Darkfall is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) developed by Aventurine SA that combines real-time action and strategy in a fantasy setting. The game features unrestricted PvP, full loot, a large, dynamic game world, and a player-skill dependent combat system free of the class and level systems that typify most MMORPGs. Darkfall has a 3D world environment and contains mild violence. The official Darkfall servers were closed on November 15, 2012.
Aventurine has since sold the license of Darkfall Online to two independent companies, Ub3rgames and Big Picture Games
Development history (2001 to 2012)
On 29 August 2001, Razorwax announced the development of Darkfall and launched its official website. The Razorwax development team was based in Oslo, Norway, and initially consisted of five members: Claus Grovdal (Lead Design and Producer), Ricki Sickenger (Lead Tools and Game Logic Programmer), Henning Ludvigsen (Art Director), Kjetil Helland (Lead 3D/Client Programmer), and Erik Sperling Johansen (Lead Server Programmer). Approximately 14 months later, in October 2002, the Razorwax team was integrated into Aventurine SA, a newly formed company based in Athens, Greece, ostensibly created for the continued development and subsequent commercialisation of Darkfall. When the Razorwax team and the Aventurine team had their first meeting in Athens, a member of one of the teams joked that Razorwax should relocate from Norway to Greece due to the lower taxes and cost of living in Greece. Eventually, the two teams realised that this idea actually made very good business sense, and by December 2002, the relocation of Razorwax, now Aventurine, was finalised.
In September 2005, a signup page for a closed clan beta was made available on the web; this beta never happened, however a 1.5 minute Darkfall gameplay video was released in February 2006 as recompense to the community.A later statement from associate producer Tasos Flambouras explained that a decision had been made internally to devote additional money and resources into expanding the scope of the game.
Darkfall's first major public revelation was at the game convention E3 in 2006, and while Aventurine did not have a publicly playable version at the time, various industry journalists were shown a standalone demonstration version of the game. From June 2006 onwards, just after E3, the Darkfall development team began releasing bi-weekly developer journals and community question/answer articles, published on the game forum site Warcry.
An announcement on 11 July 2006 stated that preparations were being made to begin beta, although Aventurine stated it did not have a publisher for Darkfall at the time, and that they were considering the possibility of self-publishing the game. Six months later, on 17 January 2007, Aventurine announced they were in active discussions with prospective partners, distributors, publishers, and technology providers, and that a fully functional and stable beta build was running on remote servers.
On 30 January 2007, Aventurine released their second official gameplay video, consisting of about one minute of in-game footage demonstrating real-time melee combat, mounts (including mounted combat), spell-casting and naval combat. In May 2007, Aventurine gave an update on their progress towards beta, announcing that their internal target date for beta was in Summer 2007.A later update, on 2 August 2007, stated that beta would not start until negotiations with possible publishers were complete.
On 22 February 2008, Aventurine released a "location test video" depicting various NPC and player-crafted city locations in the game. Later, in April 2008, it was announced that Darkfall was feature-complete, and in May, that "... our launch date will be inside 2008, with the public beta preceding it by a few weeks. This is official and internally we're a lot more specific, but pending an announcement, we cannot say more at this time".
In June 2008, Aventurine confirmed they had signed with Greek company AudioVisual Enterprises to distribute Darkfall in Europe, and this was confirmed by AudioVisual in a stock marketannouncement made to the Greek Stock Exchange.
On 29 August 2008, Darkfall's official beta was announced as the final scene of a 17-minute gameplay video, which demonstrated numerous aspects of the game, such as small and large group PVP, including small and large group mounted combat, ship sailing and naval combat, magic and archery, and vehicular combat, creative use of in-game physics and magic, crafting, banking, 3 different PVE encounters demonstrating mob AI, and city building and sieging. This was soon followed by a "limited public hardware test" of Darkfall as the first phase of public beta, which was then followed by a staged gameplay-oriented public beta.
On 16 October 2008, Darkfall was publicly presented at Athens Digital Week. This event was unofficially reported by a member of the Darkfall forum moderators during this event, including a 30-minute video of Darkfall played live on stage.
On 5 December 2008, Tasos Flambouras announced that Darkfall would be released for the European market on 22 January 2009, with an American release to follow. This launch date was later revised to 25 February 2009. The NDA for beta players was lifted on 18 February 2009.
On 24 June 2009, Tasos announced that Darkfall will launch in North America on 7 July 2009, alongside Darkfall's first free expansion to the game. Darkfall launched successfully in North America on 13 July 2009.
Darkfall's first free expansion launched in July 2009 featuring massive monster re-balancing, player housing, Darkfall's village system, the Nexus system, a character specialization system, the weather system, special items, new weapons and much more.
Darkfall's second free expansion launched in early December 2009. The EU-1 server went down late on Thursday December 3 and the North American Server went down shortly after for patching. The update was the largest the game has seen to date and added many desired dynamics to the game not seen in the game's first 9 months. Shortly before both servers went live extensive patch notes were released for the 2nd expansion titled "Conquer the Seas".
On 11 June 2010, Darkfall developers released patch outlines which outlined critical fixes to the game. These fixes are some of the most important changes made to Darkfall to date
On 10 February 2011, Darkfall developers released yet another patch which addressed several issues that had major effects on gameplay. Three Notable changes were clan bank permissions, War Status Timeouts (7 days from declaration), and bindstone mechanics designating where you will spawn in the event changes in political affiliation and alignment.
On 25 April 2011, Aventurine changed hosting locations to Chicago to improve server stability.
On 2 July 2012, Aventurine released the Ultimate Promotion patch. It increased skill gains and loot while removing the purchase fee entirely and reducing monthly subscription cost to $9.95, down from $15. This promotion ran from release until the launch of Darkfall 2.0.
On 18 September 2012, Aventurine announced Darkfall Unholy Wars. The game was due to launch in November 20. On 14 November 2012, Aventurine announced that due to a combination of external factors, last minute issues, and final testing feedback, the company was forced to push back the release date to 12 December 2012. Darkfall Unholy Wars is set again in the fantasy world of Agon, countless centuries after the events that took place in the original Darkfall Online. The company released a set of feature, game play and developer diary videos to support the launch on their official YouTube channel.
Development history (2012 to present)
On 28 April 2015, Axilmar, a gui developer working on the actual Unholy Wars, posted a petition on Reddit to taste the interest in a classic Darkfall server due to the demand of the community. The petition raised about 1789 signatures. About a month later he presented the result to the Aventurine CEO.
On 15 June 2015, after 3 days of delay the CEO of Aventurine Zad Mehdawi posted a message where he explained that Darkfall is not feasible due the large investment in the infrastructure and development support needed to run the game, and so they ditched a Darkfall revival but were continuing to work and improve the actual game Unholy Wars. However the company is open to serious proposals for licensing and support the original Darkfall game.
On 16 June 2015, Claus Grovdal, the original creator of Darkfall, former Razorwax CEO, wrote on Twitter that he was disappointed that Aventurine is not considering bringing back Darkfall Online.
On 18 November 2015, the community manager Ici Wave in a post on the official forum, wrote that Aventurine was under negotiations with 2 interested parties for the license of Darkfall Online.
On 3 February 2016, Ub3rgames confirmed the acquisition of Darkfall Online license and updated their own website
On 1 March 2016, Big Picture Games also confirmed the acquisition of the Darkfall Online license.
On 8 March 2016, Ub3rgames along with their weekly update, released the first in-game footage of Darkfall: New Dawn.
On 19 March 2016, Big Picture Games released the first in-game footage of Darkfall: Rise of Agon.
On 8 April 2016, Big Picture Games released the closed alpha for Darkfall: Rise of Agon with NDA in place and first 500 invites along with a new alpha trailer. They also opened the store with 3 different founder packs.
On 14 June 2016, Ub3rgames in their weekly update announced the launch date of Darkfall: New Dawn stress test for the 28 June 2016 at 2:00 PM Paris time.
On 3 August 2016, Big Picture Games announce the launch of the closed beta.
On 16 August 2016, Darkfall: New Dawn switch from free stress test to InDev beta, only people who bought the game can play it.