Top 5 Crowfall likes (things you feel we're doing great on).
Skill system - It's really nice to have the ability to customise builds to such a high degree. It'd be nice to have even more options within the skill tree, and some majors are just heads and shoulders better, but it really helps build diversity.
Crafting - Cool system, but it'd be nice if specific stats could do more for counter metas. There's a lot potential in crafting, but it gets a little tunnelled into max armour or max damage, instead of another way to counter a build meta or tailor your build further.
Core systems - There are great bones in this game. Everything is fun, combat is fun, the gathering is fun, crafting is fun. The only real letdown is that dregs isn't really every guild for themselves, and combat suffers on a large scale.
Most classes are pretty unique, and their specs significantly change their playstyle. Some specs need a buff or a tweak, but overall, most classes have 2 or 3 viable specs; sometimes, it's just an L2P issue.
The sound work in this game is excellent. Constantly impressed in new ways by the SFX and stereo sound.
Top 5 Crowfall dislikes (what you feel we could be doing better on or a pesky game mechanic that you don't enjoy) and how can we make it better?
The focus and kowtowing to the demands of large guilds and alliances. Like handshake sieges? That just reeks of "we got zerged by a bigger zerg, how unfair". Even Dilbo's guild got flak from some of the biggest guilds in the game for tagging all of his members to come to defend their home keep. Definitely feels like "Rules for thee, not for me", and it definitely seems though they have your ear and will do anything to preserve punching down. It feels like a can of worms, but big guilds are the anathema of a successful throne-world simulator. Large guilds may say otherwise, but the reality is the larger a player organisation is, the more it counter-intuitively squeezes out actual gameplay. You start seeing player organisations bringing enough people to pre-lock zones, crash servers, and steamroll with a pop advantage. Some will say that these are fair tactics, but is it good gameplay that's winning or meta-gaming? The win-at-all-costs (WAAC) mentality is something that many games struggle with and has been a massive negative of many table-top communities. People will try and play around the rules or design of a sandbox for advantage. It's up to the designers to actively create scenarios that disincentivise the WAAC mentality. It's just unhealthy for the game's population. Large guilds like to pretend that having numbers and a big stick is part of some MaStEr StRatEgY and PoLiTiCs. The more small factions you have to deal with who may be of a similar power level, the more it is required to capably exercise the skills necessary of a throne-sim; politics, strategy, logistics, etc. Say you're a 40 person guild, negotiating with two or three 30 person guilds, versus a 450 person guild negotiating with a 50 person guild; when there is more tribalism the power dynamic evens out, and actively requires use of those skills to muster an equivalent force that a 450 person guild could field. Even in real life, monarchs relied on managing the relationships of their vassals for a fighting force - it's why rebellions make such interesting history. Large, consolidated guild structures severely limit the ability and need to manage such factionalism. The current focus on large guilds and alliances also pushes out pretenders to the throne from getting a toe-hold on the dregs map, constricting progression and turning the game into a mess since fights are between power-blocs or power-blocs squeezing out smaller guilds completely. The game simply can't handle 200 players in a single spot, and a battle of 20v20^10 is still a mass, 200 player battle, but it's more likely to be spread out and less centralised into a single death ball. Somehow, we see many big guilds thinking, "this is fine" when Crowfall is turning into less of a PvP game and ultimately turning into a PvE and dead game. Big allied blocs killed EVE China, Mortal Online, Darkfall, and many other sandbox-style PvP games, simply because they disincentive fighting through sheer player mass. While "join us or die" sounds excellent as a gameplay feature, the reality is people will choose to die and then stop playing. Kings of ashes. Power-blocs in games only fail through infighting or due to a bigger power bloc. The formation of new or bigger power-blocs is very rare in any game (just look at the history of EVE, you maybe get 1 new bloc every 2 years). Smaller guilds might try to influence the map, but currently, outside of outposts and respawns (real small fry stuff), any small guild attempts to make an impact or progress in dregs, they are rolled over by the local power bloc of hundreds. Already Crowfall is starting to turn into a Downton Abbey style throne-sim, where blocs strong-arm and mascarade gentlemen's agreements to war, instead of a Game of Thrones-style bloody conflict with multiple more minor factions combining to raise an army. The room for the minor factions simply doesn't exist with Crowfall's small maps. The mega alliances' sheer size has ultimately squeezed any sense of striking out to take the throne for many small guilds. 30 players in most MMOs is a pretty reasonable force and relatively easy to achieve. It's only in the open sandbox RvR games do you get the mega guilds, and facing 170 with 30 is nearly insurmountable odds, particularly when you start to factor in things such as damage floors, aoe caps, or poor server performance. It's doable, sure, but not for the average (or the majority) of players. At some point, you have to decide whether you want to curate for the growth of Crowfall, or let the big guilds make a mess of things (as they usually do in other sandbox pvp games) and see how it plays out - hope isn't a strategy for success.
Crafting resource requirements - I get that it's part of the drive for guilds and working together. Still, I think the costs are a bit upside down and to the detriment of the new player experience. It doesn't make sense that new players are punished for crafting, as advanced crafters start moving into high tier/quality materials, their resource crafting cost is also reduced for lower-tier mats. This reduction impacts white and green gear and as you move up into higher tier belts it becomes less relevant. It currently further funnels materials to those already being funnelled, purely because it's more efficient. It kinda leaves players starting out in the wrong spot - they really can't get going. Might it be better to have resource costs scaled? For example, with blacksmithing, it might be 3 white ore, 4 green ore, 5 blue, 6 purple, 6 orange, and as belts are improved, it goes to 3 white, 3 green, 4 blue, 5 purple, 6 orange, and so forth. 180 ore for new players is prohibitive. It really shuts down new players from crafting experiencing a big game loop, particularly since their resource yields are super low due to not having food or levelled up disciplines. This, in my mind, is feedback around the new player experience. You want players to dabble in crafting and sort themselves out a bit, explore the systems, get a feeling for it, and naturally progress upwards into guilds.
Exporting to the Starter Worlds. We're already starting to see players coming to the starter worlds and new player areas, like the Earth spawn in Skypoint and just dunking on newbs with crafted gear. Like cool, it's meant to be a harsh and unforgiving world, but at some point, you have to make sure players get into the game, and getting griefed into spawn and giving up means one less player playing the game. Every player counts, and if Crowfall is to succeed in recruiting players, the entirety of the game's introduction should be a reasonably curated experience. It doesn't make sense that such a power disparity is allowed - there's no problem coming in with War Tribe gear and stomping on newbs, but properly crafted gear is another step up; the power gap between a 110 damage weapon and an 84 is noticeable
Loss of PvP momentum due to durability loss on death. The durability loss on death is a thing - we get why etc., but it slows down the ferocity and bitterness of fighting. Sometimes you want to fight to the last man, and you're either naked or you have to lose time re-equipping party members and stuffing around getting the ball rolling again. Sometimes you want to go go go and fight fight fight, and you can't because someone has broken something. It's really noticeable in very see-saw or swing and roundabout style fighting. If you want another example of why it's bad - you can straight up just camp respawns to deliberately break their gear. Not good for the game, not good gameplay, but it's a system, and it will completely destroy morale. Nothing worse than hearing about people being unable to come back to a fight because all their stuff is broken and they're done fighting for the night. It can be a lot of effort to gear up adequately and completely undone in a few fights. It doesn't incentivise fighting, doesn't help to facilitate it as people either avoid fights or stop fighting, which is not good for the overall player experience, and that's not good for Crowfall.
Keep Timers & Forts - Like cool, I get that it's to prevent NiGhT CaPpInG, but in my experience, what's really night capping on global servers - people still fight over what gets capped. There's still fighting. Just because your NA zerg is super strong, but you lose gains at night isn't an imbalance. Usually, alliances are made with other timezone guilds to help cover different timezones. Timed fort fights only happen in the last few minutes of the timer - try to push the defenders off and hold the point before they can regroup. Basically, 55 minutes of standing around for 5 minutes of action. Also, I don't see the point of forts outside of conquest points - surely they could be made into mini keeps (bank & respawn) for smaller guilds to hold. It'd be interesting to see if there was a tax on holding multiple keeps, preventing massive consolidation of scores into the mega guilds as we see in US East. The score curve on both East and West is massively proportionate to size, which most player organisations are not.
Top 5 bugs on LIVE (that we may have missed and wish would be fixed). Please be specific and constructive.
The ability to downgrade crafted items to lower tiers to use lower tier mats in the factory. It's being abused by the big guilds to mass produce strong weapons using white materials - I have proof of a 98 damage crafted white mace, and better other stats than a blue, like what? Please lock crafting to the same quality tier for components. I wouldn't be surprised if this was a piece of information sat on by some of these guilds through alpha.
Disappearing nameplates and shields - very confusing in big fights when things start to disappear.
If you could ask the Team member one question, what would you like to know? Be nice, seriously don't be a jerk.
I don't know who this is appropriate for, but guinecean confessor when?