The second hamlet: Wherein we learn that fire is hot
We rode onwards to our next target when suddenly a fireball roared towards Wardragon, barely missing him. The next hamlet had already seen us, and a fire mage was casting spells from atop the main keep. We rode onwards, splitting up our formation to avoid the incoming fire (literally.)
Once again, we quickly cleared the hamlet of everyone, except the fire mage, and three of our men started to clean out their quarry and their farm. The other three of us played an annoying game of cat and mouse with the fire mage who couldn't hit the broad side of a barn, keeping his interest while we cleaned them out and put their stuff into the bank.
Once again successful, we jumped on our mounts and rode towards the sea. The last hamlet was on an island out from the mainland, so we reached the beach and jumped off of our mounts to swim across. It was here that our trailing 6th man reported that he was being followed by the people from the last hamlet. They were apparently angry, and concerned about the security of their shit.
Wardragon noticed a smaller, desolate island on the map that was close to us, and we used that ground to make our stand. Initially we had counted 6 men in the force... then that was 8 men... then it was 12 men. Arrows were being flung from all sides as we darted between broken buildings. I peeked out from around a corner only to catch a sword to my chest from... Pluto Nash?
Hamlets one and two had teamed up to end our reign of theft and tyrrany -- combining their forces to out-man ours. I danced around on the beach for a while with Pluto, who was now wearing a very nice sword and a full set of banded armor, jumping and parrying his blows while I asked for help over Ventrilo. Wardragon came to my aid, but it was too late. With one last slash I fell over onto the ground while Wardragon picked up where I left off.
The end of an era
While I lay on the ground, coughing up blood, I thought back on all of the things I had seen and done in Darkfall. All of the harvesting, and then more of the harvesting, and then all of that time grinding PvE mobs, then more harvesting, then killing newbies, then more harvesting, then admiring my city, then AFKing on the bloodwall, AFKing on the bloodwall, AFKing on the bloodwall...
Dying here was actually more fun than most of the things I had done in Darkfall. There was more action in one 30 minute stretch than my entire playing experience, and I'm not exactly sure how I feel about that. Plus, as I lay there dying, I was about to lose most of the work that I had done during those long stretches of playtime.
Darkfall is an interesting game that varies between an intense grind and a game of cat and mouse. It is competitive and brutal in its nature, where only those with large amounts of time or a willingness to cheat the system prevail. On the flip side, however, when it all comes down to a battle or a clash of forces, Darkfall gets to be quite fun. I guess what remains is a very Machiavellian question -- "Do the ends justify the means?" Is it fun if the culmination of hours of tedious gameplay is an extremely fun sequence?
Dear readers, I'm not touching that question with a 30 foot pole. As for that battle, I'm sure you're wondering about the outcome. Did Wardragon and his men win the battle? Or did they die horribly like I did? Well, I don't know much about that, but I can say that I love my new set of banded armor. My compliments to the designer -- Mr. Pluto Nash.