We’ve been waiting on the PvP MMO Crowfall for a long time now. The first time we looked at it was in early 2015, just ahead of its hugely successful $1.8 million Kickstarter campaign; most recently was in January 2020, when it announced a nearly $12 million investment to support its launch later in the year.
That launch didn’t happen, although a closed beta began in August 2020. Now a full release is just around the corner: Developer ArtCraft Entertainment announced today that Crowfall launches on July 6.
“Crowfall is now ready for the next step in its evolution, ‘going live’—but let me be very clear. I’m not going to announce today that ‘we’ve finished’ Crowfall or call it ‘done”,” ArtCraft founder and creative director J. Todd Coleman said. “A game like this is never finished. An online world is never done. Even the word ‘launch’ is a misnomer, I think, because ‘going live’ is not the end of the journey—it is the beginning.”
“‘Going Live’ is more like having a baby. It’s scary. It’s messy. It’s painful. Yet it is also beautiful because you are breathing life into something new, something that before only existed in your imagination, something that you hope will outlive you. I know that sounds cheesy and dramatic, but Ultima Online (on which Gordon [ArtCraft president Gordon Walton] was executive producer) was born in September of 1997. Shadowbane (my first MMO, as creative director) was born in March of 2003. Both games are still running. Both have entertained thousands and thousands of people. And both games continued to evolve, long after we departed.”
Unlike most MMOs, in which PvP is either locked in an unnatural stasis or devolves into a never-ending series of ass-kickings for one side, Crowfall is made up of “Campaigns,” each taking place on a unique map with distinct rules and a set timeline. You play as an immortal servant of the gods—a Crow—who’s sent to these worlds to fight other champions for glory, experience, and whatever rare artifacts you can scavenge before the world is destroyed.
“When a Campaign ends, you take your character, your equipment, and the spoils of war from that Campaign, and move on to the next. This gives the game a feeling of permanence while still allowing late-arriving players a chance to be competitive,” the Crowfall FAQ states. “Additionally, we have “home worlds” (Eternal Kingdoms) that are player-run and not time-limited. These are like traditional MMO servers. The idea is that players can participate in a series of Campaigns over the life of the character, and use these kingdoms as a staging area between Campaigns.”
For now, the Crowfall closed beta continues to operate, and is still taking applicants. If you’d like to see what it’s all about before you commit, you can sign up here.