Duckies and Bunnies, or, I like my mobs in soft focus.
Oct 25, 2005 22:31:00

I decided to click on the Darkfall link in my not-so-famous MMORPG Future Releases sidebar. What greeted me was an oddly positioned webpage which, to this point, I have not read a word of. I went straight to the visuals and discovered that Darkfall's has warm cuddly graphics. I expect the knights in their gleaming armor to be snuggled by duckies and bunnies at any moment. With that savagery expressed, I must say, it does have a certain appeal. I'm sure by now you can sense that the Prognosticator is rabidly in search of fresh content, fresh graphics, and new ideas. I do not want to see the games of tomorrow plagued by the design flaws and pixelated blunders of their forefathers.

...moments pass as the Prognositcator further examines the website....

Website: 8.5 out of 10 - The animated sequences bode well for the game play. But the entire thing needs to be centered in the browser. It looks odd having such a graphically intensive site hanging on the side of the screen. (This is more obvious on the 21 incher, I guess.)

System: 100% skill based. All indications are that the character progression system is open ended and flexible. This of course makes it hard to balance, but very interesting for us players who are really trying to unbalance the game the whole time. Unbalanced play typically equals owning all rivals, both of the player variety and the mob variety. And then, once we've owned everyone, the neighborhood nerfbat strikes us a solid blow. Brace yourself now. I smell foam.

Darkfall took some chances with a small race list, BUT a glance at these images shows a very stylized player character design, which is something I appreciate. Much like WoW and Spellbound, the characters initially look odd or cartoonish, but something about them ultimately is appealing. I do not join these virgin worlds to walk around in a stilted rendering of an almost-but-not-quite-life-like-human. I join to be something else, someone else. City of Heroes is a good example of a system that throws all the rules out the window and just creates fun characters. Yesterday's mark, Dark and Light is a fine example of the endless list of games trying to create something real looking. All game designers should take a page out of Tim Burton's animated character design manual.

Sometimes, extremes and odd approaches create more believeable and lifelike images. When we see something close to a "real" person, we immediately sense something is wrong. Small details are compounded tenfold in our eyes because this image that is supposed to represent a human being is just a little bit wrong. Rarely do we experience this with monsters and dragons, because they are truly the artist's creation. WoW escapes this reality effectively, and aside from the elven ears, I think we can all agree that nothing seems wrong with the toons.

Ah, but I digress. Let us all watch this thing called Darkfall. Great claims and high aims are evident. Great creativity within the Darkfall development studios is apparent. Execution can often be the difficult part, but I have high hopes.

Submitted by Brent on Oct 25, 2005 22:31:00 CST (comments: 0)


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