Now that Crowfall fans have a little longer to wait before the game’s soft launch, they have time to fully absorb this lengthy article on action harvesting. Yes, ArtCraft has been pushing this vision for harvesting for a couple of months now, but there is a good chance that you still don’t know what it means other than imagining a character wildly swinging away, missing a large chunk of ore on the ground, and causing self-inflicted wounds with a pickaxe.
Basically, action harvesting refers to a more involved process of material gathering, complete with its own skill bar and special effects. The studio has continued to iterate on the system, having emerged from brainstorming with “pips” as a resource, 11 harvesting disciplines (including, we kid you not, Grave Digger), 30 powers, and a universal “energetic harvesting” skill. There’s a pattern to swinging your implement, and as players build up more pips, their energetic harvesting skill will proc different effects.
“Because all the buff durations and the pips are so quick to generate, this creates an opportunity for the player to weave a variety of different buff combinations based on their current need,” the studio explained.
A lot of things have changed for Crowfall over the past year, several of them being pretty darn significant. Decoupling races and classes alone was a pretty big deal. So it probably comes as no huge surprise that the game is officially not going to be ready for a soft launch by the end of the year. Instead, the game is setting its sights on a soft launch at some point in 2018, with no hard dates provided beyond that.
The letter announcing the delay notes that this puts the game a year out from its originally intended launch date, noting that the target dates were optimistic and hoping that fans are mollified by the progress that has been made. It also promises that the team is going to be hard at work finishing up the features needed to reach a soft launch state, as the goal is for as early in 2018 as possible. Time will tell how early that turns out to be.
It’s a good time to be a Crowfall pre-alpha tester.
The select elite are being treated to a new build today that adds in all of the new class and race combinations that the developers have been discussing for months. As Patch 5.3 wraps up, players can try out the dozens of additional race and class combos in one of the new persistent campaign settings.
Creative Director J. Todd Coleman is happy to see two of the game’s core systems come together: “Now that Campaigns are live, we can start testing the new race, class and discipline systems. Players can now experience an unprecedented level of character building. Dozens of unique race/class combinations and hundreds of weapon styles and subclasses allows for millions of unique character combinations. It will be possible for players to design a character build that has never been tried before.”
The patch also improves visuals across the game, beefs up monster AI, and revamps the character creation and skill training systems.
Source: Press release
The Cleric of Crowfall is not solely a healer. That’s not to say the Cleric doesn’t heal people, of course; in fact, several of the powers you’ll see in the video down below and one of the Cleric’s ultimate abilities are there for healing allies. But the Cleric is also a solid ranged character with the ability to stun, root, and just generally demolish enemies. You’ll be doing that while healing; that’s the trick.
Clerics can place a few different areas on the ground with healing or rooting effects for allies and enemies, respectively. They can also passively buff allies with an HP aura or an attack power aura, blind enemies at range, or even just convert support power to attack power and go to town for a short time. Check out all of this in action in the video just below.
Let’s end the week talking about money. What could go wrong?
It has been a while in the making, but Crowfall’s Patch 5.3 is on its way… “soon.” The team isn’t quite saying when yet, but there is plenty of discussion to be had on the contents of this anticipated pre-alpha build.
ArtCraft’s Thomas Blair and Mark Halash ran through the patch notes during their November Q&A video. Yes, the opening is literally two guys reading the patch notes to you that they’re not ready to post online. Yet. Some of the features coming with this build include more changes from the race/class split, updates to the character sheets, new skill trees, class-specific armor, the much-hyped “action harvesting,” and better environments and textures.
The team also tackled a number of community questions, such as the Elken’s ranged bonus, how sturdy the Stoneborn are, and will Clerics and Knights be able to use a dodge as their right mouse button ability. The full hour dev talk is waiting for you below.
“Boxy and functional” is not usually a compliment unless you want to get slapped or are describing a Volvo. But when it comes to Crowfall’s new user interface screens, this is sincere praise indeed.
Today, the team previewed its work on some of the user interface screens to the community, which are crisp, boxy, and (yes) functional. Apparently these screens also streamline excessive UI: “Most of you are experienced with how the current layout exists, with separate windows for inventory, character information, and equipment. The new design combines (and condenses) these elements with a built-in tab system that allows you to view multiple pieces of information at one time… in less screen space!”
ArtCraft also recently posted a gorgeous piece of concept art that is meant to relay to the viewer what this game is about in a “visceral” sense. Bet you anything that it’s waiting for you after the jump. Any takers?
Chances are that all save but the most architecturally nerdy among you don’t find walls, panels, and sockets a particularly exciting topic. But your opinion on this might change when those elements are put together to form a protective and useful barrier between you and an army attempting to send you back to the spirits.
In a new developer blog, the Crowfall team shares some of the advances that it has made when it comes to castle wall construction. These improvements include allowing players to seemlessly connect parts together and select certain “panels” that can be used as windows, arrow slits, support beams, and doors. This way, not every castle wall you encounter will be the same as all of the others.
J. Todd Coleman also gave an update on what’s happening with the next big patch: “I want to say that I know you guys are waiting for 5.3. Obviously, it’s taking longer than we would like […] The version still isn’t quite ready, but it’s getting closer on a day-by-day basis and we’re hopeful that soon we can get a version onto the TEST environment, which of course is a pre-cursor to bringing it to LIVE.”
Crowfall isn’t content to make gathering as dull and repetitive as in other MMOs, which is why the team is putting great stock in its so-called “action harvesting.” This system has come under further refinement following its introduction a few weeks back, and the devs were on hand this week to demonstrate why you’ll need to be on your toes when you’re cutting down that tree or scrounging through that bush.
One of these refinements is the addition of “energetic harvesting,” a skill that uses the new action pips to trigger buffs during the process. Players were also shown several of the optional disciplines that a character can equip, such as Logger, Quarryman, Lookout, Hoarder, and Survivalist.
ArtCraft informed the community yesterday that it has started to send out instructions for guilds to reserve their names. “Hey, Crowfall Kickstarter backers: Watch your inbox for guild name reservation info. Newer backers can reserve guild names in November,” the studio posted.
MOP reader Sally Bowls is on a roll with the good questions lately! She lobbed us one this past weekend that seems a good follow-up to a comment thread discussion about the problems inherent in unregulated three-way factional PvP/RvR (and how a game like Camelot Unchained will regulate it). By way of example, she noted that a certain MMO griefer famously argued in favor of strategy that basically made the opponent not want to log in, using tactics like creating timesinks and hassles in a sandbox. “Should the dominant faction on a RvRvR server ‘camp’ the smallest to try to drive them off?” she wondered.
“If it’s about fair PvP, then that is anathema. But if you see the game as being about your faction being at war with other factions, then not doing your utmost to win that war is incompetence. Neither is bad design per se, just a conflict in understanding of the goals. And will Camelot Unchained really be RvR, doing everything legal for your realm to win? Or will it be about PvP battles, with the RvR rhetoric being more marketing fluff than von Clausewitz and Machiavelli? If camping a mine hurts your kill/death ratio but makes the opponent weaker due to hassles or crafting, is that winning or losing? Is an RvR game really about realms vs. realms or is it just another BG?”
I’ve pitched Sally’s comments to the team for consideration in this week’s Massively Overthinking. Is RvR just a more carebear-friendly way to market FFA PvP? Do you play RvR or factional PvP to win or to have fun, and how does that differ from a more open FFA sandbox? How would you design three-way factional PvP to keep people from quitting and stop griefing before it starts?
Over the past month or so, Crowfall has been steadfastly working its way through the list of the dozen races that will be available during the game’s remaining testing and launch. As of today, that list is complete.
The last three beastly species are given the spotlight treatment, with racial traits for each revealed. The noble Centaur is more hardy, has an extra boot slot (because… four hooves!), and can kick players who attack it from behind. The fierce Minotaur is more dexterous, can regenerate some damage that it is dealt, and is immune to stuns coming from its front. Finally, the small but scrappy Guinecean gain more effects when they eat food, can wear three rings, and can double-jump with the best of them.
As with the other races, these three can only be paired with a small subset of classes. The Centaur can choose between Knight, Champion, and Cleric; the Minotaur picks from Ranger, Champion, and Myrmidon options; and the Guinecean may choose to become a Knight, a Cleric, or a Duelist.
Testing for Crowfall is still in full swing, and that means that when you watch something like the most recent hour-long stream, you do so with full knowledge that everything in the game can still change. Case in point: For a very long time, the game has encouraged every class in the game to wear any weight of armor the player desires, with each weight having its own strengths and weaknesses. You can still mix and match armor types, but the next patch will change the system so you’ll have to equip a minor discipline to use armor that’s not normally used by the base class.
Other previews include the Knight’s ability to choose between blocking and dodging attacks, the multiple different types of bow on display, and the upcoming dual-wielded pistols for Duelist characters. You can check out the full video just below, but be warned, it is an hour long. Don’t start watching if your boss is coming over in five minutes.
Happy October: It’s time for another Crowfall Q&A. ArtCraft’s Thomas Blair and Mark Halash and sit down to answer questions from high-end Crowfall backers. Of note, they cover multiple skill trays, exploration trees, bow content, particle effects, double-dipping skill trees, tome caps, win conditions in testing vs. final, and harvesting tools. Respecs are still on the table (it’s a post-launch feature), and vessel-swapping is hoped to make it into the 5.4 test. The duo further address the extreme lag from the last test, admitting that new stuff being tested is still being optimized, hence the slowdowns.
They also answer a provocative question about a checklist and production schedule for the soft launch. “There’s definitely a schedule,” Blair says. “Do we share it? No! Because we don’t want our feet held to the fire for everything little thing that we have to rearrange.
“For us it’s kind of a living document. Some things have to slip around, like, ‘Hey, this thing that we planned to do two milestones out just became super easy, or we had to do it anyway to get to the thing we wanted to do.’ And that happens all the time. So we get pretty transparent after we do a thing and when it’s at a very high level, but we’re not going to give you ‘here’s our schedule; hold us to these things.'”