What makes the Hottentot so hot?
What puts the “ape” in ape-ricot?
Whatta they got that I ain’t got?
The Ashes of Creation Kickstarter seems to be a rousing success so far.
The ask was $750,000 and, with nearly a month left to go until the June 2 end date, they have already passed a million dollars and are talking about stretch goals and the like. Op success.
And this didn’t happen by magic or anything. Intrepid Studios went by the numbers for this success with a long build up over time and clear advance notice that the Kickstarter campaign was coming so fans of the title were ready to go.
You can go over to Massively OP and search on “Ashes of Creation” and see the series of articles that they posted about the game, like stepping stones leading to this day.
This is the way it is supposed to be done. That whole, “Hey, surprise! We have a Kickstarter!” thing is generally a bust. Amateurs run out half cocked, professionals lay the groundwork so that the success which follows isn’t really a surprise.
And the team at Intrepid Studios has industry experience, even if they seem a bit young. If you show me a dozen people and say something like, “There’s over 40 years of MMO experience here in this office…” I am going to point at a co-worker of mine and tell you the pair of us are past 50 years experience in our industry combined. But youth can mean vigor and the desire to tackle problems and older hand might just dismiss with, “we tried that before, it didn’t work.”
The experience of the team seems to be a bit focused on SOE/Daybreak, which is probably why some of what they are talking about has an air of EverQuest Next about it. Again, not necessarily a bad thing. EQN certainly got many people excited back in the day. And the whole “node system” also seems to have a bit of EVE Online null sec in its mix as well.
All of this adds up to an enticing package and ought to spark the embers of hope that maybe there will be something new under the sun when it comes to the Fantasy MMORPG genre.
So why am I not excited about this? Why isn’t this helping me shake off the MMO malaise?
I have been watching that march of articles at Massively OP for a while now, yet the fact that the Kickstarter was on and doing well really didn’t hit me until Bhagpuss posted about it. Maybe I just pay more attention to him than Massively OP? (Also, not many of the bloggers I follow have weighed in on the Kickstarter. What does that say?)
Meanwhile, I think I may have had my enthusiasm for Kickstarter projects weighed down by past projects. I need to do another summary post about my experiences with Kickstarter. That might actually be a good one for next Wednesday due to the timing of a particular campaign. It won’t be a tale of all sunshine and lollipops as some of the projects in my post from two years back are still not done, with MMORPG projects being the most likely not to have wrapped up.
Complex software projects are complex. It is known. So any dates given for such projects… and in the case of Ashes of Creation, December 2018 is being bandied about… are automatically suspect in my book.
And then there is my capacity for enthusiasm over long periods of time, which is essentially zero. As I noted in a comment on Syp’s post about backing or not backing the project, I lack the wherewithal to pay close attention to/care about such a project as it winds its way through development, alpha, early access, beta, pre-release, and whatever other gyrations the creation cycle takes. (Cue footage of me collapsing from feigned exhaustion at the idea of a project that has an “Alpha 3.0” target some six years into the development cycle.)
From my investment in the genre about a decade back to now I have regressed to the point where I really just want to exchange money for some entertainment. Keep your development laundry to yourself. I can’t even bring myself to pay much attention to expansions for games I follow, at least not beyond the barest details, like ship dates. You have to have something really, really, and I mean really, special to get me to jump on the pre-release bandwagon at this point.
But I am jaded and cynical and in that state of malaise I keep talking about, all of which tends to add up to a hammer of an emotion which makes every new MMORPG project look like a bent, mis-aligned, and somewhat rusty nail.
So what is the fresh and enthusiastic perspective here? Am I missing something special? If you are backing this, what is the selling point for you?
Yet Another Sword and Sorcery MMO… Yawn. I guess I’m just burned out on leveling up yet another Ranger or whatever. Why not an Old West MMO? Or a “The Division” like MMO? The game visuals look amazing, but I’m just tired of the same setting. I still might try it out when it is released, but can’t see backing it pre-release.
It was the SOE/DBG heritage of the team that drew my attention. I was hoping, if not exactly for something like a new EQ2, then at least a recognizable theme-park MMORPG in line of descent.
The early press releases made that look possible but by the time the Kickstarter arrived it was clear that this is closer to a Western Black Desert Online than something like EQ2 or Rift or FFXIV. It does also, as you point out, have a brimstone whiff of EQNext about it.
By the time EQN was canned I’d about reached the point where I was happy to see it go. Very little that it promised, even had it been possible, seemed like a good idea any more. I can’t say I’m pumped to see those ideas trying to make a comeback. At least they aren’t banging on about voxels and destructible landscapes…
I don’t think AoC is going to be the Next Big Thing, not even in MMOs, and I’d be surprised if ends up being something I play for years. It does look moderately interesting though. I did in the end decide to back it for a $40 pledge and that was entirely so I could into Closed Beta 2. Buying in to any earlier stage was too expensive or I’d have done that.
My reasoning is that a) as I’ve often said, beta is generally more enjoyable than live and b) I am willing to pay $40 for the chance of a couple of months of new material for the blog. I just hope the NDA is down by then.
I’m still in the “Kickstarter is for fairy tales” camp for MMOs until one of the following launch and are a huge, amazing success: Star Citizen, Camelot Unchained, Crowfall, uh, other ones that everyone got excited about and I have already forgotten because nothing tangible has come of them.
I like fairy tales, but most of them aren’t true. Yet.
I’m with Isey here. I love Kickstarter overall, but until an MMO delivers on that platform, I don’t care anymore, short of someone pitching the MMO as being a copy/paste on what I have over at my blog (and even then, 95% chance they just screw it up anyway).
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It is worth noting that of the 5 or so MMO’s that I have pledged for over the past four years not one of them has been released yet.
I find myself somewhat positive on MMO kickstarters right now because I’m playing Elite Dangerous. I see the game’s kickstarter heritage in the occasional reference to backer rewards even now, 3+ years in.
There are valid questions about whether it’s an MMO at all, but it’s at least MMO-like. And granted, the developers had a track record already, but whatever way you look at it, it has enjoyed some success.
@zaphod6502 – I am 0 for 3 myself with Shroud of the Avatar, Camelot Unchained, and Project: Gorgon. By the time Crowfall came along I was less willing to chip in.
@Fenjay – Despite my inability to master docking/undocking, I consider Elite: Dangerous to be quite the Kickstarter success. It gets some criticism about going live short of all of the features they wanted (this seems to come up with people defending Star Citizen and its long development time), but it got funded, went live, and delivered something pretty good which has been expanded upon since.
The last thing I backed that I found here was Mineserver, thanks a bunch TAGN!
Anyway this looks interesting, I hope it succeeds. Too little info for me to back it at this stage though. The idea of nodes and what they have to say about the economy and asymmetrical power/resources in the world is very promising.
I am truly just hoping for a good game. The thing that makes me excited is that this is fairly similar in general scope as another MMO I backed, Chronicles of Elyria. Except this one looks like it will be even more fun and tightly implemented, which I am a huge fan of.
So my reasoning is just hope for a better genre. I mean, one of these days one of these MMOs will be a success, or the genre will fade even further into the dark abyss that has grown since That Big One’s titanic reign began.
I got burned badly by Crowfall. Kickstarter fooled me once, shame on them.
Fool me twice, shame on me.
I backed both Crowfall and Project:Gorgon fairly heavily. I dont regret it.. yet. Crowfall is still a fair way away from a playable game but some of the pieces are now starting to fall together and I’ve had a lot of fun with the bits that are available. Progress is steady. I never cared about the delivery dates either. P:G I always considered more of a donation. If I was a bigger whale, I’d chip in more because I really like the ideas and most of the implementation.
In both those kickstarters, I’ve bought in at a level that basically gives me a lifetime subscription. My MMO habbits cost me around 1-2k a year in subs, expansions and some cash shop splurges so lifetime subs or their near equivalent look pretty attractive.
I’ve been burned more by buying in “collectors edition” type packages for games that I then didnt enjoy much, or missing out on ones that I do enjoy (Swtor, Elite most noteably)
As for Ashes – well, if it kickstartered in about 2 months or so I would probably have jumped in at their ~425 early bird level but unfortunately Mr Taxman is likely to need his money first. I’m otherwise not at all hyped about it!
I always forget that I can just paste in the link to a Kickstarter campaign and WP will resolve that to the video. So, this:
Crowfall is the only game I have backed. If it works out then I saved money over the purchase when finally released. I did not expect access until beta 2 with my minimum package but can already log in at the alpha stage.
$25 is lowest reward amount for Ashes of Creation and you get 1 month of game time at release. I don’t know if they have said the subscription price but I am guessing it is lower then $25. It does not give closed beta access. The rest of the pledge rewards I don’t care about.
I’m not backing it. I looked at the various tiers and whatnot and decided that if it is released, I can buy it then for the same amount. And if it never releases, then I’m not out the cash in the 1st place. I don’t care about alpha or beta logins, nor am I willing to shell out enough on something I’d never heard of before in order to maybe be able to log in to it during a bug-riddled time in a couple of years.
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The MMORPGs I’ve backed on Kickstarter are The Repopulation, Shadowrun Online, and Project Gorgon. I’m not sure what’s going to happen with The Repopulation, since it was sold off. Project Gorgon is still in development. And Shadowrun: Online was changed from it’s original intent. So I don’t really feel like backing another MMORPG. If AoC is released, I’m sure I’ll hear about it and can make a decision at that time, whether I want to play it or not.