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

EVE Evolved: Four lessons sandbox MMOs can learn from EVE

The past few years have seen a resurgence of support for sandbox MMOs, both of the trying-to-be-minecraft creative kind and the hardcore nuke-it-from orbit PvP variety. We’ve partly got games like DayZ to thank for the latter, and with recently released survival MMO H1Z1 netting over a million sales while still in Early Access, that’s a trend that is sure to continue. Fantasy PvP sandbox Crowfall also raked in nearly two million dollars in crowdfunding thanks in part to its plans for destructible campaign worlds with varying loot rules. With so much financial support, we’re undoubtedly in for a flood of new sandbox MMOs clamoring for a slice of the PvP pie.

EVE Online has a special pride of place in this particular subgenre, with over a decade of successful operation as one of the most hardcore PvP MMOs out there. EVE hit on some important principles that many other PvP-based MMOs have missed, such as its adherence to a risk-vs.-reward policy and the way items and ships are disposable. On the other hand, EVE‘s reputation for harsh death penalties and unforgiving free-for-all PvP rules have hindered efforts to make the game more accessible to new players. There are both positive and negative lessons to be learned from EVE‘s long history in the MMO space, and all other PvP sandboxes should learn from them.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at what makes EVE fundamentally tick as a PvP-based sandbox and four big lessons other MMOs can learn from it.

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Make My MMO: April 4, 2015

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, we said goodbye (apparently) to Greed Monger. We also said hello to Pathfinder’s early access head start and, of course, we heard from Crowfall, Star Citizen, and the rest of the usual suspects.

While Greed Monger isn’t officially dead in terms of an announcement from its developers, things don’t look good now that it’s lacking a lead programmer. Read the rest of this week’s MMO crowdfunding news after the cut.

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Crowfall’s Walton says we should blame him for Star Wars Galaxies’ NGE

Hey, NGE fans! Crowfall’s Gordon Walton says that the day that will live in Star Wars: Galaxies infamy was his idea.

Now, that’s probably oversimplifying things just a tad, but in any case Walton let fly with an interesting post on the Crowfall forums yesterday that gives a bit more insight into SOE’s decision to blow up its Star Wars sandbox in late 2005 and replace it with an alternate version that ran for another six years.

Among the many insights are Walton’s player population numbers (SWG briefly topped 400,000 players before settling down to between 200,000 to 250,000). Walton also lauds the SWG development team for managing to bring a feature-rich sandbox to market in a very short time. “And this was all done for under $18 million in under three years (2 years and 9 months),” Walton says. “This was and remains an unprecedented achievement in building a AAA MMO.”

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Betawatch: April 3, 2015

Good news, ladies and gentlemen looking forward to Ghost in the Shell Online. Not only is the game nearing its first Korean closed beta test, we’ve received confirmation that the game will in fact be available for players in the Americas. No word yet on whether or not every shooting match will be followed by a lengthy metaphysical discussion on the nature of humanity and existence in a digital world, although that might slow the pace down significantly.

Other news in the wild and wooly world of tests:

What’s that? You want more? Well, check out our full testing list just past the break.

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Crowfall teases female Ranger archetype

ArtCraft has posted a Crowfall week-at-a-glance update that contains plenty of interesting nuggets. Chief among them is the reveal of the female Ranger archetype. She’s got a wolf pet in the concept art, but the devs say that “it’s just a picture,” so don’t get your hopes up for automatic companion badassery if you roll the Ranger.

Elsewhere this week, the design team did “a full pass” on land ownership details and fealty trees, while the tech team spent time making changes to Crowfall’s combat system including additional work on movement and targeting.

[Source: Crowfall official site]


Crowfall reorganizes after Kickstarter, prepares for summer pre-alpha test

While Crowfall may be running silent following its Kickstarter campaign, it doesn’t mean that the team is coasting. On the contrary, things might have gotten crazier than before. Gordon Walton wrote a post today to bring fans up to date on the myriad of behind-the-scenes activities that are going on as the studio works toward its first pre-alpha test this summer.

Among their projects, ArtCraft is reorganizing its plans due to the expansion of the core module thanks to the Kickstarter stretch goals. The team is also hiring on more staff, working on a new pledge page, and communicating with its Kickstarter backers.

[Source: Official forum]


Massively OP Podcast: Episode 8

What truly matters in the grand scheme of video games? Is it the money that teams raise to make them? Is it unnecessary censorship and forum drama? Is it trendy outfits that allow us to play virtual Barbie doll? Maybe it’s all these things and more. That’s why we have a top professional podcasting team, to hash these issues out!

Join us on the podcast as we talk about what we’ve been playing in MMOs, the top news stories from the past week, and topics that listeners have submitted!

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The Daily Grind: Do MMORPGs need VR?

Video game developers have been positively obsessing about virtual reality for the last few years, but barring an exception here and there, few MMOs seem to have a compelling plan for how to upsell us on the idea. CCP’s EVE: Valkyrie project has been met with a mixture of awed skepticism since its reveal last year, though admittedly that’s probably not entirely because of its VR nature. And Crowfall’s recent VR stretch goal received “mixed” feedback, causing the developers to add an extra stretch goal to mollify backers who reported that VR is simply “uninspiring.”

It’s not as if we’re luddites here; I personally like having all the shiny new tech I can get my hands on. But I’m not convinced VR is going to add that much more immersion to my gaming, certainly not for the price.

Am I alone? Do you think MMORPGs really need VR?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!


Make My MMO: March 28, 2015

This week’s crowdfunding news was all about Crowfall. Seriously, we must’ve written about Crowfall like 76 times or something. In the end, the most relevant piece of Crowfall news is that the Kickstarter is over and it was a big success.

Oh, and we also checked in with Pathfinder, which put version six of its early access client out to backers on Thursday. The rest of our MMO crowdfunding news roundup is past the break.

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Crowfall finishes out Kickstarter worth $1,766,204

ArtCraft Entertainment’s “throne war simulator” Crowfall was officially funded this morning, with 16,936 backers pledging a grand total of $1,766,204 — over 2000 backers and $250,000 on the very last day alone. Its original goal was only $800,000.

The guild tournament introduced with a video yesterday was unlocked at $1.6 million; combat pets are in now, too. A new Kickstarter update reads,

So, what happens next? Now we get to work! We have a game to build. We refine the vision. We engage with you on the forums. We discuss our ideas (and mistakes) openly. We find the right solutions, together. And we continue to seek out our kind. Crowfall isn’t a game for everyone. But there are still players out there — brave, lost, and arguably crazy — who will share this vision. Who, like us, will HAVE to see it come to life. We need to find them, and bring them home. We won’t let you down. We’re going to show the world a new kind of online experience. Thank you for making CROWFALL a reality. We’ll see you in the game!

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Leaderboard: Did you back Crowfall?

Crowfall’s Kickstarter ends this week. In fact, it ends tomorrow. By all accounts it’s been enormously successful, both in terms of the funds received as well as the total number of backers and the positive word of mouth.

I didn’t pledge because I’m not sure I’ll play it very much, though I am interested in several of its individual selling points. What about you, MassivelyOP readers? Did you support Crowfall financially? Vote after the cut and don’t forget to tell us why (or why not) in the comments.

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Crowfall’s Kickstarter tops $1.5 million

Crowfall topped $1.5 million in crowdfunding today, which unlocked the infected ruleset and the minotaur archetype. Creative director J. Todd Coleman and design lead Thomas Blair are featured in a new video that discusses the latest milestone as well as the guild tournament system that will unlock at $1.6 million.

“We’re a little sparse on the details because we didn’t know we were going to get this far,” Coleman says. “The design is not quite as firm, but the basic idea is that guilds compete in a series of single-elimination tournaments until eventually one guild comes out on top.” The artifacts and relics reward system will then enable the winners to display paraphernalia in their home campaign world.

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Crowfall lists more stretch goals as KS winds down

Crowfall’s latest Kickstarter update lists out a few more funding milestone updates, which is something of a break with tradition given that ArtCraft was previously announcing new stretch goals only after achieving old ones.

“We don’t necessarily expect that we will get to all of these in the next 48 hours […] but better to have them up, just in case,” the team explains. Fifteen thousand backers will unlock VR headset support, while the $1.5 million milestone will enable an expanded ruleset (The Infected) and a minotaur archetype.

[Source: Kickstarter]


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