If I were to say to you "Eve-inspired, voxel-based swords 'n' sorcery MMO on Kick-" well you'd already have punched me in the face and fallen asleep, let's be honest. But look, okay, I was cynical too. It's 2015, surely we're not trotting out the same old fantasy lands and promising them to the uninformed in return for cold hard moolah. That's just the very surface level of Crowfall [Kickstarter page], though - the meat underneath is far more interesting and is what has the project rocketing past a million dollars with more than two weeks left on the clock.
Perhaps the greatest strength of this pitch is the obvious and infectious enthusiasm of the dev team, particularly from J. Todd Coleman. He and his team have clearly created something they believe in and have the necessary skills, experience and business savvy to back it up. There's an honesty to the entire pitch that's great to see. They know they can't make the grand vision for $800k, but already-secured private funding and the possibility of stretch goals means they're able to promise a "core module":
- Multiple persistent multiplayer worlds
- 12 character archetypes with an advantages and disadvantages system of customisation
- Voxel tech for fully destructible environments and procedural generation
- PvE and PvP
- Crafting systems
- Player-owned, permanent areas
- The first rule-set of free for all PvP with no set allegiances
From there ArtCraft will expand their ideas. What's best about these systems is they seem scalable to the number of players, the main hurdle of many unsuccessful MMOs. Lower populations can simply be provided fewer worlds to conquer, making them fight more often. One of the reasons Eve Online, obviously a heavy inspiration for Crowfall, has become such a phenomenon despite a miniscule playerbase in comparison to its competitors is the one-server nature of it. You don't need a million people to create interesting political dynamics if they're all trapped in a box together. Big Brother does it with twelve.
This helps to alleviate the worry, as Adam pointed out when we were discussing the game in RPS HQ, that growth will stunt and the game will slide into obscurity. I'm also a bit concerned about the lack of details in an otherwise very well put together pitch. Even if they're not final, give me your current ideas for stats and how loot is distributed, what a dungeon might look like or practical examples of how I'll interact with other players. This update post does a little of that with regard to how campaigns work, and there's some still-too-vague details in the additional videos on ArtCraft's YouTube channel.
The current estimate for release of the first module is Winter 2016, with various tests kicking off this Summer. A final copy of the game will run you $40, with that scaling up depending on how early you'd like access. Funding's done of course, so wait and see's as viable as ever.