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Crowfall / Crowfall: Stretch Goal Achieved
« on: April 24, 2015, 12:15:31 PM »

Is it Friday again? This week really seemed to fly by, but we managed to get Todd to sit still just long enough to record this special thank-you message to our backers for unlocking our next stretch goal: Hire a Graphics Programmer.
This stretch goal is particularly notable because this is the first major milestone that we have achieved AFTER the successful completion of our Kickstarter campaign!  That means we’ve added almost $100,000 in pledges since our campaign ended on March 26th. (Has it been almost a month, already?!)
Click the video below to hear about our next stretch goal, and be sure to watch to all the way to the end for a hint about the next one in line – a feature that could be the ‘bane’ of your weak-hearted enemies.
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ACE Team Update
The Crowfall team continues to grow, bit by bit, as we recruit the talented folks we need to make Crowfall a reality. Last week, veteran web developer Seth Scoville joined us, and he has already hit the ground running!  His first major update launched yesterday: backer-level forum badges!
Backer Badges Added
That’s right, now you can wear your Crowfall backer status with pride!
Each backer tier (Contributor, Ruby, Sapphire, etc.) has a unique color – regardless of when you become a backer.
The look of the badge changes, however, depending on when you decided to back the project  – so, Ruby Kickstarter backers have a distinct look (but matching color) to the 2015 post-Kickstarter backer badges.  2016 will be different from those, as well.
Make sense? The rule is simple: color denotes backer level, shape denotes time.  This is an easy way to display your passion for the product AND display how long you’ve been a part of the Crowfall community!
Ready to redeem up your forum backer badge?  CLICK HERE to learn how.

Stretch Goal UNLOCKED: Game Localization
Unlocking one stretch goal means the next in line gets bumped to the top. A previously unlocked stretch goal brought in the funds necessary to begin localizing the Crowfall website. Now, we plan to take it even further by localizing the game itself into six additional languages: French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.  Visit this page to pledge and follow our progress.   
Lastly, keep an eye on your inbox for the next issue of our newsletter, As the Crow Flies… issue #2
That’s it for today, and see you on the forums!

Crowfall / Crowfall: Creature Feature - The Wyvern
« on: April 21, 2015, 01:54:53 PM »

Meet Allison Theus, the Mother of Wyverns (and other cool stuff). As a Senior Concept Artist, Allison is responsible for turning the game designers’ ideas into visuals that evoke emotion and inspire players to want to be, conquer or possess those creatures. Soon we’ll be adding a Bestiary section to our website and that will become the repository for creature content, but we couldn't wait to show off what Allison has been working on recently.

An Excerpt from The Saga of Hero the First Crow
His mortal name is long forgotten. All that is known of the First Crow is that he was unwavering in his devotion to the gods. By all accounts, he was pious and generous and humble.
Illara, Daughter of Cats, came upon him in a field. She asked him, ‘Why do you toil so? Put down your blade and play with me.’
The man was not one so easily put off his duty. ‘It is written in the Book of Deeds that the day is never to be wasted. I cannot put down my blade.’
And Illara was displeased and she left him.
Malekai, the Spider Lord, came upon him at the river and said to him, ‘This day is long and splendid. Why do you spend it fishing?’ and the man said, ‘I must feed my family. I cannot put down my rod.’
And Malekai was most displeased, and he left him.
And the one said to the other, ‘This man says that he is pious. Let us test his devotion.’
The man was whistling near the river when the black cat came upon him.
The creature said to him, ‘The gods demand that you send your eldest son into the Wyvern’s cave!’
And the man was beside himself with worry, for surely he believed that the Wyvern would devour his son. But he was a man of faith, and so he sent his son into the cave.
The Wyvern was waking when the boy appeared, and hungry. She devoured the boy, then returned to her slumber.
The man was weeping in his home when the Spider came upon him.
The Spider said, ‘The gods demand you send your second son into the Wyvern’s cave!’
The man was full of fear, but he did not wish to anger the gods. So, he sent his second son.
This son was likewise devoured.
The man and his wife were wailing in the temple when the Cat and the Spider came upon him. ‘The gods are not convinced of your devotion. You must send your youngest son into the cave.’
The man’s wife cried and pleaded, ‘We have but one son left, please do not make us do this thing.’
And in that moment, the merriment of the gods turned into anger. They went to the Wyvern and said, ‘This mortal does not love us.’
The Wyvern swept down from the mountain and destroyed the man’s home. She devoured his wife, his last son and his four daughters. She burned his village, clawed up his fields and chased away his neighbors.
The man was left with only soot and ash and bones.
Through his tears, the mortal said to the Wyvern, ‘What have I done to deserve this?’
 ‘It is not for you to question the gods’, said the Wyvern, and she returned to her cave, her hunger sated.

As campaigns progress and The Hunger takes hold, the Wyvern—like all manner of living things in the land—evolves through the changing of the seasons and begins to show the ravaging effects of Winter’s approach.




In this video, Lead UX/UI Artist Billy Garretsen chats with Allison about the creative process, how the concept art for Crowfall is evolving and advice for aspiring artists. This may be of particular interest for those who would like to pursue a career in the video game industry.

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General Discussion / Batman v Superman
« on: April 17, 2015, 07:09:00 PM »
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Big contrast between Marvel and DC Movie Universes.  DC is so dark.  I'm excited and optimistic about Batfleck

Crowfall / Crowfall: Pledge Package Upgrades Now Available
« on: April 17, 2015, 05:10:14 PM »
Pledge Package Upgrades Now Available

We’ve just launched our upgrade capability for backers on crowfall.com.  Let’s go through how it works!

First, you have to have a crowfall.com account, and you have to have your Kickstarter package merged with that account (or have purchased a package directly at crowfall.com which is on your account).
Now, if you are on the crowfall.com site and logged into your account you’ll see a “Upgrade Pledge” button at the top of most pages.  Click on that and you’ll end up at the packages page and it will show you your upgrade options.
For Kickstarter folks (including those who purchased during the Kickstarter period at crowfall.com), you can upgrade from your current Kickstarter package to a higher Kickstarter package for the difference in price.
For folks that pledged after 7am on March 26th on our website, you can both upgrade from your current package to larger packages for the price differential, and can also purchase multiple packages if you want.  We’ll be adding a gifting mechanism so if you want to buy a package for a friend and transfer it to them in the future you can do so.
Thank you for supporting Crowfall!
Gordon Walton
Executive Producer


Crowfall / Crowfall: No Bull, Here's the Myrmidon Archetype
« on: April 17, 2015, 05:07:19 PM »
No Bull, Here's The Myrmidon Archetype

The Minotaur archetype was unlocked when Kickstarter backers smashed the $1.5M stretch goal. In today's update, we're giving you a full view of this magnificent creature, his stats and backstory.

And speaking of magnificent creatures, we're also taking you behind the scenes to peek over the shoulder of character artist Eric Hart as uses ZBrush to digitally 'sculpt' the female Confessor avatar.
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Finally, all Kickstarter backers should have received the "Claim your rewards!" email from us. If you should've and haven't, please check your Spam folder first, and if you still don't see it, contact support@artcraftent.com.


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For the first time ever, highlights and more than 30 hours of exclusive video content from Star Wars Celebration Anaheim will be officially live streamed to a worldwide community of fans on StarWars.com, all powered by Verizon.

Launching with a live stream of the highly-anticipated kickoff panel featuring Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams and producer Kathleen Kennedy, the StarWars.com Celebration live stream powered by Verizon will continue providing coverage throughout the four-day event from a specially-designed Star Wars Cantina set located in the middle of the action on the convention floor.

Verizon and StarWars.com will deliver 30-plus hours of live streamed content following Thursday’s Celebration kickoff, featuring over a dozen panels and events, including discussions with actors Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams, Ian McDiarmid, and several other performers associated with the Star Wars saga. Additionally, StarWars.com and Verizon will be live streaming the Star Wars Fan Film Awards; the Smuggler’s Bounty radio drama; EA’s new Battlefront videogame; and several other exclusive Celebration events that might otherwise be missed by members from Star Wars’ global fan community.

Between the live, on-stage events, StarWars.com will feature live interviews with celebrity guests within the Star Wars Cantina set specially built to capture the mood and atmosphere of the infamous Mos Eisley watering hole from A New Hope. These segments will have a fun, variety show flavor to them that brings a bit of the Star Wars Celebration vibe to those enjoying the event from afar.

Exclusive clips from throughout Star Wars Celebration event will also be available on demand from Verizon, allowing fans to celebrate Star Wars long after the live streams are over.

The live streaming begins at 10:00 a.m. PST, Thursday, April 16, on StarWars.com with the Celebration kickoff panel and continues with 30-plus hours of coverage through the closing ceremony on Sunday, April 19, beginning at 3:30 p.m. PST. Watch exclusive highlights and on-demand clips from Verizon on Twitter, @VerizonWireless, and at Facebook.com/Verizon.

Just saw this posted on Facebook!  Thought I'd share since I know we are all Star Wars nerds ;)

Crowfall / Crowfall: Thralls FAQ
« on: April 14, 2015, 12:11:20 PM »
As explained in the FAQ we’re introducing today, Thralls are “the souls of fallen warriors and craftsmen”. If you can successfully harness their power and maintain control of it—which may be a challenge—you will reap {pun intended) the benefits of the knowledge and skill they left behind.[/size]

Thrall FAQ
1. What is a Thrall?
Thralls are the souls of fallen warriors and craftsmen, the spirits who remain on the Dying Worlds after the living have fled before the Hunger. They are ghosts and spirits, haunting these Worlds in the final hours…
The challenge for these ghosts is: they cannot pass into the afterlife, for they have unfinished matters which keep them from moving on. They cannot flee the World, however, for they are bound there. Thus, they are trapped on – and soon to be devoured with – a World that is already infected by the Hunger.
2. Wait, so are they slaves? That sounds pretty grim.
Thralls aren't slaves. You are acting a “grim reaper” of sorts -- one of the duties asked of the Crows is to track these errant spirits and offer them salvation on behalf of the Gods. 

The deal is simple: to avoid being devoured by the Hunger, Thralls are given a chance at redemption. They enter the service of the Gods, serving as craftsman and spectral guardians for a set period of time, after which their soul is released and they can rest for eternity.
Ok, yeah.  It’s grim. But remember, you’re the good guy, here. Without you, they would be consumed by the Hunger.
3. Do all the Thralls serve the same function in game?
No! Thralls have a variety of purposes in Crowfall. That said, however, each Thrall serves a particular purpose, depending on his or her profession during life.
Thralls can serve as vendors managing your sales, craftsmen to help you make items, unearthly trainers who assist you in learning certain skills faster, guardsmen who protect your ramparts, and bind-spirits – fallen warriors who can be inscribed into the runes to make your weapons and armor more powerful. (for example, you could bind the spirit of an Elven Blademaster into your sword, and the echoes of his life would help guide your blows and shield you from harm.)
4. Do Thralls have Stats?
They do! Certain Thralls will be better than others at a specific tasks. Some serve better as guards, crafters, trainers, or bind-spirits locked into weapons or armor.
While Thralls are always willing to flee The Hunger, some of them are not to be trusted. These Thralls will test the bounds of their enchantment, and will periodically attempt to break free of your control. We’re still working out the details of this system, but (to match our general philosophy of design): higher risk means higher reward. That means the more powerful Thralls will often be the more difficult to control.
5. How do I capture a Thrall?
Thralls will generally be found haunting the ruins of the Campaign worlds. Ghosts have a tendency to wander the same halls and room that they did while living. To capture a Thrall, you need a soul gem. Soul gems are used to capture Thralls, transfer them, and bind them into crafting (and enchanting) recipes.
6. Are all Soul Gems the same?
Probably not, but again, we’re still working on this system. Our thought is that higher value gems can store more powerful Thralls, and that the quality and size of the Gem has a direct impact on how easy it is to contain each spirit.
7. Is there any limit to the number of Thralls I can have?
Since they are stored in a Soul Gem, they are a standard inventory object. The only limit is your inventory space.
8. Is there any limit to the number of Thralls I can have active?
The limits aren't on a character or account basis. Instead, each system will enforce its own limit(s). For example, items can only have one bind-spirit. Buildings have a preset number of Thrall Slots (represented in game as a summoning circle) and each of them can only contain a single Thrall.  Generally, for buildings that allow Thralls, you can increasing the level of the building to activate more Thrall slots of that type.

Crowfall / Crowfall: War Stories
« on: April 10, 2015, 04:31:46 PM »

As mentioned earlier this week, we’ll be doing game-related updates on Tuesdays and Fridays with occasional messages from the founders on Wednesdays. Seeing as this is Friday, let’s get started with today’s update.
First up, here’s a first look at the concept art for the female champion. Unlike most of her contemporaries from other game worlds, you immediately get a sense of her towering presence and gargantuan strength, a true warrior. The guarded glare radiating from beneath her helm tells you she's not to be trifled with and could mow you down like grass. We’re really pleased with the way our Art team brought the vision to life.

Next up, here’s a little video we put together when some old friends stopped by to congratulate us on the success of the Kickstarter and to reminisce about the Shadowbane glory days. We wanted to help those who have only played themepark-style MMOs gain a greater understanding of what online life can be like when you go off the rails.  These 'war stories' will give our future players some idea of the excitement they can expect when they enter the world of Crowfall!
Joe Madureira--aka Joe Mad, renowned comic book artist and game designer—and his brother Steve, an artist in his own right and Joe’s co-founder at Airship Syndicate, explain why Shadowbane remains their favorite MMO of all time and why they are looking forward to Crowfall. Also featured is Sean “Ashen Temper” Dahlberg, Shadowbane community manager and live team designer, who said, “Shadowbane gave you a way to have these dynamics with other players, where the world changed based off of those,” something that is at the very heart of what we’re shooting for here with Crowfall.

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“When I heard Crowfall was sort of the spiritual successor to Shadowbane and had a lot of the same creative team behind it I was like ‘Yes, finally!’” said Joe. “I didn't honestly think we'd ever get another one, so I feel like if it's in that spirit, I'm totally on board and I can't wait to play it.”

Crowfall / Crowfall: City Sieging Explored
« on: April 07, 2015, 02:48:01 PM »


Hey gang,
Today's update focuses on City Sieging -- a key element of the Crowfall vision.  Building, defending and sieging of fortifications is a primary focus of the Campaign design, and the activity around which most (if not all) the win conditions will be centered. At a high level, this system should allow players to build fortified strongholds dynamically in the world (i.e. dropping castle wall segments, towers, buildings, etc) and then using those fortifications as a combination "home base/staging area" to control the surrounding area and the materials produced there. 
This video walks through an example of a City Siege scenario between two guilds... and we've also updated the FAQ a bit, to fix a few errors and clarify the idea a bit.

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A few notes on this scenario:
- yes, it's simplified -- and it also covers a lot of ground, quickly!  This is meant to be a companion piece to the Campaign FAQ, so if you have questions, read the FAQ first!
- this scenario would be most likely to occur in late Summer or Fall of the Campaign, since the guild in question appears relatively secure in their position and the local points of interest are discovered/well-known. 
- the Bloodstones ruleset was created with a secondary purpose: technically, the second guild (Kane's Fist) isn't shown as "owning" a city.  This ruleset would open up the possibility for a landless guild (i.e. a mercenary company, or as we like to call them, a "band of roving thugs") to generate victory points and win the Campaign.  Easy?  No.  Possible?  Maybe!
Additionally, remember that this is a high-level description; things like warmth and construction time, placement of siege equipment and material production aren't referenced, to keep the scenario simple.  In actual gameplay, the tactical decisions made by each team prior to the siege would likely provide a huge "swing factor" and dramatically alter the outcome. 
Again, this is only an example!  And as the video says, the most important thing to remember is: YOU GUYS will decide if this is a valid scenario/strategy, or not!  These aren't scripted events. Our job is to provide the tools; your job is to figure out how to use them to your advantage.
That's it for today! Beginning this week, we will be posting game-related updates on Tuesdays and Fridays with occasional founders/team updates on Wednesdays. So, more to come later this week, and thanks again as always!

Join the discussion on the official forums:

General Discussion / Vader Remembers
« on: April 07, 2015, 12:02:15 PM »
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Crowfall / Crowfall: Isarii's Crafting Roundups
« on: April 06, 2015, 01:57:44 PM »
Crafting with Variable Stat Materials, Part II – Community Roundup Edition

In my previous post, I revisited one of my favorite features of Star Wars Galaxies renowned crafting system, variable stat materials, giving a quick overview of what the system entails and why it would be a great system for ArtCraft Entertainment to adopt within Crowfall‘s still emerging crafting system.

Unbeknownst to me, yet decidedly beknownst to certain members of the Crowfall community, a discussion between prospective fans and the developers has already been going on this very subject. The conversation on the benefits of the system and how it could be implemented in Crowfall is actually very good, so I’m going to do a brief round-up on some of my favorite posts that have been shared so far.

Whole Article at this link...

Been following Isarii's Blog since started making articles about Crowfall.  He's been doing some good theory crafting on... Crafting.  Just thought I'd relay a link for those interested.  Pretty good stuff!

Crowfall / Crowfall: Female Ranger Revealed
« on: April 03, 2015, 06:37:50 PM »
8 days after Kickstarter -- and we're already back to work producing new characters and features to bring this vision to life! :)
This Week At A Glance

Lot of "under the surface" stuff happening at ACE this week!
The Guinecean Slayer was well-received on Tuesday -- a little TOO well-received for an April Fool's Day joke, actually.  He turned out a lot more popular than we expected!  (and who knows, perhaps he'll become a future stretch goal?)
Our design team did a full pass on the documentation that details how land ownership (and the fealty trees) work in the Eternal Kingdom, and started to detail out the UI for building and parcel placement.  We have to tackle this first, because the parcel system is part of the foundation that will be used for generating unique Campaign Maps, too!
Our tech team spent the week making the changes to the combat system -- revisiting the base concepts of movement and targeting, as we discussed last week on the Crowns & Crows and Gold & Glory podcast. 
On the art side, we're creating swappable equipment for the Knight, concepting Hunger-infected versions of our (also unlocked!) Mounts and catching up on some archetype and building concept art.
In fact, another of the archetype concepts is ready for you now: the female Ranger! As an added bonus to this one, we've given her a wolf pet -- since we achieved that stretch goal when we crossed the $1.7m line in Kickstarter! 

(No, this doesn't mean that the female Rangers automatically get pet wolves!  It's just a picture, folks!)
New Faces

...additionally, we're inviting a few new faces to join our team!  In fact, over the next few months you can expect to see a bit of shuffling: a few new people will join us, and a few will move to new positions (like Tully, who recently moved to the CF design team, and Val who replaced him as our new community manager!) and a few will wrap up their contracts and leave.  This is normal game development stuff, inevitable as we transition from a project-that-we-hope-will-happen to a project-that-IS-happening!
The Crowfall.com website was also updated this week: the front page now displays (quite proudly!) the amazing level of support that you guys showed us during our Kickstarter campaign... and it shows our next stretch goal (Hire a Graphics Progammer, at $1.85 million)!
Even though our Kickstarter is over, we still love adding new Crows to our community.  Every new pledge makes the game better and the community stronger.  We've had a lot of requests to allow package upgrades, too -- our website doesn't support it, yet, but we have plans in the works to make it possible. It's coming, so stay tuned!
As always, THANK YOU for being a part of our community, and for continuing to spreading the word about Crowfall!

Discuss Now

Crowfall / Crowfall: Great Write-up from Hobo Gamer
« on: March 30, 2015, 12:38:27 PM »
Hobo Gamer: Crowfall

By now, even those of you living under a rock have likely encountered the next game in my Hobo Gamer series – Crowfall, the new upcoming MMO currently under development by ArtCraft Entertainment. Having just completed its Kickstarter with abundant success, Crowfall now enters the long march into serious development, with fans – particularly those from old-school PvP MMOs – electrified by ArtCraft’s updates on the game in about the same way as young women receiving unexpected Christmas gifts from Taylor Swift. So what has everyone excited?

Brought to us by Creative Director J. Todd Coleman (Shadowbane, Wizard101, and Pirate101) and Executive Producer Gordon Walton (Ultimate Online, The Sims Online, Star Wars: Galaxies, and Star Wars: The Old Republic), Crowfall aims to create a unique blend of old-school, strategic, community-driven sandbox PvP borrowing elements from EVE, Star Wars: Galaxies, Shadowbane, and Sid Meier’s Civilization. Marketed as “Game of Thrones meets EVE Online”, Crowfall‘s main draw is its pitting of players against each other in wars for resources and territorial supremacy over the game’s worlds.

More at the link:

J Todd Coleman just tweeted this article out from Isarii (twitter)

It's really just a great summary of the overall concept of the game.  I'd copy pasta it, but this guy deserves the clicks.  Check it out.

Crowfall / Crowfall: Podcast Dev Interview Recordings
« on: March 26, 2015, 01:20:02 PM »
Here are the recordings of Dev Interiews from last nights live streams!

Gold and Glory Podcast: Interview with J Todd Coleman, Gordon Walton, and Thomas Blair

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Crowns and Crows Podcast: Interview with J Todd Coleman, Gordon Walton, and Thomas Blair

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Crowfall / Crowfall: Reddit AMA Summary
« on: March 26, 2015, 01:06:38 PM »
Replies from Todd (/u/Jtoddcoleman)
Q: How will a victor be determined in FFA Campaigns such as The Dregs?
A: The Dregs will be a system similar to Shadowbane, but adapted to the idea of a seasonal campaign. The basic idea is "take over as much land, as hold it as long as you can." We gave an example (the Bloodstones design) that showed how victory points are amassed; the details may differ but the core concept will be similar.
Q: 1) What drove you to choose Unity 5 over UE4, UDK, CryEngine, or another engine? My understanding from speaking with Unity game developers is that it is less performant than many of its counterparts, particularly for fast-moving games. Do you feel that decision has impacted design decisions about the speed that things occur at?
2) Do you feel like the relative expense and difficulty of making MMORPGs prevents developers from taking risks in their designs? It feels like in the post WoW world, we live in a world of very similar MMOs which try not to deviate too far from the WoW model. Shadowbane was my first and favorite MMORPG, and the game that truly made me into a gamer. Crowfall looks like its spiritual successor - I'm cheering hard for it.

A: 1) I'm not a programmer, but from a production stand point I can tell you that the Unity pipeline and toolset are world class. The editing features -- where you can interrupt the program while it is running, change a UI, and then "unpause" the game to see the results of the changes without having to re-execute is pretty amazing. MMOs are huge games, and anything you can do to increase the iteration cycle for making/testing changes is a HUGE win, in terms of overall time (and therefore cost.)
In terms of performance, we were an early participant in the Unity 5 beta, and I think the performance increases have been pretty fantastic in this version. Again, though, I'm not technical enough to do a deep dive into the render pipeline... but from what I've seen, the engine is very impressive, and MUCH easier to adapt to an MMO than most of the other commercial engines available.
2) Absolutely, when a game makes BILLIONS of dollars in revenue, suddenly that's the "right" way to build that kind of game. It means that the people funding these games all wanted WOW success, and the best way to pitch WOW success is to start the pitch with "Wow, only with XYZ".
I feel like we had more innovation before WOW, because no one knew what was possible (and therefore, what wasn't.)
Crowdfunding has really changed this equation, quite frankly because the people with the money (you) are better at picking visions that will be appealing to a large audience. Of course they are, right? Because the idea only takes hold if it manages to attract a large audience. It's basically taken the traditional studio "green light" process and democratized it.
Thanks for playing SB, btw! That was my first professional game, and it was a hell of a ride. I'm glad to be able to go back after all this time and try some of those design ideas again.
Q: What do you think is the biggest lesson you learned from your past projects? How are you using those lessons and applying what you know now to Crowfall?
A: The biggest lesson that I learned (the hard way) is that you can't make a game that is going to make everyone happy. Instead, pick a focus and make a game that THOSE people will love. "Sometimes you gotta let those hard-to-get chips go"
Q: As an old Shadowbane player, I've never really found an MMO that compared. The amount of freedom, choice, and complexity of the classes and politics in the world is second to none in my opinion.
Where will this game settle between being something new and a blast from my past? Will this game give me the feeling of reliving my time with SB in some respects?
A: That's my goal. Only without the sb.exe problems.
Q: The selection of archetype – promotion – and discipline runes seems heavily influenced by Shadowbane. What sets it apart? What is one of your goals for improving it over the Shadowbane system?
A: First off, I think some of those original SB ideas are still awesome, and deserve to be revisited. But the core difference is the "Campaign Worlds", the idea of unique maps will unique rulesets that come to an end... this fixes what is (IMO) the biggest design flaw that we had in Shadowbane.

Q: Thanks for the answer JTC. If you have time after answering all these other great questions could you give me something a little more specific to character advancement? :) I know my prior phrasing was ambiguous.A: Well, first off, I made the tough (and obviously highly debatable) decision to combine race and class into archetype, because it leads to characters that are more thematic. You can see that I was heading in this direction on SB, especially in the pre-requisites for Disciplines -- but in this game, I decided to push it further. Some people don't like it, but they also haven't seen the pay off, yet. The result will be characters that feel more unique and stylized, and themed. And it allows us to make characters that are amazingly varied -- I mean, we have centaurs and minotaurs and guineceans! The reason we can do that is because we decided to lock the races and classes, instead of creating a system that demanded a combinatory result (race X class)... you'll notice that the trend in the industry for MMOs has been to allow any race with any class, and to reduce the number of base races to try and cut the art cost.

Next, we split Talents into Advantages and Disadvantages, because I always liked that in Gurps, and I thought it would be a cool way to expand on the original idea.
Then we went with passive training. This is a big one, because it means that we don't force players to invest hundreds of hours into the game (i.e. the grind) to get to the fun part at the end -- there is no end-game. Crowfall is nothing but end-game.
sorry for misunderstanding you, before! hope this clears it up.
Q: First I want to preface my question with this, I know Crowfall is unlike any game I've ever played, so forgive me for making comparisons to other games. I am only trying to compare to what I already know. In no means am I trying to say it's the same as the games I compare it to.
You've already redesigned the Holy Trinity paradigm of Tank/Healer/DPS without dedicated healers into something similar to Combatants/Crafters/Scouts (which I think is awesome). As a well versed MMO player, I've spent many days playing WoW, Rift, SWTOR, etc...and as such each game tends to have the preferred class/spec combo. I remember when Frost DKs were taken over my Enhancement Shaman due to different class/spec abilities/buffs.
So I was wondering if Crowfall will redesign or break standard MMO class/spec composition paradigms? I.e. Will a horde (or herd?) of Minotaurs be able to be as effective as a group of mixed Archetypes? Will groups/guilds need to balance the amount of each Archetype they have? Or will we see that Archetype doesn't change how the game is played, the player [skill/style] changes how the game is played?
Hope that makes sense, sorry for the wall of text! Thank you for your continued effort to make this game amazing!
A: yeah, it's hard to explain when you have a more free-form ability to customize your character, because roles are less defined. that doesn't mean "everyone can do everything" -- at all, it just means "I'm not ONLY a tank" or "I'm not ONLY dps."
and again, we're not killing the idea of support classes, we just don't have firehose healers, because the game isn't being made with the goal of having parties fight monsters with 40,000 health. It's a different mindset, so we changed the roles to fit the new paradigm.
Q: With the Crowfall physics (inertia, gravity, etc.), is it possible to climb some very steep slopes? Or the characters will rather tend to "fall"?
A: yes, we've already got a version of this working, it's interesting to play with. Your guy will "slide" down a sleep slope -- and when you add it to the feet placement IK system (which you can see in a few of the character screenshots) it works surprisingly well!
Q: 1.are the world's seemless or do you select a world on login?
2.Are you guys planning on a mobile app for acct, char, guild, shop mgt? I think mobile mgt would be crucial for merch owners.
3.How lush are the RSS going to be throughout the maps?
A: 1) Each Eternal Kingdom and Campaign world is a separate world. Within that world, it is seamless.
2) mobile app would be cool, but it isn't part of the core module. sounds like a great stretch goal. I know I would use it.
3) I'm not sure what you are asking, here?
Q: It is my understanding you do not have traditional leveling.
Will a freshly made character be able to fight a character that has been around the block and skilled up?
Also, am I correct in thinking that instead of choosing a race then a class, you choose an archetype, and the race/class are one choice together?
Thanks for your time - first time I ever backed anything on Kickstarter.
A: high level characters have an advantage, but not a huge one. In most MMOs, a 40th level guy can take on an infinite army of 20th. In ours, a high level character can take out one or two, but if he gets caught off-guard by 3 or 4 newbies, he could be in serious trouble.
Yes, archetypes are race/class combos. This makes them more thematic, because when you decide to make every race and every class go together, you have to make animations and armors that match everyone -- which means you end up with characters that are inevitably more generic, and a spiraling art cost gets quickly out of control due to all the combinatory results.
Thanks for backing!
Q: You have said crafters could craft full time and be their main role in the game. Is this true for gatherers as well? Could you have a character that spends its entire game harvesting resources for your guild and crafters?
A: absolutely! this will be a more dangerous route, because it means you'll have to brave the Campaign Worlds -- but it can be a VERY lucrative path, if you're good at it.
Q: What has been the most memorable moment for you both during this whole Kickstarter campaign?
A: that first morning was brutal. terrifying, and exhilarating in equal parts.
Q: Thank you ACE for the Ask me Anything post in reddit. So here is my question: - What do you plan as background for the different gods and when do we see these ideas?
A: I have a firm idea of all the gods, and how they interrelate, that I've been working on for the last year or two. We just didn't have time to do all the art to back it up, going into kickstarter.
This is an area that I'm really looking forward to. The Pantheon of Gods, and their relationship to the Hunger, is one of the coolest parts of the CF universe IMO. We haven't quite gotten to the part where the players (and guilds) know them well enough to start building their own stories around them. That's coming.
Q: The combat in MMOs is usually very generic and doesn't really feel like the characters have any weight when they are landing blows. Have you considered going with more of an action rpg combat system instead? I think larger battles will feel a lot cooler and take more use of your physics engine to if characters can't just walk right through each other and a shield actually has to be facing someone to block them.
A: that's what we're doing. We are using PhysX and locked animation sequences, to give weight to the character's actions.
Q: With the development of the tournament and championship systems, do you see Crowfall breaking in to the esport scene, and if so will we see shorter more televisable campaigns? I could get behind watching a Hunger Games like arena with a single spawn.
A: We should be lucky enough for the game to be that popular! How far we go down that road is really for you guys -- the community -- to decide.
Q: 1) Any reason why "The Shadow" rule set is on the only rule set not to be included in the core module?
A: Yes, the order of the rules was chosen to explore the outer edges of the design. I picked the Dregs, first, because we didn't know if we would hit any stretch goals at all, and I knew this ruleset would be most popular with our core following (many of whom are ex-Shadowbane players).
Once we cleared that hurdle, I went back to the 3 faction rules, because I knew those two rulesets would give us the most coverage.
Once we cleared THAT hurdle, now I had two left to choose from, and the 12-god cage match sounded more fun.
As we get more funding, we'll expand the rulesets -- in fact, after launch, we'll be constantly adding new rulesets, that is the single coolest thing about the design's architecture.
Q: Regarding the new Infected Ruleset: Will our characters pledge permanently to one god or will it be on a per campaign basis?
A: This is one that we're still debating. It's not an easy answer, and if we can't agree internally, we try to resolve that impasse before we talk about it publicly.
Q: I watched a video from MMORPG.com and apparently the game has survival elements like hunger, cold and thirst. Can you confrim this? And if so can you talk about it a bit?
A: Yes, we are including survival elements in the game -- though we haven't released an FAQ yet that talks about how these elements work. (We actually wrote one, but in the review process prior to release, it raised a handful of new debates internally, and that's how we knew we weren't quite ready to talk about it, yet.)
Q: How do you plan to handle stealth in Crowfall?
A: My goal was to make it similar to the SB stealth game; there were two different play styles, one geared towards stealth (infiltration, information retrieval, assassination) and one geared towards anti-stealth (seeking out and eliminating the former.)
In SB, a lot of this was focused on troop movement and city infiltration -- which was awesome, but in Crowfall we have opportunities to expand on that foundation, thanks to resource collection and caravans. That should add a new layer of cool gameplay to reconnaissance.
Q: Excited about the game, a few questions for the team!
1) You've analogized the game economy to EVE before (Items with durability requiring replacement, a highly complex crafting system), in which case I'm wondering what form marketplaces will take. Will they be exclusively in player owned eternal kingdoms or scattered throughout the land in NPC towns and castles? Will players have the ability to place buy/sell orders or contracts on said markets, or will trade be exclusively face-to-face or mediated by a WoW type auction house?
2) Will players be able to move their characters from one account to another, and if so will that be free (Besides buying another account of course) or paid? I'm thinking this because VIP players will be able to passive train up to 3 character slots at once, and this could create a secondary market in trained characters. As a followup, will characters be tradeable in-game?
3) Will characters on the same account all have access to the same eternal kingdom? As in, could my fighting character procure some valuable resources, leave it at my keep, and then my crafting character logs on and makes advanced materials or items?
A (Todd): I'll try and hit these quickly:
1) no automated auction house. we want people to move their avatars (and resources/materials) around the game, we feel like it makes the experience cooler
2) no current plan to move characters between accounts
3) yes, the EK ownership is at the account level, not the character level
A: (Gordon): 1) We have no NPC EK's or marketplaces. So everything is player driven and owned. We'll start with face to face player commerce and player owned vendors, and move to the contract model over time. No global auction houses! 2) We are not planning to be able to transfer characters between accounts. We will have the ability for players to buy up to 3 additional character slots per account (6 total). 3) The account owns the Eternal Kingdom, not a character. Which means all characters on that account share the materials/items in their Eternal Kingdom.
Q: Hey thanks for putting this Q&A together. Here are a few questions I have answer as many as you like!
To what extent is this game combat/questing/mission based? Is the possibility of non combat skills off the table?
For example, I think Runescape was revolutionary in the fact that it had an incredibly wide skill system (woodcutting, fishing, agility, etc). This made so many new possibilities for the players, it allowed them to play the game in an infinite number of ways (pures, mains, skillers, etc). It also gave them small sets of goals and the psychologically satisfying feeling of gaining experience and levels to accomplish those goals.
How important is it to you to have a a "satisfying" feeling combat system?
League of legends does this incredibly well (Nidalee spears, Jinx's ult, Zed's auto attacks). The satisfaction of hitting a skill shot or attack. You hear the noise of the attack and see your opponents health bar instantly chunked down.
How wide will the skill range be for PvP combat?
League of legends and Super Smash Bros would be examples of a massive range of skill that the player can develop. In both these games the extent to which you have timing, positioning, and knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of your opponent give an enormous range of who is "good" and who is "great".
A: the game is heavily focus on crafting and economy, it's one of the pillars of the experience. but it isn't focused on narrative, pre-written quests; instead, we generate opportunities for conflict that will cause players to come into contact with other players (sometime cooperatively, but more often competitively) -- for example, we spawn a valuable strategic resource in a disputed area and let the teams fight over it. It's not a "quest" per se; instead the system is driving players to become the content for other players.
incredibly important. meaning: if we don't get the feel of combat right, our game is dead.
it will likely be similar. we're using an action-combat model, so yeah, some players are going to be MUCH better than others. add that to a shallow advancement curve (where level and equipment aren't going to protect you) and you've got a game that is much more focused on player skill (and strategy.)

Q: This action combat model can be very hit or miss. I hope you guys find something that looks nice and feels good to use. Not just a bunch of running around and turning the camera while trying to throw attacks at your enemy.
A: I think the animation locking will have a pretty big impact on addressing this, but we'll have to try it to know for sure.
Q: Will different archetypes of the same race have different physique to fit their role more?
A: f I'm understand correctly, you're asking "if we add a Fae spellcaster, would she had a different height/weight/body style?"
Yes, she certainly could. One of the benefits of the archetype system is that each archetype can be VERY different. That said, we'll always have to be mindful of animation reuse, because animations are INCREDIBLY expensive, so it'll probably be a mix. For example, I'm expecting that we'll get some reuse between the Male Champion and the Minotaur... even though the overall look will be significantly different.
Q: Can players swim in crowfall?
A: yeah, yeah... OK, swimming. sure.
We'll have to do something, here, obviously... but we don't have a firm answer yet. It's actually a significant cost for, sadly, a pretty minimal gain IMO. I have no intention of adding an underwater themed biome, or water dungeons or anything. Ideally, water should be another environmental resource that you have to take into account, tactically.
(Honestly, I would really love to say "you don't swim! characters just walk across the lake floor", and since the characters are Immortals, I think there is some narrative precedent. *
but I don't think we can get away with that.
We'll figure something out.
man, I hate swimming.
*highlander reference ftw

Q: and along these lines, will there be oceans, lakes with boats and sailing?
A: boats are another matter entirely. I love ships. Ships are awesome.
that said, we don't have the budget to do ships. This would be a great stretch goal, but it would unfortunately have to be a pretty big one.
someday, perhaps?

Q: Are granted rights (noble, tenant, etc) to EKs also based on account, or can it be different for different characters?
A: Current design is account level.
Though Blair just raised an objection as I type this, so evidently it warrants further discussion.
Q: On the forums, Thomas Blair made a comment about land being "a big giant box of Tetris pieces and the campaign worlds grab a handful of them when the world is generating".
Does this indicate that the entire world is not procedurally generated, but just select generated but QC'd plots of land and piecing them together? So could we expect after multiple campaigns to see the same 'pieces' multiple times, but possibly just in different order?
Thank you!
A: the answer is somewhere in between. we're procedurally generating the worlds, but using the tetris model to create them. yes, that means that some areas will be similar between Campaigns -- but not exactly the same.
For example: I might recognize that this S shaped, 5 parcel area consists of hills and a river, but the villages within it are different. I don't know if there will be a city wall around the next hill, or a barracks, or a burned villa.
Completely procedural worlds, using a fractal algorithm to generate the terrain, tend to look cool when viewed from a distance but don't feel right when you play them. I struggled with this problem for 4 years on shadowbane.
This approach, IMO, the best balance point between "custom-built areas" and "procedurally generated maps."
Q: Can attributes (Str, Int, etc.) be trained after the advantages/disadvantages selection? Will there be any cross-promotion classes (like Shadowbane hybrids, i.e., fighter lock vs mage lock)? Looks amazing guys! Power on to 1.7 Mill!
A: They can be increased through: disciplines, equipment, and buffs. We elected not to do the "level based" increases at the same time we elected not to do levels.
Q: Hey guys, first of all thanks for doing this and I want to say the game looks amazing. It's the game I've always dreamed of. Now to the question: What kind of control over ranks in guilds are we going to have? Is there a limit on the number of ranks? If possible can you give us a quick overview of the guild system?
A: We haven't talked about the guild system (we will soon) primarily because we aren't doing anything here that will be particular contentious.
My philosophy on this is: these guilds have existed long before Crowfall, and will exist long after. We need to give you guys the power to manage the guild, and to that end, we need to adapt to you -- not the other way around.
Guild management IS intended to be a different system from Eternal Kingdom management, btw -- though the two will often be intertwined. We aren't forcing guilds to use our EK structure.
Q: Hey there! Big fan, I played shadowbane a ton and even had a few guides make it on to the main site. I've been doing a bunch of building in the Landmark version of the Voxel Farm tech. I have a few questions about voxels:
How much of the world will be made with Voxels?
Will the buildings be mainly voxels or a mix of polys?
Will you be using a poly to voxel conversion or making the buildings manually with VF tools?
Will you be using the procedural grammar system for creating structures?
A quick non-voxel question:
Some of the pre alpha combat footage seemed to use heavy amounts of 'red carpets' to indicate where attacks would be. Is it a plan to stick with these or try to minimize their usage in combat?
A: The entire world is voxelized. That said, you won't be able to carve it up as quickly as you see the forgemaster doing in the video -- that's edit mode. If we allowed that, the world would be swiss cheese within minutes of a new campaign coming online.
the plan for buildings is voxels. plan for props is polygonal meshes.
we build the stuff in 3DS Max and convert it to voxels. We're also working with VF to voxelize UV-mapped meshes, which is something that no one else has done with VS before (spoiler alert!) The analogy I use for this is a candy bar: tri-planar mapped interiors with a "hard candy shell" that can be mapped like a normal 3D polygonal object (instead of having to create the surface out of different materials).
That work is coming along well, though it has been very tricky to work out! We've been working on it since ... October of last year?
Re: procedurally created buildings, yes, that is the plan, but out of rooms/towers/wall segments, etc, not brick-by-brick.
We're still playing with the target projections. TBH, I don't know if they will make it into the final game.
Q: Is the Champion, Templar or Knight able to dual wield? I want to play a dual wielding plate wearing bad bottom and need to know which of the three allows that. I'm excited for beta and glad that I was able to help kick start this game.
A: We haven't released a list of the promotion classes or disciplines yet, but I'll try to keep it in mind to make sure we have at class with both heavy armor and dual wield.
Thanks for backing us!
Q: Thanks for doing this guys! 1. Do you have plans for a support role to be able to deliver their support via melee in the form of something like an AoE effect? 2. Are you fine with some classes being able to own others in a 1v1 setting or will you attempt to balance it all?
A: 1) yes, but we haven't announced the details yet. 2) absolutely, that's not the goal of balance (which is good, I suppose, since it wouldn't be possible.)
Our goal is for players to be able to decide what play style they want, and customize their character to that end. Part of that means they need to figure out what situations they want to be strong in, and seek those out. It also means choosing some areas they WON'T be strong in, and avoiding them.
("Perfect balance" isn't actually fun, either, btw. Rock Paper Scissors is pretty balanced! and terribly boring.)
Q: Thanks for doing this AMA, Im a fan of MMO's and a fan of hardcore PvP, even though i am really bad at it in most games, but I have fun while doing it, my question is with the passive training you have implemented can a super casual player truly compete with people in the dregs? Reword the question a bit Will the passive training be enough to get you by, or should someone really need to play all the time to compete in the more hardcore rulesets?
A: Ok, so that's really two different questions, so let me break it apart.
With passive training, will a more casual person will be able to achieve equal footing to the best players on the Dregs? Yes.
Will a casual person be able to compete with the best player on the Dregs, character build aside? No. But honestly, even if your build was better, that person would still likely lose. Spending more time in the game wouldn't help either, though, if that helps! Some people are just crazy good. Stay away from them. Be careful. Bring friends.
Q: Any plans for a human caster from a non-religious background? Wizard/Mage is usually my style and promotion classes would allow for a lot of others (battlemage, necromancer, warlock etc).
A: yes, we have promo classes for some of the existing archetypes that don't have a narrative bend towards religion.
Q: Talk about leaving a campaign has been vague, I understand you acquire resources there; but what happens to gear and spoils you've looted along the way? What benefit (to the next campaign, not EK) would loot have if when you start a campaign you're going in naked?
A: Export rules determine how much you can take back to the Eternal Kingdoms. How much this matters in the next Campaign, depends on the type of Campaign you choose (and specifically, the Import rules of that next Campaign.)
If you really want to bring in the gear that you looted, don't pick a naked Campaign (we call those campaigns 'terminator rules'). Terminator-rules Campaigns are great, however, for players who want to be assured of a completely level playing field at the start, or players who are new to the game and don't have anything to bring in from prior Campaigns.
Q: Outside of the campaigns, will the Eternal Kingoms serve any military function? Eg: Will guilds be able to war with guilds between their Kingdoms, or is all combat relegated to the campaigns?
A: you have control over your PvP settings, but that really isn't the purpose of the Eternal Kingdom. The Campaigns (and Tournament Worlds) exist exactly for this reason, and were designed to avoid the "Uncle Bob" situation where one team "wins" and the game is over.
Q: Is there a small chance the All-Father is still alive? If yes, is there anything the players could do to help him fight the Hunger?
A: I like to leave room in the narrative for crazy things to happen!
But, no. He's dead.
Q: With a heavy focus on crafting and economy and allowing RMT with VIP tickets...Could you tell me how this wont be pay2win? or pay2advantage? Wont people be able to RMT and have all the materials or anything they want in game? In turn taking that into pvp.
A: Eve has allowed this forever, and it isn't a "pay to win" game. Why not? Because you can't win by paying more money.
If your point is "players shouldn't get ANY items they didn't personally earn, because it's cheating", then the only way to fix that is to turn off trading completely.
Guilds give items to guildmates. Those players didn't earn it. Friends twink up their friends. Those players didn't earn it. Players beg. Players bully. Players con. Players trade.
Items are CONSTANTLY moved between players. It's a part of the game. If the items were created or collected in the game, by other players, IMO that isn't pay to win.
and remember -- we have import rules on every Campaigns. if you REALLY, REALLY hate the idea of facing a player who is using an item they didn't earn, because another player gave or sold it to them -- then stick to the Campaigns that don't allow you to import ANY items. Problem solved.
Unless it just offends you. Like I'm offended that a restaurant that I never go to, that serves a type of food I don't like, doesn't serve my favorite beer.
In fact, a pretty good argument can be made that a system like this is the opposite of pay to win, because people who CAN'T afford to pay for a subscription can now invest time -- instead of money -- to get the same benefit as the player who pay for a VIP membership. That's not pay to win; it's the opposite.

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