Lobbies, and Resets, and Point Farming! Oh My!

This whole Crowfall ‘campaign’ thing is giving me a headache…

I see people talking about temporary worlds, reset timers, people having no reason to keep playing until after the reset if they are guaranteed to lose, how much someone wins if they join a campaign late, jumping ship to a winning campaign, victory conditions, and on and on.

Holy crap guys are you hearing yourselves?

All this talk of temporariness, campaigns, and trying to maximize how to earn the most “points“… It’s sounding like Battlegrounds — this is like Alterac Valley on steroids. It’s sounding like Warhammer Online’s RvR all over again. Do I need to start waving my arms screaming “BAD IDEA” yet?

Crowfall is sounding extremely arcade-like in its design. It’s also showing signs of being needlessly complicated to be different. Those aren’t good things. Those are warnings signs for a potential 3 monther. I’m in agreement with those saying Crowfall is not an MMO. For all of the bellyaching we all do for something better, I’m somewhat shocked by the hype and excitement over yet another world of instancing, lobbies, point farming, and campaigns.

There are way, way too many warnings signs right now. I’ll maintain my same position on Crowfall: It’s worth keeping an eye on… but yeesh I’m doing it from a distance.

  • No realm transfers, no team switching, no points for objectives. This is why DAoC hasn’t really been matched, it had broad objectives and realm levels became such long term goals that point maximizing was useless. This also meant people would take up “secondary” roles like scouting because you felt USEFUL and it had nothing to do with a score, and hey with some luck you could get the jump on a laggard. If a realm was overpowering one zone, go fight in another that is uninhabited and start taking keeps. Suddenly the enemy has to majorly split their forces because, there IS NO KNOWING exactly how many enemies are there.

    I didn’t reach the level of Warhammer’s RVR, so I have no idea how the taking the city campaigns worked, although it SOUNDED interesting to me.

  • @Danath: Exactly. It was the permanence and long, LONG, term goals and outcomes of DAOC’s RvR that greatly influenced everything about the game. You’re so spot on with the secondary roles being created as a result. Because nothing was time delineated it meant that you didn’t feel like you were wasting time by scouting and doing other things besides trying to get that a higher score. It was about the realm winning — that’s it — and winning was never a ‘reset’.

    City taking in WAR was one giant cluster-fart. Instanced lobbies of public quests — that was it. What a mess that was.

  • Hey Keen, perhaps not every game is trying become the game that’s in your mind. And that doesn’t make them all garbage.

    Perhaps there’s another way to create a game.


    I know you’re in bed with Mark Jacobs, but, c’mon man. Open your eyes.

  • If you read through the entire posts you’ll find Keen is in favor of starting over in survival world building games such as if Minecraft was a true MMO. Starting over in Minecraft is tons of fun.

    What he is not a fan of is starting the same “battlegrounds” over and over. Crowfall is an elaborate battlegrounds system. It’s like a Dota game that lasts three to four months. However you want to look at it they are two completely different scenarios. I think if I even decided to give Crowfall a try (I won’t) I would quit at the end of whatever world I was in.

  • @Jenks: I think you missed the point of that post. I definitely recommend reading through it again. It’s a good one!

    @Zeppy: I never said Crowfall was going to be a bad game. I definitely never said it would be garbage. It’s showing some dangerous signs right now that are obvious to me. I’m pointing them out and raising questions. Here’s a question for you: What is Crowfall doing that is unique? Hit me up with an answer. I’d love to discuss.

    @Gringar: Yep! You got it. Also, I’m interested in a COMPLETE wipe in mostly PvE games. What I’m not interested in are lobbied arcade-like battlegrounds resetting or people doing everything for points. I want the games that would wipe, if it’s even possible, to still be fully-realized virtual worlds. Probably not possible — at all.

  • Yeah, I don’t know about all the meta aspects I’m hearing about. I do like my MMO’s somewhat world-like and resets take away from that.

  • As far as RVR goes… Planetside anyone? I loved that damned game for a long time, and found a ton of useful ways to play. Stealth, scouting, tanking, healing. They knew what they were doing when they set up that system.

  • I’m not really following crowfall incredibly closely. it’s clearly not going to be (or trying to be) the virtual world adventure game I perpetually hope for.

    I do think it sounds pretty cool for the completely different type of game that it wants to be, though. a sprawling strategy game with hundreds or thousands of players that plays out over months is a concept that appeals to me in its own way.

    as for the resets and doing something unique and making that process interesting, surely having a completely different, procedurally generated world each time a campaign starts is worth something? (assuming, of course, it’s executed reasonably well.)

    I guess part of your point is that players will ruin it by reducing it to whatever nets the fastest rewards, entirely ignoring the value of fun in that equation. well, that’s nothing new. that’s just depressing.

  • I suspect that a lot of the problems you foresee (and probably foresee correctly, imho) are as much the fault of the players as the game design.

    Over the last decade we have successfully bred a generation of gamers for whom the concept of playing a game for enjoyment is completely foreign.

    The only reason to play is to farm pixels in the most efficient possible manner.

  • Ugh…I wasn’t following this very closely and after reading this and some other similar plans the initial 30 seconds of hope is gone. This article just put the game on the “Future Fail” list from previously having been on the “Keep an eye on it list.”

    @Carson: Yep – A agree with you there…sometimes catering to players is exactly what you don’t want to do. Sometimes you have to make tough choices in game design that may appear un-fun to the masses but which actually improve the game quite a bit. Listening to the masses has been the death sentence of way too many MMOs already.

  • Thing is, there’s not one definition of fun. Fun is a relative concept, what is fun for one person may not be fun for another one. There’s no hierarchy there, one fun is not inherently better than another fun. Min/maxing and optimization is the main source of fun for some, it’s the game for them, that’s what they like, they only have fun playing games when doing that. For others, there’s an important social aspect to their fun, games need to have social facilitators to grab their attention. Builders, creators, strategist, socialite, explorer and so on, there are many player types with different definitions of what’s fun. Different games appeal to different type of players. I believe when you try so much to stretch your game concept to outreach to way too many player types, you’re losing focus and quality.

    A lot of readers of this blog are looking for an open, persistent world experience, something Crowfall will not be. This doesn’t mean it will be a bad game (or a good one for that matter), just that this group of gamers is not being targetted…. like they are not targetted by Super Duper Candy Crush World Tour of Awesomeness. Crowfall will make their decisions based on their target market, I bet many readers of this blog will disagree with most of them 😉

  • @Maljjin: After years of following MMOs you can’t help to see the trends that develop…you see a set of features…design decisions…attitudes…and you just know that it will lead to a game that won’t last or one that will seriously under-deliver.

    When I first read about it, it sure sounded like “I” was the target audience…after a while you kind of run a risky business if you are looking for non-jaded-happy-go-lucky-theme-park-loving-age 16-22-slightly-overweight-with-pink-poke-dot-underwear-on-days-when-it-rains audience…eventually there won’t be anyone in that specific category. It may target the same audience as so many games before it have done…the problem is…that audience is pretty small or the audience has a short attention span because these games get hyped up and after 1-2 months they are a ghost town…alternatively…maybe the design is just not sustainable and may not favor a long term time investment…

  • I read it again, I’m not sure what you think I missed. I agree that it was a good one, so was this one, you guys do good work 🙂

  • Fabint,

    Yes, Planetside was almost as enjoyable as DAoC for me- but Planetside 2 didn’t do it for me at all, unfortunately. I don’t know if I have just gotten old or what. I’ve backed CU with the hopes there will be something there for me, but I am not seriously following it at this point. I didn’t purchase an advanced tier and I’m happy to wait and see what they come up with.

  • accessibility of small team one off matches is why LOL can keep running forever. Giant campaigns are too cumbersome. You cant just paint LOL onto MMO scale then shove on a nostalgic crafting and economics systems and expect things to work.

    I wonder when we can stop remaking the damn wheel also.

  • The primary reason DAoC RvR worked was because you didn’t have a choice; the level grind, then the item grind, and then the RR grind was so huge that for all but the super-grinders, starting another character on a different side was a non-starter. That wouldn’t work today because people on average quit a game faster if they don’t like something, rather than stick with it. A lot of RvR stuff ‘worked’ because people stuck with it, not because it was flawlessly designed. DAoC released today would fall on its face.

    As for Crowfall, we’ll see if it feels like playing battlegrounds; I suspect it won’t. I suspect it will feel more like zoning into a RvR area, but with more focus and a better-set win condition, while also providing far more variety long-term (different win conditions, endless ‘maps’, more rivalries). The PvE stuff that DoAC had will be minimized (because that amount and length of PvE content isn’t needed in a PvP-focused MMO anymore) and refined down into the good bits in the home kingdoms stuff (mostly crafting/trading/social).

    What surprises me most here Keen is that for someone who liked DAoC so much, you aren’t on board more with Crowfall. Once both are released, I wouldn’t be surprised if Crowfall is more DAoC than CU.

  • Neither Crowfall nor Camelot Unchained are really DAOC-like. DAOC’s PvE played an overwhelming role in RvR — it was the flame lit under people’s butt’s for at least the first two years of the game. I disagree that the PvE side isn’t needed in a PvP game. I think it’s crucial, and a huge part of why most “PVP games” fall flat these days.

    I’m struggling to get past the arcade-like resetting of Crowfall and the ‘win conditions’. I have a feeling — and these are usually correct — that Crowfall’s almost themepark-esque depth will lead to it being a 3 monther. I’ll reserve final judgment until I play the game, but that’s where I’m leaning right now.

  • Eh, DAoC PvE was something most people pushed through to be able to RvR at an acceptable level. The content itself, even for that time, was on average horrible outside of Darkness Falls (which was fun mostly because of the PvP, not the PvE). Even at the time AC-DT had better PvE because at least you also had open-world PvP to contend with, including in the dungeons. What was fun about mindlessly aoe-grinding camps in DAoC, which is what most did to gain levels as it was by far the most efficient method. I mean, there is a very good reason they let you boost characters up once you had one to 50; DAoC had a PvE grind because that was the default design back then, not because it was a critical or substantial part of the actual game. You don’t have people talking fondly about the wonderful memories they had of DAoC PvE, now do you?