We’ve already touched on a lot of topics here at Stealthed and it’s about time we start to bring together all of those elements into something cohesive.
“Who cares if it takes 50 minutes to craft a full set of advanced gear? Who really cares about all of the trade skill and gathering overlapping interdependencies? Some of us just want to kill things! Right? Eh… Why did you even bother to try to map all this stuff out?”
This is that article. All of that work has led to the Definitive Guide to Creating a Crowfall Guild Doctrine. We feel they will be that important to a guild’s success within early Crowfall campaigns.
It should be pretty clear to our regular readers that Crowfall has some serious depth to it and it’s easy to overlook or gloss over this sophistication when the average player swings by and reads the Crowfall FAQ (which of course immediately makes them an expert on Crowfall). This article, however, is not intended for the unfamiliar or the newly initiated to Crowfall (though you are welcome to stick around). In fact, this is meant for the Guild Leaders, Officers, and Theorizers that make up your guilds. Not exactly a huge audience to try to engage, but here we go anyways.
Doctrine: A Tale of Two Guilds
Let’s do a bit of groundwork first and establish our two example guilds designed for the purposes of giving us some specifics to talk about as we work through what exactly a Guild Doctrine is. For this article, I have resurrected an old guild concept I had (prior to coming up with Obsidian). The guild was called Heresy, and it was made up entirely of Confessors and Templars (and all their eventual offspring promotion archetypes). On the other side of the spectrum, I’ve created their competitor guild with no theme or template called Stampede.
- Made up of users who will only play as Templar or Confessor
- Exclusive use of Plate Armor, Emphasis on stacking +Hit Point bonuses (or +Critical Hit Chance when applicable).
- Made up of 25 guild members.
- Made up of users who play whatever they want to, with variations on all 13 archetypes.
- Don’t have a particular orientation towards one armor type or another, use whatever they can make
- Made up of 25 guild members.
These two guilds and the corresponding bullet-points are the first steps in creating a Guild Doctrine. Guild Doctrines in Crowfall can be thought like a playbook: they put everyone within the guild on the same page and streamline production and tactics down to the item level. The concept is not unique, it’s been regularly and successfully used for a decade inside EVE Online. Some of you might even be familiar with it. The concept of Doctrines within Crowfall, however, is much more substantive and encompassing. For the purposes of this example, we are going to narrow our Doctrine analysis to just these 3 aspects of a guild (there are countless more to discuss… we’ll get there eventually).
In our two guild examples, you probably noticed that one of the guilds is highly specialized (or perhaps “focused” is a better word) while the other is more generalized. The guild size I kept identical to keep the scale similar. We’ve also determined from our research that the average guild size in Crowfall‘s pre-alpha tends to be about 25. Each guild’s level of specialization also comes into play when looking at the armor they use. Not only do they use different approaches to armor types, but also the stats they focus on (or don’t).
Enter, The Math
As you can probably tell by now, the Heresy guild is using the Doctrine concept. They’ve even taken it a step further by focusing on only two archetypes; the confessor and templar. As a result of these choices, take a look at the required materials to put together a full set of advanced armor for each of Heresy’s 25 members:
- 3600 Iron Ore (Fixed, No Bonus Inheritance)
- 625 Copper Ore (Fixed, No Bonus Inheritance)
- 1975 Hide (Fixed, No Bonus Inheritance)
- 2800 Copper Ore (Bonus Inheritance)
- 600 Coal (Fixed, No Bonus Inheritance)
To get what Heresy needs to produce these 25 sets of gear (considering the scope we set at the beginning), it will need the following trained gatherers and crafters to support its supply lines. We’ve even taken the time to split up the workload amongst the guild membership, but keep in mind that this is only to craft the items within our scope.
- Copper Mining (5)
- Iron Mining (5)
- Human Gravedigging (2)
- Cobblestone Quarrying (1)
- Generic Skinner (3)
- Generic Lumberer (1)
- Blacksmithing (2)
- Necromancer (2)
- Leatherworking (1)
- Woodworking (1)
- Alchemist (1)
- Runemaker (1)
This isn’t so bad. Almost every guild is going to need ALL of the crafter variations for more than one reason, but pay particularly close attention to the gathering needs. Also, note that we chose to double up on what we considered crucial tradeskills, Blacksmithing and Necromancy, as they are likely to be in high demand from Heresy’s guild members.
Let’s take a look at Stampede. You’ll remember that they are the more generic guild. They aren’t focused on anything in Crowfall, “except having fun!” (I’ve had someone tell me that when we talked about this article). Here’s their shopping list for 25 evenly-distributed but randomly generated bonused sets of armor…
8 Leather Armor Sets, 9 Chain Armor Sets, 8 Plate Armor Sets
These materials yield bonuses…
- 448 Silver Ore (Bonus Inheritance)
- 448 Gold Ore (Bonus Inheritance)
- 336 Tin Ore (Bonus Inheritance)
- 336 Copper Ore (Bonus Inheritance)
- 336 Iron Ore (Bonus Inheritance)
- 332 Bear Skins (Bonus Inheritance)
- 332 Cat Skins (Bonus Inheritance)
- 332 Boar Skins (Bonus Inheritance)
- 166 Elk Skins (Bonus Inheritance)
- 166 Auroch Skins (Bonus Inheritance)
Fixed costs to make sets (No +Bonuses from these) …
- 1343 Hide (Fixed, No Bonus Inheritance)
- 2448 Iron Ore (Fixed, No Bonus Inheritance)
- 225 Tin Ore (Fixed, No Bonus Inheritance)
- 200 Copper Ore (Fixed, No Bonus Inheritance)
- 480 Coal (Fixed, No Bonus Inheritance)
- 96 Sinew (Fixed, No Bonus Inheritance)
Stampede is literally all over the place when it comes to material requirements. To calculate this, we split the armor types evenly between the 25 people (as much as we could). Then we evenly distributed the material types between those. The above list is the result of that mess. This left us with a lot of umm… “variety” in our gathering needs, and that is where things really start to get complicated.
To make a randomly selected set of archetypes a full set of gear with random interests in regards to stats, we need to basically split up everything between 25 people.
- General Mining (3)
- General Lumbering (3)
- General Quarrying (3)
- General Skinning (3)
- General Gravedigging (3)
- Blacksmith (2)
- Woodworker (2)
- Necromancer (2)
- Leatherworker (2)
- Alchemist (1)
- Runemaker (1)
And this is where Stampede’s choices start to have consequences (a huge theme in Crowfall). A consequence of approaching Crowfall campaigns like you would a World of Warcraft raid is going to yield these unexpected complications. A decision that will likely frustrate and confuse many players who come to the game thinking they should “diversify” if they want to be successful. An interesting ramification to ACE’s designs with Crowfall.
To fully understand why the above gatherer distribution is really a penalty to their ability to compete in a campaign, understand what skill training does for the gatherer. Training in a given skill tree for gathering yields several important benefits, but of you try to gather a resource type (iron, gold, silver, etc) that you don’t have any training in:
- You’ll spend more time getting fewer materials…
- You’ll consume tools faster because your tools don’t cause as much damage to the node…
- You’ll consume tools faster because you suffer more durability loss per hit when gathering compared to a specialist…
- You won’t be able to gather higher quality materials at the same speed as a specialist (or at all in certain bands depending on the tier of resources present).
And this is only the start of the problems headed Stampede’s way.
When the Going Gets Tough, Compromise.
When we take a look at the differences between the materials needed to gather for Heresy and the materials needed to gather for Stampede, it is easy to jump to certain conclusions. There are even a few counterpoints I see often and we’ll get to those. A well-designed Guild Doctrine allows an organization, at its core, to be efficient and by extension self-sufficient. In the case of Heresy, we can see a streamlined series of decisions that maximize the early Crowfall experience and allow it to field fully equipped players quickly and effectively.
In Stampede’s example, we see the cautionary tale of a guild that didn’t plan ahead. Their need to overcompensate by gathering anything they can get their hands on, means they need to work harder to match the same level of readiness that Heresy’s Doctrine allowed them. Does this mean on the battlefield that Heresy would win an engagement with Stampede? Perhaps, but not necessarily. What is clear, however, is that in a prolonged conflict Heresy would have the advantage of being efficient in its ability to turn raw materials into gear that anyone in its organization is prepared to use.
In Stampede’s case, a prolonged conflict would see it struggle to replace materials and gear. The gatherers would be hard pressed to keep up with demand in the guild, and the crafters would be mostly idle while they waited for resources to work with. Players within Stampede wouldn’t be able to get the exact stats they wanted. Mass Production and the use of factories would be virtually impossible and utterly pointless (who would mass produce anything for a guild made up of 1s and 2s of archetypes?)
Let’s imagine a situation where a prolonged conflict did break out between Stampede and Heresy. Who do you think would win? In my mind, it’s clear that eventually, Stampede couldn’t keep up with gear manufacturing and they’d be on the field partially equipped or naked. We’ve seen some pretty clear evidence in the pre-alpha of who wins in a situation between a naked person and a fully decked out player (let’s not glaze over the fact we’ve limited this exercise to exclude disciplines which are likely to be a nigh-required aspect of battlefield versatility).
In the end, what we’ve tried to make a case for here at Stealthed, is that Stampede’s approach to its supply line and guild management is destined to fail. Stampede’s operations are highly inefficient, unable to be self-sufficient and it will end up compromising its gear choices based on what’s available. The guild will likely end up fielding a full assortment of archetypes, decorated in mysterious and inconsistent items.
Yea, so I’m sure a few of you have started poking holes in Heresy’s plans and the concept as a whole.
The best argument is against battlefield diversity. Clearly, Stampede would win this argument because it’s made up of diverse archetypes who would work together to counter the limited abilities of the two archetypes that Heresy limited itself to. This is a solid argument if no other variables were involved. You’d be ignoring the fact that we now know of over 200 disciplines that could easily be manufactured in various ways to compensate for Heresy’s lack of diverse base archetypes. We also don’t know what impact Promotion archetypes will have on this picture, but my guess is it would further alleviate this concern.
Simply being good at an encounter and winning the majority of engagements doesn’t replace the fact that you’d still need to eventually replace gear win or lose. Durability loss occurs even if you win an encounter and eventually cause Stampede to need to replace its gear, something it cannot do easily or efficiently.
It’s a solid counter-argument to the concept of a Guild Doctrine, but it ignores much of this efficiency argument.
The other major consideration when adopting a Guild Doctrine is more logistical. Assume Stampede knew of Heresy’s Doctrine and discovered that simply cutting them off from Copper was sufficient to destabilize the entirety of their supply and manufacturing operations.
This is a better argument, and perhaps the only one that matters. Yet, this is a tactical decision (and not an organizational one). Heresy should not implement this Doctrine unless it can virtually guarantee its supply line (though assuming it can’t, the battle has already been lost regardless of a doctrine or otherwise). This means it would need to construct a city close to a Copper source. If Copper was only on the far side of the map, this was a tactical mistake (and not the fault of the Doctrine).
This is also where that cursed efficiency comes back into play. It’s highly unlikely that Stampede could effectively blockade Heresy 24/7.
In the case of Heresy finding its supply of Copper open (say 2-3am after much of Stampede has gone to sleep), its efficiency advantage allows it to quickly stockpile resources far easier than its opponents can. It also has the advantage of having more gatherers specialized in what it needs. It could send multiple groups to multiple locations of Copper, and simply find a place where Stampede isn’t. The inverse would not be true. Limited gatherers would make it easy to camp proximity based ore nodes (or simply track down and kill the known gatherers!). The idea that Stampede would or even could camp all Copper nodes in a map is pretty unlikely. So I don’t particularly buy into this argument either way.
Guild Doctrines: The Next Generation
Guild Doctrines are almost certainly going to be an evolving concept in Crowfall. As players skill up and grow in capabilities horizontally, the ability to expand the doctrines grows with it. A finer level of detail can be applied to the itemization within the doctrine. You could start to pick out different stats and bonuses for each archetype, as opposed to a blanket cover. You could even have multiple doctrines that are possible, as your gatherers gain mastery over harvesting additional material types.
When it comes to deciding what Doctrine is right for your guild, consider these items:
- Guild Size: 25 people don’t give a lot of room in your organization for people to focus purely on combat (much to many’s dismay). It was one of the more illuminating aspects of writing this article. Everyone needs to contribute in some way to production. Even if you increase the size of the guild, you still have to consider the ratio of gatherers, crafters, and gear types to ensure a steady supply of materials, available crafters, and gear to meet the needs of everyone.
Author’s Note: Oddly enough, this also counters the concept of alt-accounts filling in the gaps. You’ve now added another body to your production needs (unless you run your gatherer-alt-accounts around naked) but not another person to help fill it!
- Archetype Selection: You saw how efficient limiting yourself to 2 Archetypes could be with Heresy. Perhaps you limit your organization to 3 or 5 instead? Doing so still greatly decreases the variety of materials you might need (no one needs a Champion anyways).
- Armor Selection: Limiting your guild to Plate, Scale, or Leather (or possibly cloth?) is another very good first step in narrowing down production needs. As probably the largest percentage of raw materials go into producing this type, this needs to be the place you focus your efforts on in early Crowfall campaigns.
- Disciplines: These are a big unknown right now, but it’s likely having a plan for their creation goes into a doctrine. Disciplines will allow your guild to expand its abilities, without stressing your production line by incorporating another Archetype into the mix. Think of changing these up before you add the burden of a new Archetype into the mix.
- Resource Mix: Have a backup plan in case specific resources aren’t available. Perhaps an entirely different Doctrine might be in order. The problem here is ensuring you have sufficient gathering training to not set you back. There are certain bonuses which make use of a mix of material types (iron and gold for example) which you might diversify into early on. Then swap to the pure versions if one of them isn’t available.
The considerations for Doctrines are endless, and we don’t want to give away all of our secrets. After all, Guild Doctrines could be the edge which we use to beat you one day.
Authors Note: Special thanks to Anhrez for helping me do the math on this one 😉