Lord British – Kickstarter by the Numbers

Richard Garriott de Cayeux, aka Lord British, has made his million.


The count at ~03:00 UTC

The Kickstarter for Lord British’s Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues, to give it its awkward full name, passed the one million dollar mark this evening, with 19 days left to go on the 30 day run.  This means Lord British and his company will get some money.

What they do with it remains to be seen.

As a funding necessity, I remain skeptical of the need for Lord British to resort to this sort of thing.  The idea that a million dollars will make a huge difference relative to what he is promising or that he could not get that sum of money without retaining his independence seems patently silly to me.

But as a marketing exercise… well, on that front his effort seems to be quite the success.

I was actually kind of surprised that his team jumped straight from a count down… which felt somewhat stale… how many such count downs have we endured in the past… right into the Kickstarter without any sort of introductory preamble or warm up.

I compare this, of course, to Mark Jacobs and his Camelot Unchained posts, which is just that sort of build up to a Kickstarter campaign.  Mr. Jacobs has been building up to a Kickstarter, laying out founding principals and such in attempt to create enthusiasm in advance of the kick off.

Meanwhile, Lord British has been running his Kickstarter… or somebody has been running it for him… like a pro.

He has had new updates, new rewards, or new reveals every day since the the fund run started.   It was all planned well in advance, but it gets put out there like it was a spontaneous new surprise.  This past afternoon, in obvious anticipation of passing the million dollar mark, the first stretch goals showed up.

Room for more goals...

Room for more goals…

If Lord British hits the 1.1 million dollar mark, players will get social and combat pets as part of the game.

At the 1.2 million dollar mark, there will be changeable weather.

Actually, looking at those, I am not sure he is keeping up standards.  Can you picture him holding back these features if somehow these goals are not met.  Meanwhile, the 1.3 million dollar stretch goal has yet to be revealed.  People will have to donate to find out what is up.

Probably the most interesting update so far was update #10 about the various play modes that will be available in the game.  They will be:

Single player offline:
This is the DRM free, completely off-line version of the game.  Your character is stored on your computer and can not be used in any of the online modes.

Single Player Online (SPO)
In the SPO mode you connect to the server, receive content updates, and can see the long term changes others are having on the world.  However, you are not visible on anyone else’s screen, nor for grouping, and you don’t see anyone else in the world.  You can switch from SPO to FPO or OPO modes whenever you like while in a city or overland map.  Some parts of the main storyline quests may temporarily force the player into SPO mode for some parts of the quest.

Friends Play Online (FPO)
In friends play online, you only see people you have flagged as friends in the game and only they can see you.  Like single player, this is just a server side filter.  For those who prefer the quieter game with friends or maybe for those who prefer a more focused role playing experience, this lets you enjoy a more limited online experience. You can switch to SPO or OPO modes whenever you like while in a city or in the overland map.

Open Play Online (OPO)
In OPO players will see everyone that the server thinks they should see.  This will not necessarily be all people in the area but should be people you care the most about based on what we believe is their relevance to you.

I find the last bit the most interesting, in that you will see “everyone that the server thinks” you should see.  Also, it is odd that they make a point of saying that single player offline will be completely DRM free.  I wonder what that implies.

Anyway, Lord British’s Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues has met its minimum goal.  We shall see how far along it progresses from there.

And we will see, eventually, how the Mark Jacobs strategy works in comparison.

6 thoughts on “Lord British – Kickstarter by the Numbers

  1. *vlad*

    Your cynicism knows no boundaries!
    Actually those in-game options look really interesting. The one option I would love is – you can see other players, but they can not interact with you or any mobs/nodes in your version of the game, unless you choose it.
    So that means the cities/wilderness still have players in them, but they can’t grief you. Call it SCBO – Super Care Bear Online.


  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @kiantremayne – It could be that simple. I just wonder when somebody makes a point of bringing attention to that in one mode, then fails to mention it in any other, what the real message is. Of course, online play is DRM of a sort by definition. I just wonder if they have anything else in mind.

    @*vlad* – I am a product of my environment.

    Super Care Bear Online! I like it. Trademark that!

    I do wonder how simply not being able to see other people… if I read that right… will work. Will people you cannot see still impact your world in ways that mean you would probably be better off if you saw each other. Color me less cynical and more scratching my head.

    And, on a different tack, I did like the BBC article on all of this where they referred to Lord British as “legendary British developer Richard Garriott,” Texas clearly being part of the United Kingdom. Sure, he was born in England… but would you really call him British?


  3. kiantremayne

    Simple explanation for the BBC news article – the BBC is an employer of choice for those individuals who graduate with the wrong sort of degree from the right sort of university (e.g. a less than stellar degree result from Oxford or Cambridge), which means a mediocre humanities degree – sloppiness and lazy thinking tend to be their stock in trade, although I am a bit disappointed, because being THIS sloppy used to be the preserve of The Guardian :)

    Alternatively, I might just be bitter and cynical, having arguably the right sort of degree from the wrong sort of university (telecoms engineering from an institution that ‘only’ became a university in the 1960s)


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