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MMORPG | Setting:Fantasy | Status:Development  (est.rel Q1 2018)  | Pub:ArtCraft Entertainment
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Columns: December’s Design Reveal: What Could it Be?

By Mike Joseph on December 15, 2015

December’s Design Reveal: What Could it Be?

The team at ArtCraft has been amazingly transparent throughout development. No NDA in Pre-Alpha, posting numerous production diaries and engaging in consistent communication on the forums have all gone a long way to build confidence among the player base and grab the attention of the curious. That being said, ArtCraft also loves a good mystery. From the original “Play2Crush” website, to the mysterious countdown clock and now a teaser to a big December design reveal - it’s clear that they sure enjoy keeping us guessing.


A Significant Reveal is Coming

In a recent Founder’s Update, Creative Director, J. Todd Coleman, stated that there is “significant design reveal” coming this month (December). Here’s what he said about this system:

“The idea comes straight from our lore, and it touches on everything from character creation to advancement to death and looting. Some of you will love it.  Some of you will hate it.  Some of you will think the implications are far too hardcore. Many of you will be cautious and on the fence…. But once you play it, and see how it connects everything, I think you’re going to love it.”

So we know that this new system will be something that is selected, or at least known, during character creation and will impact advancement, death and looting. This system may also be perceived as too hardcore for some players. Let’s look a bit deeper.

Searching For Clues

In the December Q & A video, Todd and Blair did offer a few additional hints as to what this new system may entail:

  • Permadeath is a good guess, but it’s not permadeath.
  • There is one way in the system where you can lose a character
  • It's not commonly seen in Fantasy games.
  • It has been seen in other games.
  • This system touches on advancement, skills, respawn.

Looking to the Lore for Hints

So this still doesn’t give a clear picture, however Todd did say that this new system comes straight out of the lore. From the lore we know that players are “Crows” sent by the Gods to plunder and control the Dying Worlds. Reading about Hero, the First Crow, we learn that he is an undying soldier that yet experiences death:

“Denied the chance for peace in the afterlife, Hero became an undying soldier – cursed to fight and die in every war, across every world, in every age.  He wakes on the eve of each battle with no memory of his past lives.  He remembers only his sense of duty and how to carry a sword. Each life ends the same. As his heart falters, the memories come flooding back: his wife, his children, the love and the longing, and the anguish and the pain. He remembers every life he has lived and the pain of every death. With his final breath, he curses the gods…. then wakes to fight again.”

So Crows wake up on the eve of battle with no memory of past lives, yet as they progress, memories come flooding back. It appears that the Hero could be going through some type of memory-based progression throughout the course of battle. Very interesting. More on this shortly.

Before I tie all of these clues together and dive into my prediction, it’s important to review a couple important aspects of Crowfall progression.

Two important considerations

First, players will have access to the Eternal Kingdoms, which serve as permanent bases in which to focus on social and economic progression, which are critical in a player-driven game. Social, political and economic progression will be essential in Crowfall.

Secondly, players progress their character through their passive skill tree, much like EVE Online. Skills continue to develop passively whether a player is in an Eternal Kingdom, a Campaign world or offline.

We can see that the Eternal Kingdoms and the passive skill tree both address the character’s long-term progression. So what about this whole “memory” thing from the lore? Could there be a short-term progression system within a campaign that allows players an additional layer of choice? Let’s take a look at my guess:

My prediction: A Campaign Progression System

While none of these clues are definitive, I do have a guess as to what this system reveal could be. I predict that the December reveal is a new short-term character progression system within the campaign worlds themselves. Upon character creation, players could select perks that will impact this progression. As the campaign progresses through spring, summer, fall and winter, the character will gradually “remember” their past and increase in power & effectiveness. The farther into the campaign's cycle, the more “memory” the character has available to recall their perks. This idea would allow players an added layer of short term-customization within a specific campaign while allowing their long-term passive skills to continue to develop. These perks could include campaign-related things such as cold resistance, warmth conversion or hunger resistance. Upon the end of the campaign, these perks are reset.

By the end of this month, we’ll all find out how right or wrong my speculation is. All in all, while the Crowfall team has been amazingly transparent, they sure know how to keep us all guessing!

Mike Joseph / In addition to being's resident Crowfall fanatic, Mike is a veteran gamer, blogger and podcaster. Mike currently owns and maintains and hosts The Hunger podcast.