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Doradur

The Role of Negativity in Crowfall

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Greetings!

In this post I want to make some very general observations about the game. I found it interesting, how negativity plays an important role in key aspects of the game, on different levels and in different ways and meanings: 1. in an abstract way, 2. in the sense of loss and 3. in terms of inter-player relations.

Negativity itself is fundamental for logic and ontology. Everything, that is real, must have a negative aspect to be real. So negativity is not something bad per se; the problem is, if the focus is only on negativity. Without going too deep into non-formal logic I just want to explain some meanings of this term.

  1. Negativity in a negative assertion: "The sun is not the moon." The conrete thing is concrete (or simpler put: is a thing), because it is not something else, it's different from the other. But this definition alone is abstract: The other (second) thing is defined in the same way: It's is not the other (first) thing. So under this abstract aspect they are no longer different. Their difference is only claimed, but hollow.
  2. Negativity in abstraction: The abstraction abstracts from the differences of the real entities and is therefore partly empty and indeterminate (indefinite). It lacks the details of the actual multitude.
  3. Negativity in emptiness, absence or loss
  4. Negativity in change: Things which change are in a negative relation to themselves. Life is change, alteration, exchange.
  5. Negativity in death: If something doesn't change at all, it's static and without life: It's dead.
  6. Negativity in social relations: When a participant of social exchange is focusing only on the aspect of taking.

Actual logic must reflect the processuality of reality. In this sense I will examine Crowfall as an evolving entity, that means I will also mention past iterations. This is important to note, because the game has made tremendous progress in dealing with the problems that arose in the early stages.

1. Abstract game design

Abstract game design is a formulaic approach, that paints in broad strokes while neglecting the details, which can lead to severe problems later on.

I think I saw many examples of this happening in Crowfall. The most obvious one are some nodes in the passive skill tree, which are not different from each other, except for the position in the tree (+3% critical chance, +3% critical chance, +3% critical chance), in some cases even with the exact same costs. The passive leveling itself is a very abstract "design" in itself, it's just pure passage of time that determines progress, therefore it's an absence of "game".

In the crafting sphere we see different ways of this sort of negativity overlapping each other:

  • There was a potential loss of the item in earlier iterations.
  • The "crafting process" itself was a simple timer: absence of gameplay.
  • The length of the crafting timer is determined by a passive training skill.
  • The crafted items only have quantitative differences in a rather limited way that prevents building sets with distinct synergies.

In the end there was only a series of gameplay elements, which where defined by absence of gameplay: Waiting to get the passive skill to reduce the waiting for the end of the crafting process while being bound to the crafting station during latter. I am confused by this game design. Maybe someone thought the thrill of the potential of being ganked is the desired "content". But that's in contradiction to the "gameplay" which encourages switching focus onto other things, like chatting or watching TV.

The win conditions of the test campaigns are also an example of abstract game design, where quantitative accumulation of abstract "victory points" defines the outcome.

2. Loss and punishment

As mentioned, in earlier versions of the game there was a potential total loss of the crafted item and all the materials used during the crafting process. This is a general theme of Crowfall: items decay and get lost sooner or later. That's not a problem per se, but obviously has serious ramifications:

  1. Some elements like losing items because of a "failed" RNG roll or getting ganked feel like a punishment.
  2. It's sometimes detrimental to the PvP aspect of the game.

The game can be very greedy when giving out rewards. Of course artificial scarcity is a legitimate way to increase virtual value, but I think Crowfall lost track of where it makes sense to limit the ways to access valuable items and when and how hard to punish players (which begs the question why a game must punish players in the first place). The problem is that the economy almost totally relies on gathering and that PvP in itself doesn't give any economic profit from a macro-economic (!) perspective. That means that PvP fights are win-loss in best and loss-loss in worst case: Because the game doesn't give awards for the PvP fight itself and because of the item decay, there is a net loss when considering both sides. While this may be "realistic", in the end the best strategy is to avoid PvP as much as possible.

The game seems to assume, that punishment is an interesting element of game design, and sometimes it seems to think, that there can only be winners, if there are losers.

3. Toxic climate

This may attract players, who are less interested in a fair, balanced PvP fight, but who can only get satisfied by punishing the fellow players.

When a game centers around inflicting losses to the competitors, it should be expected that it attracts toxic elements and thus the climate of the social interactions could end in a vicious cycle of self-reenforcing toxicity.

This is especially true in a game, where there is a very high time investment in terms of actual spending time in-game (grinding).

It may be another example of abstract game design, if we think of EVE Online as a blueprint, because EVE is not centered around PvP. You can play it without experiencing PvP at all. Crowfall is fundamentally different in this regard and therefore I think, that some elements don't add up and must be tweaked heavily, before the game works as a whole.

 

So long, that's enough from me for this year. I hope to get more concrete soon, when talking about the three problematic Gs of Crowfall: Grind, Gank and Grief.

 

Happy New Year,

Duradon.

Edited by Doradur

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lol, too deep a read for the last day of the year, man.

A interesting read tho. I just found it lacks some sort of conclusion or focus. It seems you are talking about a unrelated game and not CF. Probably a issue of the vague terms you used.

1 hour ago, Doradur said:

3. Toxic climate

This may attract players, who are less interested in a fair, balanced PvP fight, but who can only get satisfied by punishing the fellow players.

When a game centers around inflicting losses to the competitors, it should be expected that it attracts toxic elements and thus the climate of the social interactions could end in a vicious cycle of self-reenforcing toxicity.

This is especially true in a game, where there is a very high time investment in terms of actual spending time in-game (grinding).

It may be another example of abstract game design, if we think of EVE Online as a blueprint, because EVE is not centered around PvP. You can play it without experiencing PvP at all. Crowfall is fundamentally different in this regard and therefore I think, that some elements don't add up and must be tweaked heavily, before the game works as a whole.

This is probably not gonna change. People here can be pretty unreasonable about their hardcore game. Being punishing seems like a requirement around here, even if at the end that is not fun.

In books we have a popular term for stories where the author think poorly made socksting in the characters make for a engaging story: "Grimderp". I feel CF might go that route if people simply insist in being unreasonable in favor of being hardcore.

Edited by BarriaKarl

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1 hour ago, BarriaKarl said:

lol, too deep a read for the last day of the year, man.

A interesting read tho. I just found it lacks some sort of conclusion or focus. It seems you are talking about a unrelated game and not CF. Probably a issue of the vague terms you used.

This is probably not gonna change. People here can be pretty unreasonable about their hardcore game. Being punishing seems like a requirement around here, even if at the end that is not fun.

In books we have a popular term for stories where the author think poorly made socksting in the characters make for a engaging story: "Grimderp". I feel CF might go that route if people simply insist in being unreasonable in favor of being hardcore.

Give me Shadowbane style mechanics.  Give me brutal PvP that can cost me gear, cities and my dignity if I don't do everything I can to win.  Give me great alliances, give me great betrayals, give me thieves, give me half up front robbery, give me world crushing alliances where people are forced to decide how far they are willing to go to counter them and if they don't they lose.  Let me grief people till they rage in /whispers and log off.  Let people camp my cities till I am forced to log off because without allies I can't stop them. 

 

If that's negativity to you then I don't think we want the same game. 

Edited by mandalore

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1 hour ago, mandalore said:

Give me Shadowbane style mechanics.  Give me brutal PvP that can cost me gear, cities and my dignity if I don't do everything I can to win.  Give me great alliances, give me great betrayals, give me thieves, give me half up front robbery, give me world crushing alliances where people are forced to decide how far they are willing to go to counter them and if they don't they lose.  Let me grief people till they rage in /whispers and log off.  Let people camp my cities till I am forced to log off because without allies I can't stop them. 

 

If that's negativity to you then I don't think we want the same game. 

Big words. Great on paper, not so much on RL.

If things turn out to be that way great. I am not confident tho. All i see is all those people who asks for a hardcore game running assassins and ganking noobs 24-7 as if they were 12 years old. The same people who say they will only run with +30 people "'cuz this is  group game" instead of admitting the game just sucks if you dont bring that much people to help you deal with the unbalanced mess it is shapping up to be.

Now, I dont enjoy being a doom-sayer but it is because of posts like those I am starting to get afraid of CF future. We are not comparing epeens here, we can all get a hardcore game. We all just have to be smart about it.

Hardcore means high stakes. That is all. It doesnt mean the game has to make it incredibly easy for any random joe with half a brain to destroy dozens of people enjoyment.

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2 minutes ago, BarriaKarl said:

Big words. Great on paper, not so much on RL.

If things turn out to be that way great. I am not confident tho. All i see is all those people who asks for a hardcore game running assassins and ganking noobs 24-7 as if they were 12 years old. The same people who say they will only run with +30 people "'cuz this is  group game" instead of admitting the game just sucks if you dont bring that much people to help you deal with the unbalanced mess it is shapping up to be.

Now, I dont enjoy being a doom-sayer but it is because of posts like those I am starting to get afraid of CF future. We are not comparing epeens here, we can all get a hardcore game. We all just have to be smart about it.

Hardcore means high stakes. That is all. It doesnt mean the game has to make it incredibly easy for any random joe with half a brain to destroy dozens of people enjoyment.

You didn't play shadowbane so you wouldn't understand that doomsayers were an excellent class that CF is missing.  Windows of Opportunity for assets help defenders setting the time for their assets vulnerability and would prevent this 24/7 failed ad hoc delusion.  I don't play rogues, thieves or assassins but I do enjoy playing a scout style char to hunt them.  I mostly play support characters like healers, buffing chars, command chars or debuffers and not direct damage dealing chars (so yes group fights mean more to me than 2 people dueling over hooligan size).  If the intended guild size is supposed to be around 50 (JTC said that a loooooong time ago) then 30 seems small and you will prob need to make some politcal allies to help you stand up to the nations that want your assets. 

You see, I want a grand game that plays for lots of people (not just me).  I want rogues to be strong in small scale and weaker in front line sieges (which they are!!!).  I want fights that change the map, I could care less about your piddly 3v4 flexing. 

Give me what made shadowbane good: memorable fights, alliances, betrayals, enemies and friends. 

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14 minutes ago, mandalore said:

You didn't play shadowbane so you wouldn't understand that doomsayers were an excellent class that CF is missing.  Windows of Opportunity for assets help defenders setting the time for their assets vulnerability and would prevent this 24/7 failed ad hoc delusion.  I don't play rogues, thieves or assassins but I do enjoy playing a scout style char to hunt them.  I mostly play support characters like healers, buffing chars, command chars or debuffers and not direct damage dealing chars (so yes group fights mean more to me than 2 people dueling over hooligan size).  If the intended guild size is supposed to be around 50 (JTC said that a loooooong time ago) then 30 seems small and you will prob need to make some politcal allies to help you stand up to the nations that want your assets. 

You see, I want a grand game that plays for lots of people (not just me).  I want rogues to be strong in small scale and weaker in front line sieges (which they are!!!).  I want fights that change the map, I could care less about your piddly 3v4 flexing. 

Give me what made shadowbane good: memorable fights, alliances, betrayals, enemies and friends. 

It just doesnt make sense to me.

You cant have the game built solely around huge fights. That just doesnt seem viable. Are you telling me I can only play the game if my whole guild is online? That is silly.

Big fights are great and all, but it is not what wars are about. Not everything is supposed to end up in a big showdown. Sieges and whatever requires all that people isnt all CF is supposed to be about. This is a throne WAR simulator, not a SIEGE simulator.

You dont care about 5v5, but that is where wars will be won. While you are waiting for the next siege that is where all the activity will be going. Or should be going if fights at that scale werent broken as all the custards.

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3 minutes ago, BarriaKarl said:

It just doesnt make sense to me.

You cant have the game built solely around huge fights. That just doesnt seem viable. Are you telling me I can only play the game if my whole guild is online? That is silly.

Big fights are great and all, but it is not what wars are about. Not everything is supposed to end up in a big showdown. Sieges and whatever requires all that people isnt all CF is supposed to be about. This is a throne WAR simulator, not a SIEGE simulator.

You dont care about 5v5, but that is where wars will be won. While you are waiting for the next siege that is where all the activity will be going. Or should be going if fights at that scale werent broken as all the custards.

You think 5v5's will take forts and keeps? 

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When you have to build your own forts and keeps?  Yes.  Owning forts and keeps will give you points, points win campaigns and will reward you with more imports/exports, titles, mounts or whatever they reward us with.  You're not taking keeps with 5 people and the testing pop is small, theres no way 5 people are going to take or defend a keep on live if the numbers grow.  Have you played the game?  I'm not sure you have played it past the first few hours if you don't understand what keeps and forts do. 

 

On the dregs you have to build your poorly made socks from the ground up and then I or any other guild can come and try to take it from you.  How are you going to defend what you built with 5 people?  There will be no mechanic to force fair fights, you will have to win through military might, subterfuge, political alliances or trade (plus whatever I'm missing) but if you can't defend your assets you won't have them for long.  The lead dev, JtoddColeman, created SB before CF and the similarities are so overwhelming CF is basically SB 2 (even if they say it isn't).  Shadowbane had no mechanic to save you, you were on your own.  What mechanic is in CF to protect you if you can't defend whats yours? 

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19 minutes ago, mandalore said:

When you have to build your own forts and keeps?  Yes.  Owning forts and keeps will give you points, points win campaigns and will reward you with more imports/exports, titles, mounts or whatever they reward us with.  You're not taking keeps with 5 people and the testing pop is small, theres no way 5 people are going to take or defend a keep on live if the numbers grow.  Have you played the game?  I'm not sure you have played it past the first few hours if you don't understand what keeps and forts do. 

 

On the dregs you have to build your poorly made socks from the ground up and then I or any other guild can come and try to take it from you.  How are you going to defend what you built with 5 people?  There will be no mechanic to force fair fights, you will have to win through military might, subterfuge, political alliances or trade (plus whatever I'm missing) but if you can't defend your assets you won't have them for long.  The lead dev, JtoddColeman, created SB before CF and the similarities are so overwhelming CF is basically SB 2 (even if they say it isn't).  Shadowbane had no mechanic to save you, you were on your own.  What mechanic is in CF to protect you if you can't defend whats yours? 

And with what you will build your keeps? Will you import/export keeps? Will you trade keeps?

Your guild has been good to you since it seems you have everything handled to you. The world is big, my friend. Stuff just does not magically appear in your guild vault.

Exploring, gathering, crafting. There is a whole infrastructure present so that you are able to get, keep and protect your assets. Fighting off the bad guys is just one part of that.

I am not saying big fights arent important; they are. However, small(er) scale fights just isnt something you can ignore. Those are what will keep your armies fed, equipped and competitive.

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8 minutes ago, BarriaKarl said:

And with what you will build your keeps? Will you import/export keeps? Will you trade keeps?

Your guild has been good to you since it seems you have everything handled to you. The world is big, my friend. Stuff just does not magically appear in your guild vault.

Exploring, gathering, crafting. There is a whole infrastructure present so that you are able to get, keep and protect your assets. Fighting off the bad guys is just one part of that.

I am not saying big fights arent important; they are. However, small(er) scale fights just isnt something you can ignore. Those are what will keep your armies fed, equipped and competitive.

Harvesting is def a small group activity but you cant win a campaign without sieges.  HoA does multiple motherload runs a day, a motherload being a group harvesting objective but that's PvE not PvP as a group of PvPs should steamroll people harvesting (by the very design of having gear/vessels focused towards pvp and pvp disciplines instead of harvesting discs and gear with harvesting on it).  The PVE in this game is def suited to small organized groups.  We are talking about the PvP being favorably to larger groups and you're deflecting.  How are small guilds going to hold territory in order to farm?  Whats going to stop a larger guild from taking the good resources away from smaller guilds? 

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12 minutes ago, mandalore said:

Harvesting is def a small group activity but you cant win a campaign without sieges.  HoA does multiple motherload runs a day, a motherload being a group harvesting objective but that's PvE not PvP as a group of PvPs should steamroll people harvesting (by the very design of having gear/vessels focused towards pvp and pvp disciplines instead of harvesting discs and gear with harvesting on it).  The PVE in this game is def suited to small organized groups.  We are talking about the PvP being favorably to larger groups and you're deflecting.  How are small guilds going to hold territory in order to farm?  Whats going to stop a larger guild from taking the good resources away from smaller guilds? 

Not really.I said 'small scale sucks and hardcore people around blind 'cuz they too hardcore', you said 'who cares? Give me epic 50v50 fights!', then I said 'Wait a minute, good sir. Wars arent all about big showdowns, small scale matters too', and you replied ' You think 5v5's will take forts and keeps?'

And from there I proceeded to show you how wrong you were. And now you are trying to deflect.

My main points is the game has been showing some issues where people are getting crapped left and right while the "hardcore" people around are being pretty unreasonable and shutting down everyone that tries to bring up said issues without taking the full picture into account. And that is where the real issue lies.

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1 minute ago, BarriaKarl said:

Not really.I said 'small scale sucks and hardcore people around blind 'cuz they too hardcore', you said 'who cares? Give me epic 50v50 fights!', then I said 'Wait a minute, good sir. Wars arent all about big showdowns, small scale matters too', and you replied ' You think 5v5's will take forts and keeps?'

And from there I proceeded to show you how wrong you were. And now you are trying to deflect.

My main points is the game has been showing some issues where people are getting crapped left and right while the "hardcore" people around are being pretty unreasonable and shutting down everyone that tries to bring up said issues without taking the full picture into account. And that is where the real issue lies.

Sovereignty is not inherent, you need to be able to take it and hold it.  How will you? 

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1 hour ago, mandalore said:

Sovereignty is not inherent, you need to be able to take it and hold it.  How will you? 

I won't. I am one of those that will keep your guys properly equipped so that you can bash each other skulls with maximum efficiency.

50v50 dont concern me. And neither are they fun enough to interest me as they are now. Too much flashing lights and group hugs, too little skill or tatics for me.

I will be among those whose fights will consist mostly of 5v5 or 10v10 while I am in the field doing my thing.

Edited by BarriaKarl

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2 minutes ago, BarriaKarl said:

I won't. I am one of those the will keep your guys properly equipped so that you can bash each other skulls with maximum efficiency.

50v50 dont concern me. And neither are they fun enough to interest me as they are now. Too much flashing lights and group hugs, too little skill or tatics for me.

I will be among those whose fights will consist mostly of 5v5 or 10v10 while I am in the field doing my thing.

I am amused at the folks that think this game will revolve around large scale combat. This engine simply cannot handle it. No amount of optimization will allow 50x50 without slideshow framerates. I suspect ACE will be forced to incorporate instancing and maximum 100 players per shard which will nullify those folks idea's of large scale combat. 5x5 and 10x10 will be the norm and the game should be balanced around that. 

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4 hours ago, mandalore said:

Give me Shadowbane style mechanics.  Give me brutal PvP that can cost me gear, cities and my dignity if I don't do everything I can to win.  Give me great alliances, give me great betrayals, give me thieves, give me half up front robbery, give me world crushing alliances where people are forced to decide how far they are willing to go to counter them and if they don't they lose.  Let me grief people till they rage in /whispers and log off.  Let people camp my cities till I am forced to log off because without allies I can't stop them. 

 

If that's negativity to you then I don't think we want the same game. 

I was under the impression you were incapable of having dignity. 

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30 minutes ago, Zatch said:

I was under the impression you were incapable of having dignity. 

Lol you’re not wrong 

 

31 minutes ago, mystafyi said:

I am amused at the folks that think this game will revolve around large scale combat. This engine simply cannot handle it. No amount of optimization will allow 50x50 without slideshow framerates. I suspect ACE will be forced to incorporate instancing and maximum 100 players per shard which will nullify those folks idea's of large scale combat. 5x5 and 10x10 will be the norm and the game should be balanced around that. 

Which seems more likely?  The guy who created shadowbane with its free for all politics and no dev intervention (no forced siege mechanics) replicating one of the few systems almost all shadowbane players praise or swapping to an entirely different ideology to please a minority?  The factions campaigns will be different than the dregs.  A guilds identity on a faction campaign is muddled because your allies, enemies and objectives are determined by what faction you are.  On the dregs it’s going to be 100% free for all based of what your guild (through its leadership) decides.  It’s about choice but every Sb server eventually formed giant zergs and since these campaigns have winners and losers people will want to win at any costs. 

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1 hour ago, mystafyi said:

I am amused at the folks that think this game will revolve around large scale combat. This engine simply cannot handle it. No amount of optimization will allow 50x50 without slideshow framerates. I suspect ACE will be forced to incorporate instancing and maximum 100 players per shard which will nullify those folks idea's of large scale combat. 5x5 and 10x10 will be the norm and the game should be balanced around that. 

Everyone would agree that performance is extremely important to the success of Crowfall, and it isn't close to what it needs to be at. For someone who doesn't think the game has a modicum of a chance to achieve the performance it needs you sure are on the forums everyday talking about it. 

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The bitter Shadowbane vets in this thread need to realize one thing:

Shadowbane is a dead game.

Sure it was entertaining at the time.
Yes it made some memorable moments.
Is it still a commercial success? No. The game is dead. It's not even on life support like Eve or Albion Online. It's done.

If you've come here looking for an exact replica of Shadowbane with better graphics and some minor QoL changes you are simply dreaming. The developers are here to make money. Shadowbane has been proven to not be successful 10 years ago, and without learning the lessons from all of the failed games that have come after it will result in it dying again, we will have all wasted our money, and it will join Shadowbane in the trash heap of dead games.

That's not to say that you can't take some positives from Shadowbane. Most of us bought into Crowfall for the PvP aspects of it which use a similar framework to Shadowbane. I think posters like OP acknowledge that certain mechanics need to be tweaked which is a perfectly valid opinion pre-alpha.

The bitter Shadowbane vets need to understand that some elements in their game resulted in a terrible death, and instead of rejecting change, embrace it. Find areas of common ground. We have to work with the framework of Shadowbane and make it better. Put the nostalgia away and lets get to work.

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