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[Crowfall] Game of Thrones meets EVE Online. Early Access available now.

245

Posts

  • DelphinidaesDelphinidaes FFXIV: Delphi Kisaragi Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    Well, this is weird. Posting from my phone so excuse any weirdness.
    OK, folks.

    Welcome to Hunger Week!

    Until now, we’ve been describing the game in general terms. The real differences between Crowfall and other MMORPGs have been “creeping around the edges” of our weekly updates.

    Today is the turning point – where we start to separate away from the herd. Unfortunately (but inevitably) that means we’re going to turn some people off today. But hopefully those of you who stick around will be here for the long haul.

    About a decade ago, I was the creative director on a game called “Shadowbane.” Shadowbane had a lot of flaws, but the vision is still something that I am very proud of. The Wolfpack founders (of which I am one) came up with something innovative – really innovative. It’s surprising how rare that is, even in the game space.

    Unfortunately, the vision was also flawed. SB had tons of technical and operational issues, yes, but that’s not what I am talking about. I’m talking about the crack in the foundation of the design:

    At its heart, SB was a strategy game. And strategy games can’t last forever.

    To illustrate this point, let me use an analogy. Every Thanksgiving, my family gets together for a game of RISK. Only it’s not “let’s play Risk every thanksgiving” – it’s “let’s pick up from where we left last year, in the SAME game of Risk.”

    The same game. The same conflict. Year after year after year:

    Imagine that, in year 2, Uncle Bob starts winning.

    In year 3, Uncle Bob presses the advantage. By the end of this game session, Bob basically owns the board.

    Fast forward 10 years. We’re still playing that same game. Uncle Bob is now an unassailable tyrant.

    The other players (i.e. everyone other than Uncle Bob) all wander away from the board to watch football or something – because they know they don’t stand a chance. If a new player joins the game, Bob snuffs them out in their infancy, and they quit immediately.

    Everyone is bored. Even Uncle Bob is bored – because he hasn’t faced a challenge in over a decade. But he won’t give up by choice. That isn’t human nature.

    In Shadowbane, I called this phenomenon server stagnation. The game is incredibly fun – right up until someone wins. Then, without a server reset, the game stagnates and everyone quits.

    TL;DR version:

    One of the key elements of strategy games is they have a win condition followed by a board reset. You start the game, you play the game, someone wins. You reset the board and start a new game.

    One of the key elements of MMOs is that they are persistent. Actually, that’s not the right word, is it? They’re permanent. Players expect to play them over years, and the game world is (generally) static.

    These two design goals seem diametrically opposed: the game must reset and the game must last forever.
    Can they be married together? I think they can.

    Eternal Heroes, Dying Worlds
    What if characters are persistent/permanent – but the Worlds are not?
    What if your character exists outside of any given Campaign, and can join new matches once a match is over?
    This opens up a whole new world of design possibilities.
    Characters are permanent, and advance over the course of many Campaigns. This gives you the feeling of persistence that we’ve come to expect from MMOs.
    Campaigns, though, aren’t permanent. They still be “persistent” between game sessions – but they don’t last forever.
    How long should the last? As long as the game is still fun! And they don’t all have to be the same duration. Some Campaigns could last 1 week, or 1 month. or 6 months. or 1 year.
    These Campaigns aren’t just “instances”, though -- they are fully populated, continent-sized, seamless zone MMO servers. The only thing they have in common with an “instance” is that they are time-limited.
    Because each Campaign is marching towards an end condition, this means that the World doesn’t have to be static anymore. We can break the Campaign into different “phases”, and adjust the rules of the game change during each phase. We can allow the players to fundamentally change the world, without fear of the long term problems this might create.
    Why not make each Campaign unique? Why can’t each one have a completely unique world map (mountains, forests, lakes, castles, villages, quarries, mines, mills – you name it)? The “exploration” phase of the game can be different in each Campaign. The world will never be stale.
    To that point: since each game is a stand-alone event, we can even change the rules (and win conditions) of each Campaign. We can experiment with different rules, to see which ones are more popular – and keep the game continually fresh.
    So, how do you explain this?

    The Hunger. The Hunger is a mysterious, destructive force that spreads from one world to the next, like an infection – twisting and corrupting everything it touches. Eventually, the Hunger consumes the World itself, and it is destroyed.

    Players take the roles of Divine Champions, immortal participants in the War of the Gods. They join the Campaigns to scavenge the Dying Worlds for relics, resources and glory.

    A Campaign might look like this:

    Phase 1 is Spring. The Campaign map is hidden by fog of war. You are dropped (typically naked) into an unknown, deadly environment. This world is filled with the ruins of ancient castles, abandoned mines and haunted villages – which you have to explore to scavenge for weapons, tools and the resources to start building fortifications.

    Phase 2 is Summer. The Hunger starts to infect the creatures. Resources become scarce. Your team claims an abandoned quarry and must fight to keep it. You use the stone to build an ancient keep, to use it as staging areas to attack their neighbors.

    Phase 3 is Fall. The creatures become more deadly as the Hunger takes hold. Resources are heavily contested and transporting them is fraught with peril. Your guild frantically builds a wall around your city, as the nature of conflict shifts from smaller skirmishes to siege warfare.

    Phase 4 is Winter. The environment is brutal. Warmth is hard to come by. Your kingdoms grows in strength; your neighbors falter and you demand that they swear fealty or face complete loss of the Campaign. Instead, a handful of smaller kingdoms choose to band together against you.

    Phase 5 is Victory and Defeat. The World is destroyed in a cataclysmic event as the Campaign comes to an end. Your Kingdom emerges victorious, and you return to the Eternal Kingdoms to enjoy the spoils of war. Your adversaries head home, too -- to lick their wounds.



    No one quits. Instead, both groups strategize on how to dominate the next Campaign.

    This is the experience we are trying to create. Even if I lose, it won’t feel hollow.

    We saw a similar pattern emerge during the SB beta… by accident, not design. Occasionally, changes to the game design would require us to wipe the world. Every time it happened, I was worried that players would quit the game. Instead, we saw incredibly high peak concurrency numbers after each wipe. Every time. The “land rush” to grab the key positions in the new world was incredibly alluring. If the world map was unique, I expect it would have been even more popular.

    The downside of this approach is that we don’t want the universe to feel too transitory. That’s why we added the Eternal Kingdoms: super-sized player and guild housing Worlds. Trophy rooms that you can use as a “lobby” between matches/campaigns.

    (To make sure these Worlds don’t compete with the “main” game, i.e. the Campaign Worlds, we’ve completely stripped them of resource factories and anything but common reagents. If you want to fill your trophy room, you have to go out and earn it.)

    This is the foundational change that we’ve made. Crowfall isn’t an MMO with a “battle ground” strapped to the end of the level treadmill. Crowfall isn’t a three-way tug of war that never resets. It’s a real blend of a strategy game and an MMO.

    There’s more (a LOT more) to come, but it all starts with this basic idea:

    Eternal Heroes, Dying Worlds.

    Todd
    ACE

    You had my curiosity, but now you have my attention.

    *edit for better top post

    Delphinidaes on
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  • AxenAxen My avatar is Excalibur. Yes, the sword.Registered User regular
    You had my curiosity, but now you have my attention.

    Indeed.

    The only word I have to describe how all that sounds to me is 'Erotic'.


    Now I really hope they don't come out and say, "Yo kickstart this!" Cause dammit all I will!

    PolaritieNerfThatManDelphinidaesSionnach Rua
  • darkmayodarkmayo Registered User regular
    I look forward to more information.

  • Anon the FelonAnon the Felon In bat country.Registered User regular
    He said Shadowbane.

    That demands I at least take notice.

    Corehealer
  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    Hmm. It sounds intriguing, but I also know I'll never enjoy/participate in a game like this again. Where we need to be online persistently to defend the mine we claimed. A game where I feel responsible to other people to log in.

    What is this I don't even.
  • NerfThatManNerfThatMan Registered User regular
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    Hmm. It sounds intriguing, but I also know I'll never enjoy/participate in a game like this again. Where we need to be online persistently to defend the mine we claimed. A game where I feel responsible to other people to log in.

    Yeah, it's much harder as an adult to justify staying up until 4 a.m. to make sure nobody takes your vidja game rocks. Maybe the discrete nature of world "campaign" lengths will help alleviate some of that behavior.

    PSN: corporateshill
    Corehealer
  • AstaleAstale Registered User regular
    I have a hard time joining guilds these days, same reason.

    I want to play mmos when my schedule allows. Not have to schedule around the guild's crafting/dungeon/event needs. I've warned people in the past that I'm completely unreliable when they ask me to join, they still want me to anyways, and in short order I learn that nobody knows what "unreliable" means.

    Alistair wrote: »
    I use Dog as a cover for when I put dead animals in Morrigan's underthings
  • NerfThatManNerfThatMan Registered User regular
    Well, another update- substantially less interesting than yesterday's, but that's life I suppose.

    A new tank archetype- the Templar.

    And a screen or two of the templar in action.
    Crowfall_T1Gameplay2.jpg

    Crowfall_T1Gameplay.jpg

    The full text of the post along with some art of how the Hunger enemies might look over the seasons.
    Good morning!

    Hunger week continues. In light of yesterday's announcement, some of these items will have a LOT more context:

    First up, we've got the Templar archetype page. This one is interesting because it shows a few elements that you haven't seen before:
    Most notably, a screenshot showing combat against some monsters (we said no raids, guys -- OF COURSE there will be PvE!),
    a first look at what a Hunger-infected creature look like in-game,
    a bit of narrative about how the Hunger is viewed by the Immortals,
    a side-by-side concept of the Templar in both genders.
    Additionally, just to illustrate the point, we're dropping you a lineup of that same undead warrior as he looks through the course of a Campaign: spring, summer, fall, and winter.
    Crowfall_ZombieLineupConcept.jpg

    PSN: corporateshill
  • DelphinidaesDelphinidaes FFXIV: Delphi Kisaragi Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    That is a very good art style choice. Not too cartoony (ala Wildstar/WoW) but also not super realistic (ESO/Archeage). That's a style that could have some serious longevity.

    Delphinidaes on
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    AxenJimboAlbino Bunny
  • AxenAxen My avatar is Excalibur. Yes, the sword.Registered User regular
    I have to admit I am somewhat annoyed by how quickly I went from "meh" to "ZOMG YES PLEASE".

    Record. Fucking. Time.

    Jimbo
  • NerfThatManNerfThatMan Registered User regular
    "If everyone who predicted some level of crowdfunding could make their way to the main stage, we have your pri- oh good god there are too many of you! GET BACK!"

    So, yeah. Can't say I'm surprised. Explanation from the chief here.
    We've gotten a lot of questions about funding for Crowfall, so let's talk about money.
    As you folks know, MMOs are an expensive business. We know, we’ve made a few of them. The costs of an MMO are dominated by the salaries of the people who build it; professional engineers, artists, designers and many other roles that all expect and deserve to get paid.

    The good news is that today we have more options than ever to fund game projects (beyond the old standby of selling our soul -- and the rights to the entire game -- to a worldwide publisher).

    In the last few years, crowdfunding has emerged as a new option for raising funds directly from consumers. As most of you know, sites like kickstarter allow backers to pre-purchase products to support the creator(s) in bringing a product to market.

    Our company has taken some money (in the form of equity investment) already. We used this money to start our company and begin the development of Crowfall. It's worth noting that Todd and I, i.e. the founders, were also the first two investors. Neither of us are "rich" -- historically, we're hired guns, paid to make games by other people or companies. We believe in Crowfall -- so much, in fact, that we've invested our savings and went without salaries for over a year to get this venture started. We took this risk, and our families supported us in doing it, because we fundamentally believe that there is an audience for this vision. We are fully invested in this project, and in this company.

    To get this game brought to market, we intend to use every method at our disposal to fund the game through completion.
    Specifically:
    We will likely sell more equity (ownership in our company) in the future,
    We will license some of the overseas rights for Crowfall. We're going to try and keep control of the English-speaking territories.
    And, yes, we will do a crowdfunding campaign. We aren't asking you to fund the entire game, but your participation is a key piece of the funding puzzle.
    A successful crowdfunding campaign does more than just provide funding; it also demonstrates "market viability." It shows that Crowfall has a committed audience, and that we're making a game that people want to play. Our story is stronger, and that dramatically improves our ability to sell both equity and license overseas rights. It's a real force multiplier in giving us the resources we need to build a world-class game.

    To be clear: we have a LOT of experience working with publishers, and if that's the only way to get this game made, we'll do it... but the moment we sign away world-wide rights, we lose some of the control over our vision. Publishers are in the business of creating mega-hits, and the way to make a mega hit is usually to change your design to appeal to the mass market.

    Frankly, we’ll do whatever it takes to make this game for you (within our legal and ethical constraints, of course) but we would much rather answer to you, our customers.

    We also believe in the power of Crowdfunding, particularly for games that are innovative and/or tightly targeted to an under-served audience. We also love the intimacy it creates between developers and the core audience. Committed players help keep our development process honest, and consumer-focused. Both Todd and I have experienced decisions being made about our games which were not in the best interest of the players and the game, to serve other corporate interests. We want to cut that middle man out, and work for you: our players.

    For those of you who don’t feel up to backing a product before it is market-ready: we understand, and we absolutely respect your position. Hopefully you’ll give Crowfall another look, once we bring the game to market.

    For those of you who are willing to back us: thank you, and please know that we are looking for more than just your money. We want your input, your attention and your passion. Every great game goes through a lot of iteration during development. We are going to be leaning on you, our early adopters, to help us achieve this vision. To keep the game focused on an experience our core fans will love. To help us make the difficult, reality-based decisions about how and where to spend our limited resources.

    It’s going to be adventure, and we would love you to be a part of it. We believe this game deserves to be made.

    We hope you feel the same way, and will give serious consideration to backing Crowfall when our crowdfunding campaign launches.

    Thanks for listening,

    Gordon & Todd
    ArtCraft Entertainment, Inc.

    Also, another FAQ about their world/campaign system, some of it rehashed from earlier updates but with some interesting new bits.
    How is it different than a normal MMO?
    A key facet of most (if not all) strategy games –checkers, chess, monopoly, risk – is that they have win conditions. Even sports follow this model. Specifically: the flow of the game includes a beginning state (where the competitors should be roughly equal), a series of moves made by each competitor, and a victory condition whereby a winner is declared.

    To make the game work for repeated play, there is a “reset mechanic” after each victory, where the board state is reset to allow players start the game again.

    What do you mean by “reset mechanic”?
    This “reset mechanic” is a way of returning to game to a start state, so that players remain interested in playing the game. It is a necessary ingredient to making the game work over time.

    To illustrate this problem, let’s use an analogy.

    Every Thanksgiving, a family gets together for a game of RISK. Only it’s not “let’s play Risk every Thanksgiving” – it’s “let’s pick up from where we left last year, in the SAME game of Risk.”

    The same game. The same conflict. Year, after year, after year.

    Imagine that, in year 2, Uncle Bob starts winning.

    In year 3, Uncle Bob presses the advantage. By the end of this game session, Bob basically owns the board.

    Fast forward 10 years. Same game. Uncle Bob is now an unassailable tyrant.

    The other players (i.e. everyone other than Uncle Bob) wander away from the board – because they know they don’t stand a chance. If a new player joins the game, Bob snuffs them out in their infancy, and they quit immediately.

    Everyone is bored. Even Uncle Bob is bored – because he hasn’t faced a challenge in over a decade. But he won’t give up by choice. That isn’t human nature.

    In an MMO, we call this phenomenon server stagnation. The game is incredibly fun – right up until someone wins. Then, unless there is a way to start over again, the game stagnates and everyone quits.

    Are reset mechanics typical for an MMO?
    Not at all. The challenge in combining these two genres is that player have very different expectations when it comes to gameplay.
    Where most strategy games have a win condition followed by a reset mechanism, a key feature of a Massively Multiplayer Online Game is that it is persistent.
    …actually, that’s not the right word, is it? They’re permanent. Players expect to play them over years, and the game world is generally static.
    These two design goals seem diametrically opposed: the board must reset and the game must last forever.
    Can these two concept be married together? We believe so!

    How do you marry these two concepts?
    We call it “Eternal Heroes, Dying Worlds.”
    What if characters are persistent (i.e. they never reset) – but the Worlds are not?
    Consider each “world” as a separate Campaign. It could have a beginning, a middle, and an end – after which a victor is declared.
    The characters can still be persistent, and they can participate in a series of Campaigns over the life of the character.
    This opens up a whole new world of design possibilities.
    Characters are permanent, and advance over the course of many Campaigns. This gives you the feeling of persistence that we’ve come to expect from MMOs.
    Campaigns, though, aren’t permanent. They still be “persistent” between game sessions – but they don’t last forever.
    How long will last? As long as the game is still fun! And they don’t all have to be the same duration. Some Campaigns could last 1 month, or 3 months. or 6 months. or 1 year.
    These Campaigns aren’t just “instances”, though -- they are fully populated, continent-sized, seamless zone MMO servers with as many people as the server architecture will support. The ONLY thing they have in common with an “instance” is that they are time-limited.
    Because each Campaign is marching towards an end condition, this means that the World doesn’t have to be static anymore. We can break the Campaign into different “phases”, and adjust the rules of the game change during each phase. We can also allow the players to fundamentally change the world, without fear of the long-term problems this usually creates.
    And since the Campaigns are discrete, why not make each one unique? Why can’t each one have a completely unique world map (mountains, forests, lakes, castles, villages, quarries, mines, mills – you name it)?
    The “exploration” phase of the game can be different in each Campaign. The world will never be stale. We can take that initial rush of excitement you get when you enter an MMO for the first time, and bottle it. We can make it repeatable.
    To that point: since each game is a stand-alone event, we can even change the rules (and win conditions) of each Campaign. We can experiment with different rules, to see which ones are more popular – and keep the game continually fresh.

    Is it like a MOBA?
    No, not really. MOBAs are typically played on a single map (one zone), the characters start over at 1st level every time you play, the combat is limited two teams, each team has a small number of combatants, and the duration is very short (20 minutes to an hour.)
    Campaign worlds are large scale, with thousands of players in the same environment – just like a tradition MMO. The zones are seamless, and the scale of the map is huge (i.e. the size of a virtual continent.) The maps are also unique; each one has a different layout that is unknown to the players at the beginning of the map. In this way, the beginning of each Campaign is more like the first turn of a game of “Civilization” than the start of a “League of Legends” match. Lastly, the duration is much longer – Campaign durations are measured in month, not minutes.

    How big do you expect each Campaign to be? And how long will they last?
    In terms of number of players, it’s a seamless-world MMO server, so the goal is to support thousands of players. It’s not a “50 versus 50 match”, or anything like that. The only limit that will be placed on the user population for each Campaign Worlds will be the technical limitations of the hardware, i.e. how many players can a server handle? We won’t know that until testing, but we expect it to be similar to other seamless world MMOs.
    In terms of duration, we expect them to last anywhere from a month to a year. Technically, they can last any duration – so we’ll probably put up a handful of options, and see which are most popular.

    But since the Campaign Worlds go away, doesn’t that make Crowfall less persistent than most MMOs?
    Actually, no – because, remember, most MMOs don’t allow you to modify the world at all. The only persistent data they store IS your character data. Since your character data is permanent in Crowfall, too, it’s technically accurate to say that Crowfall is “just as persistent as most MMOs.”
    The difference is that our maps aren’t static. Campaign Worlds will constantly be created and destroyed, which means the Universe is continually in flux. As a result, the game will feel a LOT less static.

    What does a typical Campaign looks like?
    Here is a narrative example:
    Phase 1 is Spring. The Campaign map is hidden by fog of war. You are dropped (often naked) into an unknown, deadly environment. This world is filled with the ruins of ancient castles, abandoned mines and haunted villages – which you have to explore to scavenge for weapons, tools and the resources to start building fortifications.
    Phase 2 is Summer. The Hunger starts to infect the creatures. Resources become scarce. Your team claims an abandoned quarry and must fight to keep it. You use the stone to build an ancient keep, to use it as staging areas to attack their neighbors.
    Phase 3 is Fall. The creatures become more deadly as the Hunger takes hold. Resources are heavily contested and transporting them is fraught with peril. Your guild frantically builds a wall around your city, as the nature of conflict shifts from smaller skirmishes to siege warfare.
    Phase 4 is Winter. The environment is brutal. Warmth is hard to come by. Your kingdoms grows in strength; your neighbors falter and you demand that they swear fealty or face complete loss of the Campaign. Instead, a handful of smaller kingdoms choose to band together against you.
    Phase 5 is Victory and Defeat. The World is destroyed in a cataclysmic event as the Campaign comes to an end. Your Kingdom emerges victorious, and you return to the Eternal Kingdoms to enjoy the spoils of war. Your adversaries head home, too -- to lick their wounds.

    Are any of the Worlds permanent?
    Yes. The Crowfall universe is divided into “rings” or “bands” of Worlds. Each band contains multiple worlds of that have a common ruleset, running in parallel. Within each Band, new worlds will be constantly appearing (and disappearing, whenever a Campaign ends).
    The outer ring is called “The Eternal Kingdoms” and these Worlds are permanent. They are also player owned and player-managed. Typically, we expect them to act as places for players to gather between Campaigns. They are still dynamic – meaning that you can build fortifications and structures on these worlds -- but they don’t have a victory condition and they never go away. They are more like traditional MMO servers.

    What do you mean by “player owned and player managed”?
    As the owner of a Kingdom, players are the monarch of these Worlds. They get to set many of the rules that govern that World and the buildings within it. Don’t want people to visit your world? Lock it out. Want to setup a place for others to visit and trade? Make it public! Want to set a tax for all trade that happens there? Go for it. Want to turn on free for all PvP? No problem.
    Alternatively, if you don’t want to manage your own kingdom, you can always swear fealty to the Monarch of another Kingdom and be granted a domain (i.e. one or more parcels of land) within that Kingdom. If your domain is greater than one parcel, you can sub-parcel out areas within YOUR domain to other players – creating a fealty tree. This is an ideal approach for Guilds and crafters.
    So the purpose of the Kingdom is to store trophies? I thought you said “trophies” were lame?
    “Meaningless” trophies are lame. Giving a player a trophy for killing 10 rats is lame; because that’s like the “participation” trophies we give our kids for playing soccer.
    Meaningful Trophies (like a Super Bowl ring, the Stanley Cup, or the Iron Throne of Westeros) are much cooler: they have value, both tangible and perceived. A meaningless trophy is one that is not earned.
    Many of the trophies that you can collect in the Campaign Worlds provide in-game benefit: they can be used to make your Kingdom stronger, or make you (or your team) more viable in future Campaigns.
    Campaign Trophies include relics, artifacts, materials and rare resources – the things that are required to build structures, craft equipment, and fuel the economy of your Kingdom. A Kingdom is not a lobby in the traditional sense; but it serves a similar purpose as a place that players can gather in between participation in Campaigns.
    That said, players who have no interest in Kingdoms are not required to visit them.

    Why do I want to create equipment in my Kingdom? I thought characters couldn’t take items into the Campaigns…?
    Not necessarily! Each World has a set of “import rules” that dictate what can (or can’t) be brought into that Campaign.

    Doesn’t that create balance issues? Using the analogy above, isn’t this like Uncle Bob bringing a bunch of tanks into the next game of Risk, after the board reset?
    It could, except that everyone coming into a Campaign is dealing with the same Import rules. The key to the reset mechanic isn’t “the board must be clean,” the goal is “everyone needs to start on roughly equal footing, to make the game fun.”
    If everyone is allowed to bring the same number of assets into a Campaign (i.e. if we can ALL bring in a few tanks) then the starting condition is still balanced.

    But what if I choose a Campaign that allows for items, but I don’t bring any? That would be unbalanced!
    Well, yeah, it would be. But that’s your choice.
    Remember, our design goal is to ensure that players have the OPPORUNTITY to start each Campaign on roughly equal footing. We aren’t going to protect players from making bad decisions.

    Why would I choose to play in the different rulesets of Campaigns?
    “Different strokes for different folks.”
    The various rules sets were designed to keep gameplay fresh, and to balance risk vs. reward. The more difficult the ruleset, the higher the potential reward.
    We also expect that players will often sell the rewards they bring back from the Campaigns to other players, further driving both social interaction and the world-to-world economy.

    That means I won’t have access to certain resources, if I am unwilling to play on those worlds?
    You won’t have direct access, no. You can buy those resources from other players.
    Our hope is that you might step out of your comfort zone and try the more difficult worlds… but that’s your choice. Again, it’s all about balancing risk and reward.

    What is to prevent people from non-stop Campaign hopping?
    Campaigns are not intended to be transitory. Our design goal is for players to pick a Campaign and stick with it until the end.
    We have a number of ideas to enforce or encourage this, from hard rules (i.e. characters are locked to a Campaign) to soft rules (if you quit a Campaign early, you lose all rewards and pay a penalty.)
    This is one that we’re still debating, though – and we’d love to hear your thoughts! On the good side, it’s also a decision that we can easily change, if we try something and we don’t like it.

    How many Campaigns will be running at once?
    As many as we need, to support our player base!
    The universe map shows ruleset bands; at any given time, each band will host a number of Campaigns, in various stages of completion. There should always be new Campaigns starting, and old Campaigns come to completion.
    Why would I participate in a long Campaign? It seems like I would get more rewards from doing a bunch of shorter ones?
    Rewards scale up based on the difficulty of the Campaign and the duration. In effect, you can earn more rewards by making the longer-term commitment – and, of course, by winning.
    Again, it’s all about risk and reward.
    Are there any of victory conditions other than the passage of time?
    There certainly can be!
    Our system allows us to make any number of Worlds, and any number of rules sets. The amazing thing about this design is that it allows for a huge degree of experimentation! Most MMOs get one chance – at launch – to find a mix of rules that appeals to the players. The great thing about the Campaign architecture is that we can be trying dozens of ideas in parallel, all the time. It’s like a generic algorithm for MMO design: the good ideas can be replicated (and riffed on), the bad ideas can be filtered out.

    How open are you guys to trying new ideas within Campaigns?
    Our intention is to make this a community-driven process. We’ll come up with ideas, you guys will come up with ideas – and we’ll take the best ideas we find, wherever they come from, and we’ll give them a shot.
    If an idea gains enough traction – meaning we like it, and you guys like it – we’ll try it**.
    (**so long as it fits within the architecture. We just have to be careful that we don’t break the game at the meta-level.)
    You want to try a world with no magic? Cool.
    You want to try a world where we introduce gun power? Sounds interesting.
    You want to try a world where each character only has one life – meaning that if you die once, you are permanently banned from the World? (I call this idea “Campaign Permadeath”)… Sure, let’s try it.
    That’s the cool thing about this approach. We’re turning our game community into a massive, game-designing hivemind.
    We’re game, if you are.

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  • NerfThatManNerfThatMan Registered User regular
    Also, one of the lead devs has flat-out stated this will not be F2P.

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  • Anon the FelonAnon the Felon In bat country.Registered User regular
    That statement means very little these days.

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  • DelphinidaesDelphinidaes FFXIV: Delphi Kisaragi Registered User regular
    That statement means very little these days.

    It's important information to have in the beginning because it gives an idea of what sort of development practices they'll be using and what we can generally expect from the game in a basic sense.

    For me F2P would be a major turnoff from the release of a game, it means they would be focusing less on player retention and more on a high turnaround for their business model. Generally games of that nature follow a certain pattern in terms of content.

    However B2P or Sub are quite a bit different. B2P is a step above F2P in that they need to put in enough effort to get players to at least buy the game. This requires a certain base level of investment in the concepts presented by the game. Sub of course tends to focus on player longevity which dictates a very different content style.

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  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    I doubt we will see many (or any at all) subscription-exclusive games in the future; it's just much easier to attract players with at least an F2P option. Even buying the box/game seems like a bit of an anachronism at this point.

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  • DelphinidaesDelphinidaes FFXIV: Delphi Kisaragi Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    I doubt we will see many (or any at all) subscription-exclusive games in the future; it's just much easier to attract players with at least an F2P option. Even buying the box/game seems like a bit of an anachronism at this point.

    Attracting players typically isn't the problem, keeping them is. In a F2P format that's less of a concern as you typically want new players to buy into the cash shop on a regular basis.

    Subscription works better for retaining a player, which for me at least is a much more favorable game experience typically.

    FFXIV:ARR in particular is showing that the subscription model is still very lucrative if you treat your playerbase more as investors than consumers. More MMOs could stand to learn from that.

    The two business models provide very different game experiences.

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  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    I don't know if that's really true

    I mean, there's a lot of F2P games out there that I've played or continue to play a bit here and there that probably wouldn't even still be installed if they required a subscription.

    the price for monthly sub games seems to be relatively inelastic at ~$15 USD, at least based on what games have charged historically. Even the 'subscription' option for current F2P games (ex: SWTOR) is usually fifteen bucks. It doesn't make a ton of sense not to offer some sort of limited/microtrans F2P experience for people who either don't want to subscribe or want to pay less than $15/mo.

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  • DelphinidaesDelphinidaes FFXIV: Delphi Kisaragi Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    I don't know if that's really true

    I mean, there's a lot of F2P games out there that I've played or continue to play a bit here and there that probably wouldn't even still be installed if they required a subscription.

    the price for monthly sub games seems to be relatively inelastic at ~$15 USD, at least based on what games have charged historically. Even the 'subscription' option for current F2P games (ex: SWTOR) is usually fifteen bucks. It doesn't make a ton of sense not to offer some sort of limited/microtrans F2P experience for people who either don't want to subscribe or want to pay less than $15/mo.

    But you are just illustrating my point. You play them "here and there". The point of the Sub model is to have the player constantly play it, to provide a level of content enticing enough to warrant the subscription. Most of the time they fail miserably at this.

    To do this you need to focus on a level of content that keeps the player engaged at that level, compared to a level of content that keep the player interested "here and there". As soon as the player feels they aren't getting their money worth, they'll bail. So there is a certain pressure on the development team in a Sub model compared to a F2P model.

    F2P is all about little updates to entice players back every now and then, they are also limited by a flow of incoming players and the revenue on the cash shop. This leads to more focus on the latter. It's a very lucrative model but the focus is different and the resulting game style is different.

    Comparatively the subscription model is focused on content that keeps the players constantly playing. Content tends to focus on things that keep the player occupied for long periods of time (yes this means grinds, but they need to be well designed or players become discouraged). Time investment is typically rewarded over monetary investment. This is a very different focus compared to a F2P game. (granted both games have to be inherently fun or they fail regardless).

    The Sub model is much harder to pull off, as history has shown time and time again, and it requires a base foundation of players to really take off (something that can be incredibly difficult to create due to launch day woes and rushed release dates). However, when done right (and again I can't stress enough how difficult this is to do), in my opinion you create a game experience that simply cannot be rivaled by a F2P game as the development team can put a greater focus on creating a rich world that players want to stay in, rather than simply visit now and again.

    As an aside the B2P option is somewhere in between. By having even a small barrier to entry you create a mindset in the player that they should stick with the game for a certain amount of time to get a return on their initial investment. It's sort of a happy medium but eventually ends up closer to a F2P model.

    There is a pretty interesting interview with the man himself (Yoshi P) on the subject for why they went with a sub model on FFXIV:ARR in such a F2P rich MMORPG industry at the moment. It also shows how they are in a fairly unique situation that gives them an edge in succeeding with a subscription model.

    http://venturebeat.com/2013/06/17/final-fantasy-online-director-defends-monthly-subscriptions-in-the-golden-age-of-free-to-play-exclusive/

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  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    well, okay, but his argument strikes me as being a little silly. He essentially argues that because squeenix are well-capitalized already they can afford to leave money on the table (even in the face of their disastrous initial release.) Which is great for them but 1) hardly a universal situation and 2) not something even a well-capitalized company is really that likely to go for.

    I'm also not sure that subscription 'gameplay model' really provides a better experience. I mean, I pay a sub for WoW and I enjoy it plenty, but the last thing I'd want is for every MMO to ask for that level of commitment.

    ed: square are also fairly unique in that they have a large investment in the FF brand and probably weren't willing to see an FF game outright fail

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  • DelphinidaesDelphinidaes FFXIV: Delphi Kisaragi Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    well, okay, but his argument strikes me as being a little silly. He essentially argues that because squeenix are well-capitalized already they can afford to leave money on the table (even in the face of their disastrous initial release.) Which is great for them but 1) hardly a universal situation and 2) not something even a well-capitalized company is really that likely to go for.

    I'm also not sure that subscription 'gameplay model' really provides a better experience. I mean, I pay a sub for WoW and I enjoy it plenty, but the last thing I'd want is for every MMO to ask for that level of commitment.

    You are completely ignoring the main point of his statement which was about the stable base and predictability of the playerbase in a Sub model compared to the more volatile numbers in a F2P. The former allows you to plan further ahead and gives you a solid base to build upon while the latter is less stable in terms of development.

    This reliability lets you retain/grow your development team and push out updates at a regular pace with a consistent quality. Something FFXIV:ARR has illustrated to an astounding degree in the quality/quantity of content they have produced in the last year on a level basically unrivaled in the MMO genre. Something that would be incredibly difficult on a F2P game with the fluctuating playerbase/revenue stream. As he mentions, a player may pay $100 one month, and nothing the next.

    Developers have a finite amount of resources, they only have so many people on their team, and those people can only put in so many hours each day on a particular piece of content. So to pay the bills in a F2P game you have to dedicate a certain amount of that development team to making content the players will buy. In a Subscription model the basic operating costs (servers, wages, etc etc) are covered by the subscription itself, so you can focus your development on things such as new Dungeons, story, gameplay mechanics, mini games, etc. In F2P you have to cover all your operating costs with the cash shop alone or in the case of games like SWToR you have some players paying a subscription on top of that.

    Interestingly enough FFXIV:ARR has a cash shop on top of the subscription that only offers cosmetic type items/services (Name change, race/gender change, clothing, minions, wedding services, etc). Supposedly the revenue from this source pays for it's own development and anything on top of that goes into the development of cosmetic items available outside the cash shop as well.

    Sort of a best of both worlds sort of deal. But god forbid they ever cave and introduce pay-to-win via the Cash shop as they would almost certainly spell doom for the game as a whole.

    To bring this back on topic for Crowfall it will be interesting to see what sort of model they decide upon. They want players to stay in the game and play campaign after campaign, learning from each experience and bringing that knowledge into the next iteration.

    I could see them possibly going with a B2P option, but with what they have described and the level of constant development it would need to churn out new worlds and conditions and create an everchanging landscape for their game I think it's likely we're looking at a subscription based game.

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  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    Well, I look forward to probably not buying this after they have a crowdfunding campaign and development cycle that goes way long, release into a "beta" that lasts for 2-3 years and is launch without full functionality, then slowly transition toward vaguely f2p practices.

    What is this I don't even.
  • PolaritiePolaritie Oh I didn't see this box. Registered User regular
    Everchanging landscape and all though just requires procedural generation. Maybe some hand polish to iron odd craziness.

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  • DelphinidaesDelphinidaes FFXIV: Delphi Kisaragi Registered User regular
    Polaritie wrote: »
    Everchanging landscape and all though just requires procedural generation. Maybe some hand polish to iron odd craziness.

    If you want FFXIV 1.0 again sure ;)

    Otherwise you actually want to design the worlds to create strategic advantages and make a world that is actually interesting. You can do some initial procedural generation of course but it still take a lot of work after that unless you want it to look pretty bad.

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  • PolaritiePolaritie Oh I didn't see this box. Registered User regular
    Polaritie wrote: »
    Everchanging landscape and all though just requires procedural generation. Maybe some hand polish to iron odd craziness.

    If you want FFXIV 1.0 again sure ;)

    Otherwise you actually want to design the worlds to create strategic advantages and make a world that is actually interesting. You can do some initial procedural generation of course but it still take a lot of work after that unless you want it to look pretty bad.

    I'm not convinced you can't have an algorithm get 90% of that right off the bat - if you make a lot of stock pieces and stuff for it and all.

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  • DelphinidaesDelphinidaes FFXIV: Delphi Kisaragi Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    Polaritie wrote: »
    Polaritie wrote: »
    Everchanging landscape and all though just requires procedural generation. Maybe some hand polish to iron odd craziness.

    If you want FFXIV 1.0 again sure ;)

    Otherwise you actually want to design the worlds to create strategic advantages and make a world that is actually interesting. You can do some initial procedural generation of course but it still take a lot of work after that unless you want it to look pretty bad.

    I'm not convinced you can't have an algorithm get 90% of that right off the bat - if you make a lot of stock pieces and stuff for it and all.

    You can of course, it just ends up being very boring/unimaginative. There is a wonderful vid on FFXIV 1.0 illustrating the problem and coming across those stock pieces over and over just makes the world seem very lazy. People are very good at pattern recognition.

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  • PolaritiePolaritie Oh I didn't see this box. Registered User regular
    Polaritie wrote: »
    Polaritie wrote: »
    Everchanging landscape and all though just requires procedural generation. Maybe some hand polish to iron odd craziness.

    If you want FFXIV 1.0 again sure ;)

    Otherwise you actually want to design the worlds to create strategic advantages and make a world that is actually interesting. You can do some initial procedural generation of course but it still take a lot of work after that unless you want it to look pretty bad.

    I'm not convinced you can't have an algorithm get 90% of that right off the bat - if you make a lot of stock pieces and stuff for it and all.

    You can of course, it just ends up being very boring/unimaginative. There is a wonderful vid on FFXIV 1.0 illustrating the problem and coming across those stock pieces over and over just makes the world seem very lazy. People are very good at pattern recognition.

    The Black Shroud was VERY obvious about it, I know.

    I dunno. I still think you could make a set of algorithms to do it.

    Of course, it may not be reasonable to do so, but I can't imagine it's a NP problem or anything.

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  • DelphinidaesDelphinidaes FFXIV: Delphi Kisaragi Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    Polaritie wrote: »
    Polaritie wrote: »
    Polaritie wrote: »
    Everchanging landscape and all though just requires procedural generation. Maybe some hand polish to iron odd craziness.

    If you want FFXIV 1.0 again sure ;)

    Otherwise you actually want to design the worlds to create strategic advantages and make a world that is actually interesting. You can do some initial procedural generation of course but it still take a lot of work after that unless you want it to look pretty bad.

    I'm not convinced you can't have an algorithm get 90% of that right off the bat - if you make a lot of stock pieces and stuff for it and all.

    You can of course, it just ends up being very boring/unimaginative. There is a wonderful vid on FFXIV 1.0 illustrating the problem and coming across those stock pieces over and over just makes the world seem very lazy. People are very good at pattern recognition.

    The Black Shroud was VERY obvious about it, I know.

    I dunno. I still think you could make a set of algorithms to do it.

    Of course, it may not be reasonable to do so, but I can't imagine it's a NP problem or anything.

    Not just Black shroud, every zone was very apparent. The more you ran through the zones the more you saw the same cluster of rock,tree,knoll just rotated. In any event it still takes a lot of work even with procedural maps. :)

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  • rahkeesh2000rahkeesh2000 Registered User regular
    Copy-pasting a template over and over is not the best procedural can do. For better or worse (it looks a bit odd at times) much of GW1's initial landscape was carved out of fractal-generated terrain for instance. Minecraft has true variety even though the granularity is limited. There are difficulties with making such a landscape look good but its not theoretically impossible.

  • NerfThatManNerfThatMan Registered User regular
    Pretty thin update today. Just a new archetype- the Fae Assassin.

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  • AxenAxen My avatar is Excalibur. Yes, the sword.Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    IMHO they don't necessarily need completely random worlds for each campaign.

    I think a standard handcrafted world with fixed spawn points would work.

    However with each campaign have what spawns at each point be random.

    So say in one campaign a gold mine is at point A, but in a different campaign point A is a lumber mill.

    Have fixed points where a POI will (or even might) spawn and then just randomize what spawns where.

    If you want to add to the randomization you could even have more spawn points than there are POIs.

    I suppose you could also set it so there will always be 10 gold mines, 10 lumber mills, 5 whatevers in each campaign.

    edit- I'm not saying there will be gold mines and lumber mills and such, just giving general examples.

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  • NosfNosf Registered User regular

    Colour me crusty, but this reads like a who's who of MMO failure. Oh, Raph Koster is on board too? Trifecta!

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  • DelphinidaesDelphinidaes FFXIV: Delphi Kisaragi Registered User regular
    Nosf wrote: »
    Colour me crusty, but this reads like a who's who of MMO failure. Oh, Raph Koster is on board too? Trifecta!

    Care to elaborate? I'm not familiar with the dev team on this one.

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  • NerfThatManNerfThatMan Registered User regular
    Nosf wrote: »
    Colour me crusty, but this reads like a who's who of MMO failure. Oh, Raph Koster is on board too? Trifecta!

    Care to elaborate? I'm not familiar with the dev team on this one.

    To put it in less cynical terms, although this is all off the top of my head and could be misremembered:

    J Todd Coleman made Shadowbane, which was an interesting, different take on PvP in an mmo. It suffered from lots of technical issues and eventually wilted under the weight of dominant PvP alliances.

    Gordon Walton helped make Ultima Online, and then made the Trammel decision, which divided player base and generally was seen as a bummer. He says he had his hand forced by studio execs who wanted money.

    I don't really get his criticism of the SWG crew though. That game was from all accounts interesting and unique. Up until once again not enough money was being made to satisfy suits.

    Also- 'failure' is the only end state for an mmo. But unfair.

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  • DelphinidaesDelphinidaes FFXIV: Delphi Kisaragi Registered User regular
    Nosf wrote: »
    Colour me crusty, but this reads like a who's who of MMO failure. Oh, Raph Koster is on board too? Trifecta!

    Care to elaborate? I'm not familiar with the dev team on this one.

    To put it in less cynical terms, although this is all off the top of my head and could be misremembered:

    J Todd Coleman made Shadowbane, which was an interesting, different take on PvP in an mmo. It suffered from lots of technical issues and eventually wilted under the weight of dominant PvP alliances.

    Gordon Walton helped make Ultima Online, and then made the Trammel decision, which divided player base and generally was seen as a bummer. He says he had his hand forced by studio execs who wanted money.

    I don't really get his criticism of the SWG crew though. That game was from all accounts interesting and unique. Up until once again not enough money was being made to satisfy suits.

    Also- 'failure' is the only end state for an mmo. But unfair.

    Interesting, they all were involved with games that strove to break the mold in their respective ways. SWG suffered from being made by SoE and their policies at the time the game was a lot of fun. The other two seemed to have issues but even though I haven't played them I normally only hear how much fun people had who did.

    I guess I don't really see the issue here. All those games we made over a decade ago, and it would be odd to think that developers still in the industry haven't learned a great deal since then.

    Well, unless we're talking about Wildstar ;)

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  • NosfNosf Registered User regular
    My take on UO and SWG were notable IPs that the design team did little to nothing exciting with. Raph Koster once described the UO IP as an albatross around his neck; the people came for ultima - not for Raph Koster. SWG took an exciting setting and gave us moisture farming and dancing and 6 months to become a jedi.

  • AxenAxen My avatar is Excalibur. Yes, the sword.Registered User regular
    I give my money to any MMO that tries to do new things.* I may not end up playing it for long, but I always reward fresh ideas.


    *if the game actually gets released. I don't do crowd funding for MMOs.

  • drunkenpandarendrunkenpandaren Slapping all the goblin ham In the top laneRegistered User regular
    edited February 2015
    Polaritie wrote: »
    Polaritie wrote: »
    Polaritie wrote: »
    Everchanging landscape and all though just requires procedural generation. Maybe some hand polish to iron odd craziness.

    If you want FFXIV 1.0 again sure ;)

    Otherwise you actually want to design the worlds to create strategic advantages and make a world that is actually interesting. You can do some initial procedural generation of course but it still take a lot of work after that unless you want it to look pretty bad.

    I'm not convinced you can't have an algorithm get 90% of that right off the bat - if you make a lot of stock pieces and stuff for it and all.

    You can of course, it just ends up being very boring/unimaginative. There is a wonderful vid on FFXIV 1.0 illustrating the problem and coming across those stock pieces over and over just makes the world seem very lazy. People are very good at pattern recognition.

    The Black Shroud was VERY obvious about it, I know.

    I dunno. I still think you could make a set of algorithms to do it.

    Of course, it may not be reasonable to do so, but I can't imagine it's a NP problem or anything.

    Not just Black shroud, every zone was very apparent. The more you ran through the zones the more you saw the same cluster of rock,tree,knoll just rotated. In any event it still takes a lot of work even with procedural maps. :)

    I honestly thought it was fine in Uldah and Limsa's respective areas. Black Shroud just had it worse because it was one big maze, where the other two were more opened up zones. The western side of Uldah in 1.0 was much more expansive then it is now in 2.0, and it really wasn't a copy and paste job since it was a large canyon that you could drop down into before getting to Vesper Bay. The one in 2.0 is a really shrinked up version of that. The worse parts of Limsa were just the caves that lead out to open fields, which I don't really blame them, since WoW did the same thing to. 1.0's problem was more that the Black Shroud was just an ugly maze with the zones being like, super unnecessary huge. The BS didn't have any real cool spots besides the Float and maybe over by the dungeon areas. Not to mention, getting lost all the time in that dumb forest.

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  • DelphinidaesDelphinidaes FFXIV: Delphi Kisaragi Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    Polaritie wrote: »
    Polaritie wrote: »
    Polaritie wrote: »
    Everchanging landscape and all though just requires procedural generation. Maybe some hand polish to iron odd craziness.

    If you want FFXIV 1.0 again sure ;)

    Otherwise you actually want to design the worlds to create strategic advantages and make a world that is actually interesting. You can do some initial procedural generation of course but it still take a lot of work after that unless you want it to look pretty bad.

    I'm not convinced you can't have an algorithm get 90% of that right off the bat - if you make a lot of stock pieces and stuff for it and all.

    You can of course, it just ends up being very boring/unimaginative. There is a wonderful vid on FFXIV 1.0 illustrating the problem and coming across those stock pieces over and over just makes the world seem very lazy. People are very good at pattern recognition.

    The Black Shroud was VERY obvious about it, I know.

    I dunno. I still think you could make a set of algorithms to do it.

    Of course, it may not be reasonable to do so, but I can't imagine it's a NP problem or anything.

    Not just Black shroud, every zone was very apparent. The more you ran through the zones the more you saw the same cluster of rock,tree,knoll just rotated. In any event it still takes a lot of work even with procedural maps. :)

    I honestly thought it was fine in Uldah and Limsa's respective areas. Black Shroud just had it worse because it was one big maze, where the other two were more opened up zones. The western side of Uldah in 1.0 was much more expansive then it is now in 2.0, and it really wasn't a copy and paste job since it was a large canyon that you could drop down into before getting to Vesper Bay. The one in 2.0 is a really shrinked up version of that. The worse parts of Limsa were just the caves that lead out to open fields, which I don't really blame them, since WoW did the same thing to. 1.0's problem was more that the Black Shroud was just an ugly maze with the zones being like, super unnecessary huge. The BS didn't have any real cool spots besides the Float and maybe over by the dungeon areas. Not to mention, getting lost all the time in that dumb forest.

    Black shroud wouldn't have been nearly as bad with the ability to jump down from ledges.

    But no it was just as bad in Limsa and Uldah areas, it just took a bit longer to get used to seeing them, but the copy pasting was all over in both those areas as well.

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  • Kai_SanKai_San Commonly known as Klineshrike! Registered User regular
    This game reminds me of Asheron's Call, still my favorite MMO experience ever. I know shadowbane had a lot of that to it. And this is like the kind of game that would have came if the direction of mmos had followed AC instead of EQ.

    That being said, its nice to see this and all but I am going to take the path of ignoring new MMOs until release. I quite am tired of the games they play before a final product is in front of you.

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  • FoomyFoomy Registered User regular
    Kai_San wrote: »
    This game reminds me of Asheron's Call, still my favorite MMO experience ever. I know shadowbane had a lot of that to it. And this is like the kind of game that would have came if the direction of mmos had followed AC instead of EQ.

    That being said, its nice to see this and all but I am going to take the path of ignoring new MMOs until release. I quite am tired of the games they play before a final product is in front of you.

    I'm feeling the same way, the game looks cool, but I am just going to sign up for alpha/beta/whatever they call it these days. And then forget it even exists until something playable is released in 2 years.

    Steam Profile: FoomyFooms
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