Das Tal – PvP Sandbox MMORPG
Player Interview: Obs (LoD)
We’ve spent a lot of time talking about us and about our game. Today we start to put the focus on the most important part of Das Tal: Our players. To give you an idea of who else is playing the game we’re going to put a spotlight on distinguished clans and community members. Today, we’ll start off with the most successful group of our latest play tests, Lords of Death:
Alex: Who are you and who is LoD?
Obs: LoD is an veteran hardcore PvP guild that has consisted of the same core group of players for over 18 years. We formed in Ultima Online on the Baja server as a consolidation of many organized PvP guilds. We look to compete at the highest level, and at the same time make sure to earn the hate and fear of everyone that stands in our way.
I am Obs, or Obidiah Khan from the UO days, and have been part of LoD’s leadership since ‘99. As many of our members have, i started in an enemy anti-pk guild on Baja and ended up joining LoD out of respect. You will not find a more dedicated, cut-throat, and militaristic group of PK’s anywhere.
Alex: What game have you spent the most time in and why?
Obs: We spent over 6 years playing Ultima Online and various player run shards. It wasnt about graphics or fancy boss fights, or questing, and in fact it was the buggiest online release of all time. We still remember the one-shot harm wands, server crashes, energy vortex exploits, and horrendous net code lag… but it just didnt matter. It let us all step into a fantasy world without restriction and without rules. The players created the content. The justice, the economy, the hot spots, the landscape and political drama… all created by players with no limitations.
Games have forgotten about freedom, they try to keep you on the rails at a theme park instead of letting you create your own ride. The only two games which have gotten anywhere near the play time as UO are Shadowbane, DaoC, and Darkfall. We all still hope for the 2nd coming of UO, and these two games have gotten the closest.
Alex: Which one was your all-time favorite MMO?
Obs: We discuss this a lot but most in LoD would say UO hands down. Personally i would have to say Shadowbane was my all-time favorite MMO. It wasnt even the best game or had the most features but we were just in the right place at the right time and had our biggest accomplishment as a guild in Shadowbane. We didnt even have any idea what we were getting ourselves into by picking the death “lore” server as our home, but we soon found out. We literally fought the entire server from day 1 and it was fucking brutal.
I can still remember setting my alarm to wake up 4am through 8am because it was my “shift” to protect our walls. Through nothing but sheer determination, we won that war and beat down the zerg and its still one of my greatest memories hearing the moment in ventrilo when we sacked the enemy capital once and for all.
Alex: What is LoD’s looking for in games exactly?
Obs: We want a huge sandbox that attracts not only PvP’ers but also farmers, crafters, questers, builders, and politicians. The enemy of PvP games is not even so much the design of the game, it’s just getting people of all tastes to play it.
Every game needs a huge population or the fights become predictable and stale. In a perfect world you would have a fight with a different group of people every night and for a different objective every time. One night you go out to improve your character by training up skills or getting exp and you get into a fight with others doing the same. Another time you go out for monetary gain only and run into people. It doesnt matter why or how you get into fights, just that everyone has the same goals and those goals make us run into each other out in the world. Everyone should have to pay the iron price for every piece of gold earned, for every quest completed, for every crafted item made from resources from a PvP zone.
Alex: How much Das Tal have you played so far?
Obs: I have been involved in 5 play tests for Das Tal. Until i actually played the game, i had no interest in it. The screenshots, descriptions of it on the website, and even the videos do not do it justice. You have to actually try it to understand what makes it fun. Every single shot counts, every heal is important. You will LOSE every fight if you miss your targets and you will win against 3 to 1 odds if you land everything like a pro and work like a team. It is for this reason we still jump at the chance to play more, it’s just great PvP action and rewards skilled play like very few other games.
Alex: Can you sum up the Das Tal alpha test experience so far?
Obs: The experience so far has been like an arena fight. It seems like it is meant to showcase the heart of the game only, the PvP. This core of the game is solid and fun to play, but always playing the highest intensity part of the game goes away from MMO roots. Right now the tests are like a game of counterstrike, definitely exciting and fun but there isnt a sense of progression or gain or loss. If you die, you simply respawn. A few hours later you know everything will be wiped until the next testing session so there isnt a drive to level up or store gear/wealth.
What makes MMO’s addictive and draws in the masses is that they are a MMO, not a fps game. I’d like to login to a starter town, get put on some starter quests to show me how to play the game, and start my own personal inventory of gear. It is the immersion that is missing, that sense of progressing your character and your wealth and while doing those, that is when you run into PvP.
Alex: Why have you come back to play again and again?
Obs: Its just fun to fight people, every fight is completely different, every fight you get a little better at positioning and spell/skill usage. Fights are very intense because your guild mates are depending on you all times. Miss a shot and you can kill your friend, miss your heal and they certainly will die. You feel like you need to be on your a-game at all times because every calculated shot or move matters.
Alex: What’s the best and worst about the game right now?
Obs: The best is easy, it is the innovation of the moba style PvP. Aimed attacks and heals, line of sight, full loot, hiding in shrubs, it makes for unique and intense fights every single time. That part of the game is great and we’ve already signed off on its greatness.
The worst part of the game right now is the lag, which usually only shows up when there are many players on the screen or in the area. Playing on a server in your timezone obviously helps a lot, but there seems to be memory issues with lots of moving players and spells happening at once. In a game like this where everything is a skill shot, its crucial to limit lag as much as possible. Missing that crucial heal on your guildmate or running into a tree that is 10 feet away from your player is aggravating.
Alex: If you compare the game to your last MMOs, what is different?
Obs: Our last real mmo was Darkfall, and what is different are the core mmo features of the game. A very long character building process with a lot of customization in spells/skills. Also just building up your character should take a long time, for example you need lvl 10 before you can wear Tier 5 armor. The idea is not to make a grind, but to give all players a reason to play and go out in the world, and when they are out there they will run into other players and fight. Das Tal is different right now because its all PvP and nothing else, and we may not admit it but we do like all phases of a MMO game… even low intensity harvesting by ourselves to farm up future pvp sets of gear.. and just maybe we’ll run into someone else doing it and have a great 1on1.
Alex: What feature or fix should we work on next? What’s missing?
Obs: Das Tal is already different from any other mmo created with its PvP. And the PvP has already proven to be incredibly fun with unique fights each time. Now go back to fundamentals and build the infrastructure of the game. Having a good PvP system is not enough to bring in thousands of players, and that is the most important goal. I almost feel like you need to trick thousands of normal non-pvpers into trying your game, and once they do they will be forced to PvP and some point, and will love it.
So what is missing that bringing in hundreds of new players? Familiarity. When they first login they are in a safe zone city with some starter tutorial quests that teaches them to craft a weapon/armor, how to kill a monster and loot it, how gain experience and get to level 2, how to gather some wealth in xp/gold/resources and bank it safely in town. Now they are a presence in your world, and they want to complete their characters, be rich, and take over territories. Now they are invested.
Now they crafted the highest tier stuff they can, and have progress with levels as far as they can in the safe area, they now must go outside in the real world with no safe zones. Everything and every inch is hard fought to establish and outpost, find good farm spots for mobs/gold/exp and good harvesting locations. People and Guilds now have a reason to fight each other and every day you make a new loyal customer once they see how fun the PvP really is when you are fighting for your future. Also, some leader boards and stats would be awesome.
Alex: Thanks for the interview, Obs!