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Darkfall clarifies vision to get 'back on track'

Fantasy, Darkfall, Previews, PvP, Dev Diaries, Sandbox

Aventurine admitted today that it has faltered on its core vision for Darkfall due to "compromises" but is rededicating itself to restoring its focus.

"We are committed to our original vision of a politically and economically driven sandbox PvP MMO where risk dictates the reward, leading to meaningful massive battles," the studio posted.

As such, Aventurine revealed that it will be introducing mix-and-match custom roles, rebalancing the economy, adding in siege engines, and conjuring a quest system to beef up the new player experience. On the way out are timed events and "the purpose of safe zones."

Darkfall's territory control update has arrived

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Darkfall, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, PvP, News Items, Sandbox, MMORPG

Greek indie dev Aventurine has just announced that the much-foreshadowed territory control update for PvP sandbox Darkfall: Unholy Wars arrives today. The studio hopes to draw upon its "sandbox PvP and massive-battles heritage" for the update, which allows players to claim, hold, and control "areas of influence" and tax each other into oblivion -- just in time for tax day in the US!

Enjoy the patch notes on the official site and the new trailer below.

[Source: Aventurine press release]

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Next Darkfall patch to introduce Areas of Influence

Fantasy, Darkfall, Guilds, Patches

A new patch is coming to Darkfall next week that is said to bring new features tied to territory control that offer special bonuses and more visual indicators of that control.

The Aventurine team has been teasing the Areas of Influence feature for a few days on its Facebook page, but next week's patch will put it in the game. The Area of Influence is an expanded bit of land that's attached to each capturable control point. These areas show up on the map and offer a set of stackable buffs to the clan members and allies that control the area.

Read through the forum post for complete info on the addition.

[Thanks for the tip, Dengar!]

Darkfall's getting PvE dailies, and no, it's not April Fools' Day yet

Fantasy, Darkfall, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Sandbox, Subscription

Darkfall Elementalist
From the things-I-never-thought-I'd-type category, here's a story about Darkfall adding PvE dailies. Aventurine calls them feats in keeping with the PvP title's Unholy Wars progression system, and "there are several personal PvE daily feats that require specific monsters to be killed in order to be completed."

The firm is also adding weekly feats, which, like the dailies, will reward prowess and occasional material rewards like raw resources.

[Thanks Dengar!]

Darkfall discounts six-month sub, updates weather effects

Fantasy, Darkfall, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, Sandbox, Subscription

Darkfall boat
Aventurine has announced its March Darkfall update, and with it a new promotion tied to the PvP MMORPG's six-month subscription plan.

The update features more realistic weather effects. Snowfall and rain will now affect Agon's landscapes as well as buildings, mobs, and player characters. The devs have also added a new clan market system which facilitates goods exchanges within clans and enables the creation of city-based trading hubs.

The six-month sub promotion costs $49.95, which amounts to 45 percent off the usual monthly fee. Finally, Aventurine wants you to know about Darkfall's other recent updates which include a new chat system, duels, and the Sinspire Cathedral epic dungeon. To get a better look at the new weather effects, click past the cut and watch the video.

[Source: Aventurine press release]

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Darkfall to add clan markets and realistic weather effects

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Darkfall, Economy, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, News Items, Sandbox

Darkfall adds clan markets and realistic weather effects
If you haven't had enough snow this winter, you'll be able to get some more in Darkfall Unholy Wars! The PvP sandbox's upcoming patch is introducing realistic rain and snow weather effects. Snow will soon be dusting buildings, trees, ships, and the ground, significantly altering the visual landscape. Suddenly, those stark white mounts will no longer be such a liability!

The update also includes a new way for clans and alliances to do business amongst themselves in the form of clan markets. The clan markets have individual permission settings, so business can be restricted to individuals (when clan-only), allies, non-enemies, or everyone. As an added benefit, clan markets won't have any courier fees or taxes, at least for the time being. These structures can be built within any clan holding, be it a a city or a hamlet, and trade can commence between all locations. Markets can be damaged to the point of deactivation or lost if holdings change owners.

The patch is due out next week. Check out more details about these features and other fixes in the patch notes, and watch as snow covers the landscape and ships alike in the weather video below.

[Thanks to Dengar for the tip!]

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Jukebox Heroes: Top 40 MMO themes, #20-11

Age of Conan, Darkfall, Final Fantasy XI, Guild Wars, Opinion, Star Wars Galaxies, Allods Online, Blade & Soul, Miscellaneous, PlanetSide 2, Defiance, Jukebox Heroes, Dragon's Prophet, Music

We're growing ever closer to my top picks for MMO theme songs, but we're not quite at the end yet. This week we are on to the third part of our Top 40 MMO main themes countdown. To repeat my self-imposed rules for this list: I limited myself to just one theme from a particular title, even if there were multiple themes in a game. Entries had to be a main theme or the closest equivalent of that; they had to be from MMOs, not from MOBAs; and I had to divorce my weighting of the track itself from the popularity of and my experience with that game. So there were no points added or subtracted based on my love of the game. I'm counting down the best music, period.

If you missed earlier parts of this series, check out themes #40-31 and #30-21. Otherwise, hit that continue button and get listening already!

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Some Assembly Required: An anniversary look at Darkfall's fifth year

Fantasy, Darkfall, PvP, Opinion, Some Assembly Required, Sandbox, Anniversaries

Gimme five! Five years that is, in honor of Darkfall's anniversary. This week the PvP-centric sandbox celebrated its fifth year of bringing murder, mayhem, and fun to friends and foes alike in the brutal world of Agon. And while it may seem as though you could pretty much sum up the entirety of Darkfall's last 12 months in two words (Unholy Wars) and call it a day, there's actually been much more to the game than just the reboot's long-awaited release. In fact, that was only the beginning. The game has continued to expand and develop even after the initial launch of Unholy Wars, shaping it into the experience that it is today. That's precisely what we're here to toast together -- the ups and down of 52 weeks in Aventurine's hardcore sandbox. Be sure to leave your favorite memories from the past year in Agon before you go!

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New Darkfall patch features Chaos Primalist, village requisition

Fantasy, Darkfall, Classes, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, Sandbox, Subscription

Darkfall Chaos Primalist
Today's Darkfall patch is a significant one since it brings major changes via village requisitioning and the new Chaos Primalist school. Chaos Primalists "specialize in disrupting, relocating, and general face-melting," according to Aventurine's patch notes.

You can read up on the school's ability descriptions on the official Darkfall website. While you're there, you might also want to look through the forum thread that explains the new requisition mechanics in more detail.

Darkfall runs one-week promotion

Fantasy, Darkfall, PvP, Promotions, Subscription

Darkfall really wants you to be playing it and is willing to make a few major concessions to pave the way for both new and returning players to join the fold.

The subscription PvP MMO is running a February promotion aimed at, well, everyone. Lapsed players will find that Aventurine has reactivated their accounts for a week, new players can pick up the game for 75% off, and current players can pick up a six-month subscription for 45% off. This promotion will go through February 13th.

Aventurine also posted a note saying that lapsed accounts three months or older will require a support ticket to dig those characters out of storage.

[Thanks to Dengar for the tip!]

Darkfall adds weather effects, duel system

Fantasy, Darkfall, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, Sandbox, Subscription

Darkfall brownie reading the newspaperDarkfall's sporting a new patch this week, and no, I'm not talking about one of those old-school iron-on things that your mom put on your jacket when you were a kid.

This patch contains performance tweaks, new environments, a duel system, and the new weather effects system.

Aventurine says that "74 new environments have been added all around Agon." The update post on Darkfall's official website -- viewable via the links below -- contains a full list of fixes and changes.

EVE Evolved: Designing EVE Onland, part 1

Sci-Fi, Dark Age of Camelot, Darkfall, EVE Online, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, Endgame, Opinion, Ultima Online, Shadowbane, Mortal Online, EVE Evolved, Perpetuum, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Subscription

EVE Evolved title image
When I'm not playing or writing about EVE Online, I can usually be found huddled over my computer typing lines of code into a compiler and chipping away at bugs that make varying degrees of sense. Designing my own hardcore space game is a really fun challenge and very fulfilling work, but I have a dirty little game dev secret: I've actually always wanted to make a fantasy game. While the budget and personnel required to take on a project the scale of an MMO remain quite far outside my grasp for the moment, it's still fun to think about how I might design such a game if the opportunity arose. The MMO genre seems to be heading for a sandbox revolution this year, and there's no bigger sandbox than EVE Online, but could all of EVE's gameplay translate to a fantasy game?

EVE is probably the most atypical MMO out there, maintaining a subscription-based single-shard PvP sandbox in a genre that's typically headed in the exact opposite direction. There are several new sci-fi sandboxes on the way that may or may not qualify as massively multiplayer titles, but the vast majority of MMO gamers still prefer to keep their feet on the ground in fantasy lands. I often find myself wondering how much of EVE Online's core gameplay is possible only because of its setting -- and how much could actually be applied to a fantasy MMO. Not only should it be possible to adapt most of what makes EVE great to a modern land-based game, but many of the mechanics sandbox gamers now attribute almost solely to EVE actually started life in classic fantasy MMOs like Ultima Online.

In this week's unusual EVE Evolved, I'd like to start a game design thought experiment as I delve into the hypothetical world of EVE Onland.

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Pick up MMOs on the cheap in Steam's holiday sale

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Darkfall, EVE Online, Final Fantasy XI, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, PvE, The Secret World, Miscellaneous, Sandbox, Defiance, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

Steam Holiday Sale
It's that time of year again, folks -- the time when grandfather Valve slides down the chimney and offers you a huge pile of reasonably priced games. Yes, Steam's holiday sale is now in full effect, bringing with it some nice deals on a few MMO titles.

Here's what we've found so far: Keep in mind that sales change daily and that some games above do require subscription fees. The Steam holiday sales ends January 2nd, 2014.

Darkfall gets emotes, chat bubbles, deployable cannons

Fantasy, Darkfall, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, Roleplaying, Sandbox, Subscription

Darkfall city cannon
Either Aventurine has an impish sense of humor or there really are Darkfall players who want to do more than stick the pointy end into the other man. The game's latest patch adds chat bubbles and emotes to the open world and open PvP fantasy sandbox, along with new deployable cannons and city cannons.

You can view a list of additional patch features and fixes on the official Darkfall website.

Aventurine details Darkfall's new Sinspire Cathedral dungeon

Fantasy, Darkfall, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, Sandbox, Dungeons, Subscription

Darkfall's Sinspire Cathedral
Aventurine has designed a new dungeon for Darkfall. It's called Sinspire Cathedral and it's "an epic dungeon in size, difficulty, as well as denizens," according to the company's latest dev blog. If your party manages to survive Sinspire's "dynamic door system" and make it to the grand finale, you'll encounter Sir Davosh the Damned, a "monster of the highest difficulty that uses many new and devastating custom skills."

The dev blog offers further details on Sinspire as well as some blurbs about lore and general changes from Darkfall's latest patch.

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