Crowfall: “It’s like Game of Thrones meets Eve Online”
ArtCraft Entertainment starts with a collaboration between Gordon Walton (Executive Producer of Ultima Online, Star Wars Galaxies, and Star Wars the Old Republic) and J. Todd Coleman (Creative Director of Shadowbane, Wizard 101 and Pirate 101). That’s a pretty strong pair of founders. They have then added a bunch of veteran MMORPG developers to their team to develop what is a pretty strong contender for the “MMORPG I am most excited for” award: Crowfall. They’re calling it a “Throne War Simulator”.
It’s like Game of Thrones meets Eve Online
That statement in and of itself was enough to pique my interest. From there I started exploring the features of the game and was not disappointed. The unique method of blending the persistence of an MMORPG with the dynamic, instanced nature of a Civilization or the like is very compelling to me personally. ArtCraft is using the tagline “Eternal Heroes, Dying Worlds” to describe the balance between the 2 genres.
Your character is eternal in Crowfall, just as in nearly all MMORPGs. How the game sets itself apart from the crowd is the idea of Campaigns: Unique worlds with unique procedurally generated maps, unique rule-sets which are customizable by the campaign “owner”, and thereby unique victory conditions.
A Crowfall campaign could days, months, or even years depending on the selected victory conditions. Campaigns can exist in different “rings” which delineate the Risk vs. Reward of a given scenario. Once you’ve completed a campaign your character returns, with whatever spoils you’ve attained, to the “Eternal Kingdoms” which is where your character housing is and players congregate between campaigns. The Eternal Kingdoms are also dynamic – so players can build structures, etc. but they are, as far as I can tell, the only permanent portion of the game world, apart from the Heroes that inhabit said world.
To me, one of the most intriguing things about this game is that since the worlds are temporary, they can be fully destructible. This lends itself to siege combat and other methods of breaching castle walls, etc. The fact that the world doesn’t have to “heal” itself after a battle means that it can be true and complete destruction. This lends itself to actions having consequences upon the world as a whole, which is brilliant.
Additionally, part of Crowfall’s brilliant campaign idea is that when you land in a campaign you won’t necessarily have clear objectives at the outset. You may not even be fully aware of what combat mechanics or what the important locations are or where you are in relation to them, for that matter. Due to this concept, exploration is about more than removing the “fog of war” – each new campaign is about exploring the game mechanics themselves in addition to the new, dynamic world you’ve just stepped foot into. This is a key factor to the game’s appeal to me personally. I’ve been looking for a game that causes a sense of wonder beyond “what’s going to eat my face”. I enjoy learning about the mechanics of a new game. Since each new campaign in Crowfall is sort of a new game it allows for the beloved “freshly unwrapped” MMO experience to be at least partially renewed each time you start a new campaign.
Head on over to the Crowfall website to see more about classes and specific game mechanics. This is one to watch for sure, but with an expected launch of Q4 2016, we’ll probably be watching for a while.