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ACE Q&A for January - Official discussion thread

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What browser do you use to make the forum look that damned awful? Netscape Navigator 1.1?  :P

 

firefox. i also have an add on button to quickly to block all images too...

 

i am a master of subtly browsing the internet at work....

 

8wU1Guo.png

 

 

i can also go full nuclear and disable the css too...

 

xjGHpDD.png

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@todd In the Q&A video you are saying if you had the money to hire a QA Lead you would prefer to hire a server engineer instead. See video at the correct time fragment for the quote here: https://youtu.be/SHSYS2KgOVg?t=2m36s

 

Don't get me wrong, if you would think the money is better spend on a server engineer instead of a QA Lead that is okay. But don't tell me you don't have the money. It should still be there sitting in the bank waiting for the QA Lead.

 

So please explain to us where the money from the stretch goal went to? Where did the raised money go to?

 

 

Excellent question, Caenth.   Right after this stretch goal, we ran a test because we wanted to know how much incremental funding are these stretch goals were driving.  We stopped announcing new stretch goals, to gauge the impact on daily pledge levels. 

 

The answer, sadly, was that the amount of new pledges coming in did not change at allThe unfortunate conclusion was that every post-Kickstarter stretch goals was adding additional work (and cost), but not adding any additional funding to cover that work.  

 

So the real answer is: this stretch goal didn't actually create any additional money, it just created an additional promise (cost).  There is no "money in the bank" to cover that cost, because the stretch goal didn't actually produce any additional funding. 

 

Will we live up to that promise, anyway?  Yes, of course we will.  Because we said we would.  But it does beg the question: how do we cover those costs? and when do we do incur them?  

 

On the "how" : we raise the money elsewhere.  We never planned on funding this game strictly via crowdfunding. The majority of our funding was always expected to come from other sources (and as noted in our kickstarter FAQ, we had already raised a significant portion of it beforehand). My current estimate is that crowdfunding will account for (maybe) 25% to 30% of our budget at launch.  

 

On the "when" : whenever it makes the most sense for the project.  The QA Lead hire wasn't the most effective use of our limited resources, so we haven't hired them (yet).  We will, when it makes sense to do so.  

 

My job, and Gordon's job, is to use the resources to the best of our ability to make this game for you.  If it's smarter to use the resources in a different way then we originally planned, then we're going to do that.  If we need to move things forward that were never planned but turn out to be necessary to make the game great -- we will do that.  If we need to push things out because it's more efficient, or lower in priority, we will do that.

 

You guys trusted us to make this game for you, and part of that trust means allowing us to figure out the best way to achieve that goal.  It should be apparent by now that we intend to do everything we can to prove to you that trust was not misplaced.

 

Todd

ACE


J Todd Coleman

ArtCraft Entertainment, Inc.

Follow us on Twitter @CrowfallGame | Like us on Facebook

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You guys trusted us to make this game for you, and part of that trust means allowing us to figure out the best way to achieve that goal.  It should be apparent by now that we intend to do everything we can to prove to you that trust was not misplaced.

 

Todd

ACE

 

The QA Lead hire wasn't the most effective use of our limited resources, so we haven't done it (yet).  We will, when it makes sense to do so.

 

 

As always, I appreciate your openness about the financial and development side of things.

 

I want to make sure you understand though, I do not question your view on if you need the QA Lead right now or not. Nor it being a trust misplacement issue. To me, you guys have proven yourselves many times over you are trustworthy. The fact you answer these type of questions proves that.

 

If you say you don't need the QA Lead hire right now I'm totally fine and cool with that. It being a stretchgoal makes it look like a misplaced broken promise I suppose.

 

I understand your view on this now. So thank you for your explanation.


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The QA Lead hire wasn't the most effective use of our limited resources, so we haven't done it (yet).  We will, when it makes sense to do so.

 

This is basicly what i had thought.

 

The phrasing in the video just made it seem otherwise.

 

Basicly its just not cost effective to bring in a QA Leader right now, its not enough worth for the expense. 

 

And stuff like that is always hindsight, right?

 

Now it would make sense to do a different type of hire based on where the issues and hurdles are.

 

Obviously the most important challenge is getting /crotchchop in game asap. 

Edited by Vectious

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Excellent question, Caenth.   Right after this stretch goal, we ran a test because we wanted to know how much incremental funding are these stretch goals were driving.  We stopped announcing new stretch goals, to gauge the impact on daily pledge levels. 

 

The answer, sadly, was that the amount of new pledges coming in did not change at allThe unfortunate conclusion was that every post-Kickstarter stretch goals was adding additional work (and cost), but not adding any additional funding to cover that work.  

 

 

My own uninformed assessment of this is that the community excitement and goodies in the pocket drive such things.  When speaking of "New servers here" or "QA lead here", those are goals that the player perceives as to having no benefit to them (despite it bringing an overall better game -- which is worthwhile in iteself) when compared to past stretch goals where things are added to the actual game or provided as a reward in rare item form.

 

Take for example the Investment stretchgoals (or kickstarter goals for most projects that have people scrambling to meet to get cool new features).  New items revealed, new rewards unlocked for investors and backers.  It got crows talking to each other, encouraging people to invest, so on and so forth.  I personally went to dozens of sites to clarify such things, and checked the investment site everyday.  Not to mention a plan to invest myself to acquire the fountain (once I'm not too lazy to do a whole bank transfer thing since I've read we can't use paypal).  These gains came in spite of the difficulties, and we saw the amount raise significantly day by day over time.  We must also consider the word of mouth and advertisement such things bring -- though the bulk of that already came from your own resources, Kickstarter and the latest investment round.

 

That said, the trials and tribulations of budgets are known to me, and I believe you're doing an effective and responsible job monitoring such things and knowing when is the right time for something.  Regardless of how stretch goals function, the fact of the matter is that you have the facts when it comes to -these- stretch goals (and this unique situation), and that's being both realistic and responsible when trying to make a game for a large group of people that expect a lot from your company.  Kudos and good luck in the future!

Edited by Sindothyx

Dare to dream.  Never be satisfied with what is.  We're restricted by time and money.  But if we do not dare to dream, we will never improve efficiently when opportunity strikes.

Each feature has its own meta; it's own audience.  Who prefers simplicity versus intricate complexity?  Who does not?  When does it provide meaningful depth to a specific structure or economy?  Is there a way to implement both?  How many characters will they control?  And their options?

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We may also find that the game plays better as a conquest game with fewer players and more individual worlds.  It may be that a world population of 500 is just right for the type of game it is.  Imagine a game of risk with one player for every country.  That would not be a good game until more than half of them moved on.

 

Another example if there are account limits on how many worlds you can join, it may be possible to totally dodge Zerg guilds simply by ignoring worlds they are in.

 

Travian, their European distribution partners are well versed in campaign worlds that start very full, and whittle down in players starting from day one.  I could easily see CF start heading in that direction on certain bands.  It's a very good model that keeps things fresh as every time you loose a world, there is another one starting up.

 

I don't think 2000+ simultaneous players guarantees a good game experience.  It sounds good on paper, but could easily just be an unmanageable mess.

 

I have been chewing on this thing for a while as well and personally think having lower population limits, would be better imo. 

 

I dont know the "perfect" number, but lets say pop cap is 1000. This reduces the cost of hardware like servers as well as start to "deter" players from using more and more alts since you could only bring so many # of players into a CW. I almost think that rather than a population limit, there should almost be an "account limit" that can subscribe to the CW. This way, if "each side" of a Shadow (Guild vs Guild) CW is alloted say 250 accounts, itll make people think twice about bringing in their 20+ alt accounts. 

 

Same with a tri-faction. If those were limited to say 500 accounts for each faction, itll make you think twice about bringing in an army of alts.

 

You could also, put some sort of "restriction" on logging into a CW depending on its current population. For instance, say a Shadow CW has a account limit of 500 (250 per side). If guild A has 175 players online (nearly their entire guild) and Guild B has 50 (not many of their guild online), it could restrict the ability for more players to join from Guild A - to again deter a zerg and deter alt accounts.

 

My only worry about this type of thing is, you become reliant upon "scheduling times" to play. But thats the nature of the beast I guess.

 

 

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Technology, coding, scalability permitting - I have desires for this to be truly massive. If I have enough bros to fill a 1000 player campaign, then go me.

Make us police the population, and forge alliances that counter where needed.

 

A betrayal, a curse, the age of strife begins!  

 

The ARK analogy used earlier, is perfect. Official servers are still capped at 100 players, you can go a while sometimes before you find someone there.

 

I dont want to login to Shadowbane, Crowfall travel for 5 minutes into the wilderness, hit my track and have it empty. Empty worlds are catalysts for boredom.


"Proud" owner of the domains : http://www.crowfall2.com and http://www.guinecean.com

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I have been chewing on this thing for a while as well and personally think having lower population limits, would be better imo. 

 

I dont know the "perfect" number, but lets say pop cap is 1000. This reduces the cost of hardware like servers as well as start to "deter" players from using more and more alts since you could only bring so many # of players into a CW. I almost think that rather than a population limit, there should almost be an "account limit" that can subscribe to the CW. This way, if "each side" of a Shadow (Guild vs Guild) CW is alloted say 250 accounts, itll make people think twice about bringing in their 20+ alt accounts. 

 

Same with a tri-faction. If those were limited to say 500 accounts for each faction, itll make you think twice about bringing in an army of alts.

 

You could also, put some sort of "restriction" on logging into a CW depending on its current population. For instance, say a Shadow CW has a account limit of 500 (250 per side). If guild A has 175 players online (nearly their entire guild) and Guild B has 50 (not many of their guild online), it could restrict the ability for more players to join from Guild A - to again deter a zerg and deter alt accounts.

 

My only worry about this type of thing is, you become reliant upon "scheduling times" to play. But thats the nature of the beast I guess.

 

 

 

These factions caps make sense. Even more in the factions rulesets like Gods reach. I would just not make it totally balanced, lets say the cap is 1000 players, making it so that each of the three factions can enter with 350-400 people or the likes. It would make it more dynamic, if you can bring a lot of people power to you.

 

Now, limiting log-in based on how much people are online wouldnt work well. People would rage if they cant log-in because of that, they will. Also planning when to log-off and log-in requires skill too, "midnight raids" are part of the gameplay.

 

Now on the Cap size. Honestly for me 2000 seems a little low, but that is because i am used with open-world games. Right now the map is too small but i concede it is still too early and it is a WIP. As long as the world support my explorer playstyle and the world sems alive with players or NPCs (or both) i shall be happy...

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Now on the Cap size. Honestly for me 2000 seems a little low, but that is because i am used with open-world games. Right now the map is too small but i concede it is still too early and it is a WIP. As long as the world support my explorer playstyle and the world sems alive with players or NPCs (or both) i shall be happy...

Keep in mind that concurrent players is the metric we are using. Server pop will be much higher. From quick googling most MMOs seem to have concurrent players per server at around 1500. 

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Keep in mind that concurrent players is the metric we are using. Server pop will be much higher. From quick googling most MMOs seem to have concurrent players per server at around 1500. 

Yep this. I'm sure there's some kind of formula that correlates total server pop with how many will be concurrent at any given time or at peak times or peak times vs off times. So for example if 2000 is the goal for concurrent then like 4k-5k might be a decent number of total users on a particular CW.

 

Don't think really need to get into limits and restrictions beyond soft and hard caps of total population to get the concurrent users they want and is good for the gameplay. Anything else kind of takes away from the MMO and sandbox vibe I think.

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Yep this. I'm sure there's some kind of formula that correlates total server pop with how many will be concurrent at any given time or at peak times or peak times vs off times. So for example if 2000 is the goal for concurrent then like 4k-5k might be a decent number of total users on a particular CW.

 

Don't think really need to get into limits and restrictions beyond soft and hard caps of total population to get the concurrent users they want and is good for the gameplay. Anything else kind of takes away from the MMO and sandbox vibe I think.

I always go back to this quote, it gives me comfort.

 

http://crowfall.com/en/faq/campaign/#19

 

"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."

 

Bad configurations will end quickly due to pop loss, good configurations will be repeated.  "Dozens" of ideas can be running at the same time.  The entire first couple of years will be filled with experimentation and options, until the best is discovered. Crowfall may even stumble on an entire new ideal for MMO's going forward.

 

Revolutionary is not overstating the potential here.

Edited by KrakkenSmacken

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Excellent question, Caenth.   Right after this stretch goal, we ran a test because we wanted to know how much incremental funding are these stretch goals were driving.  We stopped announcing new stretch goals, to gauge the impact on daily pledge levels. 

 

The answer, sadly, was that the amount of new pledges coming in did not change at allThe unfortunate conclusion was that every post-Kickstarter stretch goals was adding additional work (and cost), but not adding any additional funding to cover that work.  

 

So the real answer is: this stretch goal didn't actually create any additional money, it just created an additional promise (cost).  There is no "money in the bank" to cover that cost, because the stretch goal didn't actually produce any additional funding. 

 

Will we live up to that promise, anyway?  Yes, of course we will.  Because we said we would.  But it does beg the question: how do we cover those costs? and when do we do incur them?  

 

On the "how" : we raise the money elsewhere.  We never planned on funding this game strictly via crowdfunding. The majority of our funding was always expected to come from other sources (and as noted in our kickstarter FAQ, we had already raised a significant portion of it beforehand). My current estimate is that crowdfunding will account for (maybe) 25% to 30% of our budget at launch.  

 

On the "when" : whenever it makes the most sense for the project.  The QA Lead hire wasn't the most effective use of our limited resources, so we haven't hired them (yet).  We will, when it makes sense to do so.  

 

My job, and Gordon's job, is to use the resources to the best of our ability to make this game for you.  If it's smarter to use the resources in a different way then we originally planned, then we're going to do that.  If we need to move things forward that were never planned but turn out to be necessary to make the game great -- we will do that.  If we need to push things out because it's more efficient, or lower in priority, we will do that.

 

You guys trusted us to make this game for you, and part of that trust means allowing us to figure out the best way to achieve that goal.  It should be apparent by now that we intend to do everything we can to prove to you that trust was not misplaced.

 

Todd

ACE

 

 

Sounds like you guys have the right approach.  Keep it going!

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That bit Todd said about "if we had money for a QA manager we'd use it for a server engineer" was the best part of the vid, imo.

 

I agree. This is smart thinking, elasticity and flexibility are some of the most important attributes a company can have.

 

I feel that Todd being able and willing to say that as the front of the company is one of the things that has inspired me (and may have contributed to my willingness to invest).


Archetypes I am Interested in: Templar, Legionnaire, Myrmidon, Confessor.
Also, Looking for a Guild, preferably Oceanic but also US West works best for me. (Misery)

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