[Crowfall] Knightly Updates

Crowfall was something I backed instantly. In large part it was the way that the dev team communicated. Early on, I felt they were communicating to me. I’ve been watching Crowfall continue to keep communicating to the players. They talk about milestones, difficulties, triumphs. It makes me feel like I have stake in the game.

To be honest though most of those updates just made me nod knowing it was still a large ways off before I would play. It’s like if someone is telling me a couple places of where they plan on taking me for dinner. I like hearing their thought process, but I can’t really think about what I am going to eat until I know which restaurant we are going to. Crowfall news has felt much the same. I appreciate the process, but not much to chew on, for me.

This changed subtly with the Knight Powers. All of the sudden things felt less “high concept” and more “this is what I might chew on”. The post goes over the idea of Minimum Viable Powers for each archetype and talks about some powers each will have. For example, special movement powers might be assigned to “c”. It’s interesting and gets me thinking a bit about the other archetypes. Continue reading [Crowfall] Knightly Updates

Crowfall Interview on the Business Model

I contacted ArtCraft Entertainment – who is currently running a Kickstarter for the upcoming Crowfall MMO – to see if they would want to briefly discuss their choice of business model and a few followups. In the midst of the craziness they were more than willing to answer a couple questions.

Crowfall is a “buy once, play forever” game. What made you want to go against the MMO majority of subscription or free-to-play?

It was the right business model for this game and this audience.  There is a lot of fatigue with free-to-play that are actually ‘pay-to-win’ in disguise.  And we were sensitive to the portion of our audience that can’t easily afford a subscription so we made that optional, rather than required.  This allows players with more time than money to be just as competitive as players with more money than time, putting everyone on as even a playing field as possible. Continue reading Crowfall Interview on the Business Model

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 Continue reading Crowfall, Before 5 Days

Crowfall and Buy-2-Play Collecting

Crowfall with it’s constant drip of small bits of information has released their pricing FAQ. This has raised my interest meter to “high”. There’s small bits of stuff like “PLEX” and a cash shop based on skins, but not stuff that affects the in-game economy. The most important thing is obviously that the game is going to be Buy-2-Play, meaning you buy the box and get the game.

Why does this matter almost the most at this point? One of my favorite devs, Jeff Strain, wrote way back in 2007 some of the most important words for MMO creators, in my humble pundit opinion. Unfortunately, ArenaNet took his speech down since Strain moved on to create Undead Labs, but thankfully it appears archived here.

Decide on your business model first, and then build your game around it.

So simple. Anecdotally, this is why I had such a tough time with Wildstar‘s pre-launch hype because they were holding their cards way too close.

Anyway, since Crowfall is eager to share their business model so soon, and my favorite one to boot, I am on board. I was already on board since I’ve been wanting a non-spaceship EVE for some time. I am a early backer to Camelot Unchained as well, which is subscription based.

Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against subscriptions. I feel they can definitely work and have worth as as business model that a customer would want. EVE, once again, being the shining star, in my opinion, for how a subscription game should work. The subscription+expansion model of World of Warcraft, I do not as much appreciate.

I think the main thing with Buy-2-Play is it hits that feeling of my Steam library. This is both good and bad for the MMO dev. Good because it gives them money they might not otherwise get, such as the case of Elder Scrolls Online getting my money in a month for going Buy-2-Play. Bad because the business model in itself does not create “stickiness” or “community”.

That’s the thing, if I subscribe, I feel like I have to use that service. If I own it, say in the case of the excellent The Secret World, I am fine “getting around to it”. Clearly I belong to no true community in The Secret World, and I mostly play it to muck around with friends or go solo through the story.

Guild Wars 2, which is Buy-2-Play, is clearly aiming a lot of it’s content and updates at people who are lightly part of the community. Weekend warriors, perhaps. With WvW and PvP, it offers more, in that sense, but both are still easy to get in to for said weekend warriors.

This is why Crowfall is verrrrry interesting. They are creating a game that appears to have community investment of some sort, at least more than Guild Wars 2, World of Warcraft, and the like, but they are using a business model driven towards people that want to accumulate. I am both pleased (put me in the sure-buy category) and worried.

Anyway, I’ve been following it ever since they started their countdown, which is probably going to be their Kickstarter. They have interesting ideas, which deserve some punditry.