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Murder of Crows: J Todd Coleman Part 2 - Official Discussion Thread

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I think you are right about those “‘momentary rays of sunshine moments in SB”. But as the bugs were fixed and the game optimized those moments happens a lot more often.

I played from Early Beta as part of the Burning Legion and then on Treachery, Mourning and the Lore servers.

Those moments are why your game got crowd funded, and people like me, @Anthrage, @durenthal, and others are still amoung the most active testers.

Im sorry you were not there to experience your vision when it worked. But I’m glad you took the risks.

I have Beta tested and played almost every major title from EQ to ArcheAge and the only game to come close to SB was Darkfall.

Both Games had us fighting over assets we built and real estate we “owned”

I just hope Crowfall’s temporary worlds provide the same thrill.

www.lotd.org       pking and siege pvp since 1995

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This is a re-post of my comments on YouTube in response to this video, just going to copy them here:


I was there for the whole Shadowbane saga, from it's promising beginning to it's bitter end, and it's both sad and encouraging to hear Todd speak about things from his perspective - which is really the most important perspective. I still have my NDA here somewhere, tons of html pages, images, mIRC logs...SB was, before beta, before there was even a client to log into, played on forums, in chat rooms and in some ways, was the more defining foundation for the game and it's community than anything else. Many of us from that time are here testing Crowfall, and we know all too well those moments Todd talks about when the sun shone through the clouds, and we have hope that same sun will shine on us in CF as well
Hearing Todd speak in such frank terms and with evident wisdom, lessons learned, only encourages we backers all the more. It's easy to forget sometimes how much of a force Todd is, a renaissance man who does so many things well. Shadowbane was probably the most successful failure of all time in terms of MMOs, and sometimes I wish more of the ACE team had played it, or played it longer. This reminds me that Todd is going to make sure Shadowbane's triumphs and tragedies inform Crowfall in the correct and necessary ways, and it has helped me understand a few things about some decisions he has made or positions he has adopted. It's been easy to see and understand how Crowfall is influenced by SB, but until now I hadn't quite understood how much J. Todd Coleman is influenced by it. I get it now. I get that he gets it now too. :)
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JTC's perspective on SB is similar to a lot of the more successful PvP guilds in MMORPGs from beginning to present.  The old timers, we really wanted SB to work, the vision was way more appealing than the other PvP mmo at the time (daoc), we saw those rays of sunshine in the beta.  

The launch was just too messy and unplayable and with other frankly better games on the horizon most of the players left.  

It's remarkable looking back though, not only as first time game developers did WolfPack have a lot of lessons to learn from, but we as gamers were also relatively new to the genre and many of us have gained tons of wisdom over the years.  Perhaps between developers getting wiser and their audience getting wiser together CF can truly become something special, unique, and most of all long-lasting.  


Skeggold, Skalmold, Skildir ro Klofnir

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Started SB Day 1 on War. It was ugly, a slideshow. Tried to stick with it but that server performed so poorly had to leave and went to Mourning a few weeks later. We had some fun on Mourning and I definitely know what you mean by the clouds parting, sun shining.

That said, some of the issues with that game and with Darkfall (which I was also in way before the beginning) is difficulty for beginners. If you press people to have to become part of a larger social engine to succeed then some don't stick. Enough of that and the social system doesn't work. It is hard to see how the Crowfall social systems will be implemented to combat this, to allow people to pick up the game and engage in meaningful activities without it becoming a full time job yet still appealing to those that want the job.

The thing I see is different this time around is the volume of communication and while I appreciate it, being able to see inside things, I also understand that you are showing everyone what isn't done in your game. That is what a lot of people still see, what is missing from Crowfall which is not yet a game, just a noble game theory.




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Great episode of Murder of Crows, It reminded me of the VH1 'Where are They Now' television series that featured past music artist/celebrities and updated on their current professional and personal status. Like Robert McNamara in the HBO special 'The Fog of War' JTodd seems to understand his place in the history of game design. After watching this installment of MOC I believe he and Gordon could fill a book with their collective memories of doing business in this particular field of endeavor. 

I was both entertained and informed.

Thanks ArtCraft 

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Part 3 in 2018? Come on you are blue balling us here! <_<


Very cool video and loved the insight. Becoming self aware is an invaluable tool for progress. I'm curious what is the biggest mistake you made with Shadowbane design wise that you feel you are getting right this time in Crowfall?

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Loved it, really enjoy JTC's enthusiasm and honesty. Hearing someone speak openly about mistakes is rare.

I think it is incredibly valuable to think about why Shadowbane was so highly anticipated, and what games have enjoyed (and perhaps capitalized better on) the same type of enthusiasm. To me Shadowbane came down to:

  1. I can literally affect the world, creating and destroying the most important parts of it. The way the city building was conceptualized, with good trainers, banks, and merchants all only existing if you built them, was brilliant. And then you could control who got to use them. You could earn a combat-advantage by leveraging economic choices and advantages. This is what troubles me about CWs with already existing Beachheads and Crafting Tables.
  2. Totally free-form (or, on Lore servers, very loose restrictions on) group, guild, alliance, enemies. Sub-guilds are a completely underrated mechanic, allowing smaller subsets of players to have an identity besides Guild. This is why Dregs is a must, for me, for Crowfall. Please let us decide for ourselves how to organize and who to fight with and against.

Almost no games combines these two design decisions, to really let us have a World to live and play in and make.

Combat was not great. Attack Rating & Defense Rating hit-decision mechanism was terrible. There were some interesting builds and counters, but this age of gaming does not really support that (too quick and easy dissemination) - I think lose-able Vessels, and degrading disciplines and armor, plus limited load-out bars are appropriate responses. Some (maybe many) of us still doubt whether "action" combat can really translate to MMOs.

Having ten person groups was great, I like that number a lot more than the now-standard five.

Tons of duping and hacking and bots and bugs cheapened the experience.

There were some smart ancillary (or late) design decisions like discipline rune droppers, advantages and disadvantages, mines, and hotzones. It was smart to have currency be so clearly draining out of the game economy through upkeep. 

There were some very fun hard counters, through defense cuts and resist debuffs, and shadowmantle and cleanse. The active, group-coordinated and rotated combat choices. Some of that is in Crowfall, though we all have a long way to go to build effective group compositions (thank you).

I loved Shadowbane, and there is a reason why Crowfall attracted me more than any other games I have played or seen lately. I hope ACE continues to pursue intentional, not oft-used design ideas, that the MMO game design community has not had the opportunity to pursue for a variety of different reasons. Mostly the two I listed, for me.

Edited by McTan
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