It has been a long 5 years, but Crowfall has finally gone into Closed Beta! If you're like me, you followed the massive hype for this game back in 2015-2017. A majority of players lost interest after the development cycle seemed to be going out further and further. I honestly just wrote it off and figured I would take another look when it got closer to launch. 2019 and 2020 have been rough years for MMORPG's, so I've really been looking for "the next big thing".
Closed Beta for Crowfall started on August 11th. I figured I would give the game a shot to see how it has progressed. I can now say that I am pretty happy with how much this game has improved. They haven't given a definitive "launch date" for the game yet, but Closed Beta is definitely a good sign. There is a small chance that it will fully release before the end of 2020, but I'd personally put my money on early 2021. The Closed Beta launch gives us all a chance to really dig into the game and figure out what classes and races we want to play.
For those of you who aren't familiar with the background of Crowfall... It's an open-world MMORPG that has an interesting blend of PvE and PvP, and it has some unique aspects to the gameplay that set it apart from other MMORPG's. First off, let's talk about the worlds / servers. When you create your new character, you will want to start out in "God's Reach". This is the PvE world where you start out leveling your character and learning the basics of the game. At this point in the game they have a "new player experience" questline that takes you from levels 1-16. It shows you how the game works and gives you a small taste of what the game has to offer. Normally it is recommended to stay in the God's Reach world until you hit level 30 or so. Grouping has no negative impact to experience gain right now, so leveling up in a group of 5 is literally 5x faster progression (if not more).
Before you dive into the main Campaign world, there are a few other options for you to explore. You can check out an "Infected World" server, which is essentially a persistent PvP "training grounds". The zones are open-PvP and have keeps, forts, and outposts to fight over and claim. I believe the general level focus for The Infected worlds are 15-30. You can also check out The Eternal Kingdom, which is the main player housing / guild castle world that is always available. I believe that is where many player markets will be, and where most players will hang out between campaigns. In case this wasn't already apparent - your characters can freely move between worlds. Thus the same character you start in God's Reach can eventually transition into the main Campaign world.
Lastly we get to the "main focus" of the game - the Campaign worlds! The Campaign is a massive PvP world with outposts, forts, keeps, etc. along with NPC towns and such. Players join one of three factions to compete in a "Throne War" of sorts to see which faction can come out on top at the end of the Campaign. Here's where it gets even more interesting - the Campaign worlds are semi-temporary! The game refers to the Campaign as "dying lands" where the players are vying for superiority and trying to harvest the riches of the world before it collapses. The Campaigns only last a month or two, and then they disappear and the Campaign world is wiped. All the players go back to hanging out in the Eternal Kingdom or God's Reach. and the factions count up all the rewards they obtained through the Campaign. Then a new fresh Campaign starts up and everyone rushes in to see how well the faction can compete again. The benefit to this concept is that you won't have a static PvP landscape where the biggest (or strongest) guilds and factions hold all of the castles permanently. It prevents the PVP game from getting stale, and offers some new challenges with each new campaign. We don't know yet how much each campaign will differ from the last, but there is definitely some potential there.
One other interesting concept with this game is that the player is described as "An immortal crow that travels from vessel to vessel at will". What they mean by this is that each of your characters is just a shell that you are inhabiting at the time. As you start out in the game, you pick from one of the 12 races and 11 classes. Nothing is restricted in terms of gender or faction. The only restriction is that each race is limited to specific classes. You start out in one of these "common vessels" and play the game. Eventually you can craft or find upgraded versions of the "vessels", that allow you to build a stronger character. The higher the vessel's rarity, the longer it takes to level and the stronger the bonuses are to your stats. It sounds like the Crowfall devs want leveling to be a fast and easy process, so it doesn't feel like a grind to level up a new vessel / character.
Crowfall also emphasizes the idea of having multiple characters to really maximize your gameplay. You will have some characters for combat and others for crafting & gathering. The idea is that you will have lots of options so you don't get bored with just a single character. To top it all off, Crowfall has a real-time player progression system similar to EVE Online. Each of your characters levels up the normal way in PvE / PvP, but your account as a whole is always progressing in real time. Your account gains skill points every few seconds whether you are online or offline. You invest those skill points into various skills that benefit every character on your account. It unlocks new abilities, stats, etc. so that your characters can improve even when you're offline doing something else.
While there are 11 basic classes in this game, that is only the beginning of your character progression. Around level 20 you get to pick between three "Promotion Classes" that specialize your character in whichever of those three options you want to play. Crowfall goes even further by introducing "Disciplines". As your character levels up you get "Trait" points that you assign in your skill tree to unlock abilities, stat bonuses, and discipline slots. You can find or craft Minor Disciplines that usually grant your character 1 or 2 new skills or passive bonuses. You can also equip up to 2 Major Disciplines that function like sub-classes for your character. They add in 4+ new skills and bonuses that allow you to customize your character to your liking. For example, you could be playing on an in-your-face melee DPS character like a Myrmidon. Then you add in two Major Disciplines that add some healing abilities, ranged spells, etc. I don't know how many Major Disciplines will be available when the game launches, but even in Closed Beta there are over 40+ unique Major Disciplines to play with. There are also Exploration Disciplines that impact your character's resource harvesting / crafting abilities. All in all it is one of the most varied character progression systems that I've seen in a MMORPG.
The game is "Buy 2 Play", meaning that once you have bought the game you can play it forever (for free). They do have a VIP Membership that functions like a monthly subscription, which gives you a few benefits that allow you to progress faster in the game. Otherwise the cash shop is cosmetic only, and they claim that nothing sold in the cash shop will impact the gameplay outside of how things look (cosmetic). Right now you can purchase the game during the Closed Beta and get it for $40 instead of the standard $50 cost. On top of that, they currently have a promo where all you need to do is join a Guild on your account, and you get 20% off! It worked out to about $31-32. That promo is only active until August 23rd, so don't wait too long!
Come join us and check the game out! If you have any questions, post here on the forums or find us on Discord. There are usually people on the COTP Discord server right now as the Beta is fresh.
Here are a few decent videos to check out: