Massively Overthinking: Impressions of Crowfall


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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