Zeal Goes Live on Kickstarter

I gave my first impressions of Zeal not too long ago. It’s a game that’s in Early Access on Steam and as of right now you can download and try it for free. It doesn’t seem to have that big of a playerbase at the moment though, as I didn’t have much luck in finding matches when I tried it out. There are some basic arena and training areas to test and the game is being updated frequently with new tweaks and balances. Apparently the developers are aiming higher though, and have just started up a Kickstarter for the game. The video above will give you an idea about what to expect from the game, as can my impressions post. It’s basically a PvP arena with predetermined character builds with a smidge of customization options. It does sound like the developers have more in mind though. From the description:

Zeal is a 3rd person Action RPG where you don’t need to level up and gear up your characters, you just pick a class, make a build and jump right into the action!

Depending on the success of our campaign, the game will feature:

— No more placeholders, 90% of the assets will be replaced and graphics, animations, optimization and effects will be greatly improved.
— Up to 16 playable classes 
— Arena mode of 1v1, 2v2 and 3v3 with ladder system
— Battlegrounds, big scale fights that ranges between 5v5 to 20v20 depending on map with interactive objectives such as Capture The Flag or Defend The Base.
— Dungeons: An action-packed PvE mode with different difficulty levels.
— Conquest Mode: A massive map with 35 teams of 2 players fighting for dominance until a last team is standing.
— Story Campaign which can be completed alone or with up to 2 friends.

One of my early complaints was that the game looked kind of crappy and the animations were pretty wonky. Apparently they are planning to update their assets, which should definitely be a step in the right direction. There were already 8 or 9 characters to choose from when I played, but looks like they are shooting for 16. I also only tried the arena mode, but they aim to add Battlegrounds, Dungeons, Conquest and a Story Campaign. So they are trying to have some PvE content as well, which is good for people who care, but I would think that if they stretch themselves too far you might get lower quality in each. They also aren’t promising all of this for their original asking price, some modes are only part of stretch goals.

As of this morning, their crowdfunding efforts have brought in $8638 of their $102,691 goal. There are 29 days remaining, but that probably doesn’t bode well. $100k isn’t that much to ask for games these days, but I don’t know that this is exactly what people want. Some players actually enjoy the grind and many don’t want a predetermined character. This mixes some of the elements of MOBAs and MMOs in my mind, where you get the MMO style gameplay but you get more of a predetermined MOBA character with which to do so. I don’t see it as being detrimental, because I don’t really enjoy the grind and I would prefer to just jump into a MMO-like PvP experience without it. It’s definitely a to each their own kind of situation, but I have my doubts they get funded without an explosion of pledges soon.

I’ll keep an eye on this and update when the campaign is over.

Thoughts on The Banner Saga 3

I’m not a huge Crowdfunding/Early Access fan, but I have participated in both gaming ideas. I’ve purchased somewhere in the ballpark of a dozen Early Access games, and have seen most of those actually make it to a released state (whether or not I actually kept playing it that long). In that sort of light, Early Access sounds pretty great despite the fact that you can find plenty of terrible tales about money hungry devs that don’t finish their work. On the other side of the coin, I’ve only participated in Crowdfunding twice, using Kickstarter to back the upcoming MMO Crowfall, along with the title we’re talking about today, The Banner Saga 3.

The first two games in this series, created by indie devs Stoic Games, were also Crowdfunded, and though I bought and played through both of them, I missed out on being able to back them, so I rectified that this time around. I backed the game back in 2016 I believe it was, and it has finally released!

I started up the final chapter of the journey the other day, and I’ve already enjoyed it thoroughly. Your mileage may vary. I said it best on Twitter:

That’s really all that can be said. The game still has amazing hand drawn art, it still plays like The Oregon Trail. There are still choices, there’s still tactical combat in between the lulls in action. And the story is still intriguing and I’m looking forward to seeing how it ends. But if you didn’t care for the original nothing has really changed so you should probably skip it. Here’s some screens of my initial session, which could contain some spoilers.

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If you are a fan of the series, The Banner Saga 3 is on sale now on PC and Console. It’s totally worth the asking price!

Crowfall Campaign Complete

I’ve written about Crowfall a couple of times now, along with talking about it during our Niche MMO episode of Couch Podtatoes. Now that the Kickstarter campaign has finished and the dust has settled, let’s take a look at what that means for backers.

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Keep in mind, the last time I wrote about the game was 3 days before the Kickstarter campaign would end. At that point, the backer total was at 14k and they had just crossed the 1.3 million threshold. By the time funding finished, the game passed 17k backers and raked in nearly 1.8 million dollars. That’s insane, but I know this isn’t setting any Kickstarter records. Still, quite the accomplishment to go from being a not-so-well-known title a few months ago, to making almost 2 million dollars in 30 days. I think this game deserves the money though, and the stretch goals come through for most backer levels.

So since that post, we’ve seen the addition of God’s Reach (ruleset) and the Artifacts and Relics system, bonus parcels, VR headset support, the Infected ruleset, the Minotaur race/class, improved crafting, a tournament system, pets that are used in combat, and some other relics. Depending on your backer level, you’ll get a couple of extra goodies, but you’ll have had to spend $60+.

I’m glad that not all of the stretch goals and rewards weren’t completely meaningless fluff. New systems and character models/classes are always a welcome addition, pack animals and pets sound cool as well. The relics are whatever, I really need to find out what they do before I can comment further. I think I’m most excited for the Minotaur, because that just sounds like it would be fun to play. It’s an interesting idea to add VR support, but I’m not sure the technology is there yet for me to want to don a headset every time I log in to play an MMO. You’d be wearing it quite often if you were heavily invested in the game. Still, the goals and rewards look great. Now we just have to hope the team delivers on the vision of the game they presented, and there aren’t any fiascos surrounding the title.

That would be my luck. My first Kickstarter is vaporware. Good thing I didn’t spend $10k.

#crowfall #kickstarter #crowdfunding

CrowFall Kickstarter Update

Obviously I’ve talked about Crowfall a bit here and there lately, and I mentioned at some point (I believe it was on the podcast) that I wanted to back this game before the Kickstarter ended. Well, you can officially count me in. I should also mention this is my first time using Kickstarter.

Being a backer now means that I saved a bit on what it would normally cost to buy a box of the game, and the nearest stretch goal of 13k backers is nearly here, meaning I should be privvy to a free month of VIP membership. I didn’t go for one of the big packages because well, I want to support the game and play it, but I’m not the collector’s edition type, unless we’re talking single player games with all the DLC included. So I’m cool with just getting the game and some beta access. Also, this information I’m about to speak of isn’t secret, members-only stuff, but it is interesting information and it pertains to commentary I made on the podcast about not wanting mounts in the game. Now that there’s an FAQ, I feel a little better about them. I’ll post it here (it’s brief) for your viewing pleasure.

Mount FAQ

What are mounts like in Crowfall?

Mounts are creatures that have been tamed to act as both a companion and a steed. They provide players with a method of moving more quickly around the game, and sometimes giving them the ability to transport more items.

How do I get a mount?

Players with the right skill(s) will be able to tame certain creatures they find in the world, and some of these can be ridden as mounts. Additionally, some magic items will allow the player to manifest (summon) a mount from your inventory.

What determines if I can tame a creature?

All gameplay in Crowfall requires one or more skills; taming and riding mounts are no different! Certain creatures will require higher amounts of skill to tame than others. Skill will also be required in order to keep control of that creature once you have tamed it. Increasing your riding skill will help you tame more wild creatures, which in turns allows you to increase your movement speed while mounted.

Can you tame creatures other than Mounts? What can you do with the tamed creature?

Yes. Some creatures are a pack animals. Taming them allows you to open up a separate inventory on that creature, to add and remove items from it, and to order that creature to take simple commands like “stay,” “come” and “follow me.” If the creature is a regular mount, you can ride it, have it follow you or release it back into the wild (i.e. un-tame it). With figurine mounts, you can also dismiss them (i.e. turn it back into a figurine in your inventory, for later use).

Can mounts be attacked? Do they have health? Can they be killed?

Yes, yes and yes. Mounts are creatures in the world, so they can take damage and be killed.

Will a mount defend himself, or you, if attacked?

Yes, when you are not riding on a mount, the mount will defend itself and/or its master.

Can players use creatures higher than their riding skill allows?  

No. The riding skill determines which mounts you can ride, as well as mount speed.

You said that mounts can die. Can figurine mounts die?

Yes, but figurine mounts have multiple lives. When it dies, the item takes some decay, and there is a delay timer before the mount can be summoned again. Remember that these are items, so they follow the same design philosophy as everything else: nothing lasts forever.

Can someone else take my mount?  

These are items, so they are subject to the Campaign loot rules. That means there is a risk/reward scenario whenever you decide to use a mount figurine. Be careful where you take them.

What about the Kickstarter reward mounts? Don’t they last forever?

The Kickstarter mounts will be limited in use, like normal figurines – but we WILL give you a way to get the visual appearance back, if they are lost in gameplay. Our goal is not to make these “permanent”, but rather to make them temporary, but recoverable. We do want you to be able to continue to use them over the lifetime of the game, though, to show other players that you were an early backer.

Can I get more figurines in the game? Or only through Kickstarter?  

There will be Disciplines that allow players to craft new figurines. However, the Kickstarter reward figurines have a unique appearance. Only Kickstarter backers (of the appropriate tiers) will have access to these mounts.

Can my Centaur character ride on a mount?  

No, centaurs already have a base movement speed increase and there will be some other mechanic that allows them to travel at mount speed.

I’m liking the fact that the mounts aren’t permanent, but that the backer mount will be transferable via skin, so you’ll always be able to show that off. It’s also good to know that mounts will defend themselves, and can die, as I always found it tacky to have mounted combat or mounts that disappear and reappear as combat toggles on/off. I am okay with making it another plunderable resource. I also like the idea of needing skill to tame and skill to ride. It’s also nice to know that Centaurs won’t be left behind either, and I’m now more interested in playing one. All in all I like where the game is going, and it’s good to know that funding worked. Can’t wait to see more footage and what other goodies they come up with.

#crowfall #kickstarter #mounts

Couch Podtatoes Episode 34: Crowd Funding

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It’s a bit late but late is better than never right? Due to my lack of attention, I wasn’t able to secure Doone’s participation in the show this week until the weekend, so we’re releasing episode 34 a tad late, but Doone made it and we had a great discussion about the current state of crowd funding, touching on recent stories about Massively Overpowered, Daybreak Games, and the Peter Molyneux interview on Rock, Paper, Shotgun. We discuss the ethics of crowd funding and where we see the future of the industry going, gaming journalism as well. Are you ready to enter the digital frontier, once again?

 

Download this Episode Subscribe via RSS Download on iTunes Listen on Stitcher
Couch Podtatoes Epsiode 34: Crowd Funding (runtime: 51:34)

What are we playing? (starts at 2:26)
Discussion: Digital Frontier (starts at 14:24)

Host Contact information:

Izlain
Blog: Me vs. Myself and I
Twitter:@mevsmyselfandi

J3w3l
Blog: Healing The Masses
Twitter: @ausj3w3l

Doone
Blog: XP Chronicles
Twitter: @trredskies

Music Credits:
“Level Up” by Cookie Monsta (from the Riot! EP)
“Cracks” by Flux Pavilion (from the album Plux Favilion)
“Enchanted Rose” by Bury Your Dead (from the album Beauty and the Breakdown)

Couch Podtatoes is a podcast about gaming, though we might stray into other forms of media. Sometimes we use strong language, but we try to keep that to a minimum. All opinions expressed by us or our guests are our own and are in no way to be interpreted as official commentary from any companies we discuss. You can visit our official podcast page at http://couchpodtatoes.libsyn.com/. Be sure to follow us on iTunes, and/or Stitcher Radio.

Questions, comments and feedback are welcomed and encouraged!

#couchpodtatoes #podcast #gamesdiscussion #gaming