Crowfall: You've got your SWG crafting in my Shadowbane

Details are still very scarce on this MMO. You can find the official website here:

What caught my attention is that I follow Raph Koster and he posted this yesterday: Working on Crowfall!.

In there, he mentions:

I’ve helped out on everything from economics and materials design to yeah, dipping my toes into Todd’s bloodthirstiness and the warfare design that is embodied in “play to crush.” :) (If there was any doubt this is Todd’s game, that should be a hefty clue!)

That said, it’s definitely got me in the mix too! Most obviously, from today’s announcements, will be mention of an abstract resource system underlying the crafting system. It’s been something that has been absent from the MMO scene lately, despite the lessons from UO and SWG showing how powerful it can be in terms of enabling crafting as a true role in its own right. You can read about that more over on this interview with Thomas Blair — everyone just calls him Blair. :) Blair worked on SWG, and with me at Disney to boot, so we’ve had years worth of collaboration on games and game economies in this style, and in this interview he spills, well, some beans on how it will work.

Crafting is also central to this interview: Building Upon Star Wars Galaxies’ Crafting

Crafting is a central part of the player-driven Economy in Crowfall. Open-ended economic systems are tough to pull off. The closest model to ours is probably Eve Online, though you can see the ways in which it ties to ideas that were originally surfaced in Ultima Online, Star Wars Galaxies, and Shadowbane.
The most obvious goal of crafting in Crowfall is to enable players to create amazing items that tie directly into the different systems, like equipment, city building and sieging. The less obvious but equally important goal is to create interlocking behaviors that drive players to engage with other players.
The benefits of crafting are obvious: your name will be known, your items sought out far and wide, whispers from other players wanting you to craft for them will never cease, the AFK auto reply will be your only friend! That’s the goal of the crafter. It’s really an exploration game, testing and tuning and building a reputation (and product) that other players can rely on. A bold vision, with a long history of games before us, that hasn’t been attempted in the MMORPG scene in a long time.
In my opinion the MMORPG genre has been stuck in a rut with crafting systems for some time now. A few games have tried it, but the “crafter” profession, as a play experience, doesn’t exist today like it did ten or fifteen years ago.

The game itself seems to be in the bloodthirsty mould of Shadowbane.

Mind you, there is not a lot of information on how this is being funded and what the goals of the game or its scope are yet. This is early days.

But the devs are going to start giving more info on what exactly it will be in the coming weeks.

A peek at the design sessions:

One to keep an eye on.


Koster + MMO? Definitely interested. Never heard of this before, so thanks for the post, Wendelius.

My favorite times in SWG were playing my Carbineer/Beast Handler and going to the forums, seeing what animal resources the big crafters were looking for and then taking some orders and going out harvesting. If they can really follow through on the robust crafting system, I’d be in to give it a try.

Being able to create a character EXACTLY the way you wanted one was awesome in SWG. I loved the game until SOE screwed the pooch on the NGE.

Yup that was one of the big things I loved about it. Still waiting for some game to come even close.

I’ll believe it when I see it. I’ve heard this too many times since 2005.

This game totally isn’t for me; I hate PvP and I find SWG-style complex crafting totally boring.

That said, I’m happy to see the genre revisiting some of its past ideas rather than iterating on variously-polished dikuclones. Shadowbane was the only MMO to integrate truly meaningful PvP, with consequences for failure that don’t reset every 8 hours. And while I have no desire to set myself up as a supplier or merchant in a MMO, I found SWG’s crafting game fascinating to read about. I wouldn’t mind playing in a world where other people do that stuff.

True innovation would be even better than revisiting. But, baby steps.

Yeah, I will be watching this for sure now, although cautiously.

I still have vivid memories of the first few weeks after I became a Master Weaponsmith in SWG and how I would have another stranger I met along the way be my “dealer” and he would message me each day with some custom gun orders for me to fill. It was actually pretty sweet. I remember having this stockpile of 997 copper or something and could make really good sub parts for the guns in my factory. It was quite a grind to get there, but it was a pretty fun journey too and the relationships that people formed in the game were highlights for me.

I also had some pretty incredible moments in Shadowbane. On one server we played with a mercenary guild that were really good and professional in their contracts and that was quite an experience doing all sorts of different contracts for and against many different guilds in the game. On another server that we switched to, we played with some old DAOC alliance mates and were part of some pretty memorable sieges and experiences in that game. Still, while I am not a big pvp twitch player right now, Shadowbane had a lot of work that needed to be done in the day to day tasks that helped the overall guild succeed and there were plenty of things people could do to contribute even if they didn’t want to pvp all the time.

Color me interested for sure and will be one to watch anyway.

Minus a lightsaber. And force powers. :(

Well, yeah,

But it was the only MMO I’ve played I could create a hybrid that was self sufficient.

Also on the crafting side, it’s pretty funny that Todd is recreating Shadowbane except that in this version, you will be able to bake bread. And Raph is the guy doing it! Weird how the industry cycles around sometimes.

“The less obvious but equally important goal is to create interlocking behaviors that drive players to engage with other players.”

To me, this has been the single biggest problem with every MMO post EQ, the continual migration towards player isolation. Every MMO currently on the market is little more than a glorified single player experience.

That’s because everybody that played EQ was burned by days /played sitting the zoneline in Lower Guk advertising for a group in /ooc before finally giving up defeated hours later having not actually played the game at all. It’s been a long time, and there’s a whole new generation who looks at that sort of thing with fascination talking about “forced player dependency” like it’s a magic cure-all rather than a huge fuck you.

But what does this have to do with Everquest? Sorry, I wanted to make a play on a 1999 “what does this have to do with Shadowbane?” meme from Lum’s forums circa 1999. For my own amusement, obviously. :D

Anyway, I am serious though. Why does interlocking behaviors and player engagement have to have anything to do with camping Lower Guk or other design decisions made in Everquest?

EDIT: I get that Ultrazen mentioned the design migration since EQ, but what Crowfall is talking about doesn’t seem to be related to EQ in any way.

Current MMOs aren’t single-player experiences. You play in a shared persistent world. The difference between Everquest circa 1999 and modern MMOs is that player dependency isn’t forced. And it turns out that when it isn’t forced, players largely prefer to play solo. Even though grouping up has many advantages and power multipliers, people don’t do it. This is not a degenerate corruption of multiplayer gaming. It’s what people want.

I’ve had similar issues with the modern day popcorn MMOs… there’s no reason for them to be MMOs. If I’m playing by myself 99% of the time, just make a single player game and avoid all the typical crap that comes with the “massively multiplayer” part of the equation.

Or, make it a singleplayer game where you can queue up for online gameplay as in raids and the like. I’m always surprised no games does this.

Warframe and games of its ilk are pretty close.

The kickstarter is up for this. I’m interested, but being an MMO on kickstarter I’m not sure I’ll be buying in.

Yeah, I was kinda interested until I read this

The beginning of each Campaign is like the first round of Civilization: players are dropped into a harsh environment, surrounded by Fog-of-War. The Worlds are filled with deadly monsters, haunted ruins, abandoned quarries… and the most dangerous predator of all, other players.

Craft weapons, scavenge armor, secure a stronghold, forge alliances and conquer the World.

So, griefers paradise - no thanks!