This is a post directed first & foremost to BPG, though all are invited to discuss. My goal is to point out one of the biggest and most fundament flaw of Darkfall's New Player Experience ("NPE"), and urge BPG to remedy the flaw. This flaw may not be too apparent now, at the point of launch. But it is there, festering, held at bay only by the exuberance of RoA's launch and the enthusiasm of the vet playerbase all beginning their grind together. This will fade in the next few months, and that is when this flaw will make itself apparent, severly limiting the number of new players who will stick with the game. The basic argument is simple. One of the linchpins of Darkfall's charm is its deep & engaging combat. BECAUSE the combat is deep & engaging, everything else built around it--the full loot, the territory control, the tight-knit community & its culture of achievement & competition--clicks into place. The combat is not deep & engaging when you first start the game. It is not deep & engaging for a relatively long period afterwards. I'm not talking about the numbers in the background. The extra 100+ of each resource, extra 10-20% damage done, the resource effeciencies, all the passive things in the background that create a large gulf between a newish character and a fully developed character. I'm talking about actual honest-to-goodness gameplay mechanics which are locked behind a grind for no good reason. I'm talking about how a new character has no access to effective resource management, no access to the iconic mobility present at all stages of an end-game fight, and a melee system without parrybreak or whirlwind (let alone a 2 hander, which is pretty much meta-required). To me, this is a sensible list of BASIC combat mechanics that all Darkfall players should have access to from the very start. The combat doesn't make sense or shine until you have at LEAST all of these tools in play. There's more to it, of course. There's heal-others, debuffs, soft CCs, WoF, field-AOEs, etc. The point is, Darkfall's combat is compelling because of the many many options that players have to approach every moment of every engagement. The NPE locks an entirely ridiculous extent of these options behind grind-gates. There's a lot of gamers out there who, if given a taste of Darkfall's combat from the moment they log on, will push past the potent barriers of old graphics, vast & complex systems, and even the grind to catch-up to a superior vet playerbase. Give them a taste. If your first 30 hours of counter-strike gameplay consisted of only a pistol, and the game locked weapon buying, armor, grenades, and knife behind the grind, how many of you would have put the game down forever in the first few hours? What if Street Fighter gave you only the ability to use medium punches and you had to unlock light & heavy attacks, kicks, counters, and jumps over the following hours of gameplay all the while fighting other players or NPCs that have everything unlocked? How many new players would stick around months after release? There will be many who advocate against this idea, I think. Those who associate grind with MMORPG, with content. Or the overly fatalstic "realist" who will argue grind is a necessary evil. I expect there may be a "LOL you noob I can make a new character and with nothing but a vast compilation of game knowledge, a generous bankroll of regs, gear, & gold, and my crew of 6 fully maxed out/geared out players willing to dedicate hours each day to helping me, I can be viable within 10 hours of play." I remind them that I'm not advocating for the removal of the grind. I'm advocating for removing the grind from the BEST and the most BASIC parts of what makes Darkfall, Darkfall. We want people who don't know Darkfall to fall in love with Darkfall. So why does it take hours and hours of gameplay before you unlock only the most BASIC pieces of the gameplay that make this game so good? There is no good reason. My personal recommendation? All new characters begin with: (1) starter staff/bow/S&B/2hander slotted in their hotbar (2) fully-leveled heal-self/transfers (still grind for lesser magic passives, int/wis, general passives, staff magnitude), and unleveled witches brew (3) Begone (4) Parry Disable (for all weapons) & Whirlwind (for all weapons) New combat tutorial that explains: (1) 4 weapon slots & what they are used for (staff-used for spells, spells are varied in effect and give you options, bow-dedicated ranged DPS weapon, higher potential DPS but gives no utility, S&b-used to mitigate damage & mounted combat, 2hander-dedicated melee DPS weapon) (2) basics of resource management (and now a fresh character has the ability to at least semi-efficiently manage resources) (3) basics of mobility (begone/bunny hopping) (4) basics of melee (parry vs. parry disable, whirlwind usage) The true test-have two fresh players begin the game with some duels. Does the game allow them to have fun, engaging battles with meaningful choices that reward skillful gameplay? With the above changes (or something like it), I believe the answer will be yes. Currently? No, not with no parry break, no mobility or ability to reposition outside of long, boring mount chases, and horribly inefficient resource management. It takes hours of play to gain only a few of the above basics. Darkfall has lost many players who would have treasued it because it locked away the most basic elements of what makes its combat good behind hours of the grind. Don't make the same mistake this time around. Best of luck to all.