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Concerns and Misconceptions

Crowfall Columns - By Shawn Schuster on July 30, 2015

Concerns and Misconceptions

I would say, in the grand scheme of things, ArtCraft Entertainment has been doing a fine job of keeping Crowfall's backers informed of the game's progress during development. We get a regular weekly update and it's usually topped off with a video, dev interview, or some juicy details on game mechanics.

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Sure, the game is far from being finished at this point, and the dev team isn't afraid to let that be known, but that combination of ambitious marketing and a lack of a release date tends to simmer into the negative side with these big projects. Fans are still excited about what's to come, but it's only human nature to pick apart something when the impatience starts to set in and the honeymoon hype stage dissolves.

I've written both praise and skepticism about Crowfall in this column over the last few months, as I think it's only fair to see both sides of any ambitious new game project. Personally, I enjoy the portfolios of both J. Todd Coleman and Gordon Walton, so that combination, including the premise of Crowfall itself, is music to my ears. But different people may be excited (or not) about Crowfall for different reasons.

So I wanted to take a look at some of the most vocal concerns out there, including a series of videos from YouTuber Tim Aker (TehMaker) called, appropriately enough, Crowfall Concerns.

In the first episode, he talks about the Time to Kill mechanic in relation to PvP and the game's ultimate appeal. "Early on in development, I was able to witness the lengthiest time-to-kill I'd ever seen," Akers says in the video. "This was supposed to be justified by a complex system of enhancing your gear. The problem with this is people got bored far too quick. Difficulty in games is fine, but when there's such a steep learning curve on top of challenging content to begin with, you're sadly turning away the more casual players."

Keep in mind that this first episode was created back in April, and the latest episode (Episode 3) is from May, but he makes some good points. Also, it's important to point out that Akers is approaching these concerns as a fan, as he proves in several other videos, including one that highlights his most anticipated features of the upcoming game.

Crowfall fans on Reddit are also not shy about voicing their biggest concerns with how the game is coming along. "Everything is a bit... Off," Redditer SleepWithJournalists says. "I have no doubt you guys won't believe me, but I've seen marketing like this before and I'm very, very wary. Everything is couched in half truths and not-quite-lies."

Marketing a new game is always tricky because you have to walk that fine line between informing the hungry masses and over-hyping. MMO gamers are rightfully skeptical, so that adds another difficult variable to the equation.

And then, of course, the big concern is that there won't be enough players to make this game fun. We saw the problem with Warhammer's public quests, and again with a handful of subsequent MMOs that tried to "improve" the public quest, but it's definitely a sensitive mechanic.

Redditer JamesGoblin voices his concern with the smaller communities and how sustainable they'll be. "So, it might easily end in one Campaign = one Uncle Bob per ring or, even more likely, over time a number of rings becoming virtually dead/nonexistant (not to mention that lots of players would have to either wait for months for another, say, Dregs or to play on a likely losing side of the only active one, assuming that one exists at all)," he says. "In both cases the very concept of the game is denied."

Along those same lines, there are those concerns that are best described as misconceptions. I could probably write an entire article on this topic alone, but some of the biggest have to do with the archetypes. Many are afraid that the game will have zero customization options because of that race/class link we see with archetypes, and are wrongly connecting Crowfall with the ever-popular MOBA label with its own typical pre-made characters.

But it's important to realize that we're just looking at a different type of customization. You actually have quite a few options when making you character, but many are just used to having race and class as one of the biggest choices to make. I guess we'll have to see how much this ultimately turns off people as testing ramps up.

Another misconception is that the game is going to be one giant PvP gank-fest. While PvP will be the main focus of the game, there will be a few PvE angles. In fact, you can play indefinitely without fighting another player.

All in all, it's important to read up on the game if you're at all interested in what it has to offer. You may find out that your biggest concern has already been addressed to not be an issue at all.

Shawn Schuster / Shawn Schuster is the former Editor-in-Chief at Massively.com and founder of the indie gaming review site Shoost.co. Shawn has been writing professionally about video games since 2008 and podcasting about games since 2005. When he's not leveling yet another alt, he's running his organic farm with his wife and four kids.