This month’s live Q&A focused on harvesting and some quality of life changes to power loadouts. There are some other tidbits about upcoming features but the main focus of the Q&A was to discuss the new survival toolbar (referred to frequently as the harvesting bar).
Power Tray: Harvesting
Previously in order to harvest, players had to exit combat mode by pressing Z. This would toggle non-combat and combat status. The non-combat stance was denoted by a small message and the player’s power tray shrinking, albeit not by much. It was pretty hard to determine which stance you were in at a glance. The new survival power tray is now the standard stance. So when you spawn into the game, players are automatically going to be in harvesting (aka non-combat) mode. This tray has a slightly different visual look, which will probably see several iterations, and a character’s different power trays will show up as tabs above the power tray itself on the UI, helping easily identify which stance the character is currently in.
Harvesting is no longer bound to F. The F key is still used for object interaction and looting but while in the survival power tree, harvesting defaults to the Left Mouse button (LMB).
One of the nicest quality of life improvements that comes with the new harvesting tray is the ability to put consumable items on the bar. This is a standard feature in every game with toolbars ever and not having the ability to bind consumables was distinctly missed. But no longer.
Toggling between power trays still seems a bit cumbersome; though players can still bind switching between them to whatever key they’d like. The default key bindings are H for harvesting, T for ranged tray, Z toggles between combat and noncombat power trays. Thomas Blair mentioned that the “worst case scenario” for power trays were classes that had 4 different trays. Stealth, Harvesting, Combat, and Ranged. That’s a lot of trays, especially when switching doesn’t feel very fluid. This can obviously change before release, but the WoW druid has felt similar for 10+ years with its transformations switching between unique toolbars for each form. Blair did mention that classes with that amount of trays would be the more difficult ones to play. I hope the reward for mastering those classes is worth the complexity that might come with 4 different trays.
Quality of Life Changes
The new harvesting power tray itself is a quality of life improvement, but a slew of other changes are coming in 5.3 as well. Basic crafting tools will now be separate in the crafting menu so you can select the actual tool you want to make rather than having to memorize the recipe. Fly text damage appears when harvesting. In the future, this will help show players whether the new higher quality harvesting tools and, more importantly for guilds, who is best suited for harvesting rare resources. The upfront information itself is an important addition for players to use. Having the harvesting power tray as the default tray will help new testers more easily start testing and exemplifies Crowfall’s emphasis on crafting and harvesting.
Blair mentioned that harvesting powers will eventually make it into the game. He didn’t go into much detail about what these might entail. He also said that character stats will affect harvesting. All good news for crafters.
Sprint will remain an out of combat ability. There are some class and discipline exceptions to this rule.
Tree of Life and Banetree in Siege will be damageable by harvesting the tree with an axe. Weapons like swords and maces won’t be able to damage the objective. This will apply to fort and keeps walls as well. The developers want walls and objectives to be damaged by items that “make sense.” I’m sure, like most of these adjustments, that this is subject to change. But that’s the direction they are going currently.
Harvesting has additional animations. The Knight class also has some updated animations like the chrome shield block seen above.
Thoughts & Opinions
This Q&A session was called Action Harvesting. I do not think the changes make it much more “active.” Crowfall harvesting currently feels just like other MMO harvesting with two unique differences. The harvested nodes drop the resources around themselves and players have to hold a button to harvest rather than clicking/pressing the node and watching the character do the work. I don’t know if this is enough to call Crowfall’s harvesting “action” or enough to differentiate itself from other MMOs. Future updates might prove me wrong.
I was a huge fan of Star War Galaxies harvesting and crafting and Crowfall’s systems are starting to shape up in a similar but less confusing way. Harvesting powers sound exciting and we’ll have to see what the development team has planned for them before getting our hopes too high. Otherwise, it was an informative Q&A with some nice tidbits of information.