Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Darkfall, Day 2

I started out my second adventure by encountering a troll not far from town.

I was surprised to come upon him for two reasons. The first, is that the world feels very barren. There's a lot of open, unused space. The second is that I was alerted to his presence by way of being struck with a glowing blue ball of energy. After he threw a couple more, I figured he was some kind of troll mage.

After a short and very close fight I won and was immediately set upon by three more trolls from the distance who all began to hurl the same blue energy orbs at me. Well... I guess all trolls are mages here?

After a few minutes of fleeing I managed to lose them. Then I open up the help browser to find out how to rest. Ok, there's a rest skill. I put it on my bar and use it. Then I wait. A while.

A momentary detour here; I can understand the concept of having everything be a skill. But honestly... resting?

Anyways. I get back into the fight with a new troll, this time wielding a club that I picked up from the last one. I bash him pretty good and he runs rapidly away, causing a bunch of his magic-using friends to notice me and promptly kill me.

So, back in town, I "rest". While doing so, I finally find some quests. There was no indicator that I could see that this NPC would have them... I just happened to notice the Quest tab on his interaction window. Kill some goblins, with the promise of armor - I'm on board for that!

With the goblins marked on my map as well as my corpse containing my neat new club, I'm off with a sluggishly replenishing health bar. As I traverse the barren landscape, the only company I seem to find is in the fairly regular 'ding!' noises that accompany gaining skill in sprint, run, and crouch walk.

The next half hour basically consisted of me killing a few goblins, and then dying to magic abilities, and repeating this process as I tried to finish the quest/get my loot back. It's rather unfortunate that a lot of the drops seem to decay on the corpses before I can get to them.

The load times in this game are a bit excessive, and I've got a decent computer. I run plenty of newer games with everything turned up and have no problems, so I don't know why loading in takes so long.The help page says that you can release early after death by pressing the space bar, but it doesn't work.

Something I find extremely irritating is that even when sprinting away, I can't outrun anything. I've run straight, I've maneuvered, but it doesn't work. The monsters stick to you, or worse yet, make a bee-line for you through and over terrain. Also of irritation is that the starter-sword doesn't seem to let you raise your sword skill. To top it off, all the weapons I'm finding are terrible, and don't make a noticeable different in my fights versus these mobs.

Next on the list... dying when there's still health in my bar. That's right - my character died with health left.

After a few more runs, I finally get some gear, my stuff back, and managed to conquer the goblins - except for the shaman who still destroys me. With a suit of armor, a shield and some potions the game is MUCH more fun starting out.

King Gripe of the night: the interface. Well, all 3 interfaces actually. The way they work/are split up. You've got your normal interface that's in first person. Then you've got your 'combat' one that you activate by hitting "R" to draw your weapon. Then if you right click in any of these, you get your mouse cursor back and lose control of your character while doing so in "interaction mode".

This is like a gigantic step backwards to 10 years ago when Ultima IX: Ascension came out. The combat/interaction split interface in that game was miserable, and I suffered through it out of loyalty to the title. I can't believe that a decade later I'm seeing the same poorly implemented system. I guess it makes sense though, since the Darkfall project started in the days of yore when this might have seemed like a good idea.


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