Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen Kickstarter Started

Brad “Aradune” McQuaid has launched his Kickstarter campaign to fund his planned game Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen.  I did not see much build-up to it, but maybe I wasn’t paying attention to the right sources.

Aradune's new project

The Project

Aradune, who came through TorilMUD back in the day, is best known for being one of the primary drivers of EverQuest and Vanguard.

Of course, everybody (or everybody reading this) remembers EverQuest, while Vanguard hasn’t always been… appreciated?  I hate to say winner/loser, but one was king of the genre pre-WoW and remains influential today and the other…

So this is the third try.  Can Aradune and his cohorts at Visionary Realms, Inc. (there is that “vision” word again) take what has been learned over the years and craft an MMORPG that brings back the hardcore days of EverQuest while running well and feeling up-to-date?  That certainly seems to be the target.

Pantheon emphasizes the need to adventure with others. The world is dangerous and full of unexpected challenges making it unwise to travel alone. We feel that the best memories are those shared with fellow adventurers and friends. Thus, we are aiming to create a world where grouping is paramount.

He is asking for $800,000 in funding, which if you read my predictions for 2014, means I think he won’t make it.  I figured his name and reputation was good for half a million tops, so I guess we will see if I am wrong in the next 40 days. (The timer runs down on Saturday Feb 22, 11:40am PST.  I’m in for $75.  If the ride starts, I want to be on board.)

I expect it will be a hard fight to make it there no matter what and Brad will have to be out and about and getting people interested pretty much full time.  Remember how hard Mark Jacobs worked to get to two million dollars for Camelot Unchained?

There are the usual aspects of a Kickstarter campaign in place, including stretch goals out beyond the 6 million dollar mark.  You can find all the details on the Kickstarter page for the project.  I expect we will see interviews with Brad coming up where he will have to answer some hard questions about what he learned from the Vanguard project and where something like Pantheon fits in today’s market.

The target date for the game is pegged at three years out, January 2017.

I thought I would copy these bullet points to ponder as the campaign moves on.

Game Details

  • An MMO developed by gamers who aren’t afraid to target an audience of like-minded gamers.
  • A fantasy themed Massively Multiplayer Role Playing game (MMO) with a heavy focus on character development, an immersive world, and teamwork.
  • An MMO for players wanting a challenging and rewarding experience.
  • An open world in which you explore to obtain not only more powerful items but also new spells and abilities.
  • Travel where and when you want to in a non-linear world.
  • A huge world to explore, trade, and adventure in.
  • A complex back-story that players may gradually discover as they grow in power and explore the world.
  • A constantly expanding and evolving world.
  • Group-focused social gameplay using a class based system to encourage teamwork.
  • Customize your class by bonding with the spirits of fallen warriors.
  • Reactive combat where you can determine what the NPC is doing and react to it. (move, counter, deflect, etc.) .
  • Combat will be challenging and involved — your decisions will matter and directly affect the battle’s outcome.
  • Travel the world and profit from selling exotic items collected from distant realms. Different cities and outposts may have local Bazaars.
  • Limited and class based teleportation may get you close, but in order to reach many destinations you will have to traverse the planar scarred lands of Terminus through the use of your own two feet or on the back of your mighty steed.
  • Earning experience is only part of what it takes to level up. Exploring the world you will gain knowledge and power allowing you to overcome more powerful enemies.
  • The game will run on PC, Mac, and possibly other platforms in the future.

Game Tenents

  • An awareness that content is king
  • A belief that game economies should be predicated on delaying and minimizing item value deflation
  • A commitment to a style of play that focuses on immersive combat, and engaging group mechanics.
  • An understanding that a truly challenging game is truly rewarding
  • An expectation that the path of least resistance should also be the most entertaining
  • A mindset that Designed Downtime should be a part of the game to ensure players have time to form important social bonds.
  • A belief that an immersive world requires intelligent inhabitants
  • An understanding that faction should be an integral part of interacting with the world and its citizenry.
  • A commitment to creating a world where a focus on group play will attract those seeking a challenge
  • A belief that the greatest sense of accomplishment comes when it is shared

10 thoughts on “Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen Kickstarter Started

  1. zaphod6502

    So many lofty claims on that list. Reminds of a certain other MMORPG. I wish them the best of success but in the current burnt out MMORPG market it may be a struggle to hit their targets.


  2. bhagpuss

    He’s kept in some of the things I like best about EQ but also some of the things I never liked in the first place and was glad to see the back of, plus he’s added some stuff that EQ never had, some of which I like and some of which I don’t.

    “Pantheon emphasizes the need to adventure with others”.

    If that read “encourages” I’d be happier. Grouping as optimal is fine; forced grouping or you can’t do anything isn’t. I soloed a lot in early EQ and loved it.

    “Reactive combat where you can determine what the NPC is doing and react to it. (move, counter, deflect, etc.) .”

    No thanks. Not remotely interested. What age does he think his imagined fanbase is?

    “A mindset that Designed Downtime should be a part of the game to ensure players have time to form important social bonds.”

    Right. Like that’s going to happen. The thing no-one ever mentions about downtime in early EQ was that players had little choice. EQ could not be played in a window. You couldn’t tab out to web-browse, let alone play other games in a browser. You were stuck with talking to people or doing something in your room that didn’t involve your computer. If he puts in “Designed Downtime” now people will just tab out and play something else while they wait. If they wait.

    I’m interested but I’d want to know a lot more before I coughed up any cash.


  3. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – There is a certain amount of “remembering the good, forgetting the bad” that goes on when we talk about old EQ. And part of the charm of EQ was that, in 1999, there wasn’t a lot like it. Qeynos Hills and West Karana left a huge impression on me as I had never been in a game like that before.

    I am not sure I can get that emotion again, and without that, would a remake mean anything? Also, I’m fifteen years older and more mellow and quite a few other things. We shall see.


  4. Jenks

    This is the most money I’ve thrown at a Kickstarter so far. I just wish the reptilian race wasn’t a stretch goal, or at least not so expensive! To be honest I don’t think there will be enough interest in this for him to hit the $800,000. In today’s market, I think Brad as a designer and me as a consumer are obsolete. Fingers crossed that I’m wrong and he gets my cash.


  5. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Hudson – Three hours in and you’re ready to call it?

    Generally I need to wait 48 hours. Funding tends to be like an inverted bell curve, with most of it happening in the first two days and the last two. If he isn’t a past a quarter of the way there after 48 hours, it will look very bad.


  6. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Hudson – Oh, you meant just making it to the druid. Yeah, that seems pretty slim. I misunderstood your final line and thought you meant the project as a whole.

    The real question ought to be “Rangers before druids?” Did he ever play a ranger back in EQ?


  7. Stabs

    Sounds quite Vanguardy which is perhaps not surprising as VG was Brad’s take on EQ. Hope it launches, will check it out.

    But Designed Downtime? I would lol but I spent 2 hours on a titan last night without jumping anywhere. Still it’s pretty brazen to put it as a feature. “Hey guys, our game allows you to do nothing for half an hour!”


  8. SynCaine

    I actually like the mention of Designed Downtime, as I read it more like “you won’t be ADHD clicking clicking clicking all the time”, vs “we make you wait 10min between mob kills”. We’ll see.

    Overall not my cup of tea as I never liked EQ and hated Vanguard, but will be interesting just to see if it makes the 800k.


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