Rant: Crowfalling with Style

It will likely surprise none of you to learn that I am a well known hater of fun. Wherever cat videos, bouncy castles, or Korean boob physics are enjoyed, I am there – and I am not amused. Today, I add really big jumps to the list of fun things I hate.

Rant warning: the following post features rambling and a lot of hyperbole that is intended to be humorous. Please don’t take it too seriously, even though I’m not funny – like I said, I hate fun, and it’s right there in the word.

A Time and a Place

Okay, it’s not that I hate really big jumps – it’s more that there’s a time and place where they makes sense. Take Wildstar, for example. It’s a bright, flamboyant, and cartoony game with a heavy emphasis on platforming elements that makes massive jumps – and even double jumping – a fantastic addition to the game’s world. Now take Crowfall, which is said to be emulating Wildstar‘s movement system. Ugh.

Obligatory Alpha Disclaimer

I’ll admit, the footage above is extremely early pre-alpha material, but still – we’re seeing such accomplished jumping here that Neil Armstrong would be jealous if he saw it on the moon. Hell, it would probably make the space shuttle a little insecure about its launching capabilities, too. Will this be tuned before the game’s release? Almost certainly, but it’ll be way more fun to whine about it first.

Setting and Tone

Marketing itself as being inspired by Game of Thrones, Crowfall‘s dying worlds feature a dark and gritty palette perfectly suited to both the tone of Westeros and my strict anti-fun platform. Although art and animations are clearly in an early state – and are admittedly somewhat cartoony -, what I can see of the game’s visual direction looks great to me – or at least it did, right up until the heavily armored knight started jumping around like he was Batman gliding on a parachute cape. Granted, that would be awesome if it were supported by the setting at all – but it’s not!

Double Jump and Combat Concerns

Worse yet is the confirmed fact that Crowfall will also include double jumping, a feature so ludicrously over the top it’s basically the will.i.am of movement. Beyond the playability concerns that arise from having to see your monitor through eyes bleeding at the altar of artistic taste, double-jumping itself introduces serious concerns over the effectiveness of body-blocking in a game said to include collision detection for tactical purposes. Given that normal jumping already seems to enable characters to leap tall buildings in a single bound, it’s hard to imagine where double jumps could take us, but I’m optimistic that we’ll at least be able to create a great machinima remake of Space Jam.

Archetype or Discipline Based Movement Skills

Which leads us to an obvious solution. If double-jumping is going to be in the game, given that it will have a noticeable impact on combat gameplay, it should probably be limited to archetypes where it makes sense, perhaps in the form of a combat acrobatics discipline. If a Guinecean Duelist or otherwise acrobatically inclined archetype can double jump, that’s completely acceptable – especially if it requires specialization to unlock. If a Minotaur Myrmidon does it, which, granted, would be hilarious, it’s not something I’m going enjoy seeing after the second or third time. This type of combat movement exclusivity should probably be extended to other movement types as well, no matter how awesome the mental image of a Centaur Legionnaire dodge rolling in heavy armor is.

This is Probably Already the Plan

Given that the Fae Assassin is already confirmed to have the exclusive ability to glide, the fact is that certain movement types being unique to archetypes is probably already what they’re going to do. I mean, as much as I’d love to see either of them – once -, I don’t think anyone at ArtCraft is planning to give us an all Minotaur production of Cirque du Soleil or Centaurs doing barrel rolls.

Heroic Captain of the Obvious

So why write out this rant? If we complain about the current state of jumping, even if we strongly suspect they’re going to change it later, we can take credit for it when they do. That’s right guys – in a few months, you can all personally thank me as the guy who fixed jumping. As an added bonus, we also get to tell everyone how great ArtCraft is for being so in touch with the community. What a great company, listening to us telling them to do things that they already knew needed to be done.