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Fish Ballistas and Traders

By Tim Eisen on August 02, 2016 | Columns | Comments

Fish Ballistas and Traders

This week I’m going to brave covering the last TWO Crowfall updates! You read that right two, and it was all caps and bold to express the feat of the task! I’m going to talk about the ballista preview, fresh fish and Trusted Traders that aren’t to be trusted or are they? Trust me it will make sense once I word vomit all over it, or not, read on to find out! (I guess my words making sense-or not is my hook)

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Artcraft (ACE) gave us a preview of their Ballista this week and it was huge! I mean that literally not in a snarky backhanded jab at current events way. It’s like a watch tower with a ballista built on top of it! I liked the construction timer and that they take resources to craft. That gives enemies a chance to target the players building the weapons and creates another strategic PVP focus point within the larger battle. The fact that it takes resources should be a no brainier in a resource driven game like Crowfall and I’m glad ACE agrees.

The variety of functionality was a nice way to make them more than just a giant bow while also giving them more combat utility than DPS alone. The one we saw did a few kinds of damage and even tossed down a healing AOE for us to cower under. I wonder, does it heal enemies as well? I hope so. That would make using it even more strategic.

That (cowering) reminds me, 8 internes have arrived fresh off the bus! It’s quite a line up. For a second they reminded me of Suicide Squad! Then I put on my glasses and they reminded me of Breakfast Club 2. I guess that makes Todd the principal? Wait no, Gordon is probably Mr. Vernon. Todd is probably Carl, the guy that seemed pretty cool and may have been some kind of foreshadowing about John Bender. Like John he was socially unconventional and full of wisdom beyond his years due to his unique upbringing which enabled him to see things from an almost outside point of view even while he was on the inside…

I’m tempted to bet a couple packs on which fresh fish cracks first. Can’t say I’ve made any bets since I lost two packs on a tall drink of water named Andy. Jesting aside interns are good news for a studio. That’s eight warm bodies to (ideally) churn out free labor for a few weeks or more depending. Impress somebody and you might just land yourself a job or at the very least a recommendation from Mr. Vernon or Carl. Worst case scenario they probably let Dogget test tiger punch theory on them until they break before shipping them back.

In the update from a couple weeks ago ACE unveiled their Trusted Traders program. It’s a program to move the black digital market from under the table onto it. This way ACE is able to monitor it and keep sellers from ripping off buyers which a little bird told me is a thing that happens quite often on the MMORPG black market.

ACE explained; “Gold famers, leveling services, resales of items and accounts purchased with fake credit cards -- these are realities that hurt the game, the developer and the player community. There are a number of ways to deal with these issues, and none of them are perfect. As long as the demand exists, there will always be companies and individuals willing to break the rules to fill that demand. Our approach is a bit novel in that we decided to divide these transactions into two categories: transactions that we feel are beneficial to the game, and ones that are harmful. For the beneficial ones, we created a program to support, foster and curate a select group of partners who are willing to “play by the rules” and give them our stamp of approval. We fully sanction those transactions. And, because we have sanctioned these particular companies (and transactions), we feel no hesitation AT ALL in dealing with the ‘unsanctioned’ transactions as harshly as possible.”

Trusted Traders is not to be confused with the Crowfall store. This is a secondary place where you the buyer can sell or buy “a retired pledge package or item” that has previously been purchased from Artcraft’s store. It provides buyers with an option to change their mind and resell their pixels. I could wax for days about the morals of real money trading (RMT) in MMORPGs but what’s the point? Change is the only constant; these are the times we live in. Artcraft is doing what they can in the face of nameless foes that live in the elephant graveyard far beyond their reach. To their credit “we have no expectation that this program will generate profitability for ArtCraft We are doing this because we recognize that RMT exists, and we can’t stop it.  By legitimizing the transactions that we find acceptable, we hope to channel the behavior in a way that protects our customers and Crowfall.”.

Companies can’t dam the water but this move will help them keep it clean and (hopefully) prevent us from getting typhoid. That was an Oregon Trail nod, if you don’t know what that is you don’t understand gaming with consequences! Naming characters after your best friends, family and the girl you secretly have a crush on only to bury them on the trail because they died of diarrhea, that was hardcore survival before it was cool!

Whew, I made it. Two updates in one column. While not game world debut level news I appreciate ACE giving us enough to stay invested during the slower summer months.  I’m excited about the ballista, I hope the Trusted Trader program works out and maybe, in a perfect world, those interns can help speed up the progress toward that debut I believe many of us are feverishly anticipating. I know I am! Until next time hakuna matata. 

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