Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Howdy, everyone!

Thomas “Blixtev” Blair here, and today I am going to reveal the details of another Race: the collection of outcasts known as Half-Elves.

Half-Elves are born through the uncommon (but not unheard of) union of a Wood-Elf and a Human. (The High-Elves consider Humans far beneath them and consider mating with a Human a crime of the highest order.)

Half-Elf children are different than their Human counterparts, and these differences become increasingly apparent as they mature into adulthood. In terms of facial features, they age more slowly, but make quick gains in terms of height, strength and agility. Among Human settlements, stories abound of Half-Elves who live in forests as animals, stealing children and livestock and reverting to savage ways. This causes them to be looked on with suspicion and sometimes outright hostility. It is not uncommon for a Half-Elf to be outcast from certain conservative communities – which often leads them into a life of banditry and crime, further perpetuating the cycle of distrust and enmity.

Crowfall HalfElf Classes Watermarked-1024x573

To punctuate this narrative, the route we chose to go with the Half-Elves from a racial power perspective was that they should get the best of the racial benefits from both Humans and Wood-Elves. (I mean really, it’s bad enough that the Humans and Elves are jerks to them, do the devs have to be, as well?) To counter-balance this obviously ill-conceived and OP decision on our part, Half-Elves don’t receive the Human bonus passive slot nor the Camouflage power granted to the Wood Elves.

As with our Race reveals of the past, I will illuminate what the goals are for the various aspects of the race. Since all of the Races are being given separate Racial runestones, we may have to go back and do updates for those as well. (I don’t expect we’ll revisit the Classes unless something dramatic changes.)

Each Race is represented with a unique Racial runestone, a collection of powers and passives relating to that Race. These use the same technology as our Discipline (sub-class) runestones: they can be attached to an avatar and will fundamentally change the attributes, powers, skill maxes and passives of that character. Race runestones change the character at a more fundamental level, determining which art and animation assets are used to render this character. As such, they are automatically baked into the character at time of creation and can’t be changed subsequently.

These Runestones will change how the character is played; equipment slots can be added or removed and that can, in some cases, even grant new “modes” like stealth or ranged combat that unlock a dedicated power tray.

As a high-level goal, we want each Race to offer very different and significant gameplay elements. The standard for MMOs in recent years has been to offer extremely watered-down versions of Racial powers or, even worse, to forgo Racial benefits entirely. This design decision has led to Race selection being little more than a cosmetic choice for most games.

We’re going in the opposite direction. Since each Race is encapsulated with a Discipline (that can effectively be a sub-class), we have the creative leeway to make each Race unique.


Look familiar? It even has a mouse-over tooltip just like a Discipline runestone… because, under the hood, it is!

The Half-Elf Racial Discipline grants the “best-of” both Humans and Wood-Elves, allowing them to receive:

  • An attribute bonus to Dexterity, Intellect and Spirit,
  • An additional Power Slot on all of their Power Trays,
  • A Bloodline Power (a free passive)…

What’s a Bloodline Power? Great question!

In our Meet the Elken update, we introduced the concept of a Bloodline Passive. For anyone who missed it: every race will get one unique Bloodline Passive that represents a latent magical benefit passed down throughout the generations as a result of your character’s lineage.

Passives are exactly that, a buff or effect that is on your character all the time. Any number of things can grant you a potential Passive, like your Class, Disciplines or even an item – but you normally have a limit of only three Passives that can be active at any time.

The Bloodline Passive circumvents those limitations, as it is a free Passive – and by “free” we mean that it doesn’t chew up one of your three passive slots. You get the benefit of this passive power automatically (and permanently)!

The Bloodline Passive is different for each Race, and it is automatically equipped and don’t have to be loaded out in the Powers UI. It is always active when you are playing a character of this Race.


The Half-Elf Bloodline passive consists of:

  • Trailblazer – This grants the Half-Elf a 15% movement speed boost while in the Survival Tray.

Additionally, this Race offers one Active Power, the race-specific right-click Dodge which is a short range roll that gets them out of danger.

The planned line-up of available Classes for the Half-Elf at launch includes:
Ranger, Assassin, and Druid. The powers above (both active and passive) will be available to ALL Half-Elf characters, regardless of Class.

As one of our Humanoid races, both male and female versions of the Half-Elf will be available to play.

Now that we’ve split our Archetypes into Races and Classes, we’re taking the opportunity to make our Races unique and interesting. Races will be unique in terms of attributes, equipment slots, powers and Bloodline Passives (which are always active and don’t chew up one of your three passive slots).

The Half-Elf will add a fun choice for players who can’t quite decide between Humans and Elves, as they offer a portion of the best of each!

That’s it for today! Hope you like the sneak peek at one of the newest races headed to Crowfall!

Thomas “Blixtev” Blair
Design Lead, ArtCraft Entertainment

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