Darkfall is a fantasy-themed 'sandbox'-style massively multiplayer online roleplaying game. It differs from the majority of its peers by featuring an aim-based real-time action combat system from a largely first-person perspective. Gameplay is based on relatively unstructured player to player interaction, simulation and harsh rules. For example, when a player dies, all the items that they were carrying or wearing can be looted from their corpse.
The game employs 'skills', which are individually leveled through use, as opposed to a typical character leveling system, and an open world without instances or overworld loading intervals. There are no areas that are entirely safe from potential attack from other players.
Key activities include fighting for control over and raiding player-owned settlements, fighting non-player monsters (which behave more like FPS bots than typical MMORPG mobs), gathering and processing resources, crafting items and trading.
Players can also craft deployable mounts, ships, cannons and magical siege vehicles.