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From the Crowfall FAQ: Newbies vs. Veterans; skill vs. level

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Joined: 20 Aug 2002
Posts: 5122
Character Skills: Pie

PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:15 am    Post subject: From the Crowfall FAQ: Newbies vs. Veterans; skill vs. level Reply with quote

To summarize:

- No levels.
- Skill-based system.
- Passive (offline) advancement.
- Low power creep in equipment and skill, diminishing returns.
- Active combat, active dodges/dashes, no autotarget.
- Terrain makes a difference?
- Some campaigns you start naked
- Maps are unknown from the beginning.
- Some campaigns will allow you to bring everything
- They seem open to create flexible rulesets, (permadeath?)

from elsewhere
- Collision detection with push and shove "a larger character like a Centaur will have no trouble pushing a much smaller Assassin out of the way."
- Physics-based abilities: "A fireball could hit a player, explode and knock them back a few feet."

Emphasis mine

How do you prevent seasoned characters from smashing new players?

This is a fairly large problem for traditional (level based) MMORPGs: high (or max) level characters are basically invincible against mid and low level characters. Numerically, this is often caused by power escalation: the low level warrior might hit for 10 to 20 damage the high level hits for ~4000.

In a game that is PvP-focused, this is obviously not going to be a fun fight for the low level player! Level based progression systems force their players into zones based on level brackets, which really segments the population.

Since Crowfall is a very different game, we’ve approached this problem from a few different angles.

First, we are using a “skill” based system – there are no levels. Without levels, the difference between a “maxed” character and a starting character is far less severe.

Second, we designed the game to have a much flatter power curve. Meaning that your biggest gains for any skill (or attribute) come early, and the remaining gains are all on a steep “diminishing returns” curve.

Additionally, access to equipment will largely be based on acquiring it rather than an arbitrary “level” restriction. To add to this, the power curve for equipment has been dramatically “flattened,” as well. Power gained from equipment is much smaller than in a level-based game – but still meaningful enough that players aren’t running about naked.

More action-related mechanics such as dashes and blocks will create opportunities for new players to avoid damage that isn’t based on a random number generator. Additionally, terrain and position make a huge difference – which makes the game much more tactical.

Lastly, because the game uses passive training as the primary mechanism for advancement, there is no grind for player powers or camping of monsters to find that “one rare item”. Players will essentially have a full arsenal of powers to use from the beginning.

The interesting thing here is the tidbits about campaigns:

Phase 1 is Spring. The Campaign map is hidden by fog of war. You are dropped (typically naked) 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.


The key to the reset mechanic isn’t “the board must be clean,” the goal is “everyone needs to start on roughly equal footing, to make the game fun.”

If everyone is allowed to bring the same number of assets into a Campaign (i.e. if we can ALL bring in a few tanks) 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, it would be. But that’s your choice.

Remember, our design goal is to ensure that players have the OPPORUNTITY to start each Campaign on roughly equal footing. We aren’t going to protect players from making bad decisions.


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? (I call this idea “Campaign Permadeath”)… Sure, let’s try it.

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