Fight or Kite: One specific update would make Crowfall worth playing every day

    
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The past couple of weeks I’ve been having a fantastic time romping through Crowfall’s campaigns. When you have a good group of players by your side, fights are both exhilarating and quite fun.

But frequently on the game’s subreddit, people ask whether the game is worth playing yet. It seems one of the most common responses is that “it has enough mechanics to be entertaining but remember you are still just testing.”

Then it occurred to me: With all the tools in Crowfall’s quiver, a single, well-thought out update could really put something together that would be great to play right now, every day. That’s not to say you can’t have fun in the game yet, but with a few tweaks, I think there would be much less downtime and much more fun all around.

Change up the campaigns a bit more

The campaigns in Crowfall so far have been getting a lot of love. I think the average length of a campaign is a couple of weeks. The team over at Artcraft has been frequently trying out different scoring methods and offering rewards to the winning faction to keep it fresh.

I really love that the team is dedicated enough to make these changes while working on all the primary game improvements at the same time. It certainly keeps the dedicated players engaged and logged in. Yet, there is still a lot of downtime between the fun parts of the game.

Currently, most of the points gained towards winning the campaign come from the sieges. Capturing keeps and repelling invaders is a blast – when all teams are prepared and on common footing. Often a keep will flip so quickly that there isn’t even time to mount any sort of defense. This isn’t exactly a problem, but it happens enough that you find yourself just running from keep to keep for 30 minutes to an hour, and engaging in meaningful combat for only about 5 minutes. Again, this isn’t strictly terrible, but if the fun is in the combat, let’s get more of that time in combat!

Try out something different. Change the scoring format a bit to encourage outpost and camp flipping. Currently, they do add up to a good amount of points per turn, but let’s turn up the points on them to encourage frequent quick battles. If, rather than seeing teams of 20 or more turning up every couple of hours strictly for a keep fight, we scored it so that there were several teams of 2-5 players constantly engaging in fights over camps, that’d be great. There could be bonus points for capturing when you have a PvP fight than when you don’t, further pushing players to fight each other.

Since it is currently pretty unforgiving to low-level and lesser-geared players, it’d also be great if there were even a single map in the campaign that restricted who could fight on it. When rolling a new vessel, it is a straight up pain to not be able to quickly jump in and be helpful.

Offer up rewards for different experiences – housing anybody?

As it is now, we have some pretty cool rewards for the winning factions in the campaigns. However, ACE has also put together the backbone for a nice housing system with its Eternal Kingdoms. I think it should bolster the community that really loves designing and building those kingdoms by having some added rewards here as well.

The devs likely can’t automate winners of “best kingdom design” the way they can with combat campaigns, but ACE could certainly make a judgement call. It could even have bi-weekly or monthly contests on Twitter and let the community vote. Winners could simply have their designs show up as the keeps or towns in future campaigns, or even as designs that other players could use in their EKs.

And let’s put something together for the crafters

The crafting system in game is already pretty solid. Obviously it will continue to improve and grow as development progresses, but I don’t think it’s crazy to say that when you (or someone in your guild) craft a legendary item, it feels like an accomplishment.

Of course there are already good uses for these items currently, but it would be fun to encourage players to make and share them amongst each other further.

Currently the free cities are barren ghost towns. They have an almost spooky and haunting feeling to them. Such nice buildings, market stalls, statues – but where did all the people go? It appears these were designed to be player-run cities, and that could be the case today!

Add in some very high-level NPCs that will aggro any players who start a fight. Make it so that players can fight regardless of faction. Have the market stalls act as some kind of chest to encourage players to use the stalls as seller locations by granting them some sort of bonus for having higher-level goods. Perhaps some sort of crafting speed or gathering bonus. Or… this little town could make for a nice battle royale.

This is pre-alpha, so remove the leveling

You know, I said earlier that it’d be nice to section off a piece of the campaign for lowbies, but taking it a step further would be even better: Remove the levels all together!

ArtCraft has made some solid strides with God’s Reach, which I think is a move in the right direction. But it is still too slow and cumbersome to level at this stage in testing. I need at least a couple of other players with me to fight the NPC camps. If I’m alone, leveling will take even longer fighting small groups of trash mobs. I’d like to not need a guild just to level up in a pre-alpha. I just hate feeling like I’m grinding, but now I need to get a few other people to grind with me, so… no thanks.

I get it: There are a lot of good reasons for the game to include leveling. Testing the leveling systems themselves is important. Testing the whole leveling experience is important. But at this phase of the game’s development, do you really want us to test the leveling experience, or do you want to us test all the other systems?

As a player, with an unfinished leveling system, where there really isn’t a whole hell of a lot of ways to level; the last thing I want to do is grind through it again on a new vessel. What I want to do, and I would suspect you would want as well, is to see how different race and class combinations perform. How does the class perform on this skill tree vs. the others? How does the server handle the load of dozens of players fighting simultaneously?

To reiterate, I am having fun. But my thoughts were focused on keeping veterans (yeah a pre-alpha with veteran players) happy and active while also giving those on the outskirts who haven’t taken the leap of faith and plunged into the game yet the incentive to do so. I don’t think that any of these ideas are the only way the game should be made, but I do think that ACE has all the pieces in hand already to put these together and improve the current experience. Doing so encourages all of us to talk about the game, which might bring in a few new warm bodies for us to wreck.

So, bandits, bows drawn targeting me while I fell a tree – what do you think would make the game actually playable today? Would you play the game more often or buy in if it had these changes? Or are you perfectly satisfied with the current game and the team could do nothing to improve it outside of its current schedule?

Every other week, Massively OP’s Sam Kash delivers Fight or Kite, our trip through the state of PvP across the MMORPG industry. Whether he’s sitting in a queue or rolling with the zerg, Sam’s all about the adrenaline rush of a good battle. Because when you boil it down, the whole reason we PvP (other than to pwn noobs) is to have fun fighting a new and unpredictable enemy!

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Toxophile

Sounds like Crowfall is having similar problem to Guild Wars 2 with it’s blobs in WvW. I too would love to see multiple 2-5 person groups moving around fighting and capping. But the only way that will happen is if there is a penalty to having too many different squads in close proximity. Not people. Squads. The idea would be to apply a ramping up debuff to players if there are more than, say, 3 squads within 100 meters of each other. Every second that this is true, the debuff grows. After around 10 seconds the players in that area suffer a -50% effectiveness to their damage and healing, but a +10% buff to movement speed.

If a squad is 5 people, this should keep the blobs small, and less of a problem. But something should be done to discourage zergs for sure.

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Corvus Citadel

Making forts and outposts more valuable results in less interesting PvP due to the frequency of flipping them, theirs less likely to be direct conflict. With the newer schedule on Forts (which was put into place cause no one would fight over them just capture them “off hours”) it could create some conflict but it would just shift possible fighting to the last couple of minutes of every hour and empower whoever has the Zerg even more as you don’t get any extra defenses like the keep grants.

The Free city used to be full of vendors and players but as they’ve nerfed leveling off of gold (and having few other uses demanding a constant stream of gold) most don’t maintain vendors anymore. Coupled with the added grind to leveling and then finish building disciplines folks have been dropping out of the game decreasing the overall population.

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lostkoss

Lets talk about risk vrs reward. Let me know if I am missing anything!

Okay so you are this Eternal Crow soul just chilling in your Eternal Kingdom doing your thing for eternity when all of a sudden you get a message from the Gods and they want you to go fight for them over the Dying Worlds.(Artcraft has hinted about a complicated history and backstory, plus a mystery, for all of this but it will be discovered over time and not all be apparent from the start.)

(Important !!! ALL of these numbers are EXAMPLES and are MADE UP from the basic information Artcraft has put out so far.)
So Crowfall is going to have different level of risk and different rule sets for each Dying World.

Rules will have to do with Who is fighting Who.
1) Free for all – Self explanatory.
2) Guild Vrs. Guild – Again pretty basic rule. Guilds may or may not get grouped up.
3) Race vrs Race – Solo Racewars (1 vrs 11) or group Racewars ( 3v3v3v3 or 4v4v4)
4) God vrs God – From what I understand Players choose their own Gods.
5) Starsign Vrs Starsign – And players are randomly assigned a Starsign based on birth month.

Godwars and Starsign wars can either be solo (1v11) or group (3v3v3v3 or 4v4v4 or even 6v6) like the Racewars.

Then there will be rules about what kind of starting gear you can bring into the world. And rules about what you can take back to your Eternal Kingdom at the end of that world.

Then there is the risk.

Just as a basic outlay I’m going to say there are 5 starting levels of risk. (I don’t think the exact amount/levels of risk has been determined, this exercise is just an example of the system.)

1)Minimum risk- Crafting materials and other rewards only a small step above what is available in your Eternal Kingdom.- On death one random item is dropped from your backpack.
2)Low risk- Crafting materials are better than min and EK but not as good as medium risk.- On death drop everything in your backpack.
3)Medium risk- Crafting materials are right in the middle.- On death drop one random equipped item and all items in backpack.
4)High risk -Crafting material one step above medium, one step below maximum.- On death drop all equipped gear and all items in backpack.
5)Maximum risk – best crafting materials in the game- on death drop everything equipped and everything in your backpack plus Vessel (body) itself is lootable.

Add to that different lengths of time for each world before it crumbles. Some might be only a few days or even hours, some might go for 6 months.

And then the possibility of different sized worlds maybe in the future with different biomes.

I might have missed a few things, but as you can see just with what I very basically outlined here there are many, many different possibilities for combinations.

And since there will be many of these worlds all going on at once the player will have vast control over what type of risks he is going to take.

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Jeremy Barnes

As someone who has given a fair sum of money to this and tried it out a couple time…the investment to figure it out seems pretty high and hasn’t been something I’ve been interested enough in doing.

I think more than anything, it needs a tutorial to explain some of it’s systems and how they all work.

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Solaris

As a fan of Crowfall, this is one of the best pieces I’ve read from gaming press. I am having fun with current Campaigns and especially earning rewards for participating in test. But your suggestions are spot on and would make for a larger testing base and a fun experience.

miol
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miol

– “…which might bring in a few new warm bodies for us to wreck.”

And that’s exactly the sentiment, that made World’s Adrift and many others fail. From the perspective of both sides!

As in trying to suddenly cater for another type of players just to get new “warm bodies” will only alieanate both sides in the long run!

From: https://massivelyop.com/2019/05/31/the-daily-grind-which-sunsetted-mmo-had-the-most-wasted-potential/

– “We certainly pointed out its many flaws and seeming unwillingness to address them in a timely manner, so part of this feels like it was foreseeable and preventable.”

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Arktouros

which might bring in a few new warm bodies for us to wreck

As a PvP oriented player I’m excited for Crowfall but frankly until I hear the words “We’re done wiping” it’s just all useless noise to me.

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Dug From The Earth

My biggest issue with the game is that it doesnt feel like the game they hyped for crowd funding.

Every time I try the alpha it just feels like a survival mmo with siege warfare elements.

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lostkoss

Because that is the main system they are testing. That is what needs to be right at launch, everything else is based on it. Artcraft needs the combat and the sieges and the winning and losing of the Throne War to not only be functional, but fun.

It’s just a glimpse of the full game. You get hot dropped into a warzone.

Not gonna lie, things are likely to be a little rough at the launch, but Crowfall has so much room to grow if they get the base game right.

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Dug From The Earth

If thats the case, then the game is even less developed than I had thought. There are simply so many elements missing from the game that are in the hyped videos and info about what this game is going to be.

Thats kinda disturbing, considering. Means the game realistically wont be out until 2021. If it comes out earlier than that, then it will be a shell of a game.

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lostkoss

Still Pre Alpha. Still testing systems. Not yet assembling systems for a full game.

2021 is a little long. They have a lot of the working pieces done. They just need to get busy sewing it all together. That’ll be the Alpha.

I still don’t think they hit Beta this year. Maybe in like February 2020.

It’s going to be a little sparse and rough at the start I am sure, but with additions over time like all these games should properly get, it really has a chance to be something different. Possibly even something great.

They have really good ideas at least.

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Arktouros

This is the big issue and why I’ve stopped bothering reading anything or looking at games before they’re done wiping characters basically.

In ArcheAge I bought into an amazing system that promoted naval fighting only to have the rug pulled out from me in beta and get their shitty ArcheAge 2.0 patch with oppressive cash shop and destroyed naval systems. In Albion I bought into the hype for one game and over the course of years of beta I got as many new games as they did patches because everyone was a major overhaul to systems big and small and the game I bought wasn’t the one I ended up with (nor was it much of an improvement). So on and so forth.

Every time a game developer talks big or shows you systems that are in alpha/beta state what you actually end up with by the time the actual game arrives is almost always invariably different. Just isn’t worth my money or time anymore until I hear they’re done wiping and then finally seeing what the game is about.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Too right. I ceased reading any of the tripe developers shovel out. They don’t mean to be mendacious, but it often turns out that way.

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lostkoss

We all want them to finish the game pal.

They need to get this “Pre Alpha” stuff over with.

They need to produce an Alpha schedule.

They need a realistic release date announced.

They do not need to waste time making a better game experience for testers.