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Columns: Necromancy - Dr. Frankenstein, Eat Your Heart out!

By Mike Joseph on January 12, 2016

Necromancy - Dr. Frankenstein, Eat Your Heart out!

Dr. Frankenstein is the title character from Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel who, after studying the decay of living beings, assembled a humanoid creature comprised of a various collection of human remains. Talk about a gruesome crafting profession! Leave it to the folks at ArtCraft to say, “I think we’ll include that.” Yep, it’s in Crowfall and it’s a crafting profession called Necromancy.


The Crows and Vessels System

Before we dive into what Necromancy is and the types of players they will be marketing to, it’s important to review a basic design element of the Crowfall. Crowfall employs a unique system called Crows and Vessels. The premise is that each player exists in the Crowfall universe as a spiritual being, symbolized by a ghostly Crow. The Crow is the place where passive skill advancement takes place. Players then will then take on a body, or vessel as a skin. When a player takes on a vessel, they are creating a character. These vessels can suffer durability loss and can even be destroyed. In the most deadly campaign types (The Shadow and The Dregs), vessels will be lootable upon death. That’s right - in The Dregs and in The Shadow, not only are items lootable, but so are the bodies themselves! If you’d like to learn more about the Crows and Vessels system, check out MMORPG’s Necromancy as a Market Skill article for more details.

How Does Necromancy Work?

In Crowfall, as we’ve discovered, Necromancy is the crafting skill that uses corpses to create new bodies for players to inhabit. Basically, Necromancers are the Dr. Frankensteins of the Crowfall world. They give “body building” a whole new meaning!

Above we see an example of the Crafting UI featuring Necromancy. On the left, we can see that this Necromancer is building a Swordsman vessel. The ingredients are combined in the center to create the desired result. Ingredients will be found in many places. Graveyards will have corpses to gather, NPC’s will drop them and as mentioned, they can also be looted from players under certain circumstances. This raises a question: if bodies can be looted, why do players need a Necromancer? Couldn’t they just keep and later equip the corpses they find? Good question and there are many details that we don’t have the answers for, however even at this early stage we can see the potential value of Necromancers. They will be bringing to the market the ability to craft vessels with high quality, high efficiency and variety. Let’s take a closer look at vessel quality.

Vessel Quality

One of the most intriguing aspects of this system is the fact that each vessel will be assigned item quality. That’s right - vessels will have common, rare, superior or legendary item quality assigned to them. The item quality doesn’t add power, but does have a higher skill-point cap. As a made-up example, if I’ve trained my one-handed mace skill to 110 on the account level, and choose to take on a common Knight vessel, the one-handed mace skill-cap will be 100. The extra 10 skill points won’t be used. However, if my Necromancer friend crafts a superior Knight vessel for me, the skill cap ceiling will be higher, allowing me to fully utilize more of the skill points I passively trained. The vessel doesn’t give any skill points, but simply makes an allowance for a player to utilize skill points already passively trained on the Crow.

Marketing Necromancy: Customer Types

With Necromancy being a legitimate market economy, it’s fair to suggest that they will run into different types of customers. As a fun exercise, I’ve come up with some potential markets that Necromancers may want to take advantage of. Here are three types of customers:

First, there’s what I’m calling “the Highlander” customer. They only want one vessel, ever! They know that their progression is on the Crow level, but hate the thought of losing a particular character. They play it safe, keep their vessels repaired and wouldn’t dare set foot in The Shadow or The Dregs lest they get attacked and lose it. These customers aren’t shopping for quantity, but for quality. They don’t plan on losing their vessel and want to make sure it’s the best that their gold and ingredients can buy. For this customer, the Necromancer will want to be marketing the quality of their work.

And then there’s what I’m calling “the Leeroy Jenkins” customer. This is the player that rushes into battle with no hesitation, quickly finding themselves at the wrong end of the enemy sword...again, and again. Do they learn from this? Of course not. Where’s the fun in being careful? They’d rather rush in and go out in a blaze of glory than hide behind their tanks. Sure, they may be running into a one versus four situation but hey, in Crowfall YOLO doesn’t apply. These customers are looking for quantity. Would they love to have a legendary vessel? Sure they would, but let’s be honest - bodies are as disposable, like Kleenex. Having a higher skill-cap would be nice, but in a massive siege, quality doesn’t matter as much as quantity. For the Leeroy Jenkins customer, the Necromancer will want to market their efficiency to quickly supply more vessels at a reasonable price.

Finally we have what I’m calling “The Hopper” customer. These players jump from character to character on a regular basis for any number of reasons. In other MMO’s, these are the players that play a different class every week. Why limit yourself to one Archetype when there are twelve others to explore? These types of players aren’t interested in mastering one particular character. They would rather explore all of the Archetypes and roles. To this kind of customer, the Necromancer will be marketing the variety of vessels they can offer.

Of course, this fun exercise is mostly speculation at this point since crafting hasn’t been included in any public tests thus far. Once backers have the opportunity to begin testing the crafting system, we’ll be able to gain a better understanding of how Necromancy will tie in with the other crafting professions and have a clearer picture of the best ways to master the Necromancy market.

It may be true that Dr. Frankenstein pioneered the science of using discarded bodies as ingredients to create a new creature. However, in Crowfall, it’s the Necromancers that will be shouting, “It’s alive!” each time they provide a new vessel to their happy customers.

Mike Joseph / In addition to being's resident Crowfall fanatic, Mike is a veteran gamer, blogger and podcaster. Mike currently owns and maintains and hosts The Hunger podcast.