Crowfall has been in development for eight months now. That sounds like a substantial amount of time until you think about how long games typically take to go from “Kickstarter concept” to “playable game.” A new video from the development team shows off a part of the process by highlighting the development team’s biweekly sprint meetings and how they aid the overall process.
The short version is that sprint meetings are quick opportunities for every developer to jump in, highlight the past weeks of work, and touch base about moving forward. Really, though, the video does an excellent job of showing the process over time. Settle in and watch just below – it’s about half an hour, though, so make sure you don’t have anywhere that requires your urgent presence in five minutes.
Way back when I used to haunt the corridors of Gamestop and had yet to shun the place due to its stinky evil, I remember being enticed with these fancy-pantsy “MMORPG” boxes when I’d see them on the shelf. I must have picked up Shadowbane a dozen or so times to check out the blurbs on the back, mentally weighing whether or not this would be the one to introduce me to online gaming, but ultimately it was not to be.
It’s probably for the best, considering that Shadowbane was primarily PvP and I’m a PvE guy at heart. Plus, the title never really took off the way that publisher Ubisoft had hoped, spending most of its six years of operation lurking in the background of the MMO industry instead of sharing the spotlight.
But still, six years! That’s not the worst run we’ve ever seen from an MMO. Considering that its creator has gone on to make Crowfall with some of the same ideas, it’s as timely as ever to take a look back at Shadowbane and what it brought to the table.
How strong is Devilian‘s PvP game? Really, it’s hard to say, but it’s being stepped up for the game’s fourth closed test. That closed test is running now, so you can let us know if the stepping was sufficiently upward. Perhaps it’s more of a lateral PvP game move. Hard to be sure.
Other beta news? Oh, you’d better believe it.
And don’t you know it, there are other games in various stages of testing, so we toss a whole bunch of stuff in a list. Did we miss something? Well, darn it, let us know in the comments and we’ll sacrifice a goat as an act of contrition. Or celebration. We’re big on sacrificing goats, really.
It’s heady times for Crowfall developers and supporters, as ArtCraft announced yesterday that the project is taking a significant step into the next phase of its pre-alpha testing.
ArtCraft said that the 1.1 playtest is significantly improved from what was seen before, with a fleshed-out environment, the new Champion archetype, the ability to form custom teams, and zombies and hellcats to fight. The 1.1 pre-alpha forum is also up for participants to use and everyone else to read.
“As a reminder, testing invites will be sent in waves to all backers with the pre-alpha, alpha 1 and alpha 2 reward tiers, in that order — and, within each group, in waves based on the date that you first backed the project,” ArtCraft posted. The studio also teased the reveal of a new game system in December.
Who the heck is funding Crowfall? The game is obviously funded, but who is spending money on it? Is it you? The results of the backer survey posted by the development team doesn’t list names, but it does compile and analyze the demographics of who’s been funding the game and for how much money.
The answer to the leading question, apparently, is “married dudes without kids.”
Results for the survey are being published in multiple parts, with this particular slice of data concerned with demographics such as employment status, living location, gender, income, and so forth. It’s an interesting look at who fronted the cash to get the project rolling; check it out if noodling over those statistics sounds like a fun activity.
Who is the First Crow? He is a figure of some notoriety in Crowfall. He is eternal. He is unchanging. He is nothing. He is a man reduced to a single overriding impulse to fight, and yet he is a man who fights for nothing. And if there’s a better lore figure to summarize the cyclical nature of the game, it’s hard to think of one. Hence today’s lore entry on Hero, the First Crow.
Even the lore about the First Crow is unclear, but it is known that he was once mortal. He was a man who fought for a reason. But the gods cursed him with their greatest burden, and that is immortality. You can read all about it in the lore entry – it might not be hard system data, but it’s interesting worldbuilding.
Roads can deteriorate, statues crumble, castles collapse, and books are lost. But legacies persist. A redesign for Crowfall‘s website plays up the idea that each player of the game will need to choose a legacy, not in the sense of a mechanical decision but in pursuit of the game’s major design goals. The idea is explained in more depth in a news post on the official site outlining the three categories of glory, wealth, and power.
Glory is all about defeating enemies, taking control of territory, and making use of the fact that the non-eternal part of the game can be won before things reset once again. Wealth, of course, is about acquiring items, driving the economy, and hoarding resources. Power, last but not least, is all about acquiring allies over time, being feared and respected, and having oaths of fealty allowing you to direct armies in the game. Major design revelations are promised in December, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to give some thought to your own legacy before you start playing the game.
You are not your weapon in Crowfall. Just because two archetypes use a bow in the game doesn’t mean that they play the same. The most recent video Q&A session with the development team goes into a bit more depth on this point discussing the Ranger and the Stalker. In short: The former makes use of traps and knocks people out of stealth, while the latter sneaks around and snipes. Same fundamental weapon, but the core archetype is very different, even with the options of disciplines to bring in some similarities.
The November set of answers also covers the question of formations on the battlefield, bodies of water, post-combat development focus, and fast travel options. Why take our word for all of it, though? You can watch the video just below and see an assortment of wigs along with the cold, hard data. Who doesn’t like wigs?
With October coming to a close, Crowfall is gearing up for a big November, with more frequent news updates and the next phase of pre-alpha testing. The studio promised to post at least three articles a week next month and will be talking about Hunger Dome 1.1 more next week.
ArtCraft’s recent “Cawstume” contest was plagued by some sketchy actions by a few parties, causing the studio to expand the pool of winners in order to be fair to as many people as possible. The winning costumes created are pretty good considering that the game isn’t out yet!
Crowfall recently passed 23,000 backers and has a few limited-time sales going on right now.
Halloween is an unstoppable force in the MMO industry and will not be denied to developers and their players. It’s that time of year where spooky, creepy, and delightfully nightmarish events erupt across games worldwide, allowing players to indulge in trick-or-treating and costume parties regardless of age.
In the spirit of the holiday, Massively Overpowered is proud to present its ultimate guide to MMO Halloween. Read on for details on all sorts of events, promotions, and contests!
Everyone has preferences about classes and playstyles in MMOs, and if you’re the sort of player who plays only characters built like trucks wielding separate, smaller trucks as weapons, you’ll be quite happy with the new preview of Crowfall‘s Champion. Yes, that’s the Champion’s deal: being enormous with an enormous weapon, and crushing everything. Several elements of design combine to emphasize the feeling of slow power ; the archetype has a three-hit combat sequence and moves slower than normal but deals massive damage once it gets into range.
The Champion can also jump directly to its target, lest you think you can avoid it. It’s a real monster, in other words. Also on the monster block is creative director J. Todd Coleman, who underwent something of a transformation as detailed in the video below. That one isn’t about the Champion; it’s more of a cautionary tale about the best-laid plans of mice and men.
Crowfall’s first “Hunger Dome” pre-alpha test is complete and ArtCraft has many, many numbers to share in its postmortem.
During the test, the Confessor was by far the most played archetype, while the Legionnaire was the odd centaur out. ArtCraft was able to take the data and feedback to perform much-needed fixes and adjustments for the game going forward: “The network messaging logging proved much more valuable than gameplay logging as our top priorities were server speed, stability and scalability. The byproduct of everyone having a good time was a great bonus!”
ArtCraft has sent out a survey to all backers and is preparing for its next test in November. This pre-alpha 1.1 test will include a new archetype, the Champion.
Before I start this column, I want to say two important things. First, my experiences do not extend outward to the limits of the MMO genre; it’s quite possible that the good versions of these systems are already out there and I just haven’t seen them. Second, all of these are ideas that I want to be present. The core ideas behind all of these systems are really top-shelf and I like the concepts there. I come here not to damn these systems, but to exult them.
For as much as I might like the ideas behind all of these systems, I have yet to see them actually work out super well in pretty much any situation. Some of them I’ve watched getting ported into several games, some of them only show up rarely, but every single one sounds great on paper… and I haven’t seen it work out all that well once we get down to brass tacks.