crowfall

Official Site: Crowfall
Studio: ArtCraft Entertainment
Launch Date: N/A
Genre: “Throne War Simulator”
Business Model: Hybrid B2P (Optional Sub)
Platform: PC

Make My MMO: Star Citizen’s Star Kitten, Project Gorgon’s gorgeousness (April 22, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, Star Citizen built on the contentious infodump of last weekend with the news that it’s running a contest to encourage backers to, well, bring in more backers. Those who do earn a chance to win the big prize (a free trip to Gamescom in Cologne, Germany) or the little prizes, and those are what have players scratching the heads in confusion, as they’re themed around Star Kitten, an in-universe character that appears to salute… Hello Kitty?

Meanwhile, Ashes of Creation picked May 1st for its impending Kickstarter, Project Gorgon got pretty (!), Shroud of the Avatar and Grim Dawn and Path of Exile all previewed upcoming content in videos, Crowfall penciled in more pre-alpha test dates, City of Titans dropped a lore bomb, Hellion previewed its crew quarters, and TUG updated backers on its progress.

Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’ve got our eye on.

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Take a peek at the development of Crowfall’s winged fae assassin class

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).

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Crowfall has big changes in store for its alpha UI

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.

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Make My MMO: Star Citizen’s roadmap, Elite Dangerous’ Commanders, and Starfighter’s successful Kickstarter (April 15, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, it’s been a battle of the space MMOs.

  • Elite: Dangerous rolled out its Commanders 2.3 update, introducing what our own Justin dubbed “sitting in cockpits” — you won’t be walking in stations per se, but you will at least be able to roll up impressively detailed avatars and multi-crew your spaceships.
  • Late last night, Star Citizen published its 2017 development roadmap, suggesting that 3.0 will arrive this summer, though it’ll be less ambitious in scope than originally planned, as some of its features will be pushed to later in the year.
  • And congrats are due to Starfighter Inc., which pulled off a big Kickstarter win earlier this afternoon and takes home over $170,000.

Meanwhile, Ashes of Creation posted some gorgeous new concept art, Dual Universe posted its latest newsletter and video dev diary with alpha footage, Crowfall canceled its weekend playtest but made headway on expanding gender for its classes, Valiance Online showed off its special effects, and Kickstarted Planet Nomads geared up for early access next week.

Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’ve got our eye on.

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Crowfall’s destructible castles are hungry hungry hippos

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.”

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Crowfall shows off gender-alternative variants of the Assassin and Druid

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.

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Make My MMO: Ship of Heroes’ canceled Kickstarter, Edengrad’s early access (April 8, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, City of Heroes-inspired superhero MMORPG Ship of Heroes launched its Kickstarter, seeking $400,000. But three days later, Heroic Games canceled the crowdfunding attempt, saying it believed it “went to Kickstarter too early.” The new plan is to return to development, raise awareness, take donations through the website, and retool development based on its current level of funding, meaning a potentially smaller but earlier game.

In happier news, congrats are due to post-apoc sandbox Edengrad, which successfully launched into early access. Edengrad was funded last year for over $50,000 US thanks to Kickstarter backers.

Meanwhile, Dual Universe reached another stretch goal, Worlds Adrift launched its 6.0 update, Grim Dawn detailed the Necromancer class coming in its first expansion, Elite: Dangerous dropped its cash shop prices permanently, Starfighter Inc. continues to inch its way toward its Kickstarter end, and Shroud of the Avatar is in the midst of another free trial period.

Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’ve got our eye on.

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Betawatch: Secret World Legends is a very different game, probably (April 7, 2017)

If you were hoping that Secret World Legends was essentially just The Secret World, well, you were wrong. You were told that you were wrong when it was announced, but the first round of leaks have been coming out of the beta, and they paint a very different picture of the game. Of course, it’s still early enough in testing that fans are cautioned not to see anything therein as final, so… take all of that with a grain of salt, naturally.

And yes, there is other beta news! That’s not a secret. It’s a known fact.

You know what comes next: I mention that there’s a list of games in testing below, I implore you to let us know if something jumped test phases, I sit and cry with four pounds of crispy bacon. I don’t actually eat the bacon, I just cry next to it. Also, I’m hoping by this point you’ve stopped reading. The best secrets are out in plain sight.

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Crowfall adds skill loadout customization

Thanks to a new update, Crowfall is giving its players more freedom than before in customizing their own playstyle. The focus here is on an adjustable user interface that allows a player to drag whichever skill they prefer into the hotbar slot of choice.

The discussion of this new UI feature involves a look at Crowfall’s three types of skills: active, passive, and retaliatory. These can be mapped to the number keys, letter keys, and mouse buttons as desired.

“It may seem a pretty mundane thing to talk about, but the arrival of this system portents so many things coming on the horizon (like Disciplines),” said Design Lead Thomas Blair. “No one has really needed to think about loading out their character’s powers in the past as each archetype was built to have a very specific loadout of powers, but now it will be vital to ensure you have the powers loaded out into their proper slots.”

Source: Crowfall

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Crowfall answers questions about stuff that doesn’t exist yet

The latest video Q&A from the Crowfall team answers a whole lot of questions about things that don’t exist in the game at this point. For example, one of the first questions is why backers with the very largest houses can’t test their houses yet. The answer? Those houses are still being worked on and don’t exist yet, so you can’t test them because there’s nothing to test. Once they do exist, players can test them. Which is a bit of a needling answer, but it also does nicely cover things that aren’t finished in a developing game.

The same disclaimers apply for some of the skill descriptions currently in the game and some of the Eternal Kingdom server management technologies; “in development” does not mean “this stuff is ready to test but we’re not letting you.” Of course, there’s also discussions of the way that the game’s locational armor works, and that is most definitely in the game even if the UI could use refinement to clarify that fact. Check out the full Q&A just below.

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Make My MMO: Elite’s Commanders, SOTA’s R40, Starfighter’s AMA (April 1, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous rather unceremoniously announced on social media that the 2.3 Commanders update will launch around the middle of April — this is the huge update with multicrew ship functionality and the character creation system. (Thanks, ThatLanteshGuy!)

Meanwhile, Shroud of the Avatar launched its 40th update, Sweden jumped into small-scale equity crowdfunding with FundedByMe, Dual Universe reassured players about its video graphics, Edengrad hits early access this coming week, and Starfighter, Inc. held an AMA to promote its ongoing Kickstarter.

We also hosted Legends of Aria founder Derek Brinkmann on a special edition of the podcast this week, so if you’re curious about the large-scale future of what used to be the more small-scale Shards Online, give it a thorough listen. Then read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’ve got our eye on.

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April Fools’ Day 2017: Hijinks across the MMOverse

If you don’t like tricks and jokes, just stop reading right now, turn the lights off, and go climb back into bed. Nothing on the internet is going to bring you joy today, so just sit this one out. Trust us.

For everyone else, there’s April Fools’ Day! Follow along as we rattle off all the great MMORPG pranks and events we’ve found so far this morning.

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Massively Overthinking: Competition vs. community in MMOs

Quantic Foundry, the games research group we’ve been tracking ever since it posted its original Gamer Motivation Model, has a new piece out this month on competition and community.

Dr Nick Yee (yes that Nick Yee) explains that one of the things his team’s survey and resulting model have demonstrated is that commonly held assumptions about the “spectrum” of MMO players — that is, “warm, fuzzy, social care bears on one end” and “cold, anti-social, competitive griefers” on the other — are wrong. In fact, he argues, the model shows that competition is not the opposite of community; on the contrary, “there is a strong positive correlation between competition and community,” disassociated from the gender and age of the respondents. This is the kind of stuff a lot of our readers are going to love, especially since the researchers are smashing related assumptions (like that ganking is PvP or that competition necessitates conflict).

So for this week’s Overthinking, I sent the summary of the research to our writers and asked them to discuss whether Yee’s results match their experiences when it comes to community and competition.

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