It’s amazing how something as simple as days turning into nights and vice-versa can serve to transform a static setting into a living, breathing world. ArtCraft hopes that its new day/night cycle will help to immerse players into Crowfall’s campaign settings when it comes with Patch 5.7. The studio previewed the new tech, showed off hunger crystals, and answered yet more player questions in the May dev video.
Ten Ton Hammer recently caught up with ArtCraft’s J. Todd Coleman to talk about Crowfall’s progress. “We’ve been working hard on filling out our checklist of Races and Classes (plus over 100 Disciplines, which act like sub-classes),” Coleman said, “as well as filling in all of the game systems. We have a full array of powers and power mechanics (mana, stamina, rage, energy, pips, you name it), crafting (with about a thousand unique recipes, I think?), harvesting and group harvesting, territory capture and castle destruction… the game isn’t done, obviously, but there is a LOT of game there.”
Coleman said that ArtCraft’s team is up to around 45 employees and is focused on Patches 5.6, 5.7, and beyond.
This week in MMO crowdfunding, buy-to-play sandbox Albion Online, which launched back in 2017, formally landed on Steam, bringing its blend of PvP warfare to a totally new audience. While the game never ran a Kickstarter, it did raise close to $10,000,000 from a quarter of a million backers through website crowdfunding and preorder packages prior to its release last summer, making it one of the higher profile crowdfunded MMORPGs to actually make it to launch and keep on producing content.
In Camelot Unchained – you’re still keeping an eye on the upcoming beta one, right? – the devs are busy sending early backers into the test server this weekend to break things. Among the bits and bobs CSE is working on? The crafting system, a major environment bug, character creation rendering, new ambient music, scenario maps, trait icons, animations, and “a new template for the home islands.”
Meanwhile, the Pantheon team sat down for a stream and revealed the first of its three classes, Ship of Heroes posted gobs of new screenshots to its Instagram, Elite Dangerous proposed making its factional combat mode entirely open PvP, and Legends of Aria patched in some good stuff, including the first iteration of secure trading.
Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and the weekly roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’re following.
There will be two sorts of reactions to the idea of sharing patch notes from the future for Crowfall. One group of people will be adamant that you can’t share something from the future, that as soon as you share it that’s part of the present even if it pertains to the future. The other group will just be excited to hear about the stuff in patch 5.6 which only a small group of players get to test right now. These two forces will struggle eternally, if “eternally” means “not at all.” But the patch notes are here! In video form!
The video covers things like race and class powers, keybindings (you can now use ESDF instead of WASD if you haven’t developed years of reflexes for one and refuse to change), the command skill tree, and other options. It also covers even minor things like the changes to Sprint and Jump to make them immediate client-side powers so that the abilities feel less delayed; the team is looking into other powers to ensure that you feel like things happen when they ought to rather than “in a quarter-second.” Check out the full video just below.
Here’s a bizarre one for you: Greed Monger’s Jason Appleton is now being billed as a “crypto YouTuber” ahead of the launch of his 13-episode television series funded entirely by bitcoin – it’s called the Crypto Crow Show.
Greed Monger is probably the most famous MMORPG Kickstarter failure to date, having raised over $100,000 back in 2012 to build what the developers said would be a “crafting-focused sandbox MMORPG.” By 2015, the project imploded as devs abandoned it over a lack of funding, generating scam accusations from angry backers. Subsequent attempts to revive the game failed. Appleton resurfaced earlier this year, promising to reimburse Kickstarter backers with his newfound fortune, though a quick glance through the Kickstarter’s comments shows that currently there are still backers who haven’t received theirs, and Appleton has apparently closed down applications for refunds and is bashing donors still asking for their money back.
Sometimes, the title “survival sandbox” might seem a bit inaccurate or limiting. But then you get into stuff like Conan Exiles and Wild West Online, games that… well, pretty much place you inside of a box of sand to survive. And they both launched this week! Which means that we’re waving farewell to them from this particular column, but we hope everyone has fun in that box full of sand. Oh, there’s so much sand there, you wouldn’t believe. Sandy everything.
Other beta news? Hey, why not, it’s a free country. How fun.
Want more betas? Boy, you always want more. Good thing there’s a list just below! But do let us know if something slipped into proper launch without letting us know or if the developers seem to have dropped off of the face of the planet. That… latter one might be more likely.
In Crowfall, the days are for partying, but the nights… are for being very afraid. Or at least wary of the many monsters that come out during the night cycle. The latest post on the official site shows off how the game’s day and night cycle will affect the game, starting chiefly with the fact that the often-seen “hunger” versions of monsters will emerge during the night cycle instead of simply in the later seasons of a given campaign world. That may seem to remove some of the anxiety from the game, but since the seasons will move from long days and short nights to the inverse, later stages will still be crawling with corrupted monsters.
Night also means a chance for special node-blocking hunger shards to spawn, forcing players to treat harvesting differently as well. Of course, you can harvest those shards for specialized effects, but it’s going to make it harder to harvest more conventional items throughout the world. In short, there’s a much stronger shift between day and night; read all about it and get ready to be a little more scared of the dark.
This month’s developer question and answer video from the Crowfall team is full of exciting steps forward in the game’s history, starting with the upcoming debut of world clusters. World clusters allow the studio to take a bunch of campaign servers and group them under one (non-literal) umbrella. The first step from this is data transfer between maps and zones, giving characters the ability to jump from one world to another.
The team also admitted that the current campaign win conditions are too simplistic at this stage in testing, leading to players refusing to take keeps and forts. “We absolutely need to go back and do another pass to make it more engaging,” said the team.
Check out the full Q&A below!
The next alpha version of Crowfall will allow players to try out the High Elf race, which means that it would be a bit of a problem if you couldn’t dress them up appropriately. Originally, the race was designed for the Frostweaver class, but while the races can now take on multiple different classes, those design elements are still in place for the High Elf garments, all of which have a looser feel and more elegant designs.
All of the various outfits were designed with an eye toward some of the more ornate armors found in traditions like ancient Persia and Thailand, functional with a nod toward high collars and sweeping lines. You’ll get to play around with it yourself in the game’s next alpha test, of course, but it’s nice to get a preview of the fashion before playing dress-up.
The second part of Crowfall’s video series is now up which covers the world-building strike team and its efforts to come up with the best possible solutions for the PvP MMO’s campaign worlds.
“Today’s video wraps up the world-building strike team meeting where Creative Director J Todd Coleman, Environment Art Lead Jon O’Neal, Game Designer Jonathan Pollard, Senior Game Designer Brandon Robertson, and Principal Technical Designer Thomas Eidson discuss the particulars of procedural world generation,” ArtCraft said. “This little-discussed system will allow us to easily make unique campaign worlds.”
Make sure you’re caught up on the first part of this video series and head past the break for part two!
Apparently inviting players to attend ArtCraft’s actual (or cleverly staged?) developer meetings was such a hit that Crowfall is doing it once again. A new “Fly on the Wall” video series kicked off this week, giving players a rare opportunity to hang out with the devs as they discuss world building in this upcoming PvP MMORPG.
There’s a lot of discussion of the various elements that are going into making the campaign worlds. If nothing else, hearing the developers seriously consider all of the implications of roads, mountain passes, parcels, and strongholds connect can give you an idea of the complexity that this game is striving to produce. Even more so, when you consider that the campaign worlds will be generated when each opens up.
Similar to how skill training works in EVE Online, Crowfall uses a time-based skill-up system that accrues points whether or not the player is online. The dev team took some time recently to evaluate how the system was working out in testing and decided that it could benefit from some improvements.
While a dev blog goes into depth on the minutiae of the tweaks, the gist is that the entire system will accrue points in a “time bank” for players to spend on skill nodes when they log in each session. Many of the skill trees have been streamlined as well.
VIP players are going to have an advantage over regular players with this system, as they will get a much larger time bank (30 days vs. three days) and the ability to train two types of skill trees at once instead of one.
If you’re going to share a plot of land with other people in Crowfall, you need to understand what that sharing will entail. If you’re still unclear as to how the game’s eternal kingdoms will allow people to work together to build up, the latest official development entry spells it all out in clear language, and it’s fairly straightforward. You just need to understand how the various ranks interact and what will be expected of any given player.
Any kingdom has its monarch, its nobles, and its vassals. The monarch is the owner of the overall area, while the nobles are invited members who can place parcels of land as they wish. Vassals cannot place parcels, but can decorate on the parcels placed by nobles or the monarch. It’s a fairly complex interrelated hierarchy, so feel free to peruse the whole rundown on the official site to find out how to work with others to build a kingdom everyone can enjoy. Assuming they were invited, anyhow.
Skill trees are pretty darn important to Crowfall, so it’s also pretty darn important when the development team announces that said trees are getting some overhaul and simplification. There’s also changes to the way that the game handles accrual of skill points over longer-term leveling, with a pretty stark divide between free players and VIP members, which is going to further affect players in terms of leveling things up. Be prepared for growing pains.
The reading of the patch notes also includes notes about the game’s Vassal system, which is currently working but not giving players all of the messages that might be necessary (if you kick Ron off of your property, for example, Ron won’t see a message when he logs in next time). You can hear about all of the changes coming with the aforementioned future patch by hopping down past the break and watching the whole video, although you should also be aware it’s an hour long.