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 subber promo, Planet Nomads' early access, Project Gorgon's bards (March 25, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, Star Citizen capped off a week of DirectX revelations and mega map explanations with a round of celebrations -- for its fifth year of subscriptions. Folks who join the game's dev subber program pick up a magazine, discounts, and extra test access; sub before April 17th while the promo is live, you get vending machine flair for your hangar. At least you'll have cold beverages while you wait for the game, right? (Thanks, Cotic!)

Elsewhere in space MMOs, congrats are due to Planet Nomads, which was Kickstarted last year and is now plotting an early access launch for April 18th.

And in epic news for fans of the best video game class of all time, Project Gorgon rolled out the bard support skills for testing this week. Don't think you're just going to pick up a lute and start strumming, either: "As you advance in Bard skill, you will also need to improve other skills, including performance, vocabulary, and poetry appreciation." Bring your thesaurus!

Meanwhile, ECO patched in some major upgrades to its economy, Starfighter is nearing half its goal with 20 days remaining (thanks Crow!), Ever, Jane's beta picked up horseback riding features, Camelot Unchained danced with its own bot army, City of Titans previewed its core archetypes, SOTA nabbed a new newsletter layout, and The Exiled's early access began its second season.

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 reflects on its 'unrelenting series of updates'

It's a little hard to believe, but we've now been watching Crowfall develop since late 2014, going from a teaser announcement through a successful Kickstarter and arriving at the current pre-alpha testing. For this week's founder's update, the dev team decided that it deserved a moment to reflect upon all of its accomplishments and progress to date.

The team pointed to an interactive timeline chart from German fan site Crowfall Community that marked all of the major (and minor) milestones of the project from 2014 through 2017. It's a pretty handy resource if you want to get a big-picture view of the game's progress.

ArtCraft provided a pep talk, free of charge: "Obviously, this chart shows how much we have accomplished, and that’s great to see! … but it also shows something MUCH more important: It shows a cadence, an unrelenting series of updates that make the game a little better every month [...] If that cadence proves anything, it’s that these challenges will also be tackled in due time. This game will emerge, and when it does, it’s going to be awesome."

Source: Crowfall

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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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Raph Koster explains why griefing in virtual reality isn't going away

Even if you can overlook the expense, the current lack of games, the potential for nausea, and the annoyance of wearing a clamshell on your sweaty face, virtual reality has a looming problem: trolls.

Turns out that the same internet jerks who ruin online spaces and games via text and avatar show up to do the same in virtual reality too.

As MIT Technology Review wrote yesterday, part of the point of socializing in virtual worlds is to feel the "presence" of other people -- but the very benefit that makes "virtual reality so compelling also makes awkward or hostile interactions with other people much more jarring," such as when people invade your private space or try to touch your avatar without permission.

The publication highlights AltSpaceVR, a startup building tools to help people deal with trolls. The company has some of the basics already -- like a way to make obnoxious people invisible with a block -- but it's also working on a "personal space bubble" to stop people from groping your virtual self without permission, which they would otherwise do because people are gross and have no shame.

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Make My MMO: Shards becomes Legends of Aria, The Repopulation revivifies (March 11, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, Shards Online surprised the gamer community by announcing a namechange -- to Legends of Aria -- and a scope-change, the good kind of scope change if you're an MMO player, as the game just got bigger.

More good news: The Repopulation is expected to come back online for original backers and Steam buyers tomorrow. Idea Fabrik expects the sandbox to once again be for sale on Steam later this month.

Still more good news! As I write this, indie VR MMO OrbusVR has nearly tripled its Kickstarter goal already. Its whirlwind one-week campaign ends on Monday.

Meanwhile, gamers pledged over $12K US to bring Swedish brawler RUiN to a winning Kickstarter a few days back, but Caribbean Conquest wasn't so fortunate: Its Kickstarter ended unsuccessfully earlier this week. Plus, Dogma: Eternal Night worked on its character module, Grim Dawn talked itemization, and AdventureQuest 3D hyped The Dragons of Ashfall.

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: The soft launch of Revelation Online (March 10, 2017)

Revelation Online departs the hallowed halls of Betawatch this week, having emerged from closed beta into open beta. No more wipes are planned, and the game is now freely accessible, making the My.com import well and truly soft-launched. Fly free, my pretty! What else happened in the world of MMO betas this week?

  • Elder Scrolls Legends dumped the beta tag entirely and is now officially launched on PC.
  • Shards Online is getting a name change ahead of its planned Steam early access launch. You may now refer to it as Legends of Aria.
  • The Repopulation's alpha is expected to resume this weekend under the new ownership. Welcome back, Repop! Don't screw this up!
  • Gigantic just cannot catch a break: It laid off a sizable portion of its staff with the aim of "reducing the burn rate" until it can emerge from open beta and land on Arc later this year.
  • Project Gorgon tasked players with testing dungeon difficulty.
  • Camelot Unchained is still teasing its long-delayed beta one, but it sounds as if we're inching closer now.
  • Albion Online is pushing out a big patch next week, heavily overhauling the beta.
  • Crowfall is working toward 24-7 test servers.
  • LawBreakers is planning a big beta weekend later this month. Breakin' the law!

Follow along below for the complete list of all the games still on the grill.

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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 24x7 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 24x7 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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Make My MMO: Crowfall's crafting, RUiN's Kickstarter, Ashes of Creation's gameplay (March 4, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, we sent MOP's Matt Daniel into Crowfall, from which he emerged with many opinions on the state of the game's high-profile crafting and gathering systems. Economy folks should give it a read!

There are two MMO-related Kickstarters ending this week you may be interested in. Arena brawler RUiN is about 200 bucks from funding as I type this, so it's going to happen for sure. Caribbean Conquest's second go at Kickstarter, however, is likely to fall short; it's secured only about $2000 in pledges of its $30,000-ish goal with only a few days left.

What else is new? Worlds Adrift got a new website (thanks, Daras!), Project Gorgon rolled out a new patch, Albion Online released videos on its sound and music, Elite Dangerous began testing part of the Commanders patch, Camelot Unchained teased beta 1, and Ashes of Creation demoed its gameplay.

Finally, get thee over to Steam, where a trial of Shroud of the Avatar can currently be had entirely for free.

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

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Betawatch: Robocraft hits beta testing (March 3, 2017)

Life is weird. You would think that once Robocraft was a thing I would never have played anything else, simply because it's a game about building your own robots and then making them fight. Yet it hasn't really made it onto my radar before, although perhaps that will change now that the game has launched into beta. That's a good thing for all who care for robots, really.

Other beta news? There was a bit, here and there!

Your quest now, should you choose to accept it, is to head into the comments and let us know about what betas you're playing. There are more on the list below, you see. You can also let us know if something on that list has launched while claiming it's still in testing, which is something that probably didn't happen back in 2006, but who knows at this point? That was a while ago.

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