Darkfall: Unholy Wars Beta Review

Discussion in 'Front Page News' started by thorizdin, Apr 16, 2013.

  1. thorizdin Administrator

    Darkfall: Unholy Wars Pre-Release Review

    With Darkfall: Unholy Wars coming out this Tuesday April 16th, I thought I'd write a beta review to generate more guild interest. The game has come a long way since beta first started 5 months ago, and I believe the game is ready for release. Some major bugs got fixed within this beta period, and I feel the game is very solid currently. In general the Darkfall community has been very positive about release, and it looks like the launch population will be very healthy. As well as very competitive.


    Darkfall: Unholy Wars is a full loot MMOFPS sandbox, with a seamlessly open fantasy world called Agon. The games focus is PVP in all its variations from small scale fights to large scale sieges. The world was build with conquest and politics in mind, as guilds have to compete for resources and territory to gain control of Agon. Notable features include an active combat system, active boat combat, active mounted combat, quick leveling system, a huge gathering and crafting system, a player housing system, city/hamlet/village ownership and building system, player driven economy/politics, a merc contract system, as well as a sieging system that brings all those features together. The game also has minor features like wildlife and treasure map hunting. However these are just the core features, as PVE has its own set of features as well. The biggest of which is non-instanced seamless dungeons, with traps and high level boss mobs. There is 32 dungeons to be introduced after release, as well as epic world mobs like huge dragons and krakens, which are currently in-game.

    Darkfall Beta

    The negativity that surrounds Darkfall: Unholy Wars has more to do with problems in early beta, which have been mostly fixed for release. The biggest of these early issues was the sustainability and fun of combat. Thankfully the Devs took a long hard look at combat over the past month, and have made the changes necessary to adjust these issues. Notably the wobble mechanic and the cost of skills being to high. Combat is currently very smooth, and a lot of fun. Classes also received a look, and balance has been tweaked. While class balance isn't perfect, its very close. All classes seem very suited for their individual roles on the battlefield.

    Stuff like dupes and hacks have been largely removed from the game. All the major issues like lost items and prowess points have been addressed. Anyone that found using hacks, dupes, or exploits after launch will literally get the Unholy Ban Hammer. The Devs already have a Hall of Shame website where all hackers get their just desserts.

    Dev Quote:


    Missing Features

    A lot of players expected Darkfall: Unholy Wars to have the same feature list as Darkfall 1, however this simply isn't reasonable. Darkfall 1 had about an 8 year development time. Darkfall: Unholy Wars has only had 2+ years of development. The biggest of the missing features are large Ships, Siege Weapons (Cannons/Warhulks), Market (AH), extra class schools, and more Dungeons. Ships clearly needed a rework, as they were to easy to board by swimming enemy players in Darkfall 1. This made taking out a ship very dangerous, as the risk would be higher than the reward in most cases. Cannons are getting a similar upgrade. The new system will let players decide what type of cannon (Sniper/AoE) they want, and where to place the cannon towers on their city walls. This system is far superior than Darkfall 1 where some cannon towers would be useless due to placement. Warhulks (Siege Tanks) have also received another look by the devs, and although they haven't talked much about them, they will surely be more integral part of the game. The Market (auction house) is a new feature being added to the game, and should be available shortly after release. This should help player trade significantly. The extra class schools are very high priority after release, however the game is doing fine without them. The Dungeons are in game currently, but the mobs and entrances haven't been turned on. The Devs will be adding them at a very fast pace after release.

    Game User Interface
    The GUI in Darkfall: Unholy Wars is a mixed bag. Some people like it, some people don't. The main issues that players have problems with is the chat window, the bank and backpack management system, and the radial system. The new chat window needlessly takes up to much screen space, if your trying to keep track of all chat channels. The bank and backpack management system feels clunky. Especially if your not organized, it can be a real pain. The console style radial system (off screen) has replaced the standard MMOG hotbars, which players don't like because u can't keep track of your cooldowns. The GUI is also very small in general, with no option to resize or customize, which is to be expected from a new MMOG. I think the GUI is rather workable after spending some time with it. The Devs have acknowledged the GUI problems, and have already started tweaking it based on player feedback. Here is a VIDEO on how it currently looks.

    Character Progression: The Grind Removed
    If anyone remembers Darkfall 1, they will remember the long months of play to get your character PVP viable. It took around 6 months on EU launch, and 4 months around NA launch. This was largely due to the fact that the best playstyle was hybrid, which required a huge amount of grind because of the insane number of skills u had to level. In Darkfall: Unholy Wars the number of skills has been reduced to a reasonable amount due to the Role system.

    Roles and Schools
    Now you must pick one of the four Roles in the game, which consists of Warrior (Tank/Fighter), Skirmisher (Ranger/Assassin), Elementalist (Damage/Control), Primalist (Healer/Support). All Roles have different health, stamina, and mana pools based on their specialty. The Warrior starts with high HP, the Skirmisher has high Stam, and both Mages have high Mana. Each class gets a primary and a secondary School, of which there are two pairs for each role. All schools have 5 skills. The fifth skill in each school is an ultimate ability. Your primary school choice keeps its ultimate ability, whereas your secondary school doesn't. Meaning you get 9 class skills between your primary and secondary Schools, as well as 2 School passives . You also get another 11 Common skills shared between all the Roles. The best Common skills being the stat transfers like Mana to Stamina, which doesn't require a staff anymore. Lastly you have your weapons skills which are not Role restricted. Currently there is 8 melee weapon skills and 2 ranged weapon skills, which all have a mastery level. You can change both your Role and Primary/Secondary Schools every 15mins. To get a better idea of what I'm talking about here is a LINK to the Role and School information for the game. Common and Role skills require Prowess points, which I will talk about below.

    Attributes and Boosters
    Attributes are universal. The Roles get a benefit from all 4 of the attributes being Strength (Warrior), Dexterity (Skirmisher), Intelligence (Elementalist), and Wisdom (Primalist). This coincides with the Role switching system. Every Role can increase all attributes to 100 without limitation. Attributes are raised using Prowess points. All armor and weapons have attribute requirements. Twohanded melee and heavy armor require Strength, onehanded melee requires either Strength or Dexterity, Skirmisher gear/bows requires Dexterity, and Mage armor/staves requires either Intelligence or Wisdom. Each attribute not only lets players use higher level items, but also add modifiers to skills and items. In the case of Strength it helps increase melee damage, while Wisdom helps increase the magnitude of Common skills like Heal Self.

    Boosters add another 40 points to your choice attribute, so you can take only one attribute to 140. Taking an attribute past a hundred lets players use the high end armor and weapons. Boosters have 4 tiers (10/20/30/40), which you can buy with Prowess points. You can buy all 4 attribute Boosters, however each successive Booster purchase doubles the cost. Its also important to note that each Booster also adds to stat pools like HP, Stam, and Mana. This can be very significant when making your choice, as a Strength Booster adds HP, which a squishy Mage might find appealing. It also would help a Mage do more melee damage in mounted combat, however he would have to trade his high end Mage gear for the benefits. Boosters make role switching a lot easier, because of the 40 point boost to attributes. Once you spend your Prowess points on attributes and boosters you can't take them back. However it is very possible that the Devs are looking at a respec system in the future. Either way it is very easy to level in this game.


    The Feats and Prowess System (How You Level)
    As I already talked about you need Prowess points for attributes, boosters, and skills. You get Prowess points by doing Feats, which are essentially Darkfall: Unholy Wars version of a questing system. Feats don't require talking to a NPC to start, or to be turned in when completed. Rather, every aspect of the game has a feat associated with it, and there is a Feat tab where you can check all your un/completed feats. There is also a Feat tracker to keep an eye on your progress. There are Feats for gathering, crafting, exploration, social, PVE, PVP, and so on. Currently PVE and crafting give the best gains, however the Devs are still working on improving the system to add more options. As you do feats more advanced feats open up offering more Prowess points for completion. The best thing about this system is it lets players do whatever they want. Also an organized competitive guild can really maximize the system by prioritizing feat orders.

    Both the Feat system and the Prowess system work in conjunction to remove the grind of the past. It literally takes 1 to 3 weeks depending on playtime to reach PVP viability. This is mainly because the Devs reduced the number of skills you have to skillup, as well as the skillup mechanic itself. You don't gain skill from using skills (excluding crafting professions) or weapons anymore, rather you gain Prowess points by completing feats. While some people like the skillup mechanic from Darkfall 1, it clearly was broken. Mainly because it encourage players to AFK macro to gain skill over night. Thankfully macroing is completely useless in Darkfall: Unholy Wars. Players actually have to get out of safe zones and player cities to gain skill now, rather than hiding from players. This creates more PVP in the open world.

    The World
    The world looks amazing. The graphic have received an upgrade from Darkfall 1. Although the map is smaller (not by much) than the original game, its just as epic. Everything in the world looks and feels unique, and painfully handcrafted by the world builders. The environmental transitions between areas are pretty seamless, as well as the audio that accompanies them. The water looks disgustingly beautiful with the new lighting system, and the addition of god rays. Shadows make everything nice. There is also other cool stuff like sandstorms on ruby island. It short it feels like a living breathing world, and is by far the best gaming world I've seen in an MMOG to date, other than Darkfall 1. I've played many.


    Territory Control and Travel
    The loss of some Cities and Hamlets is both negative and positive. Negative because only the bigger alliances will own most of them, but positive because those Cities and Hamlets will be more contested. Generally there will be more sieges. The Devs have said they will be adding more Cities and Hamlets in the future. The fact that the map is slightly smaller is a good thing as u have to travel a shorter distance to find PVP. There is also a portal system, which cuts the distance down even more. It makes it easy to get to far off locations like the 4 continents at the far corners of the map. There is also a friend summon system if u have the portal shards.

    Territory control is really player driven. The in-game map now has a political overlay. This map now shows who owns holdings, and also shows the holdings vulnerability timer. Everyone will know if a holding is being sieged, and when the siege goes live. The map also shows which clans own villages, and their vulnerability timers. If u control a village u get a base amount of gold/resources, and a extra amount of gold based on how many house plots are taken. Villages can also be pillaged for resources by enemy guilds. The base amount is pretty decent. However not enough to make it a PVP hotspot until houses are built.

    Holdings are now claimed with a guild currency called Dominion. To gain Dominion guild members have to be actively playing the game, and gaining the player currency called Prowess, which I talked about above. Hamlets cost 1k Dominion and Cities cost 5k plus some gold. Obviously the bigger the guild the more Dominion gained. Dominion is kinda like a passive player tax. Anyone can view how much Dominion a member contributed in the guild tab. Makes it easy to see who is slacking. Setting goals based on Dominion contribution is a really good idea, as Dominion is needed to siege as well. It takes a decent amount of dominion to siege a holding.

    Right now its hard to tell if after release alliances will claim a section of the map for themselves. It seems more advantageous to spread your holdings across the map, but keep them fairly close to each other. As before alliances will try to control continents, and certain sections of the map. Merc clans will probably move from safe zone to safe zone, while working on character progression. Basically waiting for cities and hamlets to be built. Its also important to note that the chaos bindstones now have banks, which is an excellent starting point for a small PVP guild. Chaos cities (red cities) have been removed from the game. Holding choice will be based on area mob spawns, number of villages in area, proximity to center, distance from other holdings, holding layout, and its defensive position.

    Player Vs Environment
    Mobs AI still needs work. The low to medium mobs are easy if you have the correct gear. It gets harder the more mobs gang up on you. The amount of mobs that spawn is based on the number of players at the spawn. You need 3 to 4 people to max spawn rate. Mobs also level up now based on damage taken, as well as their damage output. Its pretty rare, but when it happens they drop extra loot. The high end mobs are pretty dangerous much like in Darkfall 1. You don't want to take on a Hill Giant or Mino King alone. Not because u can't kill them solo, but because there is always the risk of PVP around the corner. Mobs also have a low chance to kill u, as a lot of the time they will leave u incapacitated. Again there is always the risk of someone coming up and ganking u when u are down. Mobs not really being able to kill can be seen as both negative and positive. Negative because it takes some risk away from fighting mobs. Positive because players tend to farm mobs for longer periods, which means more loot if u gank them. The system is also easier to new players. High end mobs are no joke as they will melee train u or range u down with hard hitting attacks. Loot tables for all mobs right now is pretty weak, and on the Devs tweaking list.


    Epic mobs like the Red Dragon and Kraken still require a group to take out. God level mobs will be added later. Dungeons will quickly be added after release, and is one of Devs top priorities. There are over 32 inactive dungeons in-game with traps and boss level mobs. This is a feature that is as of yet untested. If the Devs make dungeon bosses like some of the cooler mobs in-game, it could be very interesting for PVErs to check out. However right now the focus is PVP. Check out the beta VIDEO of some players using an exploit (it was fixed) to get into a dungeon, and check it out.

    Player vs Player
    PVP has become really enjoyable since the last month of patching. It really feels like a true MMOFPS. Gameplay is really smooth, and stability is very decent. Despite the fact that debug mode was on all of beta, which is essentially like running 2 clients at once. It seems like large sieges will be the same like Darkfall 1. You lower your game settings by turning off shadows to make sure u can handle a 200+ player siege.

    Sieges will probably start 3 weeks after launch due to city building/character progression. Hopefully the Devs will add cannons, and siege weapons soon after. I haven't taken part in any sieges, but its pretty much the same as Darkfall 1 with a few minor changes. Clans will have a 22 hour window to get ready for a siege once its declared. Once a city is built, it will be harder to raid as cities are now defensive structures. Mainly because most jump skills/spells have been removed from the game. There are still tricks to get over city walls, and maybe more will show up in the meta game.


    Class balance is at a pretty good starting point. Warriors are meat shields with heavy armor and high HP. They push the fight and can destroy bad Skirmishers and Mages in melee. Skirmishers put ranged pressure on enemies, and have a good amount of kiting ability. They can also combine their AoE with a Elementalist to cause some serious group damage. The Elementalist as already stated has good AoE, as well as harder hitting ranged damage. This comes at a cost, as they are a true glass cannons. However Elementalists also have some active control abilities, and a huge stat debuff skill, which does help them out. Primalist are viable healers with some really nice team support skills. Namely a ranged rez. They can heal themselves in a pinch, and keep everyone topped off. A Warrior and Primalist make a great combo as a Warrior can pull enemies off the Primalist with Foebringer, or knock them back with Repel. Bating enemies to chase your healer is an excellent way for other classes to get easy back shots. Taking advantage of tunnel vision.

    This is just a brief description of general class play. There is still a whole lot of meta game that hasn't been fully developed yet. Magic and archery is still very satisfying from an FPS players standpoint. You still have to lead targets with bolts and arrows, with archery requiring a player to arc his bow to get those long range shots. The new wobble system has added a slight delay to getting accurate shots, but makes the game more realistic. Wobble only happens when sprinting, shots are still 100% accurate when standing still. Basic melee combat is still the same like Darkfall 1, which is decent. Mounted combat is also the same, and much like Darkfall 1 requires some skill to accomplish.

    Crafting is a very integral part of the game now, as mobs don't drop high rank weapons like Darkfall 1. Everything must be player crafted, and achieving mastery level crafting is very expensive. A guild will have to setup crafting logistics very well to be competitive, as higher level gear is very important. Crafting will have to be done by core members or shared alt accounts. The loss of a crafter can be a problem, but luckily the Market (AH) will help fill the hole. Unlike some other MMOGs Darkfall has Salvaging, which turns obsolete rank armor and weapons back into raw materials, which u can use to craft the higher rank items. The gathering and cafting list is huge, so I suggest u watch this VIDEO to get a better idea on both systems. Also check out the end game armor HERE.


    I'm very happy with the game, and I intend to push forward unofficially with my small core of players. I'm looking for more competitive players to join me. I'm hoping this review gives you guys some insight on the game. It is by far the only game on the market that offers this kind of high risk full loot PVP besides Mortal Online. Its the only game that can still give me a heart attack during intense battles. It feels like a true sandbox with all the great features that come with it.

    Having said that, I understand the guild is in a transitional phase. Currently I would recommend the guild wait a month to decide if Darkfall: Unholy Wars is right for a official chapter. This will give the guild enough time to review the game on such short notice, and see how the game progresses after release. As I said above its very easy to get PVP viable in a short amount of time, and my core group of players will have already completed most of the crafting professions to a decent level. The extra time will allow me to setup the extra framework needed for an official effort.

    Info Sites:
    DF: UW Info Site
    DF: UW Map
  2. Furyos Warlord

    Re: Darfall: Unholy Wars Beta Review

    Awesome post!
  3. Philoctetes Crowfall Leadership

    Re: Darfall: Unholy Wars Beta Review

    Nice! We are currently sitting in mumble talking about launch. If you plan on jumping in last minute feel free to join us. Game goes live 1pm gst.

    Label: First Blood
    Address: east1.voice.enjin.com
    Port: 60879
    Username: *Your Name*
    Password: random
  4. Furyos Warlord

    Re: Darfall: Unholy Wars Beta Review

    We are now using LotD TeamSpeak for the Unofficial Chapter. See Topo or Furyos for permission to join the private channel. Mumble will remain up as a public resource for the Darkfall community.

    TS info is voice.lotd.org - no password. Permissions are granted at the server level.
  5. Philoctetes Crowfall Leadership

    Re: Darfall: Unholy Wars Beta Review

  6. El Topo Lord

    Re: Darfall: Unholy Wars Beta Review

    The new lobby is currently ready for download:

  7. El Topo Lord

    Re: Darfall: Unholy Wars Beta Review

    <iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/N78axj_GbSk?rel=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="480" width="853"></iframe>
    Part 1 - Tutorial and Gameplay Basics

    Character Creation - 1:04
    Tutorial Zone - 4:20
    Basics - 15:14
    Harvesting 25:59
    Feats and Prowess - 28:25
    Crafting - 34:42
    PvE & Basic Controls - 36:21
    Bindstone Recall - 45:20
    Mounts & Safezones - 48:04

    <iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/_Qkm4pG3F0I?rel=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="480" width="853"></iframe>

    Part 2 - Custom Keybindings, AutoHotkey, and Prowess Points

    Keybindings - 0:29
    AutoHotkey - 1:47
    Radial Menu - 6:29
    Quickslots - 8:01
    YourMom Map - 10:10
    PvE - 11:51
    Spending Prowess - 14:50
  8. Re: Darfall: Unholy Wars Beta Review

    Wow, this is a great game summary. Looks interesting!

    It's unfortunate that I don't have time for multiple games at the moment. :(
  9. Bluejones New Member

    Re: Darfall: Unholy Wars Beta Review

    Hope this really comes out today. I still don't see it listed on Steam to buy, only the Greenlight page has it listed.
  10. El Topo Lord

    Re: Darfall: Unholy Wars Beta Review

    The newest client has Steam data compatibility files. One of the Devs said the Steam release is today, however they also said alternative methods will be up later.

    Download the client here: http://www.eu1.darkfallonline.com/dl/DFUW.torrent
  11. El Topo Lord

    The servers are open, and Philoctetes brother is streaming on Twitch.
  12. Bluejones New Member

    Nice, Still don't see this on Steam and the Torrent of the game is going HELLA slow :(
  13. Ren Elder

    I was always rooting for these guys, and its starting to look like they made some good corrections from DF1. If the siege and open world PvP is good and plentiful, this might be a winner...
  14. Raka Member

    Nice write-up, hadn't really been following DFUO much, but this has definitely gotten my attention.
  15. El Topo Lord

    More people are joining everyday. We have a very solid core group.
  16. Bearfight New Member

    I fucking love this game so far, even with all the missing features... holla at me or give me an invite if you guys are doing it up.

    NA Server - "Cosmic Brownies" @2k Elementalist, lowbie I know, but catching on fast...

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