About this project
Crowfall is a new Massively Multiplayer Online Game brought to you by Gordon Walton (Executive Producer of Ultima Online,The Sims Online, Star Wars: Galaxies and Star Wars: the Old Republic) and J. Todd Coleman (Creative Director of Shadowbane, Wizard101 and Pirate101).
A seamless blend of an MMO with a large-scale Strategy game!
Players control the universe, to shape as they see fit. We call it a Throne War Simulator, and it’s different in three fundamental ways:
Eternal Heroes, Dying Worlds.
Characters are persistent, but the Campaign Worlds are not. Players are Immortal Champions, traveling between realms to fight in an eternal War of the Gods.
Each Campaign World is a server or "realm". It exists for a limited time – typically 1 to 3 months -- or until some win condition is met.
During this time, the World will change. Each Campaign has four stages: Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.
With each passing season, the World grows more deadly as the land is consumed by an unstoppable legion of undead -- The Hunger.
At the end of Winter, the Campaign is over. A victor is declared, the map is wiped and that World goes offline forever...
...but the characters are NEVER wiped. Instead, the participants take their winnings back home to the Eternal Kingdoms, to prepare and strategize for the next Campaign.
Everything Changes and That Changes Everything.
The Worlds are made of voxels (like Minecraft, only much less blocky) – which means the entire World is destructible. We are harnessing VoxelFarm technology to generate an endless succession of unique and interesting Campaign Worlds for you to mine, shape, conquer and destroy.
Our Campaign maps are procedurally generated -- meaning that we automate the process of creating every mountain, forest, river, castle and abandoned village. Each World is different, which means that the game of territorial conquest will be different in every Campaign.
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.
Allies. Enemies. Empires. Betrayal. Risk. Conquest.
There are two types of Worlds in the Crowfall universe: the Campaign Worlds, which produce materials (stone, iron and wood) and the Eternal Kingdoms, which are barren of resources -- but last forever.
If each Campaign is like a soccer match, the Eternal Kingdoms encompass the entire season! Unlike the Campaigns, these Worlds are permanent -- and they are completely managed and owned by the players.
Players act as rulers -- they can divide up their domains into provinces and grant those lands to other players. Benevolent monarch or iron-fisted tyrant, what kind of kingdom will you rule?
The Eternal Kingdom can be massive -- with mountains and rivers, castles and villages, dungeons and ruins. They are also devoid of resources: stone, iron and wood.
To gain the resources necessary to build structures and craft items, players will have to participate in Campaigns... or treat with those who do.
Since each Campaign World is unique (and time-limited) we can change the rules of the game from one to the next!
- Which races can participate in this Campaign?
- What is this Campaign’s duration or end-condition?
- How are the teams broken up? Is this a War of the Gods? Guild-versus-Guild? Free-for-All?
- What resources can be scavenged? How abundant are they? How harsh is the game of survival?
- What are the rules for death and respawning? Do items decay on death? Can I loot the corpses of other players?
The Worlds of Crowfall are divided up into discrete zones, and each one circles around the Hunger. The closer a World is to the center, the greater the risk -- and the higher the reward!
Each Campaign will be different. You (and your guild) can decide which style is right for you. If you change your mind, you can always try a different Campaign... with a fresh start, every time.
These player-owned and player-managed kingdoms are the only permanent (non-time limited) Worlds. They are complete, functional Worlds - but lack resource factories (such as quarries, mines and mills) and produce only common reagents. Players rule these Home Worlds as Monarchs and can grant land and titles to other players in exchange for oaths of fealty. Levy taxes, enforce trade restrictions, and set the PvP rules within your domain.
The proving grounds for Order, Balance, and Chaos. Players join one of three divine Factions and battle for control of the World. The goal for Order and Chaos is to capture as much territory as possible before the World is destroyed. The goal for Balance is to ensure there in no clear victor between Order and Chaos.
These Worlds are more deadly and the stakes are higher. The alliances of the Gods hold no sway here. The followers of the twelve Gods vie individually for the Throne.
The Shadow Worlds lie closer to the Hunger, where even the Gods dare not tread. On these Worlds it's Guild vs Guild competition for the abundance of resources and rich cache of souls.
On the razor-thin edge of the Hunger lies the Dregs... Worlds utterly drained of warmth, about to shatter into dust. Alliances between Guilds are weak and brittle. These every-man-for-himself Worlds are deadly and unforgiving - yet they yield the greatest reward for those who can survive.
You are an immortal Champion of the Gods. Campaigns come and go, but your heroes will live on -- and continue to advance, from one Campaign to the next.
Heroes are created using a deep character customization system, with user-selected Advantages and Disadvantages.
Start with a base archetype (such as a Knight) and add advantages (such as "eagle eye", which increases archery skill) and disadvantages (such as "weak heart", which decreases endurance -- but frees up points to spend elsewhere).
You can create and manage multiple characters and participate in multiple Campaigns at once -- each with unique powers, skills and resources!
Each hero archetype represents a core role and play-style. For instance, certain heroes will be extremely effective in combat situations while others excel at crafting and resource management.
Though each role is initially balanced for distinct specializations, players will have MANY ways to customize their hero's stats, appearance, abilities and gear!
As characters grow they can collect up to three Disciplines, which are sub-classes such as archery, blacksmithing, or bounty hunting. Disciplines can dramatically alter and enhance a character's skills and capabilities.
Our goal for this Kickstarter is to fund the core module of Crowfall.
How many games can you play with a standard deck of cards? Poker, Blackjack, Bridge – the variety is endless. Think of the core module like our baseline deck of cards. This is the foundation of the game, on which all the variant rules sets can be built.
Much of the core module work has already been done; we are looking to the community to help us finish it. Specifically, we will use these funds to build:
* The core module is estimated to be delivered by Winter 2016. First release (with partial functionality) will begin alpha testing in late Summer 2015.
Our company is new, but our team has been doing this for a long time. J. Todd Coleman was the Creative Director of Shadowbane, Wizard 101, and Pirate 101. Gordon Walton was the Executive Producer of Ultima Online, The Sims Online, Star Wars Galaxies, and Star Wars: the Old Republic…and that’s just the founders of ArtCraft!
The team we have brought together includes key members of many of the MMO’s that you’ve played and loved. We know how to build MMOs. Now we want to build something new.
We appreciate your support and aim to provide the best value for our backers. Please visit our Kickstarter FAQ for more details.
Risks and challenges
Game development is a difficult and risky endeavor, and Massively Multiplayer Online games are among the most challenging. The ArtCraft team, led by J. Todd Coleman and Gordon Walton, consists of some of the more experienced MMO developers in world.
All time lines have been planned and estimated as well as possible, however game development is an iterative process and this means that schedules cannot always be guaranteed.
Our commitment to you:
- We will use ALL of the funds raised to directly further the development of Crowfall
- We will do our best to deliver each module of the game on time, and with the highest level of polish possible
- We will stay in constant communication with you, our community, to let you know of changes to our content, features or scheduleLearn about accountability on Kickstarter
Crowfall is only available for Windows PCs at this time.
The short answer is: you can’t. At least, not a game with the scope of Crowfall. Fortunately, that isn’t our plan.
We are limiting our scope of Crowfall in two major ways: first, we’re starting with the core module of the game, not the entire vision of the game, and second, we opted to make a game based primarily on player-interaction instead of linear content – which is THE major cost for most MMOs.
Additionally, to make the game as efficiently as possible, we are leveraging trusted technology (like Unity, PhysX, and cloud computing) rather than building everything ourselves. The payoff from this has been enormous.
Lastly, we’ve already raised some money and -- as we said in the video -- we will raise more if we need to. We would prefer to be only answerable to you, our players – but one way or the other, we’re going to get this game made.
ArtCraft took a minority investment round of $2.3 million last year. We will likely sell the rights to Crowfall in foreign territories (especially restricted markets, like China, where we can't ship the game, anyway) to add to our development budget. If that isn't enough, we can always take more minority investment if we need to.
The Kickstarter deliverable (the core module) can be accomplished with our capital and the crowdfunding money -- providing we are successful in meeting our Kickstarter funding goal.
Every kickstarter is, to some degree, a leap of faith. You are betting on the vision, and on the creators. The founders of ArtCraft have invested heavily in his project, and we know that we can make it happen. We’ve built a lot of these games. This isn't our first rodeo. We asked for $800,000 not because that is "everything we need," but because that is "everything we need, from you" for the core module.
There is no monthly fee required.
There is an optional monthly fee, for players elect to sign up for VIP membership.
To be clear: a VIP membership is NOT required to play the game.
Crowfall is “buy to play,” meaning that you only have to buy the retail game, in order to play.
With the purchase of the game, you get a single game account. This account can be used to log into the Crowfall game universe.
Each account is limited to three (3) characters/avatars, and one (1) passive training slot.
Skill advancement for your characters is achieved by (1) using skills in the game, and (2) by using the passive skill training system, which allows you to select a skill for your character(s) to train, even when you are offline.
VIP members are given additional benefits, including:
“Passive training” (automatic skill advancement) for 3 of your characters – not just 1!
Priority access to all game servers
VIP frame/badge on the forums
Discount pricing on any purchases
Behind the scenes access to the development of the game
Other cool (non-balance affecting) benefits as we think of them!
There is a limited micropayment shop, which can only be used to buy things that do NOT affect the balance of the game.
No. The shop only sells cosmetic (non-balance affecting) items, game time, and additional space (parcels of land, on which structures can be placed) for your Personal Kingdom.
Crowfall has a crafting system, which players can use to create items out of raw materials (such as stone, iron, or wood.)
Items like swords, shields, and arrows have attributes – like how much damage they do, or how fast they can be used.
The “Arcane Weapon Recipe set” allows you to apply a unique look to the weapons that you craft. From an attribute standpoint, they are identical to the swords, shields and helmets created by other players – but with a cool, unique look/style.
This recipe set is UNIQUE to our Kickstarter backers. Players who come later will not be able to craft items with the “Arcane Weapons” style.
These are unique cosmetic identifiers which let other players know that you backed Crowfall during our kickstarter! The avatar frame is a graphical frame that surrounds the portrait of your avatar in the game. The forum badge will be displayed when you post messages on our forums.
The standard game account is limited to store only 3 characters/avatars. Some KS reward tiers increase the number of characters or avatars that you can store on your account.
If I buy extra character slots, will the VIP membership give me passive training for those characters, too?
No, VIP memberships only allow you to train 3 your characters in parallel.
Every player starts with a small personal Kingdom. This is sort of like a Minecraft realm – it’s a world that you own, that other players can come and visit (if you let them.)
You control the administration of your Kingdom. That means you can invite player in, kick them out, grant them land, charge them taxes, set the import/export rules and turn on and off player-versus-player combat.
Yes. Some reward tiers include bonus parcels of land. Kingdoms start with 9 parcels (arranged in a 3x3 grid.) Increasing the size of your Kingdom you own means that you have more land that you can grant to other players, on which they can build structures.
These reward tiers also grant you dedicated buildings (such as Castles, Keeps and Cottages) which you can grant other players as Vassals of your kingdom.
The benefit of having more land is indirect – you can attract more players to your Kingdom to trade, craft and socialize.
Building a vibrant, player-driven market will make the land of your Kingdom will be more valuable, and you can leverage that perceived value in the form of higher taxes.
There are in-game (not real world) maintenance fees associated with both land and buildings. Tax-free parcels do not require you to pay any ongoing property tax – though the buildings and structures placed on them will still require maintenance (and of course you can still charge your Vassals as you see fit.)
Product testing happens over the life of the development process, with an increasing number of players in each success phase of testing.
The process is:
We work on the game
We test it internally
We decide that we are ready to run an external test of existing features and content
Invite in a small number of “pre-alpha” testers to play it, to find bugs and get feedback
Go back into development
Invite Pre-Alpha + Alpha 1 testers
Go back into development
…and so on, until we have completed the product and tested it sufficiently for launch.
Once the core module is completed (and tested), we will ship it. If and when we are able to work on other rulesets, we will treat these as separate deliverables, and they will be taken through a parallel (but functionally identical) process.
Alpha testing for certain features of the core module will begin at the end of Summer, 2015. We expect to be testing new features and content on a quarterly basis.
Campaign worlds are generated procedurally. That means we use a program to generate each new Campaign map – with mountains, rivers, valleys, trees, you name it.
Part of this generation includes creating ruins of past civilizations. Abandoned castles, haunted villages, statues of fallen monarchs.
To make these environments come alive, we assign them names (like the “Keep of Argenon” or the “Kingdom of Truganesh”).
These reward tiers give you a chance to add your own names to the mix – helping us to craft the narrative backdrop of the Crowfall universe.
Every Guild has a “coat of arms,” or a guild crest. This is a combination of a field (pattern) on the shield, color choices, and a guild mark or symbol.
Guilds select their symbol for a library of common symbols.
For certain reward tiers, we set aside a collection of additional symbols that can be used to make your Guild crests really “stand out from the crowd.”
The unique heraldry reward is exactly that – rather than selecting your guild symbol from a list, we will work with you to design a guild crest that is entirely unique, and reserved exclusively or your guild.
Note: guild symbols are, of course, subject to our approved before inclusion in the game.
We expect to schedule a tour every 3 to 6 months. Backers who elect to join us as part of a reward package will need to contact us ahead of time for scheduling. Travel and lodging costs to Austin, Texas are not included. - You may bring a +1 to this event!
As often as possible.
Again, backers who elect to join us as part of a HH reward package should contact us ahead of time for scheduling. Travel and lodging costs to Austin, Texas not included in this one, either… but we will buy the first round of drinks.
You may bring a +1 to this event!
This will be a monthly skype call, where various members of the team will field questions from our community about the design of the game, and the development process.
It’s an invitation to dine privately with the founders of ArtCraft (J. Todd Coleman and Gordon Walton). This reward will need to be pre-scheduled, and is generally only available in Austin, Texas (travel and lodging not included.)
If you would prefer to meet in another city during a conference (such as the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco) that might be possible, if the founders already plan on attending.
Contact us and we’ll work it out! - You may bring a +1 to this event!
Our campaigns are set up with a series of “knobs” that allow us to change the rules. You can set things like “what races are allowed?” or “how long should this Campaign last?”
This reward tier gives you the chance to spin the (pre-existing) knobs. Whatever combination of rules you choose, we’ll name that Campaign and launch it in the live environment. If it’s popular, we’ll launch more campaigns with your ruleset. If not, we’ll retire it.
Kickstarter has an absolute backer limit of $10,000. If you are interested in a larger amount, please contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss additional rewards packages at higher tiers!
Yes, but rewards can be transferred once only, and they cannot be stacked (meaning that a single account cannot have multiples of the same reward.)
The structures (castles, villas, etc) can be moved to other Kingdoms -- but once placed there, they can't be removed. So, be careful where you place them!
The parcels of land can't be moved; we could probably solve this problem technically (with some limitations) but it could cause design issues.
After Kickstarter, everyone will need to connect their pledge to their Crowfall.com account. Then, at a later date we will let people choose their names in groups related to how early they backed.
PayPal is available at: http://crowfall.com/#/payment
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