What does an MMO stress test look like from where the developers are sitting? You can satisfy your curiosity in this area by watching a video of Darkfall: New Dawn's November 20th stress test event from the perspective of the devs.
"What worried us going in was the AI server and the physics server that serves as a bridge between AI and players," the team concluded. "From monitoring the whole evening, going from spawn to spawn we did notice some avenues of improvement. On the client side, it was rather smooth for many players, understandably lower than normal play but still above 40 FPS for the good part."
You can get in on the action after the jump.
Darkfall: New Dawn is currently in the middle of a free stress test, so if you're looking for a brutal sandbox to call home over the holiday, Agon beckons -- at least until November 29th.
"We have recently implemented Spawn Scaling, one of our top 3 features initially planned for launch," Ub3rgames wrote earlier this month. "In our opinion, and from the feedback we've already gathered, it changes the game to become a much more social and enjoyable experience. It is a considerable milestone but it still needs to be tweaked, and more importantly, be stress tested, which is why we're opening up the server."
The team also has a new dev blog out this week that highlights some of the brand-new music the indie devs are implementing.
New Dawn is one of two spinoffs of Darkfall that began with Aventurine's blessing following the original game's abrupt and mysterious maintenance mode last spring. The other, Darkfall: Rise of Agon, has likewise been steadily patching and stress testing since July.
There is no shortage of good news flowing out of Darkfall: New Dawn this week, so let's get right to it. The team announced that it will be holding another free stress test now that New Dawn "finally feels like an MMORPG."
Anyone interested can check out the game from November 15th through the 29th. One of the reasons for the stress test is to show off New Dawn's major improvements: spawn scaling and a new player progression experience.
"We have recently implemented spawn scaling, one of our top three features initially planned for launch," the team posted. "In our opinion, and from the feedback we've already gathered, it changes the game to become a much more social and enjoyable experience. It is a considerable milestone but it still needs to be tweaked, and more importantly, be stress tested, which is why we're opening up the server."
Over the last couple of weeks, we shared with you part one and part two of our guide to the best upcoming and current indie MMORPGs on the market. Naturally, there were always those titles that we overlooked or couldn't fit into the space, so we are back with the third and final part of this guide to make sure that all of your favorite games got mentioned.
As a side note, we won't be covering most of the survival sandbox and mere multiplayer titles, as that would be too much for the scope of this guide. And if you're interested in these games, then you'll definitely want to track our Make My MMO and Betawatch columns.
On with part three!
Darkfall: New Dawn is making good time as it barrels through its "InDev" testing period. The team recently posted an update in which it said that the game is halfway through its nine-month, five-patch cycle test. The great news is that New Dawn should emerge from this period with even more features than originally anticipated.
"In general we are happy with our velocity," the devs posted. "We did a lot more than we expected to have done by now. There are more gameplay issues than we remembered, so we've had to change our priorities based on player feedback and fix more issues than planned, however we have had some very positive surprises on the engine side which balances out."
The team also gave a public service announcement concerning inactive accounts. Any character or clan that hasn't logged into the game in over a month will be mothballed. While these clans and characters can be reactivated, contents of inactive clan vaults will be lost for good.
Darkfall: New Dawn isn't wasting any time setting up a revenue stream to tap players flocking to this reboot. The new web store, which is currently in testing and only offers some functionality, is selling different packages of the core game and subscription months.
It's probably a good idea to get the store going, as the game will soon switch from a public preview to buyers-only on July 25th.
"After the 25th, Darkfall: New Dawn will enter its InDev period, which is a temporary 'seasonal' server with a tiered reward system and a kickstart of the political meta game," the team said. "This server gets its name because it will be a relaunch of a mostly vanilla version of Darkfall, but in heavy development."
We have a launch date for World of Warcraft's next expansion, but we don't have a date for the pre-patch before the expansion launches. It is fair to say at this point, though, that the designers are just playing with the affections of players. First the developers tease something big coming just to announce a Twitter contest for getting into the beta. Then an article about when the pre-patch will arrive... does not say when it will arrive. Someone is having a chuckle. Ah, well, at least you can get pre-loaded.
Asta, meanwhile, is being far more definitive by definitely launching this week. Sure, it was already in no-wipe open beta, but at least the distinction was made definitive. And Riders of Icarus has hit open beta, which serves as a fine segue into more beta news for the week.
- Darkfall: New Dawn has launched its public development server; you can hop on for free within the next three weeks. If you're curious about what it will play like, the answer is "quite a bit like Darkfall, but also not entirely like Darkfall."
- Big stuff is happening in Shroud of the Avatar. For one thing, the game is planning to have no further wipes after July 28th! For another thing, Starr Long and Richard Garriott are selling their blood. The sequence of events that led to this seeming like a rational decision is not one that any human being should attempt to contemplate.
- Atlas Reactor has opened up for testing for everyone until July 17th. Good news for people who want to test it and have not yet been able to, bad news for people who don't want to test it but feel obligated to now that there are no excuses.
- Another LawBreakers test is taking place this weekend, if you feel as if your test schedule this weekend was otherwise too law-abiding.
- Last but not least, Das Tal has plans for both US and EU servers during its summer testing phase. So you can be sure that you're fighting people who are both literally and figuratively in your backyard.
That was quite a whirlwind tour! Perhaps you'd like to refresh with a cool, steady list just below. If there are problems with the list, like titles that have opened cash shops while in no-wipe open beta, do let us know down in the comments.
The night is always darkest before a new dawn, or so they say. Happily, antsy Darkfall players won't have long to wait until they can get into one of the reboots, as New Dawn will flip the switch on its InDev server on June 28th.
If you're curious about what New Dawn looks like and want to check it out before putting money down on it, you should make it a priority to jump into the game soon. "We will start out with a free period of three weeks while we test load on our server and solve issues that may arise, then we’ll limit access to paying customers," the dev team said.
New Dawn will require both the purchase of a copy of the game and a monthly subscription. What's a little odd here is that the box comes with two months of sub time, with one being used now during the stress test and one down the road when the game moves to its permanent server.
Darkfall: New Dawn's load lag and subpar performance will be nipped in the bud with the game's next patch -- or so the developers hope. In a new dev blog, the team said that Patch 2 for the reboot has shown positive results with decreased loading times and increased frame rates.
Another significant change to come with this update is an overhaul of the meditation system: "While we were doing the QA of our meditation system changes, we noticed that the overall system is quite obscure and we would like to balance it with more cohesion. Something that can be easily explained to players and be min/maxed effectively to promote gameplay."
The ultimate goal of the Darkfall: New Dawn team is not just to relaunch the original Darkfall with no alterations, hence the subtitle. However, while the full-on reboot is being developed, the team is providing players with the InDev server, which is just straight-up classic 2012 Darkfall. But how do you get players to play on a server that's definitely going away once the real thing is ready without having it feel like a glorified waiting room? With rewards, naturally.
Players will not be able to carry over progress directly from the InDev server to the Darkfall: New Dawn servers, but benefits will be earned by purchasing and playing the older version of the game. Players who make significant progress will also be rewarded with certain unlocks and gear rewards to help accelerate veterans out of the starting areas. Check out the full rundown if you're thinking about taking part but want to make sure that your time on a temporary server will still be rewarded.
You might recall that last October we reported that a group of Darkfall players had formed their own studio for the purpose of acquiring and publishing the original game version. The last we had heard was that negotiations between these players and Aventurine were ongoing.
Well the good news for fans of the original Darkfall is that Ub3rgames has procured that license and will be bringing the game back to life as New Dawn. "We have some exciting news: Darkfall Online is officially coming back!" the studio announced. "We have signed the licensing contract and we will soon have the source code in hands. New Dawn is happening and will open as early as possible."