Darkfalling For You Again: Darkfall Unholy Wars

It's got orks in.
Greece isn’t all civilisation-cradling armless statues and riots against brutal economic austerity measures, you know. It’s also the home of Aventurine, the developer who made Darkfall – a sandboxy, PvP-focused MMO that many found unapproachable, but a few found utterly compelling. It’s been out since 2009, and this is the next game in the “saga”: Unholy Wars. Two years in the making, and it’s nearly ready. Aventurine explain that the skill-based element is more important than ever before thanks to “An all new user interface, built for lightning fast combat, and unique amongst MMOs, connects you to magic or melee like never before. There is no tab-targeting -battles happen in real-time- blade and spell-fests where dice-rolls are replaced by your own cunning and guile.” Below there’s a video below in which the devs talk earnestly to camera about why they decided to make a new game, and what that means for Darkfall as a community.

Darkfall Unholy Wars is released on 20th of November.


  1. RF says:

    Does anyone even still play Darkfall?

    • Mr. Mister says:

      …but a few found utterly compelling

      A few.

    • Nyogtha says:

      Great game, just can’t bring myself to pay for game subs because I can’t invest the time to justify them.

      • masodnab65165 says:

        A few critical design errors held it back from becoming great, and those are now fixed in Unholy Wars.

        • Njordsk says:

          it’s actually spam, not youtube.

          Those ads are getting smarter, I don’t like that.

          • Merktera says:

            Soon, we will be overrun with smart, A.I. run spammers that talk in the discussion, but secretly provide ads and spamming stuff to our emails.

            Fuck this century.

          • wu wei says:

            Gmail’s spam filter is getting especially broken, letting more blatant spam through and blocking email replies from friends.

            Marketing loves to masquerade as a genuine form of communication even when it ends up killing that form dead.

          • darkath says:

            Marketing is what companies do to make people desire their products.
            Spam is what shrewd advertisers do to trick random people into viewing unsollicited ads that seldom result in a purchase.

            Spam is the most inefficient way to generate traffic so you wonder why it’s worthwile. Well because even with 0.0001% of efficiency, the amount of spam generated is enough for those shrewd advertisers.

            And Spam don’t originate from countries filled with marketers, it originates from countries filled with thieves. India, Russia, Vietnam, Indonesia …

        • BobbyDylan says:

          If you hover over the link the bar at the bottom left of you internet browser should show you the actual url. If it’s not the same as the one in the message, it’s almost definately a bot.

    • Baardago says:

      I actually thought it had started dying not too long after release.

      Thing is that I -love- these sandboxy, skill-driven, player-driven games, where guilds can have some tangible power (like actual territory, not just a bunch of skilled players with uber gear), in which we can build cities, play politics, etc etc. Mortal Online is also another game of this type that instantly comes to mind.

      The problem is that they, sadly, quite unapproachable, but not just because of the PvP focus.

      For example: whenever I think of Mortal Online, I figure “Oh, boy! I like this sorta’ stuff! Let’s try the 14-day trial.”. I do just that, and… end up thrown out in it, twisting in the wind, with a tutorial that barely explains a single dang thing about the game etc etc. Almost no players around, feeling totally deserted. I remember trekking over to the nearest city and found some people (only 2, to be precise)! Noobs like me, and, of course, they were also totally lost with no idea what to do, even begged -me- for stuff!

      With that experience, and other similar ones I had in these games, I felt sort of put off trying Darkfall, too.

      These sandboxy games tend to be awesome, but the devs also, from my experience, tend to make a poor job of making the game approachable and accessible. And that contributes to killing the game. (Note: I don’t mean easy, not for a second. Just a proper introduction to the game that teaches you enough to give you an idea of what you can do and how you do the more basic stuff, so you can get on your way)

      Of course, the PVP focus also tends to lead to rampant, free griefing, zerging, and such, which, while not a bad thing, given that it’s part of the point of the game, also scares most people away.

      The requirement of a monthly sub for these sort of experiences doesn’t help, either.

      • Nyogtha says:

        Eeewwww, Mortal Online was and is a travesty. I can’t believe its still plodding along. Darkfall is a much better game, the closest thing to the glory days of Ultima Online; for me anyway. As I say I dont have time to justify paying for subs anymore, although I was planning to make an exception for Archeage. Now I may consider UW instead, or at least until Archeage gets a western release – which aint gonna be for at least a year… and so long as they don’t remove content that a publisher stupidly believes is unpalatable to a western audience.

        • Baardago says:

          Well, Mortal Online is, really, my only recent experience with these sandboxy games (with the exception of Haven and Hearth and Xsyon, but these are really different from DF and MO).

          If Darkfall is really that close to Ultima Online, I might be tempted to try it.

          Is there a trial for it or something? No deal, otherwise.

          • TillEulenspiegel says:

            Darkfall is vaguely like UO, but as with all Ultima Online imitators, they focus way too much on PvP and not nearly enough on all the other aspects that made UO great. (Until I can create a pure blacksmith/miner and get him to GM like I did with my first ever character on Catskills, without requiring me to farm gold and shit, I scoff at your “sandbox” MMO)

            I actually thought the best part of Darkfall was the PvE. Twitch combat makes it fun and completely unlike most MMOs.

        • Valvarexart says:

          Still paying a MO sub although I haven’t played for weeks now. The problems outlined are pretty accurate. I consider myself a semi-noob; I have played the game on and off for a very long time without ever coming very far. The problem is that things are jut too daunting. “What am I supposed to do now?” should be seen as a good question in a game, not as a desperate question. THERE IS NOTHING TO DO. That’s it. Of course you could run around and grind up your skills and collect things, but it needs so much more. I know I’ll get hated for this comparison, but why can’t games sweep us away more like WoW did? It’s not about the difficulty, it’s about a sense of “you can do anything” rather than “do something, I dunno what though”. Sure, it’s a sandbox game but that doesn’t mean that you CAN’T PUT QUESTS IN THERE. Damn you, DAMN YOU!

    • KingKio says:

      Looking forward to Darkfall Unholy Wars, Darkfall 1 was fun for me but never really had anything to keep me past 3 months at any one time. I am also more than happy to pay a sub for a full loot, pvp game Just thinking of what they would have to implement for it to be f2p makes me sick.

    • Bior37 says:

      Many do. It’s one of the few MMORPG releases in the last 7 years that can proudly claim that they grew after launch.

      The devs opened a second server, got publishing deals to other countries, hired 30 new staff members, released 3 free expansions, and are now overhauling the entire game. It’s a pretty big MMO success story after years and years of WoW clones imploding months after launch.

    • Aimeely says:

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  2. ScubaMonster says:

    Judging by that picture it looks like they overhauled the graphics engine (thankfully). I only ever tried the demo. Has this gone free to play yet? If not well then I’m not even going to bother.

    • Valvarexart says:

      I think that’s a pretty bad attitude towards a game in this genre. I’ve heard it before and I don’t like it one bit. The developers need money to maintain and develop the game – desperately. The people who would get attracted by a F2P microtransaction model are probably the EXACT OPPOSITE of those who are paying for the game right now.

      • HarrietTubgirl says:

        The developers didn’t listen to the community on basic levels until it was too late, they let the game stagnate and gave all the power to the veterans who spent the most time macroing. There were many things they could have done, but they hid for a while without releasing any real information on what they were doing. They then announced Darkfall 2.0 for release in 2010. It’s now 2012 and this is Darkfall 2.0 renamed as Unholy Wars.

        So yep, negative attitude well placed and deserved.

        • Bior37 says:

          Except… that’s completely false. They didn’t “run and hide”. They gave the game 70 patches and 3 expansions, and then decided that the problem was too deep to fix just by patching. They needed to overhaul the entire game. So, they made Darkfall Unholy Wars. Darkfall 2.0 was never announced in 2010.

          • darkath says:

            Yes, the game was broken from the start. Rotten to the core, it was broken both on the design side and on the technology side.
            Mortal Online on other hand had a rather good design, but the technology was not nearly enough to back the bold design the devs imagined;

            As for DF:UW, having Tasos Flambouras (expert snake-oil videogame salesman) speak during one hour without showing the gameplay doesn’t seem a really good way to present a new game.

  3. hemmingjay says:

    I will reserve any excitement for the moment they prove it’s real. This Darkfall 2.0 has been promised for 18 months and was always 3 months away. I am still skeptical, as are MANY others.

    • Grayman says:

      Darkfall itself was promised for at least 6 years if I remember right. Most of my MMO playtime occurred during its development.

      I picked it up but never got into a good group so the clan focus killed it for me. I really liked the aspect that games like Asheron’s Call had where it was a lot easier to solo and small group around. I will watch out for this but I don’t think I will have time for a sub based mmo anytime soon.

    • Bior37 says:

      2.0 has only been promised for the last 8 months or so, and Aventurine has never missed a release date by more than a few weeks. They’re bad with ETAs, but not with release dates.

    • nizzie says:

      I don’t doubt that it’s real, but I don’t have any faith in Aventurine. These guys released a decent and fun game (at release), and managed to NOT fix many of its flaws for over three years now. That’s why the server population never stopped shrinking. I played Darkfall for over a year, and had lots of fun. But that was due to the people I played with, the stuff I experienced. The stuff that ultimatly made me stop playing was the game itself, how it was a complete clusterfuck and without any hope of fixing. If DFO had been a themepark, it would have died a few months after release.

      It makes me angry how Tasos and his crew still couldn’t fix this awesome idea of a game, and I REALLY hope that 2.0 will be (at least partially) what we asked for. But I don’t count on it. The evidence speaks against it: we got nothing but vague information, as usual. Fuck, the players don’t even know if that wipe is coming or not. Typical AV information policy, don’t tell the players ANYTHING until three days before release. Total amateurs, even after all these years. (Yes, I’m mad at them.)

      • Bior37 says:

        “The population never stopped shrinking” is.. completely and factually incorrect. I don’t know what it is about Darkfall that attracts trolls like flies to a dung heap. There is a TON of concrete information about Unholy Wars out there, it’s just scattered throughout a million updates and has yet to be consolidated. They fixed the vast majority of issues with the games. The ones they didn’t fix, they couldn’t without overhauling the game. Which is what they did. For free.

        • nizzie says:

          Oh yeah, I’m such a troll for criticizing your favorite mmorpg. Don’t kid yourself, the population, at least for EU-1 is terribly low, and it speaks volumes about the state of the game.

          “There is a TON of concrete information about Unholy Wars out there, it’s just scattered throughout a million updates and has yet to be consolidated. They fixed the vast majority of issues with the games. The ones they didn’t fix, they couldn’t without overhauling the game. Which is what they did. For free.”

          So sayeth the prophet Tasos. I don’t know for how long you’ve been around, but we all heard this before, some of us for over 10 years. AV has a history of disappointing those foolish enough to believe in their word.

  4. Bior37 says:

    For anyone that enjoyed pre WoW MMORPGs, or the Elderscrolls series, or Ultima Online, Dark Age of camelot, you should check it out.

    It’s the only MMO that’s held my attention for more than a few months since DAoC. The massive instanceless world, no zone lines, no loading screens, the twitch based M&B style combat on a HUGE scale… It’s a gem. But you should seek a clan, or friends.

    A few critical design errors held it back from becoming great, and those are now fixed in Unholy Wars.

  5. roryok says:

    The name Darkfall immediately makes me think of ‘Durchfall’, the german word for diarrhea

  6. Jakkar says:

    Oh god. I roped two good friends into joining me for this game at release, and the guilt hasn’t left me in the three years since. Absolute misery. Wandering around a completely empty world, finding one drastically overpowered mob every 30-50 minutes, at constant risk of being torn apart by wandering players who were more like zombies, never saying a word but trying to kill every player they saw. They weren’t even competent predators – they weren’t very good at it, but eventually one would kill you, and you’d be miles away back at a lifeless starter city again.

    Later, once I managed to link up with a clan, what did they do? 50-100 people would form human pyramids inside a castle courtyard while groups of high level mages fired powerful AoE magic into the pile, while others ran around the pile constantly healing and resurrecting people – the mages would macro this, though some would actually sit there for entire days actively chatting while they fired the same spell over and over, all to grind up the resistances and natural armour bonuses of the heap. But this was all they ever seemed to do. I saw one PVP hunt, a bland, lifeless event of a bigger group searching until they found a smaller group, and simply killing them all – no-one had any useful equipment to loot, it was just a matter of ‘What do we do now? We’re paying for this’ – ‘Let’s kill everything we find’.

    Darkfall, at least back then, was a sociopathic sandbox. A playground for ‘players’ whose only idea of how to enjoy a game was to kill, and kill, and kill, without ever really saying a word. Reminiscent of David Moody’s ‘Hater’.

    Hint; it’s a horror novel.

  7. Thoric says:

    Knowing Aventurine, 30% what they’ve said by now will be retracted by December, at which point they’ll set back the release date to April, and then launch it in June with bugs out the ass.

    The lack of a beta concerns me the most.

  8. Aimeely says:

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