Campaigns and Warfare
Making your character and advancing is cool, but what they’re doing with warfare is even cooler. In a lot of ways, it’s more inclusive of crafters than any system I’ve seen to date, and their system really lends itself to some cool stuff. First you need some background information, though.
The campaigns are set on Dying Worlds with different degrees of toughness depending on which ring they’re in, as mentioned in my previous article. Campaigns will also have different rulesets. There may be one that disallows metal, for instance. There will also be differing objectives, which will change the time it takes to complete a given campaigns. Though most campaigns should last between one and six months.
Campaign length is important, because Dying Worlds have seasons that progress from springtime to winter as the campaign goes along. Crops will need to be grown in the warmer months and harvested, or players will run out of food during the winter months.
Running out of food is bad because while being hungry will prevent health regeneration and starving will actually cause you to start taking damage. That means that not only will warriors need to fight to secure and defend objectives, but will need to work with crafters to defend and store supplies.
Best of all in my mind, it means campaigners will need to keep lines of supply in mind, not because of some generic in-game mechanic that prevents them from capturing the next point of interest without some mystical lay line connected to it, but because you’ll starve to death otherwise. That opens up a host of opportunities for raiding and scouting.
And speaking of scouting, that’ll be important, too. Each campaign begins on a new dynamically created world. No one knows where anything is, so skilled scouts will be critical to establishing a solid foothold in a good location at the beginning of a game, and then for planning attacks later on. Scouts won’t be some random bow-wielding class, they’ll be people of any class who are skilled at surviving alone and being stealthy.
Due to each campaign beginning in a new world and the various limitations on what players can bring with them upon choosing to join a given campaign, I suspect scouts and craftsmen will be the two most important skillsets to have as each campaign starts. Then as campaigns wear on, both will have changing roles, but will be no less vital to success.
Gordon Walton mentioned during my visit that he actually suspects some elite craftsmen will be approached by various guilds and factions to join campaigns because they will be such an important component of the game. Conversely, he pointed out there’ll likely be a few who don’t campaign at all, but rather choose to spend most of their time buying and trading supplies, and crafting from the comfort of their shop in the Eternal Kingdoms.
Just the Surface
All of this just barely scratches the surface of what the guys at ArtCraft are doing with Crowfall. Each aspect of the game that we’ve covered today, could easily be another article in its own right. In fact, you can expect that most of them will.
You might worry that this seems like a lot to get into a game, but I think these guys have a good plan for making it happen. Their initial push is just to put together the basic mechanics for how the game works. Then they’ll add in new more complex mechanics over time, testing them via the campaign system. Once again, I can’t help but marvel at how great their idea to make worlds destructible and time-limited has proven to be, and how well it lends itself to a crowdfunding model.
I have a good friend who’s sworn off any additional funding campaigns for games. He feels let down after being one of the early backers for another not-yet-released sci-fi game, but I’m trying to convince him to give this one a shot. The ability to test ideas on the fly should allow Crowfall to get more game into the hands of backers much earlier than would otherwise be expected. I also believe other crowdfunded efforts have been dramatically improved by the feedback they’ve gotten through their series of monthly releases, and that suggests to me that these guys will see a lot of the same sort of success.
There are efforts that I wouldn’t support, but Crowfall won’t be one of them. What about you though? Let me know what you think in the comments below!