Thursday, October 15, 2015

Crowfall and the Metagame

It's been a while since I've written anything about Crowfall. Artcraft looks to be steadily making progress. Unfortunately most of their updates in the last few months have been in video format, so I've pretty much ignored them. Videos just take so long to get through compared to text, and text is so much easier to reread and pull out bits to chew on.

In any case, Artcraft seems to be toying with the idea of promoting a "metagame" as in Eve Online. Where people can be spies and scammers in other guilds, and betray them, etc. It's always a newsworthy part of Eve, so it's not surprising that it would be attractive to someone making another PvP MMO.

However, I think it's a bad idea. To be fair, I think it's a bad idea in Eve Online as well. The culture of spying, betraying, "awoxing", and generally being hard to trust is bad for the game. I think games where trust is easier are a lot more fun. But Eve has its own culture, and the people who play Eve are happy with it.

However, I think the "metagame" is an especially bad fit for Crowfall. Crowfall's signature element is that the game board resets. After a while, the campaign world ends, and players start fresh on a new campaign world.

A strong metagame cuts across that. When the board resets, the alliances and enemies made should also reset. I'm sure we've all played board games with people who hold a grudge from one game to the next. Or two people who will always attack each other. Or people in a relationship, where you can expect one of them to throw away her chance at victory to support her partner. These games are less fun than new games where everyone is attempting to win.

Crowfall will never get rid of all relationships between campaigns. For one thing, guilds will want to play together and support each other. But it's better if the game encourages relationships between guilds to reset, to treat each world as truly new. But that will require discouraging the Eve-style metagame of guild politics.


  1. Metagaming is a very bad game element and should be cleansed by fire. The reason is simple: only a few players are ABLE to play it, namely leaders. Grunts suffer the consequences, without having the option to do anything. I mean if an enemy shows up to take your land, you can log on and fight for it. If a spy shows up and steals the guild bank, there was nothing you could do. The officers could have prevented it, not you. Actually if you tried to do something and point out that X is suspicious, you'd be the drama-maker!

    I had that literally in EVE: I called out a group (NorkZulus) in the alliance (TEST) as suspicious and then got so much abuse for "defaming bros" that the leader considered it easier to kick me. 2 months later the mentioned "bros" left with shooting members on their way out.

    1. That's a good point. There's only a small handful of people playing the metagame, which means that it's only entertaining for them and spectators. It's less entertaining for those people caught in the middle.