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Dark Century PW Visit

Author: 
Maximus

The module starts you in the town, and what a town it is. It takes you several minutes to walk across once you know your way around. The maps have been fully explored for you, so you don't have to walk to every corner to see the full town. No area breaches a 256 tile limit, so load times are kept to a minimum. Dark Century also makes use of a Linked Server system. This coupled with a new journal system allow more players to play the game at a time.

I was portaled into the temple and was greeted by DM Zeruel. After a chat to explain some of the module to me we set out to a Kobold camp. The areas surrounding the town are nicely done, there are usually multilevel, giving casters or ranged fighters a little advantage so they're not in hand to hand. As I said the first stop was the Kobold village, which let me explore the unique XP system they have. It's based on the fact your head can only hold so much information. When you perform an XP gaining task, such as killing a monster, opening a locked chest, or performing an errand for one of the local shop keepers, your head 'fills up' which is represented by a "Your head is % full." message in the status window. When your head is any percent full every 2 minutes a percentage of the XP 'stored' in your head is transferred to your personal XP pool. The closer to 100% you are the more XP you get per 'pulse' (1 hour game time, 2 minutes real time). Between levels 1 and 3 you can rest (so long as there aren't monsters around) and transfer all the XP in your head. After level 3 you can only rest once a day to transfer the XP. Though you can do a 'power rest' to restore Hit points, spells, feats, etc. an unlimited number of times.

The kobolds filled my head up pretty quickly resulting in me resting a lot. Which meant I went through the first few levels quickly enough, a good thing in an online game. DM Zeruel explained to me how the PvP system works as I killed the Kobolds. Basically any crimes committed in a town result in the criminal being sent to jail for about 8 hours game time (16 minutes real time) and they have to pay the person they violated some gold as compensation. Any crimes committed outside of town are the responsibility of the players to deal with. As Dark Century’s FAQ says, would you let a group of murders run around, or hunt them down? DM Zeruel told me that there hasn't been a major influx of PKers in the world as of yet, a surprise in any Online World.

Though I never had a chance to test it (thankfully) the death system in Dark Century is also of unique design. When a player dies they lose the XP in their head, if they choose to respawn the items in their inventory are stored in a tombstone where they died, they also lose more XP. This last penalty (The items and the extra loss of XP) can be avoided by purchasing a deed from the temple through a donation. A clever system, letting player decide what happens when they die.

I leveled quickly off the kobolds and asked the DM to move me to another area so I could get a look at it (This isn't done for regular players). Zeruel transported me to the Red Orc Camp, where I got in some 1 on 1 fights with some fighter orcs. I was level 6 by this time so my head filled up allot slower, as with most games the higher level you get the slower leveling becomes. I entered a cave system below the Orcish camp and fought my way to what Zeruel explained was a shrine. Players pray at these shrines and a message is sent to the active DMs. If they get a whim to do something they can appear as a deity at the shrine, they then give the player information, or a special quest. A delightful experience that brings the player ever more into the game.

After spending some time in the cavern system and gaining half of another level. I asked to join a few other players, and this is where things got interesting. The DM transported us to an undead port 'city' to hunt some spectral fisherman, and explained that regular players can't hit an undead creature without being sanctified by a clerics Bless spell or from a temple. The sanctification is based on swings, so hit or miss it's going to run out after a time. The bonus to hunting undead is they give 20% more XP and have a higher chance of dropping a treasure chest (The only magical dropped items in the game can be found in the chests), but don't drop gold. The fight lasted for a few minutes then Zeruel got it in his head to give me a farewell party. He transported everyone to the city gates and the fight began.

We found 3 piles of dead corpses that an all powerful ancient lich was summoning undead mummies and ghouls from. We had to destroy the ghouls and mummies then bash the corpse piles to stop the spawning. After a few rounds of this the Lich himself spawned and predicted the end of the world (One of the 'main' quests in the game). The players group around and eliminated the remaining enemy forces before turning on the Lich who transported out in a brilliant display of its power. A cheer erupted in the crowd, but it was uneasy, for they knew he'd be back stronger than ever before.

To conclude the review I'd like to start off by saying that the module is VERY role-playing, so don't join it if you don't like that sort of thing. There where 10-12 people online when I joined and there remained about that many people throughout most of the day. Though Zeruel says it can get up to 25-30 people during peek hours. The module has a few secrets in it, such as a tree house in the town square which you can have distance jumping contests out of. The distance jumped is based on level, your attributes and a little randomness for good measure. The module is still being updated with a new shield combat system and a thieves guild in the future to mention a few.

Overall the module was great fun to play and I'll be stopping in at a later date (when I've got more free time) to continue my journeys, though I'll probably have to remake my character :) On a scale of 10 stabs (1 being the worst) I give the module 8.5 stabs. Something you should definitely check out if you like Role-playing and active Dungeon Masters.

Migrate Wizard: 
First Release: 
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