Tasos Flambouras, Associate Producer of Darkfall, asked us to post this about Darkfall's beta test. AI The AI has been reported very tough, even the newbie AI. When they’re very damaged they flee and are hard to catch up to. We’ve done some tweaking and as the players familiarize themselves with the game more, they seem to be enjoying the experience. Again these are not your run of the mill MMOG AI. “The AI on the goblin scouts surprised me. They kept running from me when they were low on health and peppered me with arrows until I got exhausted from chasing them and died miserably.” "Those little bastards are the bane of my existence with their strafing. I have never wanted to squash an NPC as bad as that before. I love it." “Did some goblin hunting with [censored], explored for a bit and stumbled across a large cave system where we eventually found a nest of kobolds (ugly bastards). Eventually they got the better of us though.” “The first mobs I found in dwarf area were hitting from extreme range and then did special attacks that were stamina draining. It was rather brutal for a starting area and I died several times to repeat the 5 minute run.”“"When I engage a goblin in melee and he starts to run I quickly get my staff and nuke him from a distance, then when he is down I sprint to his buddies to engage them aswell. Its not easy but then again taking down 3-4 humanoid opponents at once 1 day from character creation should not be."“Also the monster pathing is in need of tweaking and collisions of PCs and NPCs with environment or each other results in "bouncing" quite a bit.”“The AI is very cool, and just needs some tweaking. You can get it trapped trying to run away from you in some cases, for example. Otherwise it presents a big challenge. One guy trying to take on 4 goblins is not simple - the goblins will melee you and then sprint away to kite you around while the other ones shoot you, and the second you go for them instead, the one that was running will pull out its own bow...”“Intelligent AI? This is something I've not experienced until entering Df. It's as if fighting the mobs mirrored fighting other players. They actually work together attempting to kill you rather then serving as your training material.”“Also, with regard to the AI. I found myself dumbfounded when fighting Ork Beastmasters who are mainly magic users in combat. I sat there staring at this Ork who was staring at me, waiting for me to fire another mana missile at it, anticipating where I was going to shoot and then firing back at me and hitting me! I was sure a dev had jumped into the body of the Ork and was playing a joke. It's like nothing I've played in an MMO.” “I can take out goblins pretty easily by meleeing them until they run, and then playing LOS games using bow/magic. The spell is AE so shooting it at their feet works best. Arrows travel really fast and you should have no trouble hitting them most of the time when they're shooting at you too. Arrows don't really do enough damage though.”“It's extremely entertaining to fight 2 or 3 goblins at once. Swings of my sword hit two or three at the same time, and part of the time I get to watch them kill each other from errant swings. Great stuff.”“BTW [censored] got his freaking head chopped off by an Ork protector. I laughed so hard it hurt. Completely awesome though.”“Starting in the game is rough, unlike most MMos where things are handed out to you on a plate at the beginning you need to work to get somewhere. The work you have to do in Darkfall is killing the newbie mobs in order to get resources to start off your in-game career, however, unlike other MMos these mobs aren't a joke. By the time you kill your first one you will probably be smiling to see the bastard dead infront of you and even happier if you actually get to loots the mobs corpse instead of being chased off by its friends.”"The monsters are tough. I was looking for a challenge, but these things are just too damn smart."“AI is great, it provides a challenge, but im no idiot, the AI knows exactly where my cursor is pointing and it zigzags and responds to it lighting fast, im a old time quake 3 player, predicting movement and using splash damage was a requisite to becoming a great quake 3 player, these mobs currently put the highest level of quake 3 bots (nightmare bots) to shame, they respond much too quickly to cursor (aim) position for ranged attacks, even utilizing splash/aiming at feet technique. Another AI behavior i'd like to address is...are mobs really ALL supposed to have range abilities? I'm sorry, that's silly, yes it cuts down on players just messing up melee specific mobs with range/magic, but its a tad bit repetitive when mobs start hitting you from 200 yards away, if ogres have the ability to use bows, they should realistically drop a [heavy] type bow or at least a different type of bow. Others may agree with the fact that all mobs have access to ranged abilities, but I may just be a different type of person, I know I won't be the only person that disagrees with ogres hitting me with arrows, boulders or rocks? Sure, but it comes down to always being hit from 200+ yards off by every monster under the sun, regardless of size, being humanoid, etc...”“The goblins seems to have been toned down considerably and I can farm them VERY easy now with my starter sword. That is the way it feels for me atleast. I used to get 1 goblin hitting me with a sword while 2 or 3 of his pals walked in a half circle around me hitting me with arrows. Now I just kick their asses. Have I gotten that much better since last time I played or have they been toned down alot?”“For anyone who has kited mobs in other MMOs... Goblins are a very cruel payback.” “The thing I hope will change the most is mob spawns and town npc's. The world is beautiful but it feels like a deserted wasteland for the most part. I understand that this is only beta so I will not comment on this more for now in hope that it is one of the things that are about to change.” “I do very much love the game so far but my other huge gripe is with the AI strafing and running around like lunatics. I understand there is supposed to be more of a challenge then just standing toe to toe (or twenty feet away with bows pointed at each other) but the way the mobs run/jump/strafe reminds me more of a Quake Deathmatch then a serious role playing game even if it is a roleplaying game with heavy FPS elements.” “The AI on the goblins in the newbie areas definitely needs to be toned down. I would even send out patrols of one or two goblins farther away from the spawn area with the great A.I. But having 2-3 linked and calling in even more so quickly as it is now makes soloing virtually impossible. Unless you're really really good which new players aren't. In other words, the AI in the newbie areas is TOO good. I know it is good training, but I've been getting my butt handed to me all day and as a new player it would be very frustrating.” "There was a good dialogue about this in global chat last night. The consensus was the AI for noobie mobs (the first ones you encounter after creating a character) are just way to difficult. There needs to be a gradual progression of difficulty in the game to allow new players to adapt to the interface and learn the combat mechanics. Where are the bunnies and deer and cows of UO? Or training dummies? Or if goblins are intended to be the first mobs then they need to be toned down considerably." Controls We started out the beta without any instructions whatsoever. This was done to assess the intuitiveness of the game. Darkfall isn’t like your average MMOG. There is a lot you can do in it and an unprecedented level of control. As such, you have a lot more controls and UI feedback you need to navigate. It has to be said that you can remap everything to your liking, and you can move everything around and set-up transparency on all the GUI elements. While there’s quite a lot of tweaking to be done, we’ve found that after the initial shock, the GUI and controls works well for the players. It seems that the people having most trouble with the lack of documentation are players of other MMOG games. Those who play FPS games have reported fewer problems with the GUI and controls. However this is the area where we had the most criticism, so we’re looking at ways of improving the understanding for the new player. “My initial impressions so far are not very favorable based on the newbie experience. Looking beyond superficial aspects such as non-functional character creation options, the interface is extremely non-intuitive and cumbersome. It took quite some time to learn the basic combat process, namely having to unsheathe before being able to attack.” "I was very interested in checking out the keybindings available for the game, but then I saw this nasty little pop-up say "Don't push this button again". I just closed it and pretend the button doesn't exist any more." “It's a unique experience, albeit frustrating none-the-less even after figuring out how to properly use things such as "rest" "looting a monster"sheathe/unsheathe" "attach/detach weapon/item", i'll be honest, even after learning it, frustrating and clunky is the only way I can express my feelings in regards to it, I have to watch my system messages like a hawk just to make sure i've attached/detached a weapon from my hands before I even want to try and go into a sheathe/unsheathe type stance. I can say even with how it functions right now I can handle 4-6 goblins at a time quickly and efficiently and loot them without needing a break, I currently am very proud of how well I can melee them down and finish them off via magic/range...which leads me to my next subject." “I know that the interface becomes second nature after a day that you use it, but it's NOT intuitive when one first starts. For the love of God, get people to go through a mock-up of the equip/sheathe/load/fire etc. etc. when they first start, when the game goes live.” “The UI is very different from all other games, but once you get used to it, it is excellent. There are still some minor things to work out, but the core is there. One problem for example is that you must manually unsheath your weapon before attacking, but if you press the attack key, it does not automatically unsheath your weapon, even though the user would expect that to happen.” “I dont want to offend anyone who would rather like it all easier and more "intuitive" - i just have a different opinion ... I love the fact that this here is no Clone of whatsoever.” "I personally like the fact that there is no "tutorial" ... first steps can be written into a handbook inside the DVD-Box. As i entered the world of DAoC a very long time ago.. i did know nothing - and it was great learning how everything worked... what different colors on Mobs meant etc.. I would wish everyone would feel that same "pioneer" feeling again. sure.. its more comfy if you know about all the internal processes and stuff.. but in my opinion this game should last for years.. so keep the learning curve hard, and the requirements really high." "Its a matter of personal taste, really. I prefer to manually unseathe my weapon the same way i cannot autotarget the enemy. I also like the idea the game starts hard mob-wise (its a cruel world) and, according to an "upscaled" difficulty gets even harder. Imho people that come to play darkfall dont want to see carebaring ruining hardcore aspects of the game." "I do understand some concerns people have with the UI and the whole "equip and then use" system instead of just click to use but since it's an fps style game I don't see any alternative. Plus I am getting quite used to it and it will allow good players to shine in combat as other will be strugling to equip their staff and then ready their spell to cast it. I believe it promotes the "player skill" element very much." "The chat and Interface is a little tough to get used to, especially without directions. At first I was wondering why everything stopped and I couldn't move after I right clicked. It would be nice if I could organize my pack and chat, look at icon descriptions etc... while I ran long distances. Or even had a mouse option for checking out the icons at the top of my screen when I get hit with a spell so I could see the description. I am completely vulnerable while I'm chatting, looting, selling, looking at options, spells, skills, etc... But that's also the beauty of it if anyone attacks me."