BEWARE THE HUNGER

BEWARE THE HUNGER

Thursday, June 28, 2018

"We continue to research the mysterious force that the common folk call the Hunger.
Our efforts are stymied by the contagion; which resists even the power of the divine.
We have never seen a plague which eats through flesh and stone alike!
It spreads from a man to his bed, to his house and his farm...
…to his neighbor, his village, his priest and his king.

Blood and bone, rock and tree.  All life. All warmth. All is consumed.

As I write this, my pen falters.  I feel the infection crawling up my hand to my chest... 
It throbs with a heartbeat that drowns out my own, a funeral drum that gains strength,
Even as my own breath falters..."

The Archives of the Mother Church, Archdiocese of Cautemer,
Transcribed from a letter purportedly by Father Fruehmeyer of Alabanthar

We can find no further evidence of any world by this name.


THE HUNGER
A quick refresher: the Crowfall® universe consists of many worlds – a fractured collection of floating islands magically linked by a series of Runegates. These worlds are dying; a mysterious force known as the Hunger is corrupting each world, draining it of warmth and life until it crumbles to dust and is no more.

As the central narrative driver of conflict in the Crowfall universe, the Hunger is a dark, supernatural phenomenon of unknown origins. It exists in parallel to, or potentially even as a counter-point to, the divinity of the Gods. It spreads across the land like a pox – a nocturnal disease that affects the land, the trees, and every living creature that it touches. The Hunger manifests in two ways: as a contagion that infects the world and in the corruption of creatures that live there.

THE MARCH OF TIME
As we’ve inferred in previous updates, the next version of Crowfall will include systems that dynamically (and permanently) change the game world based on the passage of time! This includes a repeating day/night cycle, with dynamic lighting and triggered game events that occur within each loop, as well as seasonal effects that track the progress of the Campaign from the beginning of Spring until the end of Winter... at which point the Campaign ends as the Hunger consumes that world and triggers the exodus of the players to another.

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The passage of time can affect the game world in several ways, from increasing and decreasing harvesting spawns to adding or removing effects from player characters, to changing the nature and timing of the monsters that spawn there. Of these, the most notable effects center around, as noted above, the contagion of the Hunger and the corruption of the world.

Specifically:

THE CONTAGION
Infection sites appear as a towering cluster of black, living crystals that drain warmth and life from everything around then. New infection sites will take hold in every Campaign world every “midnight” (game time, not real-world time), erupting from the ground in seemingly random locations. The cosmetic effect on the game world will be instantly recognizable: a towering mass of black crystals will appear, and a thick blanket of snow will cover the surrounding area. Any trees, rocks, ore veins, buildings, or props caught in this radius will be frozen in thick ice, rendering them impervious to damage and impossible to harvest.

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DESTROYING THE INFECTION
Spirit tools can be used to clear the site of an infection by destroying the crystalline structure. Destroying the hunger crystal will return the area to its natural state, at which point the resources can once again be harvested – until that infection returns. Eliminating one hunger crystal might temporarily clear an area, but it won’t stop the disease. The contamination will inevitably spread the following night – perhaps in the same location, perhaps elsewhere in the world. Much like a disease, it can be challenging to predict where it will spread.

It should also be noted that the Hunger will appear with more frequency as the seasons progress, consuming more and more of the world as winter – and the end of the world – approaches.

HUNGER SHARDS
The one benefit to the proliferation of hunger crystals is that players can sometimes find valuable hunger shards within a demolished crystal. These are useful in crafting and are necessary component in starting a siege (by planting a Banewood tree).

These cannot be collected from any other resource.

THE CORRUPTION
Not only will the Hunger create constraints on resources, but the corruption that it spreads will make traveling after sundown a dangerous endeavor. Once a creature has become infected by the Hunger, the effect is immediate and obvious. Normally docile creatures will turn aggressive and ravenous; hideous, twisted nightmares that stalk the night to find and devour the living.

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FROM DUSK TILL DAWN
Unlike the hunger crystals (which will persist if they aren't eradicated), Hunger-infected creatures cannot survive sunlight... so if you can make it to the morning, these creatures will be destroyed.

Some creatures may be spared by being near a heat source, like a campfire. This can offer them some measure of protection in the warmer months when the contagion is easier to fend off. But no beast is safe from the Hunger’s icy death-grip as the nights grow longer and winter settles in.

SUMMARY
The arrival of time as a foundation of our experience has been long while coming! The day/night cycle and seasons offer us the chance to (finally) change the game experience on both a session-to-session and a season-to-season basis! This is also a great opportunity to recognize the impact of time as a key factor in virtual world design, and to see how the game can be impacted – not just by the actions of our players, but by the very nature of a dynamic model in which the game world never resets.

As always, we look forward to hearing your thoughts on the forums, and we’ll see you in game!

J Todd Coleman
Design Director, ArtCraft Entertainment

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