Do you have any qualms about playing with dead things in video games? How about playing a dead thing itself? Crowfall will offer both opportunities with its necromancy crafting profession.
"Crowfall's vision for necromancy is not the same as traditional fantasy RPGs, where you raise pets from the dead and force them to do your bidding," the team explained. "While that does sound pretty cool, necromancy in Crowfall is more about digging up desiccated body parts, restoring them, and combining them in such a way to make a playable character class."
Necromancers will assemble ingredients and harvest body parts to work on the assembly of a new "vessel" for their own or others' use. As it is the only way to jump into the skin of an archetype that has superior and customized stats than the default selection, the devs anticipate necromancy to be a profession in constant high demand.
Finishing up today is Crowfall's Indiegogo-based equity crowdfunding campaign, one of the first games and MMORPGs to take advantage of new 2016 laws that allow regular people to invest in small indie companies online. As I write this, the studio has raised just over $600,000 with just over 1100 investors, solidly in the middle of its $159K-$1M goal range.
I'm curious, though, whether any of you were among the investors or plan to invest in other games in the future, now that actual investing (however limited and risky) is an option when once only donations were on the table.
That leads me to today's Leaderboard and the pair of polls below, where we're asking you both about your involvement in Crowfall's fundraising and your involvement in future equity crowdfunding ventures from other studios. Onward!
Crowfall Design Lead Thomas "Blixtev" Blair has a new dev blog out this afternoon on the resource harvesting slice of the big world testing going on right now. To understand how it's changing, you need to understand how the resource system was planned to work originally.
"The most important aspect of resources in Crowfall is that every resource type is important in the crafting system. We are not making a standard resource progression where copper is replaced by a higher tier material, thus turning copper into a low- end trash resource only useful for new players. [...] Crafters will combine multiple resources types in meaningful ways to produce crafting components or items with interesting stats."
Blair says that while the crafting design is working, the resource design wasn't -- chiefly because the models used for each don't match up and the progression of different materials vs. tools was opaque to players unless they had a chart sitting in front of them.
Early this afternoon, ArtCraft Entertainment's J. Todd Coleman and Gordon Walton answered investor questions about Crowfall's equity crowdfunding venture, which closes out on Monday. We've collected some of the highlights.
Coleman says investors are "making a bet" that there's an "eventual win" in terms of an IPO or buyout or some other way. In the gaming business, he says, most companies that have a win, "get acquired." He wouldn't say that's even remotely in the works, but it's a possibility for companies like ArtCraft and is one way investors might profit from their investment.
When asked whether the raise was initiated because the company needed money, Walton explained that the company didn't realize they'd be able to do a raise like this (because it was enabled by a brand-new law last fall); in fact, ArtCraft ended a different raise to open this one and had run one prior to the Kickstarter as well.
"Do [we] need more money? Yes, we do," Coleman says, but he stressed that every company needs and wants more money. He said he now believes the game will cost in the $11M-12M range, up from the original $8M estimate, thanks to mistakes, new features, design changes, and the Travian localization partnership, among other things.
Fig, the gaming crowdfunding platform that surged in popularity in 2016 thanks to successful Wasteland 3 and Psychonauts 2 campaigns, has released a list of the top 10 biggest gaming crowdfunds of last year -- and it includes three MMOs.
Fig is touting the games that raised cash on its own platform, of course, but the data also include three MMORPGs in the top 10, backed off Fig: Soulbound's PvP sandbox, Chronicles of Elyria; Novaquark's builder-centric sci-fi sandbox, Dual Universe; and Artix's cutesy cross-platform MMO, AdventureQuest 3D. All three were funded through Kickstarter.
Fig, like the Indiegogo/Microventures platform Crowfall has used for its latest investment round, takes advantage of relatively new U.S. laws that allow non-accredited investors to invest in startups online, making some of these crowdfunds true investment, not just donations, though they come with plenty of restrictions and caveats. Check out the full infographic below.
Back in November, Crowfall studio ArtCraft joined Indiegogo's fledgling equity crowdfunding platform, which makes use of brand-new laws that allow non-accredited investors to invest in start-ups online. This is indeed investment, unlike the donation-based, Kickstarter-esque crowdfunding you're probably used to as a gamer, though investors are purchasing preferred shares, which are relatively restricted in benefit and transfer power, and there's no guarantee whatsoever investors will see a return.
Still, it's ahead of the game's persistent state, funding for ArtCraft is apparently doing fairly well at. The game has just managed to hit the 35% mark for how much can legally be raised under its newest crowdfunding push. Now the team is getting ready for one final push to 50%, with one last stretch goal for players.
Investors who back the company through this equity crowdfunding venture will receive a special land parcel that will never be available through any other means, allowing you to make a villa in the shadow of a collapsed statue. It's definitely a conversation starter, and it's available for everyone who invests if the 50% mark is passed, while backers who don't invest will still receive some freebies. If that sounds like something you just can't live without, perhaps you might want to invest a little money in the studio after all.
What ever happened to Crowfall's stretch goal for a QA lead? The answer is nothing happened to it; it's still a goal for the future, but at the moment the studio's finances are just such that the bug-tracking needs to be handed off to people already working on the game, including J. Todd Coleman himself. The work of tracking down bugs and issues is still being done, and hiring someone to lead the hunt is still in the cards for the future. But you needn't take our word for it, since you can watch the latest community Q&A in video form just below.
Many of this round's questions cover more general QA or technical issues; the game is still planned to allow 1000 people per campaign world as a bare minimum, but major optimization work has not yet been done on the server structure. There's also more information about how bugs are tracked internally and what's next for the game's milestone updates; check out the whole thing past the break.
Crowfall isn't wasting any time in claiming dominance over 2017. ArtCraft's J. Todd Coleman said that, "2017 is going to be our year, I feel it!" in the team's January Kickstarter update.
ArtCraft said that the next stretch goal for fundraising will, if reached, treat personal investors to a free villa and woodland grove resource parcel. The team wrapped up its progress from December and said that it is revving up for more development now that the holidays are past.
Speaking of development, a lot of attention this past week was given to the Templar: "The Templar is a melee-focused holy warrior using an imposing two-handed great sword to execute judgement and protect the righteous. As a tank archetype she is tough to take down, and uses a combination of healing, hitpoint buffs and defense/counter mechanics to form a strong front-line offense."
Start off the new year in Crowfall with a 2016 wrapup and a pair of videos looking at the Templar after the break!
Massively Overpowered's end-of-the-year 2016 awards continue today with our award for Most Anticipated MMORPG for 2017 and Beyond, which was awarded to Star Citizen last year in an incredibly close vote. This year's was close too, but dang, a lot of the games are the same because they still aren't out.
Don't forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end!
The Massively OP staff pick for Most Anticipated MMORPG for 2017 and Beyond is...
In late 2012, former Wing Commander developer-slash-movie director Chris Roberts emerged from a decade of obscurity to ask for help to fund his vision of a massive, engaging space sim for a modern audience. Fans opened up their wallets and started pouring unprecedented amounts of money into the project, which Roberts called Star Citizen.
I don't have to explain to you the subsequent rise of this $138M+ budget title, the vast expansion of its scope, the debate over its viability, and the fanatical following that fans have for this "under construction" sim. Even if it can't be Wing Commander in name, gamers reasoned as they plunked down their money, it could be the Wing Commander MMO in spirit.
Interestingly enough, there was another, older effort made to bring the well-known franchise to the MMO table back in the late '90s. A pair of projects, Wing Commander Online and Privateer Online, promised the thrills of the hit space saga with the expanse of the online gaming world. What happened and why aren't we playing one of these games today? Find out on this exciting episode of The Game Archaeologist!
The many worlds of Crowfall are built on a premise of risk and reward. The best materials are found in the most dangerous kill-or-be-killed worlds, and all items are crafted. To get the best materials, you have to go into danger. While the game's current build features three kill-or-be-killed worlds with one safe zone, the game is adding the first version of its eventual import/export system, allowing players to transfer items between the various unique worlds using the Spirit Bank.
Items transferred from a character's inventory to the Spirit Bank take a few minutes to transfer, presumably to prevent quickly unloading valuable materials before making a run for it. The changes will also make more of an impact over time as the game pushes to have a spectrum of game worlds with more or less dangerous PvP rules in each. It's all in service to an active sense of risk and reward, however, so you'll have to take on some danger if you want to get the best gear.
When you follow the development of MMOs, do you ever find yourself wondering who these people are making the games and what is their story? After all, developers' backgrounds and experience is carried forward into these new games.
Crowfall fans will not find themselves in the dark about Gordon Walton. It turns out that he's pretty chatty when the subject is his own life. In the second part of an interview series, Walton traces his game development career through the 1990s. Even if Crowfall isn't on your radar, you might want to give this a watch to learn more about the life and times of a game designer.
Give it a watch after the break!
As 2016 comes to a close, Crowfall finds itself in pre-alpha testing involving the so-called "big world." At this point the community has many questions for the team (some 15 or 16 pages' worth, according to ArtCraft), and today the devs do their best to address those pertaining to skills and the big world.
In the Q&A video, the devs talk about diminishing returns in skills, blacklists on personal vendors, skipping ahead in crafting progression trees, power differentials between players, and the possibility of skill training through a website or app. The devs said that they "overachieved" with the recent big world test, although they saw that the zerg issue was severe and would need addressing with safe spaces.
"Our entire approach with this project is 'grow into your success,'" J. Todd Coleman said. "One of the things we're terrified of, and rightful so, is building up a bunch of tech, propping it up on launch day, and having it collapse.
Your 14 minutes of roguish smiles and informative answers await you below.