoh During the Usurper Wars, a powerful deity established himself as god-king of Rubaiyat, calling himself Ur-Khamset, or the Red Pharaoh. He slew or imprisoned the

local deities of the desert continent, subjugated its people, and then began shaping his subjects into a powerful army with which to contest the rulership of Agon and force access to the Halls of the Goddess. Ultimately, the Red Pharaoh was defeated by an alliance of rival gods. But as he expired, the Red Pharaoh cast one final, terrible spell which drained all his human subjects of life and liquid, leaving only skeletons to be buried by the desert. Thus UrKhamset took his people with him into apparent oblivion, leaving his conquerors with nothing but bone-strewn ruins to rule. Unbeknownst to all, Ur-Khamset had foreseen his demise and prepared for it by constructing the Red Pyramid at the bottom of Lake Angra. He imbued the pyramid with spells that would summon and preserve his own-life force at the moment of death, and then resurrect him when the stars were right for his return. As the Red Pyramid rose from the lakebed, a thousand bony hands clawed their way out from under the accumulated sands of millennia. Gathering in Rubaiyat's trackless deserts, the Red Pharaoh's hordes swept down upon the cities of the hapless Sharjad, conquering them with ease. Already, the Red Pharaoh's winged snake standard flies from the battlements of most cities on Rubaiyat's mainland. While most of the Pharaoh's marauding, sand-tinted skeletons were once human, a few clearly belonged to the strange giants known as the Avaris, who still roam the deserts of Rubaiyat. Though some skeletons' clothing and equipment has decayed into nothingness, most still wear the exotic, ancient garb which they wore in life, and wield sensuously curved, outlandishly decorated bronze weapons. Ur-Khamset himself still dwells within the Red Pyramid, commanding his armies using necklaces called Sun Ankhs which are worn by his most powerful generals. Though nobody has accomplished this potentially suicidal feat yet, it has been theorized that an adventurer wearing a Sun Ankh would be able to enter the Red Pyramid. The River's Orphans Brushed aside by the Red Pharaoh's onslaught, the surviving Sharjad retreated to the Leenshards, a chain of verdant islands which lie north of the Rubaiyat mainland - and outside the Ur-Khamset's reach, at least for now. Visitors to the lands of the Red Pharaoh use the cities of the Leenshards as staging posts, where supplies may be bought and loot sold. Desperate for outside help, the Sharjad offer richly rewarded quests to groups and individuals who are brave enough to take up arms against the Red Pharaoh. The short-term goal of the Sharjad is survival through the decimation of the Pharaoh's troops. In a longer perspective, they seek both to destroy Ur-Khamset and to restore the flow of the Angra. The Sharjad are a short-statured race, approximately the size of alfar, whose most striking feature is their azure blue skin. Tiny white tusks also protrude from the lower jaw of the sharjad, who tend to have brown or reddish hair, often kept long, and males favor immaculately groomed beards and moustaches. The Sharjad wear flowing white robes over an exceptionally light type of mithril scale mail (called sharjad mail) which offers protection both against damage and the heat. Sand Giants The avaris are nomadic giants who roam the desert in small family groups. They tend

to be found in Rubaiyat's most remote and trackless regions, where they lead their camel herds from oasis to oasis, ekeing out a narrow living as herdsmen. The Avaris are utterly xenophobic, and tend to attack anyone who strays near their trails, camps and oases. The avaris are basically giant elves. They stand around five meters tall and have the same elongated limbs and lean bodies as the mirdain. Their bronze-colored and smooth skin can barely be glimpsed through layers upon layer of flowing white robes. The avaris wear no shoes, and their large webbed feet are especially adapted to running through Rubaiyat's desert sands. The avaris fight using silvery, wavy-bladed swords called Qadas. Area of interest: The Sea of Glass An apocalyptic battle during the Usurper Wars took place in this region. As a consequence, the sand on a large section of it was melted into black, obsidian-like glass. In the middle of this flat expanse rises a twisted and jagged mountain spire which is home to a very powerful dragon, who attacks anything that trespasses on the plain below. At the base of the spire is an entrance into a dungeon system leading up to the dragon's lair which lies in the middle of the spire itself. The lair and cave system are protected by serpentines, a brutish but tame reptilian race who live only to serve their draconic masters. Area of interest: City of Winds Deep in the central Rubaiyat desert lies the city of the Djinnlord, a Deathless Mage who has ruled his independent city state for centuries. Thus far, the Djinnlord has been able to repulse the attacks of the Red Pharaoh, and the undead generals have decided to pass his town by for now. The Djinnlord's city is the only intact city in the interior, and one of few places where travellers may trade, train and rest. The Djinnlord's town lies atop a low sandstone cliff which rises from the desert sands. It is surrounded by tall, solid walls, within which lies the entrance to one of the richest Neithal mines in all of Agon. The town is extremely wealthy and its squares and structures are beautifully decorated. The castle of the Djinnlord lies in the center of town, surrounded by a large park. There are many fountains and wells in town, and magical water issues from all of them. In addition to Sharjad mercenaries clad in neithal-blue tunics adorned with windsymbols, the Djinnlord is served by a large number of Air elementals, many of whom patrol the city and its environs. The djinnlord himself is a Sharjad mage of extraordinary power, who has found a way to extend his life indefinitely. Area of interest: Halls of Ana-pur This natural cave system, which lies in a rocky region of southern Rubaiyat, is considered the birthplace of the Sharjad goddess Ana-Pur. The cave system and its adjacent temple are now in the hands of the Avaris, and the Sharjad are desperate to retrieve certain artifacts which the giants found upon conquering the place. The caves are entered through a narrow crack beyond which it immediately opens up into large natural chambers connected by narrow, equally natural tunnels. A Sharjad temple lies directly in front of the entrance, and the entrance lies within its walls. The only way in is through the heavily Sand Giant-infested temple complex. Area of interest: The Angra Delta A muddy, oozing swamp now lies where the Angra once flowed into the Mirrorsea. Passage through this terrain would be near impossible if it wasn't for the waterlogged

paths made by the avaris who have settled here. At the heart of the delta, the giants have flattened a sizable area in which they've built their main camp. Two island fortresses protected the approach to the Angra. One of these is used as a lookout by the giants, the other is now the dwelling of a Deathless Mage who serves the pharaoh. A large Sharjad city is perched on the edge of the now-dry riverbed, right at the spot where the Angra flowed into the Silk Coast sea. This heavily fortified town was one of the largest Sharjad settlements, and it was one of the last to fall to the Red Pharaoh's hordes. It is still impressive, though the Red Pharaoh's undead have torn down many buildings and sections of wall. The Pharaoh's troops are now thoroughly entrenched here. This town was the launching point for all Sharjad river traffic up the Angra, and the place where riverborne goods were carried over into ships bound for the Leenshards and beyond. The ocean harbor lies in the northwestern part of town, along the Silk Coast, and it is relatively intact - but fiercely defended by the Pharaoh's undead troops.

Developer Journal #9: The Beta Question 31/05/2007
http://df.warcry.com/news/view/72342-Developer-Journal-9-The-Beta-Question This update will be a proper journal entry, the last couple of weeks we did some race presentations here, before we had a couple of lore updates. We've been throwing around the word beta quite a bit, and it's not to churn the waters, it's because it's what we're working on right now. An editorial on this site urged us to come out with a date. Well that's nice, and we will when we have one. We've specified that our internal target date is this summer and we can't get more specific yet, but we will when we're ready to make an announcement. We have recent negative examples of games with good potential being rushed out having been improperly tested and we don't want that for Darkfall. Things are going well and we'll keep you updated on that front as we know more ourselves. Some of you may have noticed that we're doing a small facelift to the site which involves a lot of new screenshots, new texts, etc. So far the areas we've done are in the race section: the Mirdain, the Alfar and the Mahirim. The other races will follow. We've updated the monster section and we'll keep adding to it. We updated the Agon map, and updated the Rubaiyat area text and added screenshots. The changes and updates will keep happening all over the website over the next few weeks. This Darkfall affiliate site has stood by our game and has supported the Darkfall community for a long time. I don't think it's out of line to ask you to do the same and help it evolve. To be honest with you, I'm not fond of the editorials and we've had enough ranting to last us a lifetime, but we do appreciate intelligent commentary and critique. In that spirit, I got an interview question from a Greek journalist. He asked me if the Alfar have any unique characteristics that counter-balance their socialization drawback. Their advantage isn't technical, there's no built-in superpower, but the question is interesting. I've answered the question but I would like to hear your opinions as well on this topic.

Developer Journal #10: State of Development 15/06/2007
http://df.warcry.com/news/view/72954-Developer-Journal-10-State-of-Development

I'd like to apologize for the delay to the journal by one day. Our schedules are even more hectic than usual and priorities are ruthless. I've had several interviews on my to-do list for months and I've been trying to steal time from this or that to get them done, one question at a time and so far it has proven to be a curiously impossible task. Part of this is the fact that the interview questions are getting increasingly more detailed and I'm not sure how deep you can cut into the magic before it's too deep. Anyway, in this journal we'll talk about what we're currently working on. Overall we're working on the beta process as you know. This is infinitely more complicated to set up than just getting the game online and letting people in to play it. Sometimes I wonder if even the hardcore gamers understand what's involved especially when people keep asking for the specific beta date. Ricki loaned me a book titled "Dreaming in Code" by Scott Rosenberg. I've only had time to read a few pages of it so far, but in these the author wonders why software development is so hard and can't be as precise and timely as bridge or skyscraper construction. The tagline of the book is "Two dozen programmers, three years, 4,732 bugs, and one quest for transcendent software" and he's just talking about a web site application! The title of chapter one is "DOOMED" setting the tone for the rest of the book I expect. On with the update: We're hiring a QA lead to formalize our QA process, we're looking for yet another Game Logic programmer, we've been outsourcing some secondary art tasks out, and we've also re-hired Nick, a very talented artist, who had taken a short break. We're also in the search for another good world-builder to help with cleaning up quests. I had written some things on this journal about the many technical activities relating to Darkfall development at the moment and then decided to take it out after speaking with Kjetil, our lead programmer. To quote him 'if we're going to talk to people about these things we might as well write a ten thousand page document with all the @#%$#@% little details'. So... basically Darkfall is a zoneless game, meaning servers are zoneless too, something most other MMOs don't have. Servers are collaborating in a cluster with dynamic responsibilities. That's what we're working on right now for the most part, the distribution. There's also some GUI work having to do with city building, and parties. We're also integrating with the game, the permission system for clans, the in-game boards, and the player journal, specifically the 'friends' and the 'holdings' functionalities. We're also working on the permission system, specifically for the clan vault. Clan boards are being integrated with the game, meaning that various in-game clan specifics work together with the clan boards. On world-building we're finishing up the Mirdain areas and working on clan city concerns. The Alfar capital has been completely redesigned, the old one was scrapped, and someone's spending all of next week to making it just right. This is an excerpt of the Alfar capital description to give you an idea of what it's like: " The alfar capital lies along the shores of a large, maelstrom-wracked underground lake called the Throat, which is fed by a waterfall cascading down from the ceiling and by two swift rivers which flow in from neighboring caverns. No water can be seen to escape from the wildly churning lake, which is assumed to be connected to some unexplored lake system deep within the heart of Agon. Though many have been thrown into the Throat over the years, none have ever returned to report on what it feeds into. Melek himself dwells in the Towers of Silence, which hang dramatically over the waters of the Throat. Made from hollowed-out stalactites which encircle a hole through which a waterfall plummets, the Towers are only connected to the town below by a single,

heavily guarded teleportation portal. Aphelion lies in a damp and verdant cavern system, the walls and ceilings of which are covered by mosses and fungi. A forest of giant mushrooms dominates one of the caverns to which Aphelion is connected by river-carved tunnels, while another is home to a manthe spider-web weavery where clothes and light armor is made." World-building also needs to create extras for all of the quests which are being implemented as we speak. Right now we're working on the human quests by using our quest building tool, using the world-builder to add the extras, and then using a testing tool which allows us to test that the quests work properly before beta. We're adding batches of new weapons to the game, some special items, more siege weapons, and defensive cannons and balancing them out so there's something for everyone. We're also optimizing the stats for most of the weapons. All components have been finalized and locked for release. Other resources are also being finalized. Recipes for crafting are also more than coming along. We've finalized the monsters for beta. We have more than 100, (not counting the many variations) as originally planned. We've prioritized here and more will be added during testing and after launch. We're working through some issues with flying monster AI, and moving on to sea monsters. Guard AI in practice presents minor issues: As things stand right now, your AI guard race depends on the territory you build on so if you build a clan city in ork territory, the guards will be orks. The orkish guards will not attack the human clan members, but they currently attack all human visitors to the town based on racial enmity. Mercenaries have always presented such problems throughout history but we're probably going to make some changes here. The clan city structures are being upgraded, with a strong focus on racial identity so that the structures are special and unmistakable. Final touch-ups are being made on armors. Some monster armors can be used by the characters after being looted, and these are being brushed up as well. Special effects and particles are all being added. You may have noticed the lack of many of these, or the place-holders in the last video we released. There is some quality control being done on the terrain, fixing various minor bugs and there has been a major update to the terrain textures again and I must say there is a dramatic improvement to it. The website updates will continue at an irregular pace as time permits. Launching a new website is a major pain that we don't have time for now, so we're giving it a facelift and trying to bring it up to date before we move on to having a new one made that can be worthy to represent this game. I'll stop here because I need to get back to work, although I could go on and on with the thousands of details we're working on at the moment - you get the idea.

Developer Journal #11: Aerdin Cat Gameplay Video 19/07/2007
http://df.warcry.com/news/view/75060-Developer-Journal-11-Aerdin-Cat-GameplayVideo It was nice that DF Warcry took the blame for the lack of update last week but it's our fault as well. We had to travel on business which took longer than expected, and then E3 got in the way so we all got behind and lost track, and here we are, minus a couple

of journals. We might also have to take a break from the journal on August 15th but I'll try to plan for it if possible. Since our last status update, there is not much to report: we've been fighting to meet our milestones, we've been adding content, and we've been testing. The beta build is essentially a release version functionality-wise so there are numerous things to go over. There have been some updates to the website and now all races except for the humans are updated. They're next when we get a chance. I was going to add a couple of screenshots, but Henning took the time to put together a short video featuring the Mirdain mount, the Aerdin Cat.

Developer Journal #12: Progress Update 02/08/2007
http://df.warcry.com/news/view/75587-Developer-Journal-from-Tasos I know I said there wouldn't be a journal until the end of August, but some time was found and here it is: The last update of a video of the Aerdin mount was very well received by the general audience. We had however hoped for a more positive reaction by the official community, especially after having given a full status update in the previous journal and this being only the 4th official video ever released. The original thought for the update were screenshots due to time constraints, but I recalled posts in the community wondering why we can't just release a short video instead of posting screens. The reason is that a video has a lot more production concerns that take some time, but we thought we'd try it this time and see how it goes over. Other than showing the mount, and giving you a feel of what it's like to be riding, it's the first time we've shown that dynamic shadows are operational in-game, so we believe the video is a significant update. For future reference, please understand that our "pleasing updates" capability during debug testing of the game isn't optimal. You should also know that we'll be releasing a lot more updates which are meant for a general audience, with general information and media on the game because we're getting a lot of requests and also because frankly the response makes us want to. It's also very refreshing to be able to talk about the big picture and the essence of the game, rather than constantly having to break it down to its mechanics and talking about things that players should discover in the game itself. For more specialized information we'll try this once more, and see how it's received: Picking questions from the forum that we can answer, and answering them. There's a lot of activity but there's not that much we can say on progress since the last full status update. Some issues reported that we were struggling with have been addressed and fixed. Testing is a relentless grinding process and we're on this big quality assurance initiative. We still haven't found a QA manager we're happy with yet so we're all happily sharing this added responsibility until we do. Testing, bug fixing, and adding content are the order of the day. The worldbuilders have been improving areas of the world we created a long time ago before we had the wealth of worldbuilding assets that we have today. We're also adding more tools to make the testing process smoother. Since I suspect that a lot of people have skimmed to this point looking for public beta information, I have to say again that we don't have a date yet. If anything is holding back the public beta testing at the moment it's important practical issues. One big

internal debate for example is whether we publish this game ourselves or if we agree to work with one of several publishers, or accept a number of compromises between the two, based on business model, territory and a number of other factors that need to be carefully weighed. We're prepared for any eventuality, and we do have several options but the final decision is critical. In the end we'll be doing what's best for the game, and ultimately for the players. We want to settle this before we move to a beta, and preferably do that as soon as possible, but we're still considering several options. Agreements, negotiations, discussions etc. go at their own speed, and they cannot be rushed. In the meanwhile, development is continuing hardcore so we haven't been wasting our time. Another issue to consider, which we've talked about before, is the timing for the beta testing; things like costs in time, equipment, and support personnel need to be carefully considered in order for the test to be successful and useful. We understand that it may be frustrating for those waiting to play the game to not be given an indication on when, but since there are still several factors affecting this, some of which are external to us, we would rather not make a guess. In any case, there will be an official announcement on any development. Technically we're ready for a beta test today, and every day that goes by, we get more ready. Something I've failed to mention: We still have the clan beta application up, but we have not been able to process applications or requests for a while. I'm sorry about this, and I'd like everyone to know who have been sending in applications and requests, that we'll get to them as soon as possible. There is also a single player beta application available which will be made live shortly before the public beta is to begin. In other news, there was an interesting debate on brokentoys.org Scott Jennings' AKA "Lum the Mad's" weblog based on an editorial on DF Warcry. Something in the comments set me off, and I actually posted a short comment that was prompted by the general attitude against and the treatment of what is referred to as "hardcore players" as outcasts by most games, and game designers. There was also a Darkfall interview on a large Japanese gaming site. It's meant for a general audience but the questions were interesting enough that I've asked for permission from the site to publish the interview in English in another update. One of the questions in the interview (what is a next generation MMORPG?) was pretty much answered by our official community. Barring any announcement, the August 16th scheduled Warcry journal won't be happening but we'll resume with updates right after that. Thanks for reading, Tasos Flambouras.

Developer Journal #13: Development Update 31/08/2007
http://df.warcry.com/news/view/76516-Developer-Journal-13-Development-Update Today (Friday) we have a new Darkfall version up, which is almost feature complete. The features not enabled in this version yet are enchantment, which should be patched in next week, a feature where you can see where other characters at looking at including up and down, some spells and skills are not enabled yet because of their

animations and effects not being finalized yet, and some special coding for the Mahirim which is being tested at the moment. This version has already been tested by the programmers and will undergo rigorous testing by the entire team starting today. This will be done without using any developer cheats, to make sure that everything is working as intended. As soon as I'm done writing this journal, I'm logging into Darkfall to start testing the new version myself. We're working on hardware compatibility and hardware support issues. There are some minor problems with some older NVIDIA cards which are being addressed. Some Z fighting issues are also being dealt with at the moment. Z fighting is basically a graphical glitch where you get some flickering in areas where polygons meet or are placed too close together. It has to do with world building and the placement of objects. We're building tools for ourselves to automate data integrity testing, and to report inconsistencies in the content. We're testing a file archiving system which makes dynamic loading a lot faster, and this is important since Darkfall is a zoneless world, and this work is directly related to the preparations for the beta testing of Darkfall. We're doing some research on hardware needed for launch. Some character collision issues with tree branches have just been fixed. The display of the chat/event/messaging system has been upgraded to more clearly differentiate actions and events. Some super secret stuff is also being worked on at the moment. More on this later because Kjetil won't let me talk about it right now. Most of the work now consists of adding and testing content, mainly quests, NPCs, and dungeons. We're adding all kinds of things though, for example something we're doing right now is adding monster armor sections which can be looted and worn by characters. Each of these needs to be fitted for all races and each sex, so 12 templates in total for each armor bit. We have hundreds of unique armor sections now which can be mixed and matched, and dyed, giving millions of possible combinations. Roads and road signs are being installed in the game and Banks and post offices are also being placed. Areas that were created a long time ago are being upgraded and finalized. Resource animations are being wrapped up, those are animations related to resources, like crafting, mining, etc. We're brushing up older content like the Mirdain architecture which needed some extra attention. Racial structures in the clan city resources are also being brushed up. Particles and special effects are also getting some final improvements, and we're also working with some terrain optimizations. We had several people at the Game Convention in Leipzig on our behalf while we stayed behind to continue working. Same applies to the upcoming Austin Game Developer Conference. As for the public beta, we're still in the process of preparation and waiting for something to break as discussed in the last update. Unfortunately there's nothing further I can say about this yet. I might have more to say on that in the next journal - or not. In the meanwhile we keep working on the game as you can see here. The Q&A I talked about in the last update will have to wait until the week after next. The fires in Greece were and still are terrible, there were days where it rained ash and the sky was black from the smoke. One of the fires stopped a block away from my house before it changed direction, and I came home to about a foot of ash everywhere and a scorched environment. Thanks go out to all those who where

concerned, or sent messages of support, or to ask if we're OK. Thanks for reading.

Developer Journal #14: Progress Report 14/09/2007
http://df.warcry.com/news/view/76943-Developer-Journal-14-Progress-Report Since the last journal we've been hard at work on testing the latest version and patching it as needed. Overall it's very stable and there are no big problems to speak of. Time permitting I'll try to describe some of the gameplay to you in the next update. To this effect I'll be taking notes for the next week. Testing is a grinding process as we've said many times before. A bunch of little things are getting fixed soon after they're reported. Some of the corrections aren't necessarily bugs but involve gameplay improvements. NPC vendor names for example have been changed to better reflect their role, spawn and quest locations have been adjusted to be more convenient for the players. Quest texts are being rewritten. Playing the game as the players will, without using enhanced characters has allowed us to experience a different perspective and to make a lot of changes to improve the starting player's experience. A couple of examples of this is that we're reworking how to introduce new players to the game in a more interesting way, we've implemented a brief invulnerability at character respawn for some seconds or until aggression, and for a few seconds after the character has been revived on the battlefield. Content is being added and this is job number one at the moment. We continue adding effects and replacing the placeholders we've had in their spot. Some final animations are being worked on as far as the particle effects go. Player character animations are being optimized, and the player characters have gotten new sets of faces. Water has been improved again, and edge of water effects have been added. Clan city structures are still being worked on. These are racially unique so there are six sets to work on. The landscapes around the clan city and clan village building locations are getting additional design for balance, fairness and in order to make them more exciting for the players. I'm not sure if we've talked about clan villages before. They are villages close to resources, or with a strategic position, which can be owned by the clans and operate like mini clan cities. There are a few AI issues having to do with the AI configuration which are being fixed. Some animation blending bugs have been fixed. Animation blending as in the character jumping for example involves three different animations. We're continuing to make tools lessening the need for human interaction with the data which leads to less inconsistencies and more speed for the developers. We're making more worldbuilder tools to automate production, and server monitoring tools for statistical analysis of the data. We're doing some work on the player action feedback display which is an intricate system that gives the player the information he needs after every action. While all this is taking place we're also looking into the mathematical balance of things from a design perspective. So you made a very complex world, it's not magic that keeps it together, it's the math. This has to do with the order of things, their function in the game, the way everything interacts with everything else. This is a very complex game with real-time strategy, role playing, and action elements all coming together

and there are infinite things to consider. Just adding one of the hundreds of different types of weapons we have in the game, you need to consider and balance its' many attributes and how those are going to work together, how it can be crafted, where it can be crafted, like which ingredients are appropriate for its attributes, where it's going to be available, which vendors will sell it and for how much, who can use it, which monsters drop it, and which ones can use it, enchantment issues, etc. Balancing the game as much as possible before we let external testers in is one of our main concerns. We want to change as little as possible where it comes to balance after people have gotten used to things. On the topic of external testing, we're thinking on how to make the closed beta selection as fair as possible. We're also looking at putting the beta registration application out. There's nothing to announce yet on the beta front other that we're hard at work in that direction. I've asked for this journal to be moved back to Fridays but I'm not sure if it's feasible for Warcry. I'll try to do that Q&A I mentioned as well sometime soon. Thanks for reading.

Developer Journal #15: A Visit From a Fan 28/09/2007
http://www.warcry.com/articles/view/devjournals/darkfalljournals/2289-Darkfall-DevJournal-15-A-Visit-From-a-Fan This is going to be a short journal. I was originally planning to give you a preview of the game in this installment but I didn't have the time to put it together. A lot of the same going on since the last update. It's going to be like this until we launch more of less. Still adding content, balancing, testing, optimizing etc. We're making good progress. A couple of numbers I heard today: nearly 12 thousand items in the game, and 706 complex quests at launch. If there's an interesting development it's that we've narrowed in on a specific beta date and we should be announcing it very soon, right after we make sure that a couple of conditions are met. To this end, we changed our version control system and the build and integrity check servers need to be updated to the new version before we can get our build up early next week so we can resume the internal testing. In plain English, servers are down. Asp from the Lords of Death guild visited us today. He was in a neighboring country on business and he made the trip down to meet us, see what we're up to, and to hang out. We were hoping to maybe give him a small beta preview but he couldn't delay his visit until Monday for our beta build to be up again. We talked about city building, conquest, tactics, the economy, griefing, clan cities, alignment, racial balance, and a lot more. He met several of the developers and saw some of the work. We let him play our demo to get a feel for the gameplay. Asp has played pretty much every MMOG out there since Ultima Online, and his reaction really elevated our spirits, made us remember what our goal is: to hopefully blow you away. We don't get that many visitors around here so it was great meeting with him. I believe he's going to write something on his impressions when he gets back home. Kjetil and I pretty much spent the day with him and we really need to get back to work, I think his feedback on his visit is probably better than whatever we could say right here.

Thanks for reading, Tasos Flambouras

Developer Journal #16: The Details 26/10/2007
http://www.warcry.com/articles/view/devjournals/darkfalljournals/2568-Darkfall-DevJournal-16-The-Details Having missed a journal, I have to say that you didn't miss a lot. We're officially neck deep into boring and repetitive tasks. As a status report, I'm afraid that you can almost take the last one and pretty much repost it with a few minor changes. When I made the rounds to get some juice for this update, Claus said that this is like factory work at this point, Henning in the art department said that they're in the boring final stretch, and Kjetil said that there's nothing exciting from the programming department. But I digress. Overall, we're on track as much as we can be. We've been plagued by various physical bugs, health issues, equipment failures, but nothing seems to be able to keep us from the mind-blowingly boring tasks of QA, and adding content that have become our daily routine for the past few months. On top of all that, we're having a hell of a time getting some positions filled. We have a very high standard, and while we're getting a lot of applications in, it's not easy finding the right people. Right now, it's all about the millions of little things. We've been working on a lot of QA tasks such as testing areas, quests, how things flow, how things fit together and trying to make this perform like a finished product as much as possible. In testing quests we try to make sure that things are clear: If the quest-giver mentions a location for example, we may have to be sure that you can find it by adding signs, hints, making sure that there are roads to this location, and basically making it easier or more challenging depending on the specific quest. Adding content hasn't slowed down at all. There's a new quest implementation tool which is making things go faster. image So far we've been using the same placeholder grass you can see in screenshots and videos. Now we've got a lot of different vegetation variations in place depending on the area. We've also finalised our sounds which have replaced the placeholder sounds we've had until now. The new sounds are hard, gritty, and give a dark and violent feel to the game. In battle, they make you feel that you're in battle. We're still working on tuning the monsters and this means everything about them from animations to attributes and skills. Recipes are still being worked on and we're still brushing up the player character animations. We've improved the interface used in enchantment so that it's more intuitive. Enchantment is basically a slot based system, where you plug components in the slots to get the effect you need The world-builders have been rebuilding and upgrading locations. Depending on location, there's a 25 to a 75% rebuild. Capital cities are getting final optimizations for performance. Spawn points are continuously being placed. The few exciting things implemented recently include some very cool defensive

measures in city defenses, the portal system, and the clan bonus system. The portal system connects the important areas on the map through teleportation. This happens though a network of dungeons where the portals drop you off at. We've taken measures to curb portal camping, one of those measures is a random drop location within the dungeon. The dungeons are made up much like an FPS level and lend themselves perfectly to intense PvP. The clan bonus system is part of Darkfall's RTSlike features and it's connected to building. When a clan builds specific buildings, they may get bonuses for when they're within their clan city limits, like defensive bonuses, and in a few cases the bonuses can be global We were happy to read Asp's write-up about his visit here, and we were glad that he enjoyed his experience, seeing that he had a critical attitude towards Darkfall before. He said something in his preview that praised the graphics. Darkfall graphics have always been discounted compared to the features, so I enjoyed seeing this. It's a fact that the graphics look so much better live than in screenshots or video. Whenever I mention this, people are doubtful, and that's understandable. When they actually experience the game they're very surprised. Henning, our art director, is never satisfied with the look of the game, and he's always striving to improve it. It's a challenge with our small art team, but it's always good to hear what we know is true from a third party. Like with everything else, Darkfall needs to be experienced to be fully appreciated. I know that this journal entry may leave much to be desired, but it's the calm before the storm that we're going through at the moment. It's the way things are at the moment and we're trying to give it to you straight. This journal has sadly served as the only Darkfall update out there, but we're trying our best to improve on that. Thanks for reading.

Developer Journal #17: Business Models & Clan Cities 09/11/2007
http://www.warcry.com/articles/view/devjournals/darkfalljournals/2616-Darkfall-DevJournal-17-Business-Models-Clan-Cities I started pounding away at a development status report and again it looked the same as the last couple of journals. We've been through this, we're just grinding away as we have been. This is just as well because for the last couple of weeks I've also had to focus on some other-than-development matters. A major concern right now is publishing. We're still looking at both options of self publishing and accepting one of a few specific publisher options. We have strong arguments for either scenario. We hoped we'd be done by now with a final decision and we're not, so to compensate we've been moving forward and working on setting things up as to not waste any time. We've actually come a long way and we should be able to settle on what's best very soon. Asian publishers have always asked us to look at their preferred business model, which is giving the game away for free and making money from selling advertising, items, and services. This is how most MMOs operate in Asian markets. Darkfall of course with the full loot and the player crafted items doesn't lend itself well to this business model. We're starting to see more and more of this in the west as well, with several recent examples, and I can't help but wonder, and prompt a debate if possible, how western audiences view this. I'll add a strong disclaimer as to avoid any

misunderstandings: This is NOT to say that we're even considering this for the N. America and Europe, or for Asia for this matter, so please don't start speculating, or worrying that we are. Something I read about a very large publisher wanting to experiment with this in the west made me want to ask for some feedback about where you see the market going in the near future. Getting back to some Darkfall update material, I've noticed that a lot of people in the community have been asking about clan cities so during the process of testing, we built one, got some screenshots of it, and BT Oren wrote a brief presentation to give you a feel on what clan cities are all about: Dayar Rock This city was carved out of the rock of a lonely mountain which rises from the windblasted wasteland plains of Cairn, one of Agon's less fashionable continents. It is the ideal stronghold for a clan who value privacy and security, and who don't mind the obscure and unstrategic location, or the relative lack of nearby resources. Strength in Stone If defended by a well-organized clan, Dayar Rock will present a formidable challenge for any invader. Four mounted cannons and two guard towers overlook the sole entrance into the city, and an invading force that makes past these defenses, will then be faced with two further lines of wall, both presumably bristling with defenders. Inside the main cavern, any last stands will be greatly aided by two intruder-blasting guard towers. In addition to its defensive strength, Dayar Rock has a stern, rock-hewn beauty that is worth fighting for. A waterfall tumbles into a dark pool in the center of the main cavern, which is adjoined by a labyrinthine network of tunnels that could serve as a hiding place during times of crisis. Buildings and features Dayar Rock features six residential houses, which means that its potential population is slightly above average for a clan city. In its present incarnation, the town also possesses a mage guild, a fighter's guild, a farm, a church, a barracks, a workshop, a smithy, a post office, a general store and a bank. Several of these buildings feature vendors and other NPC's that are controlled by the clan leadership. Given the size and strength of Dayar Rock, it is unsurprising that its clan keep is fully expanded and at maximum strength. Dragons and Minotaurs Dayar Rock lies in the region of Northeastern Dayar, which is a barren and lonely place. In fact, the city's only neighbors are a semi-nomadic hobgoblin standard who are in the process of establishing a fort on the outskirts of the region. Some way to the east lies a large minotaur citadel, while a tribe of extremely belligerent Cairn Giants live to the north. More spectacularly, the region to the west is dominated by a Fire Dragon called Oathbreaker, who is one of the most powerful creatures on the continent of Cairn. Thanks for reading, Tasos Flambouras

Developer Journal #18: Economy, Prestige Classes & More 23/11/2007
http://www.warcry.com/articles/view/devjournals/darkfalljournals/2661-Darkfall-DevJournal-18-Economy-Prestige-Classes-More In today's journal, there have been a few questions on the forum lately which caught my eye which and which I'd like to address. Economic system of Darkfall: Now this is an interesting question actually because it goes a bit deeper than economy mechanics, which is what I believe the poster meant to ask about, but I'll do both anyway. As far as how the economy works, this is the basic overview: Warfare is the driving force of the economy. Everything in the game revolves around wartime production. NPC Merchants sell the basic items. Everything else is crafted by the players as you already know. Crafters need ingredients to implement the formulas to create the items they want to. Monsters also drop items. As far as items go, there is wear and tear through use. There are universal banks, clan vaults with player controlled access levels, a secure trading system, and in-game trade boards. 1 Gold is the monetary unit. Clans can own resources, such as mines and they will know who has been using them. This will allow them to moderate their use in any way they see fit. Crafters can sell their products in exchange for protection, for gold, for other items, for raw materials to craft more items with. Surplus can be hoarded, put up for sale, or sold to NPCs merchants. Apart from selling products, a service economy is also very possible. Entrepreneurs would have to take advantage of market trends in order to being successful. Now the question asked was about an economic system which is a lot deeper and would have to do with what to make, how to make it and who gets what's made. Overall, I guess a certain traditional economic system is at work within Darkfall. Economic systems relate to society, so with people and institutions. If we take the clans for example, each of them could implement their own economic system. They can ask their members to contribute a certain amount to the clan vault, and then decide who gets what or what it's used for, reward their members based on their efforts...something like a participatory economy etc. There are quite a few options that can be explored and the successful application of economy may make the difference in how successful a clan will be. Claus says that the game is a sandbox so you can try out a lot of things, even when it comes to the economy. Kjetil comes back with the mathematical balance of everything. These two working together well allow for endless possibilities. So asking about the economy actually has more implications than what we have decided the economy is going to work like. You have a lot of choice in how to work it. Another question about the prestige classes again: Unfortunately it's not looking good for launch. Priorities have taken over and we would rather do them right, than halfassed just to squeeze them in. On item IDs, meaning what you'll find out about an item you've got. You will get information about damage protections, weight, value, durability, critical hit capacity, who crafted it, who enchanted it, minimum skill to use, what enchantment is on it, a

basic description and of course the name of the item. On the topic of universal, European, and US servers: Our ideal situation is having universal servers. That's where we start at. Then come various factors to consider, starting with the publishing end. We may or may not have the same publisher in N. America, and in Europe. Then there are gameplay factors to consider like time zones. Greece and California for example have a 10 hour difference. I don't need to explain how frustrating 3am raids can be to anyone that's ever played on a PvP server. Finally while ping isn't an issue like it is in FPS games, and we've had people connecting to our UK servers from Japan without any problems, ping is still a consideration to keep in mind. So while the jury is still out on what to do, there are a couple of pretty compelling reasons to separate the servers to start. This doesn't mean that we'll ever give up on the notion of a universal server. On character morphology and body types: It's pretty easy to implement a fully customizable character editor where you can change every conceivable aspect of your character's facial and body features. It's fun doing that. Thing is, this is a fully optimized game for massive battles and we'll go with faster loading and framerate every time. This is not to say that your characters will all look the same, far from it. We've talked about the endless variations available to make your character look unique but without sacrificing functionality. On remapable keys: You can absolutely remap everything. On Invisible hiding: There is no invisibility or stealth skill built into the game. You can be stealthy using actual player skill and using the right equipment and movement, and hide as to not be detected moving in. On the related issue of having radar: The only radar is one that shows you your own party. No other radar exists in Darkfall. You can add your own map markers and customize your map, and some quest information will add map markers for you. Finally on the question of whether or not you can play Darkfall casually, I'll say that you can, more so than with most other MMOs. If you're asking if you'll rule the game with 2 hours a week, well, you probably won't but you could carve out a niche for yourself. Everything needs a certain level of commitment at some point, and then a certain level of maintenance. I can go back to playing Counterstrike after a few years and probably take out players who have been playing every day for the past year. This is only because of my high initial commitment to the game. Thing is, if I meet the guys I used to play with that are still playing, they'd wipe the floor with me. That's how you can think of Darkfall if you're mostly a solo player. If you're talking team tactics, then that's a much more demanding discipline which would require a lot more practice to be successful. On the question of conquest and destruction of structures, there are several stages of destruction. You can see some conquest tests in the screenshots where in one, the gate and walls are damaged. I'd like to thank everyone for their feedback on the free business model which came up during the last update, and on behalf of the Darkfall team I'd like to wish everyone Happy Thanksgiving. Thanks for reading

Tasos Flambouras

Developer Journal #19: A Round-Up 10/12/2007
http://www.warcry.com/articles/view/devjournals/darkfalljournals/2707-Darkfall-DevJournal-19-A-Round-Up Things have been progressing smoothly in most areas except for testing. We're behind on the actual tasks and it's a lot of work. We have on-site testers on the job right now and we're looking for more. What we're looking at, at the moment, are the things we don't want the beta testers to have to worry about (ideally). I'm pitching in too, and my task at the moment is to check some areas for out of place objects, and doing accessibility testing, meaning that I'm making sure that players can get to places they're supposed to be able to get to. It's not the most rewarding work but it's important that it gets done. Some Dwarven locations for example are being corrected because they were just too hard to access through the mountains. We are behind schedule on the testing, ahead in other areas, but we're doing our best with it. We're getting much needed new hardware next week and this means that things will speed up considerably; we're also creating more workstations for additional testers. All this work is making it hard to release more updates than what you get in this journal and even this is a stretch. We made an effort last week and got some screenshots from siege testing and released more later in the week on our website. We'll keep trying to make more frequent updates as time permits. We want to give you videos, and we will, as soon as we can get around to it. The last journal raised some questions which I think need answers: When I mentioned universal banks, I didn't think there would be such a reaction. This is probably because I know how they're supposed to work and I didn't think to elaborate, but I also didn't think that a lot of people would assume we're going to pick the worst possible way to implement this. Nevertheless, it was an interesting debate and we were glad to hear what you had to say. So to get you up to speed on universal banks: Universal banks are not bottomless. There's a reasonable volume and weight limit to what you can have in there. You can store items which meet these requirements. Universal banks aren't found everywhere. You can find them in starter towns, capital cities, clan cities if the clan builds one, and some quest hubs. The locations where they're found also limit their use in a racial, an alignment and a clan membership context. You won't be able to use every one of the few universal banks in the world. For example, it's only theoretically possible for an ork to use a universal bank in the human capital but he'd be cut to shreds by the guards before he even reached it. When we make a decision like having universal banks we try to think it through weighing the pros and the cons and try to achieve a balance between convenience and challenge, always with fun in mind. Following up on this, we will be looking at universal banks during beta testing, listening to what the testers have to say, and making any changes that are necessary. The debate on allowing one character per server or one race per server. This has been going on for a while. As with many things that haven't been put to the test, there is no final decision yet but I can give you the consensus over here: We don't think that you really need more than one character with the flexibility the skill system allows. We can also think of a lot of scenarios where you shouldn't be allowed to have more than one character, Darkfall being a competitive game and all. There are many other

reasons why we prefer one character per server but these are the main ones. If we're left to our own devices, this is probably the way it's going to be, one character per server, unless we're convinced otherwise in testing, or by a publisher. You should also know that your views on this debate are known to us and we have, and will continue to consider them. There was an interesting question on the official forum on how you actually learn to craft items. The simplified answer is that you first learn the specific skill, and with each skill level you gain more knowledge which gives you the basic ability to craft more item types. Now the success probability in crafting the item and the eventual quality of the finished product have to do with the skill level of the crafter. The items you buy from vendors are of average quality, but a skilled crafter can make the higher quality versions of these items. Perfect versions of specific items are theoretically possible. Crafters can further specialize in advanced skills to craft the more elite items of varying qualities. What I've explained to you here is a perfect example of one of those things we don't like to talk about because answer makes it sound simplistic, when the design goal is to make it straightforward. In practice it's challenging enough and we don't feel that we have to come up with something too complicated in order to make it interesting. Another poster wondered why most large MMO battles degrade into chaos with everyone running around doing their own thing. Darkfall helps in this with the collision detection on players and with the friendly fire, making formations and picking your ground very important. The full loot makes preparation necessary. The lack of radar and the inability to select and cycle targets using the tab key makes tight formations necessary as to avoid someone breaking in the middle and creating chaos. The fact that even starting players can be dangerous in a small group makes everyone a factor when used correctly. So what it boils down to is good leadership, preparation, and practice. Those who have it will force those who don't to adapt in order to remain competitive. We had a few questions about what degraded the wall in our latest siege screenshots. It was various cannon types used against them, plus Warhulks which are not shown in the screens. Finally, can ships sail against the wind? The wind affects the sailing speed but we've simplified the model quite a bit as to not make it impractical to use ships. Tacking (zig-zagging) can be used to move faster if your heading is directly into the wind.

Developer Journal #20: Fan Answers & Three Screenshots 21/12/2007
http://www.warcry.com/articles/view/devjournals/darkfalljournals/2751-Darkfall-DevJournal-20-Fan-Answers-Three-Screenshots In this journal I'll talk about some things that caught our attention from reading the community boards the past couple of weeks, with a stronger focus on what I like personally since people are taking off for the Christmas holiday and my feedback is more limited than usual. As a matter of fact, I'm the last guy left at the office on a Friday evening typing this thing here so I can't go too crazy with it. Someone was asking about arrow physics: In Darkfall arrows fly in a realistic arc and they leave a light tracer. They fly quite a bit faster than any MMO I've ever played and they have a pretty long range, longer than I've seen before in MMOs. I would say that

the bow experience is pretty realistic. I don't think that we need to limit their range since you actually have to use considerable player skill, luck and plenty of experience to hit someone near the range limit. In other MMOs bow range is limited in a way by radar range since you have to select your target, something we don't do in Darkfall. Arrows in Darkfall do quite a bit of damage, and the bow will be a pretty powerful and effective weapon in the right hands. There's an exception to the realistic arrow physics, some magical arrows which fly in a straight line but have other limitations including damage. I really enjoy playing the archer in most games where it's offered as an option - if it's not gimped. In Darkfall it's so much more satisfying because, if you do it right, your opponents may not even be able to see you. It happens in testing all of the time. You don't appear on a radar, they have no idea where to look, or rather they might have an idea of the general direction judging by which way they were knocked back (an arrow hitting you will knock you in the direction of the strike) or a third party may notice the tracer. Then your opponents start running around so you can't get a clean shot trying at the same time to figure out where you're at. It feels great...I was playing around with someone once who happened to be on a wall inside the human capital and my arrow strike knocked him clear off into the moat. You've probably seen arrows sticking out of players in screenshots, but you can't pick them back up if they hit the deck. This is because we don't allow items in Darkfall to be placed on the ground. The option to solo: again this is an option I personally enjoy the most and I'll give you my feedback on it as it relates to Darkfall. For one you don't need to conform to any alliance rules and regulations, you're not accountable to anyone except to your alignment and you can build your reputation as a solo player depending on your playing style. A lot of people are concerned that by going solo they'd be an easy target. That may be true in some cases, in others however, being a soloist makes you an alignment liability to a lot of people who may have attacked you without impunity if you were in a clan they were at war with. Additionally and reading the relevant posts on the forums I don't think you fully realize the impact on the game that the lack of radar has. You can go unnoticed when the odds are stacked against you, you can do hit and runs, and you can escape when you have to. You can be pretty self-sufficient depending on your skillset. You can always band up with other people in a party which is temporary but at the same time it's pretty powerful structure. Of course by being a solo player you may miss out on the clan portion of the game which is very interesting, or group activities like massive land or naval battles, epic quests etc. You could be affiliated with a clan or a group of players and get to enjoy that aspect of the game as well on your own terms. It's a given that the better crafters and traders would benefit more by being unaligned since this way they can offer their services to anyone. So as far as I know, soloing can easily be a viable and fun alternative. In this journal I'd like to spark some debate on something we're thinking on, and another post on the community forum is what inspired me to ask here. As many of you know, mixed race clans are possible in theory, however NPC guards, and vendors make it hard for the race incompatible clan members to coexist in the same cities. Furthermore, the game makes it hard. If a mixed clan is located in a human area, then their alfar and orkish members will have it a lot harder than the humans. We have some leeway to limit the NPC reaction within the clan cities if we have to. As things stand right now during internal testing, NPC guards don't attack clan members, capital city guards do however attack enemy races. We'd like to hear some opinions, and various options of this will of course be heavily tested during beta. One problematic scenario I can imagine is a clan coming into the game not fully versed on Darkfall particulars and their members chose incompatible races. That, plus a possible one character per server setup could force someone to delete their character when

they realize it's going to be too much of a pain in the ass. I can see that happening a lot actually. As with everything else we don't want to make the game annoyingly restrictive so we'll be looking at this carefully, and some initial feedback based on this information here would be nice. On taking trophies from dead opponents: We planned to include head-taking to accessorize with but we don't have time to implement this by launch. It goes without saying that we'll patch it in when its priority ranking comes up. For the time being your trophies are your statistics of details on all your kills, and your looted items from your victims. I was asked recently what the plan is after Darkfall. This was a relevant question because it was asked in a business context and you have to look into the future. The reason I mention this is because I saw a similar question in the community forum. The philosophy behind Darkfall is to give players what they've been asking for, to improve heavily on what was already out there, to not be afraid to try new things, to take player freedom to new levels. We'll continue developing the game throughout its lifecycle under this philosophy, and continue to do this with subsequent games. At least that's the plan. It's entirely possible we'll see a lot of cool features we haven't even discussed or even thought of yet finding their way into the game while Darkfall is live and we've kept this in mind throughout the development process. A year after launch Darkfall will probably be a much different game that what it starts as. In another thread I was checking out, the poster was talking about how in the Darkfall videos he's seen so far, combat seems pretty simple and how it appears to be just a matter of timing - or something to that effect. I really beg to differ here. This is realtime combat. Weapon range, weapon swing, they matter. Timing matters. You have special attacks. The location where you hit your opponent matters. Friendly fire is on. Collision detection is on. You can push people, you can box them in. You have more weapon choices than you can imagine. You have to lead the target with your ranged weapons. You aim your spells, you aim your attacks. You have mounted combat, naval combat, cannons, warhulks, hundreds of spells. What else is possible? Something I don't think we've mentioned before is that you can hit multiple opponents with one swing. So if you're fighting with a polearm right next to your clanmate there's a chance if you're not careful that you'll nick him along with your target. If you're charging players using a mount and slice at them you could cut down a few of them if they're running in a bunch. Lots of fun really, but definitely not simple. There are a lot of questions about travel times and how large the world is. I keep hearing that the size of our world is that of Germany. Of course it's not. It's not even remotely close. Even if we had the option for it to be that large, why would we choose it? Spread out 10 k people in Germany and see how often they run into each other. This is a PvP game and players have to meet. Additionally, this is a world loaded with content and points of interest. When you reach one, you can see the next one in most cases. That being said, the Darkfall world is larger than most, and possibly the largest in area, all of which is accessible to the players. Travel times can be long and there are not a lot of options to move instantly, and definitely not exactly where you want to be. My eye caught a thread where the monthly subscription and billing methods of Darkfall were discussed. Several posters insist that there's no way we could offer Darkfall lower than other MMO subscriptions out there. I don't see why not. As a matter of fact if we're left to our own devices, or if we have a say in the matter, Darkfall will be extremely competitive. We have a lot of faith in this game and that's

our competitive advantage. We want as many people as possible to be able to try it out. In another post the uniqueness of Darkfall's characters was put into question by one of the posters. We've talked about this many times in the past, and I think that in testing where most of our screenshots are taken from we don't pay so much attention to modifying or dressing up our characters so you end up seeing a lot of the same stuff all the time. We won't implement character creation morphing because we're shooting for performance during massive battles, rather than spending time drawing everyone's uniquely disfigured character. Still...we've done everything possible to give your character variation and uniqueness and your character will definitely stand out in a crowd if you want him/her to. Henning took some quick screenshots with some new facial / hairstyle / equipment variations of characters exclusively wearing armor they looted off of monsters. The female ork is wearing face paint and angra skeleton shoulder pads, beastman bracers, and a servants of Malaut girdle, and revenant greaves. The Alfar female is wearing face paint, zombie shoulder pads, hobgoblin bracers, and Ciel Fey boots. The human male is wearing face paint, black knight shoulder pads, gloves, girdle and boots, and a hobgoblin helmet. That's a tar lake behind the alfar by the way. That's all for today, thanks for reading. I don't think we'll miss any updates due to the holidays; at least I'll try not to. I'll try to give you a status report and a few other belated updates as soon after the holidays as possible. On behalf of the Darkfall team I'd like to wish everyone Happy Holidays, and thanks for reading. Tasos Flambouras

2006
MMORPG.com interview 26/01/2006
http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm/gameId/4/setView/features/loadFeature/408 Tasos Flambouras - with the help of Darkfall development team members Jade Mehdawi, BT Oren, Claus Grovdal, Erik Johansen, Ricki Sickenger, and Henning Ludvigsen - goes above and beyond to answer our questions on the development of this upcoming PvP-centric MMORPG. MMORPG.com: Darkfall was one of the most anticipated games on the MMO radar several years ago. Over time, a lack of information has led to whispers of vaporware or cancellation. Can you make a statement regarding the health of the production and what fans should expect in the weeks and months to come? Tasos Flambouras: Darkfall is actually more anticipated than ever. Website traffic, community activity, messages, inquiries by press, fans, business, employment inquires etc. are some of the indicators. The response to our unpublicized clan beta invitation has been overwhelming. All this makes us very happy but it's difficult to handle when we're in full production and all our resources need to be in development. Our information stream as a result has been toned down considerably. As for the board whisperers, they're a reaction to a highly anticipated and ambitious

game by an independent studio. 'Whispers' have proven in the past to have an agenda or two behind them, and whether it's competition, attempts at forcing information, or manipulating an active community, we shouldn't propagate them by rehashing them. Our commitment to Darkfall is a given. We're proud to report that we're in the final stages of production. Our community can look forward to a lot of new Darkfall information and material, and of course, the chance to playtest the game. MMORPG.com: Graphically, Darkfall unveiled a new style several months ago. What went into this decision and how did you go about achieving the desired changes? Tasos Flambouras: That's not a new style you're looking at, it's the graphical evolution of a game in development, something that we've decided to let our community participate in. As I'm writing this, the screenshots that will illustrate this interview haven't been taken yet. When I'm done, I'll log into Darkfall on my slightly above average desktop computer, take screenshots, select a few, add a logo, attach them and send them. I hope I can get a few good ones and we'll look forward to the usual constructive criticism by our community. What you get when I'm done, is a moment of the game in its current state, a look under the hood if you like. Since we're still in development, player experience will definitely look better. We've all been patiently trained to expect and to accept the wonderful marketing "bullshots" but that's not how game development works. A team of artists using high powered graphics workstations could craft an amazing visual presentation, creating environments, using high polygon models, posing them, cranking up graphics settings to unplayable levels, carefully placing lights, worrying about texture, angle, color, composition etc. When that's done, then the post production process begins. In the end what you get is a flawless visual that you'll never be able to see in-game, and action that you'll never be able to duplicate. Its purpose is to hype a game rather than show what it's really like. MMORPG.com: Fans are used to being promised the stars, and delivered a strikingly different game at launch. After all these months of relative silence, can you give us a rundown of your main defining features as they stand today? Tasos Flambouras: Darkfall delivers you from the limp-wristed clutches of point-andclick combat. It combines the best elements of the role-playing genre with the intensity and sheer fun of the FPS. It's not just another killfest, it's an epic, player-driven saga of warfare and conquest. More than any other game, Darkfall has been designed as a rewarding, goal-oriented environment for player-on-player combat. Clans fight or form alliances in order to conquer and defend territory and all-important resources, and as Darkfall's main story arc develops, they become the protagonists in an all-encompassing, apocalyptic struggle for the future of the world. These epic struggles take place in an enormous game world, which is so packed with content that you could spend years just exploring it. Hundreds of different monster types populate countless ruins, dungeons and villages on five huge, radically different continents. Our main defining features today are pretty much exactly as we first envisioned the game on the conceptual stages. We have stayed true to the initial design, and only

minor features have been cut, for various technical and balancing reasons. That said, we have added a lot more new features. A list of Darkfall's basic features and answers to frequently asked questions can be found on the Darkfall website at: http://www.darkfallonline.com/features/ MMORPG.com: Your game boasts the ability to interact with tens of thousands of players simultaneously. Technically, how do you plan to achieve this? Tasos Flambouras: The decision that Darkfall would support a high number of players came early in the technical design process. It was obvious that the numbers we wanted would be hard to support on the server end without clustering, so we started evaluating available clustering technologies. None of them met our requirements at the time, and we soon understood that we would need to do this ourselves. After a lot of brainstorming and experimentation, we arrived at a model for distributed computing which we've pretty much stayed with since then. Throughout every part of game development, we've designed and programmed using asynchronous communication in between very small, movable modules. This has imposed restrictions on the programmers, but it has also helped error location and debugging immensely. We can spread the game servers across anything in between one and several thousand computers. Additionally, we can move modules in between computers while the game is up and running, making load balancing a simple matter of looking at resource utilization before moving modules around. Another problem with a high number of players is the limited resources of player PCs, and limitations in internet connectivity. There areseveral levels of optimizations intended to reduce lag and problems due to these issues. Among these is what we like to consider a quite innovative mechanism for dynamic level-of-detail adjustment, of course in addition to both context-aware and plain binary compression mechanisms for network data. The combination of a distributed model for servers, which will allow us to always have enough CPU power, and inventive optimizations that can balance CPU usage against network performance, gives us a mechanism where resource limitations could be solved by adding a few more servers. MMORPG.com: Darkfall has been labeled a PvP game. How do you intend to overcome the stigma many feel towards them and ensure that the game meets the financial goals you've set out? Tasos Flambouras: It's true that Darkfall's real-time combat gameplay lends itself brilliantly to PvP, but equally as well to PVE, group combat and naval warfare. PvPers have been the most outspoken about Darkfall because they are the group most frustrated by the lack of control in the point-click-wait reality of MMOGs today. Today I logged into the game, got on a battle horse and rode out of the human capital where I engaged a group in combat. A highlight of this very gratifying experience was a head bouncing to the ground (and rolling into the moat that surrounds the city) after a well timed sword blow as I rode by. I don't remember having this much fun before in MMOG combat and this was just fighting a group of Goblins. Should we label Darkfall the best PvE game ever based on my experience? Darkfall must be experienced and I think that it's going to receive several different labels based on what different groups of players enjoy most about it. The "PvP stigma" you speak of, is proof that PvP hasn't been handled well by MMOGs

so far, in contrast with the mass market where PvP games are the overwhelming majority of multiplayer games being played. It's a shame, especially since MMORPGs are the most suitable games for epic battles, conflict, glory and shame. It's our ambition, through Darkfall, to alter the negative perception some MMOG players have of player on player combat. It's obvious that players are increasingly asking for PvP. Games that have traditionally avoided it, have been incorporating it as an afterthought. MMORPG.com: For those who do enjoy PvP, can you explain the reasons why PvP in Darkfall will be something new and exciting for them? Tasos Flambouras: More than any other game before it, Darkfall brings the fantasy battlefield to blood-splattering, neck-chopping life: Spell explosions blow you away from the battle line with kinetic force; blood splatters on your armor as the ditch-bound head of a decapitated foe rolls past; smoke from fireball bursts reduce vision temporarily until the wind carries it away; warhorses kick savagely and opponents physically block your progress as you race to execute a wound-stunned enemy before their healers get to him; thundering hooves signal victory as your cavalry arrives just in time to turn the tide of battle. MMOG combat has tended towards the boringly static, with players deducting hit points from each other while micromanaging their characters. In Darkfall, however, combat is as unpredictable, visceral, action-packed and intense as medieval fantasy combat can be. MMORPG.com: Your website states that your "crafting system is intuitive, nonrepetitive, challenging, useful, fun - and profitable." Can you explain what this means in practical terms? Tasos Flambouras: Consider what potentially tide-turning magical weapons are worth to a besieged clan - who stand to lose their clanstone and everything they've worked for - and you'll realise the worth of craftsmen in a war-torn setting such as Agon. Darkfall is a combat oriented game, and there will never be a shortage of recently slain players who need to have their equipment replaced. As a result, master crafters will be highly sought after, both as clan members and as trading partners. Crafting in Darkfall involves more than just toiling at the anvil or workbench. In order to create an item, you must first procure the required raw materials, and this can be much more complicated than just strolling down to the local mine with a pickaxe over your shoulder. If you want to create magical items, for example, you'll first need to obtain special ingredients which are only dropped by different kinds of monsters. Some of these resource monsters are hard to kill, others are rare, while yet others live in dangerous and/or enemy-controlled habitats. Even the more prosaic resources, such as iron and wood, must be harvested from a limited number of resource points, which can be brought under a restricting clan's control. The crafting system is designed this way in order to encourage conflict, cooperation and trade between players. Here are just some of the things we hope to see players engaged in, as a result of incentives inherent in Darkfall's crafting system: 1) Clan conflict over the control of monster populations which yield valuable resource drops. 2) Stealth raids into the territories of enemy races in order to harvest rare ingredients. 3) Merchants specializing in buying and selling ingredients. 4) Players discovering and researching a new resource several months into the game. 5) Neighbors uniting against a powerful clan monopolizing a resource point. 6) Clans demanding a tax from anyone wishing to use their resource points. 7) Mercenary craftsmen offering their

services to the highest bidder in a vicious clan war. 8) Flourishing black market resource trade in neutral cities such as Silvertown. MMORPG.com: Live Events are something players often ask for, but rarely see. What do you have planned on this front, both in terms of what the players see and what you do behind the scenes to make it work? Tasos Flambouras: The currently planned events in Darkfall are player-driven instead of NPC-driven, and are designed to encourage competition between individuals, clans and races. There are plans for traditional live events, but our current focus is on content which we believe is better suited to a huge-scale game such as Darkfall. Epic spawns, for example, are especially designed monster groups which only appear once, and which disappear forever when vanquished. An epic spawn might involve an ancient dragon and its host of servitors, a rampaging Ice Demon and its army, or a gathering of devil-summoning Malaut worshippers. Each such epic comes complete with a quest sequence which must be completed before the main monster can be killed, and players will race to attain the great honour which awaits those who free the land of the new threat. Most epic spawns take place in a single realm, and its related quests are only available to the members of a single race (and its allies.) Unlike epic spawns, storyline events occur at predetermined times, and advance the game's main plot slowly towards its apocalyptic (several-years-hence) climax. A storyline event might involve hordes of shadow monsters emerging from the Watcher's tower in the central wasteland, a Celestial Dragon rampaging on Yssam, or mysterious new dungeon entrances suddenly appearing in similar locations all over Agon. They usually take place on neutral ground, and tend to involve players from all the six races. In essence, storyline events are long and very difficult quest sequences, which unfold over a period of weeks or months. Ultimately, someone will complete the final quest and as the game moves on to its next chapter, these players will have made their mark on history. MMORPG.com: The usual debate over skill vs. class system rages here. Why did you go for skill-based? Tasos Flambouras: Why allow players to take the skills they want and need as their character develops and the game evolves? In a skill-based system, such as Darkfall's, players can create exactly the character they want to play, without limitations dictated by design choices or by the need to balance a class-based system. It's more challenging for us as developers, but we feel it's better for the players and for the game. In a class based system you get a pretty much already developed character with little room to grow, whereas the skill based system allows you the freedom and the pleasure of developing your character yourself. With the number of skills in Darkfall, each character will be unique. In Darkfall, you pick and choose exactly the skills you fancy, and if you tire of the combination, you just switch your focus to some new ones - any new ones. In a classbased system the only time you have complete freedom is right before you create your character and then you're boxed in by your initial, often uninformed, choices.

The skill based system allows the player to adapt, as he learns more about what he needs in the game, to best fit his playing style. New players may not know which class to pick since they don't have experience of the game, essentially forcing them to be stuck with a gimped character, or having to re-roll and forcibly retire a character that was a part of the community and had its own history. The same applies as the game evolves and new skills become important. Allowing characters the freedom to grow and adapt allows us to add new content and new challenges without worrying about being unfair to certain groups of player characters. In Darkfall all players will be able to take advantage of the new opportunities that come along with the evolution of the game. MMORPG.com: Conquest and empire building are heavily touted on your website. What do you have planned in terms of massive battles, siege, mounts, and other tools normally associated with this? Tasos Flambouras: In Darkfall clans compete over land ownership, resources, and strategic objectives. A clan needs to apply strategy, tactics and logistics as well as individual skill in order to prevail over their opponents. The game is designed to support massive battles and these will occur when the players themselves cause them. The game itself has been designed to focus battles during conquest, meaning that players will often want to attack and defend specific locations, bringing a large number of players in the battlefield going back and forth before the final all-out assault. Darkfall features mounted combat, siege engines controlled by players, player controlled ships that may also have siege engines on them. You can comment on this article here. Article By: Dana Massey Created On: January 26, 2006

RPG vault #20 08/02/06: Ork capital
http://rpgvault.ign.com/articles/686/686562p1.html February 08, 2006 - Darkfall is a fantasy online world in development at Aventurine, a Greek-based company that absorbed the originator of the project, a Norwegian team called Razorwax, and has advanced it to the stage where preparations are currently being made to begin beta. Set in a world known as Agon, it features six playable races. Humans, Dwarves and the elven Mirdain maintain generally friendly terms among themselves, while Orks and the wolf-like Mahirim, although not quite so amicable, usually aren't hostile to each other. The same cannot be said of the Alfar, pale outcasts who openly loathe all but their own kind. The character development system is intended to allow for a high degree of customization, offering a vast array of skills and spells. The objective, an appealing one to many observers, is to make it possible for players to follow virtually any type of career path they might want, becoming a de facto explorer, hunter, mercenary, smith, magician, fisherman or almost anything else by making the appropriate choices, with optional prestige classes such as Paladin, Assassin, Gladiator, Enchanter also available. All will adventure in an environment that differs from most others in its clearly stated emphasis on player vs. player combat.

Welcome to Flaming Skull The Orkish capital lies, ash-clad and lava-lit, in the shadow of a volatile volcano. Rivers of molten rock encircle the town, forming a highly effective natural moat around it. A steady outpouring of ash blocks out most sunlight, ensuring a permanent dusk pierced by the malevolent, shifting glow from flowing lava. Orks are a warrior race who see themselves as too good for manual labor, and they require a steady stream of disposable goblin slaves to serve both as grunt workers and as a reliable source of sacrificial victims. The city of the Fire Dragon The Orks of Morak worship the Fire Dragon, a Celestial Dragon that rose to godhood no more than three centuries ago. After gaining control over the Orks of the Flaming Skull region, it embarked upon a series of campaigns that brought all the tribes of Morak under her rule. Now, she rests and slumbers within the molten heart of the Flaming Skull volcano, dreaming of the day when her Orks conquer Agon and subject all its peoples to a reign of fire. The Orks believe that the Fire Dragon controls the Flaming Skull volcano, and that she protects them from its wrath when she wants to. When the nearby port of Wormtusk was destroyed in an eruption two years ago, priests explained that the Fire Dragon was hungry, and that she required more sacrifice now that her awakening was imminent. The frequency of sacrificial ceremonies in Flaming Skull was thenceforth doubled. The streets of Flaming Skull The only non-magical way into Flaming Skull is through a massive gate flanked by two towers. After crossing a fire-scarred drawbridge, which provides a way across the lava moat, the visitor walks straight onto the town's central square. Here, a statue of King Grakk holding a decapitated elven head overlooks the Drunken Axe, Flaming Skull's largest and most famous inn. Across the square stands the Ziggurat of the Fire Dragon, Flaming Skull's largest structure and its most dominant landmark (with the rather obvious exception of the volcano itself). Rising from a natural outcropping of rock, the Ziggurat's three-storied pyramidal shape towers over the heart of town, a constant, torch-lit reminder of the power of the Fire Dragon and her priesthood. On every day of the week, doomed captives are sacrificed on the summit of the Ziggurat, their blood and screams temporarily slaking the death-thirst of the Orkish god. The second largest structure in Flaming Skull is King Grakk's castle, the bannered towers of which rise from a plateau in the southwestern part of town. It is the headquarters of Grakk's elite Iron Orks organization, which maintains a constant guard on the complex' perhaps most interesting feature - a gate leading into the belly of the volcano itself. Proven Orkish adventurers are sometimes given quests that take them through the legendary gate, into the fire-scorched tunnels that lie beyond it. The rich, the poor, the enslaved The strong and wealthy of Flaming Skull live in the part of town flanked by the Ziggurat and the city gate on one side, and Grakk's castle on the other. This part of town is clean, well kept and well policed, and the buildings in it are mostly made of stone.

Further north, in the part of town known as the Wallow, buildings made of wood and hide regularly catch fire during minor volcanic eruptions. The streets of this area are narrow and muddy, while garbage, offal and rotting carcasses provide a truly memorable stench. The most famous establishment in the Wallow is Old Grok's Ead, a catastrophically disreputable tavern housed within a sprawling, run-down shack. Beyond the slimy streets of the Wallow lies Goblintown, home to the countless goblin slaves that toil, breed and die within the city walls. Orks are a warrior race who see themselves as too good for manual labor, and they require a steady stream of disposable goblin slaves to serve both as grunt workers and as a reliable source of sacrificial victims. In the Northwestern corner of Flaming Skull lies the much less squalid, semi-secluded village of the other main group of slaves in town, the Svartdvergir. These evil dwarves belong to a twisted and degenerate race, but their skills in metalsmithing and stonecutting are valuable to the Orks, who therefore treat them relatively well. The Svartdvergir part of town features a mine that recently became a source of trouble rather than metal when miners dug into a monster-infested tunnel network. Quest Factions of Flaming Skull Like all of Agon's capitals, Flaming Skull is home to several organizations that pursue their own sometimes divergent agendas. These groups use adventurers to further their goals, sending them on epic storyline quests throughout Morak - and beyond. Through these adventures, Orkish players gain an intimate knowledge of their homeland, and become embroiled in Morak's many conflicts with the other nations on Agon. circular openings in its side serve as doorways for Akathar hunters and raiders. Sworn allies of the Sadayel lizardmen, the Akathar attack any Ork who trespasses on their territory. The Iron Orks King Grakk the One-Eye commands one of Agon's strongest armies, and the Iron Orks are an elite group within that force, its members selected for strength, ferocity and cunning (in that order.) Utterly loyal to King Grakk, they answer to the monarch alone, and some speculate that building their strength is part of a royal scheme to wrest more power from the priesthood. The Dragonbound These priests are a dangerous and powerful group of take no prisoners fundamentalists. Dedicating their lives to serving the Fire Dragon, they show their loyalty by cutting off their own lips and covering their bodies in self-inflicted scars and burn marks. The Dragonbound are not averse to working behind the back of King Grakk, who they see as a mere pawn (and an insolent one, at that) in The Fire Dragon's name. Defenders of the Swamp From the winged Akathar to the magic-wielding Sadayel, via the frankly abominable Swamp Hags, Morak is a land that teems with dangerous creatures. The Defenders of the Swamp are an order of knights who have sworn to keep Morak as clean of monster as Orkishly possible. The Erodach The Erodach are tall-statured humanoid masters of the element of fire. They are

haughty and arrogant, and are famous both for their searing intelligence and their cold cruelty. The origin of the Erodach is unknown (they are not natives of Agon) and their motives are veiled in shadow. They claim to be staunch allies of the Fire Dragon and the Orks, but some speculate that their real reasons for coming to Morak are more selfish and remain hidden. Areas of Interest To the south and west of Flaming Skull lie vast tracts of verdant and endlessly fecund swampland. To the north and east lies a region that has been ravaged by centuries of volcanic activity. Both of these territories contain many locations that are of interest to the Orkish adventurer. Here are just a few of them: Central Taloroth This region, which lies just north of Flaming Skull, is home to the village of Swampton, one of three starting locations for Orkish player characters. The buildings of Swampton are dwarfed by a vast cliff formation that rises just north of the village. These cliffs feature three large, grass-clad plateaus connected by a stream that tumbles down from the highest plateau and across the two lower ones before ultimately reaching the sea just west of Swampton. Rock-hewn paths also connect the three plateaus, which are inhabited by a fierce tribe of goblins. Western Spiderfang This region contains both the old, volcano-blasted port of Old Wormtusk, and the new port of Safe Wormtusk, which lies slightly further away from Flaming Skull. The old port is haunted by the undead remains of Orks killed during the eruption that leveled it two years ago. On an islet in the bay outside the old port stands a large lighthouse shaped like a skull, and a small, recently abandoned keep. Northwestern Uthank This region prominently features Old Filthy, one of the largest geysers on Agon. Unfortunately for the kobolds that inhabit the swampland surrounding it, Old Filthy ejects vast amounts of mud at regular intervals. The kobolds have turned this to their advantage however, using the abundant raw material to build large mud hut villages. Countless smaller, thankfully water-ejecting geysers are scattered throughout Northwestern Uthank. Fire Run A long, narrow canyon cuts across this region. Several swamps drain into this rift, the floor of which is covered by an ankle-deep layer of brown water. Several low-ceilinged caverns, which branch off from the canyon floor, contain one of the nastiest Swamp Hag infestations in living memory. Lesser Faukul A tall mountain that rises from the swamps of Lesser Faukul, is home to a large nesting of Akathar bird people. The peak is riddled with tunnels that connect different nests, and circular openings in its side serve as doorways for Akathar hunters and raiders. Sworn allies of the Sadayel lizardmen, the Akathar attack any Ork who trespasses on their territory. BT Oren Aventurine This text is part of the inspirational design used by artists and worldbuilders in making

the Orkish capital.

RPG vault 01/05/06: pre-E3 interview
http://rpgvault.ign.com/articles/703/703916p1.html Jonric: What will you be you doing in an official capacity at E3 this year, and what are you looking forward to outside of those duties? Tasos Flambouras Associate Producer, Darkfall Aventurine We're going to E3 this year to demo Darkfall, and to connect with other industry professionals. We'll also attend a couple of panel discussions, and we're looking forward to visiting with old friends. Aside from my official duties, I plan to walk the picket line with the booth babes, and try to take as much of the show in as possible. Visiting the motherland after a six-year absence will be nice as well.

MMORPG.com interview 09/05/06
http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm?setview=features&loadFeature=629&gameID =4&page=1&fp=1280,1024,1147814967531,20060516172927&bhcp=1 Preview based on an interview and video by Michael Hampden Today we sat down with Tasos Flambouras (Associate Producer) and Kjetil Helland (Lead Programmer) from Adventurine, to discuss their upcoming MMO project, Darkfall. We learned that for those of you looking for something different in an MMO Darfkall could be the game for you. "We took it out because it wasn't fun" says Tasos Flambouras, when questioned about a game mechanic related to simulating real-world conditions. This is a refreshing point of view in an industry where too often developers fail to realize where to draw the line between creating virtual worlds Darkfall isn't just generic Fantasy-themed WoW-clone number 852. The game will feature a robust PvP system that unlike the majority of current MMO titles, will be very fast paced. Also unlike many current MMOs with PvP, player skill will often be the determining factor in combat. "You have the character skill" says Lead Programmer Kjetil Helland, "but what will matter as much is the player's skill". And you'd better have some skill, because in Darkfall, you won't find things like safezones to protect you. You can attack, or be attacked at any time, in any place. Of course, with this freedom comes responsibility, killing members of your own race will have a huge impact on your character's alignment. Soon enough he'll be known to all as evil, and will be unable to trade in most cities, and may even be attacked onsight by town guards. This alignment also extends to all characters on your server, so players will have to be accountable for their actions, regardless of which character they are currently playing. You had better watch where you aim that fireball too, because Darkfall doesn't feature any form of friendly-fire protection. Another way in which Darkfall differs from the majority of the competition is a skill-

based character advancement system. That's right folks - no levels. Darkfall's system that will likely feature upwards of 500 individual skills that your character can use upon release. Darkfall will also have a similar number of spells to choose from meaning a remarkable number of possible character customization options. The skill system is also a great fit for an MMO rich in PvP. In many MMOs a level 50 player would dominate a level 1 player in combat. In Darkfall, the skill system allows for a much more realistic encounter. It's possible that 4 or 5 new players could team up and kill an experienced veteran. "[In Darkfall] you're a hero" Tasos explains, "not some farm boy". This means that for you grief players out there, sitting in a public place and "ganking noobs" all day won't be a easy task in Darkfall. The PvP itself is focused on creating a fun experience. Aiming in PvP is done with something of a crosshair, "You have to aim... and you have to click to attack." explains Kjetil. This will provide a different, more intense experience for players who are used to sitting back, watching their character auto-attack and clicking on a spell every now and then. What else could we expect from developers who admit, "We're all huge fans of FPS games". The PvP system also includes collision, meaning you won't be simply "running through" your opponents in Darkfall. This will allow players to create meaningful formations and tactics for large-scale battles, something of a revolution in the world of MMOs. Of course, what would PvP be without a meaningful death penalty? Darkfall allows full looting of defeated enemies. Some may wince when reading that, but it's not quite as harsh as it may seem. All items in Darkfall can be crafted by players, so a quick trip to your local bank vault, or to a clan-mate who's handy with a smith's hammer will have you back in business in no time. Darkfall will also feature something never seen in MMOs, full-scale naval PvP combat. This will include ship to ship attacks, using ship-based weaponry. You scurvy dawgs out there can finally blast away with cannons, just like you've always dreamed. Ships in Darkfall will come in variety of sizes, and a large number of players are required to effectively crew the larger classes of ship. Ships are also not limited to attacking other ships, and can also attack land based targets, such as player-made settlements. Of course, these settlements aren't defenseless; they can use cannons of their own to return the favor. One can imagine this could create some awe-inspiring battles. Land-based cannons aren't the only thing would-be attacking ships need to be concerned about. The world of Darkfall will feature a dynamic weather system, that will affect things like wind direction. Sailing your ship into an opposing wind will slow it down, making it considerably less maneuverable. Would-be pillagers will have to plan their strategies in advance and luckily enough, Darkfall includes the means to forecast upcoming weather conditions - and they'll probably be more accurate that Phil, your local guy at Channel 6. Land lovers will also have to concern themselves with the weather, as foggy days will decrease visibility, which could be a negative, or a positive, depending on your strategy. Besides having dynamic weather, Darkfall's game world has such notable perks as: no instancing, entirely hand-crafted environments, and an important one for you technical folks, the complete absence of height maps. By now you're probably thinking, sounds like fun - When can I try it out? Unfortunately we can't give you an answer to that just yet. Suffice it to say, a beta will probably happen at some point in fairly the near future. We'll leave to you to decide if

Darkfall was worth the wait. Article By: Michael Hampden Created On: May 09, 2006

E3 combine interview 17/05/06
http://www.the-combine.net/ArticleViewer.aspx?ArticleNo=322 Unknowing @ E3 2006 Darkfall This gets its own section. We've been watching Darkfall for a while. Back in 2003 Deyth visited them in Greece and the first ever video of Darkfall gameplay was released through Combine last year. Of all the PvP games on the horizon none has appealed more to hardcore PvPers than Darkfall. Near the end of the day I got a call from Tasos Flambouras and Kjetil Helland, producer and lead programmer respectively, offering to give me a private viewing of the game. I had already read the writeup Deyth did a while back so I couldn't wait to actually see it. They spent a long time with me... They had a standalone version of the game with them (they're not in beta yet) and they came armed with plenty of Fraps movies. Darkfall is designed to be a hardcore PvP game, completely skill-based with no leveling system and requiring plenty of player skill. The people developing the game have played other PvP games and found them lacking. They are looking to make a game that really caters to the PvP market without worry of alienating the non-PvP community. By PvP I mean FFA PvP. The real thing. They do think that the game will still appeal to some non-PvPers because of features like the crafting and lore systems. Combat in this game reminds me a lot of Savage, requiring players to aim their spells and weapon attacks. No auto-attack auto-follow bullshit. You swing your weapon and it either hits or doesn't. You shoot your spell and if you miss and hit a friendly target they will take damage. Hitting a target with a spell or weapon will raise your proficiency with that type of attack. A player could skill up by only killing other players. Strategy is very important in combat. Friendly fire is a real concern. Large groups could hurt themselves in confined areas so a small group using choke points could beat a larger one. When a player dies the corpse remains on the ground, unconscious and twitching. You can either release, wait for a friendly to resurrect you, or your enemy can come and perform a finishing move that sends you back to your bind point. If that happens or if the player releases, the corpse becomes fully lootable. Everything in your inventory can be looted, even weapons and armor. They described it as being a huge rush going up to someone and finishing them off. They think it likely that in large guild battles there will probably be people assigned to run around and finish people off before they're resurrected. Crafting will play a huge role. All armor and weapons in the game can be crafted, making guild crafters very important. A guild preparing for war will have to stockpile large amounts of equipment (reminiscent of UO, one of their inspirations). Running

out of gear could mean losing the entire war. Materials for crafting can be acquired by killing NPCs, mining ore, or chopping trees. If you happen to run into another player who has just finished gathering some materials you can always just kill and loot him. The lazy man's option. NPCs will also drop items including the ones you see them using on you. No more useless loot like rat tails and fish eyes. Guilds will be extremely important. Guilds will be able to build cities and claim resource points. They can declare war or ally with other guilds. Politics will be meaningful. Guild-controlled cities will be a huge part of the game. Guilds can only build cities in preset locations around the world (I was assured that there would be a large amount of possible locations, like on the sides of mountains or islands, etc.) Picking a strategic location will be crucial. The actual city building is done RTS-style and materials are provided by crafters. NPC guards can be hired and equipped to protect the city. Cities can be attacked and destroyed by other guilds without limitations (such as baning a tree a la Shadowbane.) The game world is quite large, about 12 hours to cross from one end to the other, making mounts very important. Each of the 6 races has its own mount (except the wolf race which has a skill allowing them run fast). Combat can be done without dismounting but has a chance to kill the mount. If a player is killed while on his mount, or dismounts and then dies, the mount is fair game for anyone to claim. A human character wanting to ride an orc mount just needs to kill an orc and take it. Also leaving a mount unattended also makes it fair game. Climbing will be a feature in the game. I'm mentioning this because I have always been annoyed by games enclosing me within a zone through mountains and zone walls. Since this game will not have any zones or instances, if you can see an area, you can get there by climbing (within reason of course). Naval battles were described as being a very important feature. A guild would have to build a shipyard, gather all the materials needed, and build the ship. Someone with the skill in navigating the ship gets behind the wheel and steers it around. Speed of movement and turning is affected by the skill of the driver and current weather conditions. Cannons are mounted on the side of the ship and players need to attend to each cannon, turning them, aiming, and firing. Ships can be boarded by players either scaling up the side or if two ships come close enough for someone to jump over. If everyone on the boat is killed and the ship is still intact anyone can get behind the wheel and drive it away. Ships can also be used to siege a city that's along the coastline. Weather will play a part in this game as well. Rain and snow causes very low visibility. A weather map will be accessible in game showing weather patterns and their direction of movement. A guild can anticipate a rain storm and use it to ambush another guild. During good weather players can be seen from an extremely long distance. They can be seen as a small dot in the clipping range. Conclusion I had a great time at E3 and really appreciate those that helped me get there. I was a bit disappointed with the MMOs I saw there, except for Darkfall. I am very excited about this game although I have this thought in the back of my mind reminding me of Shadowbane. I guess we'll just have to wait for beta to find out. Make sure to check out the board thread for this article for more discussion on what I saw. This is Unknowing, underpaid Combine correspondent, signing off.

Created by Unknowing on 5/17/2006 4:11:00 PM

Warcry Darkfall Online E3 2006 Interview 17/05/06
http://www.warcry.com/scripts/columns/view_sectionalt.phtml?site=15&id=499&colid =9722 Have you sat there in a PvP area in your favorite game and felt like something is missing? Maybe the dumbed down version of PvP that is currently the norm in the industry leaves you wanting something more? There is hope, Darkfall is an ambitious project being headed up by Aventurine, and will feature the most robust PvP system I have seen in years. Having been part of the pre-patch 16 era of Ultima Online I am reminded of the incredible feelings that PvP once gave me when I think about Darkfall. While at E3 myself, Sabrehawk, and Gatzby had the chance to talk with Tasos Flambouras (VP) and Kjetil Helland (Lead Programmer) of Aventurine about Darkfall and we found a gamers dream that these men are bringing to life. Warcry- To dive right in the screenshots look great and the videos are awesome, is this graphics engine something you have designed from the ground up? Darkfall Team- Everything is made by us in house. Warcry- With a world as large as Darkfall did you randomly generate any of the terrain? Darkfall Team- Everything is handcrafted; every single area of land was built by our world designers. We felt this necessary because you can go anywhere in our world. If you can see the top of a mountain or the bottom of a valley you can go there. You may need a climbing skill, or explosion to get there but you can get there. Everything is physics based in our game so every environmental action has a reaction. You have complete freedom and this is very important to us. Warcry- I know there is a lot of talk in the MMORPG industry about in-game weather systems, will Darkfall have Weather? Darkfall Team- Yes as a mater of fact we have an in game weather report for the players. Weather will be very important for planning attacks. Visibility, wind direction, and the use of cover will be some of the tools of great battles. Ships will have to use the wind, you can not sail into the wind much less a heavy storm. Warcry- Can you destroy player towns and houses? Darkfall Team- Yes, but its not going to be 3 months to build and 4 hours to take down. Although an attacker could destroy a town the question would be why. Towns are great resources, and would most likely be captured not ruined. This also creates a dynamic for revenge. The invading force would gain the resources of the town and any crafting facilities that are there so it is more valuable left standing. Also remember it is an easier task to defend than it is to attack, so sieges will not be a quick mater. An invasion may take several smaller battles before that war is decided. Warcry- Will Darkfall employ line of sight targeting?

Darkfall Team- Yes there is no Tab Targeting, you must have what ever you are attacking in your sights. Unlike other games you will not just watch the combat you will be part of it. In Darkfall there are two types of skill; Player skill and character skill. Player skill is the skill of the person behind the keyboard, and character skill is what you in game character has learned. Warcry- How essential is it for a Clan to have a town, can your clan/guild be nomadic? Darkfall Team- You do not have to have a town/fortress/city under your control. In this case relationships with other clans will become important so that you can have a place to trade and to craft. The racial cities will also become more valuable so making sure your alignment does not fall will also be very important. This will be a hard life at times but will also be fun and challenging. Warcry- Will you have ships? Darkfall Team- Yes and this is something Tasos is very excited about. You will buy a ship, put it to sea, and it will have a base amount of guns. You will not control the whole ship, you will need one guy to act as the tiller man, one man for each gun, and men to guard the deck incase you are attacked and boarded. Warcry- The obvious question now would be can you be a Pirate clan? Darkfall Team- Oh yes some of the largest ships can hold an entire clan, and would have many guns. Warcry- Can you board and take other ships? Darkfall Team- Yes you can jump onto the other ship, or climb the rigging out onto their ship and kill the crew. Once you have taken the tiller man out you can control the ship and after the gun men are down you have those to work with also. We are trying to give the players the ability to do what ever they want and have fun. Warcry- Will there be any skills involved in sailing? Darkfall Team- Yes there will be a sailing skill that will determine how well you can control the ship. So navel guilds will seek out these captains to make them stronger at sea. Warcry- It's easy to see why you are excited about this, what other areas should players look at as far as ships are concerned? Darkfall Team- Trade routes, blockades, and Navel combat are just the start. Darkfall will offer the player a total freedom they have not found anywhere else. Warcry- How important will food and drink be in the game? Darkfall Team- You will not starve to death, but food will give you bonuses in combat if you have eaten. Also it will assist your regeneration rate. Warcry- In the social end of the game, there are role-playing PvPers out there. Will there be trophies and decorations for in your home?

Darkfall Team- Yes and as much of it as we can make interactive will be. Warcry- How many servers will you have? Darkfall Team- We will launch with one and if it goes well we will launch more. Warcry- What about customer service, will it be handled internally? Darkfall Team- Yes we will have our own GMing staff to keep a tighter control on our worlds. We will have a volunteer program but we are not yet sure how it will work. We currently have a strong community and we would like to give them the chance to help. Warcry- Will you have quests? Darkfall Team- Yes we will have both group quests and solo quests. Some of the most important quest will help a player correct his or her alignment with their own race. Warcry- How detailed is your crafting system? Darkfall Team- Very detailed, every item in game will be craftable by the players. The best items will be player made; these items will last longer and have better stats. Warcry- It sounds like there will be item decay can you confirm this? Darkfall Team- Yes and the damage to weapons and armor will show visibly in the game so you can look at someone and see how badly damaged their gear is. Crafters will also be needed to upgrade and repair items, the crafters will need supplies to do this and thus the warriors will need to get these supplies. This will create supply lines in large battles and thus a whole new tactical situation for the players on both sides to think about. We want battles that are epic, and we want everyone to have a place in this. Warcry- Will players also show wounds from battle? Darkfall Team- Yes cuts and blood will show on your body the more damage you receive. This way you can see who is wounded at a glance as there will be no names and stat bars above players heads. Warcry- What about collision? Darkfall Team- You collide against everything in our world, this makes battles far more exciting. Defenders will be able to stand in a wall formation to stop people from entering their keep. Calvary on the charge will knock defenders over, and it is even possible to knock your opponent back. Fast moving Calvary can attempt to jump over defensive lines, but this will require a good mount. Explosions from spell casters will knock everyone back in the area of after so they will need to be careful. Warcry- So are you saying there will be friendly fire? Darkfall Team- Yes so mages will need to know just what the area of effect for their spells will be. This swings both ways though because if someone on the other side casts an area of effect heal you can just run in and get healed also. Warcry- What if you kill someone of your own race?

Darkfall Team- There will be an option that your friend can use to forgive you so you do not take an alignment hit. Warcry- Will there be room for the long hero/villain? Darkfall Team- Yes, these people will be very important and you will be well known if your name is near the top of the PvP ranking lists. These players can be hired to do jobs that might not be suited for big armies. Say you have an alliance with another clan and you need someone in that other clan punished, well you could hire an outsider to get this done. Like we say players can do what ever they want. Warcry- How will you control player housing across the land mass? Darkfall Team- We will have specific areas that players will be able to build on and set up towns. This way it will be easier to organize the social structure in the game. Players will be able to pick their own structures so the only thing forced is where to build not what to build. Warcry- Will there be mounts and mounted combat? Darkfall Team- Yes mounts play an important role in combat as they have through history. We have 6 races and five of them have racial mounts. The 6th known as the Mahirim are a wolf like race and can get down on all fours and move as fast as a mounted character. Warcry- How is death handled in Darkfall? Darkfall Team- When you hit 0 heath you fall to the ground, you are not dead but can not move or release. You can be revived at this stage by a healer or the enemy can finish you off. Guilds that are smart will have ganking groups that come in after the main battle force to finish off the wounded. The ganker group can push the healers out of the way finish off the enemy and then take out the healer. These groups will also loot much needed supplies from the battle field. Warcry- So players can loot other players? Darkfall Team- Yes, upon finishing off a foe you can claim the spoils of war. Warcry- It really sounds like you love your game. Darkfall Team- Yes we are players and we are making the game we want to play. We have played almost everything out there and have been left wanting more. We can not compromise; we must stay true to our vision of this game. There is so much left out of PvP games to get more players, but the players that want the more serious PvP game have been left out in the cold. Warcry- The movement style is WASD and mouse? Darkfall Team- Yes but all the controls are configurable. Warcry- What about dueling. Darkfall Team- Yes, this way clans can train for combat.

Warcry- What races can help each other? Darkfall Team- Dwarves are neutral, Mirdain (elves) are friendly to the humans, the Alfar (Dark Elves) which are hated by everyone, and the Mahirim (Wolf men) that are friendly to the Orks. Lastly Orks and Humans are enemies. Choosing the Alfar is choosing the hardest path in the game as they will be hated by everyone. Warcry- Are there any language barriers in the game? Darkfall Team- No we wanted the sides to be able to talk to each other. Exchanging trash tlak across the lines of battle is part of war in Darkfall. Warcry- Is the chat system currently chat box style or speech bubbles? Darkfall Team- Chat box as we did not want to cover the screen up with chat. This is the same reason that we do not have floating names above characters heads. Warcry- Will there be conning in the game to tell how powerful something is? Darkfall Team- Not exactly, but you can tell this by what type and the amount of equipment he is carrying. Warcry- Is there any restriction on the use of items, the way some games use level restrictions on weapons and armor? Darkfall Team- No we do not have levels, you could dress some noob up in your best armor to draw the enemy to him. Warcry- How much character customization is there? Darkfall Team- We have allot of options at character creation, and you can also go to a customizer in game to change things after you have made the character. Warcry- What about guild logo's on in game items? Darkfall Team- When you create your guild or clan you will create a symbol. This symbol you can put on your banners, town and city flags, and on your ships. Warcry- Will players be able to play multipul races on the same account? Darkfall Team- We have set it up so that it is one race per server. Warcry- Many games have loot tables that make little sense. An example of this would be killing a deer and finding a sword? Darkfall Team- We will not have this, our loot system is logic based on what the Mob would normally have. A deer for example would have hide and maybe meat. Also if it is a creature that could use a weapon, and it has one on it, you will see it pull the weapon and use it. If you see any creature or NPC carrying an item, that item will be on them at death. Warcry- How many article of clothing will be in Darkfall?

Darkfall Team- This is a hard one because we have so many slots to be covered. I asked my art director to give me a render of the icons for all the clothing in the game. So I get this full screen image with smaller images on it so small I can not see. My art director tells me I need to zoom, so I zoomed in several times before I could see each image if this gives you any idea of how many we are talking about. Warcry- Will there be paralyzing attacks? Darkfall Team- Yes but these will be on a timer and will be balanced for the sake of fun PvP. Warcry- Gentlemen thank you for your time, I think I can speak for all of us at Warcry the we eagerly await your game and look forward to hearing more about it in the months to come. Darkfall Team- Thank you also, and we hope to see you in Darkfall.

MMOReports.com E3 impressions 19/05/06
http://www.mmoreports.com/review/3/1/ Written by DM on Friday, May 19 2006 At E3, I got a chance to sit down with Tasos Flambouras (Associate Producer) and Kjetil Helland (Lead Programmer) from Aventurine, two of the team members working on the new MMO Darkfall. If you are one of those MMO players who enjoy the freedom to literally do whatever strikes your fancy, then Darkfall may be for you. One thing is for sure, if you are a fan of PVP then you will certainly want to take a serious look at this game. In this game, you will be able to attack and be attacked anywhere, any time. Not only that, but the PvP fighting in this game will be based on the skill of the player. If you cannot handle a bow and you are facing off against someone who has used a bow many times, you can pretty much kiss your behind goodbye. One of the things shown to me by Kjetil in a gameplay video was a massive PvP battle that the staff of Darkfall participated in. Well, as massive as you can get with a staff of about 20, that is. As the battle raged on, it quickly became apparent that this is not simply a fire-and-forget type MMORPG. If you miss your enemy with a swing of your sword, you better be prepared to defend yourself, because you will be attacked. Not only that, but players will have to be well aware of where their casters are at all times. If a healing spell is cast upon you and a enemy decides he wants a heal and runs into the AOE of the spell, well then, he gets healed as well. It works the same with damage spells. Darkfall will also have something that is not found in current MMORPG games - naval combat. Naval combat on a scale that has never even been conceived of before, that is. First of all, if you want to build a ship that is bigger than three elephants, you can. There is almost no size limit on naval vessels. Basically, like everything else in this game, if you have the resources and the skill, you can produce whatever you want. On top of that, just like in the real world, if you can pack 8000 players onto one tiny ship without it sinking, then so be it. There are no slots or other pre-determined limits on the amount of characters you can pile on to vessels. One of the examples they gave me was if a player wanted to surprise an enemy base, they could sail their ship in with only a few players on the deck. Once the ship got close enough for players to

swim ashore without getting killed, the captain of the vessel could literally open their holds to release a tidal wave of men. This may sound like mindless fun, but there is another side to naval combat. Guns, and lots of them. If you want to run a clipper ship with 8 cannons on each side, then you will need 16 gunners who will roam the waters with you. They will also need to be good at aiming and firing their weapons. Just like in real life, skill plays an important part. The game will feature AI pre-built cities, but it will also feature player-built towns as well. Players who own cities will be responsible for providing for their citizen's defense and daily needs. If players do not perform these duties to an acceptable degree, they will be overthrown and more than likely replaced. Darkfall is a dog-eat-dog world where anything you can imagine can happen. At this point, those players who enjoy solo play and adventuring must be saying to themselves "this is all great, but what if I do not plan on teaming up?" Well, I am happy to report that Darkfall has a fully functional quest and PvE system. If you are the type of MMO player who enjoys long quiet treks to find out of the way points on the map, or the type of player who will solo against virtually insurmountable odds to retrieve a useless trinket for an NPC, then Darkfall will be able to meet your needs. One other truly innovative feature of the game that needs mentioning is the weather. How can weather be innovative, you ask? Well, Darkfall has fully functional weather systems. For example, take point A and point B. Point A is located west of point B. The wind is blowing east from point A to point B. If it is raining at point A, eventually, because of the wind, the rain will reach point B. Not weather in the Darkfall universe happens randomly. If you are planning a night time raid on your enemy, you may want to wait until a night that has a full moon scheduled with clear skies so you can see, or you may want to wait for a night with no moon and rain so you can sneak up on your enemy easily. Yes, Darkfall features this depth of field, and with this level of detail, the possibilities are almost endless. With all these intricacies, you may be saying to yourself, "this is all well and good, but with all this to think about, will it be fun?" The answer is a resounding yes. Both Tasos and Kjetil assured me that they have taken every precaution to ensure that nothing becomes tedious unless the player wishes it. They are both fans of FPS gaming, and they have brought that level of action and excitement into this MMORPG game. The marriage should prove to be a great mix of RPG strategy and FPS fast-paced action, with a bare minimum of grind. Darkfall is a title which is attempting to bring a level of realism to the MMORPG genre that has not been successfully attempted before. Are gamers ready for this level of freedom in their online adventures? We think so. Does Aventurine have the ability to present this freedom in an attractive, powerful, and fun package? Again, we think so. If you are a player who craves a high level of non-linearity in your games, and the power to engage in just about any activity, then Darkfall may be the game you have been waiting for.

Warcry Q&A #1 26/05/06
http://df.warcry.com/scripts/news/view_news.phtml?site=7&id=54509 Weekly Q&A Issue #1

Posted by Ara Brightheart on 5/26/2006 at 10:44 AM Before we get started with the questions, I want to take this chance to thank the Darkfall team for helping us improve the level of communications between the Development team, and the fanbase. Please remember to stop by our image gallery to see the new screenshots we have up. Now on with the show.......... 1. So the stance where you can build a 'house' almost anywhere has changed? I'm glad you've asked this question. We feel that the way we're doing it represents the spirit of building anywhere a lot better than letting players place a house or build a city randomly. Darkfall has special considerations, some of which follow: "Building anywhere" in most games means trying to find one of the remaining flat and barren areas on the map and putting buildings on it that more or less look like everyone else's mess. In Darkfall you have cities and buildings hanging on the sides of mountains, on top of mountains, on wild land formations, on river deltas,with waterfalls and rivers running through them, on small islands etc.. Every one of them looks and feels unique. When you see it, you know which one it is just by looking at it in a screenshot. We have many awesome handpicked building locations that you wouldn't be able to build on if you were "free to build anywhere". The sheer number of structures possible in each Darkfall world is also a concern. Each Darkfall world has the capacity for more than 10 thousand simultaneous players, therefore several times that number in total world population. Multiply that by the number of characters each account can support and the possible number of buildings in the world goes up to hundreds of thousands. Even though our world is huge, random building could make things ugly. The world is content packed. Wherever you go, there's something going on that could be disrupted by random building. The Darkfall terrain is all hand crafted, extreme and unique. Everything is hand-placed. You won't be building on some auto-generated flatland that looks like most of the rest of the world. You'd be stepping on an artist's hard work and possibly on terrain features that we don't even know are there. The technology allows for random building. We've chosen not to allow it based on carefully weighing the pros and the cons. Of course, just like with anything else, this decision will be evaluated through testing and feedback by the players. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------2. Can you elaborate on building houses and towns? Depending on the location, you can build walls, defenses, towers, shops, moats, inns, guild houses, clan housing, housing, temples, harbors, and much much more. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------3. So if you get knocked out, you can't even release?

You can release. The idea that you can't is a misunderstanding. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------4. How do you know if someone is good and evil? There are many ways of knowing. Appearance is a dead giveaway, if you're human and see an Alfar for example. You could also know by reputation, by probability based on the area you're in, the company the character you're wondering about keeps, their disposition towards you, your experience as a player, your gut feeling etc. If this isn't enough, there's also a clear visual indicator on IDing the character ;) ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------5. Can you tell us anything about paralyzing attacks, there is quite a lot of grey area? We have them, but they last very little, giving only a slight window of opportunity, they can be dodged, resisted, and you can't be paralyzed repeatedly. Just as with everything else we've tried to make this feature make sense, having wondered "what the hell were they thinking" one too many times in games we've played. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------6. What can you tell us about thrown weapons in Darkfall? Here's an example of a thrown weapon: the thrown potions: they can stun, blind, explode and cause damage, create smoke or fog screens etc. The effort is to make thrown weapons fun and effective (if you're good), and not just some gimped skill that you can't really use in combat. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ten ton hammer DF impressions 29/05/06
http://www.tentonhammer.com/index.php?module=ContentExpress&func=display&cei d=332 by Byron Mudry & John Hammond Today John Hammond and I got a chance to sit down with Tasos Flambouras (Associate Producer) and Kjetil Helland (Lead Programmer) from Adventurine S.A. the company behind the upcoming PvP centric MMORPG Darkfall, currently being developed in Athens , Greece . It has been in development for over 3 years and is getting close to a beta release. Darkfall is designed to be real physics, real combat, and real weather. The boobs will still look fake though. We started with an overview of the game, which is described as a fantasy based MMO. It features all the standard things you would expect in an MMO; large world, multiple races, clans (guilds), weather, and more. It does however feature several items that are significantly different than most games on the market. This is what we will be

covering. These additional features are based on real world physics and are an attempt at realism. It does not however have cake or pie, and we are men who like our pie mmmmm *shudder*. After a brief introduction to the game, John drove the interview on by asking what the 3 things that they disliked the most about current MMO's and how they handled those elements in Darkfall. They answered immediately that they were grinding, combat systems and PvP. Grinding was explained as completely boring and a waste of time. It wasn't any fun in games to have to hunt down and kill specific MOBs over and over again just to gain a level. To solve this they removed levels altogether from characters. They said a skill based system replaced character levels, however did not go into great detail about it. Perhaps they are hoping to hide the 13 year old twitch factor until beta. Screenshot of a warrior in Darkfall Their second complaint was the normal combat system in other games. They dislike not having collision detection, real world physics and the lack of friendly fire. They saw the lack of these elements as detracting from the realistic aspect of combat. Their combat system is very realistic, to the point of applying real world physics and trajectories to spells and missile weapons. They also have included blood splatter, dismemberment, knock back and unconsciousness. They want these features in the game to attempt to provide the adrenaline rush of real combat. While I can not argue that their physics and combat system are very realistic, I think it has several problems. While realistic it means that you need to be very careful about what you are doing. Somehow I just don't see where the fun comes in having to worry about blowing you friends apart with your fireballs while trying to kill the enemy. On most days worrying about where the enemy mobs are is enough for me. A previously unreleased image of a warpig mount The last item that they truly disliked was the PvP aspect in many games. They disliked that death meant nothing, that you didn't loose items, that there was no feeling of risk or adrenaline rush. The threat of loss, and the challenge of preventing it is their idea of a good PvP match. Their PvP system is described as a full combat, sudden death, no overtime, skill based event. This brings up the fact that being a skill based game system, there are no character levels. Everyone has roughly the same health and ability the kill each other. What separates players in combat is their skill with weapons, equipment and their real life skill in controlling their characters. The death penalty in Darkfall is that players bodies become lootable when they die. This means that when you die you must run back and retrieve your body as quickly as possible before others loot it. This is the risk element they felt was missing. They also believe that PvP should be in effect all the time. This means that there are no distinctions between friend and foe. If your friend pisses you off, you can stab him in the back right then and there, even though he is on the same side. Kjetil said in the interview, In this game it really is everyman for himself, just like real life. I worry enough about getting ganked by enemies in games, I don't really need to add friends

to that list do I *looks at Ratboy*. Lead Programmer Kjetil Helland's description of Darkfall's features moves VP Tasos Flambouras to tears The project is defiantly ambitious, especially for a first game from a company. They do however have a very strong vision of what the game is and is not intended to be. They are not willing to compromise this vision and that should help them a lot. While they have set a high goal for themselves, they seem to be driven to meet it. Putting my dislike of PvP aside, if they are able to accomplish everything that they discussed about the game, it will be a momentous accomplishment. I fear that the realistic nature that they are pursuing though will limit the player base based on the current trend towards easy access MMOs. This style of game has a bad track record in the North American market. If however, you are a twitchy hard core PvP player looking for an MMO that focuses on combat then this game may be exactly what you are looking for.

Warcry Q&A #2 02/06/06
http://df.warcry.com/scripts/news/view_news.phtml?site=7&id=54699 Posted by Ara Brightheart on 6/2/2006 at 08:23 PM Ara misses his save against IRL but struggles on to make the post. The Darkfall staff do to a busy week in production brought us 4 of our questions. As always Warcry and the Official Darkfall Online forum Mods have pulled your question and delivered them to Tasos and the team. And with out further ado here is this weeks Q&A. Shadow Walker2020- I would like you to ask them to specifically define what a clan stone does exactly. Its is merely a marker that allows clans to build a city or does it grant clans special protection making all clan buildings invulnerable?' The clanstone is associated with town building; it's a point of gathering for your clan, and a very important part of the town. Gunther TheBlack- TELL US ABOUT GUILD MANAGEMENT? We've spent a lot of time on the clan management interface, having been victimized by clumsy clan management as players in other games. The clan leaders, and those with permissions, use a control panel where they can control pretty much everything about their clan. Darkmatter- How useful will resources be in the building process? Can structures be bought and built with no other resource but gold? You need resources other than gold to build. Malishan- How will buildable housing/town plots be marked, how will be find them? Will buildable plots only be town/city sized, or will there be space

for a *few* hidden hideouts with only one or two houses? You'll need to explore the map, there are hundreds of secret locations like underwater caves, small remote islands, hidden valleys etc. You don't need to build a town, you can have locations with just a couple of buildings.

Warcry Q&A #3 09/06/06
http://df.warcry.com/scripts/news/view_news.phtml?site=7&id=54910 Posted by Ara Brightheart on 6/9/2006 at 06:31 PM It is Q&A time again with Tasos of the Darkfall team. In addition to some of our questions being answered we have two exclusive screenshot showing weather effects at night. As excitement for Darkfall Online increases, I feel it is important to give a special thanks to the forum team at www.darkfallonline.com and our own team at df.warcry.com. Q&A #3 Q: What are the developers doing about housing destruction? Will it be a simple task of just hitting the house with a sword for an hour or just throwing a torch at the roof and sitting back and watching it burn, or will houses only be able to be destroyed by siege engine? A: We never thought it was a good idea beating down a structure with a dagger. Buildings can be destroyed by deploying and using one of the many different types of siege engines we've got in the game. Q: Will there be a limit of how many hired guards a city can have in its garrison, or can we buy as many as we can afford? A: The way it works is that there's a limit on the number of guards per defensive structure. I'm forced to be vague here and let you speculate as to what that might mean, basically because we're not at liberty to discuss this in more depth yet. I'd give you a number of guards per defensive structure too, but that's something we're still testing. Q: Can you base a clan out of a ship such that when you die, you respawn on that ship? A: No, you respawn at a clan stone. I think that there was a misconception about the 'putting your entire clan on a ship' capability. It was meant to signify the size of some ships, rather than their core function. Ships are combat platforms and means of transportation. Some of them are certainly large enough to load up your clan, but the clan members that get picked off, have missed the boat ;) Q: So far, all I have seen have been right handed models. Do you have to declare what hand your character prefers at creation or can you wield your weapon in your right or left hand equally? A: We support only right handed characters. An option of left handed characters would mean making new sets of animations and we're a small independent developer with

limited resources ;)

Q: Could you name all the racial mounts? A: I'll answer this one next week. I'll remember to add it to the batch of questions you send.

Q: You have said Mahirim will not have racial mounts as they can run on all fours. What can you tell us about the Mahirim movement speed as compared to a mounted character? A: The Mahirim movement speed is pretty much equal with the other mounts when it's on all fours. Additionally they have the ability to ride other racial mounts. Q: One exciting feature of Darkfall Online is mounted combat. The Mahirim do not have a racial mount, so will the Mahirim be able to attack from their travel mode? (I have visions of a Mahirim lunging from all fours at the throat of an enemy.) A: Their attack is less powerful than other mounted attacks, closer to the power of attack of the other mounts rather than the attack of the rider. If the Mahirim chooses to ride another racial mount, it can inflict normal rider damage. You're right about the lunging from all fours at the throat of an enemy by the way. The Mahirim uses a bite attack. Thank you for visiting Warcry please visit our photo gallery, and feel free to comment on our forums. Thank you Tasos, Darkfall Dev team, and Moderators and I will see everyone on the forums.

RPGVault DF peek #21: Handcrafting the Darkfall World 13/06/06
http://rpgvault.ign.com/articles/712/712360p1.html June 13, 2006 - Darkfall is a fantasy online world in development at Aventurine, a Greek-based company that absorbed the originator of the project, a Norwegian team called Razorwax, and has advanced it to the stage where preparations are currently being made to begin beta. Set in a world known as Agon, it features six playable races. Humans, Dwarves and the elven Mirdain maintain generally friendly terms among themselves, while Orks and the wolf-like Mahirim, although not quite so amicable, usually aren't hostile to each other. The same cannot be said of the Alfar, pale outcasts who openly loathe all but their own kind. The character development system is intended to allow for a high degree of customization, offering a vast array of skills and spells. The objective, an appealing one to many observers, is to make it possible for players to follow virtually any type of career path they might want, becoming a de facto explorer, hunter, mercenary, smith, magician, fisherman or almost anything else by making the appropriate choices, with optional prestige classes such as Paladin, Assassin, Gladiator, Enchanter also available.

All will adventure in an environment that differs from most others in its clearly stated emphasis on player vs. player combat. Includes three exclusive screenshots ------------------------------------------------------------------------------Darkfall is one of the largest gameworlds, and it needs to be to accommodate over 10,000 concurrent players. The terrain spans thousands of square kilometers. Some of the pitfalls inherent in making a huge gameworld are repetition, emptiness and boring barren spaces. There needed to be a more thorough process for us to follow in making the Darkfall terrain. Looking at the available options, we decided to go a different way and undertake the monumental task of handcrafting all the terrain. The results have confirmed to us that this is the only way to go if you want a "truly 3D" environment. The handcrafting of the terrain in three dimensions, along with the fact that there are no zones, makes Darkfall the largest single game level ever created. The handcrafting of the Darkfall terrain was a massive undertaking. It's just one of the numerous features that we've gone the extra mile on, features that we believe make our game stand out Darkfall's red meat is its real-time combat system. The terrain can't just be scenery; it also needs to be tactical. Line of sight, gaining and holding the high ground, "trafficability" of the landscape, vantage points, visual cover, soft and hard cover from fire, blocking, using passages, strategic locations, use of water, using obstacles and impassable terrain, etc. - we want all that put to good use... and more. Creating the landscape so it can be used strategically and tactically makes for an even deeper immersive combat experience. If we were to follow the beaten path, we would have used height maps to create the terrain. Height mapping takes the incredibly complex and artistic task of creating unique and realistic 3D terrain and simplifies it to a two-dimensional image. The height-mapped terrain is then, in many cases, auto-generated. Automation, ease of implementation and cutting corners are the main reasons height maps are used, but the analogy of trying to create a detailed painting using a ceiling brush never sat well with us. In contrast to height mapping where the world is created from an extreme overhead perspective, Darkfall's terrain was formed at player level. How the player would see everything, move around and feel in the environment is the measure of how Darkfall's terrain was created. The Darkfall designers have designed the world, including every single region and location on the map, in great detail. Everything is taken into account - the lore of the area, types and variety of vegetation, what races and monsters will inhabit each locale, all points of interest, special terrain formations and features, weather, how each area might evolve, etc. These detailed documents were passed on to artists who, after taking everything into account, spent more than a year working closely with the design team to create the world. By handcrafting, the artists were able to create extremely interesting and seamless freeform terrain formations such as overhanging cliffs, arches, eroded beaches, extreme reverse angles and curvatures that cannot be done any other way. You'll find epic-looking huge mountain ranges, rolling hills, deep valleys, rivers, waterfalls, glaciers, volcanic flows, underwater caves, tunnels, caverns, canyons, pillars, caves

and cave formations, and so much more, all in great variation. Massive geological and other natural formations span huge areas of the map. We strove for continuity in the world; for example, the streams in the mountains will flow into rivers, which go through valleys, creating waterfalls as they roll down to end up in a lake, or into the ocean after going on for miles and miles. Everything is connected, and everything makes sense in its context. Everything has a cause and a purpose, and isn't just the result of random seeding. Our artists and designers have truly achieved by creating deeply immersive original landscapes consistent with a fantasy world. We took this one step further by covering the terrain in unique textures. No parts of the world share the same texture, and every single texel is unique. This creates a further unprecedented level of variation. You travel throughout Darkfall's world, and everywhere you look, there's something uniquely interesting to experience, and in this, we feel justified for trying so much harder. The handcrafting of the Darkfall terrain was a massive undertaking. It's just one of the numerous features that we've gone the extra mile on, features that we believe make our game stand out and that we're going to present to you in this new series of articles on RPG Vault. Tasos Flambouras Aventurine

Darkfall Community Exclusive - Recent Updates, Ingame Footage 15/06/06
http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?t=22444 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------Hi I'd like to talk a bit about the recent updates we've been putting out, and what they're all about. Interviews and features, where we talk about things we've talked about before, are targeted towards an audience that might not follow Darkfall very closely and may not know everything there is to know about the game. There will be many of these features and they're introductory to Darkfall. Even so, we always make a point to include new information, and to expand on old information. There's no reason to get annoyed or disappointed. Darkfall is a massive competitive game, and you need a lot of people playing it. The best thing you could do to start enhancing your Darkfall experience right now, is to go out and spread the word about the game, and embrace new people with a 'bring it on attitude' rather than having introversion within the community. For the discriminating Darkfall connoisseur, we offer the weekly Darkfall Warcry Q&A, and there are more features forthcoming. These are targeted to a much smaller audience pre-launch, but in due time this audience will become the Darkfall playerbase. Unfortunately, there was speculation on this screenshot being "enhanced". We've told you many times that we don't do that but since that's not enough for some people,

here's some in-game footage. Enjoy, and thanks for reading

Warcry Q&A #4 - Mounts 16/06/06
http://df.warcry.com/scripts/news/view_news.phtml?site=7&id=55090 Posted by Ara Brightheart on 6/16/2006 at 11:04 AM Welcome to another edition of Warcrys weekly Q&A with the Darkfall team. We would like to thank you the Darkfall fans for sticking with us through a rocky start and our hope is to bring you the latest news from the team every week. This week instead of our normal Q&A We will give you the official descriptions on the racial mounts and have a first look at the Dwarven mount. Without further ado, on with the show... Orks - Death Pigs The Orkish mount is an enormous, vile-tempered pig, whose black, oily, hairless hide has a texture like hippo skin. The death pig sweats constantly and profusely, covering its hide in a glistening layer of oily liquid which mixes with mud from the swamps of the Orkish homeland. Dwarves - Garmir Dwarven Garmir steeds resemble musk oxen, but with a few crucial differences. Their natural bone forehead plates are covered by solid iron plating added by Dwarven smiths. Small, pointed mithril studs protrude from these metal plates. Garmirs attack by raising their heads and bodies up to gain momentum before hammering down onto their enemy. Alfar - Shulgan Drakes The Alfar ride drakes, which are - in essence - small wingless dragons. Their bodies are covered in metallic black scales, and in shape Drakes resemble ordinary dragons, rather than Dark Dragons. Small stumps on the flanks indicate that drakes were able to fly not all that many generations ago, before they adapted to an underground existence. Mirdain - Aerdin Cats Mirdain mounts are enormous cats which have been bred for size, obedience and ferocity. Aerdin faces and bodies resemble those of huge Snow Leopards, and like those normal-sized felines, they have white fur with black spots, long, thick tails, and pale eyes. Human - Mercian Warhorse The Mercian warhorse is a massive, powerfully built beast which stands almost as tall as a human male. In combat, the warhorse has been trained to kick opponents with both hind legs and forelegs, and such a kick is just as devastating as - for example fire breath from an Alfar Drake or a head-hammering from a Dwarven Garmir.

Having grown up on a horse farm my self, I can not wait to get on the back of one of the human warhorses. I hope everyone enjoyed this Special edition and we will be back to our normal Q&A next week. Be sure to also check out the Official Darkfall Website and Official Darkfall Forums! Thanks Ara

RPGVault DF peek #22 -- Populating the Darkfall World 20/06/06
http://rpgvault.ign.com/articles/713/713375p1.html In last week's feature we talked about the handcrafting of the Darkfall terrain. What we ended up with after that task was completed was a huge and uniquely featured world that we had already planned to pack with organized content. Evidence of an ancient civilization is present all over the map, and this is a very important and actively developing part of the gameworld. Various NPC cultures can also be found inhabiting far-flung regions As with the crafting of the terrain, populating the world had been planned and mapped out in great detail, trying to take into account every possible variable. Everything is connected and serves a purpose, and nothing is randomly thrown into the game. This time, we'll take a look at some of the most important of these variables. The players and player clans are obviously the most important element of Darkfall. The game is built around them. We wanted the players to have a gameworld where they would be engaged, challenged and entertained on many different levels. Darkfall has been designed so there is a climax in anything you do, even if you're just exploring or killing goblins. We also strove to create a balanced playing field, since much of the entertainment is going to come from clan warfare and PvP combat. Darkfall's six unique races have their own culture and architecture, and this amounts to thousands of unique items and structures associated with each race that are placed in the world. Racial capitals and starting villages are some of the main gathering points in the game, and extra care was taken in creating them. There are special, epic in size main dungeons for each race, along with all the others in each region. Racial enemy cultures have their own controlled territories, cities, forts, outposts and dungeons. There are organizations active within each kingdom with their own infrastructures, networks of NPCs and headquarters. Last but not least, clan-controlled areas occupy the majority of the area in each realm. Clanstones are placed in interestingly designed strategic areas near which clans can chose to build their cities. Darkfall features more unique monster types than any other game out there. Monsters are distributed by area, by habitat, and some are connected to the races. They have their own unique architecture, villages, houses, camps, forts etc. Their spawns are dynamic, and display great variations in composition, equipment, tactics, and attitude depending on a number of factors. A certain monster type may dominate an area, but there are also contested areas where monster types compete against each other. Their spawns are not random; spawn points are selected by hand, and the spawns are connected to form huge adventure areas.

You can look at these as open-air adventures and they are an alternative for players that don't necessarily enjoy traditional questing. Players will realize that everything is connected, so they can reach their goals through many different paths. These areas make adventuring a lot of fun, and they engage the players in a lot more than the usual wiping random spawns out and moving to the next. Darkfall's real-time combat system, advanced monster AI, dynamic spawning, and interconnected adventure areas make for a uniquely challenging player vs. environment experience. Resources are also carefully placed and balanced since they can be player- and clandominated and controlled. Players can travel between towns, villages, resources and points of interest on roads, paths and waterways, and establish their trade routes. Evidence of an ancient civilization is present all over the map, and this is a very important and actively developing part of the gameworld. Various NPC cultures can also be found inhabiting far-flung regions of the world, from where they can promote their own agendas. Darkfall's content and its evolution were meticulously planned and mapped out ahead on a grand level, and it needed to be for a dynamically balanced game. It's impossible to get the uniqueness and variety you find in the Darkfall experience by making it up as you go along or by patching it in. We've managed to touch on only a few of the main ingredients that make up the content in Darkfall's world. We look forward on elaborating in subsequent articles here on RPG Vault. Tasos Flambouras Associate Producer, Darkfall Aventurine

Warcry Q&A #5 23/06/06
http://df.warcry.com/scripts/news/view_news.phtml?site=7&id=55313 Posted by Ara Brightheart on 6/23/2006 at 06:16 PM Another week has come and gone in our wait for beta and its time for another Q&A. Starting in the coming weeks this Q&A will be reposted to the Darkfall Official Site on the following Mondays after it posted here to get the most benefit out of the dev teams time. Moving right along... 1. How does clanstone protection work? Is there a limit on the number of buildings a clanstone can protect? Is there a protection radius around the clanstone or does the protection cover the whole province? As far as this question goes I'll say that walls are not protected by the clanstone - if anything. In discussing whether we should answer this questions with Claus and other developers we decided that answering this and other Q&A questions habitually asked by the community, might ruin some of the discovery process you need to experience as Darkfall players. It's more than just another game mechanic to figure out before you start playing. So forgive me for purposely being vague here.

2. Even though the ingame world will be flat, will players still be able to circumnavigate it and go around the world by sailing? It actually IS a round world: The landmass is a small group of islands on an impossibly huge round ocean world. Unfortunately it would take you forever to circumnavigate it :) Seriously, we could have implemented something along these lines but the large technical investment required would have yielded very little gameplay value, in fact it would come at a cost. We played around with concepts of a spherical world, a cylindrical world, and while cool, it wasn't worth the resource commitment which we put into more important features like boat navigation. Darkfall has a huge list of unique features that set it apart already...there are some things that we decided we shouldn't have to innovate on. 3. How will resurrection work in game with the incapacitated feature? Also will you be able to Resurrect with Band-Aids as in UO, or will it be by magic only? There's a timer when your character is incapacitated. In that time you can be finished off by enemies, tap out and release, or be resurrected by your friends. You're resurrected only by magic. It's a very cool feature, there will be battle turning tactics associated with finishing off incapacitated enemies and resurrecting your teammates, players in charge of making sure their enemies don't get up, and making sure that their friends do. 4. What sort of visual/physical effects will drinking have ingame? I assume you mean drinking alcoholic beverages. We consider this to be fluff, so we haven't done anything with it yet, and we might not before launch. Right now our animators are going down their priority list, and are working on some special combat animations that we feel are infinitely more important. 5. Since there are cannons, is there gunpowder? Will there be old school one shot pistols? (Question from Phiendish1) There is in fact no gunpowder in the game, just the cannons. No pistols or other personal firearms are planned. We put cannons in the game because ballistae and catapults on ships just weren't as cool or as much fun as the cannons are. Some may think that cannons in the game could ruin the immersion but they really don't. If it helps, cannons were invented way before personal firearms were, around the 11th century by the Song Dynasty Chinese and came to Europe in the 14th century. As the medieval fantasy game concept goes, I think we're chronologically covered ;) 6. You mentioned before Dwarves are neutral. Can you explain your reasoning or your goal with this change? Dwarves are neutral to Humans and Mirdain only. Nobody knows why this is. This status quo precedes the recorded history of the world. 7. Since most people agree that FPV holds no advantage over TPV will there be a toggle to allow people in melee combat to stay in 1st person view if they prefer it? This is something we're considering. 8. It was said that you could create a farm to produce reagents... Can you go into some detail in what all is involved?

Farms aren't implemented and may not be before launch. As things stand, you can buy reagents from NPC merchants, find them using herbalism, hunting, mining, woodcutting, fishing, etc. Some can be created using various tradeskills. 9. Are all trees susceptible to being chopped down? If so will there be sprouts taking their place? Trees won't be visibly chopped down. It would be nice to have the time and resources to throw at this, but it would cost too much to implement for very little return. There are so many things in Darkfall that enhance the immersion that I believe we can safely skip woodcutting if we need to. That does it for another week, please drop by our forums, and check out GameGoddesses poll on our frontpage. Remember to head over to www.darkfallonline.com for the latest in everything Darkfall and I will see you on the forums. Ara Brightheart

RPGVault DF peek #23 -- Mounted Combat 27/06/06
http://rpgvault.ign.com/articles/714/714944p1.html In this series of articles on RPG Vault, we take a look at what features make Darkfall stand out in the MMOG landscape. This time, we'll talk about mounts and mounted combat. We put a lot of hard work and resources into the design and implementation of mounted combat, but we're happy to say that it was totally worth it. It works, looks, and feels great. One of the major items on our wish lists as players of other games was horses. So, many of us had been asking for this feature from our favorite games for years. Unfortunately, most MMOGs don't have mounts, or they've added mounts with very limited capabilities that don't go beyond transportation. True mounted combat doesn't exist in any MMOG today. Darkfall's basic racial mounts are widely available, and can be purchased from NPC merchants. Any player can own as many of these mounts as he can afford. In Darkfall, mounts are fully controllable by the player. Character control is maintained while riding; the character can equip items, attack, look around, etc. The player's riding skill affects the mounted maneuverability, mounted combat effectiveness, as well as movement speed to a lesser extent. Mounts can be stored safely after use, but they can be taken over if left unattended, or when the rider is killed. Mounts will take damage, slowly regenerate their health, and they can also be killed. There are running and walking mode, and they can also jump and swim. Armored mounts and a taming skill are features under consideration. Mounts can be used for transportation of players, transportation of goods, strategic and tactical mobility, as cover, and of course, for combat. Cavalry and mounted units can be used for reconnaissance and scouting, in shock force tactics, frontal assaults and charges, flanking maneuvers, pursuit of scattered and fleeing enemies, in raiding

and hit and run tactics, breaking through or going over enemy lines and formations and much more. The mount gives the rider several obvious advantages in combat. The higher position and the movement speed make him harder to hit, and the mount will also attack the target along with the rider in static attacks. Drawbacks include lesser maneuverability for the mounted player, difficulty fighting and maneuvering on some terrain, as well as fewer attack options. At the moment, mounted combat is limited to melee weapon strikes along with the mount's own attacks. The player needs to dismount to use ranged attacks. Also using them while mounted is under consideration for balancing issues. We are also working on balancing possible charge bonuses, and a mounted pushing advantage versus characters on foot. Darkfall features racial mounts for all the races except for the Mahirim. This is because the Mahirim use a mounted mode of their own, and can run on all fours as fast as the other racial mounts. The mounts featured in Darkfall are the Human Mercian Warhorse, the Mirdain Aerdin Cat, The Alfar Shulgan Drake, the Dwarven Garmir, and the Orkish Death Pig. All races, including the Mahirim are capable of riding any of the racial mounts. There are several interesting mount variations for each racial mount type. Something else that we like about mounts and mounted combat in Darkfall is the immersion and excitement they add to the game. It feels great riding alongside of your friends, charging the enemy, mowing down a fleeing opponent, or unhorsing a rider and watching his mount run away without him. Mounted combat adds another layer to Darkfall's unique real-time combat experience. We put a lot of hard work and resources into the design and implementation of mounted combat, but we're happy to say that it was totally worth it. It works, looks, and feels great. We believe that the Darkfall players are going to love this feature as much as we do, and that it will considerably enhance their gameplay experience. The screenshots show dwarves, humans, and orks in mounted combat near an outpost in the Mahirim lands. You can see three different mounts in the scenes - the Mercian Warhorse, the orkish Death Pig, and the Dwarven Garmir. Tasos Flambouras Associate Producer, Darkfall Aventurine

Combine Q&A #1 30/06/06
http://the-combine.com/ArticleViewer.aspx?ArticleNo=327 I sent them about 50 questions and I'll be getting the answers back piecemeal. They're apparently very busy over there so take what you can get. Here are the first four. Will 'evil' players have access to different quests and skills than 'good' players? Each racial realm features several quest factions, whose goals and philosophies are reflected in the missions they give to player characters. Though they each work to further often conflicting agendas, the majority of quest factions are loyal to their own race, and will refuse to give out quests to players whose alignment has descended too

far into evil. Bear in mind that, in Darkfall, evil is defined as killing player characters of your own race, while good is defined as killing your racial enemies. Though they are fewer, each racial realm is also home to a handful of opposed quest factions. These groups only deal with evil characters, sending them on missions which undermine the current regime. In some cases, faction quests pit good and evil players of the same race against each other, as they compete to achieve opposed objectives. As far as skills go, there are a few that are influenced by the player's alignment. What is your goal with regard to solo balance? Will some classes be unable to function outside a group? A good number of the developers are solo players so it's something that we feel is important to make viable. Since there are no classes in the game, players need to tweak their skillset carefully so that they can solo effectively depending on their playstyle. Everything is built and balanced with solo players in mind. Has the date for beta been finalized? If yes, will it be this year? The date for beta isn't locked quite yet but our target date is this year. It's important to remember that we'll announce beta and launch dates as soon as we've locked them. There are a few things to take into consideration regarding beta: Darkfall is a very special game full of unique features and innovations; it's not just another MMORPG clone we're rushing to spit out. We're a small studio where every one of us does 20 things at the same time and we work the long hours. Some of our competition has twice as many animators alone as we have developers. We've been in full development for three years and we need to be very efficient in everything we do. The point of having a beta test is to be able to run it properly and to get results from it that we can use make Darkfall better. So far we haven't had the time and resources to commit to running a public beta - without development suffering. However, we have been doing all w e can in taking steps to make it possible to test while finishing the game and make an open beta test available as soon as possible. Now the reason we started taking clan beta applications so early was because we were considered launching a public beta last winter. Committing the resources to running it turned out to be too big a stretch in regards to its usefulness at that time, as opposed to continuing full steam on development. When the beta is out, it's going to be close to the full game, it's going to allow us to test all systems, and we also believe it will be a much better playtesting experience than what we've been used to with MMO betas so far. Will Darkfall's release be regional? Which regions will be covered at launch? There are a several things that influence our decision on this. Most established MMOS have chosen to strictly enforce territories such as N. America, Europe...etc. as well as regional markets. A great number of players have gotten used to this already, and it has affected the player distribution dynamic. Regional separation is done mainly for business reasons, trying to protect a territory for a local publisher. Often there are technical reasons as well such as connectivity limitations.

A lot of players prefer to play in their own language with people from their own region. Let's not forget the effect that time zone differences and varying peak times can have on gameplay. On the other hand we like the idea that players from all over the world can play together and compete against each other - and we can relate to that need on a personal level. We will offer Darkfall regionally but we'll do our best to allow players the freedom to play wherever they want. This is how things stand right now, however this may not be solely our decision to make by game launch. Created by Deyth on 6/30/2006 6:31:00 PM

RPGVault #24 -- Darkfall's Skill System 04/07/06
http://rpgvault.ign.com/articles/716/716421p1.html As a skill-based game, Darkfall stands apart from most MMOs that use a class / level system. In this article we talk about why we didn't take the beaten path, and a little bit about how the skill system in Darkfall works. Darkfall's skill system is all about player freedom, endless customization, adaptation and control. It adds great depth to the player characters, and to the process of developing them. As players, we enjoyed playing skill-based games like Ultima Online and The Elder Scrolls series, and we couldn't help feeling restricted by class / level-based ones. When faced with the decision of allowing players the freedom to take the skills they want and need as their character grows and the game evolves - or not - it was a nobrainer. In Darkfall, players can develop the exact characters that they want to play, without the limitations a class-based system imposes on creation and advancement. During character creation in Darkfall, you start out with a set of basic starting skills in addition to some special race-specific skills - like Anger for example, which is an orkish skill. You get a pool of points to allocate. This process as well as selecting starting skills is pretty straightforward. You can't make a mistake in Darkfall's character creation or development that will gimp your character. If you don't like the combination of skills you've chosen, you can pick and train new ones. You never have to re-roll a character; you just adapt your existing one to fit your needs and adapt to the evolution of the game over time. In class systems, your original and often uninformed decisions could haunt your character forever. Furthermore, you're often penalized by updates and other events beyond your control. In Darkfall, you have the freedom and the pleasure of developing your character exactly the way you want. Ultima Online had about a hundred skills and spells. Darkfall has at least 10 times that, and there will be more added throughout the life cycle of the game with every update. The number of skills in Darkfall ensures that each character will be truly unique. You train the skills that interest you by using them. We think that this is a lot more fun, challenging, diverse and relevant to the players' wants and needs than having to level-grind the old fashioned way. You'll have fun with your new character in Darkfall

from day one, without having to suffer through endless repetition for months before you're able to start enjoying yourself. You also don't have the huge imbalances of power between characters of slightly different levels, seen in class- / level-based games. Even starting out, your Darkfall character is very viable. Skills in Darkfall are a lot more than just numbers. Many are features in themselves. For example, climbing, riding and sailing are skills, but they're also associated with major features in the game. Darkfall's skills are associated with the many things that you can DO in Darkfall that are parts of the gameplay and the game mechanics. Skills are also associated with attributes like strength, constitution and intelligence, and they affect each other. You pick up the more common skills at NPC trainers. Skill progression occurs through use of any particular skill or series of skills, and ranges from 1 to 100. In common activities like swimming, progress is faster than in the more complex skills to train such as 'mana efficiency'. In-game messages will inform you when you've advanced. Spells progress the same way as skills, through use, so taking the Tornado spell as an example, the more you use, it the more powerful a tornado you'll be able to unleash on your enemies. Like all skills, riding improves with practice. Skill decay will set in at a slow rate for unused skills at an expert level. There are also skill trees that open up new skill categories that lead to further specialization. Darkfall's skill system is all about player freedom, endless customization, adaptation and control. It adds great depth to the player characters, and to the process of developing them. Darkfall players will enjoy their unique characters, and will always be able to get the best out of them throughout the life cycle of the game. Tasos Flambouras Associate Producer, Darkfall Aventurine

Darkcry feature – Zombies 07/07/06
http://df.warcry.com/scripts/news/view_news.phtml?site=7&id=55645 Posted by Ara Brightheart on 7/7/2006 at 08:32 PM The format of our Q&As will be changing in an effort to bring you more depth to the coming information about Darkfall. I would like to assure everyone that your questions are still going to the team, but now they are selecting one or two a week and doing a feature about that topic. Everyone involved realized that often time you the readers were left wanting more. Other times some of the questions seemed irrelevant, this happened because there were still players asking about it. By changing our format, yes the questions will come slower but this way you will have a clearer image of what the Dev team at Darkfall Online is trying to achieve. From now on this weekly article will be called “WarCry's Weekly Update”. This week we will start off with a look at the world of Zombies... You're what's for dinner. Dead, but not dead enough.. Darkfall's huge bestiary is a mix of the old, the updated, and the never before seen. This week, we take a look at how one of the true fantasy stalwarts is represented in Darkfall.

Since the dawn of time (1974), role-players have been disassembling zombies in the tombs and graveyards of countless campaigns and settings. The world of Agon is no exception, with shambling belligerents awaiting an influx of fresh player flesh in thousands of unique, hand-built locations - from underground tombs and abandoned keeps, to ruined churches and evil shrines. Garden variety zombies.. In Darkfall, regular zombies tend to attack in large numbers, while wearing no armor, wielding no weapons, and using only what limbs and teeth that the grave has spared them. As you can see from the image accompanying this text, there is quite a bit of variety in this regard, with some zombies missing limbs, lower jaws, or even large chunks of disgusting corpse flesh. Even inexperienced characters will be able to handle regular zombies, as long as they avoid being surrounded or grievously outnumbered. Unlike some other games, Darkfall features collision detection, so you'll have to chop your way out of any corners you let yourself be trapped in. Zombie Warriors Called from their sleep by powerful necromantic spells, Zombie Warriors wear armor, and sometimes carry shields, and they are capable of wielding weapons - albeit with limited speed and dexterity. In most cases, a Zombie Warrior's equipment has been scavenged from some long-forgotten mound or battlefield, and its effectiveness has been severely reduced by rust and rot. Zombie warriors are more muscular than regular zombies, but otherwise similar, as if they were made from slightly fresher corpses. Zombie Warriors wear ill-fitting piecemeal suits of armor, which were clearly scrounged together from whatever was at hand at the time, before being hastily placed on the warriors. An individual might wear a plate helmet, a chain mail cuirass, and plate greaves, for instance. All these diverse pieces of armor will be rusted and stained, betraying age and lack of maintenance. A breastplate might have a hole rusted right through it, for instance, while both of a helmet's horns may be broken off. Zombie warriors use weapons that are as improvised as their suits of armor, and which look as if their masters have gathered them from half-rusted, broken pieces of weaponry found in some battlefield bog. Zombie warrior set-ups: 1) Plate helmet with one horn broken, studded leather cuirass, chain greaves. Weapon is a broken-in-half longsword which is being used as a short sword, and which is grimy and dirty, as if it was recently dug out of the earth. The left hand of this zombie is missing. 2) Leather helmet, breastplate which has been rusted through in several places, chain greaves. Weapon is a halberd with its spear end broken off and part of its handle broken off, which is swung like a two-handed axe. Battered wooden shield in left hand. 3) No helmet - and a huge chunk of the right side of the zombie's skull appears to have been chewed off. Chain cuirass, leather greaves. Weapon: rusty greatmace with extra spikes amateurishly added recently.

4) Chain helmet, bone cuirass, plate greaves. The lower jaw of this Zombie Warrior is missing. Weapon is a thoroughly rusty and well-worn, but complete, longsword. Metal shield in left hand. 5) Leather helmet, leather cuirass, leather greaves. Wields a large composite bow, which seems to have assembled using bones from assorted skeletons. These zombies are quite inaccurate and slow at reloading, but they shoot arrows with a fair degree of power. Dire zombie.. Powered by vile and unholy magic, Dire Zombies are the most dangerous type of reanimated corpse. Their bodies are covered by bands of black cloth which has been inscribed with magical symbols, making them appear almost mummy-like, though neither head nor hands or feet are covered. Dire Zombies carry no armor or weapons, but their hands are enclosed in swirling orbs of necromantic magic, with which they deliver powerful blows if they are forced into melee combat. Dire Zombies are able to attack their victims with necromatic which they have been pre-imbued with by their masters. Dire Zombies tend to stand well back during a fight, blasting the enemy with magic, while the more conventional zombies take care of the close combat.

RPGVault DF peek #25 -- Sensory Cues in Darkfall 11/07/06
http://rpgvault.ign.com/articles/717/717767p1.html There's no radar in Darkfall. There are no floating nametags over player's heads. You won't be able to see bleeps on the mini-map that will alert you to the presence of other players and monsters. For that, you must rely on your senses and stay alert, rather than letting your user interface do it for you. This opens the door to a number of very interesting and unique gameplay possibilities, which are supported by a number of sensory cues, some of which we discuss in this article. Monsters can hear and smell players, and be alerted to their presence, so you may want to move silently and keep your scent away by moving downwind from them to get in a surprise attack There are numerous visual clues a player can use to gain greater situational awareness. Mechanics that support the visual cues are Darkfall's long view distance, dynamic shadows and weather, which can limit visibility. Shown close up here, a weapon's reflection can be seen from a good distance. Armor and weapons might make a player noticeable in the distance by reflective shimmer. This isn't as visible in the screenshots. but the effect in-game is very realistic. Seeing smoke in the distance might mean a town, or a distant battle. Dust is kicked up by galloping mounts. Hiding in shadows will make characters harder to see in the distance, while the shadows characters cast might get them noticed. It's easier to spot a rider than a crouching character, and a moving character versus one that standing still. The shadow you cast can get you noticed, and so can your silhouette. When a player is injured, there is a varying degree of unique looking blood and bruising on his face and body. There is visible weapon and armor decay. A character on fire, smoking or with arrows sticking out of him is also showing his condition. Smoke and fire coming out of buildings, structures or equipment such as boats and

siege weapons show the extent of damage they've received. Dead bodies, mount carcasses and destroyed equipment tell of a recent battle in the area. Blood splatter on the ground, trees and walls indicates that someone has just been through that spot and may be injured. Sound in Darkfall indicates direction and proximity of the source, and much more, depending on how experienced a player is in recognizing sounds in the game. For example, you can tell if an approaching player is mounted or on foot and what type of mount he's on. You can approximate the size and composition of a party by the sounds you hear in battle, what kind of magic is being used, war cries, etc. Ambient audio effects, monster sounds and ambient music may alert a player to certain points of interest. The visual and audio cues, along with experience may help you size up other players since in Darkfall, there are no levels. You can target an opponent and learn the character's name, his clan affiliation, alignment, status and titles. His race, reputation, unique look, the equipment he's carrying, riding ability, the size and type of the spells he's using in combat are some of the many indicators you can use to size up what you're up against. Of course, you can never be too sure. There are many visual and audible cues when a player is being attacked and hit. Powerful hits might knock a player any which way depending on the direction of the blow. The power of the attack will affect how much the player is knocked around. Screams of pain are relevant to the size of the attack. Powerful spells being used will shake the ground, blow players away and visibly affect them depending on the spell type, like setting them on fire, electrocuting them, icing them, etc. Monsters can hear and smell players, and be alerted to their presence, so you may want to move silently and keep your scent away by moving downwind from them to get in a surprise attack, or to maintain stealth and not to alert other players in the area of your presence. As you can probably understand, all these sensory cues and mechanics supporting them add real-world stealth capabilities to the game. Darkfall has some stealthrelated skills that enhance the player's tactics, but you won't go invisible because you don't need to. You can effectively perform stealth activities by using tactics such as knowing your terrain, moving silently, using cover, using weather and darkness, wearing non-reflective armor, clothing that blends with the environment, keeping your weapon sheathed, crouching through tall grass, staying in shadows, moving slowly, trying not to make noise, being aware of where your enemy is looking, etc. It's one of the many features we've worked hard on to enhance the immersive experience and excitement of the game, negatively inspired by how many other games have automagically chosen to handle this. We've only scratched the surface of another very exciting set of features that make Darkfall stand out from other games in the MMO genre. We've tried to make these simulate real-life conditions, without restricting players in their choices. We hope that this article will provide players with some insight into the depth of the gameplay experience possible in Darkfall, and tangible ideas that they can apply to creating tactics and strategies we haven't even thought of. We're very interested in seeing what they'll come up with. Tasos Flambouras Associate Producer, Darkfall

Aventurine

RPGVault DF peek #26 -- Risks and Rewards of Trading in Darkfall 18/07/06
http://rpgvault.ign.com/articles/719/719331p1.html Commerce is the mechanism driving Darkfall's economy. Since this is the case, we didn't want to impose restrictive rules and game mechanics on it; rather, we preferred to allow it to simulate real-world economy properties. These make for very complex trade relationships adding depth and new and exciting dimensions to gameplay for everyone - not just for traders and merchants. Anyone can dabble in trade. There will be no shortage of crafters, adventurers and resource gatherers trading for themselves, but for the purposes of this article, we'll be looking at dedicated traders and how they can capitalize on their specialization for efficiency in turnover and profitability. Trading can be a very challenging, entertaining and profitable occupation. The possibilities are endless, and it's up to the players to devise the strategies that will make them successful. A little about some of the mechanics that affect trading - resources come from resource gathering, hunting and questing. Clans and players need them in order to conduct repairs, for construction, and for crafting. Darkfall features full, unrestricted PvP, conquest, and full loot. When a character is killed, he can lose everything on his person so he'll need replacements. Clans going to war need to be able to re-supply their fighters and get them back into battle as soon as possible. There are also item decay and resource burn to consider. Traders will buy resources from dedicated resource gatherers like hunters, miners, lumberjacks, fishermen, herbalists, etc. They will also buy from clan stockpiles, NPC merchants and individual players. They'll sell the resources to crafters like blacksmiths, armorsmiths, weaponsmiths, tinkerers, enchanters, fletchers, alchemists etc. They can, in turn, buy or barter for finished products to store and sell to clan stockpiles and to individual players. As you can probably understand, it's very important for traders to have a large network of buyers and sellers they can trust. A trader can benefit from buying and selling in bulk, just like in real-world economies, but he can also realize greater profits by supplying NPC merchants and selling to the public. Finding a good balance among trading strategies is important for a trader to be successful. Staying informed about the political landscape and keeping good relations with clans can allow a trader to predict and benefit from wartime supply activities, to modify pricing based on demand, or on future demand. A trader with a good network of suppliers could help a clan stockpile a lot faster than it can on its own. As a result, a well-connected trader can double up as a spy, a diplomat, a messenger and a good source of information. Trading in Darkfall has its risks. A trader can be attacked at any time, killed and looted. If this occurs during the transportation of goods to market or storage, or during a transaction, the trader could take a serious hit. Traders are good targets for racial enemies, pirates and bandits, so they need to be protected, well organized, and careful about where they hold their transactions and how they transport their goods. Transportation of goods is done on foot, by mount, ship and other transport. Traders can form caravans or convoys for their mutual protection. They can hire bodyguards,

have clan mates or friends as backup during both transportation and transactions with parties they don't trust. Trade routes in Darkfall are land- and water-based. They're used to transport goods from the buying and storage locations to the various selling points. Traders need to make sure they know the dangers along the way, as well as the political and economic situations in areas to be crossed and visited such as towns and outposts. They need to select their modes of transport carefully, the geography and navigation, and factor in the profitability of the journey. Darkfall's is a player-driven supply and demand economy. Traders will set their own prices based on price, scarceness and difficulty in obtaining raw materials, the competition's pricing, availability and rarity of particular items, future developments that affect those items, etc. In a PvP game like Darkfall, competition can also take on an entirely different meaning. Trading can be a very challenging, entertaining and profitable occupation. The possibilities are endless, and it's up to the players to devise the strategies that will make them successful. Darkfall provides them with the freedom to follow different paths in achieving this, without forcing limitations to make things easier for them. Unfortunately, it was not possible to take screenshots related to the topic this week, so the ones here show assorted scenes. In addition, the Darkfall Peek series will take a break, but only for a couple of weeks, so watch for the next segment before long. Tasos Flambouras Associate Producer, Darkfall Aventurine Darkfall Peek #27 -- The Mahirim of the Tribelands 25/07/06 http://rpgvault.ign.com/articles/720/720754p1.html Lead World Designer BT Oren introduces the predatory, lupine Mahirim playable race in Aventurine's online world. By the light of the Ghost Moon, Mahirim packs strike deep into enemy territory, plundering and killing without mercy. They vanish as quickly as they appear, leaving outpaced pursuers and utter devastation in their wake. Named for their characteristic face-covering helmets, the Wolfmasks commonly deal with internal trouble in the Tribelands, but are sometimes dispatched on occasional hit and run missions into enemy territory. The Mahirim are a fierce race of predators whose society has only recently moved towards civilization. And while they may have cities and laws now, they retain the wolf-eyed wildness, the finely honed instincts and the uncaring cruelty of their packhunting ancestors. The Tribelands The Mahirim homeland is located in the Northwestern part of Agon's main continent. To its east lies the Dwarven kingdom of Dvergheim, while the elven republic of Mirendil lies to the south. Across the Sarthan Sea to the north lies Niflheim, an icebound but resource-rich continent that is coveted by both Mahirim and Dwarves. The Tribelands consist mainly of rolling hills interspersed with large forests of

deciduous trees. The more remote regions are home to an abundance of prey animals as well as substantial monster populations. Gnolls have always been common in the Tribelands, while a growing threat is posed by the Beast Cult, a twisted race of humanoids who worship a demigod called the Moonbeast. Red Moon The Mahirim capital sprawls across a chain of grass-clad islands that dominate a lake in the central region of the Tribelands. With its low, wooden buildings nestled among tall autumnal trees, Red Moon gives the impression of being a compromise between nature and the forces of civilization. The Red Moon skyline is dominated by a strange, semi-organic and vaguely eggshaped structure called the Moontower. The tower is older than the city around it, and none now know why it was given such a unique shape. The Moontower is sacred to the worshippers of Theia, and a large temple complex lies in its shadow. Mahirim player characters start their career in one of three starting villages, all of which lie within walking distance of the capital. Leenglow controls the only known moonstone quarry in the world, Hunter's Moon clings to the plateaus of a jagged cliff formation, and Silverspear is a thriving river port. Culture and religion The Mahirim worship Theia, which is Agon's second moon, called the Ghost Moon. They see their celestial deity as a goddess with many different aspects, including Theia as a warlike conqueror, and Theia as huntress and bringer of plenty. Until quite recently, the Mahirim were a race of nomadic hunters and raiders who carried their possessions with them between seasonal camps. The ongoing development towards civilization was set in motion by a prophet-king called Amurran, who had a vision of the Tribelands as a modern and powerful nation state. Though the prophet-king is long dead, his work is continued by the Elders of Red Moon, an organization whose power is felt everywhere in the Tribelands. Movers and shakers Players participate in Tribelands life through quests offered by six* powerful organizations, all of which seek to further their own, more or less sinister agendas. The Elders of Red Moon founded the Tribelands capital, and then set about civilizing the primitive and nomadic Mahirim. Their work continues to this day, as they seek to turn the Tribelands into a unified and powerful nation. The Long Claw see the Mahirim as hunters and all other races as prey. The group's raiding parties strike mercilessly against the settlements of other nations, killing and looting with relish. The Long Claw are traditionalists who want to keep the Mahirim race strong, untamed and ferocious. There are frequent disagreements between the Long Claw and the Elders. The Circle of Neith is a mysterious group who worship the blue moon Neith, claiming that it is the source of all magic on Agon. The Circle are spellcasters who take a special interest in magical items and ancient artifacts. Uncommonly for Mahirim, they are highly interested in the history of their own race and the world in general. The Wolfmasks are an order of elite warriors who serve as enforcers for the Elders of Red Moon. Named for their characteristic face-covering helmets, the Wolfmasks

commonly deal with internal trouble in the Tribelands, but are sometimes dispatched on occasional hit and run missions into enemy territory. The Ghost Pack claim that if you want to prove yourself as a master hunter, you must do so against the fiercest, most dangerous prey on Agon. The Ghost Pack are a group of Mahirim who hunt other Mahirim, for the challenge and to satisfy their own twisted desires. "To a Mahirim, the world is a hunting ground full of prey such as you and me. They value nothing outside their own strange culture, and the only way to deal with them is by the sword." The Cult of the Moonbeast worship an old and terrible deity, who occasionally manifests in the Tribelands to hunt and kill anything that strays into its path. His cult seeks to emulate the ferocity and unpredictability of their god, and though once Mahirim, they have mutated into a shape more pleasing to the Moonbeast. * Some of these groups will not be active at Darkfall's release. They will be introduced to the game as the storyline unfolds. What makes the Mahirim special? When standing erect, Mahirim move with the same speed as members of the other races. However, when not engaged in combat, they can switch to all fours and run with the speed of a horse. The Mahirim don't breed their own mounts, but they may acquire and use those bred by other races. Only Mahirim mastersmiths can create Ghost Claws, a twin weapon that is made using an extremely rare resource called moonstone. Ghost Claws have a strange affinity with Theia, and as the Ghost Moon waxes and wanes, so does the magical power that surrounds each claw like an aura. Given their warlike nature and their long history as semi-nomadic raiders, it should not surprise anyone that the Mahirim have few friends. They do, however, have a grudging respect for the equally warlike Orks, and player clans may include a mixture of these two races.

How the Mahirim see the world "If I am stronger, I will take what is yours. If you are stronger, you will take what is mine. This is the natural order of things." - Yulane the Proud, Long Claw raider "That which cannot defend itself should not be suffered to live. Weakness is an insult to the gods, and Theia bids us remove all weaklings from under her gaze." - Merdan the Brave, Wolfmask agent "Since they are helpless to stop our raiding parties, imagine how our sickly neighbours would fare against a united army of the Mahirim. The day will come when such an army sweeps all before it, clearing the way for our rightful mastery." - Ylmon the Wise, Elder of Red Moon

How others see the Mahirim "Sit! Fetch! Play dead! They are not even fit to serve as our pets, and will be put down like the scabby mongrels they are!" - Naeva Darkshroud, Alfar from Shoal "I respect the Mahirim as hunters and as warriors, but their culture is despicably cruel and primitive. If they would but submit to Mirdain teaching, we could civilize those simple-minded brutes." - Derheil Silverglade, Mirdain from Charybdis "Of all non-orks, the Mahirim are the least pathetic and puny. In fact, Orks sometimes ally with that noble race of predra... pedrato... hunters. If the Mahirim are extra nice, Ashaka may even spare them from the Big Burning, hehe." - Azog Elfstrangler, Ork from Flaming Skull "To a Mahirim, the world is a hunting ground full of prey such as you and me. They value nothing outside their own strange culture, and the only way to deal with them is by the sword." - Moirna Fernway, Human from Sanguine "You can forget about your dragons and your gargantuas, the second most dangerous thing in the world is a Mahirim raiding party. They are fast, agile and strong, and they fight with the ferocity and cunning of born predators. What? Well, the most dangerous thing in the world is clearly an angry Dwarf. Which is why you should shut up and buy me a beer." - Iarlgrim Snowshield, Dwarf from Ymir's Tear BT Oren Lead World Designer, Darkfall Aventurine

Warcry Weekly Update: Ithwen, Ciel Fey, and the Church of Malaut 28/07/06
http://df.warcry.com/scripts/news/view_news.phtml?site=7&id=63566 Posted by Naithin on 7/28/2006 at 04:34 PM This week as the title suggests, we are dealing with the Ithwen, an extinct Elven culture, eliminated by a Celestial Dragon, known as Far-Loradain. We also have a first look at a village constructed by the Ciel Fey. It isn't all however, we also bring you an imaging of the Church of Malaut, perhaps the biggest evil NPC faction in the Mercian lands, and a couple of.. other images.. Which some people may wish to debate. The Ithwen They were once a powerful Elven Culture, there in the times of need for the Mirdain and their allies, against the might of the Alfar when they first arose in power. In time, they were all but destroyed by a Celestial Dragon, called Far-Loradain. Within a matter of days, their cities were torn down, their people dead. There was no time for their allies to bring aid, before it was all over, and Far-Loradain fell again into a

slumber, in his new home at the centre of the jungle isle of Yssam. The Ithwen are now all but extinct, with no-one to this day, knowing what brought Far-Loradain to lay them to waste. The Ciel Fey The Ciel Fey are an isolationist offshoot of the Mirdain, breaking away in year 1120 after a failed rebellion attempt, to try replace the current King with one more sympathetic to their views. They were highly upset - to put it mildly - over the fact that there was aggressive logging of their forests being carried out by other races. After the rebellion attempt, there was no going back. This group splintered off, becoming the Ciel Fey, and over time very xenophobic. Many of them consider even the Mirdain as enemies. The Church of Malaut It is no secret to the Mercians, that Malaut - the Demon of Greed - followed them to their new homeland of Mercia. It is also rumoured, however, that the number of cultists belonging to Malaut is large. It is whispered more fearfully still, that The Below, Malaut's lieutenants are also increasing in number, here on the mainland.

WarCry Update: The Impact of Death 18/08/06
http://df.warcry.com/scripts/news/view_news.phtml?site=7&id=64163 Posted by Naithin on 8/18/2006 at 05:01 PM Death and Dying. In a game like this, where a Developer commented, 'We expect players to die a lot in Darkfall..' Well, you have to wonder what dying really involves. We've had some information on the subject before, the mechanics of it certainly.. But it's time to shed some more light on the subject of Death in Darkfall! Death in Darkfall is something that most players who enjoy PvP will get to dish out but also experience quite often. This is how it works: General: Outright killing by critical hits is possible. In most cases though you get incapacitated. In this state your character is lying on the ground dying and waving for help. Before the time limit expires, the incapacitated character can release, get revived by teammates, or finished off by an enemy through any one of a series of disturbing finishing moves. An incapacitated player can be looted by anyone, friend or foe just the same as the corpse can. Other than full looting, losing active spell effects, and getting removed from the location, there is no other death penalty. Mounts can be killed, and they cannot be revived. Resurrection: Dead characters are resurrected at their Bindstone, Clanstone, or Chaosstone with only starter equipment. Chaosstones exist in areas within a realm which are ruled by anarchy. For a short time after death, players are protected from attack giving them a

chance to reequip. Alignment considerations: There is an alignment hit for finishing a player off, even if you're not the one knocking him unconscious. Technically, the alignment penalties and bonuses are associated with the damage delivered. In a declared war there are no alignment penalties or bonuses. Statistics: Killing and dying is tracked statistically. You can check out details about your kills or anyone else's for that matter. Looting: Anyone can loot you while you're incapacitated or a corpse. There are no 'looting rights' in Darkfall other than the ones players enforce on their own. This is a conscious design decision in order to promote conflict. In the confusion of battle you may not have the luxury to sit there and pick through items while looting, and you may not want to get weighed down by indiscriminately grabbing packs off corpses. This can leave a lot of equipment on the corpse, to be picked at by various players throughout the course of a battle, and ultimately by the victors left standing. Reequipping: Players wanting to get back into battle as quickly as possible can go into their bank vault or the clan vault and get their equipment which they've hopefully organized in grab-bags. Players may have a few kits assembled containing the equipment setups that they're most comfortable with depending on their situation. Reaching the battlefield, they may want to go through their corpse to get their best equipment that might have been left behind. Getting back into battle can be done by running, riding, sailing, by portal, teleportation, and summoning. Great care has been taken in balancing and limiting the magical means of transportation mentioned above. If players are on a ship and get killed, it's not going to be easy getting back. This works out well for balance as a ship's crew starts thinning out and eventually the ship can be taken over, or sunk. Strategies and Tactics: Reviving your teammates and finishing off your enemies could turn the tide of a battle. Looting tactics, re-equipment turnover, logistics, transportation, battleground planning etc. are associated with death in Darkfall. Duels: There are plans for a venue within the game where death won't have any negative consequences, looting, or penalties and players can fight for sport. Tasos Flambouras Associate Producer, Darkfall Aventurine

Womengamers interview -- The Passion Behind Darkfall Online 25/08/06
http://www.womengamers.com/interviews/darkfall.php by Ismini "Atari" Roby I walked into a fairly well-lit office space filled with approximately 20 or so employees huddled over their monitors. The walls were mostly bare with the exception of a Star Wars, Darkfall and Quake poster. I didn't see anyone idling or chit-chatting at a water cooler. Everyone was hard at work, practically on fire, fighting to meet their deadline. This made it all the more amazing that 5 out of the 20 people pulled away from their desks (more like cafeteria tables) to sit in a conference room with me for a good 4 hours or so to talk about their game. Sitting across from me was Lead Game Designer Claus Grovdal, Lead World Designer BT Oren, Lead Programmer Kjetil Helland, and Tools Programmer Rikki Sickenger. You would think by their names that I might be somewhere in Norway, but actually I was in Athens, Greece. They moved the office to Greece due to the high cost of living in Norway and haven't looked back. The company, Aventurine, is one of the few places in Greece where they make commercial quality games. For the past 3 years, these guys have been hard at work developing a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game (MMORPG) called Darkfall. They've kept their game fairly low on the PR radar until this year. "Too many MMOs are released before they're ready to go to market," said Associate Producer Tasos Flambouras. "We want the beta to be almost finished before we show it to the world." When I asked how far along they were with their game, they seemed pretty confident that the engine was almost ready. "We're spending a lot of our efforts tuning the graphics and art assets right now," explained Flambournas. This was particularly encouraging since I was concerned that the screenshots on their web site looked a bit dated. As I listened to the plans of these developers, one thing become increasingly apparent. These guys are hardcore guild-oriented PVPers (or people who enjoy playervs-player style combat). Consequently, the MMO they're developing is designed for players like them. The difference between playing other mass-market MMOs and Darkfall will be like having a "McDonald's meal vs the special burger" explains Grovdal. For example, you will be able to PVP anywhere on the map. As I've seen in other MMOs, this concept can be a scary one for those who get frustrated when "ganked" or attacked unexpectedly. To add to your fears, when you die your body can be completely looted by your opponent. How does Darkfall plan on keeping your adrenaline high without leaving you too terribly frustrated? With a very sophisticated notoriety system. Darkfall might just generate an elf quest rewarding the person who kills the most notorious elf killer. The developers were hesitant to give too much detail on this point, only that there would be some sort of a bounty system in place to get back at offenders.

You won't need to worry about portal or zone camping since there is no zoning between areas in Darkfall. Travelling the lands is also aided by mounts and the use of runes that can teleport you to pre-marked locations. Guilds will play an important part. Although they did say there will be neutral cities available for lone wolf players, I got the distinct impression that unguilded players won't get very far in this game. Guilds can own cities, bind stones and resources (like mines) that will charge outsiders taxes for using them. There will be 6 playable races, all with their own special abilities and starting villages. These 6 races will be split between 3 sides or natural alignments. There will be certain benefits to keeping these alignments, although the developers were not yet ready to talk about them. There are approximately 300 skills in this game with prerequisites for certain skills. Some of the easier skills, like swimming, take less time to learn. There are also no levels in this game. Monsters and creatures do not have levels either. They simply get tougher the farther you walk out of the newbie areas. The only way to know whether you can take them out is to try it. And unlike certain MMOs where you can find platemail on a rat, Darkfall will have none of that. What you see is what you get. On that same note, if you fight an orc that's using an axe but then switches to a club, when he dies you will be able to loot both the axe and club off of his body, as well as his armor and the contents of his entire inventory. Helland explained that the AI in the game would be far more advanced than what gamers are used to seeing in other MMOs. "The AI mimicks players as much as possible," he said, "like Quake bots." The AI is also smart enough to notice when people are camping spawns. In-game events can be triggered to stir things up, encouraging parties to continue exploration rather than stay in one spot. Besides the advanced AI treatment, the in-depth alignment and notoriety dynamics and the detailed political and economic systems, Darkfall also has a rather ambitious combat system. You can do battle on mounts, fire shots from ships at sea and fight on foot. In fact, when your guild wages war, it will be likely that they utilize cavalry, army and navy units all at once in these battles. Yes, that's right. Darkfall features naval combat in a fantasy MMO. Even maintaining supply lines in battles will be necessary for people who respawn since all of your possessions remain on your corpse when you die. Crafters will most certainly have an important role to play in this game to make use of resources and keep troops outfitted. This makes controlling mines or other sources of materials key to PVP. Wars will not be waged lightly. Once a guild declares war on a town, that guild must wait a certain amount of time (still undetermined by the developers) before they can capture it. This gives the defending guild time to organize a counterattack. Once a guild declares war, the two battling guilds do not take alignment "hits" when killing each other. In other words, you can kill the opposing guild as much as you want while you are warring with them without becoming evil. Guilds have a number of tools to help organize themselves, including the ability to set up platoons, identify waypoints and utilize map coordinates. On that note, part of the challenge is to coordinate these battles without falling into total chaos. Friendly fire is

enabled and there is no radar in the game to show the location of friendly or enemy troops. This challenge makes the outcome of most battles fairly unpredictable. The developers also plan to have some interesting physics in the game. A cannonball shot off a ship can not only damage but physically disorient an entire party by blowing them away. Or you could jump off of a big rock and hit someone in the head with an axe causing more damage with the momentum of your fall. And unlike many MMOs, the damage is not determined from a dice-based hit system. In Darkfall, damage is calculated in real-time like a first person shooter. As for how the combat looks, you can see physical bleeding and armor decay as you beat someone down. "We do have decapitation and skull crushing in this game," says Oren smiling. In fact, if your rather just crack people's skulls open all day and you really hate PVE (or player-vs-environment), you can level entirely from PVP in this game. Dualing other players allows you to increase your weapon skill, and there is no alignment hit for killing a guildmate. As I was listening to them describe all of the features to their game, I thought to myself, "It's far too ambitious." Too many features crammed into one game usually ends badly. You lose quality for quantity. However, after sitting with them for four hours, it became increasingly apparent that if anyone had enough passion and drive to do it, it would be these guys. Although the game draws much inspiration from Ultima Online and Shadowbane, unlike both of those MMOs, they don't plan on releasing it until they are content that it's a finished product.They are making the game that they have always wanted to play and they will not compromise. They know they're catering to a niche market and they're content doing so. And if they don't get a publisher, they are prepared to self-publish to see this vision become a reality. Will they pull it off? It's that stubborn streak in them that makes me think that they just might do it. And if they do, it has the potential to be a real gem to the PVP community.

Darkfall Peek #28 -- Darkfall's Dynamics of Conflict 29/08/06
http://rpgvault.ign.com/articles/728/728853p1.html An examination of the diverse dynamics that will drive the PvP conflict in Aventurine's persistent state project Darkfall features full, unrestricted player versus player combat. By that statement alone, the uninitiated might imagine total anarchy, and a chaotic free for all. We'll try to explain why conflict runs much deeper than random aggression, and will also highlight various layers of the complex and conflicting relationships that form between groups as a result. Darkfall's dynamics of conflict are very complex, and will lead to clashes of interests, values, actions and directions, but the most important thing to remember is that whatever happens in the end is completely up to the players. Good vs. evil In Darkfall, good and evil are subjective. Evil is not absolute, there's no poetic justice, and good is usually a condition, or the opposite to what's perceived by the players as evil. This particular conflict exists mainly within a realm or racial area driven by

factions with opposed agendas. Those working for their own society, realm and race are usually in conflict with those working against them. Players have the freedom to ignore alignment and associate with players whose ratings are opposed to their own, but these are difficult relationships to maintain. Good characters are supported by the realm, and free to use the racial capital and other NPC towns, while evil ones are limited to free towns, remote areas within the realm, and their own player-run cities. Race vs. race With the possible exception of the Alfar, who are universally regarded as evil in the biblical sense, and as such are "red" to every other race - and vice versa - among the five others, there are age-long, deep-rooted (and hard-coded) friendships or enmities. Humans and Mirdain are friendly, and neutral with the Dwarves. Orks and Mahirim are neutral to each other and against all other races. Players have the freedom to ignore these dynamics and form clans using members of opposed races, but this is going to be troublesome to manage due to the attitude other players and NPCs will have against them. Evil characters, being outcasts, may have an easier time associating with their evil counterparts from enemy races. Clan vs. clan The majority of the world's area is contested by the clans. Even though aggression along racial lines is encouraged by the backstory and the alignment system, there will definitely be power struggles within a realm balanced by common interests and the threat of the common enemy. There may be infighting among the Mirdain, for example, but the Orks will always be looking for a way to exploit this. Mirdain territory falling into Orkish hands may limit Mirdain options, resources etc. Forming clans made up of racial enemies is possible; however, in these kinds of alliances, there are often mutually inconsistent goals - one party's success might undermine the ability of the others to achieve their ends. Cause and effect Other than the alignment and racial considerations, conflict is bred by the need for control of a territory, control of resources, for power, profit, for items, for a strategic or political advantage, for fame or notoriety, for the pure sake of fun, etc. The effects of conflict are death and destruction, territorial changes, increased probability of further conflict, drain on resources, displacement of clans, alliances of all kinds, destabilization, infighting, etc. So why won't all this degrade into a chaotic free for all? Some of the safeguards against it are the alignment system, realm defenses, full looting logistics, common enemies and interests, and the need to conduct organized warfare on a larger scale. Players will need to consider the big picture in order to enjoy the depth the game has to offer. Politics, diplomacy, trade and intelligence Politics within a clan and within a realm will play a big role in how conflict is managed so that common interests are preserved and promoted. Diplomacy among races and clans will often be aimed at negotiating agreements to gain an advantage. Trade will be another point of contact between races and clans that could affect the conflict dynamic. Finally, a good overview of all these relationships through intelligence

gathering, and knowing what's going on in the world could definitely give someone a strong advantage in shaping and manipulating future events. How will all this play out? Will one conflict area supersede another? Will human clans overcome their differences and unite against the Orkish threat? Will enemy racial clans make unholy and secret alliances for profit? Darkfall's dynamics of conflict are very complex, and will lead to clashes of interests, values, actions and directions, but the most important thing to remember is that whatever happens in the end is completely up to the players. Tasos Flamboras Associate Producer, Darkfall Aventurine

WarCry Update: The Dragonbound, Orkish Quest Faction 01/09/06
http://df.warcry.com/scripts/news/view_news.phtml?site=7&id=64488 Posted by Naithin on 9/1/2006 at 11:39 AM The Orks worship Ashaka, a cruel and hungry fire goddess who manifests in the shape of a gargantuan dragon. Her priesthood, called the Dragonbound, are a violent and utterly loyal cult who will do anything for their scaled mistress. After uniting the Orkish lands under Flaming Skull's rule, Ashaka retired to a fiery, ruby-bound cavern deep under the Orkish capital. There she slowly regains her strength, while dreaming of the boundless destruction she will wreak when she wakes. While Ashaka sleeps, the Dragonbound are led by the Arxanthos the Messenger, a fire dragon who has the ability to receive and interpret dream-wishes sent by Ashaka. From his lair at Emberhall, Arxanthos issues frequent, sometimes confusing orders to his minions, rarely if ever divulging the goals or motives behind them. Sometimes Arxanthos requires the procuration of magical items, at other times he sends agents on mysterious missions that further some unexplained goal. Emberhall is the formidable island fastness of the Dragonbound. Goals and Beliefs: The Dragonbound work to prepare the world, the orks, and themselves for Ashaka's awakening. According to the Dragonbound, the Fire Dragon's reemergence signals the start of the Big Burning, in which Ashaka leads a grand army of the orks on a campaign of world conquest. When all foes have been put to the torch, Ashaka will instigate an Age of Fire, in which the orks are the masters of a scorched world, and the Dragonbound are their priest-kings. The Dragonbound believe that Ashaka requires sustenance while she sleeps. They nourish their goddess with sentient sacrifice performed regularly on the peak of their ziggurats. Now that that hour of the Awakening grows near, they are increasing the frequency of sacrifice, to make sure that Ashaka has the strength she needs at this critical moment. Headquarters: The Dragonbound headquarters, called Emberhall, lie in the region called Western Taloroth, directly northeast of Flaming Skull. A road from the Orkish capital ends in the tiny village called Dragoncove, from where a ferry transports visitors over to the

rocky island which houses Emberhall itself. The island is dominated by a large, ziggurat-shaped temple which stands on a high plateau in its northern end. The highest ranked Orkish member of the Dragonbound, the High Herald, is based in this temple, as is his draconic superior, Arxanthos the Messenger. Arxanthos dwells in a stone chamber underneath the ziggurat itself, entering and exiting through a concealed tunnel. Appearance: As marks of their devotion, Dragonbound priests cover their bodies with countless, chaotic patterns of deep scars. They cut off their own lips upon initiation, color their teeth black, and wear clothes that are a combination of bone armor and skin from the bodies of sacrificial victims. Hierarchy: As players complete more and more missions for a quest faction, they rise in its ranks. A player's status influences the attitudes of faction NPCs, as well as access to special skills, equipment and prestige classes. The Dragonbound hierarchy includes the following levels: Bondservant - The lowest level of membership, awarded to players when they are accepted into the Dragonbound. Wyrmthrall - A low rank offered to Bondservants who have proven their potential by completing a couple of quest cycles. Talon - The rank and file soldiers of the Dragonbound. Players are promoted to this rank after finishing several semi-important tasks for the organization. Scourgebringer - Elite soldiers who are sent on important and dangerous missions. Flameherald - Crusader priests who are the officers in Azhaka's armies, and who enforce her will in Morak and beyond. Several Flameheralds are present in Emberhall, and two of them, Uzrok Bloodaxe and Izk'l Viletongue, give players their first Dragonbound missions High Herald - At this very high level, players may enter the ziggurat at Emberhall and approach the Messenger himself, who hands out the most important and prestigious quests available through the Dragonbound. Thurhuk the Witherer, who is the current High Herald at Emberhall, gives out certain high level quests to players. Messenger - Currently Arxanthos. This rank is unavailable to players, since they are very unlikely to be telepathic fire dragons. Symbol: The symbol of the Dragonbound is a heraldic-style fire dragon spreading its wings. Friends and Enemies: The Dragonbound are highly skeptical of the Iron Orks, who they see as the eager tools of a dangerously power-hungry king. The Dragonbound would like to hunt down and kill every last member of the Guild of Thugs and - especially - those deluded

heretics who call themselves the Beastmasters. The Dragonbound applaud the monster-slaying exploits of the Defenders of the Swamp, and under their current Messenger, they have moved close to an alliance with the somewhat sinister Erodach. BT Oren Lead World Designer, Darkfall Aventurine

RPPVault -- Online Worlds Roundtable #12, Part 1 05/09/06
http://rpgvault.ign.com/articles/730/730412p1.html Representatives of five teams offer their expert opinions on whether current games in the category are too complex September 05, 2006 - Over the course of the past several years, RPG Vault and the entire Vault Network have had occasion to witness rapid, continuing growth within the persistent state gaming category, especially in the area of so-called massively multiplayer online role-playing games, often abbreviated to MMORPGs. During this time, we've seen the genre far outstrip the expectations of those naysayers who thought it would never rise beyond niche status. We've watched it attract legions of fans, many of whom play on a daily basis, and have also observed how it has captured the attention and fired the imaginations of talented developers around the world. This last fact can only bode well for an even brighter future, one in which new and different ideas will come to fruition, the inevitable result being more games and play choices available to us than ever before. To explore the interesting and sometimes contentious questions, issues and differences of opinion that can and do accompany this diversity, we created a series of Online Worlds Roundtables in which we ask game makers and other individuals associated with them to share their respective knowledge and points of view. The composition of the panel isn't the same from one session to the next as we attempt to solicit input from as broad a range of sources as possible, and from people particularly close to each subject. As for the nature of these topics, the idea is to address a different one each time. For this feature, we followed our usual procedure of extending invitations to a number of our friends and acquaintances in the development community. The initial segment of the discussion consists of the five statements that appear below. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------Topic: Are Online Worlds Too Complex? Within the online world community, there are both developers and players who feel believe that, as a generalization, the games tend to be too complex, overintellectualized and over-designed. For this segment in our Online Worlds Roundtable series, we invited representatives of various studios and project teams to offer their respective points of view on this interesting issue. Stieg Hedlund Design Director, Perpetual Entertainment Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising

Publisher: Sony Online Entertainment I think it would be pretty hard to "over-design" something; the more thought and care put into reinforcement and affordance (game designer jargon that means presenting the opportunities and the support for particular types of gameplay) of the player experience, including supporting different play styles and areas of interest, the more fulfilling and entertaining that work should become. However, I think I can guess what is meant by this idea, that more attention is paid to creating complex, highly detailed systems without an eye toward the way they are consumed by the player or how they stand in relationship to the experience as a whole, which I would agree, is a big problem. However, instead of diagnosing this as over-designed, I'd say there hasn't been enough design... at least not the right kind. If I had no instinct for game design, I'm pretty sure all the higher math in the world wouldn't help me design a fun experience, but I'm happy to apply higher math to a problem once I've identified it. Complex systems have been necessary to games in various categories for some time. For Diablo II, we pioneered many things that have since become part of the design language in the MMOG category, and which required considerable design - progression curves, probability formulas, skill trees, etc. Our motto, however, was "simple controls for deep systems". We always pursued an interface requiring no tutorials or manual reading, but instead "pick up and play", simple and intuitive enough that you could quickly and easily get to the fun, rewarding stuff. I think game systems, by and large, need a certain level of complexity to feel rich, intricate and rewarding, and to thwart the min-maxers and other exploiters every design must consider, but who become particularly important when an experience is simultaneously available to numerous players who can socialize and interact within the game setting. Any issues you have with one player quickly become problems for all or most of them. Things like the economy in particular become very important; if something is undervalued, it can quickly cause the amount of money in the gameworld to soar, creating inflation. One must assume if something is available anywhere in the game, there is the probability that everyone will have it. However, it's important not to dump the entire mental load of your complex systems on the player. As a designer, you have plenty of complexity available to you; the computer can perform many calculations, throw sound and graphical effects at the player, and affect character state in many ways... all in the blink of an eye. Meanwhile, the player is fairly limited in both the number and kinds of actions he can perform. The problems are complex: There's both an art and a science to designing games. If I had no instinct for game design, I'm pretty sure all the higher math in the world wouldn't help me design a fun experience, but I'm happy to apply higher math to a problem once I've identified it. There's a lot of content in these games, and as a designer, I want to ensure people are deriving the maximum amount of fun possible from the stuff we've spent years creating for them. Even on Diablo II, I designed entirely in Excel spreadsheets, creating progression curves and using them to make a level 10 skeleton appropriately more challenging to fight than a level 2. I wanted to get to the level of simulating as much of the play experience as possible outside the game.

Sean "Ashen Temper" Dahlberg Designer and Community Manager, Shadowbane Stray Bullet Games Publisher: Ubisoft Overall, I do not believe that most online worlds are too complex. The view that they are arises more from perception than anything else, and can mainly be contributed to two issues; (1) the online world is focused on too many key selling points and/or (2) bad design. Many will enjoy the deep, complex features as long as the game's attention to detail and polish properly explains the features and how they empower the player. Originally, many massively multiplayer online games were development by targeting a few key concepts or activities that defined them, and then, they devoted all their resources to nailing those concepts and activities. For example, EverQuest was by far the game that most locked onto dungeon crawling and questing. Ultima Online was built to be a virtual world, a world simulation where players were part of a dynamic, breathing space, with all the cooperative and competitive implications thereof. As more MMOGs have been released, the titles within each successive generation have tried to bring more into their features and design. They're looking way beyond a few key points; they want to do everything so they can attract a wider audience. The temptation to do this arises, quite frankly, from looking at other games and seeing what they do - it's a feature-based arms race. The problem with this trend is that MMOGs are complex beasts; just to create a basic online gaming infrastructure is a pretty monumental task unto itself. The more systems you add to the design, the harder it becomes to build the thing, and the more resources you need. Unless you have the budget and manpower like of big studios such as Blizzard and Sony, trying to do too much usually results in cut corners - the precious "finishing polish" that makes games easy to use and intuitive to play is, sadly, usually the first thing to go. This is one of the reasons why games seem more complex than they are, and why their worlds end up playing more complex than they should. Their features and systems are not in the finished states that they should be. The other issue that I feel makes games feel too complex is simply bad design. A feature can have a ton of depth and options. If designed properly, it will seem simple and easy to use. If the system isn't crafted properly, however, it may seem overly complex, especially to anyone who didn't actually design or build it. I've played many games where players were just assumed to know what to do or how to do it, but in reality, they don't have a clue and must look to their fellow gamers for support. I believe that complexity, in the end, is a good thing. It gives players the chance to make choices and decisions that help craft and create a more personal gaming experience. But adding it just for its own sake or creating false complexity in the form of poorly implemented features is never a good thing. Many will enjoy the deep, complex features as long as the game's attention to detail and polish properly explains the features and how they empower the player. Magnus Bergsson Chief Marketing Officer, CCP EVE Online If the primary objective of the MMOG is to attract players who will subscribe to the game for extended periods of time, then if anything, today's online worlds are too simple. It comes down to a question of player incentive. What exactly will keep the

game experience fresh for veteran players while simultaneously maintaining appeal for new subscribers? The answer is dynamic content, which will contribute to the complexity of the game world regardless of how it's implemented. the small steps taken in a big online world for the first time are exciting, and that intrigue can be sustained indefinitely if the progression of the player's experience expands through content that is continually changing. The side effect of continually adding more content is that it tends to alienate new players, particularly younger ones who hail from gaming genres in which it's possible to master every facet of the gameworld, and in which there is a clearly defined beginning and end to the game experience. The MMOG, by virtue of its persistent world implementation, has a longevity characteristic that players unfamiliar with the genre are likely to dismiss as being overly complex. So in truth, this generalization has merit, but only if taken without considering the broader context of the MMOG. Complexity is a natural consequence of the genre for two major reasons. One is the competitive urgency to provide engaging game design and content that comes closer to imitating the real world, specifically by broadening the scope of how players can interact with the virtual world around them. The other reason - by far the more impacting of the two - is human interaction. The human element is what drives the MMOG. Just as in real life, the social dynamics of peer to peer human relationships grow in complexity as they scale all the way up to large organizations such as guilds or alliances - and they have to coexist in persistent gameworlds inhabited by potentially hundreds of thousand of players. The perception of complexity in this mindset is well-founded, because the only way the model works is if game balance can be achieved by carefully defining the limitations of these human interactions within the online world - a feat that is inherently complicated all on its own. Therefore, the approach is not explicitly to avoid complexity in the design and creation of online worlds, but to smooth the learning curve of new participants, taking care not to overwhelm them with the myriad of possibilities for gameplay that can only exist in the MMOG. Put another way, the idea is to change the perception of "complexity" and replace it with "intrigue". No matter how young or old the gamer is, the small steps taken in a big online world for the first time are exciting, and that intrigue can be sustained indefinitely if the progression of the player's experience expands through content that is continually changing. Generalizations notwithstanding, that's worth a little complexity for the MMOG. Mike Goslin Vice President, Disney VR Studio Disney's Toontown Online Online games have a tradition of complexity, but I believe intricate design and difficulty aren't really what attracts the majority of players to online worlds. The central appeal of an online game is the opportunity for social interaction with other players in a new and interesting environment. Most players are hoping for a vastly different experience than they get from your typical console game. They want to lose themselves in an appealing fantasy with other people who feel the same way they do. Our team had a background designing Disney theme parks, so that experience heavily influenced how we approached building spaces in Toontown. Naturally, players don't all gravitate to the same type of online experience. Some want to spend hundreds of hours earning the right to call themselves master craftsmen in

medieval-style guilds. Others want to wander around in their favorite movie or licensed universe, and some just want to log in casually and have a good time chatting and hanging around in unique environments. There are online game makers who don't believe they've succeeded unless they've managed to take up every minute of your average teenage boy's free time, but the truth is that there are lots of different audiences for online gaming. Moms, dads and kids are all potential online gamers. A lot of game makers have overlooked these groups, so back in 2000, we decided to take up the gauntlet and create a new kind of MMOG, aimed at kids 8 to 12 and their families. Given our target audience, we knew we would have to create a less complex environment than you might find in a "typical" MMOG. Our team had a background designing Disney theme parks, so that experience heavily influenced how we approached building spaces in Toontown. The analogy is a good one; a theme park is a big, sprawling, potentially confusing place, but people only have a limited number of hours to experience the things they want to see. Our responsibility as park designers is to make sure first time visitors are able to navigate easily to the right places without getting lost. The same was true of Toontown. We used color, changes in elevation and silhouettes to guide people through the landscape. We also kept our basic plotline simple. Players take on the role of Toons, who join forces to save the world from Cogs, humorless business robots who are attempting to turn the colorful, happy world of Toontown into a dark metropolis of corporate monotony. The tone of the game is upbeat, and players tell us the general experience is fun and addictive. Since the game's launch in October 2002, players have created over 15 million Toons. Its popularity has spawned a thriving player community for the last three years, and we recently hosted over 1,000 dedicated players at ToonFest, the first ever fan fest dedicated to the game, in late August. Claus Grovdal Lead Designer and Producer, Darkfall Aventurine For the sake of this roundtable, I am going to assume that the complexity refers to MMOs being too hard to get into, and to keep playing because of high skill and knowledge requirements. I believe online worlds should be more complex than they are today. When players have killed every monster, solved every quest and tried out every emote, they'll need new levels of depth and new areas of gameplay to explore. I don't think online worlds are too complex. Far from it. As a matter of fact, I find most current games too shallow and repetitive to hold player interest for very long. You don't need much skill to play most of them - mainly, you need time - and you too can own the Golden Platemail of Awesome. A good example of online worlds being oversimplified is the current trend of getting a quest from an NPC, and having the game literally draw a red line from point A to point B, so you can follow it and 'solve' the quest. That's not very challenging, and when it comes to demanding players, it can't hold much entertainment value either. Players actually having to think doesn't make online worlds too complex. In my opinion a good game needs several layers of complexity that a player may or may not choose to get into. I like to think of it as a learning curve, with the prospect of more involving content down the line. As far as game design goes, I don't believe in

simplifying the content, but rather the interaction with this content. You want players interfacing with the game as easily and smoothly as possible, but without sacrificing depth of gameplay. I believe online worlds should be more complex than they are today. When players have killed every monster, solved every quest and tried out every emote, they'll need new levels of depth and new areas of gameplay to explore. Unfortunately, this is where most of the current online worlds have run their course. Fortunately, this exchange of opinions on the topic of complexity in online worlds is a long way from running its course. Indeed, this special feature will continue for the rest of the week, with additional viewpoints from representatives of other titles and companies that are active in the genre. Our thanks to Steig Hedlund, Vault Network alumnus Sean "Ashen Temper" Dahlberg, Magnus Bergsson, Mike Goslin and Claus Grovdal for starting us off with their varied and interesting perspectives. -- Richard Aihoshi - 'Jonric'

WarCry Update: Metal golems 08/09/06
http://df.warcry.com/scripts/news/view_news.phtml?site=7&id=64617 Posted by Naithin on 9/8/2006 at 09:34 PM Hi there all, this week we bring you a look into the various types of Metal Golem, the magical constructs tasked solely with keeping people like you away from the valuable property of the spellcasters whom constructed them! Also, it is of some note that the devs have hit another point in the cycle where it's time to really put nose to the grindstone and beat down the next landmark point. As such, the weekly updates with new information are rather taxing and break the flow of the general work being done. Does this mean the updates are over? Not necessarily, but there will likely be some changes. There will be further word from the Devs on their current workloads, and further information on the shape of updates to come in the near future. For now though, read on to find more about these 'Giants of Metal' in Darkfall! Giants of Metal Big, lumbering constructs with enough magic-fuelled strength to compensate for their towering stupidity. Metal Golems are the ultimate guardians, and they're usually found in dungeons or near entrances, protecting the property of the spellcasters who made them. Metal Golems prefer to close in on intruders as quickly as possible, before pounding them into submission using outsized, metal-clad fists. They are fairly slow, however, and sometimes resort to using magic against distant or fleet-footed enemies. Each type of golem is imbued with a single spell during construction, and since they have large mana pools with quick recovery rates, they may cast this spell a great many times during each battle. Since mundane materials can't contain enough magic to power a 100 ton engine of trespasser-hammering destruction, Metal Golems are made using the five different magical metals that are found on Agon. The golem's capabilities, appearance and

damage susceptibilities depend on the type of metal used. Adamantine Golem This is a black Golem of the double plated type. The magical symbols on its plates and helmet are etched with silver. When the Adamantine Golem is in combat mode, the symbols on it grow luminous, and a pale silver light starts to shine from its open visor. The light emitted is uneven and shifting, almost like a constant stream of silvery frost breath. No eyes or other facial features are visible within the helmet. Occasional sparks of silver-hued magical course across the body plates of an active Adamantine Golem. In addition to punching, the Adamantium Golem attacks by pounding one of its enormous fists into the ground with such power that the ground around it shakes, while a large black Unholy Bolt shoots out towards an enemy within spell range. The bolt is not extremely accurate, but its blast upon impact has a fairly wide radius. Kvitjarn Golem This golem is white in color and belongs to the double-plated category. The arcane symbols which adorn it are carved with blue, and when it enters combat mode, a bluish light starts to stream in an uneven breath-flow from its open visor. Simultaneously, the sigils on the Golem's body and helmet become luminescent, and occasional blue sparks of magical energy begin to run across its plates. The Kvitjarn Golem's special attack is like that of the Adamantine Golem in that it involves a single punch to the ground which produces both an earthquake effect and an energy bolt. However, the bolt which shoots towards the Kvitjarn Golem's enemies is white in color and consists of Holy Magic energy. The Kvitjarn Bolt is slightly more accurate than that of the Adamantine Golem, but its blast radius is smaller. Mithril Golem Silver-colored and double-plated, with green sigils on its plates and helmet. Green breath-light issues from the Mithril Golems open visor when it enters combat, the green symbols start to glow, and the odd green spark shoots along its body plates. The Mithril Golem's single-fisted groundpunch unleashes a bolt of Ice Magic, which almost unerringly hits its target and has a wide radius, but which takes less damage than the blasts of other golems. Nidstein Golem Made of blue nidstein with red sigils, the Nidstein Golem is triple plated and more powerful than the three previously described constructs. When it enters combat mode, red lights starts to glow within its closed visor, its red sigils start to glow, and occasional red sparks of magic dart across its heavy body-plates. The Nidstein Golem's special attack involves punching the ground with both hands simultaneously, causing a powerful earthquake effect and unleashing two bolts of lightning which shoot towards its enemies. These bolts are not horribly accurate and have a quite limited range, but cause terrible damage whenever someone is hit. Raudstaal Golem

Red in color with black arcane symbols, the Raudstaal Golem is triple plated. White lights shine within its visor when this golem is active, and tendrils of smoke begin to issue from the black symbols on its body. When the Raudstaal Golem double-punches the ground, two fire bolts are launched towards enemies within range. These bolts have a large blast radius and take quite a lot of damage from each victim involved.

Darkfall Peek #29 -- Clans in Darkfall 12/09/06
http://rpgvault.ign.com/articles/732/732170p1.html Aventurine outlines various aspects of clans, which comprise a very prominent element in its PvP-oriented offering Anyone can start a clan in Darkfall. From that point on, our goal as developers has been to make it as easy as possible for you and your comrades to compete in one of the most challenging multiplayer environments ever created. The only problem with this is that you're going to have a hell of a lot of competition. A balance of good strategy and tactics, formations, missions, as well as logistics, supply and support roles is crucial to being successful in Darkfall's clan warfare. The following is a brief introduction to various aspects of clans in Darkfall. Clan composition It's theoretically possible to have an all race clan. Most however, will opt for a race / alignment compatible composition for reasons of convenience and efficiency. Compatible race and alignment make it possible for the clan to be at the same location and use the same NPC merchants and NPC guards - among other things. Those who argue that Darkfall will be dominated by ARAC (all race all class) clans are confusing it with other games. First of all, there are no classes in Darkfall, only skills, and as unique as our races are, they are balanced. An all race clan compared to a race / alignment compatible one will only have management problems to overcome, without any benefits to speak of. Clan identity Clans control areas by occupying clanstones and bindstones. They build cities and own resource gathering locations. Not all clans will opt to build a city. A few examples there will be nomadic, opportunistic clans moving from location to location, and seafaring and pirate clans moving around in ships. There will also be mercenary clans whose location will depend on their mission. Merchant clans and bandit clans will also probably follow a location strategy. Clan leaders will be able to upload their appropriate clan images, which are used on banners and flags in the clan city, and on battle standards worn on the character's back, much like the samurai did in feudal Japan. When assessing another character, you can see his clan affiliation and rank. Clan hierarchy Clan leadership is determined by a ranking system. Each rank has its own clearance level and permissions. The clan's leaders have the authority to promote and demote their clanmates. Clan member contributions as well as performance are measured and recorded for reference.

Diplomacy Diplomacy between clans takes the form of a formal status. The default is neutral, and there are several levels that can be chosen between "Allied" and "At War". The only symmetrical status is war; when war is declared on your clan by another, you're automatically at war with them as well. Everyone is able to see your clan's diplomatic standings by visiting your in-game clan page. Warfare There are clear victory conditions in Darkfall; you win or lose a battle, you capture a mine, and you conquer a city. There are skirmishes, raids, razzings of buildings, enforcement, protection, and policing missions, massive battles, ally support, etc. When you lay siege to someone's city, yours becomes vulnerable as well - to anyone. A balance of good strategy and tactics, formations, missions, as well as logistics, supply and support roles is crucial to being successful in Darkfall's clan warfare. Clan tools There are clan management tools to satisfy even the most demanding control freak while simultaneously allowing leaders to delegate authority without losing their peace of mind. Our goal for these tools is that you won't need anything further to run a successful clan other than what we offer you in-game. There is an in-game clan site, announcements and alerts, message boards, recruiting tools, statistical records, management system, diplomacy interface, etc. Clan tools will be constantly updated and upgraded based on feedback from the clans themselves. Clan related issues Some of the major lessons learned by playing other games: "Zerg" - This is a term used to describe the use of sheer numbers to dominate. Some of the safeguards against this in Darkfall are the cap at how many characters can tie at clanstones and bindstones, fast transportation limitations, distance between cities, area of effect spells and weapons, but most of all, the full collision detection together with friendly fire. A small, elite clan with good tactics can win against multiple numbers. On our end, we're setting up an awesome playing field for the great clans to be able to make their marks. We will revisit clans in more detail in subsequent installments "3am Raids" - There is an exciting sequence of events that has to do with laying siege to a town. Besides this being a fun process, rest assured that nobody will be caught unawares. ARAC guilds - As discussed above, while this is possible, the only reason to have one is for the sake of having one. There is no advantage. Lack of victory conditions - It was important to us from the start to have clear victory conditions and tangible results to conflict, as well as a purpose for clan warfare, and consequences. It has been frustrating in games we've played in the past, where all of the above were fuzzy at best.

Clan beta We began taking signups for clan beta a while back. Thousands of clans have applied so far, and more continue to apply every day. We look over every single application, visit the website, their community and invite good candidates to register. Further screening will determine the clans selected for testing and the order in which they will be let in. It's great to see the best and brightest MMO clans coming out in force, along with some of the biggest and best action, shooter and strategy game clans looking for a massive-scale experience. On our end, we're setting up an awesome playing field for the great clans to be able to make their marks. We will revisit clans in more detail in subsequent installments of RPG Vault's Darkfall Peeks. Tasos Flamboras Associate Producer, Darkfall Aventurine

WarCry Update: Manual blocking 15/09/06
http://df.warcry.com/scripts/news/view_news.phtml?site=7&id=64779 Posted by Naithin on 9/15/2006 at 04:31 PM This week we bring you something akin to the 'Did you know...?' box above. Only this time, we cheated a lil. Cos we know for a fact you don't know. Because the information is new. And, contrary to something we have been told before. Ping. Latency. Lag. All historically factors in the removal of features from the realm of the 'plausible' when it came to MMOs. It has been much too long now, that they have been taking, taking, taking, never giving. Starting with the Darkfall Dev Team, the war has begun to become less of a one sided pounding affair, and more like an actual battle with two comparable sides. We've known for a while that Darkfall intends to give us a very FPS like experience, with aimed spells, arrows, and even controlled melee combat. But it turns out there is more. In addition to this style of combat, the offensive side of things.. We now get the defensive arm too. Previously cast aside as something impossible to manage and handle well in such an environment, told that manual blocking would not be able to pass muster.. As of now, it has. It is in. Manual blocking is functioning within Darkfall. Not only will you have complete control over your attacks, but now over your defences also.

Darkfall WarCry Weekly... Debate? - One Char or Race per Server? 23/09/06
http://df.warcry.com/scripts/news/view_news.phtml?site=7&id=64964 Posted by Naithin on 9/23/2006 at 03:44 PM

The subject has been one of continued debate over the years. It has raged up from time to time, and you will find passionate proponents for just about every angle imaginable, arguing their case. This week, there are but two sides to primarily consider. - One Character, per Server. - One Race, Multiple Characters, per Server. Read on, for further information, including the opinion of the Developers. Or perhaps one should say, the 'Current' opinion of the developers. What is desired to come from this, is a mature, civilised debate, a forum where people may express their ideas and thoughts around the options presented here to argue their case. "While we believe that Darkfall's skill system ensures never having to reroll a character, meaning that one character slot per world is enough, we would like to know what the Darkfall community thinks. We invite a civilized and constructive debate on the topic." -The Darkfall Team So. With that in mind, it's time to gather your thoughts together on the subject, consider the points you would like to make, for or against these options, and post them for the Darkfall Team to consider. Need more food for thought before posting? Two articles in particular stand out for this purpose: RPG Vault: Darkfall Peek #24 - Darkfall's Skill System RPG Vault: Darkfall Peek #28 - Darkfall's Dynamics of Conflict The debate itself will be held on the Official Darkfall Forums, you can jump straight to the thread itself by clicking the 'Discuss' link below. In addition to this, we will also be running a poll for you to vote in here. It is a simple affair, with but two options, created to easily and at a glance give an idea of the stance of the community at this time.

RPGVault Darkfall Peek #30 – the Dwarves 26/09/06
http://rpgvault.ign.com/articles/735/735355p1.html Aventurine team member BT Oren profiles the sturdy, industrious Dwarves, one of six races we can opt to play The Dwarves of Dvergheim Like axe-bristling avalanches, dwarven legions surge across Agon's battlefields, neither wavering nor resting until victory is secured. At any stage in any battle, no matter how ridiculous the odds may be, dwarves believe - with unblinking certainty that they will prevail through superior skill, rock-hewn strength and indomitable bravery. Today, the dwarves are nearing the final page of the book of instructions, which is said

to contain a special task that Ymir believed the dwarves would only be ready for after 20,000 years of preparation. Grim-faced, iron-strong and unshakable in courage and convictions, dwarves are trueborn children of the mountains. They are an introspective and taciturn race who scorn all gods in preference of a multi-millennial path to perfection that was laid out by the legendary founder of their nation. Dvergheim The dwarven homeland lies in the central northern part of Agon's main continent. Beyond its western borders lie the mahirim Tribelands, while the orkish nation of Morak lies to the east. To the northwest, across the storm-blasted Sarthan Sea, lies the ice continent of Niflheim, where dwarf clans have long struggled for supremacy with mahirim forces. Currently, however, all settlements on Niflheim face a grievous threat in the shape of Illgarm, a demon whose campaign of conquest seems unstoppable. Dvergheim itself is a mountainous land, where glacier-fuelled rivers have carved narrow valleys through towering, snow-peaked massifs. Tall pines grow in the fertile valleys, which are farmed by the gnomes, a peaceful people who - by ancient accord enjoy dwarven protection in exchange for produce. Dvergheim's remote valleys are home to the svartdvergir, a group of dwarves who strayed from Ymir's Path and fell under the influence of a malevolent deity. Marrowwrung and horribly changed by their sinister master, the svartdvergir are a threat to all who travel in Dvergheim's peripheries. Ymir's Tear The dwarven capital lies within an enormous, dwarf-made cavern, deep under the jagged peaks of central Dvergheim. Its name derives from a huge rock formation in the center of the cave, where clusters of stalagmites and stalactites have joined to form a gargantuan, vaguely tear-shaped pillar that reaches all the way from floor to ceiling. A tamed river encircles Ymir's Tear, driving the wheels of its forges and factories. To remind the dwarves that their final destiny lay outside their underground fastnesses, Ymir decreed that that the night sky be recreated in the ceiling over the capital. Almost 20,000 years later, luminous gems and crystal formations still shine over Ymir's Tear, accurately depicting the night sky as it was in Ymir's day. Near Ymir's Tear lie three villages in which dwarven adventurers start their careers. Hammerdelve to the north is a heavily fortified army stronghold that lies in the middle of a scenic mountain lake. A river of lava runs through Valfather's Edge to the southeast, and its forges are the only place in the world where the famous dwarven Ildhammers may be made. Eirhjelm to the west is famous for both its rich mines and its beautiful scenery. Culture and religion The dwarves follow the teachings of Ymir, a legendary mastersmith who forged many of Dvergheim's greatest wonders, as well as the nation itself. Ymir spent his final years writing a book that laid out a detailed, step by step plan for the next 20,000 years of dwarven civilization. Ymir's teachings told the dwarves what to strive for, what to practice and what to create, and he told them how and when they should approach each task.

Ymir's goal was to create a perfect race and a perfect nation for them to live in. Today, the dwarves are nearing the final page of the book of instructions, which is said to contain a special task that Ymir believed the dwarves would only be ready for after 20,000 years of preparation. At this critical juncture in Dvergheim's history, a young and energetic king is challenging the traditional interpretations of Ymir's teachings. Although this is almost unthinkable, some even whisper that King Sigurd Greyfell questions the very teachings themselves. Movers and shakers Players may choose to immerse themselves in a nation-shaking series of events that take place as the dwarves enter the final phase of their racial mission. Primarily, players participate through quests given by six powerful factions that dominate Dvergheim society. The mastersmiths of the Mithril Forge have long been the power behind Dvergheim's throne. The present king, however, has moved the kingdom in a more technocratic direction, focusing on feats of engineering and on improving the bureaucracy. This means that power is drifting away from the Mithril Forge, and they deeply resent that fact. The Voice of Ymir is a sprawling bureaucracy dedicated to ensuring that Ymir's commands are interpreted correctly, and that the dwarves stay on his Path. Currently, the Voice is being hijacked by the ambitious King Sigurd, who secretly cares little for the Path, but who wishes to use the bureaucracy (and its large corps of engineers) for his own purposes. Dwarves always make me laugh with their angry faces and stunted, hairy bodies. Magnin... Maganimou... Nice in victory, we will allow the surviving dwarves to slave in our mines after the Big Burning. The Order of the Axe are knights sworn to removing all obstacles to the racial progress of the dwarves. The agents of this semi-official Order also deal with rogue dwarves, and they are frequently sent on missions behind enemy lines. Oldest and wealthiest of the dwarven merchant houses, the Five Beards Trading Company sends traders, explorers and caravans to all but the most obscure and dangerous of Agon's regions. For centuries, Five Beards has enjoyed a near monopoly on trade with Ymir's Tear, but in recent years, King Sigurd has opened up the market for competition. As a result, Five Beards is looking for new markets in which to profit. What makes the dwarves special? Nature has endowed the dwarves with enough physical endurance to match their mental tenacity. They have an aptitude for forgecraft, and dwarven mastersmiths create some of Agon's finest weapons and suits of armor. Only dwarven smiths have mastered the art of making the Ildhammer, a runebound magical weapon that primarily consists of ever-molten lava. Dwarves ride massive, muscle-bound mountain beasts called garmir, which are larger, fiercer cousins of musk oxen. Garmir fight by raising their heads and bodies up to gain momentum before hammering down onto the enemy. The dwarves enhance this attack by attaching thick iron plates to the garmir's bone forehead plates.

Though they tend towards isolationism, the dwarves maintain cordial relations with the mirdain and friendly relations with the humans, who they respect for their industry, ambition and initiative. Dwarves may form or join clans that also include members of these two races. How dwarves see the world "Celestial dragons in Yssam; Illgarm's conquests in Niflheim; and the rise of that damnable mage Synochus in the heartland... What goes on beyond Dvergheim's borders shouldn't concern us overmuch. We must maintain an ironclad focus on Ymir's Path." - Halvgeir Icecrown, Voice of Ymir bureaucrat "We act as one, work as one, and strike against our enemies like a single, unstoppable storm blast from the mountains. The strength of the dwarves comes from our monolithic, eternal unity." - Sigthor Grimshield, Order of the Axe knight "They may be an arrogant bunch of pointy-eared poseurs, but the mirdain are valuable, battle-proven allies of the dwarves. Though they prance about in forests during peacetime - pollinating flowers or whatever it is they do - the mirdain can always be trusted to act swiftly and decisively against our shared enemies." - Ingard Stonehand, smith of the Mithril Forge "The humans are sometimes led astray by the manipulations and cod-prophetic cacklings of their much too powerful priests. That said, they are an industrious and resourceful race, whose formidable armies are Agon's second strongest bulwark against evil. When a large group of Mercian knights thunders across the battlefield hundreds of pounding hooves raising an infernal roar - it is almost enough to impress a dwarf." - Ragnar Winterward, Royal Army officer How others see the dwarves "The dwarves have achieved much through sheer, bone-headed perseverance, but now is the time to lay down that pickaxe and think things through. Already valuable allies, their battlefield performance would improve further if they assumed their natural place in the chain of command - as brave soldiers led by brainier, more tactically astute mirdain officers." - Ilitha Duskheart, Mirdain diplomat "For thousands of years, the dwarves have obediently followed the schemes of history's greatest control freak. They bring that same unthinking, bloody-minded determination to the battlefield, and a dwarven legion is a force to be feared by anyone. As individuals, dwarves are honest, fearless and utterly dependable. I would trust my dwarven clanmates with my life." - Withgar Ashgate, human clan leader "Filthy maggots who have crawled out from under some northern rock. The dwarves are pathetically naive bearded morons, who will be outflanked, out-maneuvered and outfought by the alfar as we cleanse the world of their sweaty presence." - Khaldak Deepspire, alfar warrior "The dwarf is good in a crowd, but separate him from his flock and he becomes quivering prey, ripe to be butchered by physically superior mahirim warriors."

- Anyna the Black, mahirim huntress "Oops, I didn't see you there, little fellow. Dwarves always make me laugh with their angry faces and stunted, hairy bodies. Magnin... Maganimou... Nice in victory, we will allow the surviving dwarves to slave in our mines after the Big Burning." - Tolkun Breakskull, orkish slavemaster Bjorn Tore Oren Lead World Designer, Darkfall Aventurine

RPGVault Darkfall Peek #31 -- Darkfall Tactical Overview 03/10/06
http://rpgvault.ign.com/articles/736/736911p1.html Combat in Aventurine's game will involve aiming, friendly fire, mounts, terrain, weather and other tactical elements Today's massively multiplayer online games do contain tactical elements, but many of them have little to no real-world references, and others are based on the exploitation of the game's design and technology - zerging, stacking, excessive jumping / strafing, lag tactics, zone and portal camping, etc. "If it's in the game, it's in the game", so you're forced to compromise and get used to using such actions and to having them used against you. You can use elevation, choke points, reverse slopes, tree lines, rivers, plateaus, etc. to your tactical advantage whether you're picking your battleground or setting up an ambush. Darkfall was created with player and clan warfare in mind. In designing the combat gameplay, the simulation of military tactical aspects of combat required technical and design innovations to be implemented. In this article we'll look at some of the basics. Aimed attacks There's no target selection in Darkfall; all attacks are aimed. Leading the target in ranged attacks, firing flights of arrows toward an advancing formation, aiming your area of effect attacks for maximum efficiency or for a directional blast effect, give you more control on our attacks. Putting your targeting reticle on a player also provides identification. Collision detection How can you make a stand when your enemies can just run through you? Characters in Darkfall collide with, rather than passing through each other. Collision detection makes formations possible and necessary in group combat. You can block entrances and exits, use chokepoints, and protect your healers and ranged fighters effectively. You can actually surround your enemies, perform battle maneuvers, deploy your forces based on your enemy numbers and formation, etc. Pushing You can push players who are blocking you out of the way. You can crash into a formation with your mounts, which can also push. You can use pushing to help your friends reach otherwise unreachable places.

Manual defensive blocking You can choose to block attacks manually. This has many tactical ramifications in both single-player and group combat. Formations can advance while blocking. This defensive tactic covers frontal attacks; attacks from behind in Darkfall do extra damage. Friendly fire Friendly fire is in effect in Darkfall, and getting hit in the back does cause more damage. Forces need to be careful about how they deploy their ranged fighters and casters, how covering fire is used, and how melee fighters cooperate to maintain their formations while protecting their ranged units. Friendly fire makes the tactical use of chokepoints possible. It also forces phases of attack. Offensive area of effect spells, or ranged attacks won't be randomly fired during the melee engagement stage of a battle for fear of hurting friendly forces. The same principle applies to beneficial area of effect spells, since enemy units will be affected by them as well. Friendly fire is one of the tactics that will allow a smaller disciplined force to gain the advantage over a larger undisciplined one. No radar There's no radar in Darkfall, and there are no floating names in neon colors to give you away if you're crouching behind a rock or hiding behind a tree. All your opponents have to go by is the sensory cues you might be giving out. You can take cover in a tree line while an enemy group is exposed in the clearing, you can conceal your reserve forces, you can move stealthily for a surprise attack. Realistic stealth tactics are definitely possible in Darkfall. See Darkfall Peek #25 for a related discussion. Line of sight and elevation With aimed attacks, line of sight becomes a factor. In Darkfall holding the high ground gives you a considerable advantage over your opponents. Needing line of sight along with the absence of target selection allows you to use hard cover effectively. The ability to go anywhere Any place you can see in the game is accessible to you. You can climb, jump, swim, crouch, get pushed, or use kinetic blast effects, to try to reach any place you can see. Use of terrain As discussed in Darkfall Peek #21, our handcrafted terrain, with its extreme features and terrain formations, is an important tactical variable. You can use elevation, choke points, reverse slopes, tree lines, rivers, plateaus, etc. to your tactical advantage whether you're picking your battleground or setting up an ambush. Fighting on familiar terrain always gives you an advantage. Good knowledge of the terrain is also important in travel when you want your approach to be less conspicuous, to advance quickly to the fight, or to aid in your hasty retreat. Use of weather and of darkness Weather can severely limit visibility, concealing the movements of an enemy force, as can nighttime. Ships use weather for navigation. Darkfall features a "real" weather system, and players have the capability of knowing and forecasting weather for a certain location.

Our goal throughout the development cycle has been to allow players the freedom to adapt most ancient and medieval warfare tactics for use in the game, while keeping it fun. Real time combat and timing Along with the action gameplay and the aimed attacks, real-time combat offers an immediate, intense and accessible experience of combat tactics. Timing is obviously very important. Movement, control, staging, attacking and coordinating performed well can give a side a tremendous advantage toward the final outcome. Mounted combat tactics Mounted units move fast and attack fast in the battlefield. They can be used for reconnaissance, to quickly advance to the battle, for flanking, frontal assaults to break through or over a line, or to hunt down a routing force. Have a look at Darkfall Peek #23 and Darkfall Media #4 for more on mounted combat. Naval combat tactics Ship movement is affected by prevailing weather conditions. Sophisticated fleet engagements with dozens of ships on each side, attacks on land from the sea, and combined land-sea operations are all possible in Darkfall. Asymmetrical warfare Hit and run tactics, raiding, use of the terrain, concealment, and timing can all be very effective in waging a war against a larger opponent. Finishing - reviving - looting tactics When your character is incapacitated on the battlefield, you're waiting for your teammates to revive you, and hoping your opponents won't get there first to loot and finish you off. Finishing off incapacitated opponents and reviving your teammates is one of the tactics that can tip the scales between equally matched forces. Training Being able to prevail in group or individual combat requires the timing, knowledge, tactical organization and discipline that can only be gained through practice. Clanmates can train together without any alignment hits, and anyone can practice against anyone else in specially appointed venues, also without an alignment hit. Conclusion In this feature, we've given you but a glimpse of what's tactically possible in Darkfall, and we mean to go into depth in future articles. Our goal throughout the development cycle has been to allow players the freedom to adapt most ancient and medieval warfare tactics for use in the game, while keeping it fun. We've also done our best to learn from our experience with other games, and to listen to what players have been complaining about and wishing for. The resulting gameplay makes the sky the limit as to what the Darkfall players can come up with in terms of combat tactics and countertactics. Tasos Flambouras Associate Producer, Darkfall Aventurine

Tasos Update 11/10/06
http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?t=26783 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------As you may have guessed, there are no offsite updates this week and this isn't due to lack of topics or desire, but purely because of increased workload. We're in the middle of an effort of maintaining beta preparations while continuing to develop the game. In regards to that, I understand that the main information you need is a date, and we're getting closer to locking a schedule in. We'll return to the regular updates hopefully next week. There will be an addition and we're also planning to do more on the official site. We're also very pleased to see some original content on Darkfall Warcry. About releasing videos, it's a drain on resources and we don't want to release anything substandard just to put something out. The point is to capture the true look and feel of the game. We are working on it but it's not our number 1 priority. Clan beta registrations will resume next week. We have been sporadically reviewing new apps but have fallen behind on the demand. We ask for a little patience on this since we're shorthanded on the task. In the next couple of days I'm going to start posting developer answers to some questions asked in regards to the latest updates starting with the Dwarven RPG Vault introduction and move on to the the Darkfall tactical overview update. Until then.

Tasos Update October 17
http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?t=26959 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------This update addresses question on the Dwarven Introduction on RPGVault and on the Tactical overview update, again on RPGVault. Some posters commented on the Dwarves looking alike in the screenshots. They do. This is because in the test build we used to get the screenshots there was no active character creator (at the time) so you get the default character for each race. We've never shied away from showing you work in progress, and this is probably why Darkfall is the only MMO showing any progress during its development cycle. We thank you for being able to look past this. Henning made a little collage of a few dwarven variations for you to check out. There were also a few comments about the same stance in all 3 screenshots of the dwarf in full plate armor. I admit it's odd, however there's obviously no conspiracy here. It's a matter of selecting 3 out of a couple of hundred screenshots and hitting the jackpot. There's another screen from the same batch in the gallery.

Showing the Alfar will happen when it's ready. It actually is ready but it needs the final polish and it's the last race to get it. On the nature of the lore update: We understand that many of you don't enjoy them as much as gameplay updates, but they're necessary and important. Darkfall has been designed around the lore and understanding it means that you acquire a better understanding of the game. While lore isn't my cup of tea either, I personally find BT's lore very functional and interesting to read. A few posters noticed that you can mix armor pieces judging by the screenshots. You sure can, and there are many armor types, and many pieces to be mixed and matched. We'll talk about this very soon so I won't go into detail here. *On the tactical update: Some posters commented that there's nothing new in the update. I beg to differ. There is a lot of new information if you know how to read between the lines. Some people found it. The purpose of this update however wasn't so much to release new information, rather than to put information together and show you what's possible in Darkfall. There's a question as to whether arrows and fireballs are affected by gravity. I think that the mention of 'line of sight' was confusing here. So..arrows and thrown weapons are indeed affected by gravity, but fireballs aren't. There are spells that can be lobbed like one that I like called shrapnel. Manual blocking works in a way that you will take less damage by most forms of attack including most spells. Timing will be important. Crouching will make you a smaller target. Formations are not "set". They are manual so , and this takes us to the next topic, training is important. Clanmate training through sparring may be free of alignment hits, but macroing isn't advisable. First of all, you don't get to learn to play your character and this is probably as (or even more) important than raising your skills. If that doesn't convince you, we have ways of detecting macroing, and macroers will be banned. Duels and arenas were speculated as being "sissy". Maybe they are in the way the poster envisions them while confusing Darkfall with other games. In Darkfall arenas it's the players that have to regulate, enforce, and protect their events so the last thing this is going to be is "sissy". Finally, third person view affecting stealth: it doesn't. In closing, you should know that while I sign most updates, the information comes from the entire team, and nothing gets posted without Claus, and in many cases Kjetil, Henning and Ricki signing off on it. With every update we try to bring you the latest information about Darkfall so it's not simply a matter of throwing some info at you. Since all of us are juggling many, many tasks, getting these updates out isn't easy so we're happy that you appreciate them.

Henning Darkfall Art interview 30/10/06
http://www.darkfallonline.com/devspeak/henningqa.html Q: Which area and characters were the most fun to create? Henning: We have a huge amount of characters and monsters, but I think that working on the player characters has been the most challenging and at the same time most enjoyable, especially facial variations, hairdos and equipment. I feel they're special because all of the artists have contributed, and it makes us all responsible for them in a different way than other parts of the production. Down to detail, coming up with a good look for female Orks and female Dwarves has been fun and challenging. We feel we've succeeded in making them look appropriately interesting and cool enough for players to want to play. Q: Can you tell us a little about Darkfall's graphical style? Henning: We've aimed for a more realistic look from of the very start of production, which means no bright candy-like colours and shapes. We do push things a bit further in the sense that colours are a bit more saturated than in real life, and items and structures look worn and gritty. Being a small team, we don't rely on concept art much but having good descriptions from the design department, and extensive research and continuous art direction we found that this turned out to be more inspirational for individual artists. This would probably not work as well with a larger team. As with the colours, the player characters in Darkfall have also been beefed up. We don't want the female characters in the game for example to look like glam-models; we want them to look as if they can kick some butt. For the male characters, we've given them a fit and heroic look, and avoided the bodybuilder appearance. Q: What is the connection between Darkfall's style, lore, and atmosphere? Henning: The art department is constantly being fed with great lore and description from the design department, and we do our best to stay true to it when populating the world of Agon. Still, we are left with a lot of freedom to be creative, and this is great for any artist. According to the lore, something big is brewing and there is an eerie and pressing feel to the world. Our effort has been to create a look and feel of a world that is about to end and enter a new era. This decay adds a lot of atmosphere to architecture, props and items. Q: What was the biggest challenge as far as Darkfall art goes? Henning: Art-wise, the biggest challenge is the amount of work in populating such a gigantic world and at the same time staying true to restrictions such as the poly-count (the complexity of the objects that we are creating). Darkfall is a game that features massive battles and we have to ensure that the graphics are also optimised for that. The variations of racial and monster cultures, architecture, and props, have only added to the challenge.

The terrain of Agon definitely sticks out as the biggest and foremost challenging part for us because we wanted to model and texture the entire world by hand. All the racial areas needed racial identity, the subcontinents have their own style, and remaining areas needed their own unique look and feel. This part of the project is ongoing with at least one artist working on this non-stop, and up to four during shorter periods. Today, from the artist's point of view, the world is finally ready, but as with everything art related, we'll continue to improve and rework things for the best possible result, and for as long as the game is in development.

MMORPG.com interview 30/11/06
http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm?setview=features&loadFeature=733&gameID =4&bhcp=1 Associate Producer Tasos Flambouras drops in to update us on Darkfall. This game has been coming for a long time and Flambouras updates us on the progress in this Q&A conducted by Garrett Fuller. Claus Grovdal (Producer) and Henning Ludvigsen (Art Director) also contributed to Flambouras' answers. MMORPG.com: As Darkfall continues its development cycle when can we expect to see a Beta? Also do you have a target for production? Tasos Flambouras: We've mentioned before that it's difficult to run a beta test while continuing development on the game, especially when all our human resources are in development. We are now at a stage where we can and we are preparing the beta test which will allow external beta testers in and this is now a high priority for us. We do have a target for production but realistically the target date will be tweaked during testing. We think it's better to hold off on an announcement until then. advertisement MMORPG.com: There seems to be a lot of talk about the customization of characters in Darkfall. Can you tell us a little about how players can create individuals and not all look the same? Tasos Flambouras: Character customization starts at the character creator stage. Players can pick their race from Darkfall's six main races, each of which has a male and a female character to choose from. Then they can select their face, the hair style and color, skin color and tone, facial hair, tattoos, piercing and facial jewelry, and various other accessories. During the progress of the game, players can choose to add or remove facial hair, change their hair style, and dye their hair. They can also add or remove piercings and skin decorations. There is a very large variety of clothing, armors, and robes available and the pieces can be mixed and matched to create an endless variation. There has been an effort to preserve racial identity. The same type of armor won't look identical on all races. Each race will make small modifications and customizations to fit their identity. Players may also dye clothes and armor and they can carry their clan's colors for extra customization to their appearance. Aside from appearance, which is just the surface of character individuality, with over 500 skills and spells to train and master, each character will develop a unique skillset.

Darkfall's fame system adds further variation to a character's identity, as does the alignment system, and the character's affiliations. MMORPG.com: The game looks to be in the final stages of development. What areas are you working on now to give the game some polish? Tasos Flambouras: Darkfall is a game which will undergo continual development throughout its lifecycle. There is content which is constantly added, textures being brushed up, animations tweaked, there's a lot of testing going on, optimizations made etc. MMORPG.com: Many players have certainly been looking forward to such a PvP heavy game. With the system you have in place, do you fear that griefing and ganking will lead to a smaller community in the long run? Tasos Flambouras: Griefing makes an impact in games not geared to deal with it. Darkfall is made for PvP. We're sick and tired of the instant association of griefing with PvP. The PvP community shouldn't constantly be discounted like that. There's a lot of griefing going on in non PvP MMOs, like kill stealing, training, camping, and when these same games enable limited PvP, it only gets worse. Griefers in these games aren't accountable for their actions and the victims can't do anything about it. Most of the complaints about griefing come from these games. In Darkfall there's accountability via the alignment system and player enforced justice. Someone can try to grief, but won't have fun for very long as there's an alignment reward for his disposal. In Darkfall you're not a weakling starting out and you can defend yourself so newbie killing isn't such a safe pastime like it is in other games. Full loot and unrestricted PvP will also work against the griefer. NPC guards in towns provide added protection against aggressive griefing. There are no zones so griefing associated with zoning won't be a factor. As for ganking, it's not all about numbers in Darkfall. Area of effect spells, friendly fire, and collision detection ensure that a small disciplined force can cause some damage against superior numbers. There are no levels so it's not easy to make out the "weaker" characters, and in Darkfall even new players have the capacity to defend themselves, to lay low, or to escape. There is no radar or floating names, which can work as an added protection for players traveling through dangerous areas. I don't want to make it sound like we have a cure-all and that Darkfall will be free of all the problems that have plagued other games in the past. What I'm saying is that we've looked at these closely, both as players and as developers, and we've spent a lot of time addressing them and we'll continue to do so if and as they come up. One thing is for sure: We've empowered the Darkfall players in such a way that they can self-regulate. MMORPG.com: Tell us about the clan system in the game? It seems to have a few different concepts to it than the normal guild set up. Tasos Flambouras: We've dedicated entire articles to clans in the past so there's a lot of information out there. Darkfall clans can own territories and resource points. They can build cities, and conquer areas, and cities that belong to other clans. Clans struggle for power within their realm, and may or may not unite to fight against racial enemies. The level of interaction possible and necessary is unprecedented. The clan management tools allow clan leaders a lot of freedom and control in managing their clan.

One of the concepts that make clans in Darkfall different than in other games is that Clans in Darkfall will be mostly made up by race and alignment compatible characters. What has come to be referred to as ARAC (all race, all class) clans, while theoretically possible, offer no advantages and face serious management challenges so the racial and race compatibility theme will be mostly preserved. "Zerg" clans in Darkfall are appropriately difficult to manage, they'll be divided by the cap we've put on binding locations, and since numbers in Darkfall aren't as important as they are in other MMOs, their effectiveness and reason to exist will be limited. MMORPG.com: There are so many fantasy MMOs hitting the market in the near future. How will Darkfall be different? What is your plan to draw players in? Tasos Flambouras: I could just run through the numerous features that make Darkfall stand out, and I'll get to that; but before I do, I'll give you some background: The reason Darkfall begun was that we weren't happy with anything out there and we still aren't. We didn't just reach for the cookie-cutter or the clone tool. We didn't import yet another non-descript Asian game to localize for the western market. We created our unique design, our own tools, our own technology, development methods; we created a unique style for our game. We looked at what players have been asking for, what mistakes others have made and try to inject fun into everything and at the same time avoided being too clever. We fought compromise every step of the way and made the game that we wanted to play. Darkfall features unrestricted PvP combat with accountability. Combat is real-time and attacks are aimed. There's full looting and an alignment system. Darkfall has a skill system where your character's skills improve through use, and no levels. More than 10 thousand players can be online at the same time. Player skill is as important as character development. All items in the world are player crafted. There is mounted and naval combat. There's a "real" weather and planetary system. The terrain is fully hand-crafted, all locations are unique. There are more unique mobs in Darkfall than in any other MMO. Clans can engage in empire building, conquest, massive battles, and there is control and ownership of areas. There's much more that we haven't and won't talk about before the game is released. MMORPG.com: Over the development cycle have you made any changes to the user interface? Do you plan to allow player created Mods or UIs? Tasos Flambouras: The user interface pretty much reflects its original design. We have dedicated people to working on the UI throughout the development cycle. The user interface is highly customizable but we don't have any plans to allow user created mods or UIs. MMORPG.com: You have been very good about giving information on the skills and Prestige classes for characters. Is there anything you have not mentioned in past interviews that you want players to know about? Tasos Flambouras: We'd like the players to know that most of the skills are currently in the game and working. What's left is balancing based on testing. MMORPG.com: Give us a look at the tactics players can use in PvP or in PvE. It is said that the game is more influenced by the player behind the keyboard than the character you have. Is this true? Tasos Flambouras: Darkfall combat is through aimed attacks. The players control their

character's movement like they do in most FPS games. So in Darkfall you have the type of control you have in a shooter, but you also have character skills, spells, a backpack full of equipment, mounts, ships, siege weapons and all these come into play when the character is in combat. It's not easy to say that player skill is more important than character development. The player behind the keyboard certainly is very important; a lot more than in other MMOs, but what's more important is a good balance between good character development, knowledge of the game and your character, equipment, teamwork, and individual skill. One of Darkfall's more impressive gameplay features allows players to use group tactics because of collision detection allowing formations, friendly fire making them necessary, and area of effect spells which truly affect the area and not just some characters within it. Force concentration makes good teamwork important. Most realworld medieval combat tactics could probably be adapted for use within Darkfall and we expect to see unique group tactics emerge. MMORPG.com: What is in the near future for Darkfall? After launch are there plans for an expansion? Tasos Flambouras: We're moving towards external testing in the near future. As for after launch, Darkfall follows a timeline and the design looks past the release of the game. We already have plans and guidelines for part of our first updates.

Bakatron preview -- Darkfall is Coming 15/12/06
http://www.bakatron.com/?p=43 Article By: Garrett Fuller Created On: November 30, 2006 I recently visited Aventurine's offices in Athens, Greece. Their Management and Art Directors, being the true gentlemen they are showed me their progress on the MMORPG Darkfall. I also had a wonderful chat with their Associate Producer Tasos Flambouras, Game Designer Claus Grovdal, and Art Director Henning Ludvigsen. There's been a lot of online chatter whether or not this was the mother of MMORPGs or not. And after seeing what I think is most likely just a bit of it I am thoroughly convinced that this could, quite possible be the WOW killer that we've all been waiting for. To say that its vast is an understatement - the variety and options that are available to the player is incredible. The art assets were awesome. I loved nearly everything that was being made. I did see this game last year as well and it wasn't bad; it was getting better along the way. This year the game looks nearly mind blowing especially with some of the unique things that they've done with their engine are optimized in such a way that aren't normally done in a traditional MMORPG. As a Game Designer/Art Director who has worked on multiple Triple-A titles, I was totally blown away by the 3D work that those guys have put in. Then again, having a famous painter, law abiding citizen like Henning on your team as Art Director really brings out the best in your assets. The detail and characterization in the characters alone made me want to play it. Let's put it this way: I'm not a huge MMORPG player because I don't have the time. I do enjoy Runescape because I can play it casually and I have fun doing so. I also enjoy its Tongue-in-Cheek approach to things. Sometimes they can be too hardcore

and impersonal. Darkfall was just different - I not only wanted to play it - I wanted to live in that world. You know I've heard about that chatter about creating that ultimate online world that gives you the flexiblity to do whatever you want. Something that can substitute near real life. I know Second Life nearly does that - Darkfall does it ten times better and gives you a feeling that youre part of something really fantastic. No MMORPG has done that for me before. Filed under News by Abbas at 4:53.

Tasos update – Happy new year 29/12/06
http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?t=29683 This is premature by a couple of days but here it is anyway: Despite development push related mayhem, trying to juggle several tasks at the same time, and the holidays cutting in, we've made a feeble effort to maintain updates with some new screenshots from internal testing that we periodically upload in the gallery section, and the odd interview. We'll try harder in January. In the meanwhile know that development-wise everything is pretty much on schedule, and that we're lagging a bit on the QA and support side. We'll have a proper status update next month. We really appreciate your support and your feedback on these community boards so far, and we're looking forward to working with you more actively in the near future. Until then, and on behalf of the entire Darkfall development team, and everyone here at Aventurine, I'd like to wish you and yours a Happy New Year.

2005
MMORPG.com interview 04/05/05
http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm?setview=features&loadFeature=86&gameID= 4/&fp=1280,1024,861331828 MMORPG.com: First of all I'd like to thank you for taking the time out of what I imagine has to be an insanely busy schedule to answer some questions for our members. I know they appreciate it and are definitely hyped about Darkfall and eager to get their hands on any little tidbit of information about the game they can, so let's get on with the questions: Darkfall Team: Thank you for the interest in Darkfall and the interview opportunity, our first in a while due to severe lack of time. MMORPG.com: Can you tell us a little about yourself; who you are, what you do behind the scenes of Darkfall? Darkfall Team: The following developers participated in this interview:

Claus Grovdal - Producer and Lead Designer Kjetil Helland � Lead Programmer Ricki Sickenger � Tools Programmer Henning Ludvigsen � Art Director Tasos Flambouras � Associate Producer

MMORPG.com: (Pimpslayer) Will character achievement affect the world other than PVP (quests etc.)? Darkfall Team: Character achievement is the driving force in Darkfall. Our hope is that the players will take full advantage of the freedoms we provide them with and the potential the game has to offer. In answering Pimpslayer's question, we can only talk about some of the starting points and player creativity can take it from there, perhaps even take things to places we hadn't imagined: Darkfall features city and empire building and this affects the game world considerably, both physically and politically. This sets the stage not only for PvP and clan warfare, but also for trade, politics, diplomacy, the development of the in-game culture etc. Darkfall's player driven economy, and its' dynamic, is a component of the game that greatly affects the world and is dependent on player activities and player controlled resources. We'll also remind you that in Darkfall players can create all the items found in the world. Diplomacy, politics, trade agreements, and laws add more dimensions to the game and give players more ways in which to affect the world around them. Player interaction isn't restricted whatsoever. There are no safe zones, no realms, factions or PvP zones. Players have the full interaction experience to look forward to, up close and personal with their fellow players. Darkfall is very much a social game with a lot of support for community building within the game. Player interaction affects everything from the mere passing-on of game knowledge and information, to affecting the way the entire world population behaves. The large number of players that Darkfall supports per game world (more than 10 thousand simultaneously) makes for a very complex social environment. We're taking an active stance in supporting the building a strong in-game community and the Darkfall Online culture. There are quests of great importance for clans and entire races. An individual player has the potential of becoming the champion of his clan, or of his race. Individual and clan competitions and events are also planned, with great rewards for the winners. Darkfall is a game where player achievement is documented and rewarded within the game, more substantially than just the collection of numbers and statistics. Exploration, discovery, and the pioneering spirit seem to be an extremely short experience in MMOs nowadays. Worlds are fully explored within a few days. The Darkfall world is so huge, content-rich, diverse, and with a substantial content update program -- in order to prolong this experience and keep the game world fresh and exciting. Darkfall's terrain is entirely hand-crafted and hand-populated by our artists, designers, and world-builders in order to give non-repetitive, unpredictable, and unique locations to discover and explore. MMORPG.com:

(Preston) Are there any plans for how ships will be stored or protected while offline? Darkfall Team: When a ship is docked in a harbor before the player logs out, then the ship is safely stored. If not, then it may be destroyed. Destroying a ship isn't the easiest thing to do and you'll need another ship to do this with. Darkfall features many different kinds of ships, such as large warships, merchant vessels, small scouting and skirmish boats, even a pirate ship. An interesting functionality about Darkfall's ships is that players can move on board, fight on them, or fight from them using their own or the boat's weapons to attack other boats or to fire on land targets. Players don't just "become" the boat upon entering it. MMORPG.com: (Munka) What was the biggest challenge the dev team has faced and how did they over come it? Darkfall Team: Darkfall is a very ambitious game as you know, and there have been so many challenges to overcome that we can't really agree on "the biggest one" of them. There are challenges of a psychological, technical, and of a logistical nature: Psychologically, the team faces the challenge of maintaining focus over the long development period, while dealing with the everyday pressures, and through setbacks or disappointments along the way. The way we overcome this is through discipline, keeping our heads down and involved in the work, just grinding away at it, and reaffirming our commitment often. Our commitment to remain true to the spirit of Darkfall and to our promises to the Darkfall community through the production delays is something that we have to deal with every day, but we believe that the end result will reward us for our perseverance. The technical challenges have been considerable: The amount of data, the seamlessness of a world this large, the large number of concurrent players that the game world hosts, as well as making the game look great while maintaining smooth gameplay, are all technical issues we're constantly working on. The logistical challenges have to do with the size of the Darkfall world and the amount of content and diversity in the game. As far as we know this is the largest MMORPG world out there and it's all hand-crafted, the terrain is all modeled and textured by our artists, rather than auto-generated. The six unique player races were another logistical challenge, having to create six unique cultures and doing everything six times over. The logistical challenges were overcome by taking the time to do things right, while working efficiently and diligently producing the content. We could have taken the shortcuts but the end result is so rewarding that we're glad we haven't. MMORPG.com: (Secmanx) I read you had 20 people working on it from your previous 4 have you hired more people since then? Darkfall Team: Razorwax started working on Darkfall in Norway with four developers who are now part of Aventurine in Greece. Aventurine was founded with the purpose of developing and publishing Darkfall. As we speak, there are 22 people in-house working full time on the game, as well as a few more outside of the company. Along the way we've hired several new developers --as needed, we've replaced a few people as well, but the original Aventurine/Razorwax people remain with the project. Right now we're hiring two more programmers, and that's what's happening on our human resources front :) MMORPG.com:

(Munka) When does the team think they can release some more info about the progress of DF, new additions, and perhaps some screenshot and a movie? Darkfall Team: We will be releasing new information about Darkfall as soon as we meet our latest development milestone. New screenshots, progress reports, and videos are all in the plans to be released. We're painfully aware that we haven't been forthcoming with information about our progress lately. Darkfall's progress follows development milestones and we're in the midst of a very long development stretch that should be over soon. Our first priority is the development of the game and this squashes our willingness to talk about it before there's something substantial to report. On the other hand, there's so much information about Darkfall out there already, that we don't know how much more we want to put out there until the next stage. Most of the questions that are asked of us anymore have been answered many times before, or they're about topics we're not at liberty to discuss yet. Development is taking longer than we originally anticipated, and the flow of information has suffered along with our schedules. We were hoping to be well into playtesting by now, so we could be talking about the game to people with first-hand experience of it and that time is nearing, but we're not quite there yet. We ask the Darkfall community to be patient with us for a bit longer. MMORPG.com: (Pimpslayer) How will first person be handled? Most MMORPGs released at the moment have 1st person but it is shallow, being hard to control and showing almost no detail concerning the character's own weapon/ armor. Darkfall Team: First person is Darkfall's primary perspective so we've put a lot of work into it. It's not an optional view like it is in other games so we hope that we've nailed it when it comes to movement and ranged combat. We've already announced that melee combat isn't in first person anymore, but rather in a tight third person view kind of like what Max Payne or Savage are doing. The third person view choice was made because during testing we discovered that melee combat is much more fun in third person. Darkfall's first person modes consist one for bows and ranged weapons, one for magic, and one for thrown weapons and items. There are also camera effects associated with the first person view and the sound is more immersive. You're also able to see the details of the weapon you're holding. MMORPG.com: (Preston) What will lighting be like? Will you need a torch on a moonless night? If a torch is needed, will you need a hand slot? Darkfall Team: On the surface it's never that dark that you need a hand light. Darkfall's planetary system provides enough light to see by. There are two moons, a large blue and a smaller red one and they both give out light. We should mention that lighting is dynamic, and the planetary system is fully functional. There are some parts of dungeons where you would need a hand light. MMORPG.com: (Munka) I'm sure the biggest thing on the mind of the fans is when the beta is going to be held. Is the team nearing this stage or is there still a great deal to do before you can think about a beta? Darkfall Team: We've been asked this question often and we know that this is on the mind of the fans, it's on our mind as well since there's nothing we would like more

than have people playtesting the game. We do have an internal milestone for the beta as the fans perceive it, and that's the state where the game can be playtested and fun could be had. We're nearing this stage. Other than that, we've been testing the game internally for quite some time now. MMORPG.com: (Secmanx) Will it take 2+ weeks to build up a town that is destroyed in 1 night? Darkfall Team: Claus has answered this question, so we hope you don't mind if we quote his extensive analysis of this topic on the F13 message boards: "Speaking about the losing side quitting the game because rebuilding is too hard, I think it is important to break the entire gameplay down into smaller steps. In Shadowbane you could build a city for months, only to have it burned down completely in a few hours. It is a cool sounding feature on paper, but in the end I think it is punishing the losing side way too much. I don't have any numbers to back it up, but I am pretty confident that every guild that had their city burned down, saw a good percentage of their players quitting the game in the following few days. Rebuilding after defeat was just too hard and tedious, and most players didn't want to go through with that again. In Dark Age of Camelot they adopted the small steps philosophy. You can take over another guild's keep, and the losing side doesn't lose that much. Additionally, the losers can get the keep back fairly easily; it hasn't been burned down to the ground. I personally feel that the risks and rewards are too small, close to insignificant in Dark Age of Camelot, but still better than in Shadowbane. I think a better balance lies somewhere between Shadowbane and Dark Age of Camelot. Let the conqueror take over the city and allow them to destroy a few assets if they so desire, but limit how much they can burn down. Basically you want them taking over instead of destroying. This way the losing guild has the chance to lick their wounds, regroup and try to take their city back through diplomacy, trade, or by force. You keep most of the gameplay about building and taking over, instead of destruction, which ultimately chases players away from the game. The fun part in both Shadowbane and Dark Age of Camelot is the fighting anyway, so now there's always something to fight over. It's still possible to burn down entire cities in Darkfall, but only a few buildings / structures every so often, giving the losing team the possibility of reclaiming what was theirs before it is forever gone. With this system we hope to increase the fun and excitement of waging war, and decrease the sense of a definitive Game Over." MMORPG.com: (Preston) The lore describes Gods pretty well, are there plans to give them personal representation in the game aka Devs who RP and fight once in a while? Darkfall Team: The gods may be involved in various ways, mostly during events, and they will be played by Devs or Admins with great care not to screw anything up :) We have more creative ideas for using the ranking NPCs as well. MMORPG.com: (Munka) Has the team been visiting the boards and reading the fans input,

suggestions, and concerns? If so, what are some of the staff favorites and possible things that may be put ingame? Darkfall Team: We read the boards every day. They're a source of inspiration, ideas, encouragement, but also of frustration. The posts and discussions on our boards range from amazing to utter crap but generally the quality of the feedback is very high. There are posters we follow, and few that we ignore. When brainstorming on a game issue, we often run a search for the topic on the boards to get the community perspective. There are many things in the game right now that were influenced by the community input, that we don't quite know where to start. Here are a couple of examples: The first person perspective was an issue we caught so much flak over, that we were open to the changes that were implemented as far as melee combat is concerned. The conquest system was influenced as much by community input as it was by testing. Many design decisions have been reaffirmed by the Darkfall community, like the alignment system, and full loot. Finally, the community has helped us stay on course and true to the original vision for Darkfall. Right now we're implementing, so our next big date with the Darkfall community is during the playtesting phase where we expect that the feedback will be invaluable. MMORPG.com: (Preston) Trading -> will raw resources be very heavy so they can only be transported in ships and wagons to give them more value for the distance they are traded? Darkfall Team: We haven't made it so limiting that it's frustrating. You can certainly move a lot more with a boat. MMORPG.com: (Secmanx) Can you give us a current update on what part of the game you are working on? Darkfall Team: Currently we're adding and testing quests, and beautifying the world. We're populating the world with more monsters and NPCs, refining loot tables (loot that monsters drop), and balancing skills and spells. We're also adding visual and audio effects, refining artwork, finalizing the player character dressing system, and creating extra props to add to the thousands already in the game. MMORPG.com: (Preston) Are there any alignment penalties for someone of your own race/alliance killing your NPC, mount, wagon or ship? Darkfall Team: Yes there are alignment penalties for doing this, but the fun part is that you get a free shot at them without taking an alignment hit. MMORPG.com: (Khahan) In every MMO, we have been unable to use terrain for tactical advantage mainly due to huge floating name tags. Will there be floating name tags in Darkfall? Darkfall Team: Currently there are no floating name tags in Darkfall. You can see the name of the character you're targeting, and that's working out well for us so far, but there are several other options that we're also considering. It's an ongoing discussion about what works best and something we're experimenting with. We expect to get playtesting feedback on this topic based on several available solutions. MMORPG.com: (Preston) Are racial mounts still planned?

Darkfall Team: We're trying to release with the racial mounts. If we don't manage to due to time restraints, we'll release with horses as a universal mount, and fit the racial mounts in later through an update. Racial mounts made it on the low priority list, since horses and mounted combat work fine for testing at the moment. MMORPG.com: (Secmanx) What countries are you planning on releasing the game in? Darkfall Team: The game will be released in N. America and Europe. Right now we don't see a reason to limit its release to specific countries, but there are certain issues to consider in distribution and publishing that we're still working through. There has also been much discussion about localization for certain markets but we don't want that to limit access for any group of players. There has also been considerable interest in Darkfall by Asian publishers but there is currently no final plan to publish Darkfall in Asia. That said, our goal is to bring Darkfall to the broadest audience possible. MMORPG.com: As you get further along in development have there been any features or ideas which had to be scrapped due to time restraints or just inability to pull it off in the manner you wanted to do it? Darkfall Team: Terrain deformation didn't make it due to technical and gameplay issues such as the lag griefing potential. Flying didn't make it either for game balancing issues. There have been several shortcuts taken in several areas without sacrificing anything from the gameplay. Other than these, there's a shortlist of low priority secondary features we're trying to get in the game if we have the time. MMORPG.com: It sounds like your clan system is very well done. Will there be any visual way to easily identify members of clans such as the clan emblem being placed on their shield and cloak? Anything along those lines other than simply putting the guild name floating under the player name over their head? Darkfall Team: We calculated the possible combinations for character appearance, and the number was something like 3.5 billion different combinations without factoring in the color combinations so as you can see a clan can easily create a custom look for itself. Darkfall also features clan heraldry, as well as an indicator option, visible only to members of your own clan. Finally your clan name appears after your name when targeted. We would like to extend a big thanks to the entire Darkfall development team for taking the time to answer all of these questions with such detail. We look forward to watching this title progress and we hope that our members will make use of our Darkfall forums and let us know what they think about the game by hyping the game on our list! You can also discuss this interview at this topic in our forums. Article By: Richard Duffek Created On: May 04, 2005

Claus IRC 06/08/05
<facerip> hey guys <facerip> beta soon <facerip> :))) <Claus> as soon as we can <Claus> we are not holding back just to torment you guys

<Claus> ;) <[TBC]Soul> <Claus|Dev> <[TBC]Soul> <Claus|Dev> Hey Claus.. will DF have true jump? whats true jump? I hit Spacebar.. I Jump.. yes soul

<facerip> do you guys have published engine specs <Claus|Dev> its an inhouse engine <Alexandra|afk> can i be a pirate in darkfall <Claus|Dev> arrr! sure <facerip> claus how fun is it to log in <facerip> and play? <Claus|Dev> heh, well I am kinda biased <facerip> biased or not <Claus|Dev> I think its the best MMOG evar <@Teth> So Mr. Claus, how goes the quest compilation <Claus|Dev> pretty good, we are putting in a lot of quests <Claus|Dev> I am not a huge fan of quests, but some of the other designers are doing a great job <@Phineus> So claus, why no flying mounts? that announcement made me cry ='( <Claus|Dev> flying had to go for several reasons <Claus|Dev> we always had game balance concerns about it, but technological issues kinda sealed the deal <facerip> flying mounts like, pre-set destination travel or player controled? <Claus|Dev> we planned player controlled ones, but had to axe it <Claus|Dev> unfortunately <Alexandra|afk> will there be cannons on ships? <Alexandra|afk> or will i have to grappel a ship and melee it out <Claus|Dev> catapults and ballistaes <Alexandra|afk> so i can run alongside the ss facerip and blast him to hell? <Claus|Dev> yea <Claus|Dev> you can fire at land targets too <Claus|Dev> the ultimate grifer <@Phineus> will fire effect the dammage done to ships? say i use flame arrows to set the "SS-Facerip" on fire <Claus|Dev> arrows wont do much damage to ships, on fire or not <@Teth> Ah, but they will do _some_? <Claus|Dev> yea <@Phineus> hmmm can i aim my cannons for the mast of a ship thus crippling it? <Claus|Dev> its one targeting box <facerip> what kind of computer specs are working well right now <Claus|Dev> our target system is gf4 <@Teth> So pretty midrange for a gamer, then <Claus|Dev> yea

<Claus|Dev> all our models are really optimized <Claus|Dev> we are going for as high fps as possible <facerip> the most recent ss's look really good i think <facerip> minus the bloom <Claus|Dev> I think they are pretty good for the poly counts yea <Claus|Dev> other games can have shiny, we want fast and smooth <@Teth> Prz give your worldbuilders & world texture designers my undying platonic love <@Teth> They've done a glorious job as far as the screenies show <Claus|Dev> took us 18 months to worldbuild <Claus|Dev> its so large its almost stupid <Claus|Dev> and we still have areas we want to go back to and improve <@Phineus> sounds fun, I'm sick of the small worlds they have these days i want the land to be so large i get lost! <@Teth> Yeh, how's that overhaul of all the racial capitals going <Claus|Dev> we have redone all but two capitals <Claus|Dev> still some work left on alfar and elves <@Teth> What, exactly, controls the switch from FPV to TPV? Is it drawing a melee weapon, engaging in melee combat, or what? <Claus|Dev> its drawing a melee weap <Claus|Dev> put it away, and back to 1st <@Teth> hrm, anything preventing people from running around with a drawn melee weapon all the time? <Claus|Dev> teth: you can run around with a drawn melee weapon <Claus|Dev> I thought a lot about that, and decided to just keep it like that <@Teth> So basically it'll sorta be a loophole version of TPV, then <Claus|Dev> yes <Claus|Dev> but you have to see it.. it works pretty well <@Teth> I will take your word on it, seeing as I really enjoyed Mount & Blade melee in TPV <Claus|Dev> yea teth, M&B works very well <Claus|Dev> we are very close to that <@Phineus> How are the npc town guards working out? I've always wondered just how effective they're going to be. <Claus|Dev> well, thats one of the areas we still have some work left <Claus|Dev> AI <TBC-Captain> I think the big question in that regards we have, is will it be Completely Horrible to be ARAC? <Claus|Dev> ARAC guilds <Claus|Dev> they are doable, but its a bit tricky <@Phineus> Oh! on the topic of jump, will mounts also be able to jump similar to the mounts in M&B? <Claus|Dev> we dont have mounts in fully yet <Claus|Dev> but thats the plan <@Teth> Jumping is tied to stamina or something to prevent eternal bunnyhopping of

doom, yes? <Claus|Dev> stamina and jump is a go <TBC-Captain> so Claus...we have to ask...on a scale from 1 - 10, how close is DF combat to Mount and Blade...and frankly...are there mounts like in M&B? :) <+Claus|Dev> m&b similarity is.. 7? <+Claus|Dev> how do I answer that? <+Claus|Dev> 7.23 <@Teth> hrm, Claus, what's been your favourite part of developing Darkfall so far? <+Claus|Dev> so far... getting closer to finishing <+Claus|Dev> hehe <TBC-Captain> Beta of Course :) <TBC-Captain> when is it? <+Claus|Dev> beta is as soon as we are ready for it <+Claus|Dev> we are working as fast as we can, trust me <Ciliano> so is ship/naval combat looking to be as common, involved and complex as 1v1 or melee combat? <Ciliano> or is it just gonna be shoot shoot shoot <+Claus|Dev> we still have a lot of work to do when it comes to naval battles <+Claus|Dev> things can change, so I dont wanna talk about it in detail <+Preston> So Claus, you've been working on quests lately, are there still plans to relate some quests to unlocking or finding skills? <+Claus|Dev> absolutely preston <+Claus|Dev> since we have no xp, quests will give rewards <+Claus|Dev> like items, skills, skillpoints, presige classes etc <+Claus|Dev> we dont wanna force people into doing quests though, so its a fine balance <Ciliano> there wont be any stupid punishments for pvp like in Lineage II or pvp channeled into only certain areas like GW or WoW right? <Ciliano> I get the feeling you are pro-pvp <+Claus|Dev> i r pk <+Claus|Dev> yea its a pvp game <Osirix> As you were a uo player I assume claus.. will there be strict rules on macros and stuff like that.. you know so we can train with other players? <+Claus|Dev> no ideas about rules on macroing, not really my table <+Claus|Dev> I suppose its bad for network usage <TBC-Captain> if we are talking about macro'ing, 3rd party gui's come up..I remember the old pictures where the gui was Wonderfully simple...is this one so customizable there will be no need for 3rd party progs? <+Claus|Dev> I think our gui is pretty neat <+Claus|Dev> I designed it, so it pwns <Ciliano> are you encouraging ui customization? <+Claus|Dev> we have no tools for it, but I guess it can be done <+Claus|Dev> no plans for it tho <+Claus|Dev> so much other stuff to fix :) <@Teth> Hrm, are spells in Darkfall going to have words of power?

<+Claus|Dev> no we dont have words of power <+Claus|Dev> we have cool death messages though <+Claus|Dev> hehe <Osirix> Are you going to have councelors? <+Claus|Dev> I would think so, not my table <@Teth> ooh, do we have eminently satisfying death cries? <@Teth> That had to be one of my favourite parts of UO <+Claus|Dev> absolutely <Osirix> ahhh I got a great question, is there reputation like uo? <Osirix> that was a great system <+Claus|Dev> yes we have alignment <+Claus|Dev> we have tried to encourage pvp, but curb griefing <+Claus|Dev> to some extent <TBC-Captain> anything similiar to "going red" in UO? <+Claus|Dev> no nothing like that <+Claus|Dev> guards will kill you tho <+Claus|Dev> but we have a couple of anarchist npc cities <+Claus|Dev> players can make whateverthey want player cities) <+Claus|Dev> a player town can have no guards <Osirix> will it be like player towns in uo? <Ciliano> or SB?!?!? <+Claus|Dev> more like sb (note: this is in regards to

<Osirix> Actually i beleive there isnt much risk in losing towns in darkfall cil <Ciliano> yeah sb had problems with over risk <+Claus|Dev> its something inbetwen daoc and sb.. you risk more than daoc, but no GAME OVER HAHAHAA! like in sb <+Claus|Dev> ok an example <+Claus|Dev> say you have a town with 10 buildings <+Claus|Dev> guild x takes it from you <+Claus|Dev> they can burn down 1 building every xx hours <+Claus|Dev> so you have time to take it back <@Teth> Alfar-related question, because House Shivering is 100% pro-Melek: does sunlight still omgwtfpwn alfar? <+Claus|Dev> teth: no <Ciliano> Im interested in these alfar craftable weapons <Ciliano> am I right to recall <Ciliano> that some have a kind of proc like lightning craftable into them <@Teth> sithras 4tw! <+Claus|Dev> what about alfar weapons? <Ciliano> that are based on alfar's naturally higher attributes? <Ciliano> this is true right? <Ciliano> they have proc like weapons? <Ciliano> and is it exclusive to them <Ciliano> or do all have procs available? <+Claus|Dev> they pretty much have the same stuff as the other races

<+Claus|Dev> otherwise its a balancing nightmare <+Preston> Are there any plans for a sailing skill Claus? If so, would it affect speed or anything like that? <+Claus|Dev> sailing skills, absolutely <@Teth> Ah, is that why all the stuff in the older lore regarding racially unique weapons & armour dissapeared with the newer webpage? <+Claus|Dev> all races have their own armor, weapons, houses etc <+Claus|Dev> but the stats are about the same <+Claus|Dev> to cut down on headaches <ChewY> you guys ever implament my run speed bar idea <ChewY> i remember someone said they liked it <+Claus|Dev> running is just a skill now <+Claus|Dev> and press button x for sprint <+Claus|Dev> which is also a skill <+Claus|Dev> running drains stamina tho <+Claus|Dev> so use it wisely <@Teth> Sounds like those two are gonna end up being mandatory char skills <+Claus|Dev> yea everyone starts out with them <ChewY> so is darkfall openGL or DirectX for the 3d api <+Claus|Dev> dx <Osirix> one thing to clear up.. will it be mandatory for everyone to carry around melee weapons so they can see in 3rd person to make sure people dont sneak up? <+Claus|Dev> you wont really see a whole lot extra from 3rd person.. I cant really explain it, but it works very well <+Claus|Dev> its pretty close up to your char <Osirix> so it basically just shows your charcter <Osirix> and not your surroundings? <+Claus|Dev> yea and a little to the sides <+Claus|Dev> but not a lot <Osirix> sounds good <+Claus|Dev> just makes combat more fun <+Claus|Dev> 1st person melee turned out to be less than great <ChewY> what i didnt like about savage was that people could run backwards as fast as you could run forwards <+Claus|Dev> ok you cant do thatr <+Claus|Dev> strafing and backwards is slower than forward <ChewY> thats another thing i wanted to know about, how is combat... Quake or Counterstrike <+Claus|Dev> more cs than quake for sure <ChewY> o, and if i see a dragon... should i run like a book or charge like in lamerquest <@Claus|Dev> a dragon will destroy you <@Claus|Dev> our dragons are rare and tough <TBC-Captain> how about polymorph??? will be ALOT easier to gather an alfar ear necklace if they are turned into bunnies first

<@Claus|Dev> hehe thats a creative question <@Claus|Dev> trying to find a creative answer <@Claus|Dev> ok that was my answer <Osirix> how many servers do you plan on having? would it be like anarchy online since it is so large with many zones? <@Claus|Dev> we plan on having as few servers as possible, thats all I know <ChewY> they are shooting for 10k people per server last i heard <@Claus|Dev> thats what we hope for <@Teth> No artifically locking people into regional servers like World of Warcraft, right? <@Claus|Dev> no thats super stupid <stratos> Claus|Dev: what year in development is DF in now? <@Claus|Dev> god dont ask <@Claus|Dev> it has taken way too long, thats for sure. But the good news is the game will rock <Deirbhathdellte> You're playing poker while were pulling our hair out for an update ? .. shame on you :) <@Claus|Dev> hey, updates isnt my table.. my concience is clean <@Claus|Dev> about the info, or lack of it <@Claus|Dev> its not because we enjoy tormenting you guys <@Claus|Dev> we already have a lot of info out there <@Claus|Dev> and we kinda wanna keep the hype down and all <@Claus|Dev> but what do I know, I am not even involved in the PR side <stratos> keep it down to where people think its vaporware? <@Claus|Dev> well, its sad if people think its vaporware, but what can you do <@Claus|Dev> all we can do is finish the game <[TSP]Spawl> some people wont believe it is true until they play it. No pleasing them. <@Claus|Dev> like I have said before, as long as we are working on the game, everything is fine <@Claus|Dev> if we move back to norway, something is up ;) <@Teth> Do you guys even bother reading the various pro-permadeath/harsher gameplay threads that crop up on the forums anymore? <@Claus|Dev> I have a filter in my brain for permadeath <@Claus|Dev> I dont even see the word <@Claus|Dev> but who knows <@Claus|Dev> maybe we make a permadeath server <@Claus|Dev> it doesnt fit in with the df gameplay at all though <Tempname> it doesnt make sense with open pcp <@Claus|Dev> right <@Teth> Yeah, I imagine the amount of tweaking that you guys would have to do to the game mechanics to make permadeath would be obscene <@Claus|Dev> youre gonna die a lot in df <@Teth> erm, to make permadeath viable <@Claus|Dev> people who talk about permadeath for df doesnt realise what the game plays like <@Claus|Dev> it will often be fast and furious <facerip> have you personally tried out the theiving system?

<@Claus|Dev> face: 99% of the skills/spells in the game now are combat <@Claus|Dev> we are adding daily tho <facerip> so you still have to work on stealing etc? <@Claus|Dev> yes <@Claus|Dev> there is a lot of skills missing <@Claus|Dev> but they are being added fast <ChewY[semihere]> Claus what language are you guys using for development <ChewY[semihere]> i assume some form of C <@Claus|Dev> english <@Claus|Dev> ;) <@Claus|Dev> c++ and java though <stratos> Claus|Dev: are you doing dev on linux or windows machines? <@Claus|Dev> server is lunix, rest is windows <stratos> will you guys every fully explain your server technology, and method of creating the world from a hardware standpoint? <@Claus|Dev> no idea stratos, guess thats a business decission <ChewY[semihere]> Claus just 1 thing, will we have gameplay videos soon? <@Claus|Dev> maybe <@Claus|Dev> :) <@Claus|Dev> I honestly dont know

RPGVault 28/11/05: Multi-dev interview
http://rpgvault.ign.com/articles/671/671666p1.html November 28, 2005 - Back in 2001, we became aware of a Norwegian-based development team bearing an unusual name, Razorwax. It consisted of only a few people, not nearly the number some observers might have expected given the nature of the project they announced that August, a fantasy online world called Darkfall. At that time, we were informed it would incorporate such familiar elements as elves, dragons, spells and assorted magical items. On the other hand, one fundamental design element, an openly declared emphasis on player vs. player combat, immediately set it apart from most other titles we were tracking in the category. Soon after, we learned that this focus was broad and ambitious, to provide a virtual environment with tools that would let players engage in various grand pursuits ranging from building kingdoms to politics, strategy, diplomacy, combat, racial warfare and territorial conquest. Interesting information also came to light about another significant aspect, the character development system. It was intended to allow for a high degree of customization, beginning with its selection of six diverse playable races, then complementing them with a vast array of skills and spells. The objective, an appealing one to many observers, was to make it possible for players to follow virtually any type of career path they might want by making the appropriate choices to become an explorer, hunter, mercenary, smith, magician, fisherman, etc. Perhaps fittingly, the developers opted to move to Greece, becoming the core of a new company, Aventurine. Recently, ending a quiet period that started last year, Lead Designer Claus Grovdal, Associate Producer Tasos Flambouras, Lead Programmer Kjetil Helland, Art Director Henning Ludvigsen and Executive Producer Jade El Mehdawi agreed to break

their lengthy silence. Includes four exclusive screenshots -------------------------------------------------------------------------------Jonric: In overview, what kind of online world are you trying to create, and what are your goals with respect to having it provide a distinctive gameplay experience? Claus Grovdal: Darkfall is freedom to have fun straight from the box. There are no set grinds that you need to go through in order to enjoy the end game. There's no level grind, no money grind, no item grind. You should go out and start having fun doing whatever it is that you enjoy doing in the game. You can focus on PvP, on trade, or on adventuring, or do it all. We've dedicated our resources to development, knowing that our game can compete a lot better than our publicity can. Once we've shown what we can do, I believe that what we say will make a bigger impact. The gameplay is fast paced and exciting. We've done away with turn-based combat; Darkfall's is real-time. You don't target something, click the attack button and leave the computer to fight for you; you actively play this game. Tasos Flambouras: Fans have been speculating and/or hoping that Darkfall is "the new Ultima Online" or "Shadowbane done differently". We don't think of Darkfall like that. Players have been waiting for something special that they can't quite define, but they'll know it when they see it. As gamers, we share this frustration, and as game developers, we're trying to make that game. Jonric: What is Darkfall's current status, when do you expect it to launch, and how much has it evolved during its extended development period of more than four years? Tasos Flambouras: We're preparing for beta testing as we speak; you can apply on this page of our website. It's a huge job, and we want it done right. The start of the beta is affected by multiple variables, and not just development ones. The same goes for Darkfall's launch date. Once we have a date that we're reasonably sure of, we'll announce it immediately. The additional time taken to work on the game was a decision made in an effort to make Darkfall directly competitive with the largest MMOG titles out there. Nobody is going to feel they've stepped down by switching to Darkfall, or play Darkfall as an alternative to their main game. Claus Grovdal: It was a much different game when we were a small team making it. The resources made available to us made the project a lot more ambitious. Everything is bigger and better now, and there's a lot more of it. Kjetil Helland: The additional time has allowed us to get more control on the gameplay and to create a better framework for expanding the game. Jonric: Considering the main design, programming and art elements, how much have you had to change and adapt since the project began? Claus Grovdal: The long development time hasn't affected the game much. It has, however, significantly reinforced some of our main design decisions and reaffirmed our

belief that we're going in the right direction with Darkfall. Kjetil Helland: We started out with very good software design, and the passage of time has had a negligible impact on the game. We set the bar very high to begin with and we're in a good position right now, technically speaking. Henning Ludvigsen: Graphically, the longer development time has given us a chance to make the art better, improve the animations, etc. It has definitely been beneficial to the look of the game. Jonric: What considerations led to your decision to remain pretty quiet about the game for the past year or more? Tasos Flambouras: Regrettably, we've had to pass up many publicity opportunities in the past year, due to the hardcore development focus, the limited showcase capability, and the very limited time to spend time on anything other than development. But the main reason is that we decided that it's time to show Darkfall, rather than keep talking about it - we believe that it will speak for itself better than we ever could. It's also impossible to compete head-on with the coverage and the professional buzz generated by marketing, media, and PR departments working for the 'big games'. We've dedicated our resources to development, knowing that our game can compete a lot better than our publicity can. Once we've shown what we can do, I believe that what we say will make a bigger impact. Jonric: How well have you been able to retain interest among the members of your fan community during this time? Tasos Flambouras: The Darkfall community has demonstrated that it doesn't need constant handholding and reassurances. We haven't done anything special to retain community interest, but I think that they suspect what we know to be true about the game, and that's why they follow it. It's getting close to the point where people will get the chance to playtest the game. If they aren't looking at Darkfall now, they'll probably wish they had been. :) Jonric: Still looking at the past year or so, what are the notable improvements and additions you've made to Darkfall? Claus Grovdal: From a design point of view, nothing notable has changed from the main parameters. Last year has been all about adding content plus refining and tweaking various aspects of the game. Kjetil Helland: We've spent the better part of the past year making things work and work better. It's been a huge challenge; the scope of this game is enormous. Henning Ludvigsen: Art-wise, the most notable improvements have been the brushing up of the player characters, and the major improvements to the look of the environment. Jonric: Are there parts of the base design that are not yet finalized? Will you be looking at any aspects especially closely during beta?

Claus Grovdal: All of the important aspects have been finalized. When it comes to conquest - player clans taking over cities and running them - we still have some unresolved issues having to do with balancing; we're concerned that it may be too hard, or too easy. We're looking forward to the clan beta test where we'll get the chance to play around with the various rulesets. Jonric: In a related vein, what will the combat experience be like? Will it be quickpaced like you originally envisioned, and if so, how much advantage will players with good reflexes have? Claus Grovdal: The combat system is basically the same as we originally designed it, with the exception of the camera perspective in melee, where we opted for a thirdperson view. Combat is fast-paced, with a lot of action elements, while still leaving room for quick tactical decisions on an individual as well as on a squad basis. The player is completely engaged in the combat but you don't have to be an extreme twitch FPS type to be successful, although it will give you an edge, of course. It's a combination of strategic ability, stats and skills, teamwork, a good working knowledge of the interface, experience, and PvP tactics. Twitch reflex comes into play, but won't win battles for you alone. Kjetil Helland: Collision detection and friendly fire makes it possible for a small, skilled group of players to be able to take on a larger group. Darkfall's player skill balance loosely reminds me of the Counter-Strike player balance; all other things being equal, if you're good, you can take on more than one opponent... but it's not easy. Jonric: When Darkfall moved from Norway to Greece, what was the size of the team, and how much has it grown since then? Jade El Mehdawi: We formed a new team and a new company, Aventurine, integrating the original Razorwax people, with the plan to continue developing the technology and the game in Greece. The Razorwax team in Norway consisted of four people working full-time and a couple more contributors with day jobs. Aventurine was formed in October 2002, and it integrated the original Razorwax people. We hired five more developers in Norway, and brought them all to Greece. Now, there are 21 developers working at Aventurine, plus a number of support personnel (accounting, legal), contractors and interns. Jonric: To what degree has it been difficult to find people, especially with game development experience, and how have you addressed this challenge? Jade El Mehdawi: It has been a great challenge finding appropriately experienced people but I believe that everyone working here is extremely talented. In Greece, there's a lot of talent and knowledge, but until now, there was no outlet for it locally. We need to develop our people, so psychology and creating the right environment are key. The lack of experience created some problems for us, but I feel that we have a very strong team now. We've learned and grown from our mistakes, and we're looking to the future, the long-term. Our goal is to be making games for a very long time. Lack of experience has served us well in the sense we're not so aware of our limitations that they hold us back. Darkfall is a much better game for it.

Jonric: In view of the duration of the project so far, how difficult has it been to maintain your enthusiasm? As both a developer and a gamer, what things have you most excited now? Jade El Mehdawi: I don't feel that the development of Darkfall itself has been delayed. The main source of delay has been on the technology side, and that's to be expected. We're making a very ambitious and technologically advanced game. Everyone on the team knows this, and that's what keeps us going. We've risked doing things larger game developers haven't tried, even though the players are asking for them. Kjetil Helland: Making an MMOG requires a lot of stamina and the realization that you're not going to get a daily rush from development. You need to look far ahead. MMOGs are among the most sophisticated projects in software development. As a developer, seeing things work keeps me motivated; as a gamer, finally we'll be able to play a MMORPG that caters to the many levels of fun that I want to experience. Henning Ludvigsen: Art has an immediate impact on your motivation, by the viewable result. We use small deadlines, and we get to see our progress regularly. As a gamer, the exploration of the Darkfall world is what excites me the most because I know the amount of work that's gone into creating it. Jonric: Why should online gamers who have never looked closely at Darkfall want to learn more about it now? And will they be seeing more information over the coming months? Tasos Flambouras: It's getting close to the point where people will get the chance to playtest the game. If they aren't looking at Darkfall now, they'll probably wish they had been. :) We'll try to increase awareness about the game so that we can get a well populated beta test. We hope to be able to release a gameplay video, and new screenshots before that. A great deal of game information will be released during the playtesting period, and we'll try to allow as many people as possible to experience the game firsthand. Jonric: To finish with our usual open-ended question, are there other things you'd like our readers to know about Darkfall at this time? Tasos Flambouras: I recently discovered something new about the game that I think is very cool, so I'll share it. In Darkfall, mobs carry equipment and can equip themselves depending on the situation. They can wear armor, choose the best weapon to use, and switch them during a fight. If you run away, they may decide to equip a bow and shoot at you, and if you move in within melee range, they'll switch to a melee weapon. Kill them, and you'll get to loot the equipment the mob was using, plus anything else in their backpack. Coupled with excellent AI, Darkfall's mobs are very interesting encounters. Thanks for the great questions and the interest in Darkfall. Aventurine's decision to limit the amount of information released over the past while certainly hasn't affected our interest in this project. That said, we're definitely happier now that the team seems ready to start talking more. As we look forward to that as

well as the upcoming beta, we thank Claus Grovdal, Tasos Flambouras, Kjetil Helland, Henning Ludvigsen and Jade El Mehdawi for this update, which kicks off our Darkfall Week series of features. -- Richard Aihoshi - 'Jonric'

RPGvault 29/11/05: Alignment and Player-Killing in Darkfall
http://rpgvault.ign.com/articles/671/671809p1.html November 29, 2005 - Darkfall is a fantasy online world in development at Aventurine, a Greek-based company that absorbed the originator of the project, a Norwegian team called Razorwax, and has advanced it to the stage where preparations are currently being made to begin beta. Set in a world known as Agon, it features six playable races. Humans, Dwarves and the elven Mirdain maintain generally friendly terms among themselves, while Orks and the wolf-like Mahirim, although not quite so amicable, usually aren't hostile to each other. The same cannot be said of the Alfar, pale outcasts who openly loathe all but their own kind. The character development system is intended to allow for a high degree of customization, offering a vast array of skills and spells. The objective, an appealing one to many observers, is to make it possible for players to follow virtually any type of career path they might want, becoming a de facto explorer, hunter, mercenary, smith, magician, fisherman or almost anything else by making the appropriate choices, with optional prestige classes such as Paladin, Assassin, Gladiator, Enchanter also available. All will adventure in an environment that differs from most others in its clearly stated emphasis on player vs. player combat. Includes three exclusive model renders -------------------------------------------------------------------------------Alignment and Player-Killing in Darkfall Darkfall is a game with full PvP and unlimited looting. Does this mean you can kill anyone you meet and take their stuff? Yes it does, but it does not mean that such actions have no consequences. When designing Darkfall, we sought to avoid "because we say so" rules that make no in-game sense but dictate player behavior. Limitations on player freedom may be necessary in cuddlier, more mainstream-focused games, but Darkfall will never stop you from killing someone just because he or she has turned PK off in some menu. In Darkfall, it is difficult but possible to live outside the law, especially if you avoid places that are densely populated by players who receive alignment boosts for killing you. What we do instead is set in place checks and balances that encourage certain modes of behavior, while discouraging others. If you flout the in-game laws, there will definitely be consequences, but no invisible designer as god denies you the right to break them in the first place. Kill correctly Darkfall is all about player on player combat, but it won't be an anarchic free for all

where anything goes. Each time you kill a player or NPC of your own race, for example, you take an alignment hit, and your alignment score moves down on a scale that runs from -100 (ultimate evil) to +100 (paragon of good). There won't be any terrible, character-destroying repercussions if you just kill this one guy who's been annoying you all night, but if you make a habit of killing your own kind, your alignment eventually sinks to the level where NPCs won't give you quests or trade with you. If you spiral still further into depravity, NPC guards will start attacking you, while good players begin to receive alignment boosts for (temporarily) ending your reign of terror. Much of the action in Darkfall involves player clans that fight over resources such as mines and clanstones - or just because they don't like each other. When a war between clans is properly declared, the antagonists may kill each other with impunity without risking their alignment scores. NPCs belonging to opposing clans are also fair prey while the state of warfare lasts. Racial antipathies and sympathies The consequences for killing players or NPCs of friendly races are similar to those for killing members of your own race, but slightly less severe. Humans, elves and dwarves are on friendly terms with each other, while orks and mahirim respect each other to the extent that interracial murder is frowned upon. The alfar despise all other races with such intensity that killing a member of them is considered a noble act of mercy. It should be mentioned that sinking to a negative alignment among your own race doesn't improve your standing with its traditional enemies. An orkish NPC will always attack a mirdain elf, and an orkish player will always be rewarded for killing a mirdain, no matter what the elf's alignment is. It is impossible for an orkish player to improve his or her standing among the mirdain, and vice versa. Kill to improve The only way to increase your alignment score is to kill players who belong to races with an opposed alignment, or individuals of your own race (or an allied race) who have a negative alignments. Killing evil NPCs won't improve your alignment, nor will solving quests, killing monsters, or - UO flashback :) - giving alms to beggars. NPCs that give out important quests sometimes wait until someone with a solid gold reputation comes along. Increasing your alignment will, in other words, give you access to quests and rewards that are unavailable if your score is lower. The life of an outlaw In Darkfall, it is difficult but possible to live outside the law, especially if you avoid places that are densely populated by players who receive alignment boosts for killing you. In the peripheries of Agon stand so-called Chaos Stones, ancient clanstone artifacts from the Usurper Wars, which cannot now be controlled by mortals. Players with a negative alignment may bind to Chaos Stones, and thus gain a relatively safe place to respawn if killed. All Chaos Stone are maintained by the members of a twisted race called the empyreals, whose fate appears tied to that of the Stones they guard. The empyreals run establishments such as banks and shops catering to individuals who are bound to

their Chaos Stone. Recently, the empyreals have begun constructing magical portals to Silvertown, a free city state off the coast of Mercia. It's a lawless place where profit is king, and a longestablished magnet for alternatively aligned people. Aventurine

RPGvault 30/11/05: Darkfall Signature Weapons
http://rpgvault.ign.com/articles/672/672456p1.html In Darkfall, player smiths may create any type of weapon, and then imbue it with any combination of hundreds of available enchantments. The general rule is that, if a weapon can be found in the world of Darkfall, you will be able to create it in your smithy, given a high enough skill level and access to the right (and sometimes rare) ingredients. Working with slabs of obsidian, svartdvergir smiths create the giant heads that are used for the two-handed Aldar�k axe. Priests of the Fire Dragon then perform rituals involving the sacrifice of two sentient beings There is, however, one exception to this rule. Each race has access to one special weapon, the crafting and use of which is so deeply rooted in their culture that smiths from other races cannot make them. These weapons are reflections of the nature of the race, and creating them requires the deep-tuned insights of the born and bred native. Players may, however, wield the signature weapon of another race, should they be able to acquire one. This is trivial if the player covets the special weapon made by a friendly race, since he can just buy one from a Mastersmith belonging to that race. If the player desires the signature weapon of an enemy race, however, the only option is to pry one from the cold dead hands of a player character. Alfar: Ilshard The Alfar signature weapon is a halberd made from a smooth black metal that resembles the exoskeleton of the Black Widow spider. The Ilshard's hooked handle ends in a wicked point resembling a poison stinger, while its axe blade is decorated with a red hourglass shape. The Ilshard deals poison damage in addition to regular damage, and its blade glistens with liquids that drip from it in blackish drops. Mirdain: Sunbow This item can only be made using wood from the Tree of All Seeds, a unique tree that grows in the heart of Charybdis, the Mirdain capital. The Sunbow gives off a soft, honey-like light, and it is decorated with simple yet graceful representations of the sun and the acorns of the Tree of All Seeds. Arrows fired from the Sunbow become surrounded by light, and when they impact, the surrounding area is bathed in a lazy rain of golden sparks. Arrows from a Sunbow inflict holy damage. Dwarves: Ildhammer The Dwarven signature weapon is a hammer with a head made of molten lava. This fiery head is crisscrossed by bands of ymirsmerke, the rare metal that is sacred to dwarves. Covered in powerful runes, these bands keep the lava hot, while containing the heat to the extent that it is possible to hold the hammer's handle. A viciously strong field of heat distortion surrounds the Ildhammer, and tiny, almost imperceptible

tendrils of smoke escape from it. Humans: Lightbringer This heavy two-handed sword is made from the metal nidstein, which has the texture of granite rock. Through the center of the nidstein blade runs a relatively thick core of bronze, into which Old Lyonessian runes have been carved. The Lightbringer emanates an aura of light or darkness, the strength of which is directly tied to the alignment score of the wielder. The strength of the aura also indicates the amount of holy or unholy damage inflicted by the weapon. Mahirim: Ghost Claw A leather gauntlet hides long, fully retractable claws made of a milky-hued metal called ormham. Found only in the Tribelands, ormham is somehow attuned to the moon Theia. In daytime, only three metal claws emerge when the wearer enters combat, but at night, each claw is surrounded by a thick, almost liquid aura of eldritch light. The reach of the aura-claws, and the amount of damage they inflict, depends on the position of Theia. Orks: Aldar�k Working with slabs of obsidian, svartdvergir smiths create the giant heads that are used for the two-handed Aldar�k axe. Priests of the Fire Dragon then perform rituals involving the sacrifice of two sentient beings, whose flesh-stripped and painted skulls are embedded in the axe head. The Aldar�k burns with extremely hot but almost invisible black fire. Aventurine

RPGvault 01/12/05:Demigods of Darkfall
http://rpgvault.ign.com/articles/672/672736p1.html They are huge, they are almost ridiculously dangerous, and they are infrequent visitors on the world of Agon. Hunting down and killing a demigod is one of the ultimate challenges faced by players in Darkfall. A thin aura of fire and heat distortion surrounds Sanglac, and fiery footprints linger briefly as he passes. He always carries with him a fortune in gold coins and gemstones. There are six demigods in the game, each of which haunts the peripheries of one major nation. Demigods are ephemeral presences, whose dwellings lie in unguessed dimensions, and whose brief visits to Agon are marked by the uncaring slaughter of all who stand in their way. Godlike powers For wildly different reasons, each demigod needs or desires to visit Agon at regular intervals. Some always appear at certain time during the week, others when the moons are aligned in a certain way, yet others seem to be called forth by the regularly occurring weather phenomena of certain regions. All demigods have godlike powers that are far beyond those of any mortal. They are as different from each other as the races whose homelands they visit, but all the demigods share a few traits, such as godlike powers of regeneration. Upon arriving on Agon, each demigod sets about fulfilling a series of tasks or

objectives. While their place of manifestation varies between a half-dozen preferred locations, a demigod's movement routes and actions are usually quite predictable from then on. They go single-mindedly about their tasks, then fade back to their home dimensions when they are finished. Should a demigod die while on Agon, it will reincarnate on its home plane, and be unable to resume its tasks before a period of time has passed. Quests and glory It is possible to kill a demigod, but that rare feat can only be accomplished by groups of extremely powerful and well-coordinated heroes. If such a group is successful, they tend to find that a demigod's loot justifies even the most Herculean of efforts; fearing nothing, demigods bring cherished jewelry and preferred weapons with them to Agon. In each regularly visited nation, a handful of highly prestigious quests involve hunting down and killing the demigod in question. Some of these quests are considered sacred undertakings, and therefore have alignment limits or glory point limits (glory points are accumulated exclusively through completing quests). Other, more prosaic quests just require the potential hero to have full mastery of certain necessary skills. On extremely rare occasions, semi-unique quests are launched by items found on the body of a fallen demigod, or by divine visions received as an individual proves himself worthy by participating in a slaying. Receiving such quests is considered a great honor among Agon's most powerful and revered heroes. It is said that, in the past, demigods carried items that facilitated travel to their home plane, but there are no known occurrences of this in the present age. First glimpse - one of the six Malaut, the Demon Prince of Greed, has made it his life's work to corrupt the inhabitants of Mercia, Agon's most powerful human kingdom. His cult is spreading quickly through that land, with a steady flow of knights and nobles being lured into decadence by the machinations of the Below, Malaut's faithful servitor race. Beyond mortal lands, the Prince commands the allegiance of many powerful demons that dwell with him in his home dimension, called the Shadelands. One of these Demon Lords is Baron Sanglac, who serves as Malaut's messenger to the highest echelons of his priesthood in Mercia, bringing new orders, occasional aid, rewards and punishment. Silver and gemstone Baron Sanglac is an enormously tall human figure clad in a massive golden field plate with silver trimmings. The symbol of the Church of Malaut is rendered in silver and gemstone on his equally massive shield. In combat, he wields a sword similar to his master's legendary Silvertounge, a silver longsword surrounded by writhing tendrils of black chaos matter. Sanglac doesn't wear a helmet, and his face is that of a beautiful but disdainful and haughty young man with curly blonde hair. A thin aura of fire and heat distortion surrounds Sanglac, and fiery footprints linger briefly as he passes. He always carries with him a fortune in gold coins and gemstones. Further details of Baron Sanglac's habits, as well as his strengths and weaknesses, await discovery by the bravest and most capable of human adventurers.

Aventurine

RPGvault 02/12/05: Cities of the Arthain
http://rpgvault.ign.com/articles/673/673107p1.html Agon is home to well over 100 different monsters species, and that's not counting sub-types such as Forest Trolls or Burning Skeletons. Some of these creatures are mere predators or guardians, but others belong to richly detailed societies. Flesh Golems have human heads and their shape is humanoid, though bloated. Their bodies consist of layer upon layer of human flesh, which is only loosely attached to their bones. The Arthain, for example, may be monsters, but they have their own history and culture, and live in cities with a unique architectural style. Some players will barely notice these aspects, as they slaughter Arthain for pleasure and treasure, but others will accept quests that immerse them in the loathsome culture of the fleshcrafters. Fallen merchants The Arthain are a race of mixed Mirdain and Human blood, whose civilization enjoyed a glorious, centuries-long zenith before spiraling down to its pathetic present-day nadir. Now, they hide in half-ruined cities, while clinging desperately to a sick parody of their long-lost high culture. Emerging out of Agon's heartlands more than eight hundred years ago, the Arthain built a trade empire that expanded in all directions from the fortified cities of their homeland. Gifted merchants, the Arthain were also scholars and knowledge seekers who immersed themselves in a wide range of subjects such as history, magic, astronomy and alchemy. An essentially peaceful people, they preferred diplomacy to warfare, and tended to rely on mercenaries when diplomacy failed. As time passed, however, a fondness for luxury developed into slovenliness and decadence. As individual integrity eroded, so did that of trading companies, and the Arthain became known as greedy and false. Merchants from other races began to bypass their routes and outposts. At some point during their descent into depravity, the Arthain became fascinated by necromantic magic. They began to perform experiments that most other peoples find disgusting and immoral, such as augmenting their own bodies with corpse parts, and creating servants made entirely from the flesh and organs of the diseased. The last of their trade disappeared, and many Arthain cities were attacked and razed by disgusted and fearful neighbors. Those communities that survived became isolated and poor. The fleshcrafted The combined effects of inbreeding and necromantic experimentation have turned the Arthain into degenerated freaks whose appearance causes revulsion in people with whom they once traded and mingled freely. Most Arthain are born disfigured in some way, such as without a lower jaw or nose, or with hideously discolored skin. As individuals mature, necromancers equip them with body enhancements that suit

their role within the community, such as Ork limbs for warriors, extra heads for administrators, and third arms for spellcasters. Fleshdogs These unintelligent minions primarily serve in the role of guards. They move on all fours, and act and move as if they were dogs. All their body parts are those of humans whose limbs have been bent and broken into a doglike shape, as if someone constructed a dog using human parts. However twisted and broken their bodies are though, fleshdogs move with decent speed and agility. Blood Knights Crafted out of layers of human muscle laid upon pre-strengthened bone, these fleshcrafted warriors possess formidable strength, as well as the mental capacity to understand complex sets of orders. Blood Knights frequently lead groups of fleshdogs into battle. Flesh Golems Flesh Golems have human heads and their shape is humanoid, though bloated. Their bodies consist of layer upon layer of human flesh, which is only loosely attached to their bones. Flesh Golems leave behind trails of flesh and blood when they walk, and large chunks fall off when they are hit in a fight. Aventurine

2004
Henning IRC 13/01/04
http://totalmadownage.com/showthread.php?t=1244 Short mini interview with one of the Darkfall devs on IRC, -------------------------------------------------------------------------------Following snippets were caught off the irc chat as one of the devs entered it. Mostly pertaining to modeling and lands, some glimpses on mounts. Oromea|Gaintlord> Is clause making you rip your hair out yet? Henning_dev> Hehe, he s very kind, unfortunately... Gunther_TheBlack> henning do you do worldbuilding? or monsters? Henning_dev> No, I don `t do worldbuilding. I supply the worldbuilder with stuff, amongs others. Henning_dev> I do monsters aswell, yes. Gunther_TheBlack> can you say how much of the world is done in % Henning_dev> Most of the world is done. But we still need some tweaking in sertain areas. We ll add details until the end. Gunther_TheBlack> did you build any dungeons so far? or only entrances? Henning_dev> I modeled all the interior modules, and the entrances. But the

worldbuilders build them... Henning_dev> ...for the dungeons... Gunther_TheBlack> ah so with world it also includes dungeons Gunther_TheBlack> you got any favorite location in the world so far as you have seen henning? Henning_dev> We have alot of dungeons and caves etc. Henning_dev> I like the desert continent quite good. But I really like that we have alot of variations. The dwarven areas looks nice as well I think. Gunther_TheBlack> how do the passages from the surface to teh underground look like? Henning_dev> We have entrances for the dungeons and caves that fits to the interior. Different kinds. Gunther_TheBlack> are there stronger monsters than dragons? Henning_dev> We have bigger ones. But I think you should decide which ones are the toughest ones. Gunther_TheBlack> btw i heard you got underwater dungeons, is that true? Henning_dev> We have hidden some entrances under the surface of the sea, yes. Gunther_TheBlack> will the ancient ones of the mahirrim have a special role? Henning_dev> I guess nothing more that it influences their history and religion... And tools and weapons of course. Oromea|Gaintlord> Can most monsters be able to solo? I know the very big stuff you need a group I bet? Henning_dev> I really can`t answer that. No my arena, sorry. Gunther_TheBlack> do you got treetop dungeons in the elvish lands? Henning_dev> We`ll see about that... We haven t gotten any yet. Gunther_TheBlack> henning, you got caverns and tunnels in the dwarf and alfar lands, but do you also got them in the other racial lands?? Henning_dev> You will have caves everywhere. But the dwarven and alfar regions will have much more of it. Gunther_TheBlack> so if you play alfar you are able to attack the human lands from below? Henning_dev> Depends if you find the way, hehe... Gunther_TheBlack> btw do you got mage dwarfs in df or are they runesmiths?? Henning_dev> You can, I`m pretty sure. But then yes, you should choose another race. Gunther_TheBlack> did you model any mining buildings so far henning? Henning_dev> We use ordinary houses for that. But we have a collection of sheds and

stuff aswell. Gunther_TheBlack> will dwarf mines be better than human mines for instance? Gunther_TheBlack> so you just build a house nearby the mine and you mine away with you chars Gunther_TheBlack> do you got packhorses or mules to carry the ore back to the house? Gunther_TheBlack> because you can't carry much ore on your own i guess Henning_dev> Don`t worry about carrying stuff, hehe. Gunther_TheBlack> why not? Gunther_TheBlack> so you are saying you got multiple ways to transport heavy loads? Knatte> btw can you buy a horse and travel with it? rideing it that is Henning_dev> We are aiming for horse mounts, yes. stounedi> Henning_dev, do you have any information, how the npc system is made? I mean, can players hire npc's as blacksmiths and miners to work for them, even during the time player himself is offline? Henning_dev> No. I really don t get into the techical side of the gamplay, as this isn t my area. Henning_dev> You should ask Claus this. I m just a humble artist, hehe. Game technical stuff isn t what I can answer 100% for sure. Henning_dev> But don t shoot me if this is wrong

Claus IRC 16/01/04
http://totalmadownage.com/showthread.php?t=1286 Gunther_TheBlack> any news on the website claus? Claus|Dev> I think the site is ready, but its being held back a little bit Claus|Dev> for Various Strategic Reasons(tm) Reiltar> ok, ill begin with a question nobody ever asked before: Whens beta!? whens release!? can i macro!? Claus|Dev> well it will release this year Zog> Saw some guy on the forums mentioning something about your character doing menial tasks while you're offline? Claus|Dev> thats false Claus|Dev> when you log, your gone Gunther_TheBlack> instantly? Claus|Dev> depends on where you log Gunther_TheBlack> in an inn and outside an inn? Gunther_TheBlack> like uo? Claus|Dev> yea kinda Gunther_TheBlack> oki Zog> Heh, first time I got in trouble in UO (had a troll chasin' me) I decided to log out Claus|Dev> no turning off the pc to escape death, if thats what you asked

Reiltar> Will the logout timer be in the client =)? Claus|Dev> hehe Claus|Dev> no Gunther_TheBlack> ah a question i saw on the forum, can you actually hold a beer glass or something in-game? Claus|Dev> if we have time Sephriel> hey can you wear an eyepatch? > Claus|Dev> its not pri 1 Claus|Dev> we have a long list of stuff that "would be cool" Claus|Dev> might use it for patches Claus|Dev> or if we have extra time.. which we wont have (for sure) Gunther_TheBlack> you got beer in-game right? do you got beerbrewers then also? you can make beer.. but I dont remember if it was under alchemy or its own skill Gunther_TheBlack> can you get drunk in-game? Claus|Dev> yea Zog> Will you release any expansion packs, claus? :o Claus|Dev> there will probably be expansion packs yea Penny|afk> Oh yeah... followup for Pumpkin, will we see the remaining models on the new website? Claus|Dev> penny: as far as I know, we will show all male models at launch of the new webpage Gunther_TheBlack> so all lore also then? Claus|Dev> yea and all lore Viranth> Claus|Dev: Is this the correct strength"list" of DF? 1.Ork 2. Dwarf 3. Mahirim (rest doesn't matter =)) Claus|Dev> strenght as in the stat strenght? Viranth> yeah Claus|Dev> ork dwarf mahirim human elf alfar Viranth> Talked to someone about it the other day, and they wondered why dwarves would be second. Claus|Dev> turn around for intelligence Gunther_TheBlack> so mahirim will be good tanks Claus|Dev> we dont have alot of "tanking" as seen in other games Claus|Dev> combat is alot faster Anzu> will you be able to see your weapon ?

Claus|Dev> see your weapon.. yes Claus|Dev> melee fights arent fps Zog> so no aiming at special body areas in melee? Claus|Dev> melee is kinda special Claus|Dev> hard to explain Zog> Elaborate, please Claus|Dev> when you enter combat mode with a melee weapon, it goes to 3rd perspective Claus|Dev> fps melee was too boring and confusing Claus|Dev> we had to spice it up Viranth> So like savage in a way? Claus|Dev> like savage in a way, yes kAxen> Claus|Dev so when will we see the first movie? Claus|Dev> no idea about the movie Stahl> Claus: Have you finished "magic and spells" yet, so you could show pictures of people using different spells? Claus|Dev> we will show spells and stuff soon I think Claus|Dev> particle effects were very low on the pri list for the engine Claus|Dev> so thats why we havent showed it yet Claus|Dev> its working now though qePs> Claus|Dev: I want to ask you about the stealth classes. How will stealth work? Is it similar to how it works in dark age of camelot? Claus|Dev> stealth.. its not just 1 skill.. its several skills Claus|Dev> like hide, stealth, sneak etc Claus|Dev> hard to explain them all without writing a book Gunther_TheBlack> so if you want to build a house? do you just buy a deed at an architect (a pc or npc one?) and go to a spot an dbuild the house with lego block like things claus? Claus|Dev> gunther: its a one time operation.. place kinda Zog> HEy, let's get into the housebuilding thing. Players WILL be able to produce houses, right? Claus|Dev> yes, player housing is an important part of darkfall SG}Lactar> claus will we be able to fight when mounted on for example on a horse? or do we have todismount? Claus|Dev> you can do some fighting on a horse Claus|Dev> basic fighting Claus|Dev> not all the special moves etc Thrugar> are stas like health, str, mana, fixed from the start? how do they go up

without lvls Claus|Dev> Claus|Dev> Claus|Dev> Claus|Dev>

thrugar: they go up by use of skills like example: mace fighting skill is connected to str every time mace raises, you may get more str

Gunther_TheBlack> another little question, can you build moats areound a town? Claus|Dev> no you cant build moats Claus|Dev> thats terrain deformation, and we had to scrap that.. it ate too many resources Rompyzzz> Claus, will all teh servers be in the same location or will there be 1 in Europe, some in US, Asia etc Claus|Dev> rompy: we will have servers in US, Europe and asia, as far as I know Claus|Dev> the euro server will be in my bedroom Claus|Dev> I guess the euro server will be in germany.. but I really have no clue And quote of today..... Claus|Dev> SG}Lactar> Claus|Dev> Claus|Dev> Claus|Dev> I am getting alot of pms.. please dont claus you wont be playing oh I will be playing I wanna let you all in so I can make you suffer for asking all the questions darkfall will release when I am done building my character

Claus IRC 21/01/05
http://totalmadownage.com/showthread.php?t=1312 Viranth> Claus|Dev: we were talking about suicide missions earlier today. And I'm wondering if it's possible for a large clan, like 1000 people to storm a race capital and take it over? I was thinking guards would spawn and slowly kill them, or that it's well defended so players will have to run through several checkpoints which can be called deathtraps.. ? Claus|Dev> 1000 people taking over a capital.. well I guess its doable in theory.. Tulli> Claus|Dev: the engine would have to take care of that .. its posible to render with less details the more people are on the screen Claus|Dev> tulli: yes we have level of detail Damian> Claus, any news on a development update? Claus|Dev> I think there will be a dev update this week Claus|Dev> dev update, not website.. just to clear any misunderstandings PenDragon> Claus|Dev: So the new website wont be this week and reason for this cleared in the dev update? Claus|Dev> pendragon: I dont write the status updates.. maybe?

[SoL]-Golathe> Mr. Claus: as far as grouping and guilds you have any info Claus|Dev> what do you mean golathe? [SoL]-Golathe> have you played SWG? [SoL]-Golathe> as far as a grouping system in that i think it is nice Claus|Dev> I never grouped with anyone in SWG.. I lost interest very fast.. not my game PenDragon> Claus|Dev: Can you reveal any other "moving objects" in Darkfall? What we got so far is grass, leafs and clouds? Claus|Dev> the shadows of the clouds, water, boats on water, banners, flags, capes, trees, leaves, grass, clouds, sun, moons, lights Tulli> what about moving mobs and stuff :> Claus|Dev> everything moves PenDragon> Claus|Dev: oh followup question, does the hair move? like it does in Lineage2 Claus|Dev> hair doesnt move now, but kjetil really wants to add it though.. we'll see.. its not high on the priority list Tulli> Claus|Dev: how many moons we got ? Claus|Dev> 2 moons Viranth> Will there be full moon, half moon and all those things too? Tulli> Claus|Dev: will one be able to cut his hair / change the style of the hair ? Claus|Dev> tulli: most probably not Locco> claus what about siege weapons, as in how many are there? are they being balanced so all are usefull unlike past MMORPG's Claus|Dev> locco: we are trying to balance all siege weapons, and make sure they have a function Creslin> are you guys gonna have automated towers to defend a city like in wc3 or the rts games Claus|Dev> creslin: well we have automated guards... CS|doob> Claus|dev: will scouting a city your going to attack be important so you know what siege engines to bring and where to put them or will it just be load up with the most powerful and go Claus|Dev> doob: scouting is important for many reasons.. layout of town, number of guards, active players in the area etc Claus|Dev> so I guess the correct answer is: yes CS|doob> Claus|dev: so your saying that there can be weaknesses in towns that can be exploited only by certain siege engines and not by others? Tulli> if there are siege weapons there should also be installed defensive weapons that a player should be able to use if he is around when the town gets attacked Locco> ballista's on walls :op Claus|Dev> we have towers with ballistaes on.. they are manually controlled (by players)

Viranth> Claus|Dev: just to clear it up, when you said 5-10 n00bs/newbies could beat a vet/maxed/good/what not player, what is a n00b? Never played any games before? Never played df before? Claus|Dev> viranth: someone straight out of character creation lithia> I want to know what stage Darkfall is currently in? Is it in like Beta and going to spring a monthly fee (or already does) on its players in the future? Claus|Dev> darkfall is currently in closed beta, and will have a monthly fee to play

Todays quote: RyuShihan> how smart is guard AI? Claus|Dev> how do I answer that? Pumpkin> i would say about as smart as Brannoc Claus|Dev> they are not as smart as me, but slightly smarter than ricki

Claus IRC 26/01/04
http://totalmadownage.com/showthread.php?t=1335 Viranth> The update was good =) Interesting to read about the ability to control weather and maybe even chop off more stuff than the head Claus|Dev> haha Claus|Dev> the chopping off thing will mess up our rating Claus|Dev> oh the headchop is in, we arent sure about limbs though Claus|Dev> the characters are prepared for it tho Viranth> what happens to the head? Will it just fall down on the ground and vanish, or will it stay for x minutes and players can pick it up? Creslin> can you do things with the head, for example soccer

Claus|Dev> zimone: yes I played DT Zimone> I heard something about you being affiliated to Black Rosen on DT, not sure if its accurate though Claus|Dev> yea I was in Black Rose on DT Claus|Dev> I played with ToEs too for a while {SG}Ezuan> Claus, i was wondering, how exactly are sieges balanced in terms of sieging an underground city, I would think it would be much more difficult to siege one sucessfully Claus|Dev> ezuan: sieging underground cities is harder than overland cities, yes.. Tasos|Dev> and darker Claus|Dev> there are fewer of them though, so they will be heavily contested Claus|Dev> ..well at least I think so.. heh {SG}Ezuan> alfar can build underground cities, correct? Claus|Dev> yes Vehementi> but we can't dig them out in the first place?

Gowel> dig what? Vehementi> make caves for underground cities {SG}Ezuan> i think he's asking if you can dig up a city Gowel> they said no terrain deformation Vehementi> but if you could "place" a cave Vehementi> with some nifty code you wouldn't really need terrain deformation hehe Claus|Dev> thats actually a good idea vehementi Tasos|Dev> okay Vehementi just gave us something to think about Claus|Dev> have to think about "placing" caves.. like.. one entrance could be too big of an advantage.. Claus|Dev> anyways.. Gowel> Any chance of an updated world map being on the new site? Claus|Dev> yes it will Claus|Dev> new worldmap is on the new site Viranth> Will the worldmap have like areas colored where each race is? Claus|Dev> the worldmap on the site has races indicated by text.. the ingame map wont Zimone> How is combat/PvP looking so far? Is it really intense? Claus|Dev> zimone: we are switching parameters from build to build, so it isnt finalized yet.. we want a balance between twitch skills and traditional pvp skills KoE|Preston> Claus, is there a plan to be able to put Clan emblems on on ships? I know that might not be a priority at release, but wonderd if you had ever thought of it Claus|Dev> preston: we will have clan symbols on sails AkielVonStrife> Claus, can I see around a corner or behind my character in third person view? Claus|Dev> akiel: yes currently you can.. AugestDeWynter> when in TPV is the camera straight behind you or is up above you? Claus|Dev> camera is behind you in tpv ssr> question I didn't quite get the answer about bow & arrows... While in first person is it going to be like CS and other First Person shooters? Claus|Dev> bow & arrow works like a fps game.. you have to aim Claus|Dev> same with most damage spells Locco> claus does that include gravity as well as leading the mob/person with arrows? Claus|Dev> you should lead a little.. but we are trying to balance speed of arrows.. AkielVonStrife> Claus, do the aiming weapons have a Cone of Fire? Claus|Dev> akiel: its balanced.. spells with high dmg require finer aiming.. area of effect spells (fireball) are .. well AE spells {SG}Ezuan> if someone shoots an arrow at you, can you block it with a shield, or will a shield just prevent some dmg...? Claus|Dev> ezuan: shield autoblocks blocking manually is virtually impossible.. Locco> in the old faq it was stated you can change your name/guild emblem with disquise skill is this still in? Claus|Dev> yes Locco

AugestDeWynter> how many skills can you get to 100 before it becomes really really hard to gain anymore? Claus|Dev> augest: not even begun to balance skill progression yet Locco> claus will there be an option to play as a random monster? Claus|Dev> locco: no, but I saw the thread.. its a cool idea, but we arent gonna do it Locco> is there a play dead skill? Claus|Dev> its a cool feature, but we cant add everything.. ( I think this is the reply to this question heh ) Mhorham> do you anticipate a limited public beta after the upcoming buid is fully tested? Tasos|Dev> longer but no 12 months like everyone else is doing AkielVonStrife> did you guys ever test out the sitting down while eating thing? Claus|Dev> no we havent akiel, but its on our List(tm) AugestDeWynter> did you balance run speed yet? i remember you saying programmers wanted it slow or something... Claus|Dev> augest: ongoing process When discussion went to players possibility to play monster NPC's this came up... Vehementi> "omfg wtf the monster attacked the healer instead ofthe tank that built up aggro and got our group killed! omfg! cheat! grief! help csr help! Claus|Dev> actually we have monster AI that will go for the healers.. thats gonna be unpopular Aelelende> hope it is with intelligent monsters. Aelelende> not like in daoc. Claus|Dev> we have several different levels of AI.. some monsters are dumb, others fight smarter Claus|Dev> AI is hard Gowel> who's programming your AI? Claus|Dev> Bjorn Eirik Larsen

Todays quote Satam> question: can we change hairstyles Satam> yiannas wouldnt tell me Satam> Claus|Dev> satam: most probably not, go play Barbie Online

Gamemethod interview 12/02/04
http://www.gamemethod.com/PC/91/roundtable-4-darkfallonline?pg=2 Dionysis: Which games influenced the design of DarkfallOnline? Claus: Pretty much every game we ever played. Some gave us good ideas, others showed us new ways of improving game play or confirmed design theories we had on paper for years. Even the games that we didn't like gave us something - spotting a bad or poorly implemented feature in a game can be as helpful as finding a great one, and can influence design decisions. We try to learn from mistakes we find in other games so that we don't repeat them in Darkfall. Dionysis: What's the style of play you're trying to achieve? Claus: A fun one! We're making Darkfall as much fun to play as possible. Dionysis: How do you feel about permadeath as a mechanic that brings about repercussion and consequence to one's actions? Claus: I think there are better ways to hold players accountable for their actions than permadeath. The alignment system in Darkfall is designed to do just that. Dionysis: Do you believe that there is a synergy between PvP and permadeath? Claus: Not at all, in fact I think they are direct conflict with each other. PvP should be a fun and challenging feature, not a big bad scarecrow that most players are afraid of. It's like having to level up a new character for a month or so every time he dies in Counterstrike or Unreal. Permadeath in any form or shape is directly damaging to a PvP game. Dionysis: What would you say if I told you DarkfallOnline is heralded as the "next UO" for all those hardcore players out there beyond "we know" =] Claus: Ultima Online in its original form has definitely been a great source of inspiration for Darkfall, but as our players will find out, Darkfall brings a lot of new and unique things to the genre. Obviously, being heralded as the "next UO" sounds good to me. Dionysis: How would you respond to the following statements? "Easily the largest (and most profitable) group are games that cater to PvPplayers. Bigger companies tend to go with the safety that PvP- games like FFX1 and EQ2 provide, while startup companies take a risk to produce PvP+ games like DarkfallOnline, Trials of Ascension and Frontier 1859" and "The gap between PvP+ and PvP- MMOrpg's is growing. The intricate detail necessary for balancing a game of each play style requires a different perspective on designing treadmills, economy and social structures. soon PvP+ and PvP- games will make up separate genre's." Claus: I don't agree with these statements at all. I think the first really good PvP MMORPG may sell really well, and it probably has a bigger potential future audience

than any of the PvE games. Human nature is competitive by design. We really enjoy fighting other people, and since permadeath is the biggest design flaw in real life, we invented sports so we could re-spawn and fight the same people over and over again. I think when the mass-market - that's already playing PvP games such as Quake, Half-Life, Counterstrike, Unreal, Red Alert, Wolfenstein, Magic the Gathering etc discover a PvP MMORPG that can give them the correct combination of adrenaline rush, sense of togetherness in the form of clans and communities competing against each other in a rich and well-developed online world, the mass-market will be there for the PvP MMORPG. When it comes to the gap between PvP+ and PvP- MMORPGs, well I don't really see why there has to be a gap at all. The PvP community has been short-changed for years, with PvP content poorly patched into games clearly not designed to support any meaningful player conflict. With Darkfall we hope to make a game that has enough MMORPG content to make the PvE players drool with envy, and at the same time delivering prime PvP. Dionysis: Thanks a lot!

Claus IRC 12/03/04
http://totalmadownage.com/showthread.php?t=1421 [09:07] * Claus|Dev has joined #darkfall [09:10] Idcams> So claus between you and me, when you releasing the game. ;> [09:11] Claus|Dev> when it is ready [09:13] Idcams> Well I hope its ready this year or next. So far it looks great though I am very curious on your death penalties (They seem soft) and the other races (Maharim esp look intersting while orks look like they need some more love) [09:14] Idcams> Screen shots are incredible too btw! Love the video of the grass moving [09:15] Claus|Dev> the visuals will be even better though [09:16] Shadly|Semi-here> how is the alfar situation claus ? [09:16] Shadly|Semi-here> in regards to sunlight ? [09:16] [SoL]-Drax> [09:16] Claus|Dev> we are trying different setups for alfar and sunlight [09:18] Claus|Dev> we want to find a balance between making it a cool feature, and not totally ruining the game for alfar players [09:18] [09:19] [09:21] [09:21] ThaMan> will DF have a permadeath server? Claus|Dev> probably not Claus|Dev> I have done some interviews on permadeath Claus|Dev> go read them

[09:21] Claus|Dev> we are making a pvp game, not a permadeath game [09:23] Ryodlog> imo the screenshots look really dark [09:23] Ryodlog> theres no "vibrant color" thing to it or whatever [09:23] Ryodlog> is it intended like that? [09:23] Claus|Dev> yea the lighting hasnt been tuned at all on the old screens [09:23] Claus|Dev> they arent PR screenshots, just status reports.. kinda [09:24] Ryodlog> not saying it should b crazy-color-WoW-fest.. just makes me feel depressed haha [09:24] Ryodlog> all dark and gloomy [09:24] Ryodlog> and rainy [09:24] Claus|Dev> we have tried to be honest about what we have, and havent spent time tuning screenshots to look awesome [09:25] [SoL]-Drax> Claus one thing which i find annoying in some games in lack of customization of controls Eg macros or setting actions to keys other then default [09:25] Claus|Dev> you can change key bindings to anything you want [09:25] Claus|Dev> we only have a few locked keys [09:25] Raizor> Claus I have family that play together. Will it be possible for us to have the same last name? [09:26] Claus|Dev> raizor: absolutely [09:26] Idcams> Point Im not gonna pay 15 or 10 a month to relive an end game of boredom. What innocative features are you doing to satisfy the people who will max out or are just creating a neverending treadmill so noone can max out. (Everquest does this now and release an XP ever 3 months to retain its highlevel players) [09:27] Claus|Dev> well maxing out all skills and spells will take you forever [09:27] Claus|Dev> but thats not even the point [09:27] Claus|Dev> this game isnt all about leveling.. [09:27] Claus|Dev> its about having fun doing other stuff [09:27] [SoL]-Drax> Just to resolve some old issues i think i bugged you other many times before [09:28] [SoL]-Drax> The character races differences will still be minor rather then major Eg speed and base stats [09:28] [SoL]-Drax> Example be some games one races is obviously superior and other races do not compete [09:29] Claus|Dev> the differences between the races are small but noticable [09:29] Claus|Dev> small so they arent impossible to balance [09:29] Claus|Dev> but noticable so there is a point to having 6 races [09:31] Idcams> Claus Ive played ALOT of MMORPGs just wondering about the end game. I always grow bored at the end. You just said I can never max out that makes me think Treadmill. Then you say its not about that its about other stuff in the end game. Have you guys thought about what that other stuff might be or are you just putting a prequistite time limit on leveling up before I can play Quake3 and then hoping a MMORPG wannabe FPS will keep us hooked?

[09:31] Claus|Dev> well, there is no "endgame" in darkfall [09:32] Claus|Dev> meaning eendgame as seen in other games [09:32] Claus|Dev> you DONT have to level up for months to have fun [12:08] * Claus|Dev has quit IRC

F13 interview 13/05/04
http://www.f13.net/features.php?subaction=showfull&id=1083586002&archive=&star t_from=&ucat=12& f13: For those unfamiliar with you and your company, please give a description of yourself, your company, what game(s) your company is working on, and your role in the production of those games. CG: My name is Claus Grovdal and I'm the Lead Designer and Producer of Darkfall, the MMORPG currently in development by Aventurine/Razorwax. f13: World or game, which is more important? Why? CG: The goal is to make a good game, and the world is a feature of the game, not the other way around. The nature of MMOGs obviously demands creating good persistent worlds, but if the game doesn't come first, you could end up with a glorified 3D IRC client. f13: However, many people who get burnt out on the combat/exploration aspects of the games remain subscribed to log in and chat with friends, in a glorified IRC tavern is there a place for this utility in every game? How can it be implemented so that it doesn't detract from other aspects of gameplay? CG: Absolutely. I think that good community building tools such as chat, messaging, ingame boards, etc. are vital to any MMOG. It suprises me that ingame boards are not a standard feature of most MMOGs. f13: In your opinion, are MMOGs converging towards a model of perfection or diverging into new genres? CG: I think we're far from even beginning to talk about a model of perfection for MMOGs. We're still in the embryonic stages of a new industry, and everything is still evolving. Game design, game concepts, marketing, distribution, billing methods, publishing models, platforms - the growth of the MMOG industry is happening as we speak, just considerably slower than some of the more optimistic observers predicted a few years ago. f13: Some companies are claiming to be 2nd and 3rd generation MMORPGs - aside from being your typical PR Bullshit, what generation of MMORPGs do you think we're currently in (by your comments, I would assume 1st generation - which is what many fans believe)? CG: It's just semantics. Whether you are talking about 1st, 2nd or 3rd generation, it is all relative and irrelevant. Whatever generation we are at, we are the next one ;) f13: Does the so-called casual gamer exist? If so, what design goals would attract

such a player to a game? CG: There is still no real evidence proving there is such a thing as a large base of casual MMOG players. Planetside is a game designed for more casual players were you log in for instant action. I think it proved that in order to get paying subscribers, you have to compete with and offer more than what traditional multiplayer games such as Counterstrike and Battlefield 1942 gives for free. The predicament is of course that if you offer more, you might actually add too much and the game requires bigger time investments by the player than you initially planned. It's an interesting design dilemma. For example, community building is in my opinion one of the most important aspects of MMOGs. You have a community of friends and enemies, and players keep coming back to MMOGs to play with their friends, and fight their enemies. A problem here is that as soon as players become part of this community, they start feeling the pressure from their friends about playing more, building their characters so they can keep up, helping the team out etc, and they have to decide if they want to invest more time in the game or not. The first game to offer players more than Counterstrike, but with considerably less time investments than Lineage II, might have a real winner on their hands. I think Shadowbane came close, but they had too many and too serious technical problems with their software. f13: We've been playing what seems like the same game since the first MUDs came out, what do you think is currently missing from the MMOG genre that's keeping it from breaking into the next generation? CG: I think we need to see a shift in publisher strategies. When companies invest enormous amounts of money and resources on big projects like MMOGs are, there's a lot of responsibility attached to it. Companies and developers could choke under this kind of pressure, and start questioning themselves, often ending up with settling for proven concepts, cutting important game features, spending too little time testing, and releasing the game earlier than they're supposed to. The problem is unfortunately that settling for proven concepts, and cutting features that made a game stand out in the first place, often translates to boredom for the players, and they naturally don't want to pay to play. Maybe there will be a shift in publisher strategies eventually, following the venture capitalist model of investing $30M on 10 small projects, instead of on one big one. Then after a year or so of development, they could pick the best projects, juice them up, and cut the poor ones or release them as budget titles. I think that would help. f13: What model of government do MMORPG developers attempt to replicate in-game (I.E. Japanese Feudalism, Anarchy, Capitalism, etc)? In addition, What model of government do you think works best given the unpredictability of a world where killing is the main form of progression?

CG: Players tend to organize themselves into primitive tribal communities within the games they play. I am not so sure this is always a conscious design decision by the developers, but nevertheless it's the result. I don't think it should be up to the developers to replicate or to dictate government or economic models in MMORPGs. Give the players the tools to successfully pick the government models themselves. When the game is released, the game should belong to the players, not the developers. f13: With the new MMORPG, City of Heroes, we have seen the epitome of classification among character archetypes. They have been blatently labeled Tanker (Warrior), Blaster (Archer), Scrapper (Rogue), Defender (Paladin), and Controller (Generic Crowd Control) and as such have left zero room for creativity (which they allocated into clothing customization). By labeling thusly, we are told what kind of character we are to play - and have almost zero room for deviation. Has character archetypes 'jumped the shark' as it were, only leaving enough room for minor changes, or are we actually going to see innovation? Discuss the future of character archetypes as you see it. CG: I am not a very big fan of predefined character classes. Frankly I think this is another symptom of the settling for proven concepts problem. The main argument for predefined character classes has always been game balance, but I think there are better ways of balancing while at the same time allowing the players the freedom to play how and what they want without having to constantly reroll new characters. Let the players define their own character classes. Let them pick up the skills, spells and equipment they feel like. As an example, in Darkfall we haven't balanced the spell casters by not allowing them to wear armor; instead we've given armor a casting time penalty. This way you can decide yourself if you want to be a quick but fragile mage, or a slow but more protected tank mage. The freedom to let the players be more in charge of how they play games - I think this is a huge deal in moving the MMOG genre forward. f13: How would you avoid the pitfalls of the current crop of PVP-centric games, such as the power of the zerg, 3 AM raid syndrome, time-investment being more important than player skill, serial killer griefer PK syndrome, and the loser quitting because rebuilding is too hard? CG: You have a thread discussing the Darkfall siege system here on the F13.net boards, so I kind of expected this question. We have several ways of balancing the power of the zerg and the 3AM raid syndrome, but I don't want to go into specifics yet. Speaking about the losing side quitting the game because rebuilding is too hard, I think it is important to break the entire gameplay down into smaller steps. In Shadowbane you could build a city for months, only to have it burned down completely in a few hours. It is a cool sounding feature on paper, but in the end I think it is punishing the losing side way too much. I don't have any numbers to back it up, but I am pretty confident that every guild that had their city burned down, saw a good percentage of their players quitting the game in the following few days.

Rebuilding after defeat was just too hard and tedious, and most players didn't want to go through with that again. In Dark Age of Camelot they adopted the small steps philosophy. You can take over another guild's keep, and the losing side doesn't lose that much. Additionally, the losers can get the keep back fairly easily; it hasn't been burned down to the ground. I personally feel that the risks and rewards are too small, close to insignificant in Dark Age of Camelot, but still better than in Shadowbane. I think a better balance lies somewhere between Shadowbane and Dark Age of Camelot. Let the conqueror take over the city and allow them to destroy a few assets if they so desire, but limit how much they can burn down. Basically you want them taking over instead of destroying. This way the losing guild has the chance to lick their wounds, regroup and try to take their city back through diplomacy, trade, or by force. You keep most of the gameplay about building and taking over, instead of destruction, which ultimately chases players away from the game. The fun part in both Shadowbane and Dark Age of Camelot is the fighting anyway, so now there's always something to fight over. It's still possible to burn down entire cities in Darkfall, but only a few buildings/structures every so often, giving the losing team the possibility of reclaiming what was theirs before it is forever gone. With this system we hope to increase the fun and excitement of waging war, and decrease the sense of a definitive Game Over. f13: Here's a simple one: Is it solely the publisher's fault when games are rushed out the door? CG: I think the term "rushed out the door" is misleading. The truth is usually that initial time estimates were wrong, and the developers need more time to finish the game than decided when contracts were made, and budgets were allocated. It is a sad fact, but correctly estimating the development time of a game is extremely hard, and almost always fails. Publishing games is a business, and money to keep funding development is not always available. For most companies money is a limited resource, and even if the resources exist, publishers still have to make sound business decisions. I think it's really a shared responsibility. The developers failed to deliver the game at an agreed date, and the publishers decided to release the game anyway. Unfortunately everyone loses when a game is released too early. Players get an unfinished product, and publishers/developers usually lose sales. f13: The most successful American MMOG to date, Everquest, has spawned numerous knockoffs that, frankly, suck. How dangerous to the creativity of the industry is an incredibly successful release? CG: Copying is not exclusive to the gaming industry. It is a human trait; for every Coca Cola there is a Pepsi. In some cases cloning helps create better cars, faster planes or cheaper burgers and that is a good thing for most industries and consumers. I agree that the Everquest phenomenon has mostly been slowing down the evolution of the MMOG industry, but I am not so sure we would have been better off without it.

f13: Aside from the games you are developing, are there any MMOG's on the horizon that blow your hair back? If so, why? Also, what MMOG most influenced your current focus, Darkfall? CG: I probably learned something, and found inspiration in every game I ever played. If I had to pick one game though, it would have to be Ultima Online. The freedom Ultima Online offered players has been a mantra for me and the rest of the team when working on Darkfall. Making games is my daytime job, but I am also a fanatic gamer. I really wish there were a few MMOGs on the horizon that blew my hair back, but I honestly can't say there is. There are a few interesting ones, such as City of Heroes, but none that really keeps me up at night plotting and planning. f13: Is there anything you'd like to add? Any comments for our readers or inside information on Darkfall or future releases you'd like to throw in? CG: Darkfall is currently in internal testing, and we are slowly gearing up for external play testing. We are in a fortunate position financially, and having a knowledgeable and understanding community, we're able to take the time to try and get everything right before we release the game. We plan to release Darkfall within 2004.

2003
RPGvault 15/01/03: MMOG player retention
http://rpgvault.ign.com/articles/446/446085p4.html BT Oren World Designer, Darkfall Razorwax There is no magical recipe for stickiness - it all comes down to depth of gameplay. Piling the features high won't cut it, at least not in the long run. No matter how many places there are to explore and features to try out, dedicated players will exhaust the possibilities relatively quickly. If the opportunities for real immersion are limited, they will then move on to other games. The trouble is, it is tempting to pack all kinds of stuff into your project - quests and dungeons; large-scale warfare; a huge world; village building; trade skills and diplomacy... the list of potentially cool inclusions is long, and if you're not careful, you'll end up with a host of watered-down features and, ultimately, an unfocused game experience. People will play this kind of sprawling and shallow game until they've seen what is on offer, then they will - quite rightly - cancel their subscriptions. It is a game designer's honey trap, and to avoid falling into it, you must know from day one what the main thrust of your project is going to be. During development, you need to concentrate on making this aspect work properly before moving on to all the other tempting features. With Darkfall for instance, our focus is on clan-based warfare and conquest, and we prioritize features that add to this part of the gameplay.

As we all know, the things that attract players are not the things that keep them playing. Impressive feature lists, beautiful graphics and a well-known setting are things that bring them in, but a couple of months after release, they start to count for very little. If you want people to stay active in your game for a long time, there needs to be some aspect of it that they can keep enjoying, and keep improving at, for a long time. This could be anything from mastering an advanced combat system to exploiting the opportunities of running trade between cities. One thing that makes today's online worlds less sticky than they could be is that they tend to be rather stagnant and unresponsive. For the genre to reach its potential, we need to see worlds where large-scale developments are driven by the successes and failures of players. Winning a major war or solving an important quest should change the gameworld slightly, adding to its player-driven history.

Action4Life interview 02/05/03
http://web.archive.org/web/20031010081341/http://www.action4life.com/cms/intervi ews/Darkfall.php Darkfall Q&A - Friday May 2 '03 12:27 AM Interviewed: Claus Grovdal Darkfall is the online RPG being developed by Razorwax AS. The game was inspired by the pioneers like Ultima Online, Everquest and Asheron's Call but the developers are looking to make Darkfall all that and more, to advance the genre even further. We had a little chat with Claus Grovdal and asked him a few things about Dakrfall, here's what he had to say. Shishko: Could you give us an idea, maybe an example of things a player can "create" and what would be needed of the player to do so. Claus: Players can create just about anything. Ranging from tools, weapons and armor to houses, castles and even roads. The easiest example to give is obviously a magical weapon. To create a magical weapon, the player needs a few skills, such as Weaponsmithing and Weapon Imbuing. The she needs special components that fits the magic she wants to imbue in the weapon. For instance, to make a sword that does fire based damage, she would need to imbue the weapon a component named "Fire Drake Claw". Shishko: Could you give us a little info on "houses"? It is said the player will be able to have their own house. How exactly will this work? are players given a dwelling, or do they have to buy (build?) it? Claus: Players have to build their own houses, much like UO, but with some added options for customization and some neat features we dont wanna talk about yet. Shishko: Would you care to elaborate a little on the spells. Like what type of magic spells can we expect, maybe an example of one? Claus: Well we have about 500 spells designed on paper, so I think we have just about all the spells you can think of, in some form or another. The weirdest ones can be found in the magic school of Wild Magic. Spells in this school are true to their name, so expect some wild effects. An example is the spell Twist. When cast, you attempt to switch current hitpoints with the target. This means that you could enter combat with

only a few hitpoints, and gamble on a succesfull Twist, leaving your target at low hitpoints (finish him off with a quick Magic Missile). Or you could use it to help out a friend that is low on hitpoints and about to die, by attempting to switch hitpoints with him. Wild effects due to casting this spell includes several kinds of results: both you and your target could end up with the lowest hitpoints, both could end up fully healed, or you can end up with your combined hitpoints total divided on two, and distributed evenly. Shishko: It is said the game will feature real weather effects. In what ways will weather effect the player, or will it have a direct effect on the player? Claus: We do not want to reveal too much about this just yet :\ Shishko: What do you expect the net play to be like for modem users. Obviously not everyone has access to high speed, so will there be anything to help make the game playable for modem users? Claus: Darkfall should run just fine over a modem. The game already looks quite impressive and it sounds like they are doing all the right things to ensure that the game is well received by the community. Using the pioneer games as an inspiration certainly goes to show that they know what they are talking about and they know what works and what doesn't. Darkfall looks very promising, and we'll be keeping an eye on this title as it progresses. - Irwin "Shishko" McNeely

GameBanshee 03/08/03
http://www.gamebanshee.com/interviews/darkfall2-1.php It's been quite some time since we last checked in on Razorwax to see how progress is coming along on Darkfall Online, so last week we sent off a batch of questions for the game's lead designer, Claus Grovdal. Here's what he had to say: GB: It's been nearly two years since we talked to you last, so can you give us a quick summary of where you stand in the development of Darkfall? Claus: We have come a long way since the first Gamebanshee interview. Back then we had the four guys in a basement, now we have a team of 20 people working hard on finishing the game. We also moved country,from a basement in Oslo, Norway to modern offices close to the Olympic stadium in Athens, Greece. We all have a nice tan now. Darkfall is entering closed beta testing in September this year. The closed beta is fully playable, with most core features implemented. We will be adding features and content during closed beta, while we gear up for the next beta stages. GB: In the past couple of years, have any of your design goals changed? Has anything been cut/added from the development process?

Claus: Very little has changed. We have stayed true to the original design, and kept almost all of the features promised when we launched the Darkfall site two years ago. We sadly had to remove some popular features such as flying mounts, for reasons having to do with game balance issues related to sieges, and deformable terrain, due to possible latency issues. We have tried to make up for it by adding more content than originally planned. We'll be looking at possibly implementing these features at a later date. GB: The Features section on your website claims that Darkfall Online will have one of the best quest systems ever seen in a game. Can you describe the quest system and exactly why it bests any before it? Claus: I'm afraid that the quest engine is one of the game elements we have to keep under wraps for now. GB: For those who are unfamiliar with Darkfall Online, can you give us a description of how the clan system will work and what goals a clan might strive to achieve? Claus: Any player can form a new clan, and we have provided excellent tools for the clan leader to organize and run the clan. In-game message boards, donation tracking, assigning and changing member ranks, voting on guild issues, diplomacy interface to other clans, statistics, messages of the day, event scheduling, etc. We have tried to cover everything clan leaders could possibly need to make their life easier. Clans may strive to achieve different goals. Some clans will be happy building a city, develop it and try to live in peace with their neighboring clans, and defend what they've built. Some clans may enjoy being traders and travel the world being merchants. Some clans may be mercenary hiring their combat readiness out to the highest bidder, and obviously some clans will strive to conquer and enslave other clans, building a massive empire with numerous cities. GB: Can you tell us about the different methods of transportation that you will be implementing? Claus: Foot, mount, boat, magic. We have tried to balance travel, so that it is not easy to move a huge army across the map. This is something we will fine tune during testing, and try to make sure it's as balanced as possible. GB: Will player housing be part of the game at its initial release? Claus: Absolutely. Players and clans can build complete cities, even empires with all the buildings you can imagine, ranging from small personal cottages, to huge castles, shops and defensive structures. Even boats can be built and owned by the players. GB: Can you describe the item creator that you will be implementing and how players will be able to utilize it? Will items created in this way have the potential to be better than magic items found while adventuring? Claus: Almost every item found in the game can be player made. There will be some unique items, obtained by completing epic quests or clan quests (for the entire clan to

participate in,) Besides these quest items, player crafters will have the potential to make almost anything. GB: Your FAQ states that there will be no "safe zones". How do you plan on addressing issues of severe player-killing or other forms of "griefing"? Claus: There are almost unlimited new ways of fighting the griefer for other players. If you don't like someone you have options: Ban him from binding in your town, kill him on sight, have your guards kill him on sight, your NPC vendors refuse to sell him items, or just give him bad prices if you still would like his money. Tell your allies to do the same to him in their cities. Attack his clan, burn their cities, and brag about it. Track, stalk and kill him. Darkfall will let you deal out vengeance any way you like, just keep in mind that it's a double-edged sword. GB: Can you tell us about NPC hirelings and what exactly players can use them for? Claus: NPC hirelings can be shopkeepers or city guards. There are a lot of cool features we're looking to incorporate in NPC control and AI. GB: Since the game is entirely skill-based, how do you plan on balancing issues with specific skills being more powerful or over-utilized than others? Claus: Since every player can - technically speaking - get most skills for their own character, it is pretty much balanced straight out of the box. Having 500 skills and spells on a character is obviously great, but actual player ability determines the outcome of a fight, or how successful a tradesman or blacksmith turn out to be. You certainly can't use all 500 skills and spells at the same time, so your choices in a combat situation will be the factors that determine success or failure. Having the biggest toolbox in the world, does not make you the best handyman around. You have to learn how to use every tool in the right way, and know which ones to pick for each job. We think Darkfall will challenge players in a new and exciting way, to depend more on their own abilities as players, than to rely on uber characters with all the levels and equipment available. It is something new, and we think the players of Darkfall will love it. GB: Will there be multiple phases to the public beta? Have you arrived at a date when you might begin such a beta? Claus: Starting from Closed Beta in September, we will slowly add more and more testers. We will have an open beta shortly after, for stress testing. GB: To conclude, what do you feel Darkfall Online has to offer over that of existing MMORPGs to attract both new and veteran players? Claus: Freedom. Freedom for the players to play the game any way they want, and do whatever they want. We are building an actual online fantasy world, with as few boundaries as possible. There are obvious technical and development time limitations to what we will offer the players on release, but we feel very confident that we are

setting a new benchmark for freedom in online games with Darkfall. We'd like to issue a sincere thank you to Razorwax, especially Claus, for taking the time to answer our questions!

MMORPG interview part1 27/08/03
http://www.mmorpgdot.com/index.php?hsaction=10053&ID=715 The fine people at Razorwax and Aventurine, developers of Darkfall Online, took the time to sit down and answer a set of questions we had for them. If you're not familiar with Darkfall at all, it's recommended that you take a look at our introductory preview of the game first. Answering today's questions are Claus Grovdal, producer & lead designer, and BT oren, designer. MMORPGDot: Darkfall is being developed by Razorwax, a Norwegian company from origin, but you decided to move towards Greece some time ago. Did you move the whole company just because the publisher is based in Greece or were there other reasons involved also? Claus Grovdal (Producer - Lead Designer): The whole thing actually started out as a joke. We had the first meeting with the Aventurine team in Athens, Greece, and sometime during the meeting, someone joked that it would probably be better if we just moved there. The idea caught wind when Aventurine came to Oslo, Norway a few weeks later, and realized they were in one of the most expensive countries of the world. After that, relocating became a matter of business sense. Moving to Greece meant we could spend more money on game development, and less money on the cost of living and taxes. MMORPGDot: Darkfall is said to have the largest online world ever created. Does that mean we'll have vast areas of randomly generated terrain? How will you attempt to make such large areas still attractive for the players to travel through? Claus Grovdal (Producer - Lead Designer): All the terrain is hand-modeled and handtextured by our art team. All dungeons and areas of interest are hand-placed by the design team. The Agon landscape is absolutely breathtaking and is filled with interesting and exciting places to see, visit and explore. Yiannis Koumoutzelis, one of our 3d artists, worked on shaping the terrain by hand for months matching every area to the design specifications and giving everything a unique feel and appearance. Autogenerated terrain cannot begin to match the appearance, uniqueness, and function of the Darkfall terrain. The landscape features huge mountains that are several thousand feet high, deserts, swamps, wastelands, plains, highlands, forests, jungle, frozen wastes, snow covered hills, miles and miles of underworld areas and caves, hundreds of dungeons, underwater dungeons and lost cities, alternate planes of existence, catacombs, hundreds of islands you can sail your boat out to explore, city sewers, graveyards, tombs...there's just so much diversity in the areas a player can experience in Darkfall. Aside from the visual effect, creating the terrain by hand also has practical purposes, as terrain in Darkfall affects combat. Paths leading through and up mountains, plateaus and passages, overhanging cliffs and ledges, can all be used for strategic purposes, as well as for off the beaten track travel. MMORPGDot: In what ways will the choice of race affect a character (in terms of skills,

abilities, alignment, etc.)? Is the alignment of a guild automatically determined by the race of the people in it? Claus Grovdal (Producer - Lead Designer): The starting alignment of a clan is determined by the alignment of the founder at the time of founding the clan. The clan alignment is totally dynamic though - changing in real-time - and is calculated based on the average alignment of the members of the clan. MMORPGDot: Of the races in Darkfall the Humans, Orks and Dwarves are pretty common; but could you give our readers some more information about the other ones: the Mirdain (elves?), Mahirim and Alfar? BT Oren (designer): The Mirdain are a fairly standard race of forest-dwelling elves. As with dwarves, I think most gamers know what they want from their elves, and that they would be disappointed if we became too creative with ours. It would certainly have been fun to go overboard and design, say, a race of four-armed, club-wielding barbarian elves, but it would have been a bad move for Darkfall. When you're making a fantasy game, there is a frame of reference which you need to take seriously if you don't want to alienate fans of the genre. As with all races in Darkfall, however, we've tried to make the elves exciting without ignoring people's expectations. The Mirdain lack the most hippie-like aspects associated with elves, and instead belong to a highly organized, oligarchic forestrepublic run by a handful of immensely powerful noble families. The mirdain are masters of diplomacy and subterfuge who - generally speaking - prefer manipulating from the shadows to getting their hands dirty. The name mirdain comes from the Mirendil, the forest in which these elves have lived since time immemorial. We decided to call them Mirdain (instead of just elves) to lessen the confusion caused by the fact that there are four subspecies of elf on Agon: The mirdain and the alfar, which are playable races, and the ithwen and the Ciel Fey, which are not. The Ciel Fey are elven fundamentalists who live in pact with nature, and who protect their forests against all intruders, by any means necessary. The Ithwen are a golden-skinned people who were driven into exile when a Celestial Dragon laid waste to their homeland. The Alfar are similar to the dark elves that are a part of many fantasy settings. They are an evil race shaped in the image of Melek, an insane and unpredictable god who dwells among his people, and who uses them as his tools of conquest. The alfar are sadistic, poison-mongering murderers, who despise all other races, and are feared and despised in return. The mahirim are the tallest and most physically intimidating of Darkfall's races. They are fur-covered predators who inflict terrible damage with their natural attacks, and who run with the speed of a horse. They are ruthlessly efficient hunters with prodigious natural strength, and an instinctive, animal grasp of several predatory skills. Throughout most of their history, the mahirim were primitive, nomadic hunters who followed the seasonal migrations of prey-herds across the Tribelands. In recent centuries, however, the teachings of a prophet called Amurran have led them towards a greater degree of cultural sophistication. Now their level of organization increases, while their weapons and equipment become more advanced. The mahirim are becoming a military force to be reckoned with, rather than just a collection of dangerous individuals.

MMORPGDot: Could you elaborate a bit on the conquest system of the game? Claus Grovdal (Producer, Lead Designer): First of all, destroying or conquering a city is extremely hard, time consuming, and expensive for the attacker. The center of all cities is the clanstone. The clanstone protects all buildings and defensive structures up to a certain area, making them invulnerable to attacks. In order for the attacking force to gain control of the city, they have to defeat the clanstone. The clanstone itself is invulnerable, so the attackers have to construct a siege fort close to the city, and raise a Gloomer inside the siege fort. While the siege fort is being constructed, it is highly vulnerable. The attacking force will have to defend it from counter-attacks by the defenders, constantly hitting it with raiding groups and raining missiles and projectiles on it from catapults, ballistaes and archers on the city walls. When and if the siege fort is safely constructed, the attackers have to build a Gloomer inside it. When ready, the Gloomer will attack the clanstone itself and attempt to neutralize it by draining its powers. The Gloomer will neutralize it in small sequences, leaving both the clanstone and the buildings and structures in the city vulnerable to attacks. The attackers must try to damage the clanstone during these short neutralization periods, and eventually hope to destroy it. The defenders will obviously have to defend the clanstone in the neutralization periods, and try to destroy the siege fort before the clanstone is destroyed. The siege fort is always vulnerable to attacks. If the clanstone is destroyed, the attackers have won, and they are free to take it over if they so desire. Buildings will still be owned by the defending clan, but they are free to be attacked by anyone. This is however were it gets really interesting, and the potential political backstabs and intrigues of Darkfall comes into play. If the attackers raise a new clanstone at this site, it will be vulnerable to attacks for a period of time. During this period, their new clanstone can be attacked, destroyed and replaced by anyone. Agon history is full of examples of seemingly successful captures being sabotaged or literally stolen in the last minute by both the former defenders, or even deceitful third parties who have been standing quietly on the sidelines ready to capitalize on the situation. MMORPGDot: It seems to me that it would be quite hard for smaller guilds to survive in a conquest game like Darkfall. Would it be possible for a few large guilds to completely divide the world among eachother and thus ultimately completely rule out any form of competition? Claus Grovdal (Producer - Lead Designer): Darkfall is not a game where numbers mean everything. Individual player skills, teamwork, strategy, organization, diplomacy, resource management, and many other factors, other than clan size, bear down on who is going to be successful or not. Some of these factors are adversely affected by large numbers, so a smaller clan could in fact do very well in Darkfall. It's theoretically possible that a few large clans could prevail. While possible in theory, in practice these clans would have to overcome a lot more than just their opponents. In Darkfall it's going to be very challenging to set up, run, and maintain an efficient mega-clan. You could say that if someone is able to totally conquer and rule the entire

world, it would probably be well deserved. We're looking at ways to prevent this from happening, but obviously it's hard to predict how the game is going to be played out before it's even tested. Even though there's a very simple and easy way to make sure we don't have to deal with this at all, and that's capping the guild size to a low number of members, we don't want to be forced to do this. We have spent a lot of time trying to find better ways to limit the potential 'zerg fests' that have plagued other online games, and we think we have found ways to combat this problem, without eliminating the potential for large guilds and alliances. MMORPGDot: On the borders of every kingdom there will be some NPC guards to protect the territory. How much control will the players have over them? Will their stance regarding other players only be determined by their race or are there other factors involved? Claus Grovdal (Producer, Lead Designer): The players can decide themselves where they want their guards to patrol. Players also decide who the guards should attack, and who they should ignore. Guards can be set to attack specific races, specific alignments, all but allies, all but clanmates, etc. The second part of this interview will be posted tomorrow, so be sure to stay tuned!

MMORPG interview part2 28/08/03
http://www.mmorpgdot.com/index.php?hsaction=10053&ID=716 The second and last part of the interview with the development team of Darkfall Online has arrived. Previous Darkfall features this week include the introductory preview and yesterday's first part of this interview: go check them out if you haven't already. Answering our questions today were Claus Grovdal (Producer and Lead Designer), Erik Johansen (Network Programmer), Trond Evanger (Designer) and Kjetil Helland (Lead Programmer) from the Darkfall team. MMORPGDot: Darkfall will probably be one of the first so-called 'ultra mmorpgs', allowing for about ten thousands of players to be online in a single persistent world at once. At the same time you promise us player collision (you can't walk through other players), an extremely large world with high-quality graphics and world-physics. Without getting too technical, why do you think your team will accomplish all of this, while we see that current mmorpg's like Shadowbane can barely handle the lag already? What's the team's experience with these types of programming? Claus Grovdal: We don't really want to comment on what other games are doing or not doing, but in layman's terms what we have done is that we first built the system that makes this possible - from scratch, and then built the game on top of that. It usually happens the other way around. It's impossible to explain this further without getting a bit technical, so here's a more detailed explanation by Erik Johansen, our network programmer: Our server and networking technology, which we've dubbed a "Real-Time World Simulator" or RTWS for short, has been built from scratch using a design that's in between the peer-to-peer way of thought, and the newer Grid computing concepts. What the users will see as a single server, will in reality be a series of many similar computers, dynamically and continuously moving tasks around in order to keep the workload evenly distributed and timely processed.

We are able to simply add a new preconfigured computer to such a server cluster, and have it join its capacity to the already running world simulation without interruptions for the users. And the other way around, if one of the server computers fails for any reason, the remaining ones will take its workload, distribute it and continue after some seconds of reorganizing. This scalability will be an important asset for us when we work to keep servers as responsive as possible for the users. In addition we do of course have prediction algorithms on multiple levels, from simple dead reckoning to advanced analysis of player behavior. The rest is merely about having enough bandwidth to keep up with the network traffic. Some of Erik's related experience over the last 10 years includes developing an internal content distribution system for a large industrial company serving thousands of simultaneous users, participation in the development of networked communications software used daily by more than 100K users, and development of software for distributing specific tasks among several nodes within a severely reduced/damaged network, with a focus on redundancy and failover mechanisms. MMORPGDot: The spawn points in Darkfall will be dynamic, which means that you won't find the same kind of mobs at the same spot twice. Why this choice? Does this mean one can sometimes just see a bunch of ratlings spawn in front of him? Claus Grovdal (Producer, Lead Designer): Most spawns in Darkfall are dynamic, and even consequential in nature. If you keep killing all the hill giants in a forest over and over, they will eventually move out (hey, who wouldn't). Monsters also attack and kill other monsters. A red dragon moving into a mountain area, will fly around and kill everything it finds, so eventually the area will be empty of life. A group of goblins left alone for a while, will eventually set up a goblin village, and start breeding more goblins. They will start taming and breeding wolves for defenses, and hunt all small animals they can find. The world will have a life of its own, and players will strongly influence and leave a mark on the world they inhabit. In additions to the dynamic spawns, we also have lots of static spawns related to quest areas, and other adventure areas important to the lore and story in the game. MMORPGDot: Will we be able to control our mounts or even have mounted combat options? Claus Grovdal (Producer, Lead Designer): Players can ride their mounts around freely. There are no restrictions. Mounted combat is an important part of Darkfall warfare, and there are several skills associated with it. MMORPGDot: There are no classes at all (except for the optional prestige classes) in Darkfall, only skills. Does that mean that someone who makes an extremely all-round character will suffer no penalties for that? Will there be skill caps and if so, how hard will it be to reach them? Trond Evanger (Designer): With a few exceptions, the learning certain skills will not prohibit learning others. A player may therefore create a fighter/mage/thief/cleric hybrid if he wants to. There will be no penalties for this, although it will require great patience, work, and time. After a character has a certain amount of total skill-points, he will receive a penalty to his skill increase rate. The time spent "completing" a

fighter/mage will exceed the time of first a fighter, then a mage. The severity of the progress penalty and when it is applied will be tested and determined during beta. What we want to achieve is to make it fairly quick for a new character to reach an acceptable PvP-level, but practically impossible to totally max him out. We don't want the "100 in every single skill! Hurrah, I owned the game!" scenario. MMORPGDot: Since prestige classes will be optional and actually limit the freedom of the players, why would someone want to play one of those classes? What advantages can we expect and could you give us a specific example? Trond Evanger (Designer): The constraints associated with the prestige classes will hopefully not feel restricting or awkward. Anyone playing a Paladin cursing the fact that he's not allowed to kill anyone he meets shouldn't play a Paladin. Someone who wants his character to be a holier-than-thou warrior most probably already got a Good alignment and no need for mindless slaughtering of innocents. He'll then benefit from a couple of extra combat skills and a handful of spells (castable penalty free while wearing armor), without any reason to feel restrained. MMORPGDot: What do you personally consider the most interesting and fun skills in the game? Trond Evanger (Darkfall Designer): I'd have to say the necromantic spells. Evil mages have been shafted in enough games already. MMORPGDot: Will crafting skills increase by crafting (using those skills), or will you have to get regular experience to gain access to crafting skills? Claus Grovdal (Producer, Lead Designer): Crafting skills work like all other skills in Darkfall, meaning they increase by successful usage. A player that wants to increase his fishing skills will get better by spending time fishing in a river or from his boat at sea. Fishing is my favorite example. Believe it or not we actually spent some time making fishing a interesting and viable profession. MMORPGDot: What will the combat be like? Will you control all your character's movements or do you just go into attack mode, engage and watch as far as melee combat is concerned? Kjetil Helland (Lead Programmer): Darkfall is a real-time MMORPG and not turn based as most of the other well known MMORPG's out there. You will control all of your character's movement, but the final outcome of a battle will be a combination of your character skill and your real life player skill. MMORPGDot: What kind of Player vs Player combat can we expect to see the most in Darkfall Online: small PvP conflicts between a few individuals or large-scale epic battles or even city sieges? Claus Grovdal (Darkfall Producer, Lead Designer): I think Darkfall will have a healthy mix of all types of combat. A group of Humans exploring a dungeon deep in the wilderness may run into a group of Alfar exploring the same dungeon, and you get exciting small scale PvP. Later that day the same group of humans may join their clan for the scheduled siege of an enemy city, with hundreds of players on each side, giving them an epic scale battle that may last for hours. Lots of thanks go out to Tasos Flambouras and everyone who took the time to answer my questions in this Q&A. Finally, I'd like to apologise to all Darkfall fans for taking some of the precious time away from the devs... But I hope this interview makes up for that. *g*

PK-HQ Developer Interview 01/10/03
http://207.44.239.212/community/showthread.php?s=c5ffcd73a51610dca8a655b3f2c b747b&threadid=83181 PK-HQ Developer Interview The following interview was conducted with Claus Grovdal, Darkfall's Producer / Lead Designer. All questions were taken from suggestions by PK-HQ members. -----------------------------------------------PK-HQ.com Developer Interview 1. How dedicated are you to keeping non-consensual PvP in the game? We've seen this adopted and then abandoned in many other MMORPGs and many people worry that this may happen again. The term 'non-consensual PvP' bugs me because it makes the players sound restricted and powerless to react, like they're trapped in a world where they're forced to do something they don't want to do. If you're playing Darkfall, then you've already consented to not accepting invisible developer-forced barriers to your interaction with other players. You've also consented to taking full responsibility for your actions. You are held accountable for what you do by the game's alignment system, and by the other players. There are no safe zones in Darkfall, no PK switches, no spin-off PvP-servers. Darkfall by design allows for full and unrestricted PvP activity. 2. For those that like to keep score, will there be any kind of kill count or murder count which can be tracked either in-game or on your web page? We are big fans of statistics, and we are tracking just about everything of relevance in Darkfall. There is a personal stat section in every player's in-game journal which tracks kills, deaths, kill/death ratio, a list of everyone and everything that's killed you and you have killed, average kills by time spent in the game, number of assisted kills you have, longest survival streak, longest kill streak, there are really too many statistics available to mention. These statistical figures will not be limited to tracking just the combat activities. Darkfall's in-game clan pages will list these statistics as well, both for individual members and for the clan collectively. The clan pages can also be accessed through your web browser if you are not currently in the game. 3. Can you shed a bit of light on how thievery will work? For example, can you go "evil" by stealing from aligned races? Very roughly: Stealing from 'good' races adjusts your alignment towards the 'evil' direction. Stealing however, is not considered as evil as killing someone, so the adjustments are lower than if you go berserk on, say a group of Elven crafters. There's also a maximum amount of 'evil' points you can collect from thievery, so you can never become a Dreaded by stealing alone.

4. What is the most important thing you feel you have learned from the successes or failures of other MMORPGs? I don't think there is one single important thing. There are several important lessons we have learned from other MMORPGs such as how necessary it is to listen to your players. In order for the player feedback to be helpful you need to keep your players in the loop, let them know what you are doing, and why. Patch as often as needed, and do it fast. Don't take away if you can add, and try to not overcompensate when balancing. We don't want to relive the mistakes made by others, and of course our players don't want to see us using those things that didn't quite work in the last game they were playing. If there's a feature in another game that we do like, we shouldn't be afraid to use it if it can help make Darkfall a better game. There are so many lessons to be learned by our predecessors, positive and negative. There's an evolution going on and it's important to be able to identify what needs to be preserved in new games, what has to go, and what needs to be improved upon and how all this can fit in with our own unique proposition. 5. Will it be possible to run a guild that operates solely out of invulnerable NPC cities? (i.e. racial capitals) A clan operating solely out of a capital city will have limited access to resources, limited access to siege equipment, no ownership of land, and will have to follow the city rules, but it's definitely possible to operate out of a racial capital. It's a good way for a clan to get started until it gets on its own two feet. 6. Connection speed can be the deciding factor in PvP for many games. Will broadband vs. dial-up make a big difference in the performance of Darkfall? Darkfall isn't as fast paced as a first person shooter, and so it's a lot less ping dependent. Our prediction technology allows us to compensate and even things up to a certain extent. We have several other ways of balancing connection speed, to make it as fair as possible, however we won't be performing any miracles. If you're trying to compete with a terrible connection, you will be at a disadvantage. 7. What role do you see NPC guards playing in city defence? Will they be powerful enough to pose any kind of a threat to skilled players? There are several different NPC guard types in Darkfall and they vary among other things in skills, skill level, equipment, alignment, race, and of course in cost. The more skilled and better equipped guards will pose a threat even to skilled players. Our AI programmer is dedicated to making the Darkfall guards as intelligent as they need to be to be able to deal with the players without resorting to making them too powerful. 8. We all know that there will be full loot in the game, but will you be able to allow looting rights to members of your group or guild should you die?

We have no such thing as 'looting rights' in Darkfall. If a character dies anyone can loot him, friend or foe. If you loot someone without their consent depending on the situation, you could take an alignment hit and you also could become a target for a short time. 9. How will the radar work? Will it show player locations or will it just be for navigational purposes? The radar we have right now in Darkfall is just a minimap, displaying only geographical information. We are still testing various setups including showing other players and monsters, depending on the conditions, but nothing is finalized yet. We view the radar as a tool that represents what a character would be able to sense around him beyond the confines of the player view. What we definitely don't intend to do is something stupid like ruining existing skills like for example stealth, turning the radar into an all seeing eye, or do anything else that conflicts with the game's design and vision. 10. Lastly, what is your favorite feature, skill, or spell? The freedom and multitude of options I have for character development in Darkfall is what I like the best. I like the fact that I can build my character pretty much anyway I want, without the fear of gimping him because I didn't know that I really needed to pick up X skill and Y spell in order to compete. When I find out that I need X and Y, I can get it and work it up until I can use it effectively. The wasted time investment, playing a character for months in other games, only to find out that he is either useless or no fun to play, and having to start all over with a new character, is something I hated in other games. In Darkfall, one character should be enough for most people.

Warcry Q&A 07/10/03: server tech
http://df.warcry.com/scripts/news/view_news.phtml?site=7&id=10260 Exclusive Interview with Erik Johansen Posted by Malevolent on 10/7/2003 at 02:01 PM In some of the original developer quotes, it was noted that Darkfall had design goals of achieving some things never done before in an MMOG (such as having 10,000+ simultaneous players in a single game world - holy cow). Should these design goals be fulfilled, it would be a generational leap in capability when it comes to the MMOG market. There has been a great deal of controversy and speculation regarding whether it was likely, or even possible to achieve some of the things the developers were talking about. In this exclusive interview with Erik Johansen, Darkfall's Network Programmer, we address some of these thoughts and Erik gives some incredible information about how it will work behind the scenes.

This article is very technical in nature, but for you tech geeks and people curious about how the server technology will work, this is for you. -Malevolent A small preface regarding the technology - Darkfall is expected to use 40-50 load balanced servers inter-connected to form one massive server cluster. This cluster will work in unison to form one huge "server" that will be presented to the players as a single game-world. On to the interview! ---------------------------------------------------------------Warcry - It was stated at one point that databases would be able to be updated in real-time without bringing down the servers, does this mean that the game-worlds could be updated with patches without having to come offline? Erik - Almost any server component can theoretically be updated without downtime for the world simulation. We have however chosen to not use these features on production servers, to improve the QA of the update process. Patching an online simulation will inevitably lead to a higher risk of errors, and the gain is simply not proportional to this increased risk. Warcry - When you were originally talking about the server-cluster design, the theoretical limit was 60,000 players. After factoring in internet bandwidth etc you revised this to approximately 15,000-20,000. Have the estimates for number of supportable players changed or should we still expect to see those kind of numbers? Erik - Theoretically there's no limit to the number of simultaneous players in a single world. In practice, the individual server load will exponentially increase as the number of server computers in a world simulation increases, and at some point we will not get additional gain from further horizontal scaling (adding more computers). At what point we reach this limit is hard to say before open beta and real measurements, but currently my requirement is at least 10000 players, and my hopes are for double that. Warcry - It would make sense that all MMOG's would want to take advantage of this kind of technology, is there a reason why you think we haven't seen it used before now? Erik - I think the technology we use is very hard to add into a game after development has started. In order to successfully create a truly distributed simulation, every single component must be written with parallelism in mind from day one. We have designed and implemented everything we use in-house, and we have always been aware of the need to run this in a distributed environment. We use a combination of several well known and tested technologies and a few inventions of our own to make it possible. There's nothing magical about it, it's simply a matter of thorough design with distribution as one of the main design goals. Warcry - You mentioned in the past that the servers will balance load between them.

Will this also be able to handle loads that have crashed other MMOG servers like several hundred (or even several thousand given what Darkfall is estimated to do) people in a single place all battling at once? Erik - The servers will handle it, but the clients may not. There will be a limit to the number of players we can have in a small area, simply because there's a limit to how much information we can pass on to each player in that area. We're using a few tricks to get this number as high as possible, but it most definitely will be limited. Warcry - Kind of a technical question - but is it possible to give a little more detail about how exactly the load will be transferred to another server in the cluster if one server fails during a major battle for example? Erik - We are using a variation of a relatively new technology for persistent data storage to achieve this. I can't go into the technical details of this, as it's a key aspect of how we intend to achieve the high number of simultaneous players, but I'll mention that it includes real-time state data mirroring on multiple computers, and uses our load-balancing technology to distribute responsibilities among server machines in case of a server failure. Warcry - Some gamers have indicated that they don't believe you can have that number of simultaneous players without a huge internet connection. Can you tell us anything about the datacenter that will house the game servers and what kind of bandwidth you will have access to at that facility? Could you give us an idea where the servers will be physically located? Erik - We will need a very huge internet connection in order to sustain 10000 players. assuming an average bandwidth usage per player of 5k/sec, 10000 players will require 50 MB/sec, which approximately corresponds to a 400 MBit internet connection. We've been working with several providers with that kind of capacity. Warcry - Some current MMOG's have a problem with server instability and going offline. Could you comment on why you think such instability occurs and what Razorwax is doing to prevent and or reduce it? Erik - There are many reasons for servers to go offline. You could have Denial of Service attacks, which are almost impossible to control. You could have ISP network problems, which are outside our control. And then you can of course have software or hardware problems on the servers itself. This part we can do something about, and we work hard to make our servers as fault tolerant as possible. We are fully aware that there will be hardware and software faults from time to time, and that we need to reduce the effects of these. We will have no single point of failure in a server cluster, and our load balancing mechanisms are fully able to cope with a limited number of failing servers. We can't guarantee 100% stability, but we can guarantee that we'll do all we can to make such problems as invisible as possible to the players. That concludes our questions and this interview. We want to thank Erik Johansen and Tasos Flambouras for taking the time to make this possible. -Malevolent

Claus IRC 01/12/03
http://totalmadownage.com/showthread.php?t=1069 [Inq]Ferox> well will duel wielding have the right penalties as well [Inq]Ferox> duel wielders should be very open to damage Claus|Dev> yes [Inq]Ferox> they have no protection Claus|Dev> yea all those, and they suffer attack penalties Claus|Dev> that can be fixed over time by picking up special dual wield skills of course Gowel> Claus, was that map, just a map, or is that also the radar? Claus|Dev> what do you mean gowel? Gowel> well, it's labeled as just a map, Gowel> but Tasos said you were working on radar [Inq]Ferox> the radar map claus. will it show things, or is it just a terrain map Claus|Dev> well, we are still discussing that. we probably wont have a radar Gunther_TheBlack> We went for two different text windows - one for system messages and one for chatting. The system window will spam information during fights, so two different windows make it easier to keep track of important messages and conversations. Claus|Dev> yea I think thats the best way to do it. you can just close the system window if you dont want the combat spam Gowel> some were asking about a quick weapon switching key. Will weapons have to be drag & dropped when you switch from a 2-hander to a bow, or will there be a faster method? Claus|Dev> there will be a faster method. we may let you put it on the hotbar Penny> oh btw, if I pick a weapon up from the ground, can I wield it immedeatly or does it have to go via the backpack? Claus|Dev> via backpack, everything u pick up goes to backpack instantly Penny> any particular reason to that? Claus|Dev> saves us making a 3d to 2d tool Claus|Dev> ill explain, stuff u see in the world is 3d, stuff in the backpack is 2d. so to save us work, it goes to backpack. Gunther_TheBlack> does the web-browser only work one the df official site and all it's content? Claus|Dev> the browser worls for ingame stuff razta> Claus|Dev. will u be able to tab out of the game without crashing or wierd graphics? Claus|Dev> yes you can alt+tab without problems razta> Claus|Dev. how long till we will see real ingame shots? i mean. wehre u look at some other player. and perhaps interact with them (bashing them with a sword?) Claus|Dev> as soon as Kjetil and Ricki fix the messed up particle system Gunther_TheBlack> you do got a decay time in-game right claus? Claus|Dev> yea razta> Claus|Dev. will there be any spells thats instahit? and dont require LOS? like

heals and buffs? i mean will u have double targeting system? one for marking friendlys and one for "crosshair targeting" ? Claus|Dev> razta: good question, targeting works as in an fps. you move the crosshair over someone, and they are in your target. however you can "lock" a target and cast insta spells on them. insta spells are weak though stratos> will you follow around a target that is locked? like in SWG? Claus|Dev> no you dont follow them, you turn to them as u cast a spell though Gunther_TheBlack> what about weapon bashing? if you attack someone with a sword, do you turn towards them also? Claus|Dev> melee is 100% fps no locking Penny> Claus|Dev: Question, regarding the weather engine. Will it be possible for snow to actually get down to the ground and stay there on areas that aren't regullary snowy? Since you said that you guys had differente seasons in the weather engine. Or will it be like in daoc, where you always have the same ground textures? Claus|Dev> we are looking at that penny, but we probably wont have time to add it before release maybe we can patch it in later. Vulpes> i got one question: Can our hobby news site http://www.totalmadownage.com covering general mmorpg news and not only DF news, albeit raw, uncnesored news with no biasing, get a link on the DF pages? -Gowel- don't advertise like that = Vulpes> was a question Claus|Dev> hehe email contact@razorwax.com with that razta> Claus|Dev: some Questions about characters. right now we have kinda outdated character models. but. will ur character be customizable? like editing size. weight. facial looks. etc etc. and how much can u edit ur character? Claus|Dev> yes razta.. you can customize your character razta> height? size? faces? arm length? facial hair? etc skin color? Claus|Dev> height, width etc, although. today we discussed axing that feature. cause it messes up some of the collision schemes or whatever. head will be very customizable Bissen> can u buy alcohol?` Claus|Dev> yes bissen Bissen> what about gambling ? Claus|Dev> we had plans to add minigames, like blackjack etc. but we prolly wont make it till after release.

And to round it up, we have this most important question Gowel>can we sit down at all the chairs and such and will we sit correctly, no crossedleg sitting on a real chair? Claus|Dev> yes you can sit on chairs, we even have idle animations for sitting on chairs. Gunther_TheBlack> can you chop someones head of wile sitting on a chair? Claus|Dev> lol no, chopping off heads is in tho Gowel> well, since you brought it up, chopping off heads. Is that done as a sort of death-blow animation, or can you just chop someone's arm off and have them still running after you? I've seen this discussed a few times on the boards, but no one has

went in depth with it. Claus|Dev> the head is a separate unit, and it flies off as you die, hands etc cant be chopped. just the head. Rileria> it'd be so entertaining to make everyone have prosthetic limbs tho

Claus + Tasos IRC 09/12/03
http://totalmadownage.com/showthread.php?t=1114 Anotehr Devchat on #Darkfall IRC Channel -------------------------------------------------------------------------------Some interesting things were uncovered by Tasos and Claus on the #Darkfall channel. Here comes a edited post with the information released. Page 1/2 Quote: Bissen> Tasos..can u give us an estimate as to when the new homepage will be launched?after newyear etc =) Tasos|Dev> the new homepage is pretty much ready , just adding some finishing touches to it...we could launch it anytime Bissen> Tasos. how many dungeons u plan on having at lauch btw Bissen> u say u have 35 ingame atm Vulpes> i hope, same as in AC, 300+ [Inq]Ferox> Tasos , when you say "dungeons" what does that constitute, anything else but the normal EQ/Uo etc style dungeons we have seen in the past? Skunkette> im curious, when do you think the first teaser movie will be out? Tasos|Dev> Skunkette..we don't want to tease people...we'll release movies at some point just to show what we're doing. Visuals are the last thing we're working on so .... Tasos|Dev> the visuals will be better than originally planned you know... Drax-Akorin> yea as i said i think before you came taso grapics are better then i expected Bissen> Yeah..from some of the FireRun screens i was stunned by the detail Drax-Akorin> They are at or above standard required Tasos|Dev> already it's badass and there's more to be added Bissen, you really need to see the stuff moving to fully appreciate....also the screenshots are darker and blurrier than the game Bissen> how are things going with the three unrevealed races? Tasos|Dev> the races are done we just haven't put them on the site yet...we will with the new site Skunkbush> tasos, how is the closed beta going? Claus|Dev> closed beta is going fine, thanks for asking Bissen> How many ppl involved in the beta atm Claus?

Claus|Dev> not sure.. close to 50 I think [Inq]Ferox> claus are you in tech beta or closed beta? Claus|Dev> "Internal beta" Drax-Akorin> Such as your plan with racial specific loot, Example being if i loot some dwarf armor would be useable to ork Claus|Dev> drax. all armor can be worn by all races, dwarf looting an ork armor can use it Bissen> Claus..if all armor all races..will a chainmail for a dorf have have penalties if worn on an ork ? Tich> so each bit of armour will have the an appropriate name, so if from an ork, it will say ork breastplate (or whatever) Claus|Dev> yea, Claus|Dev> ork mithril breastplate etc Skunkbush> Claus, I want to be a pirate, will ship battles be any good? Claus|Dev> no they will suck hehe Claus|Dev> how do I answer that? =) Tich> do you have to have a crew? Vulpes> will a player, be able to command a ship pirate vessel alone? or will they need a group of player to comamnd it? Skunkbush> is there going to be any on ship weapons Tasos|Dev> like : "naval battles will rock " cause they will Claus|Dev> no, one player can run every boat. testing has shown that needing a group to run a boat wasnt all that fun we had to put fun first Tich> can you only steer a boat in ordinal directions? Penny> Can you drown an ork somehow very quickly? Claus|Dev> tich: what do you mean? Tich> well N, S, E, W NE, NW, SE, SW, another way to put it is, how do you steer a boat? Claus|Dev> the same way you steer your character.. arrow keys (or wasd), pretty much like BF1942 viranth> Any of the races unable to swim? Claus|Dev> they can all swim, Drax-Akorin> Question 3 Will racial differences be minor or major Example is a Dwarf slightly or majorly slower then Mirdan Claus|Dev> drax: minor, to save on balancing time Sephriel> there are some continents with a bit of mixed environements, right? like it wont just be one jungle continent and thats it? there'll be a few continents with a bit of desert, a bit of jungle and all? Claus|Dev> five continents, the mainland.. which is all kinds of terrain types, desert continent, ice continent, jungle continent and wasteland continent Claus|Dev> we have done the desert and parts of the mainland.. so we are lagging, but its moving forward

Penny> Claus|Dev: What size are the 4 contintents? If you compare it to the "main continent"? Claus|Dev> the main continent is 6 times or so bigger than the 4 small ones, maybe more Sephriel> oh hey, I cant remember who asked a while ago.. will all the continents be out at release, or will they come in "expansions" Claus|Dev> they will all be in at release Drax-Akorin> On smaller continent how many sites for regions would say available for guilds to control Claus|Dev> I think each of the smaller ones have 6-10 "clan stones" Bissen> Claus how are things going in beta concerning "full loot"! Claus|Dev> we have full loot now Sephriel> oo oo, something thats very important. you dropped the sub-race thing aye?, like, n half-elves or half-orcs and whatnot.. as playable races Claus|Dev> we dont have sub races viranth> How long does it take for someone who just lost everything to get back in combat with "decent" equipment? Claus|Dev> viranth: 10 secs if they have stuff in their bank =) Pumpkin> is there a limit on how much gold/stuff you can put into your bank? Claus|Dev> yea, not gold Bissen> claus about the allignment system..how is it going?, in beta i mean Tasos|Dev> can't answer that Vulpes> I have one question. Watchiing this image ( http://totalmadownage.com/showthread.php?thr ) , showing a size comparision chart of some of the current MMORPG's, where would you place darkfall? Just average estimation, size comparision as in world map/playing area size Claus|Dev> according to this map.. we are larger than star wars galaxies voices> heya Claus, could you tell us a little about the first-person view? is it up and running, how does the view work? voices> ie do you see through a slit when your helmet is down, do you see your hands, weapons, etc Claus|Dev> ours are kinda fast viranth> Can you set the sensitivity up? So you can turn around superfast? Claus|Dev> viranth: right now, yea viranth> Have you planned to decrease the sensitivity with later builds so people with heavy heavy armor will be slower than nude elves? =) Claus|Dev> viranth: yea we are considering it

Sephriel> is there a language filter? Claus|Dev> we will add a language filer,and ill make sure to turn it off Skunkbush> Question: is there any fatal hits? Can you walk up to a character and take a big swing at the neck, automatically taking 100% of his health away? saying you cut his head off ;0 Claus|Dev> we do have a "cut off head" feature Gowel> one hit kils sucks in most games Claus|Dev> yea Sephriel> I remember a dev saying that there are no insta kills Claus|Dev> we are trying to avoid 1-hit kill situationsthe chop of head thing is based on how much damage you do on your killing blow right now, think we might keep it like that Gowel> once the head is cut off, can we keep it? Claus|Dev> you can keep heads Gowel> only if they are cut off, or can you take them from any corpse? Claus|Dev> chop or cut them after Sephriel> can you chop people apart like in uo? and then mix the parts up and make a new body on a table with different body parts > Claus|Dev> the only thing you can cut off is the head Gowel> We already know that Enchanter, Assassin, Gladiator and Paladin are or atleast were at one time, planned prestige classes. Could you possibly list all of the remaining prestige classes to us and if that's too much to ask, could you atleast list one more? Tasos|Dev> okay first guess how many presige classes Gowel> 8? viranth> 8 Tasos|Dev> more Gowel> 12 viranth> 15 Tasos|Dev> more Sephriel> 20 Pumpkin> 42 Tasos|Dev> more than 50 Jape> 984690008? Gowel> if Airius were here, I'd ask "how do caravans work?".. so I guess I'm asking it instead =) Tasos|Dev> I still can't answer the caravan question thoughSkunkbush> if you are a "priestege class" do you get special spells, skills, items, that go along with that class? Tasos|Dev> the answer is "for some of them" skunk, that's all I'll say on that Skunkbush> if you pick a scout, are you a scout for life? or can you leave that class, and say pick up the paladin class? Tasos|Dev> you're never 'stuck' in Darkfall

Sephriel> you can leave a prestige class, but something happens, I dunt remember what Pumpkin> i believe being able to change your "class" is in the faq though viranth> Skunkbush: from the FAQ: Picking a prestige class is not final - you can change class later, with some minor penalties. razta> Tasos|Dev, A small Q about game progress, Are you done with all the races models? If so. is all items for all races modeled already? Tasos|Dev> razta...done with the models for a long while now... a lot are ready..we'll never be "done" Drax-Akorin> Taso What are mounts of all races ? Tasos|Dev> and the mounts horses for humans and soiders for alfar, none for Mahirim is all I can say at this time Tich> will the client be able to run in full-screen mode and/or windowed mode? Penny> I think what they've said is fullscreen but with alt+tab possibilities Gowel> Tasos, the last time Claus was here, he mentioned the names of all the continents, except for the main continent. I couldn't tell if it was intentional or if you were just undecided on the name. Does it have a name yet and could you tell us? Tasos|Dev> sure it's called Agon razta> Tasos|Dev. follow up Q, the models shown atm on the home page. orc/human. is that the models beeing used? or r they aged and new models will apear when new screens etc come up? Tasos|Dev> razta they are the basis for the models being used, some have been optimized, some will be further optimized, improved etc razta> Tasos|Dev, Cant you reamke hte orcs. i dont want lightgreen orcs. i want darkgreen/brown orcs Tasos|Dev> orks have more colors than just green, it's in the racial description Any information on city construction would you upgrade builds or need construct a better build Drax-Akorin> buildings BY this i mean if your smith was destory could you build a lv 5 from scatch or would need lv it up 1 step at time Tasos|Dev> I'm not sure what you asked there. Drax-Akorin> If your constructing a building is it upgradeable Or can you construct it at its maximune level Tasos|Dev> oh ok I can't answer that Tasos|Dev> NDA ---------------------------------Favorite part Question1

Question2 Question3 Question4 Question5 Question6 Tasos|Dev> lol ok stop for a sec Gowel> heh Arathalus> hrmm snuff> lol Sephriel> bring backup tasos! Aelelende> :p * snuff thinks tasos needs an assistant for the chat room visits

Claus IRC 18/12/03
http://totalmadownage.com/showthread.php?t=1158 Darkfall Online DevChat 18-Dec-2003 on IRC -------------------------------------------------------------------------------Claus stepped into the #darkfall channel on IRC and it did not take along time until the questioning commenced. here follows an edited version of the chat. It is being updated as the chat progresses. Selrik> Hows the other continents creation coming along? Claus|Dev> we are working in the dwarven areas now SoL]-Vulpes> any lore in the making? Oromea|Gaintlord> lore is done, just waiting on new web site Claus|Dev> not sure about how much of the lore will be on the new site.. I am not very involved in the site Myrd> Are the rpgvault updates done with totally or just creating new stuff to hand them? Claus|Dev> and the vault updates are on hold while we upgrade some neato features most are in already Oromea|Gaintlord> Can you you tell us any of the new features? Claus|Dev> the new features..graphical enhancements to the engine, planetary system and whatnot stounedi> here's something I've wanted to ask for some time: When did you guys write the first line of code for the source? Claus|Dev> the first lines of code.. damn.. thats a long time ago, like 98 I think stounedi> Oromea|Gaintlord, I think bubble chat is fine. But there could be an option to disable it, too Claus|Dev> we wont have bubble chat

Oromea|Gaintlord> Hows the fighting effects coming? still having trouble? Claus|Dev> no trouble, just hard to bump it on the priority list Selrik> How long would it take to walk across one of the smaller 4 continents (guesstimate)? Claus|Dev> selrik: hard to say, since we havent finalized player run speed yet Claus|Dev> the designers want it fast, and the programmers want it slow Claus|Dev> well the programmers worry about lag, and designers worry about playability and fun [SoL]-Vulpes> interesting, as i remmeber runspeed etc, has been a topic on the boards a lot, any directions where it going? like AC as in a skill and variational run speed or like DAOC with fixed run skills modded by say armor, race, terrain? Claus|Dev> hehe its a constant fight Claus|Dev> all those vulpes Claus|Dev> run speed, modified by armor, terrain, run skill etc Claus|Dev> fast is better for gameplay, but hell if it lags Claus|Dev> yea.. we will have to tune it alot Claus|Dev> you see in the worldbuilder, the designers fly around with insane speed so we are useed to it being fast sometimes when I go to player run speed, I go omg was it that far from ruin x to spawn y its kinda weird Oromea|Gaintlord> have you guys tested ship combat yet? Claus|Dev> gaintlord: no, we have tested aspects of it tho Oromea|Gaintlord> Will targeting on ships be like normal combat? or a different system? Claus|Dev> yes, targeting on ships is like normal combat rekker> will you be able to jump from ship to ship? Claus|Dev> yea CS|doob> what happens if you miss your mark and fall in the ocean Oromea|Gaintlord> swim baby swim Myrd> Gah i forgot AC's monthly patches lasted 6 hours....hmm DF better have shorter patches but with so much DB interaction i fear not. Claus|Dev> we will make sure to have as much patch downtime as possible whaledawg> hey, are the forums down or something? stounedi> whaledawg, yes, it says the forums are being upgraded Oromea|Gaintlord> hehe boards are down for a upgrade stounedi> oh yes, I'll ask this question we've been wondering at the forums: Will the players have different hit locations and able to wear different armor pieces to protect the body parts, or will the character counted as a single hit area and all armor stack up to a total armor value? Claus|Dev> stounedi: armor is added up, and counted as one.. if not, it favours the people with the lowest ping too much Claus|Dev> please note that I cant answer all your questions Chaos_Around> just the first 1000?

Claus|Dev> hehe Claus|Dev> ill tell you this though, I may have said it before screenshots lie. especially our screenshots SoL]-Vulpes> why? Claus|Dev> cause when you actually play the game, everything moves its like a real world clouds cast shadow on the ground grass and trees move in the wind based on the wind actually the sun rises and sets casting 100% dynamic shadows the boats move with the sea etc Claus|Dev> its just too much to explain and it all works and looks absolutely amazing =) Claus|Dev> unbiased opinion rekker> claus, is there gonna be anything like my.uo.com ? my.df.com or somethin ^_^ Claus|Dev> I dont know my.uo.com rekker> you can search for ure UO characters read other peoples skills and see their paper doll Claus|Dev> no we wont do that for obvious reasons Claus|Dev> its a competitive game.. I wouldnt like it if my enemies knew my stats and skills stounedi> my opinion about the "newbie-killing to get skills up" issue is: Make a system that counts up how difficult the opponent is (ie. level or "exp" based system). Then, dont give as much skill "points" from easier kills. (I guess such is already in, I mean it wouldnt make sens if you could get your attack skills high by stomping on the ants whole day) =) Claus|Dev> yep we have that CS|doob> something like....total hours of opponents killed add up your opponents playtime Claus|Dev> we track how many different players you have killed among other things so I wouldnt worry too much if Jape has killed 1000 players and 2 different ones everyone knows he is a cheat stounedi> Claus|Dev, maybe you could enlight us a bit. How will the newbie-killing actually handled? Am I totally wrong, if I presume that killing newbies (your own race, not in war) is totally ok, but it would not give you as much gains as killing someone your own size. Plus you would get the negative hit to alignment, making guards in friendly cities and other npc's more hostile towards you. Claus|Dev> killing your own race is bad kinda like being a red player in uo Claus|Dev> camping newbies of a race you dont like is fine tho but expect other players to remove you Claus|Dev> I think the way the game is designed, you will want to stay on the good side of your own race Claus|Dev> but its up to you guys to play how you want stounedi> any idea how thieves and highwaymen are dealt? Will they too be "red players" Claus|Dev> not like I would hand over my loot to someone that is too afraid of an alignment hit to attack me stounedi> but will there be a skill like "pick pockets" Claus|Dev> yes Whistler> Since each server can have "up to 10,000" players at a time, how will be

doing the release? Will there be a "staged release"? Where you would only activate one server until it fills up, then activate the next, and etc...? Claus|Dev> I think we will have several sets ready, and give the isps the "go" when we need them Claus|Dev> but its really not my table Selrik> Any hint on to how much of the entire world in completed and ready to go? Claus|Dev> selrik: its moving slower than expected but at least its moving. well we wanted a huge world but it turned out to be a bit bigger than expected Claus|Dev> we may hire a few more worldbuilders though.. we dont want the worldbuilding to delay us so if everything is looking to be ready before the worldbuilding, we will hire more builders Stahl> Claus: there won't be "zoning" , from one area to the next in the world ? AO had lots & lots of problems with people going linkdead through those zonewallthingies.. Claus|Dev> there is no outdoor zoning and the programmers hate me for it Claus|Dev> zoning makes it alot easier.. and make you able to pump the graphics more Claus|Dev> ok example: say you have 4 tiles Claus|Dev> if you are standing where all 4 corners meet, you need all 4 loaded in your memory models, textures etc thats 4 times more than if you just zoned from tile to tile so its an easy calculation Claus|Dev> anyway, we felt a seemless world was vital.. CS|doob> how so? Claus|Dev> doob: well for one, I hate zoning Claus|Dev> and I get to decide, so yay me! Jape> Will there be DAoC-like insta stuns and mezzes in DF? (for love of god, say 'no' ) Claus|Dev> jape: we have stun effects, yes but they are short like 2-3 secs. its not like in other games, where you can stun someone, go to the bathroom, return 3 minutes later and kill them Flaffy> This crafting system sounds good, will there be enchanting type things too, like in Morrowind? Claus|Dev> our crafting system kicks ass

Oromea|Nefyr> i have a question about crafting: will players need to follow certain blueprints when making weapons and such or will they know just by learning the skill? Oromea|Nefyr> crafting question: do players need to purchase 'blueprints' to make certain items or can they make anything just by having the skill? Claus|Dev> to make a sword, you need iron etc Chaos_Around> Will DF have 1 shoot kills? Claus|Dev> and we try to avoid 1 shot kills

Whistler> Question - What about character stats? Will there be 3 stats like UO (Str, Dex, Int) or more like every other game? And will there be a cap for those too, or can I have 100 every stat? Claus|Dev> str, vit, dex, wis, int, quick, hp, mana, stam Claus|Dev> thats the stats Claus|Dev> but the more you have, the harder it is to gain more Claus|Dev> its fast at first Flaffy> are there stat and skill caps like in UO? Claus|Dev> there is no cap Stahl> Question: Will there be mounts that can carry 2 players? or wagons for that matter? I heard you were thinking about including caravans for sure. Claus|Dev> stahl I am politely ignoring that question Inq]Ferox> wagons were confirmed Inq]Ferox> since he answered it like 10 times already

Human Dungeon Competition Winner 20/06/03
http://darkfallinfo.com/index.php?page=Info&code=vkn1f3mge4 Archaist by Ole Martin Kristiansen On a hill overlooking the village Archaist lies a dark and forbidding keep. Aphisto Nefer, accomplished necromancer, has operated a laboratory here for several years, creating horrific monsters, some roaming the countryside, others guarding the Keep itself. Nefer has created undead creatures of all races, crafting many formidable creatures. Recently, the Alfar have taken an interest in Nefer and his experiments. They have taken control of Nefer, turning him into a Liche (an undead necromancer of tremendous power) controlled by an Alfar necromancer. Adventurers of all races are now coming to Archaist, which has become a battleground where the living and the dead clash, where mortal enemies join forces against fiends unchecked by any grave... Overview of Archaist Archaist is located in the Kingdom of Mercia. It is only a small village, not necessarily too far from Sanguine. If possible, it is enshrouded in a dense, perpetual mist, for eerie effect. The trees are gnarled and leafless, the grass brown and the water murky Archaist itself holds five points of interest: 1: The village of Archaist; a small and mostly abandoned village where the only viable trade is supplying the local monastery and visiting adventurers. 2: The Monastery of Undying Hope, where a small number of clerics and monks maintain a front against the undead forces, protecting the nearby village by virtue of spell, sword and gold. 3: The Derelict Cemetery, an eerie place inhabited by ghouls, ghosts and skeletons. 4: The Mine, also called 'Rotting Wound Mine', where undead dwarves creatures toil. 5: Archaist Keep, a sinister keep visible from the village. The Keep holds dark secrets, sinister plots, a number of Alfar, even more undead creatures large and small, and most notably ' the formidable Aphisto Nefer.

All five areas hold clues and items that will aid adventurers destroy Aphisto Nefer, but some areas are considerably more accessible to unexperienced players or weak characters than others. The five areas will be detailed further below. Geographically, the layout is simple: the village lies at the base of a hill, surrounded by abandoned fields and some patches of forrest. The monastery is immediately adjacent to the village. A dirt road leads up the hill towards the Keep. A few hundred paces up the road lies the cemetery, the easiest area to explore. About halfway up the hill there is a fork in the road, one path leading to the nearby Mine. The other path leads to the Keep itself, which sits atop the hill. The Core Mechanic The Liche Aphisto Nefer is a 'Switch'. When his body is destroyed, his powerful soul goes to rest in a crypt beneath the Keep. There, it can be ressurrected by any Necromancer, starting the reign of undead terror again. While Nefer is active, the undead of the region gain significant benefits, such as improved aggression, intelligence, power and abilities. Also, some specific monsters are only spawned while Nefer is active. The point is that 'good' charcters will have a blast fighting undead and Nefer, while evil characters, predominantly Alfar, aid and control Nefer and his creatures, making the 'dungeon' a place for both PvP and PvE combat and strategy. Nefer Benefits When Aphisto Nefer is inactive, the undead of the region respawn at a fairly slow rate in the designated areas, and act like undead usually do: moderately aggressive, pretty stupid and mostly pushovers, combat-wise. However, when Nefer is active, the following effects take place: Almost all undead creatures act as allied to all Alfar characters. All undead spawns are 'upgraded', that is, a spawn producing 'skeletons' will spawn 'Skeleton +1' (or whatever) when Nefer is active, etc. Undead are spawned and respawned at double pace, meaning there are a lot more of them. Special undead creatures detailed below are spawned in their designated areas. There is a substantial bonus to the casting of all necromantic magic in the area. The undead dwarves in Rotting Wound Mine actually mine gold, other minerals and gems, which they deposit it collection boxes found throughout the mines. When Never is inactive, they simply wander about, being extremely hostile to all living creatures including Alfar Characters. In other words, when Nefer is active, Alfar characters have significant benefits. Archaist Village The fields and forests surrounding Archaist are not very hospitable; there is little game here, and even the trees seem hostile. The land itself appears to be dying, and bands of undead roam about. Also, skeletal wolves, dogs and other undead predators might inhabit the forests. Archaist village itself is falling into disrepair. Most inhabitants have fled or turned into subjects of the keep. There are about 10 buildings still standing, the majority of them empty. However, it is possible to purchase a few useful items and services, most notably at the following locations:

The Hanged Man Inn Basic accomodation (spawn/bind point?), food, rumors and missions are available here at inflated prices. The inn is operated by a wildly superstitious human, John Jadesea, and his half-wit daughter Tessa. Jadesea will give out the following simple missions: 1. Grave Sanctum: Tessas mother Mertha is buried at the cemetery. If a certain scroll is read over her grave at midnight, it will prevent the necromancer from claiming her bones. Actually, the spell is bogus, sold to John by a charlatan, and Merthas bones are long gone. John will pay a decent sum to any adventurer able to complete the mission, he is to afraid to go to the cemetery. at night himself. 2. Superstitious Mind: John is pretty superstitous, and will pay for items he believe will protect him from the undead. What he wants, is generated from a random list including: Owl Feathers, Holy Water, Garlic Garlands, Holy Symbols of all religions, Human Skulls and various spell reagents. 3. Blessed Amulet: This mission is actually a clue ' the monks at the monastery craft magical amulets that actually give some bonuses when fighting the undead. John needs at least two, one for himself and one for Tessa. 4. Bronze Amulet of Passage: John thinks this is an improved version of the Blessed Amulet mentioned above, but he's wrong: it is in fact a key needed to gain access to the Keep Proper. It can be acquired by looting NPC Alfar found in the Cemetery crypt and the Mine. Additionally, John will offer good payment for items needed for the daily operation of the Inn, including firewood, meat, vegetables, beer, wine and other items. Pakrat's Pawnshop The gnome trader Pakrat Gilliver always fusses about the need to leave the village, but never actually seems to get going. There is just too much to pack, it seems. So, he nervously hangs about, selling most basic items and accepting all items anybody will want to pawn. The smith has packed up and left long ago, but a fully stocked smithy remains. Pakrat will lease it out to any adventurer willing to pay his modest fee. He has employed a human mercenary, Tirsan Sellsword, to guard himself, his shop and the neighboring smithy. Tirsan is not very talkative, and will refer all questions to Pakrat, who in turn will refer most inquiries to the Inn or the Monastery. Sumit's Magic Emporium Sumit Ternclaw is a novice magician and closet necromancer, come to Archaist to learn dark arts from Aphisto Nefer. He has previously traded bones and reagents to the keep in exchange for knowledge and gold. With Nefers death, business has of course dwindled, and now Sumit is biding his time, contemplating what to do. Meanwhile, he sells spell reagents and other useful items for magic-using characters. Characters breaking into Sumit's secret laboratory will encounter a small band of undead soldiers of Sumit's own design, as well as some correspondence between Nefer and Sumit, some books on necromancy and the un-animated skeletons of some weird animals like dinosaurs, lions, pterodactyls, lizardmen etc. In Sumit's basement there is a tunnel leading to the cemetery. crypt . The Monastery Five monks and clerics live in the small monastery, which includes a library, a temple to Morgaine and simple living quarters. The Monks maintain wards that protect the village and the monastery. The monks and clerics are grateful for any help they get with fighting the undead, and

sell Blessed Amulets that give human wearers some bonuses when fighting undead. The monks will also pay god prices for gold, silver and gems, ingredients needed to make the amulets. These ingredients can of course be found in the mine. Other missions given out here, include destroying Aphisto Nefer, destroying the resurrected remains of Jonotain Straightarrow, acquiring a copy of the 'Summon Lieche' scroll and investigating the mine. The library also contain some rare books on necromancy and clues to what is going on at the keep. These titles include: A Brief History of Archaist Among other things, the secret passage leading from the mine to the keep is mentioned here, as well as some details about Aphisto Nefer. A Journey Through Darkness A recounting of the Witch Hunter Jonotain Straightarrow's travels and work. Some other adventure areas are mentioned here, and the book ends with a report on Jonoton going to Archaist in search of a necromancer, never to be seen again. Bringing Rest to the Dead A description on how to use spells and other means to battle undead. Might contain actual spells. Written by Jonotain Straightarrow. The Cemetery Located a few hundred meters up the hill from the village. While most of the landscape around Archaist is rather bleak, the grass in the cemetery. is a lush green. The soil is rich here... Several ghouls and some skeletons lurk in the cemetery., which also holds a mausoleum. This should be a good area for beginning characters. Inside the crypt, a band of NPC are lurking about, gathering materials for making more skeletons and attempting to control the local undead. Their leader bears a Brass Amulet of Passage, which will open the keep gate. There are two tunnels leading from different parts of the crypt, one leads to Sumit Ternclaw's basement, the other one to the Rotting Wound Mine further up the hill. In the crypt, there are also some wraiths and other etheral undead. They are now out of their graves searching for their recently animated bones, and they are not happy. Their toombs may hold some nice loot, such as ancient weapons and coins; as the previous looters came for bones, not gold. All in all, the cemetery. and the crypts is a medium-sized area. The above-ground cemetery. is about 100 by 100 meters, the below ground crypts about the same for three levels, holding 15 to 20 rooms. Most of the NPC Alfar hang out in the bottom level, where they have gathered a fair amount of reanimated skeletons and zombies around them, including several undead soldiers and two undead commanders. Defeating the Alfar in the lower level should be a reasonably tough challenge. There are also two Alfar scouts on the second level and one on the first, they should be pretty easy to handle. All the NPC Alfar here wear a Bronze Amulet of Passage each. There are no books in the cemetery., but lots of epitaphs. Some might hold clues, but most are only there for athmosphere. Example: Here lies Emos Greentree Taken by the great plague of 1234 Giofrey Archaist

Miner, Explorer and Adventurer Founder of the village of Archaist Born 1121, Died 1186 Etc. There are at least two hundred bodies (or more) buried at the small cemetery., but far from all of them have epitaphs. But it is important show that Aphisto Nefer has a good supply of skeletons to reanimate. The Rotting Wound Mine Even further up the hill, this mine is the reason why village of Archaist was founded in the first place. While out killing goblins of the Rotting Wound Tribe, who had taken up residence in this natural cave, the adventurer Giofrey Archaist stumbled across a decent deposit of gold, silver and coal. He started up a mining industry, and a prosperous village grew up around it. After 200 years Aphisto Nefer showed up, and miners starting fleeing Archaist for safer places to work. In the 20 years since Nefer came to town, Archaist has died a little each day, the mine went out of business 13 years ago. However, Nefer started it up again a few years later, manned by undead workers. Nefer needs silver for his research and experiments, and scores of undead dwarves are mining it for him. The mine layout is simple: there are five large chambers, all interconnected by tunnels and shafts. One of these tunnels lead to the cemetery., another to the Keep. In each chamber there is a collection box. The undead miners deposit mined gold, silver and coal here. Anyone can take stuff from these boxes (although they might have to unlocked or picked?). Naturally, there are richer loot found in the boxes in the deeper chambers, in the first chambers mostly coal and a little silver ore is found. In the deeper chambers there is more silver, some gold and even some gems to be found. The undead dwarves are KOS to all living things entering the mine. When Aphisto Nefer is ACTIVE, the undead dwarves are ALLIED to all Alfar characters. Some NPC Alfar are also stationed here. When Nefer is inactive, they hide in the tunnels, when he is active, they look after the collection boxes. Each NPC Alfar wear a Bronze Amulet of Passage . Archaist Keep The Keep itself is simple. There is a small courtyard surrounded by a wall with four turrets and a gate. A Bronze Amulet of Passage is needed to open the gate, but it is possible to enter the courtyard through the tunnel leading from the Mine and to the basement of one of the wall towers. The courtyard, keep walls, towers and gate area are teeming with undead creatures, KOS to all living things. In each tower turret, there is also an NPC Alfar. Each of these wear a Silver Amulet of Passage. Such an amulet must be worn to open the door to the keep itself. In the courtyard, there is also a smithy, a barracks and a stable. Undead dwarves work in the smithy, making armor and weapons. Rows and rows of armored skeletons waiting to be animated are laid out in the barracks. In the stables, undead horsemen are spawned regularly to gather in the courtyard. More on these below.

Inside the Keep The Keep is three stories tall, but the most interesting area is below ground, where dungeons spread for five levels down. All areas are reasonably well stocked with undead. On the first level above ground, there is a mostly just a great hall. This is actually completely empty; there are no undead creatures here. Staircases lead up, and a locked door leads down. A Gold Amulet of Passage is needed to open it. On the second level, there are abandoned sleeping quarters etc. A good amount of Undead Soldiers and Commanders hang about here. On the third level, Aphisto Nefers old laboratory and his library is found. The library should hold some interesting titles, especially on necromancy. Some chilling tales should be included here, as well as some religious books on chaos sects. Aphisto Nefers diary can be found in his study. Nefer was once a promising mage the the college of Magic in Sanguine. While his ability with magic was considerable, he had a special knack for necromancy. He could not resist dabbling in this dark and outlawed craft. When found out, he was forced to flee, templars and Witch Hunters on his trail. After a long escape he came to Archaist, which then was controlled by chaos worshipers known as Clan Blacksoul. Nefer was accepted as a member, and gradually expanded his power base. Those who opposed him were soon killed and turned into undead slaves. Soon, the keep was quite literally operated by a skeleton crew, and Nefer had peace to immerse himself in his studies. Over the next twenty years, he became one of the most powerful necromancers ever. This chilling tale is also recounted in the journal of Armstrong Qweensman, former commander of the keep. The book is uneasy reading; detailing Nefer's horrendous politics and intrigues while taking over the Keep. Qweensman is still at the keep, now an Undead Commander in the dungeons. In the Laboratory, a sample of Nefers ingenuity awaits adventurers: a Bone Golem. It is controlled by an NPC Alfar, who is also guarded by a band of Undead Soldiers, two undead commanders and two NPC Alfar. Defeating the lot should be a worthy task. The Alfar all wear Gold Amulets of Passage, which will allow the wearer to open the gate to the Keep Dungeon. The Keep Dungeons The five levels of dungeons beneath the Keep is a descent into despair and darkness. The first level is mostly abandoned; the kitchens and other staff function quarters is situated here. The Second level is mostly storage; a wine cellar, pantries etc. Several Skeleton soldiers and Commanders keep watch here. Vintage wine from this area could actually be sold to John Jadesae at The Hanged Man Inn. The Third level is comprised of prison cells and torture chambers. Several experiments were conducted here, and some cells hold experiments impossible to control, such as undead Mahirim Soldiers and Commanders. Unlock these cells at your own peril. The Fourth Level is the show-down area. In a big, central area, the shadowy figure of

Aphisto Nefer sits bound to a throne defended by a variety of undead creatures. There are rows of columns and sacrofagi giving cover and strategic opportunities to combatants. All of Nefers undead creatures except the undead horsemen are represented here. It should be very hard to destroy Nefers wraith-like form, which undoubtedly also will be protected by Alfar players. In addition to a host of Undead Soldiers there are two bone golems here, ten undead dwarven warriors and four exceptional undead commanders; the remains of Armstrong Qweensman, Jonotain Straightarrow, Giofrey Archaist and Urkluk Bonegrinder, who once was an Ork hero. These commanders are eminently equipped. The Fifth level is the staging area for the Alfar controlling Nefer. It is basically a round tomb, overlooked by a gallery suitable for archers, with a large sarcophagus in the center of the room. Nefer's spirit will return here when destroyed. It may then immediately be summoned again by reading a scroll with the spell 'Summon Liech' over the tomb. This scroll is available in Kebra Nagast for a rather high price, as part of any Alfar Archaist-related mission. The spell is not really usable for anything else than resurrectng Aphisto Nefer. There should also be a well-protected entrance leading to the Alfar network of caves and tunnels from this area. Special undead creatures Skeletons and Zombies The garden variety of undead horrors. Zombies still have some meat on their bones, as opposed to Skeletons. Undead Soldiers A faster, stronger and better equipped version of the above undead creatures. Well armored in Clan Blacksoul standard issue armor, with shields, swords and crossbows, they are a lot more deadly than normal undead creatures. Undead Commanders Just like undead soldiers, only better in every way. Full plate armor and preferably magical weapons. They are distinguished by a fine web of silver thread criss-crossing their bones; the source of their superior abilities. Combining enchanted silver thread with undead, reanimated bones was Nefer's idea, and is detailed in one of his books. The webs of silver threads make the Undead Commanders gleam slightly even in darkness, making them even eerie and frightening to behold. Spectres and Wraiths Etheral creatures, the spirits of long dead humans. They strive to defend their earthly remains. Spectres are almost transparent skeletal apparitions, wrapped in shrouds. Wraiths are pretty much the same, but are garbed in translucent, ancient armor, packing swords and shields. They can pass through anything, and rely on melee combat, which drain their targets of both health and energy. Note that their attacks pass straight through their opponents armor. Etheral undead usually stay close to their tombs. Ghouls Not unlike zombies, but more agile and creepy. Ghouls are 'free agent' undead; they are not controlled by anyone. They eat human flesh to refill their stores of magical powers, which keeps them 'alive'. These filthy creatures also have poisonous claws and bites, and prefer not to wear a lot of clothes. Skinny, blotched and disgusting, they are the remains of criminals buried outside a sanctified cemetery., and

reanimated by a combination of Nefers powers, which affect the whole area, and their own unquenchable thirst for revenge. In a way, they are powered by Nefer's magic, but they have actually reanimated themselves. Hunting in packs, they should not be underestimated. Undead Horsemen Like an undead commander, except badder and mounted on a horse. Skeletal mounts would be more cool, but normal horses will also do. The horsemen can be used to key the Archaist Keep area into a conciderably larger campaign. Undead Dwarves Squat and strong, Dwarves make good undead creatures. Often wearing helmets and other pieces of armor, usually equipped with hammers or other equipment that may double as tools and weapons. They have carved inlays of gold and silver in their bones, depictions of runes that bind the Dwarves souls to their bones. The runes on their skulls, arms and ribs are particularly visible. Undead Mahirim Soldiers and Commanders An experiment gone wrong. Aphisto Nefer has managed to kill a fairly large amount of Mahir warriors and reanimated them. But he could not control them. They are currently held in cells in the dungeons. They are unarmored and not equipped with any weapons, but that hardy matters... they are just as lethal using only their teeth and claws. Release these monsters at your own risk; they are fast, strong and lethal, and they are KOS to everything - even other undead creatures (and Alfar, even when Nefer is active). Like Undead Commanders, the bones of the Undead Mahirim Commanders are spun with silver threads. Bone Golem The pinnacle of Nefers Achievements: a massive skeleton giant, built of the parts of several other creatures. The limbs of the Bone Golem are massive and thick, as several femurs and other bones has been banded together with thick strips of silver to form huge appendages looking like macabre jig-saw puzzles. The Golem's torso is similarly heavy-set, their skulls taken from ogres and bears. In short, the meleerelying Bone Golem is a terrifying, lumbering monster, immensely strong and very hard to kill. It moves almost like a bear walking on two legs. Bone Golems do not use weapons, but are quite efficient in crushing opponents with their arms or underfoot. Often, plates or pipes of metal, mostly silver, are added to the Bone Golem to make them even harder to destroy. Bone Golems have never been tested on a battlefield, but can be expected to be devastating. Standing more than three meters tall, moving with thunderous steps and the sound of bones grating on each other, A Bone Golem is truly a terrifying abomination. Closing comments The Archaist Region is not so much a straight-forward adventure area/dungeon as it is a battleground where interesting battles between different races � predominantly humans and Alfar � would take place. Missions could be given to members of all races, motivating them to go here, although Humans, Alfar and perhaps Mirdain characters would have the most reason to go here. It is designed to be a dynamic area where players are pitted against each other, with a deep and gothic backdrop.

DFDogma interview
http://web.archive.org/web/20031011225539/http://www.darkfalldogma.com/dddev. htm

Here are a few questions answered by the man himself, Claus Grovdal (Producer/Lead Designer) for Darkfall Dogma...Hope you enjoy! How will a character's vitality be split up? Instead of trying to be overly clever here, we went with the traditional Health, Stamina, and Mana approach, a familiar setup for MMORPG and RPG players. Health/ Hit-points represent the amount of damage you can take before your character is dead, Stamina gives you an indication about your character's energy level, and Mana has to do with your character's mental capacity in relation to casting spells. Could you give us some more information on the logistics of crafting (e.g. is it click 'n create, automatic, variable depending on some sort of player skill, etc.) You need to possess the appropriate skills, and tools, in order to create the item you are planning to make. To explain the crafting process better I'll use an example: Let's say you are planning to make a magical longsword. You have the Weapon Smithing skill that allows you to make it, but you don't want to make just any longsword, you are planning to make a longsword out of Raudstaal, a rare and powerful dwarven mineral you bought just from some dwarven miners. To use rare minerals, you need the Master Weapon Smithing skill, which is obtained once you've developed your Weapon Smithing skill to a high level of proficiency. Assuming you have both the skills covered, you have to use a smithy. You can't use a level one smithy to make a longsword with rare minerals, you need access to a level two smithy or better. Having secured access to one, you enter the smithy, click on his tools, and a interface window opens where you choose what you want to create. You drag the Raudstaal in your backpack into this window and start making the item. To enchant weapons you need the Enchant Weapon skill, which you have, but you are not done yet. You now have to go to the Mage Guild to enchant the weapon with magical properties. A level two Mage Guild has a Hall of Enchantment, a room with the tools used to enchant weapons. This is the time to pick which properties you want to imbue into the weapons. You want your longsword to give the wielder +1 strength, and you know that this requires the ogre finger you saved after killing an ogre a few days ago. You also want the sword to drain some health from your target and give it back to you. To give your longsword the Vampiric ability, you need the vampire tooth that you luckily bought from another player the other day. You click on the enchantment orb and an interface window opens. You drag your newly created Raudstaal longsword into this window, add the ogre finger and the vampire tooth, click enchant, and the process of enchanting your weapon has started. Congratulations, you have now made a Vampiric Raudstaal Longsword of Strength, and you're on your way to becoming a great weapon smith / enchanter! Will we be able to capture and occupy other race's cities, or can we only destroy them?

Yes you can capture and occupy other races cities. Could you clarify combat logistics? Will we have full control over our attacks, parries and blocks? Our development team is made up of gamers, and for years we have been envious of FPS players having combat centered fun in games such as Quake, Unreal, Counterstrike etc. They have had these cool combat systems that are fun and challenging, while we as MMORPG players have felt sold short using turn based simple and boring 'click and wait' combat systems. With Darkfall we wanted to move away from the traditional 'select target, hit attack, sit back and wait for the result' combat systems we have seen in other online games. We wanted to include elements such as dodging, evasion, timing, aiming etc. These elements are well known from FPS games, but haven't really been utilized in MMORPGs before. Darkfall uses a semi-FPS action system, where a typical fight will involve the mentioned elements; dodging, evasion, timing and aiming. Tactical elements also come into play, like using the higher ground, strafing, hiding behind corners, walls and objects, using the right skills or spells at the right time, using the right combinations of skills and spells, countering the enemy's skills and spells, evaluating the enemy's equipment, using the right debuffing spells etc. It might sound complicated when explained on paper, but it flows extremely well ingame, and we are really happy with our combat system. We can't wait to let our players test it out, and we think it will help push MMORPG combat systems in the right direction, and make each combat situation unique and exciting. A lot of speculation has gone into the Prestige class of Assassins...Can you set the record straight on what their function will be? Their function is to kill people that are hard to kill. In order for them to succeed, they have to sneak in undetected, kill their target, and hopefully escape. Assassins are proficient at stealth, at engaging unsuspected targets, but they have limited defensive capabilities so unless they drop their target fast, they're in big trouble. Besides the general coolness of having the potential of assassinating hard to get to targets, there are other uses for assassins: Just a couple of examples: In sieges there are these long spell casting sessions of ritual magic that could be interrupted by the death or murder of one of the casters. As these guys would be protected, maybe an assassin could slip in undetected and get the job done. They could assassinate the healer in a group, and put a damper on this groups activities until they can get their healer back. Don't want to say much more about assassins, other than we're going to keep things balanced and making sense where it comes to this prestige class. Can you give us some information on what kind of areas will be zoned for housing construction (e.g. thriving cities, desolate forests or islands, etc.)? There are no pre-defined 'housing zones'. Houses, castles, shops etc can be placed and built anywhere on the Agon map. That's all for now! I would like to say thanks to Tasos for arranging this, and to Claus for taking his time to answer the questions!

2002
Interview 16/01/2002
http://web.archive.org/web/20020802031218/http://darkfall.mmorpg.net/interview/i nterview.php We recently forced Claus Grovdal from Razorwax to sit down and answer a few questions about Darkfall. As you probably know, Darkfall is a new MMORPG currently in alpha testing. MMORPG - Could you please introduce yourself and tell us what it is you do at Razorwax and Darkfall? Claus - My name is Claus Grovdal, I am the Producer and Lead Designer at Razorwax AS. I do all the game logic design and project management for Darkfall, and currently double as CEO for the company, while we look for someone that is a better CEO than me ;) MMORPG - For those who do not know, can you explain a little bit about what Darkfall is all about? Claus - Darkfall is a fantasy MMORPG that is highly geared towards player vs. player combat (pvp). And especially player-run clans fighting other player-run clans for control over territories, resources and power. MMORPG - What is going to set Darkfall apart from the other MMORPG's currently in development? Claus - I think the fact that everything in the Darkfall world can be owned by actual players is one of the things that really set Darkfall apart from most existing online games. In addition, when we first started designing Darkfall, we wanted to create a huge fantasy world filled with everything you would expect to find in a fantasy world, but we also wanted the gameplay to be faster and more intense than seen in previous MMORPG's. Darkfall is a fantasy MMORPG, but the combat situations are more like a FPS such as Quake/Unreal/Counterstrike or even Daggerfall/Deus EX than EQ/AC/UO/DAOC. Just with thousands of skills and spells - so it will take some practice before you can kick other players ass on a regular basis. We wanted to make a game that doesn�t take weeks or even months of boring and endless leveling and item camping to be able to compete. Darkfall is totally skill based, and the more action oriented gameplay makes it more player and less character dependant on who wins each fight. MMORPG - How long has Darkfall been in development? Claus - It has been designed on paper for years, but the actual fulltime development started in May/July 2000. MMORPG - Do you currently have an estimated release date? How about a date for beta?

Claus - We missed the Pre-Alpha deadline by 3 months, so we really don�t like estimating dates anymore. We are working towards a release in Q1 2003 though. MMORPG - Darkfall is a PvP based game. A lot of people do not like PvP in MMORPG's. Will a player be able to play Darkfall and not have to worry about PvP? Claus - Absolutely. We have so many tradeskills that in theory you could sit in the safety of your clans city for months making powerful magical items and maybe never see any pvp action. The Darkfall world is also extremely huge, and you could travel far into the wilderness, build a house, and probably hunt in the nearby dungeons without seeing other players for weeks. You can enjoy the game any way you want. MMORPG - Will players be able to purchase homes or any other sort of buildings? Will there be clan buildings available to players? Claus - Yes. Players and clans can own houses, shops, keeps, castles, mines, ships, farms� pretty much anything can be player owned � and player conquered MMORPG - How big will the world be? Will there be zones in Darkfall? Claus - The Darkfall world is huge. You will be surprised You zone when you enter dungeons, but that�s all. No zoning outdoors. MMORPG - Darkfall has 6 playable races in the game. Are there plans for new races in later expansions? How will each race be different from each other? Claus - Yes, we have some plans regarding additional races, but this is still pretty much on the drawing board yet. Races are obviously different in appearance, but they also have some different skills and spells, weapons and equipment. MMORPG - Darkfall is said to be in open development. What exactly does this mean for the average player? Will players be able to offer features and suggestions during beta that might possibly make it into the final game? Claus - We are listening to all ideas, and players have already influenced some aspects of the game by simply posting ideas, opinions and suggestions on our boards. We believe players will be able to influence the development of the game now that we are inviting some of them into the Pre-Alpha. MMORPG - Is there anything else you would like to add in closing? Claus - I would like to thank all the people supporting us and helping out on the boards. Making a MMORPG would probably have killed us all at Razorwax a long time ago, if it wasn�t for all the amazing support from you folks.

MMORPGdot.com Interview 15/02/2002
http://www.mmorpgdot.com/index.php?hsaction=10053&ID=261

Logan interviewed Claus Grovdal, Producer/Lead Designer for Darkfall Online about their upcoming MMORPG. This is a reprint of an interview originally published at Logan's site Reckon! news - more of these excellent interviews will be reprinted here at RPGDot in the coming days... Q: What is your name and job title please? Claus: Claus Grovdal, Producer/Lead Designer Q: What things are being done to help the newbie? A tutorial like Everquest use to have, etc? Claus: We are planning to do a tutorial quest as you log into the game for the first time. In this quest a new player will learn the most basic features of Darkfall. Q: What will be done to keep 'd00dz' from banding together into 'clans' of roaming PK'ers? Claus: Nothing. In fact we encourage people to form clans of roaming PKs. We believe that these guys will be the most fun and toughest monsters other players will find ingame, so why prevent them from forming their evil clans? Let them roam, find them, and punish them :) Q: What will be done for those who don't enjoy PvP (or being stuck in thecities if they don't want to get gacked)? What would you say to people to rid them of the fear that the game will not become a 'gank fest' that drove so many customers away from UO? Claus: If you dont like pvp, Darkfall may not be the right game for you. However, since the game is so heavily focused on clans ruling kingdoms, and almost every ingame items such weapons and armor can be made by players, we think that those that would rather stay out of the pvp can find tons of entertainment as traders or crafters in Darkfall in exchange for protection by a ruling clan. The biggest clans will need crafters and traders - and they will need lots of them to be successful. If you consider yourself a prime blacksmith of magical weapons, or a hard working farmer, growing food and rare herbs in your fields, clans will do all they can to get you to join them.

Q: Any sort of reputation system built into the game for NPC's? PC's? Is it possible for PC's to get bounties from a game mechanism to go hunt down other PC's who have been naughty? Claus: We have an alignment and a fame system in Darkfall, and both NPCs and PCs can place a bounty on other players. Q: Is there a skill ceiling in place, so I cannot become the "best ateverything" and have very real trade offs to choose? Or is it possible to be the best at every craft?

Claus: Right now there are no limits on skills and spells, so theoretically you could become the best at every craft. This will be tested before release though, and we may implement some kind of limits if we dont think it works. Q: Is combat open ended, like I.C.E.'s system use to be? [I like a PvP system where the uber PK stumbles on someone obviously their inferior, and of course attacks. However due to extraordinary luck (on the order of 1 in 10000) the newbie pierces the PKs eye, killing the foul beast. THIS would make being a PK fun, since you NEVER know if you have a sure win.] Claus: We dont have levels in Darkfall, so you will never see the level 50 guy beating up 3000 level 1 newbies without loosing a single hitpoint. In fact, our PvP system is designed so that 3-4 newbies could probably beat any single player in combat if they work well together, and have some decent PvP skills. Q: Is the tradeskill system window dressing or a money sink? I.E. is the game set up so ONLY someone seriously gimped for fighting can obtain enough skills to become a master crafter? Claus: We have no skill limits, so in theory you could be the best wizard, the best axe wielding fighter, and the best blacksmith at once. In fact our initial design of Darkfall stated that there should be no way to gimp your character. Nothing is more frustrating than spending 4 months building a character, then the developers patches say your weapon of choice, and you are stuck with a character that sucks in PvP. This will never happen in Darkfall, simply because you can then just pick another weapon, and within a few days you are on top again.

Q: Are there NPC's to interact with? If so, how varied are they? How manycharacter models will there be for release? Claus: There are tons of NPCs to interact with, ranging from merchants and trainers, to NPC guards that the clan can hire to defend their cities. Q: Can players design and build... A hovel, a house, a keep, a castle? If all of the materials were readily available, how long would it take to build a small (2br) house? How long to destroy it? Claus: Players can build hundreds of different type of dwellings. How long it will take to build and destroy them has not been finalized yet. This is also obviously something we have to run extensive testing on. Q: Assuming no mishaps with mobs or players, how long would it take me tocircumnavigate the world (if go from end to end if the world is flat) ?Could I even do so? Might I need to build a city, then build a ship, then cross an ocean, etc... Claus: I have no idea. The world is absolutely huge though, so I wouldn�t recommend trying ;)

Q: How smart are the mobs? I mean, if I keep showing up at their daycarecenter, luring single young monsters away to a nasty death, can I do this forever, or do they eventually take action? Is the mobs behavior static, or is there a pseudo random component? By this I mean, if I shoot a mob with an arrow, A) It always chases directly at me, back to the waiting hoards for slaughter, or B) 70% give chase, 20% attempt to use an evasive maneuver, and 10% run for help? Claus: Our monsters are pretty clever, and we are spending alot of resources into making our monsters smarter than those seen in previous MMORPGs. Its too early to reveal any secrets though ;) Q: Many games have attempted to slow their rate of level advancement byintroducing downtime. Players are very concerned about it. In EQ, downtime was severe - up to 20 minutes. In DAOC and AO, it is under 1 minute. I view this as an excellent trend. If I was the most powerful fighter possible in your game and wanted to rest after a nasty combat in which I was nearly killed, how long would it take me to get back my full hit points? Mana? Claus: If you are just sitting there waiting for them to climb all the way up by themselves, I would say 2-3 minutes, maybe a bit more. But obviously we have spells to remedy this, healing potions, mana potions, healing kits and other sources of regeneration. Noone at Razorwax is a huge fan of downtime. Its just a waste of time. We want Darkfall to be fun, not boring.

Q: In AO, we were introduced to vehicles. These were not independent things that could be parked, stolen, sat upon, etc - they were very lame morphing of the character into the vehicle (i.e. man becomes car). In SOL (EQ) this will be repeated. In DAOC, their vehicles amount to buy ticket and sit on horse till it gets to the destination (whereupon it disappears) or jump off enroute. Will your game have vehicles? Will the character models 'morph' into the vehicle, be forced to only go along vehicle routes or will the vehicles be completely separate from the characters? Claus: Our game will have horses (actually we have about 20 mountablemonsters, including flying ones), wagons and ships. And no, you will not morph into a War Galleon :) Q: Will characters be able (upon release) to make vehicles? Enchant items? Claus: Yes :) Q: What about vehicular combat (the pride and joy of ALL vehicle owners)? Can I run someone over with an ox cart? A dragon? Claus: Yes :) Q: Will you have areas in your world which are extraordinary? IE - Dreamscapes, floating castles, etc?

Claus: We have other planes of existance, yes. Q: Name three things which intrigue YOU about the gameplay. Claus: Clan wars and conquest, fast action packed gameplay and the fact that almost everything in the game can be player owned. Q: What are the death penalties? Will you lose experience? Skills? Items? Claus: We are still very much debating this. I think we have to testdifferent penalties to find the right one. Right now there is no stat loss, and you keep all items worn and wielded, but you loose everything in your backpack. Q: Will there be static spawns? Static loot? Claus: Yes we have a few static spawns, but most is random. Q: What is your favorite aspect of your game? Claus: Clan wars and conquest. Q: Aside for the fact that the game is not yet out, what is your least favorite aspect of your game? Claus: Its a good question. I honestly cant come up with anything, and the reason is probably that if we found something we didnt like, we would fix it. Q: What features will be coded into the game to allow guilds to be more than just 'glorified chat channels'? Claus: Just about anything you can think of. I dare you! :) (See follow up question following up interview - ed)

Q: How will long distance travel work? Claus: Horses, wagons and ships. In addition we have teleportation spells. Q: One of the major problems customers face with all released games is that of content. 2001 has a bad year for releasing games with actual content (AO, WW2OL, DAOC) - what can you say to reassure the nervous masses? Claus: Read our FAQ then post your questions on our boards, we are serious about listening to ideas and suggestions from our potential future players, so come help us make your dreamgame.

Q: From the FAQ: "Can I play all races on the same account? No. This is something we have discussed at length within Razorwax, and we believe that there would be too much unwanted spying going on: if you play an Alfar, for example, you may log on your Elf scout just to check if the Elven town of Charybdis is well defended at the moment or not." Q: So would this mean that if I was playing an Alfar and you were playing an Elf I could not send you a /tell? Or you could not hear when I talk? To prevent spying? Claus: Still undecided. But what it means is that you can only play one race on one account. Q: From the FAQ: "You can even hook up with a few friends and be pirates,sailing your galleon around, plundering merchant ships and other pirates...">>>Any opportunity to become a pirate is a good thing. Since sailing is in, will there be currents? Varying wind at different times of the year? Pirate clothing? Parrot accessories? Claus: LOL. I am going request more parrot accessories from our art guys now :) Q: From the FAQ: "So what are Prestige Classes?...Paladins have to give half of their earnings to their church, etc.">>>I like that there are tradeoffs for various classes. On something like that, would the paladin merely receive half of the coin they loot? Would the total coin the monster was able to drop be halved then split among the group (thus penalizing everyone) or would just the paladins cut be penalized? Would the 'trade off penalties' always be just for the character in question or would they (like the old EQ experience penalty for hybrids before it was 'fixed') be shared among the entire group? Claus: Only the Paladins cut would be penalized. Q: From the FAQ: "Don't you fear that out of control player killers will ruin the game? No. Being a random player killer of evil alignment is definitely possible, but also an extremely hard career. You will have enemies everywhere, and will have a hard time finding a safe city to sell/buy in..." Q: What elements are in place to stop me from buying 2 accounts, 1 Mr.Respectable, and 2 Mr. Reprehensible, and keep my "woods guy" outslaughtering everyone, and use my good guy to resupply? Claus: I could say we have some super secret way of preventing this, but that would be lying. However we would get twice the monthly fee from you, so we are happy :p Q: From the FAQ: Can I design my own house?

Yes. [more info to come] Q: Will this be a 'Lego block' style of building? Will it be possible to paint your house? How about painting someone else's house? Claus: Yes its a lego block style of building, and yes you can paint your own house. You can not paint someone else's house though. Q: Will you have character aging? No. This is almost as bad as permanent death. Q: Why? Would it be possible to allow someone to (if they wished, have a box they could check if they wish to) allow someone to grow older and older in appearance only? [That could make its own kind of prestige. If you see any withered, toothless, gimpy old men it gives you a good sign to run.] Or is that too graphics intensive at this time? Claus: It would be possible, but we do not have this feature yet, and we have no plans for it. If enough players requested it, I am sure we could look into it. Dont count on it though ;)

Q: From the FAQ: Will Darkfall feature weather effects? Yes. Expect realistic weather effects, such as rain, snow, wind blowing in the trees, wind blowing in the grass on the ground, thunder and lightning. Q: Will weather actually matter? Will arrows accuracy be decreased in high winds? Will roads become impassable to all but foot traffic in heavy snow? Will snow actually accumulate or will we just see it fall (ala EQ)? Claus: We are currently testing this, and nothing is finalized yet. It is a thin line between "cool feature", and "absolutely annoying". Q: Will a large link entitled FAQ be added to the front page (of your site) any time soon? Claus: Heh. Point taken. Q: Any additional comments you would like to add? Claus: Yes. I encourage everyone with an interest in MMORPGs to comeregister on our boards, and help us out by providing ideas and discussing

I am concerned about their PvP answers. Clearly, they are not yet familiar with the griefer. From a business standpoint that's the one $10 account that can get twenty $10 accounts to quit the game because that is what they like to do. When EQ was made, people flocked from the unrestricted PvP of UO to it. Later, UO even made certain areas non-PvP, newbies are immune to PvP, etc. Wondering if that thing about failing to remember history and doomed to repeat it will kick in. Follow up interview questions: Q: Thank you very much for the interview. To your statement: "What features will be coded into the game to allow guilds to be more than just 'glorified chat channels'? Claus: Just about anything you can think of. I dare you! :)" OK- here are three things off of the top of my head: 1) Automatic guild payments. 2) Ability for guild members to put things into a guild bank. 3) Ability for guilds to equip new members with optional 'newbie packages'. Hows that? Any/all of those? Hi there, About the challenge: All those and ALOT more. We have 4 pages of design covering just the guild (well we call them clan) functions, so I am serious when I am saying that you will be amazed. Q: Aside from that, I am concerned about their PvP answers. Clearly, they are not yet familiar with the griefer. We are totally familiar with griefing in MMORPGs. However, Darkfall does not attempt to be a new EQ, a new AO or even a new DaoC; Darkfall is something new - a PvP MMORPG. We believe that players of MMORPGs are ready for a PvP based game, and thats what we are going to give them. We dont think that this is bad from a commercial point of view either. People love to kill other people in multiplayer games -> Counterstrike, Quake, Unreal, Red Alert, Age of Empires, Diablo, Warcraft II, UO, AC Darktide are all examples of this. And we here at Razorwax love it too, having played all those games (and still playing some of them) ourselves. Our main challenge is to even the playing field, and make sure that the victims of griefers can easily deal out some payback.

IRC Stratics chat 13/06/02
http://df.warcry.com/index.php/content/library/logs/stratics_130602.php <Kiir> Hello and welcome to tonight's Second House of Commons Chat with the Developers of Darkfall. I will be our moderator for this evening. In order to submit questions please /msg or /query [QT]Brannoc, [QT]Core, [QT]Jeka or [QT]Nikolan. <Kiir> Please /msg different question-takers at different times, in order to balance the load and speed this process up. Do not msg anyone from Dev. Team or myself. These questions will be ignored. <Kiir> Remember that the Dev. Team may not have the opportunity to answer all of your questions. In addition, some questions may not be answered if the Dev Team feel

that it is not appropriate or that it has been better answered through some other question. <Kiir> IN addition please do not submit any questions that have been answered in our last House of Commons or on the official boards at www.darkfallonline.com. We encourage you to read the logs of the previous House of Commons Chats. <Kiir> Thanks for coming, everyone. We will now begin accepting questions. <Ricki|Dev> Hi, I am Ricki Sickenger. Lead Tools and Game Logic programmer. =) <Kjetil|Dev> My name is Kjetil Helland and I am the Lead Client programmer and I also program the core of the server object handling. <Claus|Dev> My name is Claus Grovdal, and I am the most important member of the team <Claus|Dev> =P <Ricki|Dev> O_o <Kjetil|Dev> o_O <Kiir> *Viranth* 1. I'm a hardcore FPS gamer, and you say the screenshot is taken with a GF1 at perfect playable FPS, please define "perfect" playable FPS =) <Kjetil|Dev> I would define perfectly playable FPS as a framerate above 30 per second :) <Kiir> *Cybren* Will you be able to change hair styles? Like you go into the menu>hair stylist > i want longer hair (OK), then after like 2 weeks (in-game) your hair has been growing and now has the correct length. <Claus|Dev> That is something we are considering, but unfortunately it is not very high on our priorities list <Claus|Dev> so basically, it may/may not be implemented :) <Kiir> *Viranth* You have said Darkfall is a world of magic, does this mean a person who wants to be a brute force swordsman, won't stand a chance? <Ricki|Dev> Darkfall being a world of magic means that it is natural for everyone to use magic. But if you really don't want to, you can still survive, but you might be more reliant on friends or magical items. <Kiir> *Sunchopper* OK, say you are alfar and you get stuck in the sunlight, what happens? <Claus|Dev> lots of unpleasant things =P <Claus|Dev> first, your skills will start dropping slowly <Claus|Dev> then, after xx minutes, adjusted by alfar skills and spells, you will start taking direct damage from the exposure to the sunlight <Claus|Dev> you can actually die from sunlight exposure, but it doesnt happen instantly <Claus|Dev> you will have plenty of time to find cover <Claus|Dev> but as a rule of thumb <Claus|Dev> dont stay in the sun if you are alfar :) <Kiir> *Jaym* Can we have familiars in DF? Like made from a spell and magically bound to your character? <Kjetil|Dev> In short: you can have familiars in Darkfall. e.g. You can tame an animal, summon a monster, hire an NPC guard etc.etc. <Kjetil|Dev> You will definitely see Necromancers with a small army of undead <Kiir> *Moonchopper* Are there going to be magical weapons? If so, then what types? <Ricki|Dev> Yes there are magical weapons. Most of these are player crafted, and can

range from simple attack-bonus weapons, to more powerful weapons with a will of thier own ;) <Kiir> *Airius* During the last HoC Chat, you mentioned the possibility of lesser races becoming a playable option in DF. Goblins, for example. Can you tell us more about this aspect of the game? Is this closer to becoming a reality? <Claus|Dev> right.. this is something we have talked alot about lately. but we still cant say for sure that it will be in the game on release.. <Claus|Dev> so I am sorry if I am being vague, but thats the best answer we can give right now <Kiir> *Kog* Yes first i would jus like to say i love darkfall! so far it looks great now onto my question will orcs actully grow in size as they attain rank? and will it be possible to fashion armour out of elven bones? thanks! <Kjetil|Dev> We are actually creating that technology right now, so that players can grow ingame based on their physical skill progression. <Kjetil|Dev> So if you are a true Ork warrior who likes to use your physical advantage to club other players/monsters in the head, you will actually see yourself grow in physical size. <Claus|Dev> ok about the elven bones thing <Claus|Dev> we are actually thinking about it <Claus|Dev> but that might screw up the PG13 rating =P <Kiir> *_kane_* will it be possible to make your own "mix" of metals to make the best armour? <Kjetil|Dev> That is what the player based economy and item making is all about. <Kjetil|Dev> If you want to e.g. make a great sword, you want the best materials available and use the best blacksmith in your (if you have on) clan to make it. <Kjetil|Dev> The materials used to to make the sword might be made from other submaterials which some other player, with the appropriate skill, has put together. <Kiir> *Osthman* Since you folks are developing this game out of the U.S., will this mean that the U.S. fans have to wait longer to get our hands on the DF box? <Ricki|Dev> no <Ricki|Dev> :D <Claus|Dev> ^____________________________________^ <Kiir> *Airius* During the last HoC Chat, you mentioned that players will always have a way to find out who stole from them. Is there a statute of limitations on this power? Or is this ability indefinite for the life of the game? <Claus|Dev> no, there is a timer involved. <Claus|Dev> ill give a specific example <Claus|Dev> you can mark one of your items with a spell <Claus|Dev> and later cast a Locate Object spell, to know who currently has it <Claus|Dev> the mark on the item has a duration <Claus|Dev> so you have to locate it before the duration of the mark expires <Kiir> *Goldarv* Will everyone be able to understand each other? ex. Human says hi to a Mahirim does the Mahirim get a message saying "Goldarv says somin in a language you can't understand" <Claus|Dev> actually, let me add one more thing <Claus|Dev> about the stolen items <Claus|Dev> obviously there is a counterspell <Claus|Dev> so the thief can look for, detect, and try to erase the mark on an item

<Claus|Dev> there is pretty much a counterspell for every spell in Darkfall <Kiir> *Goldarv* Will everyone be able to understand each other? ex. Human says hi to a Mahirim does the Mahirim get a message saying "Goldarv says somin in a language you can't understand" <Ricki|Dev> Any race can read whatever any other race says. Communication is important to be able to socialize properly. <Kiir> *Moonchopper* Will you be able to ride animals? Like horses? <Kjetil|Dev> Yes. You can mount several different kinds of animals in Darkfall. e.g. The Orks use war pigs.. <Kiir> *Sunchopper* how will you deal with cheating or macroing <Kjetil|Dev> That's S3kr3t! but we WILL catch you :) <Kiir> *Moonchopper* Will there be Guild stones like in UO? Or will there just be player made guilds? <Claus|Dev> first of all, we call them CLANS not guilds :) <Claus|Dev> you dont need a clanstone to start a clan <Claus|Dev> you can just start one, and invite friends to join you <Claus|Dev> however <Claus|Dev> we do have something called clanstones <Claus|Dev> but they are connected to conquest and kingdom ownership <Claus|Dev> and thats a whole new question :) <Kiir> *Sunchopper* Can players have as many houses as they want <Kjetil|Dev> No, there will be a limit. <Kjetil|Dev> The final limit is something that we will tune during the testing that is going on. <Kiir> *Airius* Ok, so I can be a Baker in DarkFall. Does that just mean a press the space bar 1000 times and I make bread, or is there more to it than that? How can I effect the game by making bread? <Claus|Dev> heh.. well you wont be able to change the world by making bread ;) <Claus|Dev> but we are working really hard to give tradeskills like baking a meaning and purpose in Darkfall <Claus|Dev> I dont want to go into too much detail here <Kiir> *Varug* Will bigger weapons like huge maces(the orc flattener) or war machines like catapults be able to kill strong people in one hit or just really hurt a lot? <Ricki|Dev> One hit kills will be avoided in Darkfall. But ofcourse, if you create a character and run right out of the capitol and into some boulder from a catapult, there is a major chance you will die very fast :P <Kiir> *Satam* Will I be able to charge people taxes for living in my city? <Kjetil|Dev> Yes, that is one of the things you can do if you are in the position where you control a kingdom. <Kjetil|Dev> You will basically then be responsible for setting up the laws that will apply to your Kingdom. <Kiir> *Airius* What makes Banks, safe? What makes Player Cities and Housing, safe? I'm especially interested in what happens to these areas when the owners are offline. <Claus|Dev> player cities are never totally safe

<Claus|Dev> <Claus|Dev> <Claus|Dev> <Claus|Dev> <Claus|Dev> <Claus|Dev> <Claus|Dev>

players can raid your towns when you are sleeping so you should hire NPC guards to guard them or have friends in different timezones :) banking however well, we might have to do a little cheating and make banking 100% safe we really dont like it, but I think it will be necessary

<Kiir> Just a quick reminder only send questions to the 4 people with a [qt] in front of their name any questions sent to me or the devs will be ignored <Kiir> *Moonchopper* Will there be scheduled down times for maintenance? Assuming that these are static servers... <Ricki|Dev> There most probably will be scheduled downtime for the servers. But we are hoping most of the content updates will be done while the servers are live. <Kiir> *Osthman* Since this this game is going to have major clan battles, how will you make sure the FPS and the lag isn't so bad that you won't be seeing a slideshow? Is the graphic engine that good? ;) <Kjetil|Dev> We started out designing the Darkfall technology so that it will be able to handle a lot of 'action' on the screen. <Kjetil|Dev> Basically this means that we have incorporated LOD (Level Of Detail) in every aspect of the engine and server. <Ricki|Dev> nice split <Kjetil|Dev> We'll pause for a moment <Prescient> thanks <Claus|Dev> they were PKed <Prescient> we try :p <Ricki|Dev> ./lifestone ;P <Claus|Dev> Kal Ort Por! * <Kjetil|Dev> whistles <Kiir> wee're going to continue <Ricki|Dev> lets continue <Ricki|Dev> =) <Kiir> I'll post the last question again and we'll move from there <Kiir> *Osthman* Since this this game is going to have major clan battles, how will you make sure the FPS and the lag isn't so bad that you won't be seeing a slideshow? Is the graphic engine that good? ;) <Kjetil|Dev> We started out designing the Darkfall technology so that it will be able to handle a lot of 'action' on the screen. <Kjetil|Dev> Basically this means that we have incorporated LOD (Level Of Detail) in every aspect of the engine and server. <Kjetil|Dev> That means that both network data and visual data will be downgraded if you get into a situation where your normal network connection and/or computer can't handle the load at full detail. <Kjetil|Dev> The engine will sacrifice a lot in visual quality in order to keep the framerate steady if you are in a huge battle. <Kjetil|Dev> After all, eye candy is not the thing that will be on your mind when 20 angry Orks are running and screaming towards you. <Kiir> *Pokeroo* how effecitve will poisons be in game? will they be strong enough to paralyze and cripple people?

<Claus|Dev> poison ranges from a small damage bonus, to spell-like effect <Claus|Dev> such as paralize <Claus|Dev> you can even combine effects at higher skill levels <Claus|Dev> and eventually make deadly poisons that add damage, paralyze your target, and make them go blind <Claus|Dev> nasty stuff huh? :) <Claus|Dev> better have a cure poison spell ready :) <Kiir> *Pokeroo* With respect to city conquest. Will there be a time limit for the attackers to hold the town, ro will it be capture the flag, or what? <Ricki|Dev> City conquest will be a mix of capture the flag and a timelimit, but we can't go into specifics yet. sorry :) <Kiir> *Vandarin* will there be any type of boats designed for war/battle? or, is there any plan to impliment them? <Claus|Dev> yes, there will be a large range of boats <Claus|Dev> ranging from small ones to huge war galleons <Kiir> *Uilamin* How are buildings going to be handled? Are there going to be set textures that can be customizated? Or just simple different types of buildings you can buy? <Kjetil|Dev> You will be able to make your buildings using a sort of 'lego-block' building. <Kjetil|Dev> So it's up to you to design the final outcome of your house, but we will provide the predesigned parts. As for textures: it's the same. You will get a library to chose from. <Kiir> *Varug* Will their be many types of spells for warriors which can be casted on you before you go into battle, so you can focus on just smashing peoples into the ground? <Ricki|Dev> Darkfall will have a load of spells, but you don't have to be overloaded with protection spells to survive a battle. <Ricki|Dev> some protection spells will last a while, and some not <Ricki|Dev> and some will last until triggered by certain conditions <Kiir> *Uilamin* Will armour affect movement and swimming type abilities? <Claus|Dev> yes <Claus|Dev> wearing heavy armor will slow you down <Claus|Dev> not only running speed, but also spellcasting speed <Claus|Dev> oh and swimming speed :) <Kiir> *Airius* Ealier in the week Claus asked a group of people in IRC to save this question for the HoC: Will multirace clans be able to exist in DarkFall? <Claus|Dev> yes they will <Claus|Dev> a clan that doesnt own any teritories, and say just run around and murder everyone they see wont have any racial problems <Claus|Dev> (they will have other problems tho) =P <Claus|Dev> but a clan that wants to be successful at building an empire will probably find it extremely hard if they mix good and evil races <Kiir> and for our last question tonight: <Kiir> *Satam* If Kjetil just owned Claus, will he be able to cut his head off and claim any rewards that had been placed on him? <Kjetil|Dev> First of all:

<Kjetil|Dev> You can drop the 'If' and replace it with 'When'. <Ricki|Dev> lol <Kjetil|Dev> And yes, trophies will be available. <Claus|Dev> pfft <Kiir> I want to thank the devs and everyone for coming to this House of Commons, feel free to head over to #darkfall to discuss the answers to all your questions, once again, thanks everyone and have a great night. <Claus|Dev> ya thanks for coming ppl <Ricki|Dev> thanx for showing up :) <Kjetil|Dev> yes, thank you very much <Ricki|Dev> me needs more coffee

Interview Gamer Norway 9/9/2002
http://gamer.no/intervjuer/darkfall_eng/ Razorwax is a pretty new development company whose first title will be a MMORPG named Darkfall. They have been working on this game since the company was founded 4. July 2000. There has been a steady flow of games in this genre in recent years, and the trend does not seem to be coming to a halt in the foreseeable future. The competition is hard, but the market is also expanding, so there is obviously a need for more these titles. To enter a genre such as this is not easy, but the American company Turbine Games did the same thing, and did very well with their Asheron's Call. We went to Oslo, where the company is located, and had a chat with Razorwax's Claus Grovdal about the upcoming game. What got you started on this? We have always wanted to make games. This is a very big step for us, but it would be cool to succeed. We have been playing PC and pen-and-paper role-playing games for 14 years, and have gained quite a lot of knowledge about the subject. But I guess I don't roleplay like most other people. I'm a typical power gamer who plays to become more powerful and acquire more items. I play role-playing games like I would play a racing game or Quake. That is also part of the reason why Darkfall has become what it is today.

Are you not frightened by the fact that other large companies are also launching big titles nowadays? No, actually it's great. The market grows larger and more people get into this kind of games. In addition to that, we have more depth in our game which both new and more experienced gamers can really enjoy. Our game has several layers. You can run around playing without thinking about all the advanced features that are there. If you want to study the skill system extensively and join clans, conquests, own kingdoms etc., you can also do that. To begin with, the gameplay is very simple, if you want to run around Diablo- or Quake-style. It is influenced by first-person-shooters like Quake a bit, so you can run around with spells and shoot at anything you see. But first and foremost, it's a role-playing game where you go around killing, acquire spells, solving quests and developing your character. Then you have the next level where you can make artifacts. You can buy the material to build a house, and then

proceed to build it just the way you like, and live there. The third level is clans. You can become a member of a clan. This is nothing new, but the point in Darkfall is that your clan can actually conquer land and towns and keep towns, so that your clan owns and guards the town. Let us say that you and 10 of your buddies travel to a village that isn'tt taken, and you decide to conquer it. When you own a town you can demand taxes, hire NPCs to take care of the town, build forges, harvest resources from nearby mines etc. Resources can be used to build more buildings, more powerful weapons, armour, medicines, food, etc. Darkfall has an extremely sophisticated scheme to make small units. We have used a lot of time on this part, and the result is something that has never been seen before in a MMORPG title. This thing with levels is what we think will separate us from the rest of the games. If you are an ordinary player just picking up the game to shoot fireballs at people like in Quake, then you can do that. And then you can dig into the game even further if you like the it. We have features that appeal to FPS-, strategy- and roleplaying-gamers. In Darkfall the role-playing fanatics can play together with FPS-lovers without causing problems. If you really love FPS, you can e.g. start as a mercenary. Is is the depth and the layers that make Darkfall so unique. If there are 15 people in a clan, can everybody build things? The clans can arrange this just the way they like. If you want a completely democratic clan, where everybody has the same rights, that's not a problem. This is controlled by the person who started the clan, who can choose stuff like this from a menu. Enlistment rights, building rights, kick rights; in total there are over 50 rights. This is part of the essence of the game. How do you build a house? I can't say much about that, but it's some sort of a LEGO-system with building blocks, and you can build quite a lot. It's very expensive to build castles, but you can build anything from a small cottage to grand castles, if you can afford it. We hope that people settles down somewhere, and find peace and quiet with others. You can settle down in a desolate place pretty far off, and you can probably go for a very long time without seeing any other players.

How do you start the game? You start in the capital of the race you choose to be. You are pretty well guarded there, but you can be attacked even there. But we haven't got any amateur-areas where you can go around freely testing stuff out like in Anarchy Online. Do you have a story? There's a story behind the world and there is a reason things are the way they are. There are naturally also plots and spotlines the players can follow, but we haven't carved the story in stone. There is a story around everything and there is a reason things are the way they are, but I don't want to discuss more of this right now. As I've said, the players have total freedom to conquer kingdoms and such. That of course will have a lot to say about the progress in the game if a clan takes over large parts of

the world, and end up with a lot of kingdoms. The entire world is split into provinces, and you can conquer these. The shield belonging to the clan in control of the province will show up on the map if it has been conquered. The point is that there's a strategy element at the bottom of it all, something that has never been done in a MMORPGtitle before. How do you do quests? There aren't any laid out quests in the game. You can explore the world and enter the dungeons and places you find to do quests and find monsters. You get quests by going around talking to NPC's and stuff like that.

Are you aiming for a dark and gloomy game? Yes, we are. Even the game's website has a gloomy look, and that is the way we want the game to be. It is actually incorporated into the title as well. The pictures you have seen up to this point has been from the lighter parts of the game. It will be a fantasy game with dragons, elves, swordsmen and wizards. In some MMORPG-titles there is a constant hunt for leveling up. Have you managed to solve this? We have removed the level system as many know it. The examples we tend to use is that in Darkfall 4-5 amateur gamers who are good at FPS can gang up to kill a guy that has been playing for a year. It isn't so that you get to level 200 and can just wade through a tousands of level 1-players without sustaining a single hit. You can actually be part of the world even though you're not sitting there playing 24 hours a day. We really believe in this, and it will probably work better than traditional levelling. The actual combat is also pretty boring in some role-playing games. You aren't really in control of what's happening. Tell us a bit about your system. We too have played Anarchy Online, EverQuest, Dark Age of Camelot and all the other games that have a combat-system like that, and many probably enjoy it, but we don't. We've made a game where there is a bit more action and where the player's skill has more to say. In this game there will be a cross between you personal skill and your character's skill. A mixture of Quake and Anarchy Online if you like. If there's a fireball heading your way, you can jump out of its way and avoid it. In other words we're dealing with direct hits. You can aim spells and weapons personally, and there's no engine generating the probability and you hitting or winning the battle. I'm not saying anything negative about the system the other games are using, but we don't like it.

We have read that you can be killed by everybody; even those in you own clan. Isn't this a bit dumb for people wanting to do a bit of exploring, only to be killed all the time? This can be a problem of course, but it's not like you can go around killing people without any consequences. If you go around killing everyone in sight, it will have consequences for your character. We have something called alignment which says how

evil, or how good you are. You can of course continue killing people even though you're evil, but the point here is that you will struggle if you're evil because everyone will be after you. NPC-merchants will not do business with you, at least not the good ones. You will be looked upon as evil, and you will have an adjustment problem. Guards will fire at you on sight. What do you have to do to turn good and become respected again? You can go back to the good side, but it will take longer than it took to become evil. This is stuff we are working on balancing. You will have to work quite a lot. Do quests and generally help people. You alignment will over time go back to neutral, but a single manoeuvre in the wrong direction, and you're quickly back to the evil side again. A murder has great consequences. If you clan has declared war on another clan there'll be no alignment-adjustments, but that only applies to scheduled battles. It's fully possible to have a huge battle with another clan without it having any consequences regarding your alignment. Naturally, you don't turn evil by killing the enemies. We're also working on establishing relationships between the different races. Who you kill regarding how your alignment will change. There are a total of 6 races. You're focusing a lot on Player vs. Player combat. Why is that? We are focusing on PvP, but it is also important with battles against monsters (PvE player vs. enviorment). That part is important for several reasons; one of them is getting better at fighting. There more you do something, the better you get at whatever you are doing. Seeing you are not hunting experience points by killing a monster, you have to get something else out of it. And the way we are doing this is by linking monsters to the construction of magical artifacts. E.G. to make a flaming sword, you first have to make the sword from metal. Then you will need a fireball component or a dragon's tooth, orc blood or something like that. The point is that you then have to kill a dragon or an orc and then assemble the stuff to make the weapon. You can't arm yourself with things you find to get better. We don't see the point of that. How is the world today? If you're hungry, you have to kill a deer. If you're going to make a fur you have to kill a bear. If you want to get good a fighting, you have to fight a lot. That is the reason you are going to go kill monsters, besides getting XP. Thus it's not a problem to play even for those who don't like PvP that much. There are a lot of other things you can do as well. You can for instance be a blacksmith and produce weapons for an entire clan. This will grant you protection from an entire clan. Or you can be independent, and hire NPCs to hunt monsters, so you can get the resources to make weapons which you then, in turn, sell. There will be loads of possibilities.

How many spells and skills will Darkfall contain? We will incorporate as many as we manage to put into the game before it goes gold. Right now there are about 300 skills and 200 spells on paper, but the goal is more than 500 of both. The reason there are so many is that we want to make the fighting part interesting. Every gamer has the possibility to put together their own set of favourite spells and skills. This makes every battle different. Some skill- and spellcombinations will work better than others. We're dealing with a fantasy game here; can you fly dragons and ride horses?

We can't say a lot about that, but I can say so much that there are animals you can use in the game. For example the Pegasus. With this one you can physically get on top of the animal and fly away controlling it in the air. You can also fight others while airborne. There is also happening things under water, like in EverQuest. EverQuest was the first game where you could swim around freely under water, and we are taking this a bit further as things will also be taking place under water. There will be underwater dungeons and civilizations as well.

Any specific plans on combat cheating? We've been working on preventing cheating since day one. We can't say exactly how this will work, but we're doing everything to prevent this from happening. Both hackers and cheaters will be banned as soon as they are caught. Their characters will, of course, be removed instantly. We had the chance to test the alpha-version at their office about a month ago (see the screenshots above). That wasn't very impressive, but the game is in a very early phase of development. The only interesting bit was the fact that the grass and trees were blowing in the wind and looked very lively, as well as a prototype of a lighting effect. Otherwise there wasn't much to look at. Darkfall doesn't have a launch date yet, but Razorwax is hoping to release the game during the first quarter next year. For now the game is only in development for the PC-platform. There isn't much going for Darkfall being released on any other platforms, at least not until the PC-version is out. An Xbox-version is possible, but not planned. Mac- or Linux-version is out of the question. Anyway, the game will not be released before it is working 100% and is stable. We would like to thank the guys for the interview, and wish them good luck in the rest of the future!

Interview TechNGCentral.com 15/10/02
http://www.mmorpg-gamer.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=18 1.) Well first off, I'd like to thank you for taking the time to do this interview, if you could, would you please introduce yourself and your position at Razorwax? Ricki: My name is Ricki Sickenger. My position at Razorwax is Tools Programmer and Game Logic Programmer. 2.) I understand that Razorwax is currently creating a massive MMORPG named Darkfall, could you give us an overview of how long it's been in production and some of it's key features such as it's setting and overall goals. Ricki: Darkfall has been in production since July 2000. We have spent alot of this time developing the technology behind Darkfall, and have been working with a relatively small core team. The Darkfall setting is traditional high-fantasy, with elves, dragons, spells and magical items. Unlike other MMORPGs that have already been released, Darkfall is highly geared towards player vs. player combat, and especially towards racial warfare and territorial conquest. Darkfall is very open ended, so your goals will be whatever you want them to be, depending on your playing style. Our goal is that Darkfall will be a fun game, whatever you choose to do. :)

3.) What advanced features will Darkfall offer to the MMORPG enthusiast that's looking for a refreshing and new experience? Ricki: Darkfall is a full PvP game, unlike most other MMORPGs. This means that in theory anyone can attack anyone. But in practice, clan membership and alliances, and city laws, will keep Darkfall from turning into a world of chaos. But this is up to the players to govern. We have very advanced tools to help players govern themselves in Darkfall. Clan management and city management are two of the things that will help players control their environment in ways no other released MMORPG has done yet. In addition, Darkfall has no traditional character classes, and no levels. Our character advancement system is 100% skill based, meaning you learn a new skill or spell from an NPC or another player and this skill or spell is raised by being used. 4.) This is kind of related to the question above, but, how do you feel Darkfall will compete with the many MMORPGs available today, what will it offer that will differ from the rest of the MMORPGs? Ricki: We feel that our features, and the open-ended nature of Darkfall will make it able to compete well in the MMORPG market. We also believe that the major MMORPGs coming next year will open up the MMORPG market to alot of new people, and and we will benefit from that in the long run. Darkfall is also a PvP world, as stated above, and is skill based so you don't have to spend ages leveling, but instead just doing whatever you want to, and getting better at exactly that. 5.) Will Darkfall have different weather patterns, thunderstorms, snow, sunny days, etc.? Ricki: Yes, Darkfall will have a pretty extensive weather control system. Most types of natural and un-natural weather will be simulated in the Darkfall world. 6.) Will Darkfall have day/night cycles? Ricki: Yes. We are not sure of the length of the day/night cycle yet, but according to an ongoing poll on our boards, the total lenght of the cycle will most probably be 4 hours. 7.) How many different races of creatures will there be? Ricki: There are 6 races in Darkfall. The number of creatures in the game isn't decided yet, but obviously as many as we can before release ;) 8.) Will there be clans? Ricki: Yes there will be clans. Clans and clan warfare is a big part of Darkfall. Clans can own land and cities, and take over other clans' cities too. When a clan owns a city, it can can invite players and NPCs to set up shops in the city. The more players and trading in a city, the more money goes into the clan vault, and the more weapons and support you can buy for you next war. ;) 9.) Will there be a fee associated with Darkfall, if so, how much will it cost a month? Ricki: Yes, there will be a montly fee. We are not sure what it will be yet, but most likely the same amount as other MMORPGs at the time of release.

10.) Will there be a lot of NPC interaction and enemy interaction for that matter, or is the world of Darkfall a fairly calm, quiet place? Ricki: The world of Darkfall is what the players want it to be. There will be alot of enemy interaction, since most players like to combat and measure themselves against other players or clans. Conflicts can be resolved without warfare though, and you don't have to participate in combat to play Darkfall and have fun. 11.) Darkfall looks like it will be very impressive on the graphical scale, what kind of system requirements will be needed to play Darkfall at a decent framrate with a lot of the graphic options turned out. Also, what are the general system requirments? Ricki: You will need a system with a Geforce card, and most probably a Pentuim3 800Mhz or more. The graphics in Darkfall will definately improve from what has been seen in the screenshots relased so far. 12.) Were there any times during the development of Darkfall that particularly surprised you? Ricki: The most suprising thing so far during developing Darkfall was when we release the Pre-Alpha. There were hardly any bugs, and the client worked on every machine it was tested on. 13.) When will Darkfall be released? Ricki: To be announced. 14.) When will an open beta session begin for Darkfall? Ricki: To be announced. 15.) Are there any upcoming games that you are particularly excited about and can't wait to play? Ricki: I am looking forward to playing Doom3. It looks very good and I love playing FPS games. I am also going to be trying out most of the upcoming MMORPGs. 16.) If there was one thing you'd like to say to our readers, what would it be? Ricki: Check out www.darkfallonline.com and visit the boards aswell. We have a very active community, and we always want input from potential players to help make this game a winner. :) 17.) Well that concludes our interview, we'd like to thank you for taking the time to sit down with us and do this interview, we look forward to playing Darkfall and we wish you the best success. Ricki: Thanx to you too.

2001
Interview RPGVault 29/08/01
http://rpgvaultarchive.ign.com/features/interviews/darkfall.shtml At the beginning of this month, a Norwegian studio with the unusual name of Razorwax sent us an announcement introducing its online world project, Darkfall and declaring the opening of its official website. From these two sources, we learned that the game is based on traditional high fantasy with familiar elements such as elves, dragons, spells and magical items. This was certainly nothing we haven't seen before. However, the statement that it is "highly geared towards player vs. player combat, and especially towards racial warfare and territorial conquest" did catch our attention since it sets this title apart from the majority of the others we are watching, which often include player versus player combat, but not as a primary emphasis. We also learned that Darkfall was close to starting pre-alpha testing. This intrigued us since it indicates a fair degree of progress despite the fact that the Razorwax team consists of only five members, a startlingly small number when compared with what we're accustomed to seeing. It was only natural for us to want to know more, so we were very happy when all five, Lead Design and Producer Claus Grovdal, Lead Tools and Game Logic Programmer Ricki Sickenger, Art Director Henning Ludvigsen, Lead 3D/Client Programmer Kjetil Helland and Lead Server Programmer Erik Sperling Johansen, agreed to join us for this extensive Darkfall Interview, the team's first, which also includes concept art and three early screenshots. Jonric: As a starting point, please give our readers an overview of Darkfall including the broad concept and the type of players it's primarily aimed at. And what is the derivation of the name? Claus Grovdal: Darkfall is a next generation online roleplaying game that is highly geared towards player-run clans controlling kingdoms and capturing kingdoms from other player-run clans. Unlike other existing online games on the market, Darkfall was designed from the ground up to cater more towards the PvP interested players. But we also have everything you would expect to find in an online roleplaying game: tons of quests, trade skills, magical items and hundreds of different scary monsters lurking in dungeons. Ricki Sickenger: The name was a result of a short brainstorm session. We needed a cool sounding project title and we came up with Darkfall. We meant to change it later on, but the name Darkfall sorta stuck with us, and now we are so used to it, we can't change it :) Jonric: Please introduce Razorwax AS. When and how did the company get started? Where is it located and who are the members of the team? Claus Grovdal: Razorwax was founded in July 2000 by Kjetil, Ricki and me. Our vision was to make awesome online games. We had been playing online games for years, but we always felt something was lacking in existing games. Henning joined the team a few weeks later, and Erik joined Razorwax in January 2001. We are located in Oslo, Norway, in new and bright offices, overlooking the river. Jonric: Why did you decide to create an online world instead of a standalone game, especially when your team is so small?

Claus Grovdal: Basically we went for an online game because we strongly believe that online games are the future of gaming. We started our own company because we wanted to be in total creative control, and develop games that we want to play ourselves. And what we want to play is online games, so it is really as easy as that. No big planning or market analysis went into it. Personally, I haven't played a single player game for years. They just aren't exciting anymore once you are hooked on online games. We think more and more gamers are starting to get hooked. Jonric: What can you say at this time in terms of your plans for increasing the size of the team? Ricki Sickenger: We obviously have to grow if we are ever to finish Darkfall. However, we want to grow slowly, and keep our burn rate at an absolute minimum. Right now we are looking for a 3D modeler/character animator, and we will be looking for a game logic programmer soon. By the end of the project, we plan to have about 12 people working here fulltime, plus a few contractors. Jonric: Since you touched on it already, as gamers, what are the primary interests among the team? And are there any that you'd list as particularly noteworthy in terms of their influence on Darkfall? Claus Grovdal: I love online roleplaying games. I have played them all: Meridian 59, Ultima Online, Lineage, Nexus, EverQuest, Asheron's Call and others. I liked Ultima Online best, and I have fond memories of my year or so playing Ultima Online. I think it is safe to say that Ultima Online is the one game that influenced Darkfall the most. I am also a huge fan of Asheron's Call, and especially the Darktide PvP server. I still have a few characters on the Darktide server that I log in every now and then for some PvP action. Ricki Sickenger: I love playing first person shooters like Quake, Unreal and Counter Strike. I have also played MMORPGs like Asheron's Call and EverQuest, and I used to play pen & paper RPGs a lot back when I was younger. Basically, I like killing things, and doing it in a roleplaying PvP system like we are doing in Darkfall makes things very interesting. Kjetil Helland: I love playing all sorts of games. My first online gaming experience was back in the Doom days, where we used Kali to run Doom IPX-Network play through the Internet. Then I played the whole series of FPS games online, from Quake I to Quake III and Unreal Tournament. Nowadays, I mostly play Asheron's Call and Counter Strike when I find the time. Erik Sperling Johansen: I've tried Asheron's Call and I liked it. I don't have time to play it any more though. Now I play Counter Strike when I need a break from work, and nothing else. I will definitely play Darkfall though. I know I will love it. Henning Ludvigsen: I play games that I find interesting in terms of graphic design and 3D graphics. I have to admit that I think The Settlers is a nice game, so I guess I am more of a casual gamer than the rest of Razorwax. I mostly do my research outside of the game industry though, and try to pick up books about ancient civilizations and art. And I love J.R.R Tolkien's world.

Jonric: Let's talk more directly about Darkfall. When did the idea for the game initially arise, and when did you actually start working on it? Claus Grovdal: I started planning Darkfall about six years ago, after I was tired of MUDs. I had just seen something on the Internet called Alpha Worlds, and thought "Hey, wouldn't it be cool if this was a game instead of a 3D chat client?" I think it was just after having played Ultima Online for the first time that I really started working more seriously on Darkfall. Razorwax started developing Darkfall the same day we got our offices up and running. Jonric: Please expand on what you said earlier about the basic premise or concept of the game, the major underlying themes, conflicts, et al. Claus Grovdal: The basic concept of Darkfall is the struggle for power and control between the different races. This along with all the player-run clans fighting for kingdoms, dungeons and resources will drive the game. We have several underlying themes, but these are primarily based around quests and monthly events, and we don't want to reveal too much just yet. Jonric: Fair enough. How about the gameworld? How large will it be, and will there be one continent or more? How will your world differ from other persistent online worlds? Henning Ludvigsen: The Darkfall world has one huge continent, and three smaller ones. What sets the Darkfall world apart from other games, is that we have hundreds of small islands that players can travel to, explore and build their houses, cities or clan bases on. We also have a huge underworld. This is where the evil Alfar live. Expect miles of caves, passages and underground rivers/lakes. Jonric: Is it your intention to have one large gameworld or multiple smaller ones? Do you have a target server capacity? Erik Sperling Johansen: For starters we're going for one large server cluster, with all users living in the same gameworld. The design of the server permits scaling to an unlimited size, but we will meet practical hardware limits giving us a theoretical max of about 50-60 thousand simultaneous users. Until we get this properly tested that number is just an educated guess though, if the server can handle 30k users, I'm satisfied, if it can handle 40k I'll be happy. Jonric: What is the backstory leading up to the start of the game, and what is the storyline within the game itself? Claus Grovdal: We can't say too much about this just yet, but here is a little teaser: The Darkfall In the middle of an otherwise featureless plain, stood a lone, black tower. The tribe, which crossed these plains every spring, had never seen such a structure this far north before. And they didn't understand how it could have been built during the winter, a season in which no tribesman, and certainly no house-dwelling

southerner, would defy the freezing snows of the plains. Four scouting warriors, the strongest and bravest men of the Ice Bear tribe, rode closer, and one of their number pointed to the dark building in front of them. "Look. The tower has no windows on its southern wall, and no door either." The others saw this also, and they noticed that, as they approached the tower, they seemed to leave the morning sun behind them. But the four riders were brave men, and they rode on in silence. On a snow-covered ridge overlooking the plain, the men of the Ice Bear tribe saw four riders disappear into a growing, twilight shadow. They exchanged glances, but none dared utter a word, and no voice broke the silence as the shadow made a sudden, violent charge - like northern lights dancing - and engulfed them. Time passed and still the men of the Ice Bear tribe stood transfixed in the sickly, yellow light. At first, they wanted to turn from the stare of the dark tower, but they couldn't find the strength to move, and slowly the tower and its shadow grew less frightening to their eyes. None stirred until the four warriors returned. They were pale like the snow itself now, their eyes were black like the tower behind them, and one of their number spoke. "It is safe now. The Watcher calls, and we must come closer." Jonric: What player races will be available in Darkfall, and how will they differ from each other? And considering the PvP orientation, will there be any existing racial alliances or conflicts? Claus Grovdal: We have six player races in Darkfall: Elves, Dwarves, Humans, Mahirim, Orks and Alfar. They all share most skills and spells, but some are skills and spells are race specific, so they will all have their own specialties. When it comes to racial alliances, we have divided it up in a traditional good vs. evil setting. The Elves and Humans get along fairly well, and the Dwarves have no problem with Humans either. The Mahirim trade with Orks and Humans with few problems, and the Alfar hate everyone equally. Jonric: Will the character development system be skill-based, level-based or something else? And will it be possible to "max out" a character? Claus Grovdal: We don't have any levels in Darkfall - the entire character advancement system is skill based. If you use a sword, your sword skill will go up. No leveling for hours in Darkfall. Some skills have requirements, so to learn the Two Handed Fighting skill, you need a minimum dexterity of 70, and a Swordsmanship of 90. Spells are raised in the same way as skills, so the more you use a given spell, the better you become at casting it. Skills and spells start at 1 and max out at 100. Ricki Sickenger: When we say we don't have any classes, we are kind of lying. We have something called Prestige Classes, but we don't want to go into detail about this feature at this stage. Kjetil Helland: We are hoping to add about 500 skills, and 500 spells to the game by release, so it will be really hard to max out a character. It is possible though.

Jonric: What kinds of major activities will there be aside from fighting? Will there be many non-combat skills or abilities, and how important will they be? Claus Grovdal: Since Darkfall is a PvP game, combat is extremely important. However we feel safe to say that although being a PvP game, we will have more trade skills in Darkfall than any other existing game on the market. Trade skills are important for a healthy world economy. We want our player-created items to be important. They will be just as good, or better, than the loot you get from monsters. This way we hope to encourage players to spend some time creating items and trading as well as killing each other. Jonric: Please outline the game's magic system. What different types, classes or schools of magic will there be? Will players need mana, runes, reagents or any other components? Claus Grovdal: Spells will be divided into several different schools of magic: Lesser Magic, Greater Magic, Element of Fire, Element of Earth, Element of Water, Element of Air, Witchcraft, Spellsinging, Necromancy, Wild Magic, Arcane Magic and Ritual Magic. In addition, there are some special spells, such as racial specialty spells. Spells are cast using mana and reagents, but it's too early to go into too much detail about the magic system. Jonric: Will there be lots of different weapons? Will it be possible to upgrade them, and will there be any rare or unique ones? Claus Grovdal: We have tons of different weapons, ranging from daggers, axes, spears and swords to halberds, bows and crossbows. We have a pretty neat system for generating magical weapons as loot and treasure, however most magical weapons can be made by players. Henning Ludvigsen: We have rare weapons and items such as Artifacts and Intelligent weapons. We don't want to talk about these just yet though :) Jonric: Will there be many different computer-controlled opponents to fight? What are some interesting examples? Claus Grovdal: We are aiming for several hundred different types of monsters. Here is an example taken from the design document: The Eodrin Eodrin are malevolent, tree-like humanoids who dwell in the darkest and wildest parts of the Mirendil. Approximately the height of a human, their bodies resemble the trunks of small trees, and their arms are like long, spindly branches. Small, red eyes shine above the Eodrin's impressive maw, while their olfactory organs are simply two largish holes in their trunks. Their skin resembles the bark of a fire-blackened pine and is partially covered by green and yellowy hanging mosses. While thin, their arms have an extremely long reach and are equipped with flexible, twig-like fingers. The Eodrin move with great speed over short distances, and their wood-like bodies are surprisingly agile. Eodrin are only semi-intelligent, and while their hands would theoretically be able to grasp simple tools, they never use weapons of any kind. Their preferred tactic is to

grab their quarry, and then sink their long, razor-sharp teeth into it. They also smash enemies with their long arms, but this form of attack is not particularly effective. The Eodrin live in packs of between five and fifteen individuals. Upon detecting enemies, they will all charge at once, often surprising their prey, who probably thought them ordinary trees. Jonric: Are you implementing restrictions or controls to combat newbie killing and other potential problems that can accompany PvP? Claus Grovdal: Playtesting and input from our testers and the community will reveal what our players want, but we want as few restrictions in Darkfall as possible. We think limiting newbie killing can be done without having to make non-PK zones, or limits on who you can or cannot attack. New players spawn in the capitals of their races lands, and they should be well protected both by players and city guards. Until they start venturing outside the city walls, obviously :) Jonric: What role will quests or missions play in the game? Can you say anything about the types in the game or about specific ones? How will you keep this part of the game fresh? Claus Grovdal: We have a pretty neat random quest engine that we do not want to talk about yet. We are really happy with it though :) Henning Ludvigsen: In addition to the random quests, we have more epic and Game Master-run quests. Jonric: Please describe the major features of your game engine. Will it be able to handle higher poly counts when locations become crowded? What will the typical poly count for a figure be? Kjetil Helland: The game engine will have huge deformable terrain, physically modeled world (where wind and weather can be spell controlled), a zone-less massive world. The animations will partly be controlled by physics, in order to create quasi-unique visuals for each battle. The engine will dynamically scale itself to handle crowded places and older hardware. There will be several code paths for rendering depending on what kind of hardware class you have... Claus Grovdal: Yea well, we can't really talk about the engine yet... ;) Jonric: Will sound and music be important factors? What sound format are you using, and will you support 3D sound? Are you planning on or considering voice communication? Kjetil Helland: Sound is planned to be an important factor. Since we are going for first person view in the game, then we will maximize our effort to capture some of the unique feel such a view can give you with the correct implementation of sounds. 3D sound will be supported. Voice communication is being considered and will make its way into the alpha for testing. Jonric: It's early yet, but what do you think the system requirements will be for good game performance? Kjetil Helland: For good game performance, you should have a PIII-800 and a

GeForce1-2 or ATI Radeon. The game engine will also take advantage of the latest graphics cards that are coming out, like the GeForce3 or the upcoming ATI 8500. So if you have one of those, then the game will look stunning. Jonric: Community is recognized as a critical factor in online worlds. What have you learned in this area from your own experience that you plan to apply in this game? Will there be any in-game support for guilds or other types of groups? Claus Grovdal: Darkfall is focused around player-run clans, so in-game support for clans is pretty much vital to us. We have some really ambitious plans on how to handle this, so needless to say we are quite excited about our clan features. We have in-game clan chat channels, in-game clan boards, and a few other features that we can't talk about right now. We think it will be pretty neat though :) Jonric: Where does development stand at the moment? What are the next major things to do? What are your plans for alpha and beta testing? Ricki Sickenger: We are at pre-alpha stage, meaning we got the engine up to a pretty decent level, the server side is working, and we are slowly building the actual game, and adding features. The next big thing right now is to get the pre-alpha out to testers we will be picking from our community boards. We are serious about the open development, and want our potential players to help form the game both by posting ideas and comments on our boards, and by helping us playtest the different features of Darkfall. Jonric: Can you speculate yet as to a possible release date? And can you say anything about plans for a publisher at this point? Henning Ludvigsen: At this stage we can only guess. And we are guessing Q1 2003. Ricki Sickenger: Right now we are pretty happy with private investors, so we are not actively looking for a publisher at this point. We are listening to offers though, so if the right offer comes along, we might just go for it ;) Jonric: Before we finish, is there anything else that you'd like to say to or ask our readers? Claus Grovdal: Darkfall is pretty much in open development right now, so we listen to feedback from the MMORPG community. Drop by our boards and let us know what you think about Darkfall, tell us what you would like to see in the game, and what you don't want to see. We read everything posted, and even take time to reply every now and again :) During the almost four weeks since we were first introduced to Darkfall, the tiny Razorwax team has managed to show a fair bit of activity on the official site. We'll certainly continue watching as the project moves forward. In the meantime, we thank the entire team for taking the time to tell us about it, and we invite all our readers to visit the site and to check out the game for yourselves. Richard Aihoshi - "Jonric"

Interview GameBanshee.com 03/09/2001 http://www.gamebanshee.com/interviews/darkfall1.php Darkfall is a "next generation" massively multiplayer online roleplaying game currently under development by a Norwegian company called Razorwax. We were able to track down Claus Grovdal, the Producer and Lead Designer of the game, to ask him an even twenty questions about several different aspects of the game. Here's what he had to say: Q: First of all, how about an introduction? A: My name is Claus Grovdal, I am the Producer and Lead Designer of Darkfall, the MMORPG currently in development by Razorwax. Q: How would you summarize Darkfall? A: Darkfall is a next generation massively multiplayer online game, with all the features you would expect to see in a next generation MMORPG. In addition, Darkfall is highly geared towards player-run clans fighting other player-run clans for territories/kingdoms and resources. Q: What motivated you to make Darkfall? A: The fact that online roleplaying games are extremely fun to play. Everyone on the team love online roleplaying games. We decided that if we are going to spend 3 years making a game, we might aswell make something we really want to play ourselves. I dont think I would be happy spending 3 years, 70+ hours a week, working on say a Pinball game that I had no plans on playing when it was done. Q: What is the feel of the world like? Is it a darker world? A: We are aiming for a rather dark world, yes. It is a bit early to say exactly how dark it will be, as we are still in the concept stages when it comes to the ingame character/monster models, and we havent built much of the actual retail world yet. We are in the process of redesigning the races/character concept sketches, and we will make them a lot tougher and meaner looking than they are today. Q: With PvP being an important aspect of the game, will players be able choose not to partake in it? ie. Craftsmen? And will those positions be fun? A: It is true that PvP is an important aspect of Darkfall. However, we have more useful tradeskills than any existing game out there, at least designed on

paper, so we are pretty confident that most players will find something in Darkfall they love. If you dont like the idea about fighting other players for territories and resources with your clan, you can volunteer to be the clan blacksmith, and supply your fighting friends with armor and weapons. You can be a farmer, growing food and spell reagents in your fields, and selling them to your clanmates. You dont have to fight other players to have fun in Darkfall. As a matter of fact, if we can get the world as big as we hope, you can sail your boat out to a remote island, build a house, and stay there hunting in the local forest or the nearby dungeons for weeks without seeing another player. Q: What are the very unique aspects of Darkfall that separate it from other MMORPGs? A: The fact that everything in the game is player controlled and player-run. Clans own territories and resources such as gold mines, iron mines, ports, etc. Your clan may ally with other clans, go to war with other clans, or hire other clans to fight for you, and so on. All the gameplay you could possibly want, and at the same time without sacrificing anything on the technology. Our 3D engine will be just as good as those 3D engines first person shooter fans are used to. We will be releasing new screenshots in a few weeks, showing some of the neat features of our game engine, such as dynamically created clouds (real clouds, not just a scrolling texture), real time dynamic lighting, smooth landscape, vegetation that moves in the wind (moving grass/trees, etc), and some other features that we are really excited about, but dont want to talk about just yet. Q: How many servers do you plan on having for the game? A: We have no idea at this point. It depends on how good our server code is, and obviously how many players we have. Q: How customizable will our character avatars be? (ie face, size, etc) A: This varies slightly from race to race, but hairstyles, facial features etc. will be pretty customizable. We have a list of priorities for Darkfall, with spell/skill PvP/tradeskill balance being priority 1, and stuff like player customization being... let's say priority 7. Q: In your FAQ, you say you will have neat features when it comes to races to make up for only having 6 races. Can you say anything about those features at this point in development? A: No we cant say anything about this just yet. But if it goes in the game, it will be neat ;)

Q: Wow! You guys said you will have 500 spells and 500 skills at release, will all the different skills/spells be unique from each other or will some be needed to perform other skills? A: They are all unique, ranging from skills that have a huge impact, such as Hide, that make you hard to spot, to lesser skills such as Combat Tactics that just add some bonuses to your attack and defense skills. We also have skill requirements, that work in the same manner as typical skilltrees. Meaning that to learn say Combat Tactics, you need a minimum Axe skill of 80, and a minimum wisdom of say 40. I cant say for sure how each specific requirement will be, as this is obviously something we will have to test for game balance. Q: How do you plan to minimize the chances of someone becoming a "God" character since you can train in every skill? Or will you support that? A: This is yet to be decided/playtested. Q: Since the Alfar live underground, will you be able to make your own house out of the side of a cave? A: Digging caves and dungeons is in the design document, but we are unsure if it will go into the game or not at this stage. It is an insane implementation job. Its easy for me as a designer to write a few pages about this, and tell the programmers to “add this to the game please”. Actually adding it and getting it right and working as a game feature is not an easy task at all :) Q: Will you be supporting air/water transportation? A: Yes. Q: How customizable will the UI be? A: Very. We have plans to support player-made UI skins, so you can redesign the interface as you please, and have your friends download it and use it. Q: Will underwater areas be a whole lot of nothingin terms of monsters and exploration? Or will it be an entirely different world down there with different monsters to attack and new areas to discover? A: Underwater areas will have their own set of monsters and areas to discover. Q: How many players will the gameworld support? A: We have no idea at this point, and guessing is sort of pointless. But hey, Ill

guess anyway. We are aiming at 10.000 on each server cluster, hoping for 20.000 and dreaming about 30.000 players at once. Q: How intelligent are you trying to make the NPCs? A: If one of our forest goblins can beat Gary Kasparov at chess, we have succeeded ;) Q: Any update on when you think pre-alpha will start up? A: Very very soon. Q: How many testers are you looking to add to pre-alpha? A: Very very few. Q: Anything else you would like to add? A: If you haven't already, come join our developer boards, and give us feedback and input on the game. We are listening to all ideas, and this is a great opportunity to come help form a next generation online roleplaying game. In conclusion, I'd like to issue a sincere thank you to Claus and the rest of the developers at Razorwax for making this interview possible. If you would like to learn more about Darkfall Online, pay a visit to the official website or stop in and share your thoughts at their message boards.

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