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Darkfall Combat is NOT So Special.

We’re starting this Monday out on a more sour note, I guess. Sorry for that. This got to me over the weekend, enough to inspire a whole post. You’ve probably seen Darkfall players talk crap about action bar MMOs. Yeah, well, they’re full of crap. Here’s why:

This guy secretly plays WoW. Don't tell the goblins.

There’s a common theme that runs in posts supporting Darkfall: the combat is leaps and bounds above other MMOs. I’m sorry but no, no it’s not. Now, that’s not to say that the AI supporting it isn’t good, because it is. Mob AI is leaps and bounds ahead of other MMOs. What I’m talking about it this idea that people playing normal action bar games are somehow dimwits.

The only thing substantial Darkfall adds to the mix is mouse squiggling. Here’s a typical set of combat encounters:

LotRO: 1, 2, 4, 5, 0, 2, 1 – repeat

Darkfall: 1, click, squiggle, click, 1, click, squiggle, 3, click – repeat.

See what I’m saying? What I find especially funny is that all of these people forget to mention that Darkfall uses action bars. The only difference is that you have to left click to make the ability go off! Making the user face the target and click repeatedly does not deep combat make.

Let me dispel a couple other misconceptions. Despite all that advanced AI, everything still seems pretty basic. I don’t doubt that there’s a lot going on behind the scenes, but when a Greater Servant “sees” me from half a mile away, I don’t think “oh crap, it’s dark so he must see better at night.” I think, “gee, he has an aggro range.” When a mob runs around me in circles, then runs away, stops, jitters, runs back, and runs away again, I don’t think “wow, he’s really aware of the situation and trying to trip me up.” I think, “oh look, he moves, and I have to face him.” If having to face your enemy is what the ForumFall-ites are priding themselves on, I suggest they get a reality check.

Look, I like Darkfall. A lot. The sum of all those little parts adds up to combat that is a lot more active but not necessarily more challenging. If anything, I’d say that, for PvE at least, action bar combat is the more complex. Where most Darkfall players will keep to a single action bar and a handful of skills for all situations, the average WoW player manages 3-4 packed with abilities. The current state of action bar combat allows players to not only react to any situation but also strategize what to use and when on the fly.

For many, myself included, the active swinging of a weapon is a lot of fun. And I’m not making any bones about PvP – I firmly believe that DF beats most other games here, if we’re talking skill. Other people find it stressful and annoying. To each their own. But that doesn’t make them stupid for preferring traditional controls over FPS-lite.

It’s pretty simple. Not many of you have played Darkfall or ever will. So, imagine your last fight in DDO. Now imagine the mobs running around you and trying to flee before they die. That’s pretty much it. Except, I don’t see many DDO players calling the rest of us idiots for playing normal MMOs.


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  1. Hollowman

    Darkfall: 1, click, squiggle, click, 1, click, squiggle, 3, click – repeat

    You can’t do that succesfull without hand eye coordinaton. See what i mean is you can do “1, 2, 4, 5, 0, 2, 1 – repeat” because you target is locked and cover environemnt and area doen’t play any role but in Darkfall you have to calculate moving target and the surrounding to perfectly time your attacks else you will simply not hit anyone. Thats brings us back to what Darkfall players says that Darkfall’s combat is superior to many MMORPG’s out there.

    1. Chris

      Yeah, and I agree that combined with the mob AI, Darkfall combat is a lot more fun. The fact that you have to face the target at a reasonable distance is neat, but not enough to say that players who use a different system are dim because of it. The timing of attacks might be important, but a lot of players simply spam left-click to make sure they’re getting a hit off in that right range.

      Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of appreciation for the game. Honestly, I think that if more games went with the DFO design philosophy, the industry would be in a much better place. Still, I hate seeing people self-aggrandize on something that’s really not so damn special. Forumfall. See, pay attention to it and this is what you get, lol.

  2. Trippin Ninja

    I thought the exact same thing when I tried Darkfall too. I think comments bashing lock on targetting and action bar combat are in the same vein as most wow hate comments. It’s the cool thing to do as a keyboard warrior. I think what people need to realize is that there is no better system because they all have their pros and cons.

    Me personally, I like my mmo a little more laid back. If I’m looking for more action and a bigger challange I turn to my fps, rts or action games. When playing a mmo I want to be able to just chill with a bong in my lap and chat with friends while I kill things. It doesn’t mean I’m less intelligent than you or that I am bad at video games. At the end of the day I think there’s plenty of room for mmo’s of all playstyles and bashing a person because of their preference is just immature.

  3. Professer

    Wow, can’t believe that you just compared Lotro and Darkfall’s combat and you aren’t impressed.

    I’m sorry, but I think this post is completely wrong. Just because their combat system uses hotbars doesn’t mean its like every other tab-target 1234443 MMO out there. Every game will need hotkeys to be used in combat, and the hotbar is pretty much the best way to visually organize them. And to add to that, Darkfall has so many skills and spells with their own abilities/uses that most games. There is more than that too, there are so many other factors that are involved in Darkfall’s gameplay that other games lack which makes it much more advance than most MMOs. Darkfall’s game play is like no other MMO. I don’t see how you can call it ‘not so special.’

    @Trippin Ninja: Do you really enjoy standard tab-target hotbar combat? I find it to be so lifeless and boring. I honestly can’t play any game with that style of gameplay any more. Well, not for more than a hour or so at a time. I understand that it works and is easy. But after playing that same WoW style combat re-skinned in every other game for over 6 years, I’m done with it. You can paint it up any way you want; I refuse to play a MMO uses the standard quest or combat mechanics. I need something different.

    Sorry if I come off kinda extreme, I am just totally done with those kinds of games after playing them so much.

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