Crowfall is one of the next big MMORPG games coming out. When, we don't know, but it's getting close! I've been backing and watching its progress since 2015 and haven't been as excited about a new game since GW2 was announced. Since I plan on starting a KT chapter in Crowfall, I wanted to take a minute to tell you guys all about it and explain all of (or at least some of) the ways that Crowfall is different from anything else you've played. I'll start with explaining The Hunger, tell you a little bit about the Lore and try to explain how progression works in the Crowfall Universe.
What the %*@# is “The Hunger”?
The Crowfall Universe operates differently than other MMOs when it comes to characters, worlds and servers. Instead of permanent worlds and characters, Crowfall boils their approach down to “Eternal Heroes, Dying Worlds”. This means that all of your characters and their progression are permanent (and account based), but the campaign worlds that they play in are not. The Hunger is the mechanic that drives the timeline for each Campaign. As the Campaign progresses, the Hunger has a bigger and harsher effect on the world - making creatures more and more corrupt, resources become more scarce, and all out war begins to break out. Some Campaigns last one month, some up to 6 months. Below is a video that shows some of the effects the Hunger has on Campaign worlds as the seasons pass.
What about the Gods?
(Transcript of above video because it's the best, short rundown of some basic God lore.)
“Centuries ago, the All-Father went to the center of the universe to try to stop the Hunger. He never returned. His children, the elder Gods, got together and you would assume that they would say, “Hey, we got a big problem, we got to deal with this”... They don’t. Instead, they go to war. The Gods break into 3 major factions: Order, Chaos and Balance. Instead of warring directly, the Gods are battling against each other with champions. They decide to use the dying worlds as their proving grounds. They send their champions in to fight on their behalf, to try to determine who should be the new King of the Gods.”
I'll make a post about the 12 Gods of the Crowfall universe sometime in the future!
What's my role in all of this?
Character creation and progression in Crowfall is very different from any other MMORPG I've ever played... and I'm not sure where to start to explain character progression and training, so I'll just dive right in to what comes to mind first.
Rather than having a bunch of characters that you select from, you exist in the world as a glowing, blue ethereal Crow spirit. This is because you, the player, represent a Champion of the Gods. As a Champion, you are given the power to possess different Vessels (bodily forms) that you use to fight. When you first spawn in, your Crow will be in a temple with statues of all of the Archetypes (classes) that you can choose to possess. The video below goes over a bit more of the Crows and Vessels system as well as some of the other features that this kind of system introduces to the game.
There are currently 13 Archetypes to pick from:
Champion - Human, Melee DPS
Ranger - Human, Stealth Specialist
Druid - Human, Support
Confessor - Human, Ranged DPS (Magic)
Knight - Human, Tank (Mitigation)
Templar - Human, Tank (Dodge)
Forgemaster - Stoneborn (Dwarf-like race), Hammer Specialist
Frostweaver - Elven, Ranged DPS (Magic)
Assassin - Elven, Stealth Specialist
Myrmidon - Minotaur, Tank (Mitigation)
Legionnaire - Centaur, Support
Duelist - Guinecean (Guinea Pig race - yes, I said Guinea Pig), Burrowing Specialist
Stalker - Elken (Half man, half elk/kudu), Ranged DPS (Bow)
As per usual, each has their own unique set of skills and roles to play in battle.
The next thing to explain is that all training is done through skill trees that are always passively progressing toward a specific goal. This means that everyone will progress at the same rate, and the person who plays 50 hours a week doesn't have a specific skill advantage over others who don't play that much (though, they probably would have a lot more resources). Everyone has 1 Universal skill training slot available and at least 1 Archetype skill training slot available. VIP members (subscription based accounts) will have 2 additional Archetype skill training slots available to them. (This doesn't necessarily make them more powerful, it just gives them a few more options, since you cannot be training more than one skill within the same tree.) The Universal skills include Combat, Crafting and Exploration based training. Archetype skill trees are split into roles - Tank, DPS, Support and Specialist. Some trees have secondary branches with more powerful skills that you can train once you've finished about 50% of the primary tree. Hopefully all of that makes sense... If you have any questions, let me know!
Where can I go?
Instead of locking accounts or characters into a specific server like most other MMORPGs, the Crowfall Universe is broken up into different “rings” of Dying Worlds. Each ring is its own campaign and has its own set of rules, and a player can move between them based on what kind of gameplay they find most exciting. All worlds inside of the Eternal Kingdoms are PvP based campaign worlds, which means there’s a place for just about everyone to find something to do. The farther into the center of the dying worlds you venture, the greater the rewards - certain resources only spawn in the Dregs, and even then they're very rare. Here’s a quick rundown of each of the rings, including a couple of the more detailed rule sets for 2 of the worlds (export/import, decay, looting, etc):
On the outside crust of the universe is the Eternal Kingdoms. The Eternal Kingdoms are the only permanent worlds in the game. They are home to player and guild housing. Each account can have its own Eternal Kingdom, where players can place Parcels of land in any arrangement they want - or players can contribute (and benefit from) to a single EK with a group of people. This is done by having one person (the Monarch) split their EK into Regions, assigning that region to another player - a Noble. Nobles can grant lots of the Region to Vassals, who can build houses if they want and split their Province into lots that they grant to other players. Within the Province, the Vassal can grant lots to Tenants, allowing them to place thralls and relics to the buildings in the Province and enjoy access to crafting stations, vendors, etc... Monarchs can also collect taxes from their Nobles, in resources, materials, or currency.
Basic parcels provide the player with a place to harvest basic materials and resources - a woodland grove parcel has a lot of trees to harvest knotwood, a hills parcel has trees and stone, and a creek parcel has trees, stone and slag. There are also larger parcels that you can place to make your EK landscape more interesting and also have room to place houses, forts and walls to make your EK feel more complete. Once you have some parcels set into your EK, you can start placing houses and walls around. Right now the only way to obtain these items is through the Crowfall store for USD - though my understanding is that most blueprints and parcels will be able to be traded in-game. Here’s a LINK to a FAQ about Parcels, and a LINK to a FAQ about EK's. I believe this is also the part of the game where most of the marketplace and trading goes on while you're preparing for the next Campaign you'll be participating in.
God’s Reach is the outermost of the Dying Worlds. This campaign is a three faction war realm, based on the orders of the Gods. Each faction has their own goals during the campaign. The champions of Order have a pretty basic goal - to save the worlds from being consumed by the Hunger. The champions fighting for Chaos are willing to let the worlds be destroyed in order to appease the Hunger. The Balance champions, meanwhile, do their best to make sure neither of the other factions get too far ahead. (Basically, this is "WvW" in Crowfall, only with 3 universal teams, and no servers.)
PvP Type: Faction War - Order, Balance, Chaos
Loot: 100% Inventory loot
Decay: 20% Item decay on death
Import: All equipped gear can be brought in
Export: Win = 40%, Lose = 20%
This campaign world goes one step further than God's Reach. In this world, champions are playing for their God. The Orders mean nothing here, it's every God for themselves. That means there are essentially 12 different factions playing against each other.
There are no Gods or factions in the Shadow campaign. This is where true Guild vs Guild lives in Crowfall's Universe.
PvP Type: Guild Free-for-all
Loot: 20% chance to drop equipment on death, 100% Inventory loot
Decay: 30% item decay on death
Import: No items can be brought in
Export: Win = 80%, Kneel = 50%, Lose = 25%
This campaign is the heart and core of PvP. No factions, no Gods, just flat out open world PvP. Not even your guildmates are allies. This is also the only realm where the highest quality/tier resources can be found - so, as they say, no risk, no reward.
So, what can I do?
Anything you want! There are a few different ways that you can make a name for yourself in Crowfall. You can play for Glory in the Dying Worlds on the battlefield. You can focus on Wealth and make crafting and exploration your priority, driving the economy the way you want it to. Or, you can focus on Power and run an Eternal Kingdom that people will pay you to live in.
There's no rule that says that everyone has to participate in parts of the game that they don't want to. Yes, the majority of the game is PvP based. But there are also other ways that you can rise to great importance within a guild or faction. Having a few people focusing on trading, crafting and exploration skills can be incredibly useful, both to that player and their group, or even their faction. Traders and crafters depend on champions returning with rare resources from the inner worlds, and champions benefit from better crafted equipment when they return to the Dying Worlds.
Crowfall has been a unique game to keep an eye on, and if you've gotten all the way to the end of this write-up, I'm hoping that you agree. I've been participating in the Alpha for quite some time now as a backer from early on, and once more of the game starts to come together I'll be streaming some of the playtests. In the meantime, you can visit the CROWFALL website for more information or ask questions on this Journal post. I've also already been in contact with a number of GvG guilds that we knew in GW1 who we allied with going into GW2 as the original Stormbluff Isle Alliance. There is also an unofficial Discord that you can join (it's got a huge number of people on it already). The forums for the alliance are very quiet right now, but hopefully as we get closer to a launch announcement it'll start to pick up again. The group is called the Angry Crows, if you want to you can go sign up and find KT in the guild listing.
Thanks for reading, and I hope some of you will be joining me in the Dying Worlds when Crowfall launches!