Crowfall review in progress | MMORPG.com
Crowfall of ArtCraft Entertainments is a crowdfunded MMORPG that promises full scale PVP scenarios, Guild vs. Guild campaigns, and even Faction vs. Faction wars to eliminate that PVP itch. With Thrones self-proclaimed as MMORPGs, Crowfall strives to set a new standard for large-scale PVP. I was able to check out the most recent closed beta of the game at the end of June and had mixed feelings about this new MMO in the making.
Fast forward to last week and Crowfall officially launched on July 6th. With just under a week of playtime, I’m still on my knees in the PVP melee, but thought I would log out just long enough to give an update on my time in the game so far.
You can expect a full review once I’ve had more time to thoroughly test everything the game has to offer, but for now I’d like to spend a few moments reflecting on my experience at this. day. So grab that caffeinated drink, kick back and enjoy this ongoing Crowfall review from ArtCraft Entertainment.
Complexity as a barrier
I appreciate ArtCraft’s approach to game development. They lean into areas of the MMORPG genre they want without ever trying to fit in elements that don’t really work for their purposes. In Crowfall’s case, everything revolves around PVP.
It is true that you spend the first 27 to 30 levels having a “campaign type” experience. There are quests, NPCs, and world building. However, this is all just a tutorial (yes a level 30 tutorial) to help you master the basic systems of the game. There is really little story in Crowfall other than the opening cutscene to give away. a bit of context as to why the world exists.
That’s not bad because the game was never really pushed as a deep RPG experience. As a longtime MMO player who cut his teeth on vanilla WOW at the time, it was a bit of an adjustment to move to a PVP-centric MMO. In fact, even with 28 levels under my belt at the time of writing, I feel a bit overwhelmed with everything I don’t know about the mechanics, PVP experience, and general gameplay yet.
This is probably one of my biggest reviews to date actually. I hacked, shrunk, and crafted the last 28 levels, basically just finished the tutorial and don’t know what to do next. One of the biggest tips I’ve heard from streamers and YouTubers who brought Crowfall to the fore is that you need to be in a guild. My experience is that once you’ve completed the tutorial area, you can’t actually play and enjoy Crowfall without one.
Unlike the more traditional MMORPG, Crowfall is not based on the concept of building an extended world. This is not an MMO about deep narrative traits or theme park-like experiences. There are very few scripted encounters.
Instead, all player experiences are player-centric. It can lead to some amazing moments in the game. There have been a couple of times I’ve come face to face with two or three enemy players and all kinds of crazy things have ensued. In fact, random open-world encounters have been some of my favorite PVPs in recent memory.
My problem isn’t the lack of scripted events or even the PVP itself (as a traditionally more PVE-centric player, I’m shocked at how much I enjoyed PVP in Crowfall). My problem is that some of the best parts of Crowfall are hidden behind complex systems that have no real explanation. The tutorial area gives you a one or two panel debrief of how some of these endgame elements work, but even these are so spread out during the initial leveling experience that my first one times alone, I was completely lost and confused.
Crowfall has great systems, but as a game that can’t run without a lot of players, I’m concerned about the learning curve. All of Crowfall’s best moments revolve around large groups of people working together. In order to maintain a large player base, it is essential that the experience does not become overwhelming. Right now this can be overwhelming for new players.
It can be awesome anyway
Realize, though, that Crowfall can be awesome. The character development and variety of versions gives players one of the greatest playstyle freedoms I’ve experienced in an MMO. Each of the 11 classes offers 3 subclasses and a wide range of talents to choose from. I appreciate the amount of detail and thought that went into organizing the classes, their unique play styles, and the resulting diversity of play during campaigns. Seriously, ArtCraft came out of the park on this one.
Crafting is its own game with a wide range of options. I also like the way the craft is handled. Each element of Crowfall has a level of durability. These items cannot be repaired and once destroyed they must be replaced.
Unlike most systems that rely on your current crafting level, Crowfall’s system relies on the quality of the material you craft into the item you create. Once created, you can even add new items in an attempt to increase stats or durability. This helps boost the player economy and makes players like me, who aren’t necessarily the best at PVP, feel like they’re contributing to my guild by crafting higher level items for other players.
Fighting is also great fun for the most part. I enjoy the action-centric combat with no tab targeting or auto hit mechanics. Instead, players must rely on more than numbers to take out an enemy. As a melee player, it’s a nice change to be able to dodge an arrow or fire spell while closing the gap on ranged players.
All the building blocks are there for a positive experience for new players and veterans alike. He’s fresh enough in his approach to traditional systems like combat or crafting that he feels new and engaging.
This community although
A community can make or break an MMO and Crowfall definitely does it for me. So far my experience with the community both in the general chat and within my guild and faction has been fantastic.
As the game is still in its early stages, building a strong community will be essential for players to come back, especially with the aforementioned learning curve. Fortunately, I haven’t experienced any of the patient and helpful answers to the most basic questions I have asked in the game and in my guild chat.
Ultimately, I think community is what will make Crowfall a successful MMO in the long run. Where other MMOs can draw on narrative RPG elements to keep players coming back Crowfall has put all its eggs in the community basket. This attraction to gaming with people who are really focused on working together is something that a lot of MMOs lack and Crowfall not only leans on but builds on it. Could this backfire on you? Absolutely; but I appreciate their willingness to engage in it and so far the community that is growing in the game proves ArtCraft right. They are welcoming, helpful and eager to talk about the MMO they are playing.
I’m just starting to understand all of the endgame mechanics in Crowfall. At level 28, I left the tutorial area, joined a guild, and now scour the internet for tutorials on all the PVP content Crowfall has to offer. Fortunately, my guild mates have been exceptionally patient so far.
If you’re new to a more sandboxed, PVP-focused MMO, my advice would be to really give it a try. It’s not like a World of Warcraft or FFXIV. There is absolutely a learning curve which is intimidating and at times overwhelming. You will need other players, to be in a guild and to invest in your community. Honestly, this is something that was lacking in a lot of recent MMOs, so I’m taking the opportunity to come back to it. Keep things locked on MMORPG.com for our full review ahead.