From small skirmishes infiltrating the cities of enemies to an all-out war to protect our own, I had the chance to fight -- and occasionally die -- in a few different sieges this past week. Considering I was still fairly new and fighting against a number of vets from the original Darkfall with years of practice under their belts, I didn't do too shabbily. Perhaps more importantly, I had fun through it all.
The first large-scale siege was pretty quick in coming. Some enemy clans (obviously wanting to make sure I got the full experience to share with you all) placed a couple of siege stones, and the countdown to my alliance city's vulnerability started. The basic mechanics are if that if an attacking clan destroys a city's bindstone during the vulnerability, it can claim that city. Luckily for the defenders, there is a countdown until the bindstone becomes vulnerable, and the placed siege stones actually become vulnerable to attack one hour before the city does.
Apparently, those siege stones were placed right after I left the night before, and I logged in to find preparations going on for an upcoming siege. I got a few instructions and some extra gear packs to toss in my bank (a necessity to grab and re-gear as you go). Then it was all a matter of waiting until the action started to get my true lesson in siege warfare.
Once that action started, it was intense! Our alliance pushed the siege stones, the destruction of which ensured our city's safety. The battlefield was clogged with friendlies and enemies alike, and as the battle wore on, it was clogged with fallen bodies -- mostly enemies as we were victorious! To this day I regret that I didn't grab any screenshots of that sea of headstones, but there were jobs to be done, like collecting that loot to add to the clan bank! I dared only one screenshot during the battle itself; I was too busy fighting. Fighting and crashing, that is.
Disappointingly, Darkfall Unholy Wars seemed ill-prepared for that large of a battle and the game had some problems handling it. I was a lucky one who crashed only a couple of times, but others had a worse time of it. A number of updates since then have hopefully addressed the issue better.
I made it... almost
I'd like to add that I made it through that major siege alive. And in fact, I did live through the entire attack, through the volleys of arrows and spells and the rush of swinging blades. What I didn't make it through was getting home afterward; I was sniped just outside the walls of the city. However, that particular assailant left me lying there and took off. That's when my ultimate Darkfall memory was made.
You see, I lay there all tense, expecting a gank at any moment from some enemy. Then, lo and behold, a clan-mate was looming over me and I felt this overwhelming sense of "I'm saved!" A moment later, my screen darkens as the message floats across saying she just ganked me. Yes, my clan-mate accidentally (she swears it was one, anyway) lopped off my head instead of lending a hand.
At least in the next large siege it was an enemy that dispatched me. That battle had quite a different feel to it since the fighting was in close quarters as we tried to hold a strategic point while outnumbered. My clan likened my role in that one to a war correspondent, trying to capture the battle as it raged around me while dodging death.
More intimate affairs
Not all city sieges are large affairs; some of the fun ones were on a smaller scale where the idea wasn't to take over the city but to break in and cause a ruckus. My group launched a surprise attack of one walled city without even attacking the walls. Instead, the Warriors turned into human Trebuchets and flung us over, and we proceeded to create madness and mayhem from within. Getting in and getting everyone out alive was a riot.
Although both types of raids are fun, these smaller ones have an advantage because they can happen more frequently than the larger ones.
As you can probably guess, your opportunities to participate in clan territorial warfare are more numerous when you are actually in a clan. Anyone can poke in and join in a fight he comes across, but it's the groups that own the cities. So if you want in on the meat of the action and territorial conquest, you need to be part of a group. And since that's kind of the whole premise behind Darkfall Unholy Wars, being in a clan can make all the difference.
I'd recommend that new players don't put off joining a clan for very long. While there are plenty of games you can successfully play solo, you are far more likely to be underwhelmed by the game and give it up if you rate it on your lone adventures. Just give it a week or so to familiarize yourself with the mechanics, then find a group that fits you. Then you can not only participate in more content but have a support network to celebrate your victories with you and help re-outfit you after your defeats just as you do the same for others.
Wrapping up the final week
Of course, sieging isn't all there is to do in Darkfall, as this series of adventures has already shown. Between siege adventures, I was able to partake in even more aspects of the game, including trying my hand at treasure hunting. Since I am told the best way to find more treasure maps (yes, I must have more!) is through fishing, I've also spent more time with my line in the water. Who knows? Maybe I will snag one that leads me to a housing deed.
Speaking of housing, I also got to "move in" to this spiffy tower as a roommate to the clan-mate who killed me. A fair trade, no? She's also willing to take me out on her boat for some adventures on the water (since you all wouldn't let me go!).
Ah, but there is more yet to do, and no more CMA to do it in. Still on tap is a meeting with one player who's showing me the ins and outs of economic power through crafting, as well as a trip to seek out and destroy -- or be destroyed by -- a dragon. And now I can finally test out a class that seems better suited to me: a Primalist.
Strap yourself in for the ride of (six weeks of) your life! Where are you going? Well, that's entirely up to you, the Massively readers, to decide -- the where, the what, and the how are all directed by you. The who is MJ Guthrie! For the duration of Choose My Adventure, her virtual life is in your hands! Join MJ in-game, on-site, and live on Massively TV to be a part of the adventure and watch the story unfold.