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Platform(s): PC
Genre: Online Multiplayer
Developer: ArtCraft Entertainment

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'Crowfall' Begins Pre-Alpha Testing, Reveals Hunger Dome Game Mode - Screens

by Rainier on Sept. 2, 2015 @ 7:34 p.m. PDT

Crowfall is a next-generation massively multiplayer online game with a focus on political alliances and feudal conquest.

Crowfall is a seamless blend of an MMO with a large-scale Strategy game, where players control the universe, to shape as they see fit. 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. 

This initial test centers on Player-versus-Player combat, and marks the first time that backers with the Pre-Alpha Kickstarter reward can log in and play. Crowfall is a crowd funded game and to date has raised almost $2.3 million from more than 21,000 backers.

“Today is a huge milestone for Crowfall and ArtCraft.” said Gordon Walton, president and executive producer. “We promised our backers that we would deliver a playable combat prototype by the end of summer, and this morning we officially delivered on that promise.” 

Many Pre-Alpha testers have already started, with invitations for almost a thousand more backers expected in the next few weeks.  The company made a surprise announcement, revealing that the module also includes a Player-versus-Player game mode known as The Hunger Dome.

“Crowdfunding changes everything,” explains J. Todd Coleman, CEO and creative director. “Our backers are doing us a huge favor by helping us test our game and refine our vision.  They are contributing because they are emotionally invested, and we want to recognize and reward that passion by over-delivering.”

In a Hunger Dome match, players are divided into teams and participate in a single-elimination death match session, scavenging for weapons and armor as the map is consumed by “the Hunger” – an enormous, turbulent maelstrom that devours everything it touches.

“The purpose of the Hunger is to force the teams to compete,” explains Coleman. “As the Hunger expands, the play space condenses – forcing them to take refuge in the keep at the center of the map.  In the end, only one team is left standing.”

The Worlds are made of voxels (like Minecraft, only much less blocky) – which means the entire World is destructible. Crowfall's campaign maps are procedurally generated -- meaning that the process of creating every mountain, forest, river, castle and abandoned village is automated.  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.

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.

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