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

Crowfall kicks off pre-alpha testing in the Hunger Dome

Yes, the day has come for Crowfall fans when the game stops just being an idea and becomes reality. The first round of pre-alpha testing kicked off last week with three archetypes (the Knight, the Confessor, and the Centaur Legionnaire) fighting against one another in the Hunger Dome. Players are being invited in waves, with both pre-alpha and alpha 1 testers getting invitations to bulk out the testing corps.

There’s no NDA in place for fans, so as the population swells (slightly) you can expect to see and hear more about how the game actually plays. Although the tests are focused on combat mechanics, the test is also making sure that things like logging in and patching are working properly. If you’re a backer at the appropriate levels, keep your eyes on your email for the notice that you can get in and start playing.

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Crowfall’s combat testing moves to the ‘Hunger Dome’

ArtCraft has created a “greybox environment” called the Hunger Dome for Crowfall’s pre-alpha combat testing. The aim is to make the testing more fun and meaningful, according to a new video that explains the last-man-standing tourney mechanics. Players will start without gear and must equip themselves via loot chests or their fallen opponents.

The video addresses questions relating to map size, premade team possibilities, statistical vs. cosmetic gear, and why Greg Tapper runs away from his teammates. Hopefully it also addresses who Greg Tapper is, but you’ll have to click past the cut and watch it to find out!

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Here’s how Crowfall’s UI has changed in two weeks

A couple of weeks ago, ArtCraft published a video about the creative process behind Crowfall’s user interface design. Today, the firm has released a new clip that shows how the interface has evolved in two weeks’ time.

UX design lead Billy Garretsen is your host, and ArtCraft says that he’d love to get your feedback after you watch the video. Click past the cut to do just that!

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The Game Archaeologist: Star Wars Galaxies’ NGE

It became one of the most infamous moments in MMO history — and perhaps one of the most misunderstood.

For all that the MMO community references Star Wars Galaxies’ New Game Enhancements (NGE) as a synonym for devs breaking a game with a horrible patch, expansion, or business decision, the actual details of the referenced events have become blurred through time, retellings, and a sort of weird mythology.

It’s been 10 years since the NGE damaged a game’s reputation, embittered players for life, and made the mainstream notice that not all was sunshine and daisies in MMOs. So how did this disaster occur and what was so bad about it?

Well, it happened a long time ago in a studio far, far away…

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Crowfall sees crowd control as an important but tricky mechanic

Crowd control is a delicate and contentious topic for MMO designers, especially ones who are making PvP games. And while the Crowfall team isn’t going to ignore crowd control, it admits that whatever solution is found will cause problems even so.

To ArtCraft, crowd control is “the greatest power ever made when used to stop an enemy fleeing, [and] the worst power ever when used to stop you from fleeing.” In a new dev diary, the team shares some of its ideas for implementing crowd control so that it’s not always a frustrating experience. Reducing CC durations on repeated applications and offering players forms of retaliation are but two such thoughts.

The team also posted two behind-the-scenes videos for you to enjoy, which we’ve posted after the jump!

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Crowfall releases two vids, one with Legionaires and one with kittens

Good news for Crowfall and its fans today, as ArtCraft has announced that a round of additional equity financing to the tune of $1 million is nearly complete. On the actual development side of things, the company has released a look at the Legionaire, which has received extensive work since the days of his Kickstarter debut.

The Legionaire’s left-click primary attack is a melee chain that generates rage, while his right-click power is dodge. You can see those powers and others in the video after the break. We’ve also included a second vid that profiles design lead Thomas Blair. More importantly, it features kittens.

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Crowfall updates its legalese, releases animator blog and vid

Ready to drink from Crowfall’s information firehose? That’s good, because Artcraft has published a few more updates for its throne war simulator. First up is a founder’s update from Gordon Walton, which talks about everything from Kickstarter pledge package upgrades to t-shirts to legalese tweaks. Which is really important since you always read each and every wall of lawyer text before clicking “I Agree,” right?

Next up is an animation-focused blog from Thomas Blair entitled Animation Techno Mumbo Jumbo. Since mumbo jumbo is exactly what I see when I read tech-focused dev blogs, I think I’ll just provide you with the link rather than a summary.

Finally, there’s a new Crowfall video and it’s called Meet the Animators. I bet you can guess what it’s about! See if you’re correct by viewing it after the cut.

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Crowfall shows off new and improved animations for the Knight

The Kickstarter for Crowfall showed off the Knight in some of his glory, but not in all of his glory. After all, that was an early build of the game that was still being refined, not the current version of the game, which is also still being refined. So this isn’t the final iteration of the Knight in action, in all likelihood, but it is an excellent preview of what Crowfall‘s sword-and-board soldier will look like in battle.

Including the move where he grabs his shield like a serving tray to smack someone over the head.

The full video is down below, along a video explaining the development team’s approach to UI design while showing off the most recent revision of the UI. It doesn’t have the bludgeoning charm of the Knight running around and hitting fools with a shield, but very few things do.

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Crowfall’s guild structure allows for complex relationships

Guilds in PvP-oriented games are quite essential for one’s continued survival, and Crowfall has put a lot of thought into what it’s going to offer. For starters, to counter player espionage, an account can be associated with only a single guild. However, Crowfall’s guilds are complex structures, with alliances and nested sub-guilds, so that initial limitation isn’t as strict as it might seem.

Discussion about Crowfall’s guilds came out in the August Q&A video with the developers. Other topics covered include the general 40-second time-to-kill combat design, leaderboards, protecting players’ interests when they’re offline, and campaign world player-constructed buildings.

You can check out the whole 20-minute video after the break!

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Crowfall shows off the Confessor in action

We’ve been told quite a bit about Crowfall‘s Confessor, but words on a page don’t really give a sense for what it will look like in action. For that, you need a video. Like, say, the video you can watch down below that shows the character archetype happily setting fires in the test environment and generally having a grand old time.

Obviously this is still an early build of the game without finalized animations, but it’s certainly a good look at what the class looks like when not simply being described in a development diary. Jump on down to see the whole video; it’s quick.

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Massively Overthinking: Whither went the classic PvE MMORPG?

Today’s Massively Overthinking question was sent via e-pigeon from Kickstarter donor Apollymi. No e-pigeons were hurt in the writing of this article.

“Have you heard of any MMOs that will not be PvP-oriented — by that I mean, have completely consensual PvP — that may be coming out in the near future?”

Let’s draw out Apollymi’s question a bit and talk about the PvE/PvP divide in our genre. What PvE/consensual-PvP/classic PvE games do we love, which future ones do we have our eyes on, and why is the industry so focused lately on PvP MMOs? The MOP writers are discussing all that and more in today’s entry.
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Crowfall explains why you’ll be grouping in the game

If you hate teaming up with others, then boy is Crowfall so not the game for you. In a new combat Q&A video, ArtCraft emphasized that grouping for PvP encounters is downright essential and explained its philosophy behind the design.

Basically, combat is being balanced between groups, not individuals, with the team makeup being more important to success than any one class. “It forces you to take different archetypes with you,” the devs said. “It makes the battlefield more interesting.”

ArtCraft also reported that it’s added three new members to the combat team and went into depth on topics like crowd control, stacking effects, and projectile physics. You can watch the full 20-minute Q&A after the jump!

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Make My MMO: July 25, 2015

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Project Gorgon returned to Kickstarter. Veteran developer Eric Heimburg clearly believes in his fantasy sandpark, and why not? Gorgon combines the best of old and new school gaming, with a heavy focus on discovery, exploration, and immersion.

In other newsStar Citizen boss Chris Roberts briefly stirred the hornet’s nest when he called B.S. — literally — on those who say that the sci-fi space sim has an acute case of feature creep. Apart from that, though, it was an uneventful week! You can catch up on that story and the rest of the week’s crowdfunding news after the cut.

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