I’m skeptical over whether Darkfall will make it very far. I should probably clarify what I mean by that. I’m skeptical over whether Darkfall will survive.

It has a lot of attention right now and a lot of it is a mixed bag of reviews. Some people love it and the whole DF philosophy. Others hate it for being too hardcore and too grindy. One thing is for sure though, it’s not a game for everybody.

To be honest, I don’t think it’s a game for the majority of MMO players out there. WoW opened lots of doors for MMOs. It made them much more accessible and solo friendly. And, not too surprisingly in hindsight, it succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest imaginings. Now, almost every recent MMO has followed suit and made their games forgiving of errors and inviting to new players.

Darkfall doesn’t follow that suit. It might turn out to be a lot of fun and it’s surely innovative, but all reports indicate it’s not forgiving and by its nature not too open to new players. And for those who do stay, it looks like its going to be an uphill battle, even if there’s tangible reward there.

To me, that spells fall out. Many of the people that flood to DF will leave and return to friendlier waters. Even though I’m excited to try the game, I can’t say I’d really blame people for finding out it wasn’t for them. Adventurine has said that they’re fine with designing a game that doesn’t appeal to everyone. My question would be, for a game that’s been in development for 7+ years, what’s it going to take to keep the game financially feasible?

The limited pre-order thing was a smooth move, in my opinion. They’re creating a bigger demand by doing that, which is exactly what they should do to boost their starting sales. But, from all I’ve heard, most of the income from an MMO comes from the monthly subscriptions. Assuming that most of the MMO crowd will is used to a friendlier type of game, its probably safe to assume there will be an exodus from Darkfall within a couple months of release.

Despite the many criticisms levied against it, I think it’s important for a game like DF to find its own niche. It breaks the mold in a lot of ways, which is good for the genre. If it gets a dedicated audience, it can help push future MMOs in new directions.

Right now, anticipation for the game is at an all-time high and that means it’s the perfect time to offer a limited lifetime subscription. A decent amount of players would jump at the chance, assuming it wasn’t priced prohibitively high. Providing the option would also help Adventurine get more of an investment from players who may decide it’s not the game for them or didn’t continue playing for the equal amount of subscription months.

I’d feel bad for players that bought the lifetime and didn’t utilize it but it does leave them an open door (which is one of the biggest benefits to a lifetime subscription, IMO). They could return at any point they liked knowing that their investment helped make sure that the game would still be there when they came back. It also acts as an incentive to keep an eye on what’s going on with the game. I know it did when I got my LotRO lifetime subscription. I didn’t utilize it for six months but I always felt like I should since I spent the money. So I kept an eye on what was going on and, now look, six months later I’m playing and having a blast.

Anyways, I hope this is something they’re considering. If it was reasonable enough, it might be something I’d even consider doing just so I have more fee-free options to fill my time. Somehow, paying one bigger fee seems less painful than dozens of smaller fees. At least, a down the line when I’ve recovered from that initial splurge 🙂

I should note, for those new to the site, that I maintain a cautiously optimistic view of the game. Once bitten, twice shy, or something like that. The points above aren’t intended to be pessimistic, just realistic. I’d love the game to succeed at the level of a AAA MMO but given it’s hardcore ruleset, how possible is that really?