While I was away Kieron Gillen's review of Darkfall for Eurogamer came out. Some gems from the piece caught my eye.
On the controversy over the original Eurogamer review:
"Of course, it could just be an old technical error and the logs didn't get the times right. I'd like to think so. I don't think it's likely, but that it was no human malice here would be the best possible ending to a pretty horrible situation."
Gulp, It sounds like Kieron thinks somebody is lying.
"For the record: If I ever actually find out conclusively that someone was lying in this matter, I will do everything I can to destroy them."
On a point that Kieron considers a serious flaw in the games purport to be hard core:
"This is a world where, if you're expecting trouble, it's reasonable to strip down to your pants. This is stupid beyond all mortal belief."
"Characters run around, not caring about the occasional blow, more akin to a Counter-Strike knife-fight. Combat doesn't resemble combat. For all its challenges, it's not really deadly enough."
This sounds like a serious failing indeed but it seems to me that it is fixable with proper care and attention given to itemisation and the risk versus reward balance of better equipment. EVE seems to have dealt with the same problem well. Nobody brings a gold plated faction battleship willingly into PVP but people do gear up with tech 2 and better variants of equipment where the marginal benefit exceeds the risk.
On the player base:
"In my time in the game, the players I've met have been overwhelmingly pleasant - even when hacking me to death - and turning them from actual people into a mob didn't seem right."
Interesting. Where are all the foul mouthed mal-adjusts that some of my fellow non Darkfall players would have us believe are in the game?
On factual errors in the first review:
"I understand entirely why there were apparently factual errors in the original review. It speaks primarily not of the character of the review, but the character of Darkfall."
A vote of confidence for Ed Zitron. Lets hope for Ed's sake that he isn't the person Kieron suspects of lying (see above).
On the nature of MMO reviews:
"Of course, I haven't played it enough."
Considering the impossibility of ever doing justice to an mmo in the normal time allotted to review a game Kieron suggests a dual review process:
"a first review of an MMO is whether a destination is a place you'd recommend for a holiday. A second review is a recommendation of whether somewhere is a good place to go and live."
Hopefully this concludes the whole sorry Eurogamer / Darkfall saga. Kieron really is a superb reviewer. He writes exceptionally well with insight and with clarity and he obviously thinks deeply about the games he plays.
If you missed the kerfuffle over Eurogamer's first Darkfall review it is explained here.