The keep, the keep!
"Fall back to the keep! Fall back to the keep!" called General Zodd Drow over Ventrilo. The outer walls were abandoned as everyone began rushing back to the keep to make a stand. While this would normally sound like suicide, as we'd leave our citystone undefended, we had placed the keep perfectly next to the stone. From there, people on the roof of the keep could easily fire downwards and destroy anyone who would come close to the stone, while the stairs inside served as the world's best choke point. Think 300, only with less spartans, more lolz, and inside of a keep.
From there our most armored men began to hold the steps while I stayed up top, picking off people's mounts and keeping casters at bay with my bow. We had an impressive grouping of archers and spellcasters, all doing their part to keep people below at bay or injured as they entered the keep.
Meanwhile, in the keep, the enemy losses accelerated while our losses dropped. Fighting was packed into close quarters with shields and one-handed weaponry becoming the focus. I peeked my head down to see what was going on and only found chaos. Attempting to shoot a bow in all of that was more dangerous than good, so I found myself back up top firing downwards.
Then, oddly, people began spilling out. Enemies began to retreat, firing one last wave of spells as they left. Our forces ran out after them, chasing for the moment as they left our city. Everyone relaxed on Ventrilo, happy over our win for the time being.
The second assault -- not as interesting as the first
Sinister relayed a message to us -- "We don't like to retreat." I'd feel that way too if I had just gotten halted inside of a keep and I was paid lots of money by a clan to make sure they won the battle. Plus then there's that whole reputation thing... eh... yeah, I'd be angry.
Half an hour later, they came again. There was one hour left in the battle as they came up the hill, and we were better prepared for what they had to offer this time. We also had a plan -- do the same thing we did before, but now in complete unison instead of panic.
They rounded the walls and started in on the wall towers, but we held faster this time around than last time. The force seemed smaller to me, but I couldn't truly tell with all of the insanity going on. When the walls looked too overrun, we moved back inside the keep again, doing what we did before. It worked a second time, and perhaps even better than the first. The attackers backed out of the keep, fearing a repeat, and began to stick to the towers.
That was, until, our forces rushed the towers. It was a bit silly to watch from my archery perch above. Three of our people ran in, then 10 of theirs would all rush out the other side. I filed it under, "things that made me laugh and shake my head."
Soon enough, they were driven back for the second time. It was at this point that our generals got word from Sinister that they wished to thank us for the challenge and the fun battle. The other clans stayed silent, for the time being. There was still 45 minutes left in the challenge, and we still remained prepared.
Finally, the clock slowly rode down. Our guards began to loosen up and joke -- more talking over Ventrilo and silly conversation. Then, as the clock hit zero and the game displayed "DRAW" in huge letters on our screens, everyone breathed a collective sigh of relief. Air guitars were played (you can type /air_guitar to make your avatar play the electric guitar, yay anachronism) and congratulations were swapped over Ventrilo. The siege was done.
One final look back
I sat atop the keep for a while more as everyone disappeared, talking with some of the others about writing this up as a final feature for Massively on my time in Darkfall. I was trying to get a handle on the whole moment, as it came so unexpectedly, and I was still trying to decide if I liked it or not. The siege felt like a giant game of deathmatch, not really a siege. It felt uneven at times, as when I got caught in a fire AoE I almost died via that one spell. It felt fun, of course, as everyone dodged around and was being assaulted on all sides. There wasn't any lag or hangups, save for a few spikes here and there.
The game performed to expectations regarding performance, but I'm just not sure how I felt. I didn't stand up and cheer, I didn't feel awe struck. I felt successful, but I didn't feel like a winner. It's hard to explain, so I don't think I will attempt it.
I will simply leave the question, "Is it fun?" to you, the readers, as I have in the last column. It's not my place to tell you what you enjoy, and I don't think I'm about to start now. As for me... I owe Kend Drow some warbanding, so if you see Seraphina Azureveil, have the decency to wave before shooting an arrow through my heart.
Update: Apparently, Scarce Xrul has uploaded parts of the siege in his YouTube video, convincing his friends to join Darkfall. You want to watch exactly what happened? Well, now you can, and in HD!