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CU rekindled my interest in MMORPGs

some-clueless-guysome-clueless-guy Member UncommonPosts: 215
I haven't played an MMO in last 10 months and I haven't missed it at all. Before that I was doing my routine check on wow's new expansion, which turned up to be barely enough enjoyment to prevent me from saying that I haven't played an MMO in the past three years instead. The truth though is that I haven't cared about MMOs much, especially those in development, for a very long time. That changed when I decided to check on the progress of Crowfall and Camelot Unchained.

When these two games were announced, or to be precise when I "heard" of them, my enthusiasm for MMOs was already low enough that the only reaction those news produced from me was a shrug and the thought: "Cool games, too far down the line though." 

I decided to check on their progress a week ago; somehow a bell rang in my head that reminded me of those two games and I found myself having time to do so.
I say check on the progress because that was the intention, even though of actual progress to show for there seems to be very little. What I did however was reading about what these two companies were planning with their games, what they had done so far and what the two games were meant to be like once completed. Something, most of the players who already pledged money to them, I am sure did on day one.

Initially, between the two, CF caught my attention the most, because of how diverse the macro-game will be thanks to the monthly reset of campaigns. This, along with other innovative ideas, made me think that it was a really brave approach to developing a game, with many mechanics that are so different from anything out there right now. No marketing department telling them how many copies monthly resets will bring, they just decided to take the chance and even if someone might not like that feature per se, what we as players should appreciate is the balls it takes to do something innovative not knowing how it will turn out.

At first my superficial opinion of the two games was as follows:

CF - Many new features and potentially a new way to play MMORPGs, either they pull it off and it will be great or they fail to implement it and it will fail soon after launch. Still, I might enjoy it.

CU - A DAOC reboot. It takes courage to go against the market though, betting hard on features aimed at old-timers. Will probably not sell enough copies to stay alive but those DAOC nostalgic players sure must be happy.

I am glad to have realised that, after further investigation, CU is a lot more than a DAOC reboot. The more I read about the features they expect to implement the more I like the game as a whole. Meaningful racial bonuses, boons and banes for each class, non-mirrored classes, crafters providing all the equipment and faction-pride like in the old days are all things that I always looked for when trying new MMOS, but always ended up disappointed. The racial bonuses above all, I have always loathed the fact that choosing a race is merely aesthetic.

In the end I also realised that CU team, between the two, is actually taking the biggest leap of faith. As for CF, introducing new features is always daring but you are bound to attract attention because the players will want to give it a try. The risk lies mostly with the fact that you don't know if those features will work and how many players will remain interested after launch. For CU instead, they are actually focusing on features that have been discarded by the MMO masses in the past years (for reasons best left unmentioned). For example, learning that you have to travel by boat to get somewhere (no teleporting around) is enough to actually dissuade a potential customer (one of those game-hopping content-locusts who just wants to have a look, for a fee). CU developers seem to me like an EU4 player who creates his custom nation at the beginning of the game giving himself a difficult start on purpose because he is going to enjoy the game better. That's the way I like to play EU4 by the by.

I haven't pledged yet because I wouldn't be playing during alpha stages though I am glad someone else did, otherwise they would not have worked on these games for the past few years. Players who pre-purchase so early should not be considered one of the problems this genre has: while giving money away so early, when the developer has nothing to show for, can and is exploited by most companies, without the pledging approach we would also have no chance at all to see innovative or niche games come to life.

I am glad that I took some time to look into these two projects recently. Even in the eventuality that they fail to deliver, or they turn out not to be as good as fans expected, they are great examples of how MMOs should be done:instead of asking the marketing department what the sales projection for a certain feature would be, they just do it because it fits the idea they have.

In the end, after years of having no expectations in the genre, there is a game on the horizon that I am excited about. I wonder how many other players are counting on these two titles to save the MMO genre for them, before giving up entirely.
JamesGoblinmklinic

Comments

  • OnodrimOnodrim Member UncommonPosts: 45
    I haven't researched CF yet, but these guys with Camelot have raised over $4 million and are giving weekly updates from a decent sized staff. I think it may be the real deal. I am gonna look at CF too though.

    if I hit the lottery you will all be playing the best mmo ever lol
    JamesGoblin
  • tweedledumb99tweedledumb99 Member UncommonPosts: 250
    Onodrim said:
    I haven't researched CF yet, but these guys with Camelot have raised over $4 million and are giving weekly updates from a decent sized staff. I think it may be the real deal. I am gonna look at CF too though.

    if I hit the lottery you will all be playing the best mmo ever lol
    I don't think it's lack of money that's holding them back - they have enough to hire more programmers in the main studio or satellite studio. 

    They haven't been super transparent about why beta is this far delayed, though better than most studios by a long-shot.

    From my armchair-development-watcher spot, I'd guess that the tech issues they're facing are hard ones, which is why no other modern MMO has done the thing they're trying (and so far, succeeding) at. And it's taking them longer than they'd like to solve them. 

    But the key thing in my books is, they do actually seem to be slowly but steadily solving those difficult tech issues (I've got alpha testing access, so not just wild speculation).

    Long story short, I'm sure they'd appreciate the lottery winnings you'd donate, but I think (like Star Citizen is finding out), more money isn't going to necessarily solve these tech problems much faster.

    That said, I'm pretty excited for beta, cause the lull/quiet we've had from CSE is a reflection that they're actually committed to solving the tough problems that need to be removed to make the game awesome. And that is a very good sign.
    JamesGoblin
  • NildenNilden Member EpicPosts: 2,912
    They plan to have battles with 500 players.

    It's designed to be an actual MMO with massively multiplayer.

    Kinda sad but that's exciting now-a-days.
    JamesGoblin

    "You CAN'T buy ships for RL money." - MaxBacon

    "classification of games into MMOs is not by rational reasoning" - nariusseldon

    Love Minecraft. And check out my Youtube channel OhCanadaGamer



  • cameltosiscameltosis Member EpicPosts: 2,232
    Glad you are getting excited again about MMOs! I too haven't played any MMO in a while - my last MMO was SW:TOR which I quit in Feb 2013, since then all I've done is the odd beta weekend or free trial, but nothing has grabbed me. 

    CU is the only MMO on the horizon that has me interested in the genre again. 

    I have looked into Crowfall and I applaud some of the features that they are building. However, CU and CF are taking fundamentally different approaches to invigorating the MMO space and on paper, I believe CU is taking the more sustainable approach. 


    Crowfall, in my opinion, is only tackling one problem: content. Between fresh campaigns and eternal kingdoms, the content in Crowfall should remain fresher and thus more engaging than a typical MMO. However, their combat mechanics, crafting, social stuff etc are all staying pretty much the same as everything else. 

    Camelot Unchained, on the other hand, is attempting to tackle a vast array of problems within the genre:
    • Content - the CUBE system should have a similar, if not as dramatic, effect on the content. Players will be designing and building their own structures in the real world, and other players can come along and attempt to destroy it. Combined with moving landmasses, the content should be quite dynamic. 
    • Progression - vertical progression causes segregation which kills group content and hinders communities. Vertical progression is anathema to MMOs. CU is going for mostly horizontal progression, making it unique and hopefully awesome. 
    • Customisation - between vast array of classes, banes and boons, gearing, speccing etc, we have so many more options. As players, we become attached to our characters, it is a strong factor in logging in, and with more customisation comes greater attachment. 
    • Crafting - dedicated crafting classes and 100% player crafted gear, no drops. This is a move back to the early days of MMOs, but will mean the game actually caters to crafters. 
    • Scale - we can design and build stuff as large as we want. The game will support 500+ player battles. We've never seen such large scale content, yet that has always been the promise of MMOs!
    • Community - killers need to support crafters, crafters supply the killers, everyone builds the structures, realms must fight together, classes must support one another....this whole game is being designed to foster a great community! Friends don't let friends quit, so retention should be good. 
    • Combat - this will be the first MMO in many years to include a deep combat system. It's going to take a lot of brain power and skill to master it, combined with group coordination and twitch reflexes. They are also aiming for a long time-to-kill, so newbies wont be put off by being stomped in 5s flat. 

    I believe Crowfall, with it's better hype machine, will generate greater initial box sales but will tank shortly afterwards. The campaigns are also a massive risk - when new ones are created, what if they suck? You might have a 2 week period where you hate the content, followed by 8 weeks of awesome, another 4 weeks of crap....

    Camelot Unchained will, I believe, follow an EVE evolution. Small but stable community to start with, slowly growing as word of mouth improves. Time-lapse videos of people designing castles / fortresses / monasteries etc should help attract those who enjoy minecraft type games. If the community gets organised, then large scale sieges could end up being very tactical and be more like real sieges instead of the usual zergy bollocks. Could make for some very entertaining twitch streams which will again attract more people. 


    Finally, both games suffer from one very serious problem: narrow focus. 


    With both games, you log in then you pvp. That's pretty much it. That is the core activity and that what most people will be doing most of the time. If you aren't a crafter, that's pretty much all you'll ever do. Repeating the same activity for days / months / years gets boring. If you aren't in the mood for PvP, there will be little reason to log in. You can't just go level an alt, grind some quests, do some casual crafting. You're either a PvPer, or a crafter, nothing in between. 

    Thus, if the PvP has any significant flaws, it's game over. Also, if the combat mechanics pretty much require you to be in a group (like WAR and DAoC), soloers will leave asap, and solo players make up most of the MMO market. 
    JamesGoblin
  • some-clueless-guysome-clueless-guy Member UncommonPosts: 215
    cameltosis said:


    Finally, both games suffer from one very serious problem: narrow focus. 


    With both games, you log in then you pvp. That's pretty much it. That is the core activity and that what most people will be doing most of the time. If you aren't a crafter, that's pretty much all you'll ever do. Repeating the same activity for days / months / years gets boring. If you aren't in the mood for PvP, there will be little reason to log in. You can't just go level an alt, grind some quests, do some casual crafting. You're either a PvPer, or a crafter, nothing in between. 

    Thus, if the PvP has any significant flaws, it's game over. Also, if the combat mechanics pretty much require you to be in a group (like WAR and DAoC), soloers will leave asap, and solo players make up most of the MMO market. 
    While it is true that if they don't get the PVP right the whole game will die, it is also true that everything revolves around it, so there is no need to balance PVE and PVP, there is no raiding community holding back the needed nerfs or buffs, which means that, even in the worst case scenario of a poorly implemented PVP system, fixing it should be easier than it is for a standard MMO that caters to both crowds.

    Also I think it very much depends on how each player likes to play a game: I am one of those players who only play one aspect of a certain game, for example in WOW, despite trying many times to, I never delved into battlegrounds or arenas, yet when I played SW:TOR at launch I focused almost exclusively on PVP.
    Some of us prefer the change of scenery when we get bored, only to come back with renewed enthusiasm a couple of months later.

    JamesGoblin
  • JamesGoblinJamesGoblin Member RarePosts: 1,242
    @cameltosis Well written, just couple remarks regarding Crowfall - which I feel you are too harsh towards, at least in some places:

    - On their "social stuff and crafting being the same as everything else", then the same can be said about SWG, whose two(!) ex-lead designers are working on these aspects of Crowfall;

    - On "CU players will be designing and building their own structures in the real world, and other players can come along and attempt to destroy it." Exactly the same can be said about Crowfall, furthermore players there will have the additional option to procedurally generate terrain i.e. the whole maps in their kingdoms;

    - On "On the other hand...CU is going for mostly horizontal progression...", Crowfall is also, on the other hand, going horizontal;

    -On "Customisation...so many more options" seems ti imply that crowfall will, somehow be shallow(er) in that regard, which is - if not directly wrong - at least quite controversial;

    - On more stuff below about CU's deep crafting and awesome community, again - I don't see Crowfall deprived of that, or even just inferior!?

    - On "I believe Crowfall, with it's better hype machine, will generate greater initial box sales but will tank shortly afterwards", I believe that Crowfall's hype machine is actually inferior - it's just that they are louder at this point (as they very much have to be - see paragraph below) while CSE keeps low profile, on purpose. Of course, Crowfall can launch and tank (which I don't think will be the case) -  mostly due to it's inferior engine, I'd say.


    I agree that CU seems more sustainable at this point, but mostly due to Mark's millions = luxury to build the engine from scratch, and massive "built in" ex-DAoC fanbase; I'd say these two guarantee CU to become, at worst, mediocre.








    ConstantineMerus
     W...aaagh?
  • cameltosiscameltosis Member EpicPosts: 2,232
    Hi James,

    Thanks very much for the response, I am perhaps being too harsh, its been 4 or 5 months since i took a close look at Crowfall.
    @cameltosis Well written, just couple remarks regarding Crowfall - which I feel you are too harsh towards, at least in some places:

    - On their "social stuff and crafting being the same as everything else", then the same can be said about SWG, whose two(!) ex-lead designers are working on these aspects of Crowfall;
    So, when I last looked at Crowfall, their crafting seemed to be pretty much the same as most games, but particularly that the game was going to feature lots of loot. As soon as you have lots of loot, it relegates crafting to a distraction, rather than an integral part of the game. Have they changed that core design philosophy now?

    On the social side, again, I didn't see them doing anything new or special, beyond the Eternal Kingdoms, which I'll cover in the next bit. 

    - On "CU players will be designing and building their own structures in the real world, and other players can come along and attempt to destroy it." Exactly the same can be said about Crowfall, furthermore players there will have the additional option to procedurally generate terrain i.e. the whole maps in their kingdoms;
    I feel that the Eternal Kingdoms have been overhyped and won't actually deliver. 

    My understanding is they are essentially instanced housing areas. Every player gets their own instance and it is private by default. Yes, you can procedurally generate the terrain, so there will be differences between each EK, but I doubt there will be really significant differences. Different placement of hills, trees, rivers and lakes sure, but we're unlikely to see on EK with an active volcano, another with glaciers, a third that is mostly a tropical beach. 

    From there, you have plots. You can build houses, farms, mines, castles, fortresses or whatever else is available, but what you build comes from a recipe, it is not designed by the players. The only freedom the player has is where they place those plots. 

    Given the resources involved, you have to make building a collaborative effort in order to build anything interesting. So, my expectation is that 95% of all EK's will remain private and only contain a personal house and some stuff to support crafting. Of the remaining 5%, the majority will become guild EKs with PvP disabled - just a place where guilds can get together to build something impressive and setup their own vendors. I expect only a handful of EKs on each server will actually offer "content" in the form of PvP. 

    So, on a day to day basis for the average player, my expectation is they'll spend the majority of their time in the campaigns, then visit either their personal EK to do some crafting, or searching through the public EKs if they have some money and want to buy something from a vendor. Once a few EKs get established as good trading posts, EKs will be even less interesting. They'll be relegated to the likes of the fleet stations in SW:TOR - somewhere you visit regularly to buy/sell/wait, but not interesting or engaging in their own right. 

    - On "On the other hand...CU is going for mostly horizontal progression...", Crowfall is also, on the other hand, going horizontal;
    That's good news. Last time I read through their site, they weren't explicit about horizontal or vertical, but kept talking about great new gear that you'd be able to craft with rare mats, or awesome loot drops. This indicated vertical gear progression, as did all their other language. I will be very happy to be wrong though - vertical progression is anathema to me and guaranteed to kill off a pvp focused MMO. 

    -On "Customisation...so many more options" seems ti imply that crowfall will, somehow be shallow(er) in that regard, which is - if not directly wrong - at least quite controversial;
    CU has 3 realms, 19 races and 30 classes. Classes aren't mirrored between realms. It uses the ability builder system to you can effectively create your own skills. Combined with horizontal progression, CU will give us the ability to create exactly what we want. 

    Crowfall has 2 realms, 12 races and 11 classes. As far as I'm aware, it doesn't have an ability builder, so you just level up and unlock skills. Its also an action combat game, so will have far less skills than CU. 


    CF is still a step up compared to a lot of modern MMOs, but CU just seems far better than CF at this point in time. On aesthetic customisation, I've no idea which is best, but customisation that affects gameplay....yeh, CU seems to be winning. 

    - On more stuff below about CU's deep crafting and awesome community, again - I don't see Crowfall deprived of that, or even just inferior!?
    I guess the primary difference is that CU's community activity will take place in the open world, whereas a lot of CF's community activity will be hidden away in private eternal kingdoms. It's hard to form a community when you are all hiding in your private housing instance!

    In addition, it's my understanding that there will be multiple campaigns running at any given time, each with different rulesets and durations. This is just further segregating the community. 

    So, to my mind it doesn't look like CF is particularly fostering a good community. There don't seem to be gameplay systems in place to bring people together and I think the devs are putting too many hopes on Eternal Kingdoms. 

    - On "I believe Crowfall, with it's better hype machine, will generate greater initial box sales but will tank shortly afterwards", I believe that Crowfall's hype machine is actually inferior - it's just that they are louder at this point (as they very much have to be - see paragraph below) while CSE keeps low profile, on purpose. Of course, Crowfall can launch and tank (which I don't think will be the case) -  mostly due to it's inferior engine, I'd say.
    You're right, CSE just hasn't turned on the hype machine yet, so they are an unknown. CF just seems to get far more attention than CU. 


    I agree that CU seems more sustainable at this point, but mostly due to Mark's millions = luxury to build the engine from scratch, and massive "built in" ex-DAoC fanbase; I'd say these two guarantee CU to become, at worst, mediocre.

    Whilst the engine is an important factor for the success, it will depend on how players behave in game. With CF segregating it's community across instanced housing and separate campaigns, their crap engine may not be an issue if most fights only involve 50 people. 

    I think CU's appeal is much more subtle and hard to explain unless you have a good understanding of how mechanics and psychology interact. Large scale battles and CUBE will likely lead the marketing campaigns, but our connection to our characters and our ownership of the world (as well as, hopefully, awesome combat mechanics) are likely to be greater factors in retention. 
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