A little over a week ago, Crowfall® Creative Director/ArtCraft Co-Founder J. Todd Coleman announced that something “massive” was about to happen, and we followed up with a week full of teasers and hints. The day has finally come for us to pull back the curtain.
The “Massive Reveal” is not one thing, it’s actually THREE things:
- Races & Classes have replaced the archetypes system (watch the video and see the updated webpages here and here!)
- 100+ Disciplines are coming in the next playtest! Details revealed for ALL of them!
- First look at a MAJOR overhaul of our lighting and graphics (also coming in the next playtest) – with a showcase video!
Todd put together a series of answers for questions we know you’ll be asking. We split it into three sections that cover each of those areas.
And away we go…
Part 1. Races & Classes
When we started this project, we decided (as a cost control measure) to use “archetypes” instead of a traditional MMO character creation system where players could separately choose a RACE and a CLASS to make a unique and customized character. This resulted in some unique character types (Centaur, Elken, Guinecean) but had the unfortunate side effect of making characters feel too homogenous.
Thanks to our continued success in crowdfunding and our private funding efforts, we are delighted to announce that we have overcome this limitation. We still have those unique races (far more distinctive than most MMOs!), but we are breaking apart the archetypes so that the choices of “who I want to be” and “what I want to do” in Crowfall are no longer locked together!
We now offer the ability for players to select one of 12 Races: Human, Half-Elf, Nethari, Fey, Wood-Elf, High-Elf, Stoneborn, Half-Giant, Elken, Minotaur, Centaur and Guinecean.
…and 11 Classes: Knight, Confessor, Templar, Ranger, Assassin, Druid, Frostweaver, Champion, Myrmidon, Cleric and Duelist.
Updated details on each of these Races and Classes are now available on our website, Crowfall.com.
IS THE TERM “ARCHETYPE” RELEVANT ANYMORE?
Nope, “archetypes” are no longer a thing. In fact, with this release we have removed the “archetype” pages from our website and replaced them with cross-linked pages that detail each of our Races and Classes.
Which Classes are available to each Race?
Here is a chart that shows the Race/Class combinations that will be available at launch:
Why did you select this set of Race/Class combinations to start with?
We generally tried to make sure there was a good mix; each Race should have a handful of Classes to choose from, and vice versa. There are some that we’ll likely add post-launch. (The great thing about this shift is that it allows us to do any combinations we want to add later.)
For the most part, we made the decisions based on our game narrative and how popular each potential combination would be for our players.
For example: “Why did you allow Elken to be Confessors?”
According to the narrative, the Nethari consider themselves to be “pure” of blood; the chosen people of Arkon the Sun Prince. The Book of Justice makes it unquestionably clear, however, that D’Orion is the son of Arkon. For that reason (and after centuries of heated debate), this odd race of beast-men is allowed to be part of the congregation of the Church of Flame while the other more “normal” races are ostracized.
When we decided which Race/Class combinations to tackle first, we based our decisions on the narrative of the universe, the “cool factor” of each combination and (of course) the amount of work entailed.
I love the combinations, but I really want play an X that is a Y! Can I do that?
Maybe! If it doesn’t match the narrative, probably not – but we’re happy to look at all the potential combinations, and we plan to continue filling out the chart of available combinations over time. If you feel strongly about a particular combination, please feel free to let us know on the forums and we’ll consider it for a future update!
How will this change affect the calculation of Attributes, Skills and Powers?
In short, every choice you make will have an impact. Your Race, your Class and your applied Discipline runestones will all affect your attributes, your skill maxes, your passives and your powers.
For the most part, powers are still derived from your Class (and any Disciplines that you take), but a few of the Races grant racial benefits or powers. For example: all Guineceans can burrow, Centaurs have a naturally faster run speed and all Fey will have access to powers that rely on the use of their wings.
What else changed as a result of this shift?
This change had a few ripple effects on the previously planned archetypes:
- “Legionnaire” has been changed to “Cleric” because it is no longer uniquely related to the Centaur culture. It also means this class will have a rework coming (which, frankly, was already overdue).
- “Stalker” and “Ranger” have been merged into a single class, which will also require some rework, and many of the stealth/anti-stealth features will be moved into Major Disciplines (see below).
- “Forgemaster” class was removed, which makes more sense, anyway, now that crafting skills are a mainline skill tree.
- “Stoneborn” are still available as a Race, of course, and were given Class options that seemed fitting for their culture (Champion, Myrmidon, Cleric and Knight).
As a side note: Don’t be surprised if Forgemaster makes a reappearance as a Major Discipline some point in the future!
Does this mean that you guys cut some functionality?
Not necessarily – all of the things that we planned for the shuffled archetypes will still be supported; they are just being moved around to either other Classes or Disciplines.
This means that you can still make an “Elken Stalker”, but you’ll need to build it (and customize it) by selecting the appropriate Race and Class and acquiring the proper Disciplines runestones. You can still make a Stoneborn who is a master weapon or armor smith, but you’ll do it by investing in the appropriate skill trees and attaching the Discipline runestones that will allow you to maximize the required skills.
Will you add more combinations, going forward?
That was a key part of this decision. It was now-or-never change. After launch, it would have been incredibly challenging (or even impossible) to make a change this impactful without breaking things and/or making a lot of players angry. Players aren’t particularly keen on developers making sweeping system changes after they have invested months (or years) into their characters. (We don’t want to risk a SW:NGE situation.)
By changing the underlying system now, we put ourselves in a position not only to fill out the chart of existing Race/Class combinations – but to add entirely new Races and Classes, as well!
How will this affect the schedule?
Thanks to the aforementioned funding, we have been able to add additional resources internally to add this feature to our game without a significant effect on our schedule.
Will this change character creation?
Yes. Now you will need to select a Race and a Class separately. Different cosmetic options (skin color, hairstyle and hair color) will be available based on the combination you choose.
How does this work with the Necromancy crafting recipes?
Gravediggers will exhume body parts from various cemeteries as before; a body of any given type can be used to create a character of ANY class supported by that type (Race).
How does this affect Skill Training?
We will be mapping all of the ARCHETYPE skill trees over to the corresponding CLASS skill trees. Most of the changes will be cosmetic/name related. For example, the Myrmidon skills were previously named with a Bovine theme; once it is converted to the Myrmidon skill tree that will need to change.
As a natural upshot of this change, any training that you do for a particular Class will benefit ANY character you play of that Class – regardless of Race. (Try out a Stoneborn Myrmidon, or a Half-Giant!)
Part 2. Disciplines
In addition, we are finally releasing details about our DISCIPLINES system, which allows players to take on “sub-classes”, or professions.
How many Disciplines are there?
We have about 100 so far. As a caveat, remember that we are still in pre-alpha, so this list is not final. Some of these will be changed, some will be removed, some will likely be opened up to (or removed from) various Classes -- and more will be added between now and launch.
What Disciplines are available?
Here are screenshots of the current disciplines, including the currently planned powers and passives for each.
Can any character take Disciplines?
Yes, though certain Disciplines will be restricted to particular Classes. None of the Disciplines currently have Race restrictions, but that may change. (Polearms/Polemace Masteries for the Centaur are the first candidate for this)
What kinds of Disciplines are there?
At the high-level, there are currently three types of Disciplines: Weapon Specializations, Major Disciplines and Minor Disciplines
How do I gain a Discipline?
Disciplines are attached to your character via runestones. A runestone is a craftable (and therefore lootable and tradeable) item that you can equip on your character.
These items are similar to the runestones that are used to summon spirit tools, only made of sturdier material (so they do not decay). The materials used when crafting a runestone will have an effect on the attributes and skills provided by that runestone, but not on the powers (or passives) that are applied. This implies an upgrade path: an epic-level archery runestone is numerically better than a uncommon-level archery runestone, but it doesn’t grant any additional functionality.
Can I remove a Discipline from my character, if I change my mind?
Sort of -- attaching a runestone to your character is a (semi)-permanent decision. It CAN be replaced with another runestone or upgraded with a better (higher quality) version of the same runestone, but the original runestone will be destroyed in the process.
Why are the old ones destroyed?
We wanted a mechanism to drain old runestones from the economy to ensure a constant demand and keep our runecarvers (i.e. crafters who specialize in crafting runestones) in business.
Where can I get Runestone disciplines?
They can be crafted by players who specialize in the Runecarving (crafting) skill tree.
For now, we have made it incredibly easy to craft Disciplines – meaning that the recipes used to create Discipline runestones are absurdly simple, and we have granted them to everyone.
This will change, obviously. Right now we want you guys to focus on testing the Disciplines. Making them ubiquitous was an easy way to facilitate that.
How many Disciplines can I take?
Right now, each character can have:
- One Weapon Specialization, such as Master of Axes
- Two Major Disciplines, such as Archery or Scouting
- Three Minor Disciplines, such as Hand of Glory-Sparring-Mortal Sin or Furious-Sturdy-Burning Hatred
What is a Weapon Specialization discipline?
Exactly what you might think; they allow you to specialize in a particular type of weapon, granting you skill bonus and new Powers that can only be used with that weapon.
What is a Major Discipline?
A Major Discipline is a “sub-class”. It’s a full complement of powers that should dramatically change how you play the game. These do more than just grant powers!
- Arcane Archer will grant you equipment slots (Bow and Arrow) and a Ranged Power tray, if you don’t have one.
- Scouting will give you the ability to sneak behind enemy lines and create consumable map items. These items can be sold (or traded) to other players and, when used, they give you a time-sensitive snapshot of an area, clearing out the Fog of War for other players.
The goal of a Major Disciplines is to be role-defining, to make your character feel unique and to open up new game sub-systems that other players can’t access, like anti-stealth, scouting, tracking, trapping, etc.
There are currently 35 Major Disciplines built with many more planned.
What is a Minor Discipline?
Minor Disciplines are like talents (or, for those of you who are familiar with table top RPGs, feats). They can have a dramatic impact on gameplay, but are generally limited to a single effect, power or passive.
There are currently 41 Minor Disciplines built with many more planned.
Passive? What is a Passive?
Passives are a new type of power that can be granted by a Race, Class or Discipline. Basically, passives are effects that you place on your character that don’t require any additional activation on your part. For example, a Regeneration Passive might give you a constant buff to healing. A Fire Shield passive might cause any hits you receive in melee combat to take retaliation damage. A Harvesting Passive might give you a baseline buff in harvesting (removing the need for the Plentiful Harvest potions).
Players can have up to three passives active at any time.
Can different Races (or Classes) take a different number of Disciplines?
Not yet. We wanted to start with things as simple as possible. We may change this in the future.
Now that you have split Races and Classes, how many unique combinations of characters are there?
We haven’t done the math (and it won’t be final until we stop adding Disciplines) but the calculation would be something like: # of Race/Class combinations * Available Weapon Specializations * Available Major Disciplines (* 2) * Available Minor Disciplines (* 3).
Suffice to say: it is a big, big number.
Part 3. Graphics Overhaul
What else are you announcing today?
In addition to the Race and Class revisions, we’re also showing off video footage from the Graphics Overhaul that we’ve been working on for the last few months!
As you can see, this overhaul represents a significant leap forward in terms of visual fidelity of the entire game environment.
How did you upgrade the graphics?
For the last two months, we’ve had a fantastic opportunity to work directly with some of Unity’s top engineers to improve both our client performance and graphics fidelity. We are in the process of incorporating all of the changes and optimizations that they suggested. This visual upgrade is the first noticeable improvement born of that effort.
The most obvious improvement is the incorporation of a new lighting system. This system gives us a TREMENDOUS amount of control over the lighting of our environment: more subtle shadows, more crisp (and colorful) point lights, a vibrant sun and more foreboding dark of night. It also enables a ton of great new atmospheric effects like snow, rain, day/night cycle and fog.
We also took this opportunity to go back and improve a number of our “world assets”, adding more variety (and detail) to our rocks, trees and the various assets that make up the environments of the Crowfall universe.
Can I play with these new settings to adjust the performance and visual look of the game?
Yes! We’ve exposed much of this stuff in the Settings screen for you to play with. Take a look and jump on the forum to let us know the results.
What happens next?
Now that we can support these things in the engine, we’ll start to incorporate them into the game itself, giving us a much wider palette of biomes and the ability to affect the emotional tone of our game environments – bright and energetic mornings, dark and confining nights, and cold and brutal winters.
When will all of this be available to test?
The graphics overhaul, the first 100+ Disciplines (plus crafting recipes to create them and an interface to add them to your character) could all be introduced for testing as early as this weekend. The Race/Class functionality is currently being developed, and we’ll be rolling out the unique combinations to our test server throughout this summer as each one becomes playable.