Massively Overthinking: Impressions of Crowfall

    
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We’ve got crows on the brain this week since Crowfall launched its Kickstarter. As of this afternoon, the game is just about 100k shy of its goal, a goal it will surely reach with 27 days to go, and confident of that, ArtCraft is already releasing stretch goals. The first promises an FX upgrade and female centaurs, while the second is a push for mounts and caravans.

For today’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve polled our writers to ask them what they think about the PvP-centric title. Did they back it? Will they play it? Or are they running for the hills?

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): I think we’re in the middle of very weird period when PvPers and PvEers are polarized and compartmentalized into niches in a way they wouldn’t have been many years ago. I don’t like it. I am tired of people telling me I am a PvE player just because I think unmitigated gankboxes that favor the guilds that got there first are a waste of everyone else’s time. I love PvP that rises above the tedium of ganking noobs, and I’m looking forward to the (multiple!) upcoming MMOs that are actually putting organized and meaningful PvP and especially RvR back into MMORPGs (as opposed to extracting it from MMORPGs and distilling it into MOBAs, which lack the character development I seek). Crowfall looks like a solid blend. Yeah, I backed it. Whether I play it lots will depend on my guild and how suitable the game is for small teams in the end, but the genre needs games like this.

Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre, blog): I stopped backing game Kickstarters a while back, so whether or not I was going to back it was never really a happening debate. The developers certainly do seem enthusiastic, though, and they’ve got some near ideas about how to balance the nature of the world with the very real problem that no one wants to enter into a closed system without any chance for advancement. Assuming that development hums along nicely, it’ll likely find a decent niche, which seems to be what the developers are aiming for in general. Will I play it? Probably not because just as with Camelot Unchained, I have a very clear picture of what the team is aiming for, and it’s decidedly not aimed at me. I wish them well, though.

Jef Reahard (@jefreahard): I didn’t back it and probably won’t play it for long, mainly because resetting campaigns is too everyone-gets-a-trophy for my taste. I haven’t exhaustively studied the announced mechanics, but off the top of my head, forced resets devalue the effort necessary to achieve victory in the first place, and to me it’s just too gamey and anti-virtual world. It reminds me of the rotating keep schedules in games like Warhammer, Aion, etc., which I loathed and which ultimately drive me to ignore PvP in similar games. I’ve got no motivation to siege a fort when I know that no matter how hard I work or how good I am, it’s going to be up for grabs again when the clock strikes whatever. That said, I hope Crowfall does well because I’m glad to see old-school/sandbox devs returning to the genre that they created and providing alternatives to the usual themepark crap.

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): As I am a non-PvPer (aka Starshine Carebear), this type of game shouldn’t appeal to me at all… but I’m still interested, even so. Maybe it’s the nifty art style, but I’m going to attribute it to how it all seems well-thought out. PvP with purpose, limits, and variety. Plus, what other MMO will let me play a centaur? It looks as if it has a shot at being a solid mid-range MMO if it doesn’t get stupid, but I’m going to hang back and cautiously watch how it actually plays out in launch. After then, maybe I’ll dip my toes in and see how it goes. If it ends up being a messy gankfest like most PvP experiences that I’ve seen, then I’ll probably not be staying for long, centaur or no centaur.

Larry Everett (@Shaddoe, blog): I try not to fanboy over specific developers, but there are some that really intrigue me because they aren’t afraid to push some of the boundaries MMO gaming. Raph Koster and Gordon Walton are two of those guys. I’ve not been a huge fan of everything that Koster has done since Star Wars Galaxies, but the concepts in Crowfall make me want to try it out. So I backed the project if for no other reason than to see this game made. If it fails out of the gate, then I’m OK with that. I’m just glad that I helped back innovation in the MMO space.

Mike Foster (@MikedotFoster, blog): I really, really like the concept. Decaying worlds make it so much more fun for new players (like Bree said in the podcast, it shakes up who’s in charge of the toys) and the permanent home world gives the whole thing a meaningful anchor. I especially like that the team isn’t afraid to target the game at a niche audience instead of everyone who has ever walked by a computer. That said, I’m not sure I’m up for yet another fantasy game set in the typical fantasy locales and built with the typical fantasy archetypes, and I’m definitely not up for yet another crowdfunded MMO with plans to launch in alpha and drag through (at least) a year of development back-and-forths. I will admit that my natural crowdfunding skepticism has been somewhat allayed by the Crowfall team’s near-perfect Kickstarter page, which lays out exactly what the money’s for, where it’s going, and when that stuff should be available for play. This is one of the best Kickstarter executions I think I have ever seen. Well played!

Your turn!

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B I S H O P
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B I S H O P

Edany (AmberACurtis) Walpurgisnacht Gylnne UNLESS they allow players to bring back armor and weapons from campaign as well… Then all of a sudden there’s actually an incentive to play. Right now I wouldn’t play simply because I’d have nothing to show for it (that I care about) upon reset

MEGALUS
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MEGALUS

Celestia The hype isn’t even veiled.  It’s obvious.  That’s what’s keeping my hopes down.  That and the direction the game is going in.  Ultimately, I expect my judgement to come as soon as I Iog into the game for the first time.

c71clark
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c71clark

It will end up being a PvP gankfest unless they let EK become a real communal space, and not tens of thousands of private maps (every account gets its own Eternal Kingdom, behind a portal).

boots2
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boots2

Feydakin the thing you need to understand is that all those other campaign types? Is basically the dregs with some variables tweaked. So it’s fine. Get the system/infrastructure right first, then you can start tweaking variables and adding more variety.

Feydakin
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Feydakin

Kind of upset and disappointed that they are adding better aesthetics
and mounts for the game as stretch goals first instead of adding more
core mechanics by making more Campaign Worlds available on launch… I have to admit.

Angier
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Angier

Edany (AmberACurtis) zamarren Private investors are private persons like you and me. It’s seldom that they are sharks like investment funds / investment bankers. If they were able to raise that amount of money all the better. The REAL reason they went to KS is to see people givin votes of confidence with their wallet. It’s the best proof you can get that your concept has an audience to sell it to.

Zoel
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Zoel

skoryy Mathew_Reuther  Kaineng folded because it had no real community/mission statement, was centered around guilds lead by volatile personalities, relied on SEA coverage despite only having one major guild in the time zone, and it had a t1 push goal that wasn’t feasible due to the implementation of the glicko system at the time, and fought opponents that were more interested in winning fights as opposed to matchups.  

It was a house of cards like bandwagon created to do expressly what you are complaining about and it failed.  

Eve online has terrible combat frequency and nullsec stagnation because it’s a persistent universe where death matters a lot unless you’re willing to spend money to avoid mining and doing “work” so you can play again, unless you have someone else to do it for you in hopes that they can one day fly a pink cadillac titan under your learned guidance.  I mean, it’s an MMO with a multi level marketing/pyramid scheme component, of course there’s nullsec stagnation.

Zoel
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Zoel

Not really sure what Jef Reahard is on about with the resetting thing.  I mean, yeah, I lose stuff no matter what too if I go to bed, whether that’s eve online or guild wars 2.  

The interesting thing about crowfall is that it’s almost expressly pitched at people who lead pvp guilds, which I guess are the people you want most since they drive the most players.  Here’s the great thing for me as a guild leader: the resets make it a lot easier to focus on playing the game instead of the poli-metagame, the campaign import rules can make it easier to get new players into the game (so they aren’t waiting to gear up before being useful), buy to play makes it easier for obvious reasons if you’re importing  an existing guild.

There are some pitfalls they could fall into; there’s no fire-hose (as they put it) healing, so fights might not last as long and have too fast a TTK.  I’m not sure how large they can make maps in that scenario. That’s going to make combat frequency very important; if you have to spend too much time roaming then that’ll obviously be bad, so it could really limit the possible size of a campaign.  That said I’m still excited.

I’m hoping one of the 3 major rvr announced mmos can work out, even if it probably wont be by the end of this year (augh)

zamarren
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zamarren

Edany (AmberACurtis) zamarren Well, not all private investors are created equal, I imagine. They’ve either created a contract with these people that allows them a level of freedom that they’re comfortable with, or the investors they have are friends and family. Who knows? Not all game developers are evil, lying schlubs. In fact, I’m pretty sure that they’re all a bunch of inappropriately enthusiastic nerds like the rest of us. Who occasionally make mistakes and work really hard to make something awesome that everyone will like. What’s up with the hate train?

FeveredDreamer
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FeveredDreamer

MatthewWard There’s long been debate among MMO players and PvPers around the idea of player collision, but I’d definitely say that collision being part of the game means much more than knockbacks and the like as far as strategy is concerned.