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Van Hemlock Episode 40
Wed, 25 Feb 2009 20:17:00 GMT [download/play]




This week we're back with our 40th episode. This time we have some news and then a discussion about Darkfall, which launches this week.

If you wish you can leave us a comment at www.virginworlds.com, follow us over at twitter as @vanhemlock and @jonshute or you can just sit back and enjoy the show.

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Episode 40 Discussion Thread

'Darkfall' by Paganini
Submitted on 2009-02-25 20:43:16 CST
Haven't listened to the show yet but this is quite an epic clusterfuck going on around Darkfall's release atm.


'Darkfall News' by Gigawatt
Submitted on 2009-02-25 22:48:52 CST
Bad publicity is still publicity.

People that aren't interested in the game are still flocking to the forums to check up on it's status. Quite amazing how big of an effect an online game has on the population.

God help us if we're ever threatened by a world-wide crisis that relies on civilized actions and behavior.



'After Listening...' by Paganini
Submitted on 2009-02-26 04:32:16 CST
Good show as always, but I do have one major point of disagreement.

In terms of progression, raiding in WoW only increases your ability to do more raiding. The same thing with PvP, you do arena and you are rewarded with arena gear to help you do arena better. So I'm not exactly sure when you say that Darkfall doesn't have any meaningful PvP, what could be more rewarding than taking all their stuff and conquering their town?

And yes there is territory and player made cities in the game.



'Another quality broadcast' by mchris
Submitted on 2009-02-26 05:51:26 CST
Firstly well done for reaching 40 shows of good material. To my reckoning, you have never missed a week. It is also worth noting, I think, that you present the news in a lively manner, without resorting to the podcast staple of, "X happened. What do you think about that, Co-host?"

I think you were uncharacteristically harsh on Darkfall, however. In researching this, its quite apparent the boards have pissed you off. It's kind of regretful that you had to listen to the vocal majority. I hope the DF developers have not been listening so closely.

But are you quite sure that this elitest attitude is due to the marketing team? I got a similar impression from Vanguard and from Eve but they weren't brought up as equally guilty.

In fact, you do tend to give Eve a get out of jail free card in most cases. Not without reason, I'm sure. Eve is innovative and deserves the respect it gets. But to say Eve's FFA PvP is especially different from DF, as Jon did, is a bit premature. The truth is noone knows what kind of culture the DA servers will provide us.

In a way, I can appreciate the position of people put off by the premise of this game. With only a few exceptions, PvP is just simply done very badly. Or it imposes artificial rules which remove the immersion of an MMO. If your only experience of PvP was getting ganked by an absurdly higher level player while questing you would hate PvP. But that is a game flaw, not really PvP. This game, like Eve and a few select others, might well do it correctly.

And is that all this game is? I'm looking forward to it but not for the PvP. Long ago Brent lamented the non-existance of a fantasy-based, player run game like Eve. The MOG guys also used to say something similar. Now we are all turning on a game that isn't even out yet? I understand that when Eve first launched reviewers were all a little taken aback with the lack of proper end-game etc. No one really knew what even would become even after launch. Can we not give DA a little time to mature?

Anyway, all the best and please do keep up your top quality broadcast.



'If you like...' by Changlingbob
Submitted on 2009-02-26 10:24:37 CST
If you like good things, Darkfall is not for you.


'And that's fine...' by StErr3
Submitted on 2009-02-26 14:45:13 CST
@mchris:

"But to say Eve's FFA PvP is especially different from DF, as Jon did, is a bit premature. The truth is noone knows what kind of culture the DA servers will provide us."

Culture, oh indeed. But consider some numbers. In a sample taken for the EVE's Oct 2007 QEN at daily downtime

9% of active pilots were logged out in EVE's FFA PVP solar systems.

13% were in the intermediate "lowsec" systems.

78% of pilots were in Empire.

A substantial majority of EVE's players aren't involved in any form of PvP in vacuum, and (anecdotally) will to extreme lengths to avoid direct military confrontation, and remain in the extensive "safe" Empire space. EVE is full of risk-averse carebears (I am one) serving a market economy driven by the cogs of negative-sum PvP happening elsewhere. They can only do that because of the efforts of ~20% of pilots to blow each up in thoroughly dazzling ways.

The "If you don't like... DF isn't for you." blog comments appear to indicate the playstyle of roughly 80% of the EVE pilotbase would not be easily accommodated in Darkfall's current game model.

DF, as it has been released, doesn't appear to be "Fantasy EVE". And that's fine. :)

It may turn into F-EVEO, but that might involve substantial changes to the current "FFA PVP everywhere! (except these few places)" model.



'Fury and UO....' by Sentack
Submitted on 2009-02-26 20:43:01 CST
Excellent show, gents. Keep up the great work. Now on to some comments!

One of the big themes of the show was the chanting of "This is not a game for you" from the Darkfall fan base and developers. Amusingly, this reminds me of Fury's "You are a loser!" campaign, which backfired only because few people have a sense of humor. For those who don't remember, Fury was that pure Fantasy PvP game where you joined little one shot fights. They had a problem with subscription numbers, so they tried this crazy advertising campaign of "Everyone has lost at least once in Fury, try us again, it's fun, honestly!" but it didn't go over too well. A shame, it was actually fun, and so damn short lived.

In other news, When talking about UO and the big split done years ago to separate the PvE and PvP areas of the game, I don't have strong evidence to show how true this statement is, but I hear that the game did get a big spike in players shortly after that change. A lot of players wanted to play UO! But very few people where interested in the pure PvP aspect of it. The people who cried foul claimed the game numbers died because of that. They where dead dead wrong. They just wanted justification that everyone liked the hardcore pvp. In the end, no so true.



'Steam and piracy' by jasoneth
Submitted on 2009-02-26 20:50:04 CST
Responding to the story about Steam, it would seem that people are willing to spend a lot of money on their gaming rigs because they can't pirate hardware: that doesn't imply that they're also willing to spend lots of money on games. Humans are economic maximisers: if they can get something for free, with the risk versus reward ratio suitably low, they will do it. Cultural inhibition will prevent this to some extent, but that only works up to a point. Steam is successful because it offers a way to get games quickly and easily, at a competitive price; the automatic application of patches over time doesn't hurt, either. It certainly fulfills the need for instant gratification: if I want a game now, Steam (and any other such service) offers a way to get it, versus having to order it online or to try and visit a store that carries it. As long as it is easier than finding a cracked version, and not too expensive, direct download will tend to win out--it's about the only strategy that's going to make any headway against piracy.


'Looking for Eve Tutor...' by Sentack
Submitted on 2009-03-02 19:05:34 CST
I really need someone to sit down with me and explain to me how EvE works, it sounds rather interesting but I just don't get it really.

First of all, How much of the universe is Safe, Somewhat safe, and completely unsafe? What can you do just in the "Safe" areas? What does going in the "Somewhat safe" areas get you? And when do you graduate to the 'unsafe' areas?

And what can corporations do in these areas as well? These are just some of the things I haven't figured out yet, and haven't taken the time to do my own research. It sounds like it's the kind of game where the research itself is of epic proportions.



'Deja vu' by Michael
Submitted on 2009-03-03 15:51:41 CST
Really great show, guys.

Made even funnier, because my iPod started the episode over after you guys finished up. So after your 'goodbyes', I got the starting music again and heard Tim saying "Welcome to Episode 40 - Deja Vu".

:)



'Living in fear... not my idea of fun' by jasoneth
Submitted on 2009-03-04 09:59:24 CST
The Darkfall discussion was extremely interesting. I came late to MMOs, and wasn't aware of the previous attempts at open PvP, and how they failed to take hold. One wonders why the developers of Darkfall would tread a path that has previously led only to failure; perhaps the only-too-human notion that they can do it right this time? Or perhaps explaining away the earlier failures for any fault other than the apparent fact that the majority of failures just don't like full-time PvP.

In my opinion, Darkfall will only ever have a niche audience for the simple reason that most people do not want to live constantly on the edge, always fearing that someone is about to gank them. In limited, controlled doses, sure: many people indulge in battlegrounds, arenas or large-scale RvR. But aside from the small set of people who enjoy that kind of thing--I guess you could call them the predators--the rest of us would rather be able to go about our business with some measure of security.

Darkfall may be extremely well executed in terms of game mechanics etc, but its fundamental premise is what will keep its people away. Given the current economic climate, they'd better hope their investors are forgiving.



'Laffer Curve and Steam' by elristo
Submitted on 2009-03-08 20:00:06 CST
I found the discussion of the results from steam's price testing fascinating. Reminded me of the Laffer curve theory which basically says government revenue actually goes up as you bring tax rates down and vice-versa. Keep up the good work.