Not the Super Bowl half-time.
No, we have now reached Day 20 of the 40 day Kickstarter campaign for Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen. It is half way through its run.
And looking at the raw numbers this morning, you might feel justified in some skepticism about whether the campaign will reach its goal. Things currently stand at:
Half way through and not quite at the 40% mark. In a lot of campaigns that would be a serious cause for concern. Kicktraq shows that the average pledge per backer is $131 and that the average pledged per day stands at $14,876, well shy of the $20,000 a day required to make the goal.
But this campaign isn’t unfolding in the smooth, inverted bell curve way that I described in an earlier post, the way that Camelot Unchained and Shroud of the Avatar did. That it is different can be seen as something of a mixed bag.
First there was the campaign launch, which was preceded by very little fanfare. This turned what might have been a psychologically useful big first day into a scramble to catch up and get the word out. And while the work on that has been going apace, it would have been nice to point at a big opening day for that.
The campaign did get a couple of boosts. The first came when SOE announced that Vanguard: Saga of Heroes would be shut down this summer. If nothing else, that seemed to answer the musical question, “Why would I want this new thing when I am happy enough with Brad’s past work?” That past work is going away.
Then there was the Reddit Ask Me Anything that Brad got through pretty well. Those can be tough runs. I recall the first one John Smedley did, where he had to go through the whole Star Wars Galaxies NGE thing again, along with a few other unfun episodes in SOE history. If anything, I think the questions that Brad got were not tough enough. There was a lot of fanboy questions about this feature or that and a couple about Vanguard and what happened at Sigil. But he has that last down to a nice sound bite at this point, so it was a lot more kumbaya than inquisition.
I would have liked to have heard… and would still like hear… a run through by him about the evolution of EverQuest from its roots to today. He wants to get back to the old school days of 1999, dispensing with the new crap. (For me, “new crap” is pretty much defined as “everything after Ruins of Kunark,” which was the only truly all good MMO expansion ever, in my rose tinted view of the world.) But EverQuest didn’t change and evolve in a vacuum. Things were done for reasons, and often to solve specific problems. I would like to hear how Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen will handle this. (And I don’t think “smaller audience” is a sufficient answer.)
And then there was the latest item to get out the pledges, a tie-in with Lord British’s Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtue. If you support both projects at a specific level or higher… and you can still get in on Shroud of the Avatar, Lord British is past the $3 million mark… you will receive a cloak in each game with that features the crest of the other.
That is a nifty incentive. But the real win for Pantheon is that it included a direct message from Lord British to all 27,000+ supported of Shroud of the Avatar about the Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen Kickstarter campaign. That is some serious targeted marketing, getting the word out to that many nostalgia focused gamers. And while the cross-over between Ultima fans and EverQuest fans won’t be anywhere close to 100%, even a 10% hit rate would do wonders for Brad’s funding effort.
So that is a big wildcard that won’t be fully played until we get to the final days of the campaign. There is almost always a spike in pledges at the end, which can be all the more frantic if it looks like a last minute push can be make or break. We shall see.
And I also wonder if there isn’t more to the talks between Brad and Lord British. Only a fool would pin all his hopes on a single throw of the dice on Kickstarter, and I do not think Brad is a fool. Could Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen end up under the Portalarium banner next to Shroud of the Avatar? That seems like a long shot, but it would make Portalarium more of an adventure game nostalgia power house. We shall see. We still have 20 more days to go.