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