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Columns: Flying into the New Year

By Tim Eisen on January 03, 2017

Flying into the New Year

Happy new year! It was just under a year ago that I started to cover Crowfall. My how time flies! Back then I wasn’t sure I wanted to tackle Crowfall because I was already covering Camelot Unchained and I worried about the overlap. As time went by it became increasingly obvious that, while both are PVP MMORPGs, these birds of a feather do not flock together. I’ve said it before but these two games are like whiskey and beer – both alcohol but both function in different ways (and both can be wonderful or terrible depending on your volume and method of consumption). ;)


I backed Crowfall as a PVP backup in case Unchained didn’t work out but over time my respect for ACE and Crowfall has grown substantially. The first half of 2016 started a bit shaky but ACE stayed the course, found their stride and started to jog finishing out the year by growing from a tiny PVP test area to the ground floor of what will become the finished product. Special shout out to the Star Wars Galaxiesesque crafting progress as well! We PVPers need PVErs after all, the crafting is the key.

Speaking of inventories bursting with crafting materials let’s talk about the spirit bank. I often wax about the good old days of the genre but rest assured I don’t let that acclaim glaze over what was a lot of hell for a little (but epic) fun. Quality of life in the old games was a foreign concept. Simple things like using a bank or looting could be maddening. I don’t like my MMORPG’s to be too easy but I simply can’t stomach inefficiency when it comes to daily MMORPG life tasks like bank management.

Fortunately, Crowfall looks to be going with an efficient bank system. The December 22nd update gave us a preview of how storage might work. “Items moved from the character’s inventory will – after a short transfer period of a few minutes – appear in the Spirit Bank. The Spirit Bank is accessible to ALL characters on that account, meaning that items placed inside this container can be retrieved by your other characters and on other worlds.” Glorious, not original, but glorious none the less! Frankly it’s the only logical way to go since Crowfall features the spirit/possession character mechanic.

Not only does it work for all characters on your account, this bank transcends the safe worlds and the PVP worlds effectively becoming its own realm! In a weird way, the banking realm is like some kind of phantom zone/ecto-containment system, unfortunately only loot can utilize this powerful realm beyond realms. Moreover, this is the early version of what will later become the very fabric of the game, the flow of resources between the safe Eternal Kingdoms and the PVP battle worlds!

The other Crowfall news is about the Templar archetype. The first thing I noted is that we are starting to see class overlap, or maybe class echoes is a better name for it; when multiple classes feature the same or similar mechanics. I recognize it as a good thing because it means ACE has built up enough on the back end to begin building and branching from what already exists rather than having to start from scratch every time. This should mean accelerated class construction as well.

Of the two sun worshipping archetypes the Templar is the lighter disciple. “Confessors blame the Hunger on the sins of mankind. They seek to purify and literally burn away sin with fire. Templars have a different interpretation. They see the Hunger as an external threat, beyond even the control of the gods. It is the duty of the righteous to band together to oppose the threat on their behalf. Templars call upon the power of the Light help them achieve those ends. Thus, Sun worship was split into two halves: those who worship the Flame, and those who follow the Light.” Cool story bro but how do they play?

“The Templar is a melee-focused holy warrior using an imposing two-handed great sword to execute judgement and protect the righteous. As a tank archetype she is tough to take down, and uses a combination of healing, hitpoint buffs and defense/counter mechanics to form a strong “front-line” offense.” Not unlike the Warrior Priest of Warhammer Online fame this archetype is a melee damage healer. Staying on par with mixing in some new with old ACE is using the pip mechanic seen on the Guinecean Duelist. Run to the battle line, power up swinging a massive great sword, deal damage and spread healing. I loved my Warrior Priest, maybe the Templar will fill the void long left by his untimely departure?

“Righteousness is used to fuel her abilities and is a variation of the pips resource mechanic. Her survivability comes from a mixture of healing, hitpoint buffs and right-click defense/counter mechanics. She is both a formidable enemy and a powerful ally.” The Templar certainly sounds like it could be my holy huckleberry.

2017 looks like it will be a substantial year for Crowfall. Of all the PVP MMORPGs on the crowd funded list Crowfall might just get the closest to launch over the next year, barring any unknown unknowns that gank progress (hey this is MMORPG development after all). I’ll be keeping an especially close eye on how combat scales up. I’m curious to see how many players we can get fighting it out on the screen. Frankly, it’s exciting just to be able to say that. We are past the structural days and quickly moving onto filling in the game so it resembles the idea many of us took a chance on so long ago; for glory and PVP!

Tim Eisen / In my columns I walk the line between fan and critic as I document the development of Camelot Unchained, Crowfall, and Chronicles of Elyria.