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Building a Nest

Tim Eisen Posted:
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12 hours of streaming later Artcraft (ACE) left us with several topics to chew on. As always the forum fighters of the world have not disappointed to inform, educate and battle over the boons and banes of the newest information. To hear an idea, I turn to the studios. To understand it I generally turn to forums. This week I’ll take a look at the big three items that had the forums buzzing, the European Partnership, crafting and the game world itself.

As is sometimes the case news that is exceptionally important for a game might not resonate quite as well with its supporters. Let’s be honest most of us Crowfans like pretty images and videos! Nothing wrong with that, but that stuff is probably more work than business advancement for a studio. So what is the big news for ACE? That they have aligned with Travian Games to provide Crowfall service to western Europe, Brazil and MENA. If you want to know more about Travian and the arrangement you can read up in this forum thread where they have come down from dev mountain and joined us humble backers in some discussion. Their interaction is much appreciated and a great way to make a first impression.

Crowfall needs to retain crafters if it wants to have the long shelf life ACE has talked about. My question is, did crafters like what they saw in the progress preview? I am not a crafter and I don’t pretend to be but I saw a few things I really liked and a few that made me predictably uncomfortable.

It had a good run but the era of the pickaxe has ended. (pours libations) The early preview showed us that resources will be channeled from the earth in an animation that I can only describe as Yoda catching force lightening! The animation looks great and I love trying new things but the old gamer in me struggled with the change. On one hand I thought, “about time”! On the other, “my universe is crumbling”?

At the end of the channeling we will see the node or tree or whatever it is we are sucking the soul out of explode resources into the air like some kind of resource piñata! As long as all that resource candy on the ground is fully lootable by everyone in the area I am more than satisfied with the method.

It was unique and well done and I’m happy to try it but I can’t help but think this isn’t going to do any favors in terms of winning over crafters. The crafter is a unique breed. One that can listen to the clank of a digital pickaxe for hours on end in an almost Zen like mediation; unflinching, existing in a space few master monks ever have been able to obtain. Will this concept intrigue them or confirm their concerns? I don’t know but I hope they too are willing to entertain the idea.

Like all of the art Crowfall has produced the nodes and the trees themselves look fantastic. I like that each has a very specific look that utilizes the color palette well and in a meaningful way. As someone who is always looking for a tree to fawn over, I saw several. A couple of them even give my beloved tree of life with orangered leaves a run for its money! The quarry and lumber mill also look great and as we know with Crowfall, the concept to game implementation is generally spot on.

One thing I don’t get is why we still have tools on our character…but the animation doesn’t use one? This makes me a bit suspect, like I’m missing something or we haven’t seen the whole picture. I don’t want to jump to conclusions but it certainly seems odd to have tools on a character so that they can harvest things, but use an animation that has nothing to do with said tools.

Now onto what we’ve all been waiting for. Since day one all of us have patiently clung to every world editor update for the one thing so many of us crave but have been denied for too long, the fleshing out of the world. The PVP testing areas are great for that but it’s the open world that will take Crowfall from feeling like an instanced battleground to something bigger than any individual player, the living, dying worlds that our tales will be forged within.

We saw a preview of the broader Crowfall world and how the parcels will fit together to form them. Its looking great and more importantly, functional! I didn’t expect it to be quite so detailed. I thought the seasons and the volatility would mean that even during summer things in the world would look fairly drab and dire but I was completely wrong.

The world is lush and green with a variety of flora and fauna. Watching ACE manipulate parcels and move into the character on that parcel was something I’ve only ever seen in Disney Infinity of all games. I can’t wait to see how all that grass looks covered in blood and bounty!

12 hours of ACE left me wanting more, because that’s what consuemers do, especially MMORPG consumers. Out appretities are never ending. No matter how much content we devour we always crave more. ACE’s previews showed promise even if some of it was uncomfortable. Is that a problem? No because we backed Crowfall knowing change was part of the pledge.


Tim Eisen

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