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Sieges & Druids

Crowfall Columns - By Tim Eisen on April 12, 2016

Sieges & Druids

(Drinks his first Kombucha, quickly regrets drinking his first Kombucha.)

Well that was an experience, not unlike watching folks play Crowfall’s Siege Perilous map for the first time (BAM-XP gained for using a transitional opener). Not because Siege Perilous was bad, but because it was stomach churning in an exciting butterflies way! You know what I’m talking about. That ping of excitement you got in your gut as a kid-long before life beat you down and took it from your soul. I’ve dreamed of full destruction in MMORPGs since I started playing SWG if not before! (which would have been pretty amazing since I didn’t know what a MMORPG was until SWG)

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It’s hard to describe how happy I was to see a wall slowly crumble into smaller pieces from repeated fiery balls. Not just a big chunk or single graphical change, it came down in several pieces and it was glorious. Seeing debris fill the ground and watching players interact with it was almost just as glorious. Someday soonish we can destroy castles like a slightly older kid with a mullet at the beach. Why did the bullies always have spiked hair with a mullet or rat-tail growing out the back? They always wore tank tops too…or maybe that was just my bullies…or was it me…

This might be hard to wrap your head around but when you watch videos of Siege Perilous you have to keep in mind that this is not exactly how siege will work in the finished game. This is like watching the concrete for the basement floor being poured. What we see are the absolute basics thrown in, often as place holders, to test the mechanics of what will come later. It’s less about the visual and more about the mechanical. Don’t watch this phase for the pretty, watch it for the function because those functions will scale up and be refined in the final product.

All things considered how did the first siege tests go? From my neophyte point of view, fantastic. That’s  fantastic by early testing standards. The usual early testing suspects were popping up but nothing was game breaking. Younglings will never understand what it was like in the old days. “We have a new patch coming” was code for “the game will be crashing constantly for the next three days” and that was in a launched game! That’s right, modern games in testing are often more stable than the games of yore ever were! Uphill, in snow, 56K, both ways and such.

I’ll admit I found it unpleasant watching players attack my precious orangered tree of life. Such a pretty tree…then again as we PVPers know, all pretty things must burn eventually, or why else were they pretty, right? If we didn’t want to kick over castles, then why would we have backed this game, right? PVP, tank-tops and mullets for all, right? Am I right? AM I!

(plugs nose and chokes down more Kombucha)

Speaking of bad haircuts, or rather long beards, (more transition points) shout-outs to all the streamers that make my homework that much easier! When I was a tiny Tim I loved watching my friends play games…ok I lined up my stuffed animals and imagined they were my friends but you get my reference. Now I watch other people play games and ask myself what this life means as I force down another swig of Kombucha and tearfully look at pictures of a young man with a tank top and mullet happily kicking over sand castles, castles he has since longed to kick over again but without the adult repercussions of getting beaten to a pulp by angry parents…soon Crowfall, soon.

I’m just kidding of course. I split my time equally between building sand castles and building sandcastles just to kick them over because I was always as logical as I am now.

Speaking of illogical (killing it with my transitions today) let’s talk briefly about developers. If developers change their minds they “misled us” but if they stick to their guns they are “too stubborn”. It’s a tough job made tougher by always being on stage for thousands of instant feedback enabled fanatics-aka “fans”. That brings us to the controversial Druid archetype that ArtCraft recently unveiled. (DING, I think I just leveled up transitions, level 2 achieved)

“But Double T, what could be controversial about a nature loving hippy like a Druid?”

Surprisingly it’s not the fact that it is both a healer and a nuker. It’s not even the fact that she has a yin/yang mechanic not unlike the mage from Warhammer Online. For the kids that didn’t play Warhammer Online it means if she over heals too much she will ignite and start taking damage! Unlike Warhammer, the only way to get rid of that damage is to start dealing it! It’s the fact that she will have some powerful healing in a game where healing was originally said to be less powerful than games of yore.

Personally I love the duality mechanic and I never liked the idea of not having powerful healers as long as it wasn’t the type of overpowered healing that leads to near invincible healer/tank tag teams. I don’t want to see it in my PVP game of choice because I think that makes thing too easy. I’m here for some complex PVP even if I’m terrible at it. I’d rather be terrible in a challenging MMORPG than great in a simple one any day.

Maybe I’m just a fanboy with blinders on that never learns because he keeps trusting things like developers, kids in tank tops with mullets and Clark Kent. Let me know what you think of the Druid and if her healing sounds like a fire hose or a sprinkler in the comments below.

(Pours the rest of his Kombucha down the sink to the comments below then opens a new one for himself because logic.)

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.