Early Review: (Early Access) Dark and Light

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2.5/5
  • Graphics
    1/5
  • Sound
    3/5
  • Gameplay
    2.5/5
  • PVP
    3/5
  • PVE
    3/5

Early Review: (Early Access) Dark and Light

Dark and Light its a MMO has been developing over a rocky road (to say the less).

Those familiar with this title, know about the mishaps about the title…. from developing starting on 2002, to having a apparently a horrible launch, having to do business dealings to try to resurrect the game.. up until now.. in which Snail Games (Chinese developer) has been able to finally release the game.

Its important to mention that the game, on its early conception wasn’t a survival, but a regular MMORPG, then it adopted survival mechanics, and then it was announced that it was going to follow the mechanics of ark (1 map, with X amount of players)… a lot of the fan base was upset since they expected amazing battles between factions. Instead we got small scale battles, similar to ARK. Needless to say the game has suffered various transformation from its early development days back in 2002.

 

So lets start this quick and early review (at the moment of me writing this post, the game has been online for less than 24 hours) but ill try to give my perspective about whats good and wrong with the game.

First lets start with some gossip O3o!

This game has been on the waiting list of multiple streamers , youtubers (like death’s proxy) and gamers…  there was this conception about the game going the regular process of betas (I believe there were even dates for two more beta tests, one of those a stress test), and then early release… many members of the gaming community,  expected the game to be out around September-October at the earliest.. There wasn’t even proper in-game footage (except for 10 seconds from chinese leaker).

One day, out of nowhere this game called Citadel Forged with Fire (you can read my beta review here: https://arlekiel.net/early-review-citadel-forged-with-fire/) came out of nowhere announcing two betas, and then early release;  all in a super fast schedule..

If you look at both trailers, both games offer the same type of experience to players (sandbox, survival, magic themed)… with DnL being more into a Lord of the Rings esque-type of lore… and Citadel FwF with a mixture of Skyrim+Harry Potter…

However it wasn’t until Citadel FwF came out that Snail Games IMMEDIATELY made two announcements:

  1. Early release date for Dark and Light on July 20, with NO BETAS, NO STRESS TESTS…
  2. Pump the price up for Ark (they hold the rights to ARK: Survival Evolved, alongside wildcard studios).  While stating that Ark is finally coming out of Early Access (after two years LoL!)…

The second decision its easy to understand since DnL and Ark have the same genre, and snail games apparently control the pricing for both, it would make sense to pump ARK get it out of EA (even if in my opinion that game, should be FIXED before even putting a release date on it…), and try to gather a new fan base for DnL..

Whoever its the first decision that makes the gossip so good on this one… because (I must say that there is no proof, and we may never know the reality behind curtains), but from my point of view its fairly obvious that someone on the business department panicked way to hard when he/she saw the announcement of Citadel: FwF…  or at least the timing and their early released product shows us that..

 

The review….

The game starts with a SUPER LONG TIME loading screen… I’m not joking this loading screen even competes with GTA V online mode loading time…  youtbers with high end PC’s like cryy even reported this…

With that said, the game first asks you to choose a race between humans, elves and dwarves… I usually go human, but this time since some friends went elf, I decided to do the same.

You can read some of the lore of these races. 

After that you then proceed to a regular, nothing too fancy  nor too bad, character designer… the only BIG flaw that was annoying the hell out of me was that the character was moving like crazy while I’m trying to create him..  so I’m there trying my BEST to make an amazing looking character.. and this guy keeps turning around, looking at different places, turning his head.. and im literally shouting at the screen for him to stay still…

Needless to say, I wasn’t able to make him stay still… not even for a picture. 

The game itself is like the love baby of Ark: survival evolved and Lord of the rings… with that said.. there are many complaint about the game itself has made some copy paste from some elements from ARK like the inventory.   Personally I don’t care that much and to be honest I even think its to be expected since A) they are both survivals, so they ought to have similar mechanics and why not GUI  b)If the game its good then what the damage? right …

With that said… personally I didn’t find this to be an issue and even the inventory for me it doesn’t look that similar.

Judge for yourself if the inventory and GUI is the same as ARK…
For you, is this a game breaker?

Ark and Light?

As I said, the similarities between both games, at least for me its not an issue, I find things like questing, spells, magic, ambient, tone and even factions to be more than enough elements for this to be its own title instead of calling it a re-skin for Ark (Ark: Ragnarok anyone?)…

 

The really BIG issue…OPTIMIZATION

If you had read anything about the game.. before this review, you can see lots of complaints and white knights about the optimization of the game… among some random bugs (flare effects, gamma, etc).

The main argument of some white knights its that the game is still on Early Access while the main argument of the people complaining is that … well they cant play the game.

While I admit I don’t have one of those crazy PC’s with super high end hardware, I think I got a fairly decent one… GTX 980 OC, i5, 16gb ram (not 100% sure but I’m among that range of specifications).

At high settings this is how I was able to see the game:

Hello Lineage II! 

Now this is at EPIC settings:

Hello Guild Wars! 

In all fairness a friend of mine, said that the game on EPIC wasn’t so bad… it DEFINITELY isn’t the trailer quality.. but apparently it wasn’t as bad as mine…

For me I can live with bad graphics, after all if you read about my gaming experience, I enjoy games like Mabinogi, Ragnarok, etc… and as long as the game its good and I’m having fun, then I stop caring about graphics.. however the issue for me here and for many (according to reddit and steam), is that the game is UNPLAYABLE… the FPS drop is soo bad, no matter which settings you are (gotta admit at epic-for me- its the worst)  also the graphics lag is unbearable.. I wasn’t able to move at all with epic, while on high it was barely playable and even on low settings (hello MUDs!) the game was still unplayable…

Me trying to play… you can notice even my character is getting tired trying to walk out of that graphics lag… 

On whatever side you are on this argument… we can all agree that the game has optimization issues.. and BIG ones…

Now… is THIS normal, to be expected, and people should stop whining about it?

Well it depends on your definition of “Early Access”.

  1. If you think Early Access is: give me W.E. crap of game you are trying to make.. but just try to keep your promises (No Man’s Sky broke my heart already) … then yes.. this might be your tang.. assuming you don’t care how bad optimized is the game..
  2. If you think Early Access is: give a PLAYABLE game in which you are going to add stuff, finishing developing certain aspects of the game, and tweaking some stuff then.. I’m sorry but this game is not for you… Assuming you don’t know a super high end PC (even though some videos on youtube, of people complaining shows that this happens even on  gtx 1080ti systems)…. there’s   big chance you may encounter big gameplay issues… due to the lack of optimization.

Now this may be fixed soon, or even next update.. whoever its a REAL shame that a game with such great potential… was released WITHOUT proper BETA testing, stress tests and feedback from the community…  I agree the game is early access and that means that stuff like “the chat window gets in the way of the GUI” or other stuff that would make your life easier in the game… its not going to be there.. I even expect a game with certain bugs (like missing heads, or certain terrain texture glitches)   thats cool in my book…. BUT a game that is barely playable due to the lack of optimization.. is not. This is supposed to be Early Access not “We started making our first MMO yesterday- Access”.

 

The backlash from the community

On its first day DnL found a huge backlash from the community, you can read the reviews on steam and reddit.

I’m betting someone at Snail Games is not happy and someone at Blue Isle is throwing a party

 

Now there’s also a big issue with a community backlash and its that this type of games in order to be playable (assuming you are not one of those who play solo)… you NEED a vibrant and ACTIVE community inside your servers… no players = no competition = no PVP…

On the day of its launch, at night the official servers have this numbers:

446 players in total (I took us knight 13 twice in the screenshot)… among 18 servers… with only 9 of those 18 having any actual players at all…

Take in mind this IS LAUNCH DAY.. the day people are supposed to be doing queues (archeage anyone?) and having to fight to find an empty spot on a server…

EDIT:

Apparently the server showing zero people its a bug.. so we don’t have a good estimate about the population for each server right now..

Take that in mind when looking for a new server.

 

Conclusion

My bet is that someone at Snail Games is pulling his hairs…. not only they had shared that they had a good schedule for releasing DnL and make it a successful game.. but they decided to run OVER their OWN schedule, skipped their testing, and rushed their launch (apparently?) due to Citadel FwF…  instead of giving us a semi-polished product , they decided to forgo their own testing phase and decided their untested product was gonna be good enough for an Early Access.. and in the end… the community spoke.

Their solution now is to fix whats wrong with the game and hopefully people can start giving good reviews in the future… and more people can play on those empty servers (it would be the saddest thing to have a server merge, one week after launching the game).

Now ….should you buy it?

If you liked ARK and wished to have a survival game with lord of rings elements into it.. AND you don’t care about optimization (assuming you also got a fairly decent pc)… then this might be your game…

If you don’t have a good PC, or ARK wasn’t your tang.. then you might be better looking away.

Also if you cant decide, you can always buy the game play for 1 hour and then decide for yourself if your PC can handle the game or not… you can always ask steam for a refund.

 

Trailer:

 

 

Hope you like this review!

Don’t forget to leave me your comments!

 

  • author image
    ApocaRUFF Reply
    Jul 21, 2017 @ 2:55 am

    Will probably leave a reply on the reddit thread too, but… The servers that show 0 players is just a bug. One or two might have crashed recently and been put back up, but most of them will have a lot of players when you log into them. For example, I logged into Knight 2 and it was full of activity.

    • author image
      Arlekiel Reply
      Jul 21, 2017 @ 3:07 am

      Ty , I modified the post, to report the bug. Hopefully they will fix it soon and we can have a good idea on whats the real population for each server.

  • author image
    Anonymous Reply
    Jul 21, 2017 @ 5:57 am

    I have a 970, 16gb, 17-2700k, and sata 6gb raid 10 array and the game ran great for me. The only time loading took a long time was the very first time after install.

    What’s funny is that I was on us knight 7 and the server was packed from launch. I actually got an accurate image of the servers from my stream and nearly all of them filled up and remained full. You can definitely get a more accurate assessment of the player count with steam, 3,948 In-Game when i wrote this. 6am. Idk why that was hard.

    It seems like the long loading and previous history of DnL put a bad taste in the reviewers mouth and that affected their opinion through out the rest of it. But I’m tired, and that was my initial impression.

    I’ve already had quite the adventure in game and made a fair number of new friends. My first day with the game was blast. Seeing the Npc wildlife fight each other and roam around was pretty cool. Witnessing a meteor strike was awesome. running away from reapers was fun and terrifying and all the while I’m doing this with groups of other people. I was worried that i’d be turned off immediately by the server cap of 70 people but it actually felt like a lot of people surprisingly.

    • author image
      Arlekiel Reply
      Jul 21, 2017 @ 18:50 pm

      The server thing, I was trying to make an accurate portrayal of a) server capacity and b)amount of players per server.
      People usually choose packed servers to start their journey, so I wanted to not focus on total amount of people playing DnL, but how packed were US servers.
      To be fair, many of the reviews are about optimization, and bugs that makes the game unplayable… while I do agree that the game carried so much hope and weight on its shoulders, I also do think that it does (even today) has the potential to live to a lot of our expectations.
      Hopefully they will iron the bugs that makes the game unplayable…
      Im happy that you got a good experience, tbh hearing what you had as an adventure made me more curious to see what does the end game looks inside the game. Hopefully they fix some of their main issues and I can give the game another try.

  • author image
    Kalrius Reply
    Jul 21, 2017 @ 11:03 am

    I think your review is pretty fair, although I don’ think the graphics are one star. I run all on epic and the game looks great to me.

    Also, you seem to have a small typo:

    “With that said… personally I didn’t found this to be an issue and even the inventory for me it doesn’t look that similar.”

    Found should be find.

    • author image
      Arlekiel Reply
      Jul 21, 2017 @ 18:37 pm

      Ty I fixed the typo!
      The graphics, personally the main issue for me (and many) is that even when you run on epic the game freezes and has no optimization whatsoever.
      But also in all fairness I also mention that a friend of mine had no issues at all, with the graphics.
      Its weird, that’s why I would recommend people to test it themselves and see if they got issues on the optimization department. Assuming they don’t, and assuming they are into ARK+LOTR then this game is definitely a must.

  • author image
    Hannah Reply
    Jul 21, 2017 @ 14:00 pm

    On the drama regarding Citadel Forged with Fire & Dark and Light. I’m not trying to validate what Snail Games did at all, but there is the practice of studios to take a reactionary stance to releases of similar games to theirs. Take Rift and WoW for example, Rift released in March 2011 – around the same time Blizzard announces a brand new patch, 4.1.0 to Cataclysm (probably the worst expansion that WoW ever had, IMO of course) around that same time and introduced re-done vanilla raids, Zul’Aman and Zul”Gurub. I believe that this was a response, maybe not directly, to retaining player subs & participation when faced with a new game that competes in their same player market.

    This is possibly one reason that studios/etc wait to announce release or even the quarter, even though they have a particular time frame/deadline that they are planning on meeting, in order to avoid this sort of drama.

    Maybe I’m all full of crap, I don’t know really, but it is a competitive market – if Snail Games thought they could push the game out sooner to beat the other release and come out better if the reverse happened, despite all of the early bugs/etc that could have been tested out, I think it’s understandable – although shitty – for them to go ahead and do it.

    • author image
      Arlekiel Reply
      Jul 21, 2017 @ 18:40 pm

      You are right… and I agree….
      However I also do think that in the end (yep call me captain hindsight) it was a huge mistake for them to be that reactionary.
      Sticking to their original schedule would have resulted in a better product and quality overall…

Latest Comments

  • author image
    Arlekiel says:
    The server thing, I was trying to make an accurate portrayal of a) server capacity and b)amount of p...
  • author image
    Arlekiel says:
    You are right... and I agree.... However I also do think that in the end (yep call me captain hind...
  • author image
    Arlekiel says:
    Ty I fixed the typo! The graphics, personally the main issue for me (and many) is that even when y...
  • author image
    Hannah says:
    On the drama regarding Citadel Forged with Fire & Dark and Light. I'm not trying to validate wha...
  • author image
    Kalrius says:
    I think your review is pretty fair, although I don' think the graphics are one star. I run all on ep...