Call me weird, but user interfaces in games are among my favorite things to dig into, and Crowfall’s has been of particular interest to me over the years as it’s developed and changed what seems like a bajillion times. Today, still riding high on the $12M in investor money it announced last week, ArtCraft kicked off a new dev diary feature about “impactful-but-less-showy features” coming as part of the game’s next milestone, and happily (for me), it’s all about the UI. Specifically, it’s about the survival tray and how it’s dead.
“One of the changes you’ll notice immediately is the removal of the survival tray,” the studio writes. “Our original thought was to offer two different interface modes, catering to different Crowfall activities: active trays, that function like traditional MMO power bars (melee, ranged, stealth), and a survival tray for loading out tools, that functioned more like a survival game. What we found over time is that this distinction caused more trouble than it was worth. Player feedback was universally in agreement that the system was non-intuitive (‘I picked up an axe, ran over to the spider and left-clicked and none of my attacks did damage! Next thing I know I’m the ground being attacked, wth?!’) and awkward. It also led to a host of under-the-covers problems from a design standpoint as we had to constantly think about everything with the consideration that the player was in two distinct ‘states.'”
The team apparently took it out and tested it for a while and found that the game was better without it. Deleted forever! You’ll still see the other trays, but now you’ll be equipping tools on your toon instead of into survival mode – more like Guild Wars 2 or WoW than like Trove or, well, survival titles. Left-clicking and related camera positioning are now context-sensitive to suit, and the designers found new homes for things like class energy displays and consumables.
You’ll be able to test-drive the new layout yourself in February when it hits the test server.
— Crowfall (@CrowfallGame) January 15, 2020