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"ACE Q&A Livestream March 2nd" discussion


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All of the comparison to EVE and Albion do not serve Crowfall well. Crowfall does not offer nearly as much depth in gameplay as either of those games, and, from looking at the roadmap, likely never will.

Look at EVE... The whole game is not nullsec PvP. it has sub communities of people that are dedicated to just the PvE aspects of the game (incursions, exploration, etc). There's even multiple flavors of PvP playstyles from lowsec, to nullsec, to faction warfare. Some people play the game solely for the various forms of mining and industry, or just to play out their day trading fantasies.

Because Crowfall lacks that depth and scope of world, I actually think that Hunger Dome might be the perfect fit. It utilizes the assets Crowfall has now to make a game mode that is fun and well matched with what Crowfall currently does well. I do think JTC is right that Crowfall needs that low barrier to entry, low commitment, game mode that helps draw people in and, hopefully, bridges them to the campaign game modes.

Unfortunately, I'm left wondering if the right things are in that roadmap to make the campaign worlds something a larger community will want to play. I think Crowfall has a choice to make as to whether it wants to be an MMORPG, or an MMORTS (with most everyone roleplaying peons). If Crowfall wants to be an MMORPG, then that roadmap needs a lot more investment in Economy, PvE (in a contested PvP environment), Exploration, and Crafting to make them more robust, deeper, and supportive of many different playstyles (like the EVE example). Oh and a lot of work is needed to make those things fun because, right now, I want to tear my eyeballs out after an hour of any of those activities.

If Crowfall wants to be the MMORTS, that it seems to be rather comfortably sitting at right now, I think they need to fully embrace it. I think that means revamping caravans, outposts, and forts ASAP so that they provide more depth to the strategy game as well as constant flow of activity. I think it means adding more timed events outside siege windows that drive fun (circle capping =/= fun) conflict over victory points. I think that means handshake sieges, and territory control ASAP. I think that means making wartribe camps and other POIs capturable for passive generation of rewards. I think that might mean crazy things like locking vessel and equipment advancement to campaigns (everything poofs at end of campaign).

My worry is that Crowfall will try to do this awkward seesaw balancing act between being a full-fledge MMORPG, being a well made MMORTS, and other ridiculous things like whatever farmville-esque thing EKs are trying to be...

So in summary... PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE Pick one, do it well, build from there.

 

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Bringing Hunger Dome back pretty much saves Crowfall for me.  It is where I will spend the vast majority of my playtime, because small group PvP is where Crowfall shines, and hunger dome back in the d

The reward for being online, and exposing yourself to risk, should be generating value. A fundamental problem in the game is that gold is just not valuable enough. There is no economy, there is not a

You know one thing that scares me about this hunger dome is will it provide content or remove content. your removing players from the open world and putting them in instances so there even less things

On 3/5/2021 at 6:05 AM, mystafyi said:

Basic options are all that are needed for their Artisan engine. As I have said, crowfall has turned into a proof of concept for that project. Since Battle Royale mode was so long ago, they had to take the time to work it into artisan engine, need to be able to support more moba and survival type games.

Is the "Artisan Engine" project even a thing anymore? Not sure I've seen any news in over 2 years about it and I can't find the name of the person/company that was supposed to be revealed as the first purchaser.

Who is going to pay for the Artisan Engine when proven engines and off the shelf tools/assets already exist?

I look at the upcoming Profane MMO and I'd try to license what they have before Crowfall's version of a game built with Unity.

Reminds me of VoxelFarm and what could be a good idea but no one can get it to work well with a full game. I'd stick with a tried and true product.

Guess I don't see the "proof" that Artisan Engine is worth licensing.

Edited by APE

 


 

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22 hours ago, Ajokoira said:

I am going to trust your numbers, reading more on Steam, it is not nearly as popular as it once was, so them putting up les than 1/10th the numbers that the actual game dev's does make sense.

I went to MMOpopulation, that even supports what I am saying. In the gaming world MMO's are a drop in the bucket, and PvP MMO's are behind that. At any rate the rest of what you are saying I think we agree on. The reason I am not throwing my hands in the air is Hungerdome can't make it any worse than it is.

I also agree there should be different campaign modes to allow for a more diverse audience. Maybe not months before launch, as you point out.

Gaming is a massive industry and has enough players to support any product that is worth playing.

I can't think of one quality MMO that didn't succeed.

Those that have closed down or "failed" did so because of a list of issues, not because they were too niche or had a specific feature or not. Crowfall having full loot or not is #402 on the list of things that will keep it from succeeding.

ACE didn't set their population goals high, but I'm not sure those projections will even be met at this point.

The original vision could of easily been popular but it was just a vision. What has been produced hasn't live up to the hype created by the devs and fans a like.

Only a few months left so it will no longer be a question of is this game worth playing. My opinion has little value. Players as a whole will decide and we'll see what ACE does. Or I could be a fool and 1million will be here day 1 and still be a year later...

Edited by APE

 


 

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The hunger dome thing will 100% take people out of the CWs.

But what about the NEW players it attracts that might not otherwise have tried CF?

What if this brings in 100,000 new players and 5% of them end up playing in the CW? What if it brings in more?

You really only need 1 populated Dregs for it to be fun. You can't really look at what this will do to the few hundred players currently testing.

Edited by Yoink

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25 minutes ago, Yoink said:

The hunger dome thing will 100% take people out of the CWs.

But what about the NEW players it attracts that might not otherwise have tried CF?

What if this brings in 100,000 new players and 5% of them end up playing in the CW? What if it brings in more?

You really only need 1 populated Dregs for it to be fun. You can't really look at what this will do to the few hundred players currently testing.

What if it brings in 1000 new and only 5% try CW and 5% of them play more then a month?

The "What If" game is fun but luckily we don't have to wait that much longer.

Seems like the brakes are off so we'll soon see if the 10s of thousands that already own Crowfall will show up or not. Relying on an unknown group to come in an save the day seems like a reach at this point when paid and invited players don't show up.

Battle Royale hype has slowed down quite a lot and Hunger Dome will have several key factors going against it. Getting 100k to not only want to try it, but actually pay for it while most are F2P will be a feat in itself. Even then, games sold will need to be supported by on-going revenue which ACE doesn't appear to be prepared for. VIP is a mystery and cosmetics are planned for post-launch. Can't wait to see how they market all of this. There's a first for everything.

 


 

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43 minutes ago, Yoink said:

But what about the NEW players it attracts that might not otherwise have tried CF?

What if this brings in 100,000 new players and 5% of them end up playing in the CW? What if it brings in more?

It could very well bring in a surge of players, but I doubt it, this game wont compete well with pubg, cod, apex, fortnite. I think the dev's have finally accepted their game engine will never handle the demands of a pvp mmorpg. At first they went down the PvE route, now they are moving into a more lobby style with tournaments, BR, arena, matches, ect. 

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7 minutes ago, APE said:

Getting 100k to not only want to try it, but actually pay for it while most are F2P will be a feat in itself. Even then, games sold will need to be supported by on-going revenue which ACE doesn't appear to be prepared for. VIP is a mystery and cosmetics are planned for post-launch. Can't wait to see how they market all of this. There's a first for everything.

Dont worry, this game is going F2P, either at launch or right after. Either way their entrance fee will be zero in order to slightly compete with products that offer better graphics and combat. I agree about the entertainment value of following this train wreck. Very fascinating.

Edited by mystafyi
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6 hours ago, APE said:

Is the "Artisan Engine" project even a thing anymore? Not sure I've seen any news in over 2 years about it and I can't find the name of the person/company that was supposed to be revealed as the first purchaser.

Who is going to pay for the Artisan Engine when proven engines and off the shelf tools/assets already exist?

I look at the upcoming Profane MMO and I'd try to license what they have before Crowfall's version of a game built with Unity.

Reminds me of VoxelFarm and what could be a good idea but no one can get it to work well with a full game. I'd stick with a tried and true product.

Guess I don't see the "proof" that Artisan Engine is worth licensing.

The people who are going to pay for the Artisan Engine are likely small to medium MMO studios who want to save a couple of years of work and can pay the price for this leap forward.

I don't know any equivalent technology to the Artisan Engine for Unity. How I've understood it is that most of the work they've done for Crowfall (character advancement systems, dynamic procedural map generation and edition, pathfinding and AI behaviors, etc.) can be reused by other studios by importing the tech solutions to their Unity project.

They've over 4 million dollars worth of licensing contracts so maybe a portion of this sum represents Artisan Engine deals.

edit: I forgot about Atavism, which shares some similarities with Artisan

Edited by francis101
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My 2 cents on reorganizing the roadmap...

Critical Items:
⦁    Obj: Make sure the game functions in a playable fashion.
⦁    Optimization
⦁    Advancement System [fix the grind]
⦁    Class/Discipline Balance
⦁    Necessary QoL: Storage systems, Social UI, LFG tool, Soulbinding, Import/Export.
⦁    Shadow Ruleset and Hunger Dome [pray HD gives the game legs to make it through phase one]

Phase One - MMORTS
⦁    Obj: Make the campaign worlds feel active, fun, and competitive.
⦁    Expanded activities outside sieges - flashpoint events.
⦁    Revamp Caravans, Outposts, Forts
⦁    Handshake Sieges and Territory Control
⦁    Iterate on Victory Cards and Divine Favor
⦁    Factories [belongs here?]

Phase Two - MMORPG
⦁    Obj: Fill out the fantasy world, support broader set of playstyles.
⦁    Biomes, Architectures
⦁    Improved PvE: mob AI and grouping, camp design/variation, bosses, PvE events.
⦁    Economic systems overhaul
⦁    Exploration, Gathering, Crafting revamp.
⦁    Procedurally generated underworld PvP dungeon accessible from overworld entry points. [a man can dream, ok...]

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On 3/5/2021 at 1:51 PM, Alot said:

Okay, so your point is that ArtCraft should fundamentally change their game design and goals because... you want them to? 

The data you shared was flawed and definitely doesn't support that the game will fail if there are consequences for PvP. On the contrary, there have been two massive acquisitions in this genre recently.

Nope, nope and nope. I never said the game would fail, I never said they should change, my entire point that you obviously missed because you didn't read the thread is simple: MMO's are not all that popular and full loot PvP MMO's are even less so, my secondary point was if the Thunderdome bring more attention to the game then it might be a good thing.

You assume a lot and because of that you took everything I said out of context. We all know what assumptions does...

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I'm actually flabbergasted to learn that Crowfall plans to launch without bothering putting the functionality of inviting people to guild in game.

This is going to go down so well. Spamming general chat with conversation, guild recruitment and such. If you respond to a new player it will have to also be in general chat, because why would a new player think to tab over on a chat system that couldn't even put all chat channels into one window like games were able to do over 20 years ago?

Then you tell them, ya go to the website, search for the guild and apply. The devs are really going with "there is some kind of function to invite at least, so to do it in game isn't important til after launch?"

Crowfall doesn't get to do redos. In a game that already get flak and makes it hard for new players to get in because of the learning curve, do we really want to alienate new players because of something like this? Chat and Guild social functionality in game are just 2 of many things that can cause game to hemorrhage new players. New players that will then go and tell their friends not to play and laugh about "can you believe this game doesn't even let you invite players to their guild in game and it's guild v guild game!"

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1 hour ago, Navystylz said:

I'm actually flabbergasted to learn that Crowfall plans to launch without bothering putting the functionality of inviting people to guild in game.

Agree 100%. Launching without social UI tools feels like game infanticide.

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3 hours ago, Navystylz said:

I'm actually flabbergasted to learn that Crowfall plans to launch without bothering putting the functionality of inviting people to guild in game.

This is going to go down so well. Spamming general chat with conversation, guild recruitment and such. If you respond to a new player it will have to also be in general chat, because why would a new player think to tab over on a chat system that couldn't even put all chat channels into one window like games were able to do over 20 years ago?

Then you tell them, ya go to the website, search for the guild and apply. The devs are really going with "there is some kind of function to invite at least, so to do it in game isn't important til after launch?"

Crowfall doesn't get to do redos. In a game that already get flak and makes it hard for new players to get in because of the learning curve, do we really want to alienate new players because of something like this? Chat and Guild social functionality in game are just 2 of many things that can cause game to hemorrhage new players. New players that will then go and tell their friends not to play and laugh about "can you believe this game doesn't even let you invite players to their guild in game and it's guild v guild game!"

It does seem crazy. In the early days, it was impossible to form a guild in game BECAUSE THERE WAS NO GAME YET. So they set it up on the website. But to STILL not have in-game Guild management seems insane.

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I can't believe that Battle Royale is now a major focus of the game... was expecting to see anything else in the latest update...but yet here we go, yet another project that is trying a battle royale spin-off in order to lure in more people.

How many games in the last 12 months tried to incorporate BR themes into their games and failed horribly?

Sigh.. I hope it all works out somehow.

 

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8 hours ago, Fellwitch said:

I can't believe that Battle Royale is now a major focus of the game... was expecting to see anything else in the latest update...but yet here we go, yet another project that is trying a battle royale spin-off in order to lure in more people.

How many games in the last 12 months tried to incorporate BR themes into their games and failed horribly?

Sigh.. I hope it all works out somehow.

 

Dont worry, crowfall was a playable battle royale 5 years ago. Those other games didnt have 5 years to go from a BR to a BR. The fact we coming full circle is amusing though.

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Honestly i would rather just have a match making system where players can group and fight using their own gear and vessels in 3v3 or 5v5s or possibly larger, im just not a fan at all of any BR, also there should be progression of some sort into the main game some sorta reward for winning and even participating. Can be a great thing to do on off hours or want to practice a comp. Albion Online has hellgates which i think could be interesting for Crowfall where 2 groups go into a dungeon with high end mobs and loot and they gotta fight it out as they progress in the smallish dungeon, that way it could just tie into the game.

They got diff tiers also for hellgates with risk vs rewards, dura loss only or equipment loss etc but of course better rewards.

 

"Hellgates are a unique feature in Albion because they are focused on both PvE and PvP at the same time, players are essentially competing over a dungeon and may use the mobs and bosses to their advantage to win the fight against the other team. Hellgates offer fantastic rewards but are also very high risk, many PvPers are attracted to Hellgates because of the fantastic combat fame and loot. Many 5 man Crystal League teams also use 5v5 Hellgates to practice for Crystal League matches.

Hellgate mobs (including the Guardian mob) will explode on death, dealing significant damage to all players that remain near them.

After the boss (5v5) or chest (2v2) spawns, a portal will also spawn that players may leave out of after a short channel.

Players may also leave via the portal they entered through at any time.

Once a player enters a Hellgate, they will receive a buff to their damage and defense that lasts for x minutes."

Edited by krevra

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Circling back to this...

Some of the most active posts from the last 6 months were about player retention issues. I'm looking back over the roadmap and wondering if it's actually addressing the core issues outlined. Below is what was being said at the time.

From October 2020:

""" What it comes down to, is that while Crowfall occasionally feels rewarding, it rarely feels like fun.   And that's the core problem you have, ACE.  Those of us who persist in the test do so because those rare elements of fun make us want to seek out more of it, or because we feel an obligation to our guild.  The vast majority of your testers have decided that there's not nearly enough fun to justify all the work that comprises the rest of the game.   If the game had a lot more fun, a wipe would be meaningless because we'd be enjoying the gameplay, and doing more of it later would also be enjoyable. """ - Durenthal

"""ACE, please take a look at your systems, scheduling, and mechanics, and rejig things with an eye to making gameplay fun.  Small group combat is where Crowfall shines, so try to focus on that in the short term, while also looking for ways to make large group combat fun, and to make solo play viable and fun. """ - Durenthal

From December 2020:

"""Player retention for crowfall is the worst ive seen in a game ...

most of these things cant be put off much longer, you can stall on pvp ranks and pvp quests, but performance, shadows, and more pvp focused things to do need to come before the next large wave of beta invites if you want to keep more than 5% of them in the game """ - Staff

"""Your game is openly hostile to the majority of its player base in its current form. You need a working difficulty ramp. You need a reason for people to care about dregs divine favor beyond the top 3 scoring awards. You need to figure out how to engage the majority, not the minority of players with your core throne war systems. You need to decide if you're making a game about throne war or a game about grinding items for the majority of the time to engage in campaign goals the minority of the time. You need to decide if you're building a game around rapid resetting campaigns with minimal connective tissue or a sisyphean economic marathon.""" - PopeUrban

So what's the scorecard look like?

  • [+]Optimization: Improving, indicated as a priority for launch.
  • [+]Shadows: On the roadmap for launch.
  • [-]Small group PvP: There's HungerDome... but that's not going to make campaign worlds any more small group friendly. Small groups need a way to be involved in the campaign worlds with commensurate paths to campaign rewards.
  • [-]More (fun) things to do outside of siege windows: Caravan revamp, parcel-to-parcel interactions, more victory cards might help? But nothing seems to directly speak to improving this part of the game. No indication of more events/objectives to drive direct PvP competition outside of siege windows. Nothing clearly says "we're making Crowfall more fun outside of siege windows."
  • [-]The grind: The game feels like work now more than ever. Advancement system is indicated as a priority for launch. It's not clear the changes there will make the game any less of a grind, or make the grind more rewarding and palatable.
  • [-]Improved player retention, friendliness to new players: Infected NPE feels like an improvement on the 1-30 experience. Game still hits new players hard at 30. Grind is daunting, world feels hostile and difficult to navigate, and it's not even clear what they should do to progress. Shadow rulesets may help some, but the grind needs to be looked at. New players need to consistently feel like they're involved and doing something fun and valuable (economically or otherwise); not just "welcome to crowfall, here's where you grind trees and rocks, and here's where you grind mobs. Best of luck." More fun ways for small groups to get engaged outside of siege windows would improve this as well. Social tools to get them organized into groups and get them into guilds would also help.

IMO the two biggest things that could be done following Optimization, Advancement, and Balance to improve player retention at launch are: 1) Small group focused events which provide player-ranked (opposed to guild-ranked) campaign rewards*, 2) Social UI tools - Group UI, Friends, LFG, Guild.

*See link for example:

 

 

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