Crowfall: The Awakening

Let’s start with an update on the status of Crowfall’s Alpha testing. 

Alpha testing continues! At the end of May, we officially kicked off the Alpha phase of development, which we define as “all major gameplay systems are now functional, and we are narrowing in on the final pieces that we need to launch”. The Alpha process is not just about testing individual pieces and parts; it’s about looking at the game as a whole and recognizing what things are working and what things aren’t. That means we need to test things like City Building and Guild-vs-Guild support not just individually, but also as foundational pieces of the larger game.

Crowfall’s unique differentiator is, and always has been, player agency. Instead of a rollercoaster (engineered to make it feel dangerous when it’s really on rails), our game design is more like a Demolition Derby—there are no rails, and your actions, your decisions will determine the fate of each Campaign world.

It’s a fundamentally different concept for an online game. Which is cool! But it also means, by definition, that the game doesn’t work without players. We literally can’t test it without your help.

Right now, we need to focus on four things:

  • Bug fixing and polish,
  • Client optimization,
  • New player experience,
  • Game Balance (of both the strategy game, and the player journey)

We have a few more systems to get in place—stuff that we need for launch, like VIP subscription support and character skins—but the path to Beta is clear.

The Awakening (Update 5.115) 

We’re calling this version The Awakening (Update 5.115) because it introduces the first chapter of our new player experience. The story begins with the player being brought back to life by the gods as an immortal “Crow”, a champion and harbinger of the end of the world, and weaves through a series of quests designed to teach the player how our game works… we have a massive number of interconnected systems now (character advancement, harvesting, crafting, experimentation, talent trees, attributes, passive training, sacrifice, caravans, city building, divine favor…) but without some way to organically introduce these to the player, the game can be overwhelming. Let me go on the record, though, saying that this is not a quest-driven game and the purpose of this is just to show you the ropes. By the time chapters 2 and 3 are done, we’ll (hopefully) have enough to ensure players understand how the game works.

In addition, this gives us a chance to introduce you to the backstory of Crowfall. The pantheon of Crowfall is rich, with each god having a distinct personality and sphere of influence and complicated relationships between them. Our gods give us a chance to really differentiate this world, and the new player experience gives us a chance to introduce them. This is a foundation that we hope to build on for years to come.

The Awakening introduces numerous enhancements to the Dregs world.

In addition, this update includes a host of changes to “the Dregs”, our campaign mode that supports:

  • Guild versus Guild ownership of territory,
  • City Building, with players able to pick between a host of buildings that change everything from “what guards are spawned to protect my city” to “what kind of magical defenses will protect me during a siege?”
  • Divine Favor, allows guilds to earn glory, wealth and power on behalf of the gods—and ultimately win the campaign

Our next step is to move this version to the Live playtesting server, and start running longer tests. We’re going to bring it up this afternoon, with a God’s Reach and Infected campaign, and our intention (assuming the initial launch goes smoothly) is to start a 7-day Dregs campaign tomorrow.

We still expect there will be some issues, as inevitably we get more testers on Live than we do on Test, and this always causes new behaviors that were not apparent until the server is under heavy load. We’ll do the best we can to address these, but as always, our primary focus will then be on moving to the next version—which will appear on Test in the near future. And so, the wheel turns and the cycle repeats.

As always, we want to encourage those of you with testing access (which includes ALL of our backers!) to play—and we want to thank those of you who show up for every test, who help us find issues and who provide such great feedback. We will continue reviewing your suggestions and comments on the forums, and day by day, week by week, make this vision a reality.

Thank you as always for continued support, and we’ll see you in game!

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