The team behind Crowfall continues its behind-the-scenes discussion of the upcoming vassal system in the eternal kingdoms. Vassals are a way for players to work together — and under and over — friends to gain access to more glorious kingdoms and benefit from working together.
It’s obviously not as simple as opening the door and letting everyone run into a shared space. Permissions, edit tools, relationships, and how this system will affect and be affected by other systems in the game. If nothing else, it’s a good reminder of how complex MMORPGs are to design and how they require careful consideration from all angles.
Check it out after the break!
Have you ever had the burning desire to experience the magic, the majesty, the magnificence of the game development process as it happens? Truly, our mortal minds can scarce imagine the glory that takes place in studio conference rooms.
Crowfall has descended the mountain to extend a hand to us this week and invite us to such hallowed ground. The team put out the first part of a video showing a probably-maybe-not-staged meeting in which ArtCraft discusses the vassal system that it is developing for its eternal kingdom housing system.
The idea of a vassal system is that any given kingdom has a singular monarch that reigns over it. That monarch can set permissions for others to visit as well as for some of those to become nobles that can plunk down their own parcels and have vassals that serve them. As the team said, it sounds a little complicated but in practice, it’s pretty simple. Check it out below!
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then Crowfall just spat out a 3,000-word essay in full technicolor. The art team behind this upcoming PvP MMO pumped out a trio of paintings that attempt to capture the three primary pillars of the game.
“The pillar word behind the first piece is conquest,” said ArtCraft, “fulfilling the role of the Mercenary, Warlord, or Monarch. The pillar word behind the second piece is build, the drive to become a bastion of harvesting and crafting, a kingpin of merchants and trade. For the third and final piece, the pillar word is exploration, the feeling of anticipation and exhilaration that drives one to press on through dense forest and over steep mountains.”
If time-lapse art creation is oddly mesmerizing to you, then gaze upon what waits you after the break.
Are you still struggling to wrap your mind around the way that Crowfall’s new Crypt system is going to work as character selection? The team has been working overtime to explain the system, but you can get another explanation and demonstration with the latest community Q&A video just below. That includes a rundown of the system and the way that the Crypt system interacts with the various campaign world rules (short version: it’s another dial for campaign worlds, like everything else).
You can also get a glimpse of the lady centaur model, new environments, new cairns, and the usual array of questions taken direct from players. Fair warning, as always, the video below runs for more than an hour. If you’re looking for quick, punchy information, you might be disappointed. But if you’d like to see how Crypts work, this is your opportunity.
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.)”