The most exciting gaming experience I’ve had in a long time happened to me the other night on Darkfall and perhaps it will help shed some light on what its players find so appealing. Let me share it with you.

 

A few members of my clan and I decided to go out and farm for some gear. There was about five of us to start. We began by going out to the tree city of some lizard-like spell casters. Even though the cast mana missiles at us, they still hit like trucks with their swords. We fought them for about a half hour picking up pieces of banded armor and a few rank 20-30 weapons. We decided then to head out to an ogre camp nearby.

Unfortunately, the camp wasn’t marked on the exploiter map, and we wound up wandering into a crumbling skeleton city. As we approached, mana missiles started flying at as from the walls. We made our way in, using line-of-sight to avoid taking damage. As we approached, we battled a few melee warriors. They didn’t hit as hard as the lizard-men, so by boxing them in we were able to hack them down fairly easy. Reaching the outer wall, we noticed a glowing pink bubble not unlike vanilla Dalaran in WoW. It was a portal.

 

Figuring “what the hell?” we all clicked on it and entered. We found ourselves in an underground crypt, rife with crumbling walls and cobwebs. Right off the bat, we ran into an armor rack and all of us netted some decent studded leather gear. Making our way in, a flood of skeletons rushed at us from the first hallway. Our tank stood his ground against them, holding them back from our more squishy party members. We pulled out our bows and staffs and did out best to burn them down. The task was harder than it would seem however because the mobs would run back the way they had come whenever they found themselves in danger of dying. We didn’t want to rush after them, into the black unknown, and find ourselves facing a particularly nasty enemy. So we waited, letting them come to us, until we had slaughtered them all. The walls of the tunnel were splattered with blood.

 

We made our way through the tunnel and into the next room. It was small and circular with another hallway leading to the left and a spiral staircase leading downwards. As we approached the tunnel, another group of skeletons came out at us, this time five of them instead of the initial three. One of them was named and had a nasty hit to him and a lot of health. Still, we fought on against their “attack, retreat, attack, retreat” behavior until the named mob had died. Four still remained.

 

Then, out of nowhere, four orcs came rushing up the tunnel behind us. Instantly, the dungeon became a lot more exciting. We had a lot of gear to lose, real risk, and real reason to fight with intelligence and strategy.

 

They caught some of us off guard. Thankfully, we had an extra man on them and were able to push them back to the hallway. It was narrow, so not everyone could get to the front line of battle. You could fit maybe two people shoulder to shoulder, yet we found that we could jump and rain arrows down on their heads.

 

They fell back to the room before and made their way up a stairwell. They recouped above as we did the same below. Then, again, they rushed down and attacked us again. Battles in Darkfall last a lot longer than in other games so you can stand and fight for some time without dying. This amounted to a very heated battle, health inching ever lower, but we held the upper hand.

 

Until they pinned one of our members against the wall and took him out. They had their backs to us as they tried to loot. This was bad for them because players take so much more damage to their back than front. They couldn’t stand that way long enough to loot and soon rushed back upstairs. One of our members quickly gathered our clanmates things.

 

Before long, their entire group rushed back down the stairs and, literally, jumping on top of our heads took our blows and ran by, right into the unknown room our last group of mobs had come from. We didn’t know if they died at first (we hoped they had) or if they knew of an exit in there.

 

We made our way in, fighting mobs, frantically searching for their dead bodies. We found none. They had made it out, unwilling to fight us four on four, they ran back home to pout.

 

We continued on to in the dungeon to find a chest containing 3000g. Quite the haul. The whole time this went on, we excitedly talked on ventrilo about how this dungeon experience was more exhilarating than any of us had ever had.

 

Another member of our clan, wanting in on the fun, commented on vent that he was on his way. It wasn’t long after when we heard him worriedly exclaim “OMG, there’s tons of orcs up here killing all these skeletons!”. He rushed to the portal, already being attacked.

Thankfully, he made his way in. Several of our members started back to the beginning of the dungeon to meet him in case any orcs should follow (which they almost surely would).

 

At about this time, I had to go… regretfully. The night was growing long and the fiancée was beginning to doze on the couch. I wish I could have stayed for just a little bit longer but I had already stayed on an hour longer than I had planned. It was just that much fun. Spouse aggro, on the other hand, isn’t that much fun so I think I made the right decision.

 

Still, what a night. This is the kind of thing that Darkfall brings to the table. And after having such experiences with your clanmates, it draws you closer together as a group. It builds memories that live on in your gaming past so one day down the line you can nostalgically talk, “Hey, do you remember that time…”. I wish more games would break from the norm and do their own thing instead of trying to please everybody. The market would be better because of it.

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