Crowfall quietly adjusts its API to prevent bots from reporting player numbers

    
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Yesterday saw Crowfall put out a tiny patch that didn’t really do much on its face beyond changing a resource respawn and preventing some graphics adjustment settings from being changed in certain situations. That alone wouldn’t really be newsworthy except for the feature that the patch notes don’t detail: a stealthy change to the game’s API that has prevented bots from pulling player counts.

This API change specifically affects a Discord bot known as Malekai, which provided population numbers for each of the campaign servers as well as a full number of players in the game. As of yesterday’s patch, the API now displays the population capacity, which is only a small percentage indicator.

As one would expect, this has kicked off a lot of renewed discussion about whether MMOs should share their player numbers versus how important player counts can be in an RvR style MMO. One way or the other, this new development now further obfuscates how populated Crowfall is after its launch – a concern that some players (but not all) carry.

sources: official forums, Reddit, thanks to Scree for the tip!
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Joel Ricardo Hanauer

very good pvp MMO, action combat with a lot of class/race/specializations options. Easy to participate in end game events as level 30 is easy to achieve, but in order to keep progression the game become a grind fest, you need to farm gold , materials and disciplines. If you liked Old UO, Darkfall and Albion Online then Crowfall worth your attention.

Malekai bot was back last weekend, players count peaks are in 2500 range, it doesnt feel empty but could be a lot better, with NW beta coming soon i don´t think they had a good timing to lauch the game.

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Itinerant Builder

I really hope this game is a success — not so much because I personally want to play it, because I’m not really interested in this kind of PvP or RvR — but because of how it was funded and developed.

They’ve been very transparent about their development process, and very responsive to the early backers. They haven’t tried to make another cookie cutter WoW clone, they’ve tried to do some really interesting things and fill a niche market.

If they succeed, they blaze a trail for other small innovative studios to do the same thing, and the ecosystem of MMOs will be richer for it. Hopefully including the games I really want to play.

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Humble DG

Personally, I’m enjoying the game. It has a balance of different mechanics that I’m enjoying. In typical MMO fashion, new game released and immediately is bashed for what it’s not doing vs what it is doing. It’s like we don’t give anything a fucking chance anymore.

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Dankey Kang

I don’t think it’s about people not giving things a chance; it’s just that there’s soo many options when it comes to videogames nowdays that deliberately playing mediocre or bad games is just illogical, unless you’re really invested in it for some reason or another.

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Itinerant Builder

The people who are enjoying it don’t seem to feel its mediocre. There are quite a few streamers who seem to feel like it’s exactly what they want.

It’s certainly not for everyone. It’s not the game I would chose to play, because I’m not particularly interested in large scale PvP, and the game is almost entirely focused on that. But there are still some aspects I find intriguing, not the least of which is the way it was funded and developed.

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John Mclain

Well of course not, those are the people who enjoy it. Everyone else however finds the game mediocre to below average in general. Myself included. It was just… “meh”.

agemyth 😩
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agemyth 😩

Giving players access to the actual data on player counts is harmful to projects that aren’t community run like rogue servers. You will know if a game has a healthy population when you see people in the game and it has a functional economy. I don’t know how many people Crowfall needs to reach that feeling, but it could be something that scales as “low” as 3000 concurrents. There are games that get by with less than that just fine.

Raleigh-St-Clair
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Raleigh-St-Clair

“…it could be something that scales as “low” as 3000 concurrents.”

If that was 3000 concurrents on one server; happy days. The problem, which people keep deliberately forgetting – or perhaps they don’t even realise – is that there’s at least 10 servers. So that 3000 is spread ridiculously, indie-game thin. THAT is the issue.

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draugris

RvR games should be careful with handing out players numbers, it can lead to severe imbalances. Total numbers per Servers, Realm, etc. might be OK but more specific numbers could generate issues. Numbers presented from third parties should be looked at with a grain of salt. We do not know how these numbers were calculated. In the end what matters is, do you find players to play with on either side. So if players are reporting that campaigns are empty, that there is no PVP etc. then I would start beeing concerned.

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Jo Watt

It seems some folks just can’t accept facts. The game just isn’t doing well. It had a lot of potential but ultimately didn’t deliver. It just all feels so bland. Mediocre graphics, combat, animations and survival aspects.

I logged on many times throughout the years and they seemed to be heading in a different direction every time.

Imo when you have a game, open world or not, that focus is basically: Players will create the content through PvP and maintaining areas and yep player driven economy! It’s just not gonna work without a solid player base that games who provide a mix are able to retain better, be it due to dungeons, raids or even simply story and lore.

It’s why it was nice to see New World change and add more PvE focus and lessen the PvP aspects. It’s why Ashes of Creation has a decent shot as well because the focus for that, while sounding heavy on PvP those mechanics are pushed more towards certain game elements that encourage PvP while discouraging open world. Hopefully both strike good balance.

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Chris Walker

Yeah, it’s weird. It doesn’t have a “solid player base”, yet here I am sitting in a queue. Go figure.

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Mallus

Queue for a 200 zone cap?

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Arktouros

The bigger issue involved is they didn’t release features that enable a player economy. Like I would love to sell Advanced Rune Tools (I make some pretty fucking baller tools) but I literally can’t get a vendor slot in Shilo and sorting through EK’s for vendors is a complete crapshoot. It’s the same thing with the chat, grouping and other UI features they completely failed on.

Like everything is there, the people are there even, but there’s no way to connect them. I’m out mining and see a friendo I can’t even say local chat “Watch out, there’s some hostiles around.” Chat is all diced up into 12 different categories and invisible most of the time. I have all these crafted goods to sell and supply the server with top quality wares and I have no way to get it the people.

Mixed games are a mixed bag. New World for example is atrocious for PvP at this point. It’s full of your standard themepark PvP rides that got boring a few years after their introduction back in 2004. Oh wow I can own a city I can’t…really…do anything of meaning with it but wowee look at our guild logo on those banners. Neato. 9:10 those mixed games end up either completely shorting one side or the other. I wouldn’t play Albion for it’s riveting PvE raid content anymore than I’d play New World for it’s token PvP content left in the game.

Alomar
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Alomar

Eh, that’s your opinion regarding New World. Personally, as a pvper I’m still choosing New World over Crowfall even though I’m a longtime Crowfall backer and if it launched any other time I’d have played it. This includes my entire guild, and several other pvp guilds we’ll be cooperating with. Crowfall as it is, is very shallow and full of mediocre features (combat, graphics, ui, etc. as even you pointed out others).
The room for open world pvp player driven content within the pvp quests needed to weaken regions to siege them is limitless. Then on top of that the instanced pvp still looks more appealing than what Crowfall has on offer atm.

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Arktouros

It’s an opinion based on understanding how the mechanics actually work.

Like you state New World has “limitless” player driven content because of PvP quests. However inherently weakening a region enables PvP sieges which is PvP content. So if you’re successful and win, you lose out on PvP content. If you want that PvP content then you have to not participate and let them win. If you weaken and take over other regions (maximum PvP content) then you run into the “Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept, for there were no more worlds to conquer” issue. The gameplay PvP loop only works if there’s a consistent, consistent and relatively equal in strength force opposing your force which…honestly…pretty rarely happens in these kinds of environments (there’s a reason certain WvW servers have always been in top in games like GW2 for numerous years).

See this is the whole issue in the Crowfall vs New World debate for PvP. Crowfall is scuffed as fuck on it’s surface level with terrible UI, useless chat system and the like but the bones are mostly good. However New World is very shiny and polished but underneath the bones are broken and the systems are just an afterthought now compared to their PvE focus. I’m sure you’ll have fun with it, for the month or two you play.

Raleigh-St-Clair
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Raleigh-St-Clair

Spot on, Jo. But, being the Internet, you can pull out a dozen solid facts and people who don’t want to believe the game is junk will just… deny facts, basically. It’s really weird to be talking to people who will flat out deny or, at best, ignore stuff that even the devs have said about their own game. But again, that’s the Internet.

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Itinerant Builder

I don’t think people are denying or ignoring that. I think some people disagree with your interpretation of it.

Unless we know why 75% of backers didn’t immediately jump into the game at launch to try it out, how can we know if that’s a good or bad thing?

Do you know? Because I sure don’t.

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Mallus

100% correct Jo

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Itinerant Builder

I don’t think any of us know what player base they need to be profitable. But from what I’m seeing from people who are playing regularly there is no shortage of players for the game activities — perhaps a need for more crafters, since the crafting system is very deep and the best items take a lot of resources to craft.

There’s a Twitch streamer, Snowye, who also demonstrates pretty well that solo play not just viable, but a lot of fun, at least as an assassin.

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Jo Watt

Yea I’m not saying the game can’t be or isn’t fun. It’s just not appealing to me and seemingly 75ish% of the other backers for what the game as become. And I mean sure some of these servers might have a queue and stuff they can only hold 1400 people, that’s roughly 466 people per faction if it’s all balanced out. You have people mentioned guilds of 150 players… If you had 3 actually active guilds they would make up the whole faction…

Now I mean none of this is a “bad” thing, I’m just looking at this game from what I heard and expected in the beginning to what has actually been developed. It’s ok to enjoy the game for what it is and ok for others like me to say yea I understand sometimes developers no matter how much they want to can’t always deliver 100% what they had that sounded amazing on paper.

It may not need a huge player base and as long as they maintain what they have it’ll be a small stable game, but the facts are it’s just not a “huge” success in the overall MMO sense, but the competition is always welcome imo and it’s nice to see a Kickstarter game actually come out functioning.

Hope everyone who enjoys it has a great time.

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Itinerant Builder

Agree on all points. While I’m sure the devs wouldn’t mind becoming the next WoW, it seems pretty clear to me from watching some of the interviews with the founders that they’ve always understood that a PvP game is a niche market.

What were you expecting verses what was delivered? It seems to me they delivered largely what they promised, albeit after many delays.

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Mallus

I was saying months ago that this game would be dead within the first 4-5 weeks, but I’m surprised it’s sinking this fast already. Glaring issues: The EK system is terrible for buying and selling (no matter how much the fanbois say its not), the UI is un-customizable, there are no anti zerg mechanics (like removing aoe damage caps, limiting guild size further, removing alliances etc), crafting is overly complicated and expensive to level, the world feels dead for the most part, there’s not much to do outside of siege timers and performance of the engine is suspect at best. I would also bet money that New Worlds beta and release will further erode Crowfalls player base, overall its not looking good.

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Arktouros

They actually do have quite a few of those kinds of mechanics able to be enabled. Like supposedly there were capped guilds/alliance campaigns that also enabled friendly fire (meaning one guild could AOE another making zerging very difficult). I know our group is really looking forward to a campaign with friendly fire.

World definitely doesn’t feel dead in Dregs, but does in God’s Reach now that the Dregs campaign has pulled the majority of the larger guilds/alliances. Most of those guilds (long established guilds from alpha/beta) largely see God’s Reach as a tutorial springboard zone and not a game mode they’re interested in. You mostly just find people farming it for crafting advancement/gold for crafting advancement because the Dregs is too heavily contested.

Everything else is pretty spot on. However I don’t think the kind of player that is interested in playing Crowfall will be interested in New World. It’s really two different markets and New World has heavily veered towards the PvE side of things. It’d be like saying Crowfall was going to pull population from Final Fantasy or WOW or something, like obviously not. Like there’s just very little overlap there going both ways.

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Mallus

I don’t doubt Dregs is more active but you have 3-4 guilds and alliances dominating everything. They will get very little resistance and it will become boring after a very short period of time. As for stealing players from Crowfall we will have to wait and see but in the end Crowfall is an MMO RPG even if it’s just a shallow one, New World will offer far more to do with PvP that is both instance based (even fights) and open world with faction/territory wars along with dungeons, raids, better crafting, housing etc.

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Arktouros

Well in our part, we resist each other. Like the whole Death vs Acolytes vs Winterblade thing on US East is crazy constant warfare of all 3 sides. They hit our farmers, we hit their farmers, it’s all a big thing. At Keep siege times all the zones with keeps active lock out in population and so far 2 keeps have changed hands (Acolytes took a Death keep, Death took an Acolytes keep). Where the game completely fails to your point (and others) is they don’t enable smaller groups to get into the thick of things. This is where more successful PvP games like Albion do things right and make end game PvP activities and areas more accessible for all. A group of 5-10 can be successful in Albion where a group of 5-10 in Crowfall is going to have an extremely difficult experience.

Open world PvP is more than just an open field fight. What’s appealing about a game like Crowfall is the potential for teamwork and comradeship (at least for me). Our relatively small group is up to green vessels which represents hours of work motherlode stone mining for minerals, hours of other people’s work digging up bodies, and hours of other people’s work farming additives to make better bodies. I can go log into GW2 or any number of games and just get a group fight. However collective effort and feeling like you’re a part of something greater than the sum of it’s parts is something very few games offers outside of these kinds of PvP gankbox style environments.

Like I’m not going to get that in New World and thus there’s no overlap. That doesn’t mean New World will fail or do badly or otherwise, just the kind of player who is interested in the kind of game play that games like Albion or EVE or Crowfall offers inherently appeals to the same things that we like about these kinds of games.

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IronSalamander8 .

I’ve never tried this one so not playing now but hiding player numbers does appear to be them trying to obfuscate low numbers since if the numbers were good, they’d be happily announcing how well their numbers are, especially early on to entice people to give it a try.

No idea how good/bad it actually is but the optics of a change like this are not good.

Raleigh-St-Clair
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Raleigh-St-Clair

Precisely. And the fact that they even tried to make a story out of 25% of paid-up players showing up for launch shows a crazy level of desperation. To actually admit to that, when a launch should have *everyone* showing up, even if just for the first week or two, suggests it’s the best stat they have to hand. Frightening.

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Arktouros

Well we already know the prime time concurrency numbers are low so we know there’s no “good optics” scenario to be had. All there is the bad optics scenario where they take away the numbers or the bad optics scenario where they leave the numbers.

At that point it becomes a pretty easy decision to remove the numbers especially when people are incredibly disingenuous with them. Like something Raleigh-St-25% never brings up at all is that entire tweet response was towards someone else claiming that only 0.6% of registered users had logged into the game. Any positive outcome for transparency is lost in the noise from those kinds of people.

This is why companies don’t release numbers. Same thing happens with games with large populations. Every time there’s an Activision financial report and WOW loses a million subs everyone comes out of the woodwork to say WOW’s finally dying or a dead game.

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rk70534

Can’t blame them for doing this, but of course this being revealed is also just more (well, a tiny can) of petrol to the flames fanned by those who think the game is already showing signs of failing.

Hopefully their claimed coming increase in marketing will work for them.

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Dankey Kang

those who think the game is already showing signs of failing.

I don’t really think that’s up for debate at this point.

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Chris Walker

You’re right. It’s not worth debating because it’s not true. For the people who play it, it’s hopping.

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rk70534

There is little reason to expect that the game is failing at this point. Let’s see if they up their marketing and watch what happens then. If the numbers are smaller than they are now by the late autumn, then the game will be failing.

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Itinerant Builder

Unless you know their financials, which I certainly don’t, there’s no way to say the game is failing. They could be quite profitable with a few thousands of simultaneous players.

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Sarah Cushaway

Whelp.
That game’s shutting down within a year.