Designing the Crowfall API: A Wishlist

For those unfamiliar with what an API is, lets start off with a brief introduction to the idea. API stands for Application Programming Interface. Most major applications you use have some sort of API to allow for app developers to make stuff for you. Examples of popular API’s would be Facebook, Twitter, and even Steam (how many websites let you login with your social media login? There’s an API powering that login!)

In gaming, API’s are slightly rarer. World of Warcraft introduced its Armory application roughly 3 years after it launched. Its allowed for external app developers to work with it, but the information exposed is very minimal. On the opposite end of the spectrum is a game like EVE Online, where not only are your characters information exposed, but also your corporation, and even their vast marketplace. Some restrictions and access controls were overlayed on top of this data, so not EVERYONE can gain access to it (you have to share it with people willingly). Still the amount of information that is available is shockingly overwhelming. The games audience has used this data in many incredible ways. Lets take a brief trip and show you some of the cooler stuff circulating the EVE Online universe (powered by its API); Continue reading

Crowfall: EVE Online Comparisons

“It’s like Game of Thrones meets EVE Online.”

This is certainly one of the more cliche ways of presenting your idea, popularized by the huge uptick in upstart app developers seeking investment dollars. What better elevator pitch line then this to a gamer? You’d have to have been disconnected from the internet to not know what the two ideas of Game of Thrones and EVE Online were. Capitalizing both on the popularity of a modern Television (and lesser known Book series) cultural phenomenon, and then further tying that mental picture in with the successful niche PvP game that’s hung in there for 12 years. It might be a blatant ploy to attract an audience who was never really sold on the promises of EVE Online, or perhaps to attract a new audience who was never a fan of the sci-fi genre. Either way the statement is worthy of dissecting why the developers feel there game might be the next virtual world you should inhabit.

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Pillars of Eternity & Crowfall

Pillars of Eternity is awesome and brings back the good ole days of no-open-world bullshit rpgs. The best kind of RPG in my opinion. Now if only the story wasn’t so emotionally unengaging.

Happy to report that Obsidian is doing great. Over 25 members and growing consistently. Have some cool things to talk about in a bigger post … look forward to that.

#crowfall #obsidian #pillarsofeternity

A Crowfall Introspective

Wow. What a crazy 30 days it’s been. I haven’t felt this excited or motivated about anything in a long time. Crowfall completed, successfully, its Kickstarter campaign. It did so many things right, and touched on so many pain points for me that I couldn’t help but back it.

My concern over recent MMOs has always been the “PvP-too” approach to lazy game development. I had actually thought Wildstar to be slightly different, but that was actually more of a mistake on my part for not reading on its development and assuming they knew what they were doing with PvP. Clearly the 40v40 War Plots debacle was all that I need to say about that games approach to PvP.

“PvP-too” is basically my way of indicating that a developer wants to attract as broad of an audience as possible. Not just the PvE crowd, but the PvP one too. Wildstar & ESO (whens the last time you heard anyone raving about ESO’s PvP… ever?) fall into this category for me.

I overlooked Camelot Unchained because to be honest the game doesn’t sound terrible. It does sound like they simply didn’t wish to expend resources on PvE. It’s not because that’s not their focus, but merely because it’s not within the budget. What happens when PvP gets boring in that game? And it will. After a year of fighting the same opponents, and the battle being largely the same battle that occurred 3 months before it, when does it cease to be entertaining anymore? THAT is a core unaddressed issue.

That issue, and that issue alone, was the one I saw solved right in the announcement of Crowfall as having been addressed. We wouldn’t be worrying about Goonsquad (or Uncle Bob as some Crowfall fans are calling the dominating zerg guild) dominating server X and the population fleeing for greener pastures. No, instead, the world’s naturally have a start and a conclusion. Elegant.

Crowfall earned a solid $250 from me, I just saw it charged to the credit card. It was an exciting endeavor to back a game for the first time. I’ve never done it before. But what really sold me on the game?

I wrote an article 3 years ago or so that said my ideal game was fantasy-EVE. Crowfall is fantasy-EVE. Passive skill training that removed the need for me to be a basement dweller, arguing with my loved ones over whether or not I could leave the house for the first week out of fear of being outleveled and outclassed. No, now I could focus on what was really important; killing my enemies.

EVE-Online did so many things right, but the one thing that always edged me to eventually unsubscribe was the ability for the game to escalate so quickly beyond my ability to fight back. I could be in a frigate and get outclassed immediately by someone in a battlecruiser/destroyer, or worse multiple battlecruisers/destroyers. There was little if any response to this, and no amount of preparation could prepare you for some of those fights. I don’t find that fun. Admittedly it can be a bit of a thrill ride though.

I’m not saying the same thing can’t happen in Crowfall, as sheer numbers would likely overwhelm any player. The devs even came out and said that a group of newbies could easily overwhelm a veteran max trained character. Yet, max skills and being outclassed are different things altogether. In a world of seafaring ships, if we are all destroyers, I’m okay with one person being better at destroyers than me. When someone can be a battleship, who cares how much you’ve trained at being the best frigate pilot in the world?

I’m greatly simplifying my feelings on the matter, and I’m well aware of the differences and balancing that go into making sure EVE players DON’T feel as easily outclassed as they are, but the point remains that being outclassed is not fun.

Crowfall and the fantasy genre is also where my heart lies. As much as I appreciate the depth and width of EVE Online, I never truly felt at home there. Crowfall has the potential to be a home for me for many years, and it’s that hope that has gotten me so excited.

Hopefully the world has a place for a niche game like this. The Kickstarter and its ~220% funding make it seem like it might.

#crowfall #kickstarter

Designing a Guild Part 5: The Website

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This is the final entry in the five part series of Designing a Guild. I took you through the brainstorming, ruleset and branding of a new guild for the Crowfall MMO game. You can read the prior entries in the series here; parts one, two, three, and four. If you’ve followed along this far and are interested in joining, the new website is up and running and accepting members! Thanks for joining me ;)

This was one of the more difficult challenges to guild creation. I knew from the get go what type of website I wanted; modern, minimalist, and as impressive as I could make it. I think I hit the mark spot on.

When I began with the project, I wanted to set a mood quickly. With this website I broke up each section with quotes that would give visitors a feeling for the organization as a whole. Additionally I tried to insert some descriptive text as to who and what Obsidian is. I even came up with more details as to how the membership would deal with promotions and movement between the individual “cells”. Continue reading

Designing a Guild Part 4: Branding

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This is part 4 of my series on Designing a Guild. In this series I am going through inception to creation and implementation of a new guild for an upcoming MMO named Crowfall. Before reading this entry, catch up by reading the firstsecond, and third part of the series.

I’ve always known that unfortunately some guilds are better then others at doing certain things in a game. Your guild might focus on raiding the end game bosses of World of Warcraft, or PVPing in Guild Wars 2’s World versus World competitions. Whatever your guild is good at, it probably tends to advertise itself as such when it goes out looking for new recruits. Some guilds rely on mass spam recruiting techniques (ever hear someone in general chat go “JOIN US WE ARE GOOD AT LIFE” ? Yea, I’m not planning on being one of those guys. Continue reading

Designing a Guild Part 3: Leadership & Guild Structure

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This is part 3 of my series on Designing a Guild. In this series I am going through inception to creation and implementation of a new guild for an upcoming MMO named Crowfall. Before reading this entry, catch up by reading the first and second part of the series.

One of the most contentious issues that could threaten the future of Obsidian is the relationship between guild members and their leadership. It will be important that a concrete system of governance is in place to ensure that members understand what they are getting into when they sign up for the guild. Continue reading

Designing a Guild Part 2: The Guild Name

DesigningAGuildPromo-2This is part 2 of my series about Designing a Guild. In this series I am going through inception to creation and implemention of a new guild for an upcoming MMO named Crowfall. If you’d like to read the first in the series, you may do so here. I hope you enjoy them!

One of the bigger challenges I’ve witnessed guilds go through is the guild naming hurdle. I’ve ever seen guilds break up before they began over something as simple and complex as a guild name. After all, the guilds identity stems from its name. I’ve seen the gauntlet of guild names, as anyone who’s played WoW has. They range from the serious, the fanciful, the offensive, subtle to names written in foreign languages. I’ve seen them all and I knew going into this project what I absolutely didn’t want. Continue reading

Designing a Guild Part 1: The Reasons Why

DesigningAGuildPromo-1This is the beginning of a series of blog posts documenting my journey through guild inception and design for participation in a massively multiplayer online game named Crowfall. As this game is not yet released, this journey is slightly different in that I have several months to plan out my approach to creating this guild, though I do not expect it to take quite that long. I hope you enjoy the series!

I’ve taken to calling myself and MMO Evangelist in recent months. I looked back over 20 years of MMO’s that I’ve played; the memories that I’ve gathered and the people that I’ve met. All of it has meant a tremendous amount to me. Of all my memories, in all of my years playing MMO’s, the organizations that I tackled the games with are what I most fondly remember. Much of the time, games took to calling these communities guilds. Recently, even that term has been supplanted by newer ones; clans, multi-gaming organizations, corporations, squads, families and others.  Whatever it is that you call them, the important thing is that in many cases these groups of players coming together end up being more than just a gaming group. Continue reading