More Thoughts on Darkfall’s Trial Pricing
I had a thought experiment after writing my previous Darkfall post, and decided to go search for more information about Darkfall, as well as reflect upon the matter more. In my haste to write about my fears, I realized that I neglected to fully think about the reasoning behind putting a mild price barrier to the game.
Previously, I had noted a fear that the possibility of paying for a trial might become commonplace if people saw that it could be done to great success. There are some possible counterpoints to this idea.
One would be that most MMO companies already have a strong, established fan base that would hurt them in the court of public opinion at the idea of paying for a trial.
The other counterpoint I had to this was what I call the “obligatory Allods reference,” in which I casually mention a free-t0-play game that costs more to play if you were to buy something there for general use than for paying for a trial to Darkfall.
Another thing to note would be that free or paid trials for certain types of games would have vastly different effects on the game world depending on the economy the game world uses. Agon uses gold, a lot of it, and a game like this may require some amount of grinding to get the resources you need. The price barrier keeps all but the most dedicated exploiters and gold farmers from making the leap to Darkfall and spamming or harvesting their way to success. Not only that, but the credit card check, while a bit annoying personally, makes it so that they have a record of who is making the purchase and can find potential exploiters or gold spammers accordingly.
As Fat Sun of the Darkfall forums explained to me,
It would be very easy to ‘exploit’ the trial system if it did not cost a dollar or have some kind of protection. Gathering skills up very quick, so in a matter of hours, you could have a pretty good miner or lumberjack. People could just make a bunch of trial accounts and get a ton of lumber/iron fast. They could also just make an army of low-levels to zerg hamlets or whatnot. A lot of things could make the system go awry if it was free and easy.
My last point with regard to Darkfall’s trial pricing is that it isn’t actually too restrictive in the general sense. A dollar for seven days of game time isn’t too bad when I compare it to a few years back, when a game didn’t come out with free trials to begin with. Now that trials seem commonplace, we kind of forget that they simply ways to entice us into the game, and there are different ways to entice people to try a game out.
To that end, I will say that their new player community is quite mature, and very helpful. In addition to links to helpful videos and overall advice, they mentioned that some of the clans in the game have actually banded together to create NEW, a neutral guild for newbie players to try the game out with helpful folk and like-minded players. The game might have open PVP, sure, but it takes civilized folk to make a haven in a sea of chaos, and that’s something that Darkfall tells me will entice new players coming in for a trial. Heck, the fact that I’m writing about a game I haven’t even begun to play, based solely on introspection and a few hours on their forums is already a sign that something is different in the way I view Darkfall.
Whether Darkfall ends up being the game for me or not will be a discussion for another day. For now at least, these ruminations on Darkfall’s trial pricing have left me open to the game and to the world of Agon, and that can’t be a bad thing, can it?