Minotaurs & Guineceans
I believe there are 3 pillars to a good character/class; the backstory, the appearance and the movement (via class skills and general posture). The Myrmidon Minotaur seems to be killing each of them. Artcraft (ACE) has done a great job translating all of their concepts into archetypes but I get the impression they really enjoyed designing the big guy. When developers get into a concept it seems to show and show it does in this conveniently linked preview!
Right off the bat we see he sprints on all fours. Yeah we’ve seen this in other games but you know what? I loved it then too-when it made sense. It’s not for every class but for one as brutish as the Myrmidon it communicates fantastically. You see him coming and you know he is beastly! Next we see his charge actually grabs onto players in his path, drags them along for the ride, then concludes with a knockback! Further communication accomplished. I’m already anticipating how annoying being a victim of this move will be…almost as much as I’m anticipating victimizing others with it!
His pulverize is the visualization of just that (victimizing others). Head down, dirt being kicked up and concluding with a head smash-its gloriously fitting! Performing his moves carries him forward deeper into battle and he has 2 whirling dervish attacks. I saw him use a classic “get over here” which I thought was a bit weak and broke the immersion of the character only to see it can also be used as a charge so I suppose that one breaks even. The Myrmidon has a classic “ignore damage then take it all on the end” move which again aligns all facets of this design.
What I did not like is something we wrestling fans refer to as “no selling”! What that means is we have one really epic character doing all kinds of cool moves that reinforce him as a big beastly brute but his enemies barely react and it sort of kills the vibe. It’s not a Crowfall problem so much as a MMORPG problem. One that might be too large of a task for any of our modern tech to address. Going so broad for a criticism shows how highly I think of this concept. Sure animations can all be tweaked but as good as they look at the beginning the Myrmidon is already a head above the rest.
Speaking of a head below the rest, let’s talk about the Guinecean’s! “So what does the final vision look like now that it is fully formed? Well, he’s an interesting mix: he looks like a guinea pig, moves like Reepicheep from Chronicles of Narnia, has the mannerisms of Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride and fights with both melee and ranged powers.” That sounds fantastic and looking at the earlier concept art seen above I believe it. Looking at where it currently is as seen below, I do not.
Let’s start with the appearance. The concept looks a bit too much like a plain old bipedal guinea pig (sometimes I write a sentence then think, did I just write that-only in MMORPGs). It exchanged bravado for a soft belly and in doing so this one seems like a bit of a miss. Maybe shaving a few pounds off that belly would do the trick. Considering the concepts don’t have much for expression or posture it’s too soon to be too sure it’s not working. Animating it can certainly put it back in the right direction.
Unfortunately, we have yet to see the animations so I must remain mum on that aspect. If the description translates, and we know ACE excels at just that, then I expect an extremely fluid character with all kinds of anatomical attitude. I have to say the uniqueness and stature has me especially intrigued to see what ACE will do. We have a bit of info to help us visualize it. “The Duelist will join the Ranger as one of our Specialist role archetypes. In the case of powers and resources we decided his power tray has no power combos, instead he uses a traditional rogue style combo point resource system, which drives quick melee and ranged attacks, only has a single power tray, and can go into burrow mode. (let the speculation begin!)” Speculate and anticipate I am!
Now that the unliked and unknown is out of the way let’s move to the back story. When I first saw the Guinecean concept I brushed it off as a race for “those people that play those races”. You know who you are! In every MMORPG there is an oddball race that has its own cult following. For whatever reason they tend to be small in stature as well. I figured it was a nice nod to those folks but something I didn’t have any interest in, that is until I got the joke- Guinecean’s are blissfully self-unaware. Yes, it was the back story of the concept that hooked me. When we look at these folks we assume only small things from such small creatures. What we don’t realize is when they see their reflection in a mirror their stature dwarfs even the tallest of Minotaurs and it gives them an interesting perspective and place in the otherwise densely dark world of Crowfall.
When developers are able to check the box on all three pillars of a character we get something special, such is the case with the Brock Lesnar (aka Myrmidon Minotaur) archetype. Let’s hope they can do the same for the Guinecean. So far the story works and the movement sounds right, now if they just tweak the appearance to have a bit more Han Solo or Rocket Racoon and a little less…rodent? Then maybe we will get another archetype that stands as tall as the Myrmidon.