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Skill System Interview

CrimeCraft Interviews - By Jon Wood on August 11, 2009

Skill System Interview
MMORPG.com:

Can you tell us how skills are important in a game whose combat is more about aim and reflexes than it is about dice rolls?

Matt McEnerney:

Skills supplement a player's arsenal and can be used to either enhance a player's skill or counter an opponent's skill. The goal was to give the players several options and make meaningful decisions as they level up. Make no mistake, CrimeCraft is a skill game, but if you make the right choices with skills and boosts, you can gain an advantage over your opponents, especially if you coordinate with your fellow gang members and plan which skills you will use for that particular game type and team structure.

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MMORPG.com:

There are two different kinds of skills, can you tell us about those?

Matt McEnerney:

We break skills down into two types: Technology and Training. In the Technology branch, users have a choice between explosives, weapons, and gadgets. These skills are based on actual objects that can be used on the battlefield. Some are offensive, some are defensive, and some can be used for both. In the Training branch, users can select weapon training to learn how to use the skill weapons, survival training which improves the character's base stats, and special explosive training to improve performance of any explosives learned in the technology branch.

MMORPG.com:

Can you tell us how skills are earned in Crimcraft?

Matt McEnerney:

Skills are purchased through collecting skill points which are earned with each level. For each level, a user gets one skill point. Most skills have a low barrier for entry, but the higher levels will cost more points.


Screenshot

MMORPG.com:

How much of an advantage will players with lots of skills have over new players?

Matt McEnerney:

Players with many skill points will have more options available to them. We make sure that new players have access to skills through the early missions

MMORPG.com:

Any time that skills are brought into a game, you will find players who discover the "optimum build." How are you handling that with CC?

Matt McEnerney:

Constant play testing and balancing is the key. We get to see what players are using and make adjustments accordingly. When you have so many options, many players will tend to gravitate towards a handful of more familiar skills. When you play a shooter, everyone knows what to expect from a frag grenade, so it is no surprise that the frag grenade has been the most commonly used skill in our closed beta.


Screenshot

MMORPG.com:

In press materials provided to us earlier, you sent three examples of character builds: The Kamikaze, The Pillager and the Sniper. Can you tell us a little bit about those?

Mike Donatelli:

Those were actual builds some of the devs run in the game. Some are more eclectic then others but they are based on preference across the board.

Matt McEnerney:

Most of these examples came from our core testers who have been playing our game for quite a while. Sniper is generally a popular class in most shooters and having a good sniper on your team is a critical part of our game. The Kamikaze profile is based on the "Leroy Jenkins" style of player - go in there guns blazing and take out as many people as possible.

MMORPG.com:

In the press materials, each build has a number associated with it, the highest being 546. Are there this many specific, optimal builds for specific things, or are these numbers simply based on the number of combinations available?

Mike Donatelli:

Definitely available combinations. We've tried literally, hundreds of variations of builds and they all have positives and negatives depending on the maps or gameplay types. I like to utilize "Phat Loot" in PvE for the chance to get some extra stuff though I wouldn't use it in PvP because there are some great damage mitigation abilities that are available. That said another dev swears by "Phat Loot" in PvP because he was able to get a pistol with 2 slots early one.

MMORPG.com:

Will players who adhere to these specific builds and ones like them have an advantage over a player who chooses their own skill build?

Mike Donatelli:

Funny thing is these are just popular builds with the devteam. You could be a shotgun toting, stealth character that can turn invisible and make no sounds when he runs so you can the drop on that sniper or grab the flag or you could take stealth and mines and the passive that allows you to place 2 mines instead of just 1 then sneak into the enemy territory and drop mines near there spawn. Both variations will get you kills but at that point it's all up to the player's play style.


Screenshot

MMORPG.com:

How is offering these "builds" different from offering classes, as do so many other MMOs?

Matt McEnerney:

These are just some ideas that represent the flexibility of the system, at the end of the day, we're providing an open system that doesn't bind the user to a class. We allow users to rollback and try different systems and figure out what is best for their style of play or what is appropriate for the match type or team needs.

Mike Donatelli:

As Matt said, these builds are just examples of how the players have chosen to spec their characters. Your character can be a fast running, healer with high resists for one Gang War and be a mine laying, solo sniper for some PvE practice. It's as easy as pressing rollback at the trainer.