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Mewt

Nobody playing?

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Hello! 

Let me preface this with saying that I'm well aware crowfall is still in pre-alpha, and that this isn't meant to be a complaint.

So I pledged yesterday deciding to finally take a look at things after having my eye on the game for the last year and a bit. I played for about 6 hours, familiarized myself with the basics and started the grind... but in that time I didn't encounter a single player. Looking at the 3 campaigns on LIVE I noticed the player counter was never more than 25 combined - the most I saw was 19 on EAST (though it was crashing very frequently). Is there really nobody playing the game at all? 

I'm here for the PvP ultimately, but as it stands that seems impossible? 

Is this because 5.6 is right around the corner and people have just exhausted what can be done until this point and have stopped playing? 

Either way I'm enjoying what I've seen so far, and am looking forward to the future, just hoping to get some insight into the current state of the player count. 

Cheers!

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5.6 will wipe everything. Combine that with the lack of concrete win conditions in the game, and you have a recipe for low player count.  The first day of 5.6 I wouldn't be suprised to see over 200 players in the game. If technical performance holds up, I foresee a much higher player count in the next week or so. 

Edited by Zatch

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28 minutes ago, Mewt said:

 

Is this because 5.6 is right around the corner and people have just exhausted what can be done until this point and have stopped playing? 

 

First part, a strong yes.  Second part, a strong no. 

The game is still obviously in testing, so nobody is attached to it once they see the new shiny with each patch. I guess you could called it "exhausted what can be done", but really it's more, "don't want to build what could be wiped out at any moment". 

 Once more game loops close, which 5.6 is getting very close to, more players will jump in.

 

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Thanks for the replies! That brings me to another question - is the PvP not at an enjoyable / strong enough point to keep people engaged? What's the lynch-pin right now that would keep people playing? 

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1 minute ago, Mewt said:

Thanks for the replies! That brings me to another question - is the PvP not at an enjoyable / strong enough point to keep people engaged? What's the lynch-pin right now that would keep people playing? 

Ironically enough, critical mass is being held up by optimization, which is being worked on but is prone to frequent breakages with how fast development is happening.

Combat is suffering from large lag and msg spikes as player counts go up.  ACE is working on it, but every patch can have something new that needs to be optimized. 

Also the frequent resets mean everyone has to start from zero gear and skills.  The start of the game if there is no players already supporting the economy, is difficult.

Also, as Todd puts it, we should be getting whiplash from all the balance swings at this stage.  One week your choice of race/class is so OP it's not funny, last week it was Scimitar Druid, the next week it was nerfed into oblivion. (At least according to some people).

That level of instability is keeping people away I suspect.

 

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When PvP isn't laggy (at the beginning of 5.5 it was only 40 people on the server currently I've seen 80+ for a snap test) the pvp is quite fun. Imbalances clearly exist, and I'd imagine ACE will have to do a large balance pass on every class/disc/race when the game is feature complete. 

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The inherent problem right now is that your own mechanical skill cannot equalize the gear/skill tree disparity that older players have in their favor, just by simply playing longer. A crafted vessel is pretty much an instant win if your opponent does not have one (which requires a slew of resources, the worst of which, is the pure RNG rare mineral drop from mother lodes). Large guilds will monopolize these resources 24/7 - and while it does lead to break out world PvP away from the forts and keeps, it is frankly just too powerful.

MMO PvP history has shown us that "must have" items/skills/resources are bad for PvP. Consider vanilla/up to kunark Everquest's fungi tunic, the twig, and the clickable staff that stacked. If you did not have these items, you could not compete, and they were stupidly rare. Verant was forced to nerf, and in the case of the twig, remove the item to restore balance to the Zek ecosystem.

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10 minutes ago, VileOne said:

The inherent problem right now is that your own mechanical skill cannot equalize the gear/skill tree disparity that older players have in their favor, just by simply playing longer. A crafted vessel is pretty much an instant win if your opponent does not have one (which requires a slew of resources, the worst of which, is the pure RNG rare mineral drop from mother lodes). Large guilds will monopolize these resources 24/7 - and while it does lead to break out world PvP away from the forts and keeps, it is frankly just too powerful.

MMO PvP history has shown us that "must have" items/skills/resources are bad for PvP. Consider vanilla/up to kunark Everquest's fungi tunic, the twig, and the clickable staff that stacked. If you did not have these items, you could not compete, and they were stupidly rare. Verant was forced to nerf, and in the case of the twig, remove the item to restore balance to the Zek ecosystem.

This seems more like a gripe with gear-based progression than an explanation for why population is low right now. There are no large guilds monopolizing the mother loads.


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2 minutes ago, Jah said:

This seems more like a gripe with gear-based progression than an explanation for why population is low right now. There are no large guilds monopolizing the mother loads.

The reply was in response to this question. " That brings me to another question - is the PvP not at an enjoyable / strong enough point to keep people engaged? What's the lynch-pin right now that would keep people playing? "

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If there was only one lynch pin that would be amazing - but rather it's more likely to be an aggregate set of issues that depress participation, including but not limited to:

- no real tools for organizing into organic groups inside the game

- no real economy to limit the necessity to bootstrap the gear creation sequence all by yourself

- no clear and compelling campaign win conditions with a reward that would drive long term involvement

- no significant improvement in game performance optimizations

- no indication that in-game efforts will no longer be wiped.

Once they resolve those things I'm sure participation will increase dramatically. To be clear though, those issues are perfectly expected to exist for a game in a pre-alpha/alpha state. Games in a better state than that in pre-alpha are actually just trying to milk their players for early access monies, similar to how was done with Albion Online the last several years.

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1 hour ago, VileOne said:

The inherent problem right now is that your own mechanical skill cannot equalize the gear/skill tree disparity that older players have in their favor, just by simply playing longer. A crafted vessel is pretty much an instant win if your opponent does not have one (which requires a slew of resources, the worst of which, is the pure RNG rare mineral drop from mother lodes). Large guilds will monopolize these resources 24/7 - and while it does lead to break out world PvP away from the forts and keeps, it is frankly just too powerful.

MMO PvP history has shown us that "must have" items/skills/resources are bad for PvP. Consider vanilla/up to kunark Everquest's fungi tunic, the twig, and the clickable staff that stacked. If you did not have these items, you could not compete, and they were stupidly rare. Verant was forced to nerf, and in the case of the twig, remove the item to restore balance to the Zek ecosystem.

This isn't completely true.

Yes, If you are playing in only basic gear with zero training you will get stomped. Brand new players are at a severe disadvantage when it comes what gear they have access to as they are playing against people with four years worth of training and crafted equipment currently. But, once a player closes that gap they are more than able to compete in average advanced gear against people with above average gear.  

Edited by Zatch

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1 hour ago, VileOne said:

The inherent problem right now is that your own mechanical skill cannot equalize the gear/skill tree disparity that older players have in their favor, just by simply playing longer. A crafted vessel is pretty much an instant win if your opponent does not have one (which requires a slew of resources, the worst of which, is the pure RNG rare mineral drop from mother lodes). Large guilds will monopolize these resources 24/7 - and while it does lead to break out world PvP away from the forts and keeps, it is frankly just too powerful.

MMO PvP history has shown us that "must have" items/skills/resources are bad for PvP. Consider vanilla/up to kunark Everquest's fungi tunic, the twig, and the clickable staff that stacked. If you did not have these items, you could not compete, and they were stupidly rare. Verant was forced to nerf, and in the case of the twig, remove the item to restore balance to the Zek ecosystem.

It's hard to tell if it's gear or skill/experience, simply because those with the gear, are also those with the most experience with the systems, including historical development knowledge.

There is a gap, but how wide that is equipment wise is unclear.  

I do trust that ACE's goal of new players being able to participate meaningfully, will see any gear imbalances sorted eventually.  Right now it's just too hard to how severe the equipment balance problem really is.  

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13 minutes ago, KrakkenSmacken said:

It's hard to tell if it's gear or skill/experience, simply because those with the gear, are also those with the most experience with the systems, including historical development knowledge.

There is a gap, but how wide that is equipment wise is unclear.  

I do trust that ACE's goal of new players being able to participate meaningfully, will see any gear imbalances sorted eventually.  Right now it's just too hard to how severe the equipment balance problem really is.  

I hope so. I'm not referring to guilds like Winterblades either. If you've been around the block, and I know many of you have - you know how much of a problem the impending CN horde is going to be for all of us. If necromancy is a must-have in it's current state at early access, they will do everything they can to lock us out. That is my concern, not the guilds that currently enjoy this advantage with 40 active members. You are a drop in the bucket.

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1 hour ago, VileOne said:

I hope so. I'm not referring to guilds like Winterblades either. If you've been around the block, and I know many of you have - you know how much of a problem the impending CN horde is going to be for all of us. If necromancy is a must-have in it's current state at early access, they will do everything they can to lock us out. That is my concern, not the guilds that currently enjoy this advantage with 40 active members. You are a drop in the bucket.

Lock us out of maybe one campaign.  Congratulations to the kings of an empty world.

Players can just move away from CN.  There is no way they will be able to lock up every campaign, especially since ACE is planning on account level limits to how many campaigns you can be in.  If they abandon to seek out victims, other people can move back in. 

Dying worlds and campaign choices is going to make it next to impossible to ruin everyone's fun through zergs.

 

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Just a note regarding the whole gear or skill/experience question, I carried out an experiment not long ago with a new player, where I switched to an account with zero training and put on basic gear, where they were on their trained account with intermediate gear, and we fought one another. The fight lasted a long time, and though he ultimately won - he was on an assassin with the stealth advantage, and I was on a druid with the bugged druid orbs, where the enemy could see them, so no bombing - but he came within 50HP of dying at one point and he admitted it was only due to luck that he won.

The point being, yes, of course, gear and skill training makes a difference - and really, it should make some difference - but what makes this problem seems worse than it is, is that as was pointed out, those people with the better gear are also often the ones with more gameplay experience, with conversely those lacking gear or skill training being newer players. It is absolutely the case that tactics can defeat gear and training, and even greater numbers, something that has been demonstrated many times...but while I do think you cannot nor should not code out the advantage some players will have over others, you do have to be sensitive to the equation.

CF thus far does a decent job I think of providing the tools new players need to overcome these challenges, though there is definitely some improvement that could be made in informing the players of these tools - and that is something we in the community can certainly help with. :)

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5 hours ago, Anthrage said:

Just a note regarding the whole gear or skill/experience question, I carried out an experiment not long ago with a new player, where I switched to an account with zero training and put on basic gear, where they were on their trained account with intermediate gear, and we fought one another. The fight lasted a long time, and though he ultimately won - he was on an assassin with the stealth advantage, and I was on a druid with the bugged druid orbs, where the enemy could see them, so no bombing - but he came within 50HP of dying at one point and he admitted it was only due to luck that he won.

The point being, yes, of course, gear and skill training makes a difference - and really, it should make some difference - but what makes this problem seems worse than it is, is that as was pointed out, those people with the better gear are also often the ones with more gameplay experience, with conversely those lacking gear or skill training being newer players. It is absolutely the case that tactics can defeat gear and training, and even greater numbers, something that has been demonstrated many times...but while I do think you cannot nor should not code out the advantage some players will have over others, you do have to be sensitive to the equation.

CF thus far does a decent job I think of providing the tools new players need to overcome these challenges, though there is definitely some improvement that could be made in informing the players of these tools - and that is something we in the community can certainly help with. :)

On of the biggest tools is still largely missing, the player economy and shops. One of the best things about CF, is there are no level limits on gear.  A day one player can be twinked straight to top end gear if they can source it out.  With a player economy in place, you won't be seeing too many new players running around in basic for long.

I'm not sure where the value of gold will turn out, but even without skills it's easy enough to kill critters for it, even solo.  Once it's valuable enough, and shops ubiquitous enough, I'm sure it will also be cheap enough to find shops with mediocre but more serviceable gear from crafters that didn't quite end up being what they were hoping for experimentation wise.

That's the hope anyway.

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3 hours ago, KrakkenSmacken said:

On of the biggest tools is still largely missing, the player economy and shops. One of the best things about CF, is there are no level limits on gear.  A day one player can be twinked straight to top end gear if they can source it out.  With a player economy in place, you won't be seeing too many new players running around in basic for long.

I'm not sure where the value of gold will turn out, but even without skills it's easy enough to kill critters for it, even solo.  Once it's valuable enough, and shops ubiquitous enough, I'm sure it will also be cheap enough to find shops with mediocre but more serviceable gear from crafters that didn't quite end up being what they were hoping for experimentation wise.

We've had all of this for the entirety of 5.5, but we haven't had the population to actually take advantage of it. We've had shops open since pretty early on and were selling tools, armor, weapons, etc. in limited quantities the entire patch cycle. However the economy loop is missing people at every stage and most severely at the gathering part of the cycle. Without people selling raw materials the value of gold never really got established.

Part of the issue is resource scarcity on the Wrath map, there was never an over abundance of raw materials to make mass production of sale inventory worthwhile when our internal members needed gear first. I'm hoping that the revised map coming with 5.6 lets us actually have surplus on a global scale that makes running the shops actually worthwhile. As it stands here at the closing hours of 5.5 we've got stacks and stacks of gold from our test shops but we as crafters have nothing to spend it on.

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1 hour ago, KatzeWeiss said:

We've had all of this for the entirety of 5.5, but we haven't had the population to actually take advantage of it. We've had shops open since pretty early on and were selling tools, armor, weapons, etc. in limited quantities the entire patch cycle. However the economy loop is missing people at every stage and most severely at the gathering part of the cycle. Without people selling raw materials the value of gold never really got established.

Part of the issue is resource scarcity on the Wrath map, there was never an over abundance of raw materials to make mass production of sale inventory worthwhile when our internal members needed gear first. I'm hoping that the revised map coming with 5.6 lets us actually have surplus on a global scale that makes running the shops actually worthwhile. As it stands here at the closing hours of 5.5 we've got stacks and stacks of gold from our test shops but we as crafters have nothing to spend it on.

What vendors? In EK's? That is one of the big problems. Without more market knowledge and awareness of what is for sale and where it can be bought, a larger economy will never develop.

Edited by DocHollidaze

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I have yet to get the Starter pack, but I am glad to see this thread and see people's responses. Looking forward to getting into this game. Everything in it appeals to me, and when I first heard about the population being uber low-I was a bit worried, now reading this; was very much assuaged.

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