Crowfall Makes its Funding Goal, The Campaign Continues!

At some point while I slept the Crowfall Kickstarter campaign crossed the $800,000 mark, which means that if you don’t reneg on that bid you made in the next 26 days or so, you’ll end up having to pay them some money.

Crowfall800KSo we’re done, right?  Of course not!

Crowfall800K_bannerThe marketing aspect of this campaign has only just begun, plus more money is always good.  Any detail oriented person probably noticed, it says right on the Kickstarter page itself that you cannot make an MMO for $800K.

So where will this campaign head?

I could see the Crowfall campaign hitting the $2 million mark, which would allow it to finish up in the neighborhood of titles like Camelot Unchained, Shroud of the Avatar, and Star Citizen.

Of those campaigns, this one feels the most like Shroud of the Avatar at least superficially.  Lord British asked for one million dollars, hit that at the 10 day mark, and then went on secure just over two million in funding.

The Crowfall team has 26 days left to go raise another $1.2 million and hit that respectable mark.  And they can do it, if they can negotiate the mid-campaign doldrums.

Wait, what?

Wait, you never said anything about doldrums!

If you look at the charts at Kicktraq, the amount of money raised and the number of new backers signing up is dropping off day by day.  The early rush of enthusiasm is over.  The pent up and eager backers are already on board.  In about a week it is going to get very quiet on the campaign if they don’t have a plan.  To progress further they have to capture the fence sitters and the unaware while continuing to engage their core supported.

On top of that, they have already met their goal, so the tension on that front is over.  This campaign will fund (barring any mass defection) so there is no need to rush out to pledge or up the ante on what you have already opted to give.

To catch the unaware will require more press coverage.  But more of the same “hey, look, a game” sorts of stories probably won’t cut it.  The campaign will need something that will attract fresh eyes.  I am not sure that the Lord British tactic of getting out on the stump and telling people that most game designers suck compared to him (and then claiming he was taken out of context) is necessarily the right route to take.  After all, Lord British has spent years laying the foundation of being an erratic nut case when it comes to talking to the press.  You can’t just get that reputation in a day.

What I expect we will see in the next week or two is a few interviews where Gordon Walton or J. Todd Coleman offer to dish the dirt on what REALLY went wrong with Shadowbane or The Sims Online or Star Wars: The Old Republic.  We love that sort of thing.  You can bet we’ll be blogging about that if it comes up, because a good interview on that front will echo all over the place.  Admissions of failure play very well to a wider audience.  And such tales can easily be turned to teaching moments about how much they learned and how the Crowfall plan has taken those lessons to heart.

CrowfallMeanwhile, there are those fence sitters and those who have already pledged.  There are all sorts of ways to entice them to get on the bus and then give even more money.

One way is stretch goals.  And, frankly, the current stretch goals stink in my opinion.  You are never going to convince me that they weren’t going to do both anyway.  But that is the problem when you present a tight plan, anything you suggest seems either tacked on or was assumed to be part of the plan anyway.  I don’t know how they are going to do it, but they need to step up their game on that front.  Yeah, you want to hold off on the really good stretch goals until the very end to help drive that last 48 hour push, but right now they aren’t playing for me.

But more importantly, they need to tinker with the pledge tiers.  People who were in at the start will up their game if a new tier with a special shiny shows up, while those on the fence may be swayed by a tier that gives them just the right mix of things.  Expect a regular re-rolling of new tiers as they seek out sweet spots and special deals that will bring in more money.

And I expect that they will open up pledges via PayPal and other sources on their own site for people who do not want to use the Amazon funding system that Kickstarter rests on.

At least that is my ignorant, outsider’s view of the world.

Do you think they will make it to two million?  Maybe more?

9 thoughts on “Crowfall Makes its Funding Goal, The Campaign Continues!

  1. Isey

    I am sad with the stretch goals, only because I think stretch goals turns kickstarter into a “lets fundraise!” instead of “let’s make the game we promised we would based on that fundraising!”. I’ve said this before and my view of it is unlikely to change until one (or all) of Camelot Unchained, Shroud of the Avatar, and Star Citizen launch – as a GOOD game, WITH all the stretch goals they promised, in full form.

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  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Isey – Stretch goals are a thing, part of the whole Kickstarter oeuvre, but the philosophy of stretch goals doesn’t seem to be nailed down very well. Stretch goals that feel like bad DLC, and the Crowfall stuff falls into that category, give me a big frowny face. I would prefer something where, if a stretch goal is met, backers get some sort of cool thingy that isn’t necessarily a whole new in-game feature. But that comes with its own pile of problems as well. You want the thingy to be meaningful, but you don’t want that special, backer only stretch goal reward diamond studded Nerf bat to give game-breaking advantage to anybody. But it has to be something people would want.

    The Defense Grid 2 Kickstarter had decent stretch goals, and even though the funding didn’t go beyond the first one, they ended up delivering on most of them over time.

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  3. Isey

    It would be a much more sensible system if you hit your goals the project just stops funding altogether and the group asking for the funding gets to work. The skillset of “gaming” a Kickstarter takes the purity of crowd funding out of it. Having a Kickstarter end at the stated goal until delivery of that goal is a good idea. Besides, once it is funded, they can just sell it afterwards when it is done and put their mouths where their money is, so to speak.

    Also having the stop would encourage people to get in fast if they really want something because the availability is truly limited.

    I know that will never happen because who would turn down more money, but I am talking “on principle” here.

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  4. SynCaine

    I hate big stretch goals, and much prefer the little stuff like ‘female version of X’, or extra artist creating fancier fluff.

    Stretch goals that read like massive scope creep suck, because we all know just throwing money at things DOESN’T instantly yield results. 1m to fund a PvP-focused MMO, with a 1.5m stretch goal of “personal story content” is stuff that makes me cringe.

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  5. bhagpuss

    If Crowfall was already released and they put up a Kickstarter asking for half a million dollars to add “female centaurs” “enhanced particle effects” “character mounts” and “caravan transport” do you think they’d hit the target?

    If so, perhaps we should have a Kickstarter before every patch and content update in every MMO. Vote with your wallet and all that…

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  6. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – Maybe Daybreak will start Kickstarting for EQ and EQII expansions… or for progression servers… or for Station Cash items, only you don’t get the items for backing so you have to go any buy them anyway… or for new games, but you still have to pay $20 for early access and the game still isn’t anywhere close to done… or maybe for a cure for my cynicism.

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  7. carson63000

    I think one of the best examples of how to keep a Kickstarter rolling with stretch goals was Hex: Shards of Fate. Their Kicktraq:

    http://www.kicktraq.com/projects/cze/hex-mmo-trading-card-game/#chart-daily

    That was due to constantly rolling out stretch goals which not only included new dev features, but also always includes more loot for the backers. I suspect they got a very large number of their backers increasing their pledges multiple times during the campaign (I did, actually).

    Of course, all those stretch goals turned into quite a debacle, given that we’re getting towards almost two years since the Kickstarter, they’ve got a small subset of their initially promised functionality working, and basically no sign of having even started development of any of the stretch goals. Despite their Kickstarter claims that they had “come so far” and just needed help to take them “across the finish line”.

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  8. Scree (@TheScree)

    I think they have a lot of features they can focus in on. The more details we get as consumers, the more likely we are to buy into those features. I think the only feature that defines this game right now is the fact that the campaigns restart from time to time.

    Focusing on skills and what exactly all of those archetypes can do is another way to expound on what makes them different. I think whats most interesting to me in all of this, is that almost all of their features read like what you’d expect from Shadowbane 2.0 (which oddly enough WAS made and released in Korea?).

    I don’t think they have to sell too hard here, and I absolutely wouldn’t want them to feature creep to the extent of 63 million Star Citizen nonsense.

    I do think they will come out with a media barrage. They have to. Its how these things work, chalk it up to the nature of the beast.

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  9. Pingback: Not Crowfalling in love just yet. – Murf Versus

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