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01/22/15 - The Crowfall Universe, Economy/crafting & Raph Koster!

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01/22/15 - The Crowfall Universe, Economy/Crafting & Raph Koster!


Hey gang,


We've got a pretty big update for you this morning!  


Universe Architecture

We've been saying for a while that this game is different.  This is where you'll start to see that: here is the first major difference between Crowfall and traditional MMOs.


In a traditional MMO, the game service is broken up into discrete "servers" or "realms". Each server is either completely (or mostly) the same -- often, the only difference is which players are sharing your virtual environment.




On Crowfall, we changed this model.  We still have distinct servers -- but and the worlds are unique.  How unique?  VERY unique.  In fact, the the maps are different from one world to the next.  Mountains, forests, rivers, lakes.  And these worlds are dynamic; they're made to change based on player actions.  We'll cover more about that later.


The result is a universe of unique WORLDs, not just a list of instanced servers.




Why would we do that?  Why make each world unique? To allow the the characters to travel between them, of course!


This one, fundamental change opens a HUGE array of design possibilities. We'll talk in more detail about the design implications in future updates.  But for today, let's focus on one of those implications -- 


Player-driven Economic Systems

The heart of the Crowfall design lies in the marriage of two game systems:


- A system for strategic territorial conquest, and

- A system for player-driven crafting and economics system


Like a proverbial "yin and yang", these two systems have very different (and often competing) design goals -- but each of them REALLY shines only in the presence of the other. 


Marrying these two systems is like the "holy grail" of virtual world development.  This is a seriously tough challenge.  

So, I'm not going to boldly pronounce, "we've solved it for everyone!"  -- but I do think that we've solved it in a unique and novel way that some people are going to absolutely love.


To help us solve this tough challenge, we needed help.


I am delighted to (finally) reveal our ongoing collaboration with Raph Koster.  For those of you not familiar with Raph, he is one of the most renowned and experienced MMO designers in the world.  He was the lead designer on both Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies from inception through launch; two games which really "set the bar" for crafting systems in a virtual world. 


Raph also literally wrote the book on game design (...or at least he wrote *A* book on game design.  It's called A Theory of Fun, and it's required reading for anyone who wants to create games.)


If you are curious what we've been up to with Raph, here is an interview with Thomas Blair (design lead on Crowfall) which gives an excellent a look "behind the curtain" of one facet of the crafting system: the system for refining Metallic Alloys.



For convenience, here are hires versions of the images that came out with that article:


- The first is another of our "Banner Series" of concept images.  This one, entitled "Caravan", shows a party of adventurers hauling raw materials (stone, to be precise) from the quarry to their stronghold.




- A video snippet showing what it looks like when designers like Raph, Blair and I lower ourselves into the chaotic, howling maelstrom of MMO design.  Be afraid.  Be very afraid.




- A hires version of the sample Alloys chart.  This isn't a "master list" of Alloys; it's an example document of what allowed recipes might look like, and it gives you an idea of the power and flexibility of the system we're building.




- ...and with that last one, a hires snapshot of our prototype UI for the personal crafting system.




That's it for now!


As I mentioned yesterday, from this point on the information drops are going to get more meaty and interesting. Next week, we'll talk about the "yang" that couples with this economic "yin" -- the resource layer that drives the strategic territorial conquest system.


Thanks, and see you on the forums!




J Todd Coleman

ArtCraft Entertainment, Inc.

Follow us on Twitter @CrowfallGame | Like us on Facebook

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Are those characters from the Crafting Caravan playable? The rodent and the centaur, specifically.


Anyway, this looks promising. The MMORPG.com article was a great read, and I totally love your vision on crafting. The fact it's a real profession that will require full investment, and not just a secondary job that everyone has, is great. Some players will be strictly, full-time crafters, with their name on the item, their reputation will travel quickly. And finally a MMO which will require real and complex interaction between players.


The very concept that players can and will lose their items at some point is required, otherwise the game loop breaks. It is a very controversial topic for those who don’t like the potential of losing their items, and we understand that.  But sometimes you have to embrace ideas that may not be popular at first glance, because they open up amazing areas of gameplay that are otherwise not accessible.


Love this. So crafting doesn't become obsolete once the player base is geared up. Excellent.

Edited by kris


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This looks too grand.  My eyes.






After having read the article on MMORPG.com, I am dumbfounded to finally see a crafting system that uses "component types" instead of "specific components". (Single Example, the 3 metals, 1 cloth, 1 leather recipe).




Disclaimer, the following might be a complete misunderstanding from my part.  Apparently if you die, you leave an enchantment lying around (Hopefully based on your specialization) and someone can pick it up to use it on their items.  Now I can't get off the hype train... it's going to crash, and I'm in it DX.


Drat I have to go to school, the rest will have to wait.

Edited by sneaky_squirrel

How Can Mounts Add to the Crowfall Experience?  Caravans, Hunting Boars, and more.


How Complex can Mining be in Crowfall?  Mining difficulty, fatigue, infrastructure.

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I have copied over the MMORPG.com Interview  for convenience sake so that other community members do not have to leave the Crowfall site for information. It's over at General Discussion.



Omg... And summoning circle confirmed.

Edited by Xcomvic
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I'd rather want one server/world like in EvE Online and a few 'sub-worlds' within the game world. However I've never seen that in MMO, it's pretty uniqe and might be something awesome to experience.


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So, will guilds be able to conquer territories across multiple worlds?

Edited by checkyotrack

You are so incredibly helpful, CYT. I don't know how I ever managed to do anything before we met. I was just bumbling my way through life, all lost-like. Thank you. My blessing cup runneth over.


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Hyped J

I love how you introducing the pieces. But in the same time I hate this cos you make me more and more and more hyped. And Thursday and Tuesdays my refresh button is constantly pressed … and you killing me on my job J

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