- What are Campaign Worlds?
- Are reset mechanics typical for an MMO?
- How do you combine these two concepts?
- How big do you expect each campaign to be? And how long will they last?
- But since the campaign worlds go away, doesn't that make it less persistent than most MMOs?
- Do I get anything for participating in campaigns?
- Are there days and nights?
- What does a typical campaign look like?
- Are all of the worlds the same?
- How are the world bands different?
- What determines the rules of a Campaign?
- If you can make equipment in your Eternal Kingdom, won't that create balance issues?
- But what if I choose a Campaign that allows for items, but I don't bring any? That would be unbalanced!
- What if I want to join a Campaign where everyone arrives without any items?
- Why would I choose to play in different rulesets of Campaigns?
- If I am unwilling to play on those worlds, does that mean I won't have access to certain resources?
- What is to prevent people from non-stop Campaign hopping?
- How many Campaigns will be running at once?
- Are Campaign Worlds region locked?
- Why would I participate in a long Campaign? It seems like I would get more rewards from doing a bunch of shorter ones?
- Are there any victory conditions other than the passage of time?
- How open are you guys to trying new ideas within Campaigns?
- How are rewards determined at the conclusion of a Campaign?
What are Campaign Worlds?
Campaign Worlds are different worlds, on different servers, that are essentially self-contained games. They each have their own maps, sets of rules, and resources. They represent a mix between the traditional MMO and a strategy game. The key characteristic to any strategy game is that it has victory conditions: some way for players to win and lose. The way we keep this working with repeated play is with a restart mechanic. This is where the board is reset, and the players can start again on more or less equal footing.
In this way the Campaign Worlds contrast the Eternal Kingdoms: EKs are persistent and non-destructible; Campaigns are in a constant state of change.
Are reset mechanics typical for an MMO?
No. Most MMOs don’t need one because, if you don’t give players the ability to affect the world, no one ever wins. The downside, of course, is that the game is static. No one wins because winning (and losing) is impossible.
Strategy games are inherently different, because they are dynamic: player decisions can fundamentally change the state of the game for every other player.
This is the problem we set out to solve. Can we marry the idea of a persistent world ─ where players keep their characters and loot ─ with dynamic rules where actions have consequences?
How do you combine these two concepts?
“Eternal Heroes, Dying Worlds.”
What if characters are persistent, but the worlds are not? Consider each Campaign World (or server) as a separate strategy game. It has a distinct beginning, middle and end – like a game of “Risk”, or “Civilization”. These worlds last only until a victor is declared.
But because the characters are persistent, when a campaign ends, you take your character, your equipment, and the spoils of war from that Campaign, and move on to the next. This gives the game a feeling of permanence while still allowing late-arriving players a chance to be competitive. Additionally, we have “home worlds” (Eternal Kingdoms) that are player-run and not time-limited. These are like traditional MMO servers. The idea is that players can participate in a series of campaigns over the life of the character, and use these kingdoms as a staging area between campaigns.
How big do you expect each campaign to be? And how long will they last?
These campaigns are fully populated – our goal is 2000 concurrent players (which supports a total player population of about 10,000) – and continent-sized. They are MMO servers with one huge, contiguous map. The only limit that will be placed on the user population for each Campaign World will be the technical limitations of the hardware in how many players the server can handle.
As for time scale, we expect Campaigns to last anywhere from one to three months. Technically, they can be shorter or longer, so we’ll put up a handful of options, and see which are most popular. Some campaigns will be time-limited, and others will end based on a triggered event (i.e one faction or guild takes over the entire map).
But since the campaign worlds go away, doesn't that make it less persistent than most MMOs?
Actually, no! Remember: most MMOs don’t allow you to modify the world at all. The only persistent data they store IS your character data. Since your character data is permanent in Crowfall, too, it’s technically accurate to say that Crowfall is “just as persistent as most MMOs.”
The difference is that our maps are constantly changing. Campaign Worlds will be continually created and destroyed, which means the Universe is always in flux. As a result, the game will feel a lot more fresh and exciting. We can also allow the players to fundamentally change the world without fear of long-term problems. So, hey, go ahead and wreck the place!
Do I get anything for participating in campaigns?
Yes. In addition to the glory of victory, Campaigns are the primary method of collecting materials and rare resources for use in the Eternal Kingdoms. They are also the source of Artifacts and Relics.
The best items in the game, though, will be goods crafted by your fellow players. And the materials used in these goods will come directly from the spoils of the Campaign Worlds.
Are there days and nights?
Yes. There is a cycle of day and night, as well as seasons. As the seasons progress and the Hunger begins to infect the world, the appearance of the terrain and creatures will change, too. This means that if you haven’t logged into a Campaign in a while, it may look very different from the last time you played!
What does a typical campaign look like?
Here is an example of what a Campaign might look like:
Phase 1 is Spring. The Campaign map is hidden by the fog of war. You are dropped into an unknown, deadly environment. This world is filled with the ruins of ancient castles, abandoned mines and haunted villages – which you have to explore to scavenge for weapons, tools and the resources to start building fortifications.
Phase 2 is Summer. The Hunger starts to infect the creatures. Resources become scarce. Your team claims an abandoned quarry and must fight to keep it. You use the stone to build an ancient keep, then use it as a staging area to attack your neighbors.
Phase 3 is Fall. The creatures become more deadly as the Hunger takes hold. Resources are heavily contested and transporting them is fraught with peril. Your guild frantically builds a wall around your city, as the nature of conflict shifts from smaller skirmishes to siege warfare.
Phase 4 is Winter. The environment is brutal. Warmth is hard to come by. Your kingdom grows in strength; your neighbors falter and you demand that they swear fealty or face complete loss of the Campaign. Instead, a handful of smaller kingdoms choose to band together against you.
Phase 5 is Victory or Defeat. The World is destroyed in a cataclysmic event as the Campaign comes to an end. Your Kingdom emerges victorious, and you return to the Eternal Kingdoms to enjoy the spoils of war. Your adversaries head home, too – to lick their wounds.
Are all of the worlds the same?
No, in fact none are the same. The Crowfall universe is divided into “rings” or “bands” of Worlds. Each band contains multiple worlds that have a common ruleset, running in parallel. Within each Band, new worlds will be constantly appearing (and disappearing, whenever a Campaign ends).
No two worlds will ever be exactly alike. They will all have completely unique maps, distinct Campaign rules, and different resources that can be gathered.
How are the world bands different?
World bands differ first based upon how dynamic the world is. In the three-faction realms (God’s Reach), factions can claim the ruins of forts and keeps already scattered across the world, rebuild them and then inhabit them. In the Dregs, guilds are free to stake their claim to open land and build walls, towers and buildings to their own design.
The bands also have inherently different rulesets. The God’s Reach is based, as mentioned, around three factions: Order, Balance, and Chaos. Players choose their faction when they enter the Campaign, and are automatically teamed with other people who also chose that faction. The Dregs, conversely, represent guild-versus-guild Campaigns. As we add more functionality to the game, there’s always room for other bands to be discovered.
What determines the rules of a Campaign?
There are many different options that have to be defined in order to determine the combined ruleset of each Campaign. They can be broad, sweeping choices like the size of the map, the duration of the Campaign, class or race restrictions, and loot rules (what happens to a player’s items and vessel when they die). They also include more narrow options like the import/export limits (what you can bring in and take out of a Campaign), the scarcity of certain resources, or limitations on particular races and classes.
These options boil down to three main questions: How are the teams selected? What are the rulesets? How are these rules enforced or modified?
Two example basic rulesets are Tug of War and King of the Hill. King of the Hill follows your typical versus rules: three factions (Order, Chaos and Balance) vie to gain supremacy by claiming the most forts and keeps. In Tug of War, a variation on King of the Hill, Order and Chaos win by claiming the most forts and keeps for their side. Balance’s goal, on the other hand, is to stalemate Order and Chaos so that there’s no clear victor. While they can claim and defend their own forts and keeps, they also have the option of helping either Order or Chaos to manipulate the score – though they open themselves up to friendly fire from these so-called “allies”.
Building up fortifications and defending your faction’s territory will be just as important as attacking and claiming buildings held by other factions.
If you can make equipment in your Eternal Kingdom, won't that create balance issues?
Each Campaign will have separate rules regarding importing items. Everyone coming into the Campaign will be subject to those same rules. The key to the reset mechanic isn’t necessarily cleaning the board entirely, but more making sure everyone is starting on roughly equal footing to make the game fun.
If everyone is allowed to bring the same number of assets into a Campaign, then the starting condition is still balanced.
But what if I choose a Campaign that allows for items, but I don't bring any? That would be unbalanced!
Well, yeah, don’t do that.
Our design goal is to ensure that players have the opportunity to start each Campaign on roughly equal footing. We aren’t going to protect players from making bad decisions.
What if I want to join a Campaign where everyone arrives without any items?
We do have an option we’ve been calling the Terminator ruleset: everyone arrives into the Campaign completely naked.
Why would I choose to play in different rulesets of Campaigns?
As they say: different strokes for different folks.
The various rulesets were also designed to balance risk vs. reward. The more difficult the ruleset, the higher the potential reward.
We’re hoping that you might even step out of your comfort zone and try the more difficult worlds. But that’s your choice.
If I am unwilling to play on those worlds, does that mean I won't have access to certain resources?
You won’t have direct access, but you can buy those resources from other players. Players will be able trade the rewards they bring back from the Campaigns to others, further driving both social interaction and the world-to-world economy. Crafters will need the best resources to make top-quality goods, but they’ll have a tough time surviving the Campaign Worlds to get them. Similarly, combat players will need the best equipment to take on the Campaigns, but they can’t craft it all on their own. This creates an economic cycle wherein crafters and combatants are continually supplying each other.
What is to prevent people from non-stop Campaign hopping?
Campaigns are not intended to be transitory. Our design goal is for players to pick a few Campaigns at any one time and stick with them until the end.
Campaign Worlds will come with a reservation system, and each account will have a set number of Campaigns that it may subscribe to. We may introduce a way to unlock an already-used slot for a price.
How many Campaigns will be running at once?
As many as we need to support our player base!
The universe map shows ruleset bands; at any given time, each band will host a number of Campaigns in various stages of completion. There should always be new Campaigns starting, and old Campaigns coming to an end.
We also host host Campaigns locally in various territories, including throughout Europe with our partner Travian Games.
Are Campaign Worlds region locked?
Nope! Everyone’s free to mix and match which Campaigns they would like to play on, regardless of region.
Why would I participate in a long Campaign? It seems like I would get more rewards from doing a bunch of shorter ones?
Rewards scale up based on the difficulty of the Campaign and the duration. In effect, you can earn more rewards by making the longer-term commitment – and, of course, by winning.
It’s all about risk and reward.
Are there any victory conditions other than the passage of time?
Our system allows us to make any number of Worlds, and any number of rule sets. The amazing thing about this design is that it allows for a huge degree of experimentation! Most MMOs get one chance – at launch – to find a mix of rules that appeals to the players. The great thing about the Campaign architecture is that we can try dozens of ideas in parallel, all the time. It’s like a generic algorithm for MMO design: the good ideas can be replicated (and riffed on), the bad ideas can be filtered out.
How open are you guys to trying new ideas within Campaigns?
Our intention is to make this a community-driven process. We’ll take the best ideas we find, wherever they come from, and give them a shot.
If an idea gains enough traction and fits within the architecture, we’ll try it.
You want to try a world without magic? Cool.
You want to try a world where we introduce cannons as a siege weapon? Sounds interesting.
You want to try a world where each character only has one life – meaning that if you die once, you are permanently banned from the World? Sure, let’s do it.
That’s the cool thing about this approach: we’re turning our community into a massive, game-designing hivemind.
How are rewards determined at the conclusion of a Campaign?
Players can place items, resources and materials into export – basically, this is a way of “uploading” items to your Spirit Bank inside a Campaign. Each world has a limit on imports and exports, and each item or stack of items counts as one. Once you have exported the item, it will appear in your Spirit Bank and may be transferred into your EK or even another Campaign.
Import/export amounts can be adjusted on the fly as the Campaign is going. You may be able to find an item or Relic that grants your team additional import/export tokens – or a curse that removes some!