Crowfall, Before 5 Days

The timer on the Crowfall website is edged through the 5 days mark as I write this. A lot of people, including myself, believe it to be the launch of their Kickstarter campaign. The founders write that they want to make the game beholden to their customers instead of a worldwide publisher. It is so refreshing when it feels like the devs are talking to me.

I am excited about this game. I’ve wanted a fantasy EVE-ish MMO since I realized I just couldn’t get in to EVE. So here is a little primer so you aren’t blind-sided in 5 days with an inundation of information.

Translated Elevator Pitch

(This I gleamed from their website, forums, and any other source I could find.)

It’s buy-2-play, or buy-the-box, or a conventional video game in point-of-sale.

It’s PvP and economy based, with looting fallen players’ goods and item destruction being part of the economy. Some PvE as well, but not the focus.

Class, race, and role are smashed together into an “archetype”. A Legionnaire will be a centaur focusing on melee DPS.

It’s instanced-ish. There are worlds to fight over, and the worlds have endings.

Where I Expound: Worlds and PvP Economy

I am going to give thoughts and further explanations. First, this picture will write many (1,000, perhaps?) words for me:

This picture is, in my opinion, the most important picture Crowfall has released to date. Why? Because this is how you will choose to play. This is how the economy of PvP will work.

The big blob on the right represents the Hunger, some otherworldly force intent on corrupting all things. The worlds to the left represent “Campaigns”, each with their own PvP and economy rule set. Each Campaign has an ending where the world falls to Hunger, and there are clear winners to the Campaign. Your character, an immortal champion, can fight in each Campaign.

Think of it like this. You are at GenCon. A whole hall is dedicated to Magic the Gathering, and you have your awesome Commander deck. At one table you play free-for-all with your deck, maybe earn or lose a few cards. At another table you play Emperor. At another table you play two-headed giant. As each game ends you move to another table with a game you might like.

You keep your deck’s theme throughout even if you don’t get all the cards at each table. At some tables some cards might be banned. At other tables you might have to kill another player to be able to add a card in to your hand. If you win at one table, perhaps the next table will let you put whatever 10 cards back in to your deck and get to choose part of your starting hand. And most importantly, at each game you are setting up your resources (mana).

So yes, they aren’t “instances” (a word the dev team seems to want to avoid) but they are discrete, duration-finite campaigns. Worlds/campaigns aren’t persistent, with the exception of, if I am reading it correctly,  your personal home in the Eternal Kingdoms. Your equipment is not necessarily persistent. Your character is the thing that is persistent.

What I assume from this picture is that certain worlds will feed other worlds. The Dregs, I feel, are going to be the place of gank squads and gatherers trying to hide out to claim some of the most precious materials. Those materials might simply not be found in the upper worlds, but they are very much desired.  A guild might be focused on mining and protecting the mines to feed their faction in higher world.

Where I Expound: B2P

I admit I was a bit worried with the business model being in contrast to the required commitment of a PvP game. A subscription model is all about commitment of the player (and the developer in a perfect quid-pro-quo arrangment). A B2P model is about playing when it’s fun, and it requires developers to cater to their hardcore and players logging in a couple times a month with no clue on the news, etc. Since really examining their Campaign-based fights, I am a lot less worried.

A weekend warrior could choose to go with their guild in to a Shadow world (seen above). Of most important note, there is no import. The weekend warrior only brings in their character, so there is no gearing up to go in to this particular Shadow world. They fight. They win or lose and export accordingly to worlds which require feeding/imports. The riches of their weekend fight can accumulate in their personal Eternal Kingdom. They walk away from Crowfall feeling like something was accomplished. Who cares about the more persisting struggle of the factions in God’s Reach?

The hardcore have longer campaigns to care about where possibly Hunger’s corruption of the world occurs at a slower rate. Their world might require more planning, responsiveness, and overall persistence to win. The world relies on the hardcore setting up relationships so that their faction can be fed from The Shadow and the Dregs. The glories of winning might be greater for their Eternal Kingdom as well.

Crowfall will also sell a premium monthly “subscription” in the form of a VIP membership to give priority access to worlds and passive training for “all 3 character slots (not just 1)”. The VIP membership will be tradable in game, similar to EVE’s PLEX.

4 Days and Change

I think I will have a lot more to say in response to the deluge I believe will happen in 4 days. I am pretty excited about this game. I like where the dev team is heading, I like their honesty, and I love the B2P model.

–Ravious

5 thoughts on “Crowfall, Before 5 Days”

  1. I’ve been jaded on MMO news of any sort for years now, and this has me VERY excited. It seems like a bunch of good ideas that shows no sign of importing the bad-but-tradition ideas that have dragged down every other hyped up release in recent years.

  2. My big question — just how “optional” will this subscription be? Some MMOs make subscriptions that are “optional, unless you want to enjoy the game.” I’m hoping that Crowfall isn’t that.

    1. Well if you read the thing I linked it seems like pretty optional. Like not optional would be certain worlds barred unless you sub. I see none of that.

      1. I’d actually be very ok with sub-only worlds, ones with perhaps a bit more dev/GM intervention since it’s a paid service. Has no impact on the game the free players are playing, but further helps justify paying the sub.

  3. Even with today’s reveal of a guinea-pig race I can’t generate any interest or enthusiasm for Crowfall. The last MMO I can remember feeling this negative about for no discernible reason was Glitch.

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