Yes, Crowfall’s teaser week is coming to a close today, with two new images and a story excerpt commenting on the insidious nature of humans.
If yesterday’s image names (“hottiemchotster” and “jamesgoblinlikesthis”) had any deeper meaning, today’s don’t seem to: “goodonedave” and “genericfilename.” Ah well.
Here’s everything we’ve done on teaser week so far. Where do we stand in the speculation game?
MMORPG blogger and MOP commenter Isarii (@ethanmacfie) recently published an excellent video positing that the MMO industry is facing a “massive identity crisis.”
“The MMO genre has sort of walked away from the things that made it unique and has faced an identity crisis since then as MMOs have reinvented themselves as these big giant titles trying to appeal to as many people as possible,” he argues. “As a result, you end up with MMOs that try to do things that smaller scale games tend to do better while not doing any of the things that make MMOs themselves unique.”
The whole video is worth a look-and-listen as he pins down what exactly does make MMOs unique and which MMOs have excelled as actual MMOs (protip: It’s everything from EVE to SWG to WoW, so don’t think this is about subgenre elitism at all). What do you think? Is Isarii right? Is the genre facing an identity crisis? And how do we solve it? That’s what our writers will be debating in this week’s Massively Overthinking.
ArtCraft is clearly taking Crowfall’s teaser week super seriously, what with naming today’s teaser images “hottiemchotster” and “jamesgoblinlikesthis.” There’s not much to the Thursday reveal beyond the Dave Greco-drawn concept art and icons.
Reddit still thinks the studio is hinting at disciplines, but it’s probably a bit more complicated than that.
Here’s everything we’ve done on teaser week so far… any guesses?
Are you tired of Crowfall’s string of teasers leading up to a big announcement on May 16th, or does every word and screenshot add more coal to your hype train?
Well hope it’s more the latter, because we’re only in the middle of a whole week dedicated to teasing this reveal. Today, the team posted a trio of new concept art pieces, including two characters and a part of the equipment UI. Discussion is heating up on Reddit over the reveals, theorizing that it might either be the full reveal of disciplines or some race-bending class.
ArtCraft did offer one solid bit of news, which is that the studio is getting ready to expand its testing of Eternal Kingdoms (player housing zones) with the ability for owners to toggle PvP on and off in those regions. Additionally, the studio is giving all testers a copy of this year’s medium keep to try (but not retain come launch).
What could Crowfall’s teasers for Teaser Week mean? Are they teasing new classes? New races? New combinations of same? Today’s teaser is just a group of images consisting of a short, hairy man, some weapons, and some landscapes. That could be a teaser for an upcoming camping trip with your uncle Todd, but probably not. (You may not even have an uncle Todd. We don’t know your family very well.)
Of course, speculation is running rampant, so you can feel free to engage in your own speculation down below. You might also want to take yesterday’s teaser into account. And hey, if you’d like to also bring in stuff like the Lead Masks incident and the UVB-76 broadcast, who are we to judge?
Last week, Crowfall studio ArtCraft posted a teaser that it would be posting more teasers this week on the road to a something “massive” — a “big splash” — only the fourth such event the studio’s ever carried out. While the actual announcement isn’t coming until May 16th, today we’re getting the first (actually the second?) one, which appears to feature the Frostweaver archetype with (gorgeous) new concept art and a lore bit on ice and fire magic. Oh! I’ve got it. Winter is coming, right?
Speculation on Reddit seems to center on a big adjustment for the archetype system in general — like increased customization through race/class mixing. What do you think?
Who wants a teaser for more teasers! Nobody? Bad news because we’re getting some anyway, so go make some popcorn. A lot of it.
The teaser for the teaser swirls around Crowfall, and ArtCraft insists it’s going to be worth it.
“Since our initial teaser campaign for Crowfall, we’ve only had a few announcements that we felt were big enough, impactful enough, to warrant making a ‘big splash,'” — that’d be the Kickstarter, the EU partnership, and Vessels. While the new announcement isn’t coming until May 16th, the studio is vowing to post a new teaser every day next week.
“You’re not going to believe it. And you’re going to love it,” Todd Coleman writes. “Something is coming, and it is… MASSIVE!”
The first teaser is apparently this dude right here. Anybody got any guesses?
Anonymous griefers, Crowfall might not be the game for you. In May’s developer Q&A video, the team clarified that players’ character names will be the same as their account names in order to make reputation important within the community.
“Players enforce their own rules,” said Design Lead Thomas Blair about the lawless Dregs campaign world. “People who cause problems generally find that they will have a bad time. And in Crowfall, you can’t hide from a bad reputation because that’s your account name. So it’s not like, ‘Oh, I’ll go create an alt and fool more people.’ Reputation should matter.”
Other topics discussed included taking over points of interests, testing citadels, commerce in a rule-free world, and transporting materials across the world. You can watch the 13-minute video after the break!
One shouldn’t forget that Crowfall’s various campaign worlds will be populated by more than just irate players looking to make the world burn (and loot your corpse while they’re at it). There are plenty of hostile critters roaming around, such as the hellcat.
This week’s bestiary entry looks at the powerful sabertooth cat-like beast… from the hellcat’s own point of view. A brief lore entry highlights the intelligence of this hunter as well as its playful side. Still, we’d probably give it a hard pass if someone offered one to us as a pet.
ArtCraft’s Gordon Walton is making an appearance at a panel today in Austin, Texas, to talk about the challenges and strategies in making money for indie games. To date, Crowfall has raised over $12.23 million in equity, licensing, and fan pledges.
OK, so “minimum viable product” is pretty much the worst thing an MMO dev can say about her game. But how about “minimum viable powers”? That’s the descriptor for the philosophy underpinning Crowfall’s power development, a new dev blog by ArtCraft Design Lead Thomas “Blixtev” Blair explains today.
“We have been building each archetype with what we think would be a ‘minimum viable power’ kit for that archetype to be useful and fun in combat,” he says. “We are leaving ourselves room on the powers tray for the player to eventually slot additional combat powers (i.e., the ones that the player will acquire via disciplines, advantages or class promotions). In other words, don’t freak out about anything at this stage.”
As his chief example, he uses the Fae Assassin, a “stealthy, quick-attacking, stabby-stab type that utilizes poisons and has positional-based attacks,” to assure backers that the team didn’t accidentally forget about stealth and illuminate the game’s wing and poison mechanics. There’s also a dive into the Sin’s UI, which demos passive and active skills, the power bar, and modes like stealth. Definitely worth a look if you’re the type of gamer who prefers stabbing from the shadows (or, y’know, running away from people like that).
An MMORPG with a crappy user interface doesn’t last long in 2017. ArtCraft has this lesson memorized and has put it to good use in Crowfall, if today’s dev update is any measure.
UX Design Lead Billy Garretsen grants game-watchers a tour of the evolution of the PvP MMO’s alpha login screens, kingdom selection screens, heads-up display, and tooltips. The first thing you’re going to notice? It’s very white, reminiscent of the sort of look capitalized on in 2011 by Dragon Age 2 and 2012 by Guild Wars 2. Inside the game, though, the HUD and tooltips are relatively dark and flat — an extremely popular look for everything from World of Warcraft mods to smartphone operating systems.
“Long ago we established a brand guideline that carried us through the Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign and development of our website and social media,” Garretsen says. “Over time, the UX presentation in the game has deviated and lost some of its brand identity” — and that’s what the latest revisions are meant to fix.
One of my favorite early MMORPG PvP memories is from Dark Age of Camelot, where I liked to position my Huntress atop my side’s keep battlements to fire down on the Hibbies and Albies swarming below. But of course, we didn’t build that keep; we just claimed it, so losing didn’t hurt much beyond our pride. In Crowfall, however, you’re going to have to rebuild and hold the strongholds you’re fighting over in the game’s Dying Worlds campaigns.
ArtCraft Associate Producer Max Lancaster has a dev blog out today explaining just how it’ll work. “Strongholds will use a capture-and-rebuild mechanic,” he says. “In these worlds, players will fight over the ruins of existing castles and will need to collect resources from neighboring ‘points of interest’ (POIs), specifically mines, mills and quarries, to rebuild the defensive structures in those strongholds. These POIs will be heavily disputed, so be prepared to fight to gain (and maintain) control of them. This is done by ‘feeding’ resources into what we call hungry spawners.”
Now that the Crowfall team has revealed most of the core archetypes that will come in the launch game, the devs are turning their attention to providing more variants and customization for these classes.
In a new dev diary, ArtCraft shows off the male versions of two previously female-only archetypes: the Assassin and the Druid. “Character customization is crucial for players to create an identity that they can connect with in-game. It’s been very important to us here on the Crowfall team to give you all a sense of choice when creating yours,” the studio wrote.
The team obviously put some thought into the differences between the gender variants. For example, as the male Assassin wasn’t brought up among a sisterhood of killers, his outfit reflects being more of an outcast that wants to blend in with the shadows. Likewise, the Druid’s armor works in more bone and other organic material to reflect the class’ nature heritage.