If you missed the most recent development livestream from Crowfall’s team, you can watch it now just below. And it’s covering a lot of ground, including the recently announced changes to the way that character slots and character creation will work. Those of you worried that your plans of necromancy were shot down can rest assured that even with the game’s new Crypt system, Necromancers and the crafting of potent vessels remains just as important; all that’s changed is the way that these things are brought into the game, not the fundamental concepts.
Of course, this look at the outline of what’s being added for the game’s fifth alpha test is about a lot of greetings and departures, introducing vendors, spider canyons, and lady centaurs while removing basic armor and certain well-known class builds. You can get the full rundown in the video just below; be fairly warned that it is an hour long, so don’t start watching if you have to leave in a couple of minutes.
As it currently stands in Crowfall, you are not the character that’s marching around. You are a little shining blue crow, which is what you start as before you select a specific avatar and customize it. That’s just your meat-puppet that you ride around in. Technically speaking, the game’s new form of character creation doesn’t change that fact, as you are still at the core a flying little spirit crow. But the game is adding in the Crypt to choose between your different avatars, and those will now serve as a more proper set of characters.
Rather than players respawning and re-selecting their avatars, the new system allows you to unlock vessels permanently as specific characters in your library, with your game experience starting in your first (and likely primary) avatar. Finding Crypts allows you to swap between your different vessels at will, as your account-wide progression remains the same no matter how often you swap between them. Check out the full overview for both lore and mechanics on the official site, which should provide an interesting cooperation between the lore side of the game and the mechanical one.
Talk about a video bonanza! ArtCraft unloaded a whopping eight new Crowfall videos this week for fans to enjoy. Each one of these covers a different core feature of the game, from Eternal Kingdoms (player housing) to campaign worlds to skill trees.
While these videos may not provide fresh information for the dedicated fan who has been following every iota of the game’s progress to date, they do serve as apt summaries of these features and a great starting point for a newly interested player.
Speaking of coming at the game from a fresh perspective, 512 Tech interviewed the team at ArtCraft to learn about Crowfall and its history. It toted out some interesting numbers along the way: $20 million raised to date, 45 employees working on the project, $50K to $100K per month arriving in new pledges, only $25K spent to date on marketing, and 40,000 current testers. The studio said that the “brutal honesty” of these testers has helped shaped the game tremendously.
Here is some nightmare fuel for gamers imagining the future of the industry. How about an artificial intelligence that deliberately manipulates and messes with players in games to drive revenue growth?
Back in January, a leaked and unconfirmed (and possibly fake) slide show from Data Broker LLC outlined a draft of something called “online game revenue models with AI.” In it, an AI was described that manipulated players’ gameplay experience to drive them toward more microtransactions. Even worse, it uses real-world information about you to drive this process.
“We have proven that allowing the AI to alter a player’s game as a whole (social engineering),” the slide show appears to say, “and alter the player’s individual gameplay experience (psychological manipulation tactics) causes a consistent and dramatic increase recurrent revenue streams.”
While ArtCraft is busy at work shoring up the fundamental systems that will make up Crowfall’s core gameplay, the studio also has to lay the foundation for future features — some of which might not even be thought of yet. At the core of this month’s developer Q&A video is the debate between what’s needed and what is merely wanted.
“Could we do it? Yes,” said Creative Director J. Todd Coleman of a requested feature. “It’s one of those situations where I’m not convinced that the juice is worth the squeeze. It’s not a thing we have to have for release, and I’m trying to concentrate mostly on stuff that we have to have for release. Once the game is out and, in theory, profitable, that means on an ongoing basis we can add stuff forever.”
Among the topics covered this month are the mechanics behind stealth, race and class skills, vendors, and Crowfall’s death system. Give it a watch after the break!
Don’t look now, but PvP is coming — and it’s coming to almost every new MMO in development. It only recently hit me just how many upcoming games are being centered around PvP as a core mechanic. Camelot Unchained, Crowfall, Ashes of Creation, Wild West Online, Worlds Adrift, Dual Universe, Chronicles of Elyria, every survival sandbox you could name… all PvP, pretty much all of the time.
I don’t outright resent PvP from being in MMOs, but as a primarily PvE player, it concerns me to see a flood of this washing over titles that I would otherwise have no reservations about playing. Many of the worlds and mechanics of these games have appeal, but not at the expense of having some jerk ambush me and kill me in 1.5 seconds flat at any moment.
Heck, even Sea of Thieves’ piracy gameplay loop has triggered alarms in my head that captains will be looking to swarm the title with griefing tactics once they’re done playing the “proper” way.
Maybe I’m overreacting. How do you feel about the increased focus on PvP in upcoming MMOs? Why do you think we are seeing a rise of such games?
It’s almost magical to watch a talented artist create a striking piece of concept art from start to end. ArtCraft isn’t keeping this magic to itself but is sharing it instead with fans. This week’s Crowfall subject is the terrifying Yaga, which towers above a mound of skulls and behind scales, suggesting an intimate knowledge of life and death and the value of souls.
“Lead Artist Dave Greco recorded a time-lapse video of his latest concept art, featuring the goddess Yaga,” ArtCraft posted. “Watch the Crone come to life as she collects a soul, but for what purpose?”
Check it out after the break!
Are you ready to make some ornamental accessories?! That may not seem like Crowfall’s whole raison d’etre, but one of the major points covered in the most recent live Q&A session is showing off just how Jewelcrafting is going to work in the game. And it’s relevant, as the session also covers game mechanics and how the system is being developed through patches. For example, your jewelry is an important part of how you actually gain crafting and/or gathering stats as you play; all of the stats related to those activities are placed on armor or rings.
Meanwhile, pure offense and support is found on weapons, which both makes weaponry very important and also allows you to be an excellent crafter with an incredibly scary sword. The full video is an hour long and covers more stat breakdowns along with the crafting demonstration, so if you’re eager to find out more about the game’s fine art of digging stuff up and putting it together to make new stuff, settle in for the video.
Let’s talk about money. Specifically, let’s talk about Crowfall’s money. ArtCraft is doing just that in a dev blog out today.
Referencing the $6M cash injection it picked up from investors at the tail end of 2017, the studio says it’s hired 10 new studio members in addition to a pair of contractors, all of whom were apparently “first choice” candidates for their jobs. That’s brought the studio up to 45 bodies.
“As a result, we now have more throw weight in Art, Design and Engineering,” J. Todd Coleman and Gordon Walton write, “and it also means we’ve started our ‘Live team’ hires (beginning with Operations, and continuing over the next few months with additional folks in Customer Service and Marketing.)”
How much time do you spend thinking about random chance? If you play video games, probably a fair amount. The designers working on Crowfall certainly have, and they’ve also taken the time to talk about it with a new article. But said article also takes the time to discuss things like the Gambler’s Fallacy and other perceptions of random number generation, discussions that many players and some designers seem to forget on the regular when looking at these systems.
(If you’re unfamiliar with the fallacy, ask yourself the following question: If you flip a coin nine times and it comes up heads each time, what are the odds that it will be heads on another flip? The answer is 50%, but the fallacy makes us think it’s lower.)
The team is looking into ways to adjust its RNG systems so that players don’t feel that they are stuck with bad outcomes or subjected to excessive streaks of bad luck; one of the systems proposed (and noted as a likely choice) is the “deck” system, where every possible outcome is in a certain deck that you shuffle through, thus meaning that bad luck streaks have inherently higher chances to end as you get more failures. This also ties into the game’s crafting system that both discourages light dabbling and keeps players from feeling like failures produce nothing useful after lengthy gathering. Check out the full article for the details.
Crowfall’s pre-alpha test is back in business, having restarted with a brand-new build on January 23rd. The team braved an ice storm to record a video that covers all of the Patch 5.4 improvements as well as fielding a community question and answer session.
The latest build for the pre-alpha includes the re-addition of tutorial videos, player XP from killing monsters (at least until level 10), guards made visible, and protection of crafting items so that players won’t destroy them if they fail at their task.
The full stream is below, and you can also peruse the official livestream discussion thread for the community’s thoughts on the update.
Nasty toxins, sneaky attacks, and underhanded tactics: If these things appeal to your style of play, then you’re definitely going to want to check out Crowfall’s newest class, the Assassin.
To master the class, players will need to utilize the Assassin’s toxins and positional combat to the greatest effect. The Assassin can break out poisons, heals, and nature damage based on which crafted toxin is applied to her blades. She can stealth, of course, and attempt to ambush, blind, and stun foes to keep them from retaliating. Other skills include backstab, kidney shot, diffusion, dagger storm, shadowstep, disengage, and engage.
Get a quick look at the Assassin’s powers and effects after the jump!
If you have an exceptional memory, you might recall that a couple of months ago, Crowfall and Star Wars Galaxies designer Raph Koster wrote up a blog post on the cost of making games. The MMO expert followed that up this week with a much, much more detailed presentation that attempts to show hard data to back up his claims.
Koster said that he used industry contacts and other research to assemble data from over 250 games made from 1985 to today that shows the development cost minus the money spent on marketing. He even goes so far as to break down the cost of dollars per developed byte of information, which is where he sees costs for game falling. He said that when you look at it this way, players are getting a “deal” for games these days.
“Lots of people have made the observation that in terms of raw purchasing power, players pay around half of what they used to in the ’80s,” he notes.