The Crescent Rises Again
A series of posts on the return of Crescent, what happened, and what will happen next.
Part 2: Tools of Destruction
A series of posts on the return of Crescent, what happened, and what will happen next.
Part 2: Tools of Destruction
Hello yet again, Crescent! Thanks for coming.
Now that you know that Crescent is coming back, and why it's coming back, it's time to starting talking about what to expect in it this time. There's quite a lot that changed since last time you played here, driven by the feedback you provided previously and the things we learned ourselves. Indeed, not everything was great last time, and there were many flaws in both our design and our execution of various aspects of the game.
Armed with this knowledge and experience, we took this take on Crescent very differently. I think the best way to describe this new title is "focus on what's fun, not only on what's fair". And there's nothing better to showcase this new mentality with than the the tools of the trade: Weapons and WepMods.
On Design and Flow
One of the things we take the most pride in at Project Crescent is our unique, custom tailored weapon system: The Crescent Weapon Base (or CWB for short). It is advanced, very extendable, easily configured, and allows us to do very impressive things with it. But this wouldn't be as great if it wasn't for WepMods, our original and unique weapons modification system which allows you to modify your weapon in almost any way you'd want.
If you're new to Crescent, you're probably wondering what this is all about. I'll explain:
The weapons of Project Crescent all come with a special feature called WepMods. These are special modules that you can apply to your weapon to change its behavior or stats. For example: the Destruction WepMod increases the base damage a weapon deals; the Precision WepMod increases its accuracy; and the Switcheroo WepMod reduces the time it takes to switch between weapons.
Then there are even more advanced WepMods, which introduce completely new mechanics to the game. For example: the Frenzy WepMod causes puts you into a frenzy for every kill you make, increasing your movement speed and fire rate, but also making you less accurate. This means that the more kills you rack, the more powerful you become but the harder it is to kill more. Another example is the Trance WepMod, which causes you to enter a trance when aiming down the weapon's ironsights, increasing your accuracy and stability by a lot, but reducing your movement speed and fire rate in return. This makes it into an interesting trade off that can be both a blessing and a curse, and requires very careful planning and building of your loadout.
WepMods were the most loved feature of old Crescent, and for a reason. They introduced a whole new world of possibilities and play-styles to TTT, and gave each and every player the chance to make their own combination of items and weapons that fit their style well. Players spent a lot of time investigating and experimenting with the different combos, coming up with fun and creative builds that made the game really fun. With the power of CWB, we were able to introduce various unique options, and you guys took them and made something really awesome with them.
But... there was a problem. Despite all this advanced technology and the various options available, one flaw has brought the whole thing down: our design philosophy.
When we planned and designed old Crescent, we had a very strict set of guidelines in mind that led us through the creation process and guided us when we designed the whole system. Our focus was, above all, on balance. Balance, balance, balance. We wanted the game to be perfectly balanced, where every player would have an equal chance to do well, on a leveled playing that encourages a very certain type of game play. Our hope was that such an environment will be a welcoming sight for new players who join our community as they learn the ropes and slowly improve themselves.
And so, we balanced everything. We placed fairly heavy restrictions on how WepMods could be used/installed, we added penalties to balance out bonuses, and we introduced a lot of mechanics into the weapons themselves that would ensure things remain under control: things like damage fall off, effective range, accuracy penalties and other restrictions. We hoped that by doing this we would achieve this "leveled playing field" idea and make everybody happy.
Yet it didn't take long until we discovered the flaws in this philosophy. In our inexperience, we turned TTT, a game built around speed, precision and skill, into a slow, clunky and very strange experience. The many penalties introduced to CWB forced players into a slow, almost crawling play style. Everything felt delayed and clunky, and many players mentioned how it "feels like the weapons are fighting us rather than fighting for us". The dynamic and flowing feel of TTT slowed to a grinding halt, which ended up doing the exact opposite from what we intended. We ended up harming both of the groups we cater to: new players were baffled and confused by the many new mechanics and the steep learning curve, and veteran players felt alienated by the strict play style and powerless by the heavy restrictions on everything. It was a mess.
During the updates to old Crescent we tried to make multiple changes in order to ease these issues. The reality was, however, that these are but band-aids to a gun wound: the flaws were deeply embed in the core of our design and the philosophy it was guided by, and there was no way to resolve unless we were to change everything on its head. Indeed, fixing the weapons and WepMods of old Crescent required a root canal - one that we couldn't pull off back then.
Now, however, we finally have the chance.
The grave mistakes of our design choices in old Crescent certainly came from lack of experience. Truth to be told, none of us are professional game designers. Sure, we know our way around making a game and making an idea work out, but as we all discovered together, there is more to making a successful game than just great technology and good intentions.
However, these mistakes also taught us a lot. With how drastic they were, they showed us exactly what we shouldn't do when it comes to gameplay and weapons. The severity of the flaws in our past design ended up serving as an excellent lesson, which we are now following to make it all better. Indeed, the combination of the experience from old Crescent, and the valuable feedback we received from all of you, allowed us to make things a lot better this time around.
And we did.
New Crescent revolves around a very different design philosophy which we compiled after seeing what we did wrong last time. In its essence, the concept is simple: less restrictions and clunkiness, more freedom and openness. Instead of trying to dictate the game flow by force through restrictions and strict design, we let the players create their own fun with less interventions from us. Instead of forcing a leveled play field, we let the real skill level of the player dictate their success. And instead of trying to put everything into balance, we embrace the fact that true balance is not only impossible - but also really not that fun at all.
And that last part is important. CWB and its WepMods were very balanced, but... they weren't fun. It felt like all the fun bits were locked behind penalties and counter mechanics, which sucked a lot of the great potential of the system. WepMods felt really limited, especially with the slot limit and the heavy penalties along the bonuses, and things like the movement penalties and the forced use of Ironsights were some of the main complaints we got. And I agree with most of these things.
So we changed that. We changed a lot. In fact, we went through every single weapon, WepMod and mechanic, and tweaked it to be more fun. We took the time to overhaul many things, as well as touch some areas we didn't get to last time, and we turned CWB from from a clunky, frustrating system into a fun, fluid and rewarding one.
If I were to sum up those changes, I'd put it like this:
- Being powerful is okay, and being more skilled than others should be rewarded, not penalized.
- A weapon should feel fun and powerful, not clunky and limiting.
- Balance is not all about adding penalties to bonuses. It can be achieved in other ways.
- We can't dictate the flow of the game by force. We need to let it happen naturally.
And with these concepts in mind, let's go over the main changes to CWB and WepMods:
- We removed a lot of the frustrating and limiting mechanics that were part of old CWB:
- Movement and jumping accuracy penalties were severely reduced.
- Almost all Hipfire penalties were removed, making it the most viable option again.
- Weapon switch delay has been removed.
- The range and damage fall-off mechanics were completely removed (except for shotguns, because that would be ridiculous).
- We went through every single weapon and weapon class and made them into something which makes sense:
- Every weapon now has the distinct characteristics of its class, upon which it builds. For example: SMGs are close-range oriented and provide speed over accuracy, while ARs allow you to fight from longer away, but require more precision.
- Every weapon now excels in a different area within its class compared to its companions. For example: the Galil is the fastest AR, while the M4A1 has the highest base damage among them.
- Every weapon now has a viable use case to justify its existence. There shouldn't be a weapon that is meaningless or straight-up useless.
- The time-to-kill on all weapons has been standardized and generally improved, to keep with the fast-paced feel of TTT.
- We went through all of our WepMods and made them meaningful and impactful:
- All of the WepMods had their penalties either completely removed or severely reduced. No more forced balance.
- WepMods bonuses were balanced and increased where required, especially for those which felt underwhelming. We're not afraid of big numbers anymore.
- WepMods that simply made no sense or were made obsolete were removed, or replaced with a different mechanic. For example: Reckless, which was pretty much a lesser version of Destruction, was removed; Knockback, which was really underwhelming, was rewritten from scratch to be far more powerful.
- WepMods synergy has been extended and improved, opening the path to more combinations and ideas. I personally think that Knockback and Airplay is the most fun combo ever, but I'd love to be proven wrong.
- The hard-limit for WepMods slots has been removed, and replaced with something that makes far more sense - more on this in the next chapter.
- We introduced new special weapons, improved the existing, and made some other changes:
- Two new special weapons were introduced, one for the Detective and one for the Traitor. More on this later.
- Some of the existing Traitor weapons were also improved reworked, such as the Gauss Rifle.
- A new role shop interface was created to replace the ancient one from stock TTT, with more interface improvements planned later on.
- We tied up the loose ends from last time, fixed broken things, and dealt with things we didn't get to yet:
- Some mechanics like Burst Fire and Penetration were improved.
- Many stock TTT weapons were improved with some long-needed changes. For example: the binoculars had their delay shortened by 90%; The knife is now a guaranteed one-hit kill; The Flare Gun was made stronger; and more.
- All grenades have been given new CS:GO models, both for eye candy and to allow for more easy identifying from a distance/under pressure.
- Bugs with all weapons were fixed.
This, of course, is not a complete list. There are more changes not mentioned, and even right now there are other changes being worked on. However, I think this list can give you an idea on how drastic the changes we made are. And indeed, with so many restrictions lifted and aspects improved, CWB plays and feels so much better. Even small things like the weapon switch delay make a world's difference, and the big news on WepMods definitely make this even more awesome. I personally feel far more satisfied and excited with this take on CWB. I am, after all, playing the game just like you, and I can definitely feel the difference and just how much freedom all these give.
Only Getting Started
Now, don't worry: this is not where it ends. While CWB is a major part of Crescent TTT, it is far from being the only improvement. There's a lot more to discuss and to tell you about, from things like the economy and the Hub to new ideas and features that new Crescent brings to the table - all in the spirit of our new philosophy: "fun first". I'm excited to be able to do all this, and I can't wait to share these with you in the upcoming days. Stay tuned!
As usual, thank you so much for joining me. I hope this dive into the new take on CWB gave you an idea of what you can expect from Crescent now, and what else is there to come. Of course, if you have any questions or concerns, don't hesitate to ask them here in the comments - I'll do my best to answer you ASAP.
With that, I'm wrapping up this chapter of "The Crescent Rises Again". Thank you for reading, and see you in the next one!