Crowfall introduces the half-elf race, promises racial choices offer ‘significant gameplay elements’

    
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Darn it, if you had just kept her hair brown...

Remember this lovely ranger lady from Crowfall’s original concept art? We sure do, since we’re pretty fond of using it. Turns out in the new split archetypes system, she’s a half elf, a race that’s the subject of the game’s latest dev diary. ArtCraft Design Lead Thomas “Blixtev” Blair describes a race familiar to most fans of fantasy RPGs.

“Half-Elf children are different than their Human counterparts, and these differences become increasingly apparent as they mature into adulthood. In terms of facial features, they age more slowly, but make quick gains in terms of height, strength and agility. Among Human settlements, stories abound of Half-Elves who live in forests as animals, stealing children and livestock and reverting to savage ways. This causes them to be looked on with suspicion and sometimes outright hostility. It is not uncommon for a Half-Elf to be outcast from certain conservative communities – which often leads them into a life of banditry and crime, further perpetuating the cycle of distrust and enmity.”

Blair reminds MMO gamers that in Crowfall, each race receives a set of powers and passives “baked in” at character creation, amounting to “significant gameplay elements” rather than non-existent or “extremely watered-down versions of racial powers” present in other games. The half-elf is getting a mix of human and elf goodies, as well as a “bloodline passive” granting 15% movement speed. You may also want to know that half-elves can roll up as Rangers, Druids, and Assassins.

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Space Captain Zor

Half-Elf Butts!

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drgreenhoe

Looks like a race I would not mind playing.

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Solaris

We’ve been playing fairly hard core since Campaigns went live. Crowfall is one of the best MMOs to come along in years.

butterpanda888
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butterpanda888

I am really excited for this game.

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yoh_sl

So people are racist against half-elves, as if I haven’t seen that fucking cliche a million times by now. Some imagination there guys.

Polyanna
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Polyanna

Seems like a lot of modern games promise to make racial choices significant and then wind up nerfing the significance sooner or later when people inevitably complain that there is only one BiS race for each class or their favorite race isn’t viable for a class it’s not optimal for.

ESO does have racial passives with tangible combat benefits, but they only really dictate a choice if you need that last 5% or so of performance advantage to make something work, which only happens at the extreme end of the endgame difficulty scale. For anything short of that, you can play whatever you want.

GW2 has racial active abilities, but they were deliberately nerfed to be worse than any non-racial alternative across the board, which means effectively they’re never used, or used basically only for RP builds. I think the stats are identical otherwise for all races.

WoW also has systematically nerfed racial abilities to the point of irrelevance. SWTOR didn’t even pretend; they just went from the start with a single unique social emote for each race and nothing at all tangible.

I’m not sure how relevant race was (or is) in Wildstar.

The most recent game I can think of, that doesn’t have race-locked classes to start with, where race really makes a difference, is Anarchy Online, which has some pretty game changing racial perks available at the endgame. Though even there, much of the racial advantage class fades by the time you are endgame geared; but certain races still might make it loads easier to get geared, due to the way racial stats can contribute to twinking, which is required to equip almost all high end gear.

I’ll be curious to see how much this game can make race matter and stick with it.

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Reht

I am curious too, particularly because this is a PvP game where every little advantage counts…

Andy McAdams
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Andy McAdams

I just really hope someday that we can have gameplay that stops being dictated by BiS. Part of the fun I had in DnD was making a deliberately non-optimal character and still succeeded in the quest despite that. I dunno, it blows my mind when I stop to think about it and how silly it seems to play a game where you only play when you have the absolute, empirically defined best chance of winning.

I dunno, it’s hard for me to articulate it. I don’t mind theory crafting, but I hate the idea that everyone must have BiS gear.

Polyanna
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Polyanna

Part of the fun I had in DnD was making a deliberately non-optimal character and still succeeded in the quest despite that.

I never really played D&D, but from what I know of games that use the old D20 model under the hood, I believe much of this derives from the fact that the old pen and paper model of gaming integrated dice rolls so thoroughly into every aspect of the game, to the point that “luck” was a true combat mechanic, that had as much to do with your success as anything you could choose about your character.

You could be ideally set up for an encounter and still lose; or poorly set up and still win. And there were some outcomes that weren’t really winning or losing, but just changed the way the story went from there.

Oddly, as much as we bitch about the abuse of RNG in modern video games, it was much more heavily used as a core mechanic in old school PNP games. (Which, if you think about it, makes sense, since random card draws and dice rolls have been a core part of thousands of board and table games of all types for thousands of years.)

When modern games use RNG it feels either abusive or simply lazy, since there always seem to be better ways to get to the same point with less frustration; and it is, for the most part, basically abused just to time gate or delay completion of a mostly deterministic goal in what feels like a very needless way.

It’s not so much that modern games use RNG too much, as that they don’t use it enough, or never really commit to using it well; i.e., they use it in all the bad ways and none of the good, leaving us with all the frustration and none of the luck.

I doubt many video game designers these days even think about this, or that it would occur to them at all, since few of them have any actual game design experience; they grew up on video games, and all they make is video games, and so they think about games only through that lens, and don’t realize what things much older game models may have to teach.

Anyway, just a ramble. Maybe true, maybe not.

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JoeCreoterra

Crowfall will definitely keep the racial differences/advantages. Why do I say that? Because Todd kept these in during the entire lifespan of Shadowbane even when some people cried.

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Alfredo Garcia

I want to be a half-elf too!
A guinelf?

guineaelf.jpg
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Melissa McDonald

Wow a very non-Tolkien way of looking at them. I see nothing wrong with that. The description is actually similar to D&D’s depiction of half-orcs.