artcraft

See: Crowfall

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 24×7 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 24×7 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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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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Crowfall preps faction system, playtests, and houses

Coming soon — not in time for this weekend’s pre-alpha test, but soon — is the first version of Crowfall’s faction system. At some point in Pre-Alpha 4.0, players will be able to pick and fight for a faction, officially joining a team until the end of a campaign’s run. While a date for the start of faction play hasn’t been announced, the Templar will be available to test this weekend.

The devs said that this initial foray into factional warfare won’t be as full-featured as the launch game: “This isn’t a ‘mini-campaign,’ per se, so don’t expect win conditions, castle sieging or limitations on import/export just yet… all of that will come in due time. This is simply the jumping-off point.”

ArtCraft is also running a housing promotion by selling three of its units at 20% off (which range from $52 to $144). Whether or not you’re interested in buying them, you might want to check out the “Parade of Houses” video after the break to get an idea of what homesteading in Crowfall might look like.

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Massively Overthinking: Are MMOs designed for ‘low-skill gamers’?

Ages ago on the MMORPG subreddit, a player made a bold statement: MMORPGs are designed for low-skill gamers.

“I remember being dazzled by EverQuest and Ultima as a child,” he wrote, reminiscing about his memory of high difficulty old-school games. “I recently loaded up [Star Wars: The Old Republic] again, and I’m shocked. Piss easy. Everything. XP falling from the sky. Mobs dead in one GCD. Brainless. The same reason I quite every MMO. I never meet people, I never feel challenged. I just feel bored. ‘Wait till endgame’ isn’t gonna cut it anymore. I’m over it. I’m done. I feel like I’m just hitting the ‘Reward’ button again and again and again, solitary and alone, like a stupid little rat in the cage.” He then basically blames the perceived shift of the genre on people who don’t want games to be “like a job”: “The genre just seems to be fueled by mediocre, anti-social “consumers.”

I wanted to pull this back out to see whether our staff and writers agree with the claims — and whether we all have some advice for this fan, who concludes his rant by asking people to change his mind. Howsabout it, Overthinking fans?

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Crowfall’s Valentine gag video is actually an inside look at weapon modeling

Lost in the confection-drenched sap of yesterday’s Valentine’s Day festivities was a gem from Crowfall, which following the solicitation of meme-ish valentines from the community (NSFW! NSFW!) put out a video from Character Artist Eric Hart (his actual name). Bookended by bizarre dancing hearts, Hart walks players through the modeling of — you guessed it — a Crowfall dagger with a heart.

So hey, it’s a neat super-speed look at how a piece of video game weaponry is developed for those of you curious about that process. For everyone else, there’s NSFW valentines.

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