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Ashes, Crows, and Chronicles Oh My

By Tim Eisen on September 13, 2018 | Columns | Comments

Ashes, Crows, and Chronicles Oh My

First up Crowfall (Aka Crocaine or Slowfall depending on who you ask). In a recent exclusive interview, right here on the mothership we all call MMORPG.com, Artcraft Co-Founder J-Todd Coleman said "The guys who have been around the longest, absolutely have come up on the learning speed of how the games are made, and I actually think that there’s a fair chunk of them that Kickstarted for that reason, as much as anything else." It struck me because that was one of the main reasons I started backing games. Way back when I was a tiny Tim (before the gray plague began to spread) I thought, "I'll never make a game so this is the closest I'll get to seeing developer sausage and how it's made". The other reason, or maybe it was a hope, was that something I said might be relevant enough to help improve the game.

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An underlying motivator was saving our genre by proving to large publishers that MMORPGs not named WOW and featuring PVP first would sell. (Oh the naivete of idealism.) My question is, why did you back Crowfall or any other crowdfunded game and have you felt ghosting the development has informed your perspective about how games are made? (Random note to self, when CF launches, make a character named Alextrebeard)

I tend to rip band-aids off quickly rather than slow roll them so here goes (puts on flame suit). Chronicles of Elyria is doing things in its long journey to make MMORPGs great again, wait...that's the other ones disputatious marketing tag...The pound for pound king of MMORPG crowdfunding, Ashes of Creation is doing things, big, pretty, visual things. (Fact - despite selling keys gameplay is greater than graphics 100% of the time.) The gameplay demo, conveniently linked here, didn't just look beautiful, it moved beautifully. Extremely fast, action-oriented with lots of effects. (World of Fornite online?)

That makes it a MMORPG that this aged gamer won't likely be able to excel at but I'll wait to see how things develop before passing judgment. Why? Because it's barely in Alpha 1! This footage was some of the more impressive early gameplay footage I've seen during my brief time as a crowdfunded MMORPG spectator. As with any demo I always ask myself, how does this tech translate to a large open world environment?

Now, where was I...oh yeah, (puts on a second flame resistant suit) Chronicles of Elyria continues to spite a large portion of the MMORPG fanbase by having the audacity to exist. I kid, you all have reasons and I'm sure you will list them in the comments below. While I too have my issues with how this ride has gone I’ve noticed an especially bright spot within the Elyria Universe. If the studio has excelled at one thing it’s community interaction in a way that I’ve not seen before. We knew Elyria was deep on the role play side of things but that has extended beyond the game, through the website and into the community. Soulbound, being fans of MUD’s, has used their resources to create a living development text based mini game of sorts. It’s hard to describe and, while not something I participate in, something I’m glad exist as an outlet for their fans during the long wait to launch. (I’ve always wanted to RP as a plague...)

Love them or hate them no other MMORPG’s in development can bring forth such passion simply by existing as Ashes and Elyria. Controversy creates cash and both studios know how to get a reaction. Looking at their crowd-funded totals, the reaction more often than not is fans liking what they see.

Saving my first for last, (just kidding it's second to last) Camelot Unchained is doing what it has been since Beta started, testing and iterating and creating. (So...developing?) Probably the single most exciting nugget to come out of the latest update is about the castle deathmatch test area. Developers will soon be replacing the old castle with a new one. Most importantly it isn't just any castle, but one designed by backer, and Builder Brigade member, Arrobee.

I'm just happy to be able to write that. MMORPGs; funded by us, designed with us, supported together, the way the crowdfunding dream was meant to be! (And how every single crowdfunded campaign is pitched to us!) This might sound like a small step, but it’s one in the direction of merging the building creation suite C.U.B.E. with the actual PVP game. (I.e. one step closer to setting that castle a blaze!)

Lastly, Dual Universe is that really smart kid that kept his head down, mouth shut and had visions for a dating app back when you were still wearing your watch on the inside of your wrist because you thought it would make girls notice you. Now, you wear a watch with a note on it that says check your phone for the time while he has silk toilet paper. (Someone is projecting.) My point is, don't underestimate quiet ambition. Dual Universe is the dark horse (I only DC man)((I only Marvel, newb)) in this Sandboxy PVP race to launch that all of the crowd-funded PVP MMORPGs are running.

If you are asking yourself what Dual Universe has to do with a song by Katy Perry just go back to playing Fortnite, in a few years when your tastes have grown more refined (like those guys on that subreddit about organic, free mountain range, real grass fertilized, glacier water raised, exclusively imported coffee leaves) you can come back here and, ideally, enjoy one of these PVP MMORPGs.

Tim Eisen / I roleplay a wordsmith that writes about the technological and social evolution within the game industry