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See: Crowfall

Crowfall reflects on its 'unrelenting series of updates'

It's a little hard to believe, but we've now been watching Crowfall develop since late 2014, going from a teaser announcement through a successful Kickstarter and arriving at the current pre-alpha testing. For this week's founder's update, the dev team decided that it deserved a moment to reflect upon all of its accomplishments and progress to date.

The team pointed to an interactive timeline chart from German fan site Crowfall Community that marked all of the major (and minor) milestones of the project from 2014 through 2017. It's a pretty handy resource if you want to get a big-picture view of the game's progress.

ArtCraft provided a pep talk, free of charge: "Obviously, this chart shows how much we have accomplished, and that’s great to see! … but it also shows something MUCH more important: It shows a cadence, an unrelenting series of updates that make the game a little better every month [...] If that cadence proves anything, it’s that these challenges will also be tackled in due time. This game will emerge, and when it does, it’s going to be awesome."

Source: Crowfall

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Crowfall's community tries its hand at building for the first time

Crowfall's campaign worlds won't exist merely to be shot, burned, and sliced to ribbons. There's going to be a healthy building component as well, which is something that ArtCraft is (pun intended) constructing as of late.

Last weekend, the studio allowed players to test drive out these tools in its "BuilderWorld." From the looks of the video taken of the test, players were able to create some interesting villages, keeps, and even castle-mazes.

ArtCraft's cautiously positive mood was ruined by a "major" exploit that some of the community was abusing, saying that this "raises a good question about how  we want to handle the use of exploits during testing. We’re pleased when people find and report exploits of any kind. This helps make the game more robust and ready for our eventual launch. That said, we’re less pleased when people repeatedly use exploits not for testing but simply as a way to ruin the test for other people."

Get an early glimpse of what player buildings might look like in Crowfall below!

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How Frostkeep's Rend compares to other MMOs and survival sandboxes

I was pretty well taken by multiplayer survival sandbox Rend as soon as I saw it at this year's PAX East 2017, as I wrote yesterday. The concept immediately spoke to me as taking a lot of the cool ideas from other survival games while making the game as a whole into something very different. But I also entirely understand that sometimes you can look at the game and wonder what makes it so different. After all, it's hardly the first time that we've had a game using a lot of the building blocks. So why am I over the moon about Rend but not its obvious inspirations and close cousins?

The answer is that in some cases, I am over the moon about its close cousins. But it's also important to understand the distinction and the fact that Rend is not, say, Crowfall or Conan Exiles or any other game. So what makes Rend different? Not necessarily better, but how does it stack up to the obvious points of comparison?

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Crowfall makes plans for its 24-7 test server

ArtCraft is about to take a little piece of tape and put it down over Crowfall's "on" button.

"We plan to transition the game servers to 24x7 uptime within a couple of months," the studio announced last night. "When that happens, we'll also bring up a new 'Testing Environment' that will be separate from the current game universe. The purpose of this Test Environment will be to give us a way to stage new changes for our testing audience (which is now over 15,000 invited players) without interrupting the 24x7 service."

Basically, the stable "live" alpha servers will be up all the time, while the test servers will not. How do you get in?

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The Perfect Ten: A plague of MMO bears

I have long been of the opinion that there are few more terrifying animals on this planet than bears. Sure, there are sharks, the mighty kraken, and that little fish that may or may not swim up your urethra and summer home there, but as I live primarily on the land, I think that the odds are greater that a rampaging bear might ruin my day.

True story: When I lived in Colorado Springs, one morning I left home to drive to work and there was a black bear sitting in the middle of the road. I looked at it, nonplussed, and then sloooooowly backed up into my driveway and called in a sick day. Bear days should totally be a thing, however.

I have also been of the opinion that bears are consistently underestimated in MMORPGs. They're low level trash mobs or pets that finger players as complete noobs for not picking something more exotic. More exotic? Son, if you have a bear on your side, you have won the game. Period. One swipe of its paw and any raid boss' head should pop right off.

There is a plague of bears in MMOs. Today, let us delve into the ursine horror that curses our genre.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 107: Dark Knight rises

This week on the show, Justin and Bree celebrate a couple of hearty MMO updates, argue about mandatory mount viewing, celebrate the soft launch of Revelation Online, and extol the virtues of the PC Master Race.

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Crowfall video addresses group balance, disciplines, and skill training

Crowfall Design Lead Thomas Blair and Senior Game Designer Mark Halash are back today with a new Q&A video answering player queries. Here are the highlights!

  • Regarding armor mitigation: You'd best wear armor on every part of your bod, else you're giving your opponents obvious holes to attack.
  • Alpha testers are noobing it up with low-quality resources and handmade armor right now, but eventually ArtCraft expects players to use high-quality resources for mass-produced, top-quality armor.
  • Basic crafting as a skill is a parent stat for other crafts that you will definitely want as a specialized crafter.
  • Weapon efficiency hasn't been fully tuned for testing yet, so don't be misled into thinking only damage matters.
  • Blair thinks testers are having a hard time seeing group balance at the moment since disciplines and their powers and counters aren't fully in the game.

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Crowfall's discipline system comes together

It's always exciting when an idea goes from a mere concept to a practical prototype, and the Crowfall team is definitely thrilled to be able to talk more about how its discipline system is coming together.

Instead of involving "time outs" and liberal spankings, the discipline system is Crowfall's primary character customization tool that allows players to mix-and-match abilities in order to create a personalized class. By equipping certain items, players can create "sub-classes" for their archetype that include new powers and abilities.

There are disciplines for combat, exploration, and crafting, although right now the team is primarily discussing the combat ones. Within these, there are three types: weapon disciplines (based around weapon styles), major disciplines (your sub-class), and minor disciplines (a single power or ability for flavor). Depending on the character, players can equip one weapon discipline, one or two major disciplines, and one to three minor disciplines. Disciplines can be made through runecrafting.

Source: Crowfall

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Crowfall introduces the winged Fae Assassin

The next archetype hitting Crowfall should be familiar to anyone who traditionally enjoys sneaking up behind enemies and backstabbing their heads off, regardless of the improbably physics involved. It's the Fae Assassin, and she has everything you'd expect from a stealth archetype: the ability to vanish from sight, high mobility, lethal daggers, and big wings to glide around upon. Also to facilitate double-jumps. That one might seem a bit surplus to requirements, but it's certainly novel, at least.

Introducing the Fae Assassin also means introducing proper positional abilities to the game, attacks that care as much about where you're hitting the target from as what body part you're hitting. Of course, due to the game's mechanics, you won't be stuck in a situation where you can't use powers if you're not behind the target; you just won't hit as hard when you're not attacking from the target's blind side. There are elements of the assassin that may seem superficially similar to other archetypes, but she really does seem to be in a (winged) class of her own.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 106: Ready to relaunch

Call this episode "tangent city," because it doesn't take much to send Bree and Justin down conversational rabbit holes! From discussing why Champions Online failed to pick up City of Heroes' refugees to going on epic rants against gankboxes, you'll need a flow chart and a five-dimensional mind to follow all of the topics of today's show. Good luck!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Hands-on: Digging deep into Crowfall's pre-alpha crafting systems

Last weekend, Crowfall developer ArtCraft Entertainment held the last of its February playtest weekends, inviting the game’s Early Access backers to jump into the gameworld to play, test, and provide feedback on the game in its current state of development. As one of said Early Access backers (full disclosure there), I was among those invited to take part in the test, and having last played the game sometime early last year, I figured now would be a good time to pop in and see how the game’s coming along.

At present, the game build is a very early one that the devs have dubbed Pre-Alpha 2.0, so the features on display during the playtests are both limited and almost certain to undergo radical changes between now and Crowfall’s eventual launch. The game’s current, rather bare-bones incarnation includes the frameworks, in varying stages of completion and polish, for its basic gathering, crafting, and PvP combat features, though my playtime over the weekend was limited largely to the former two, with relatively little in the way of bloodshed. I don’t consider that to be altogether a bad thing, though; even this early implementation of Crowfall’s gathering and crafting systems is intricate enough that I reckon it deserves a column in and of itself, so let’s go ahead and dig in.

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Crowfall shows off the design of the Fort architectural set

The next big development milestone for Crowfall is work being done on the game's Eternal Kingdoms, a place for players to build a spot of refuge through the many different iterative world states that the game will endure. That means showing off some of the architectural styles which players can mix and match, and the latest one up for display is the Fort. Never fear, though, it's more than just a smaller version of the Keep; it's more like a Nordic hall than anything.

The Fort consists of an open hall for gathering, drinking, eating, or training, surrounded by wooden palisades to hold out any unwanted beasts or visitors. The plan is that players can mix and match this style with that of the Keep to make a unified aesthetic, but we'll have to wait to see more of the Keep to view that in action. Until then, you can just enjoy how light and airy the Fort will feel. Nice ventilation, too; that's important in real estate.

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