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Saturday, September 2, 2017

Designing a successful open world MMORPG with full loot and avoiding common pitfalls.

This article is written for Darkfall Now blog . I will be updating it few more times so make sure to bookmark it.

You are putting years of work and millions of dollars on the line, so I am sure you can go extra mile and read this wall of text :)  .  Warning: Please be patient with this because my English is not as developed as my Java :-)

Note: I don't have time to finish this article which I started years ago. I didn't pick up RoA or DND after the demise of Darkfall Unholy Wars. There are other pressing needs in life entertainment is taking back seat. I will publish this unfinished version which still has value for new game developers.

Incidentally Ub3rgames been developing Darkfall New Dawn and many of their ideas matches what I wrote 2 years ago! 

Why I decided to write this article?

A very exciting time is ahead of us, with so many MMO featuring open world, full loot, in a sandbox setting that are to be released from single person indie to large established studios. I have been playing this type of games for many years starting with UO and most recently playing Darkfall.  Here few thing game designer should consider for long term success.

Lets Jump right into it.

An informal discussion with dev (developer, game designer, director, anyone making the game). "Dev: This is my vision and a game I always wanted to create..." which is all good and dandy but it may not be a game many people wants to play.

"Dev: I don't care because I am not trying to create a game for everyone.  I am creating a game that people have been asking for a long time".  Often times game developer can't distinguish between vocal minorities and silent majority. These vocal minorities often distorts reality in social media and developer loses insight of their target audience.  As a result they end up developing a product that is not sustainable.  You already know that game development and maintenance is super expensive so while a satisfying a niche market is ideal, but at the end of the day game still needs appeal to a crowed of 50,000+ paying customers. 

"Dev: Basically it sounds like you are telling us to develop the next World of Warcraft (theme park) and not take any risk".  No!  The market for theme park MMO is saturated.  You are better off buying hotdog stands and get better ROI then writing another theme park MMO. 

"Dev: Why bother reinventing the wheel when we already seen the perfect model that we can just copy from EvE, UO, SWG?."  This is a very good point.  Philosophy and game design used in these games were perfect for the time these games served but they will not necessarily work in current time. UO and SWG were pioneered and had very little competition.  Technology changed (broadband Internet, 3D graphics, etc), player expectation greatly shifted, and player are now exposed to a much wider range of Sandbox games (100 already in the market).  EvE Online is still going strong simply because over the years CCP kept up with the changing market and constantly evolving their game and business model to stay ahead of time.   (click read more)

Friday, July 29, 2016

Checkout New Darkfall from Ub3rgames

They have pretty big plans for Darkfall.

In short read more on their site.

Our vision

Our aim is to take Darkfall Online and make it reach its potential as a complete empire building game where sandbox features and PvP are just tools to an end. We are not making a simulation or a gankbox, but are striving for meaningful choices and long term appeal. At its core, Darkfall is about risks versus rewards and accepting the consequences of one’s choices. Whether in combat, diplomacy or day to day activities.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Message from the CEO regarding old version of Darkfall (aka DFO.)


It gives me great pleasure to extend my sincere gratitude to all our players in large for their unswerving love and support for us. We are a small independent game developer, with a relentless drive for innovation and a spirit of grand imagination. We started our company in 2002. Back then, we knew we wanted to make great games that people would want to play for years.

We did not create this company to make money. Along the way, many things have changed at Aventurine. But, the core beliefs upon which we founded this company are stronger than ever: we are still a small independent game developer, with relentless drive for innovation and a spirit of grand imagination.

Darkfall Online (DFO) was launched in 2009. Three years later, in 2012, we launched its sequel -Darkfall Unholy Wars (DFUW). Based on popular demand, we contemplated at re-launching DFO. Slowly, we realized that DFO will not be delivering on our original product strategy. It also became clear that the problem is not just with DFO, but with our entire product strategy.

Now, better than ever, is time to make some hard decisions. We decided to kill all ongoing production for DFO, and focus on enhancing DFUW.

We realized, despite the initial excitement, players that played DFUW would not return to play DFO. Players were getting bored with the DFO game after a month or two. It is too hard to get into the game. The sad truth is that this is not a game that anyone would play for years.
Our dream is to create games that people will remember for many years to come. We want to build a company that will last for many years, too. A company whose employees will feel it is the best place they have ever worked.

Certainly, the aforementioned vision requires time to implement and patience to optimize. We are counting on all our players to support us during these times of great challenges. We are looking at building synergies with a partner that will not focus on the next ten years but on the next one hundred years.

It has been an exciting journey for our company, thanks to its dedicated and loyal players’ community. We can make our existing game -DFUW- much better. There is so much more we can do. More than anything, we cannot do it without our players’ wholehearted backing.

We are here today thanks to the confidence and trust our players have in us. Our objective is to become a company that every player can be proud of. That is a commitment we solemnly pledge to all of you.

Thank you so much,
Zad Mehdawi
Founder & CEO of Aventurine S.A.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Implement crafting through recipe books & scrolls

This is my suggested changes that will have a significant positive impact in Darkfall.  This will add value to in-game activities like farming, exploration, and enhance the sense of progression among players.

Proposal: ALL craftable items are learnable ONLY from recipe scrolls/books that will drop from mobs, chest, treasure maps and they are tradeble, lootable.   These books can also be sold to NPC vendor for reasonable amount of gold.

This will allow AV to introduce hundreds of new items in the game that will be highly sought after. 

Implementation: Categorize these scrolls & books into common, non mastery, and mastery.

common: players may learn as many common recipes as they wish. (Doesn't require gold or prowess).

non-mastery: players may learn as many non-mastery recipes as they wish but it will cost gold.  More recipe a player learns, more expensive (exponentially) it gets to learn new non-mastery recipes.

mastery: players may learn as many mastery recipes as they wish but it will cost both gold and prowess.  Amount of gold and prowess needed will increase exponentially as they memorize more mastery level spells.

All new players will have all the first rank armor and weapon recipes memorized by default.

When a player first learns a new recipe they will have a 75% success rate.  The more they make the higher the success rate increases. 

A player may choose to "forget" a recipe.  Only prowess will be refunded.  If the player decided to pick up the same recipe they will start off from "75%" again.

A player doesn't need to "level up" their crafting anymore to create the next tier gear.  They just need to obtain the appropriate book or scroll. 

Each tier and style weapon will have separate books.  For example there will be  different books to cover militant, stoic, and barbaric Neithal Great Swords.

This system is essentially specialization and it will introduce trade offs, player dependency and encourage trading/player interaction.  All players will have much motivation to engage in game activities because they now have a chance to obtain recipe scrolls/books which they can learn, share, trade with other players or even sell it to vendor for gold.