crowfall

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

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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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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Make My MMO: The Exiled arrives to mixed reviews on Steam (February 25, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, The Exiled was released to the wilds of Steam early access. Formerly called Das Tal, the buy-to-play indie sandbox attempted to raise funds through Kickstarter back in 2015 but pulled in only €33,000 of its €50,000 goal and resorted to website preorders instead, forging ahead to now. Reviews on Steam so far are mixed; once you subtract the confused trial players who seem surprised to see PvP in a PvP sandbox, the main complaints revolve around crafting grind and lag.

Meanwhile, Ship of Heroes teased its Kickstarter, Shroud of the Avatar released R39, Albion Online settled on a July release, Life is Feudal rolled out its second beta, Pantheon brought on more new employees (thanks, Reht!), Dual Universe planned a GDC community meetup, Star Citizen explored the Magnus system and released a new concept ship, HEX got a new publisher, and Elite: Dangerous did science and turned… beige.

Closer to home, games critic and veritable prince of Patreon Jim Sterling scored a victory for games journalism in the courts as a judge dismissed with prejudice a game developer’s libel lawsuit against him. (Thanks to everyone who tipped this our way!)

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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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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Make My MMO: Smed’s new studio, Camelot’s beta, and Elite’s Holo-Me (February 18, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, we did a retrospective on why crowdfunded MMOARPG Hero’s Song failed. It’s almost as if Justin knew (cue spooky music) because two days later, Hero’s Song’s John Smedley and most of the Pixelmage team showed up at Amazon, announcing a new studio and a new game for the shopping giant’s games division. In other words, don’t expect Smed back on Kickstarter any time soon.

Meanwhile, Star Citizen’s alpha 2.6.1 went live, we poked around TUG’s status, Elite Dangerous demoed its upcoming “Holo-Me” character creator, The Exiled prepped for next week’s launch, Ruin of the Reckless entered its backer test phase, and Camelot Unchained hinted at beta.

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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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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The Daily Grind: Do you ever play MMORPGs against ‘type’?

Perhaps owing at least in part to the charisma of its chief executive, Camelot Unchained is one of those rare in-production MMORPGs that seems to attract people who would normally flee from it in horror.

What I mean by that is the same people I see freaking out over any new MMO that proposes open PvP of one form or another are following Camelot intently. There’s even a lot of resistance to games that are basically tame battleground PvP, like Crowfall — but Camelot seems immune.

Camelot Unchained isn’t against my type — I’m a huge fan of three-way RvR and can’t wait to see how a modern Dark Age of Camelot sandpark looks in practice — but I’m super intrigued that it’s something a lot of non-PvP players (and even some of our non-PvP writers!) are watching. Can you think of other examples? Do you ever play or follow MMORPGs against your type — and which ones?

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Five reasons behind the failure of Hero’s Song

In July of 2015, MMORPG fans were stunned to hear that John Smedley was stepping down from his post as president of Daybreak. After all, he had been in the captain’s chair at Verant, SOE, and now Daybreak for nearly two decades, helming the company as it handled some of the most influential MMOs of the early generation, including EverQuest and Star Wars Galaxies. Fans were curious to know both what happened and what Smedley was planning to do next.

They didn’t have to wait long for the latter. A month later, Smedley announced that he was starting up his own studio to work on a new game. Using his industry contacts and years of experience in game development, Smedley pulled together a solid team to craft Hero’s Song, an online fantasy survival game that would provide huge, customizable worlds. The team went into a flurry of activity, putting out dev blogs, holding fundraisers, and pushing early access out the door.

Yet by the end of 2016, the project was dead, refunds were being distributed to backers, and Smedley’s studio was dissolved. So what happened? Why did Hero’s Song fail when it had so much going for it? Now that a couple of months have passed, it might be time to step back and perform a post-mortem on this fascinating and doomed game. I posit that there are five key reasons why we’re not right now playing Hero’s Song and anticipating its official launch by the end of the year. Hindsight is 20-20, after all, so what could Smedley have done different?

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