New Dawn – not to be confused with Darkfall New Dawn or Osiris New Dawn or Star Trek Online’s New Dawn – is hitting Steam’s early access this week after a lengthy period in closed alpha.
We began watching the game two years ago, when we described it as a “survival sandbox that puts players in the role of South American natives in the 1800s who must fend off pirates while living off the land,” complete with “interesting mechanics, such as taming horses, being killed in your sleep while you’re offline, and a slavery system with the NPCs.” It ran an unsuccessful Kickstarter in 2017, which raised only 4.4% of its $82K goal before it was canceled by Italian developer e-visualsoft.
“At the moment, New Dawn is in Pre-Beta stage, many game mechanics are complete and we have a solid base in programming, which allows us to add new content quickly,” the devs told followers this weekend.
Unless you’re a hardcore Darkfall player from way back in the day as MOP’s Andrew was, you probably look at the sequels and spinoffs with pure confusion. What’s the difference between Darkfall, Darkfall: Rise of Agon, and Darkfall: New Dawn? That’s at least partly the subject of a new infographic out from the New Dawn team. For starters, you can’t actually play the original Darkfall. After launching in 2009, rebooting amidst much controversy as Unholy Wars in 2012, and toying with plans for a more classic reboot, its dev team abruptly vanished without much of a goodbye in 2016, saying it hoped the service disruption would be temporary. It wasn’t. Aventurine wound up licensing the game out to two different player-led studios, which separately put together their own takes on the game to keep it alive.
New Dawn, as the infographic touts, focuses more on group PvP than the original, with less grind and griefing and a more realistic economy and trade, as well as combat that’s less “ping-dependent.” Its most recent dev blog talked up improving PvE and soloability. Rise of Agon, on the other hand, boasts housing, no safe zones, twitchy combat, large-scale warfare, and a heavier crafting focus; it just got an update to PvP. Both spinoffs harken back to the original Darkfall more than to Unholy Wars, and both games are in a launch state.
Even if you’re not a Darkfall fan or Darkfall New Dawn player, you should take a peek at the incredible roadmap Ub3rgames has posted. Instead of being a vague paragraph of waffle words and half-promises, this puppy is a wall of bar graphs showing exactly, to the feature, what’s being worked on and how far along in that process it is.
“You’ll notice that most of our coming projects are focused around the economy and the reward structure it creates,” the indie studio writes. “Currently, trade is not fluid enough and feels punishing to many players, and holding on to territory is not worth the effort. These are major concerns we share with the community. The world is still in its build up phase, and we aim to give reasons to fight for when that is done. This means valuable locations and watchtowers to control them.”
A further tweet noted that “a naval update will surely be planned” in the longer term after warfronts are live; indeed, warfronts were actually bumped up in the process thanks to player demand, so expect that system sooner rather than later.
Darkfall New Dawn formally launches today as one of two officially licensed spinoffs of Aventurine’s classic hardcore sandbox, which went belly-up a few years ago. As we’ve previously noted, the game has multiple packages ranging from €19.99 with a €9.99 per month sub up to €74.99 with a €6.25 per month sub, so that ought to make old-school gamers happy.
If you’re confused over what this version of the game has in store for you, and you probably are because this is really very much not a one-to-won remake, you should definitely zip through the new launch trailer, which Ub3rgames put together as an explainer.
We’ve got that trailer below, along with our hands-on with the game, a bunch of screenies in a gallery, and a quick flip through all our coverage of New Dawn along the way. Happy launch day!
Darkfall New Dawn isn’t the only Darkfall spinoff with big stuff happening this week: Darkfall Rise of Agon also got a hefty update, which as the patch notes suggest focuses on champ spawns and their associated loot.
Specifically, it’ll take a little longer for players to work champ spawns – up to 60 minutes in some cases – but the mobs won’t be insta-killing you anymore, and there are different party-size requirements depending on where those fights take place. Moreover, loot has been improved, such that everyone gets his or her own roll for gold and gear.
“Sealed Treasures contain the rare items the champions will be dropping and can be opened at any time,” explains Big Picture Games. “Each mainland champion will drop its designated rank 75 weapon and 2 stat potions that will take a player 1 point at a time up to 120 max stats. Each island champion will drop Q6 enchantment gems, the only place to obtain Q6 enchantments, as well as 2 of the 120 stat potions. Each champion will also have a chance to drop existing rare items and potentially 1 of 4 brand new house items.”
On this week’s show, Bree and Justin hit up a week of huge MMO news, including Camelot Unchained’s investments, RIFT’s new subscription server, Devilian’s demise, and more!
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If you’ve wanted to get a peek for Darkfall: New Dawn before it launches, here’s your chance. Massively OP’s MJ is taking advantage of the free weekend to pop into the Darkfall reboot and check things out. Don’t worry, she’s already been thinking hard about which race she will choose, so perhaps character creation won’t be too long! Those wolves do look pretty cool. Tune in live at 8:00 p.m. as OPTV‘s infamous Stream Team brings you a first look at…
What: Darkfall: New Dawn
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 8:00 p.m. EST on Monday, January 22nd, 2018
If you’ve been curious about the indie spinoff Darkfall: New Dawn but aren’t sure yet about plunking down pre-order cash, then you’ll be interested to know that Ub3rgames has set aside this weekend for you to try it out for free. The game has multiple packages ranging from €19.99 with a €9.99 per month sub up to €74.99 with a €6.25 per month sub, but this weekend marks a “free trial” period before the launch.
“Wanna check out all the changes we’ve made and make your own opinion about what is new in the world of Agon? Time has come, our free trial will start tomorrow, January 19 12:00 CET [6 a.m. EST this morning]. During the free trial, there will be no limitation and the amount of xp gained will be increased by three. The free trial and the Indev_ server will close on Wednesday January 24 8:00 CET [2 a.m. EST].”
The game is scheduled to launch on January 26th in the wake of the abrupt and bizarre disappearance of the original Darkfall dev team in 2016, just after blessing multiple indie ventures seeking to reboot the game.
Darkfall: New Dawn, one of a pair of indie-led player efforts to keep MMO sandbox Darkfall going after original studio Aventurine abandoned it last year, has a gorgeous new roadmap out this week addressing the current state of the build. Studio Ub3rgames says it believes it’s more than three-quarters of the way done with the game since last summer, with most of the work going toward PvE, combat, PvP, quality-of-life upgrades, and performance. The economy and virtual world, the team admits, has seen the least focus so far. The active players seem pretty pleased!
Most recently, Ub3rgames released patch 3.13, “switching into a higher gear” with what it dubbed “the great magic overhaul.” It’s essentially a complete do-over for the magic system that revamps secondary spell effects as well as adds a preliminary king-of-the-hill village control system, guild perks, armor durability retooling, collision system updates, performance upgrades, and dynamic tombstones, which sound festive and might be worth a relook if you’ve been standing on the sidelines of development.
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.”
Believe it or not, there are two current attempts to secure the classic Darkfall license from Aventurine and reboot the game to its pre-Unholy Wars state. Yesterday we reported on how Big Picture Games is progressing toward an alpha test, and today we turn our attention over to Ub3rgames and its plans for Darkfall: New Dawn.
Ub3rgames posted a series of responses to community questions and concerns about the project, including why there won’t be a skill cap, what the team will do about macroers and hackers, and the eternal issue of griefing.
The team also said that it will not be going with crowdfunding to finance the title; it will be selling the game plus a subscription as soon as it can open up the store: “Whatever you pay us will translate into an actual service. You are buying a product with every customer laws protecting you. We do not want donations or investment, and it is partly why we did not go down the Kickstarter route. It is important for us that the player base sees their purchase as a safe expenditure rather than a gamble.”