Ashes of Creation Kickstarter Campaign Closes Big

Ashes of Creation has reaped Kickstarter success in a pretty big way.

Something about this logo says “Ashes of EverQuest Next” to me

The campaign brought in more than $3.2 million on a $750K ask, largely by running their campaign by the numbers… numbers which included a long run of pre-campaign news and updates and plenty of warning that the Kickstarter was coming.  The Choice/Change/Consequence message about the world they intend to create seemed to resonate as well.

The final tally when the campaign closed early this morning was:

  • Amount Pledged: $3,271,809
  • Total Backers: 19,576
  • Avg. Pledge: $167

That is a serious haul, representing 436% of the campaign’s base goal.  That number puts it ahead of other such Kickstarter campaigns like:

I actually wonder what Ashes of Creation brought to the table that let it out-pace some of those campaigns.  Part of my view of such campaigns is that a big name in the industry is needed to get attention and bring in the backers.  Certainly the top four campaigns on the list above were driven by the names involved.

And then there is Ashes of Creation.

Let’s be honest here.  There is nobody listed on that campaign that has anything like the history or notoriety of Mark Jacobs, Chris Roberts, Richard Garriott, or Gordon Walton (and Raph Koster, whose name was tossed around during the Crowfall campaign).  They don’t even have a Brad McQuaid level of name.  Not even a Mark “Sad Trombone” Kern to hang their hat on.

What does this mean?

Is the star power of famous names overrated?  I have always assumed that having the draw of a known name was a key aspect to success, but what should I think now?  Do such names come at a cost?  Certainly both Mark Jacobs and Lord British had to spend time explaining away past mistakes during their Kickstarter runs. (Jacobs gave us a mea culpa with some blame for EA, while Garriott just pointed fingers at EA and NCsoft.)

Without a name did Ashes of Creation just do a much better job of laying the groundwork for success before launching their campaign?  Certainly there was a long string of articles about the project before it hit Kickstarter.

Is Ashes of Creation really offering something different, something that would spark this level of success?

Or has the environment changed?  For a stretch there was a whole cloud burst of MMORPG Kickstarter campaigns, including the five I listed out above and more.  Since then things have quieted down.  Was the market just ready for another run at the fantasy MMORPG holy grail?

Personally, I have too many undelivered projects to consider investing in yet another one, but clearly others were not held back.

Whatever it was, it was certainly op success.  You can go see the Kickstarter campaign for details or look at the campaign on Kicktraq to see how the funding progressed.

Now to see if they will have anything to deliver come the December 2018 date listed.

And, of course, we shall see how far their post-campaign funding goes.  The asking for money never stops with these projects.


4 thoughts on “Ashes of Creation Kickstarter Campaign Closes Big

  1. Scifibookguy

    I quit backing MMORPG kickstarter projects a while ago. IIRC, Project Gorgon was the last one I pledge to. All of those five games you listed are overdue. I’ve decided that if I want to try a new MMORPG, I’ll wait for release, read the reviews, and make a decision at that time.


  2. Scree (@TheScree)

    I actually found this specific Kickstarter a bit vague. They seem to have gathered a bunch of the talent let go by Sony Online Entertainment and specifically it seems the team producing Everquest Next.

    It shows too.

    Probably the only single feature that stood out for me was their concept of “Nodes” and how players would have decisions around these nodes and the worlds would evolve independently on those decisions. These are strikingly similar to the concepts pushed in EQ Next.

    What does this mean exactly? Likely that this game is going to try to market itself to both sides of the MMO spectrum; PvP and PvE players. It’s really only offering a major innovation, however, to the PvE side and for that, I think the audience backed this game.
    Players are really sick of static worlds that never change and any company that can figure out a great way of letting player decisions permanently impact the world’s APPEARANCE and FUNCTION will really do well.

    Beyond this rather vague description of Nodes, however, I didn’t see much that warranted the $3 million haul they got. Perhaps it’s a larger audience realizing that if they want a World of Warcraft replacement, they’ve gotta put up their money for it.

    Another reason for its larger haul, is that it seems much farther along than any of the four titles you mentioned at the top were at the time of their Kickstarter. Almost all four of these used the Kickstarter funds they did get to push their game to the stage Ashes of Creation is seemingly at already. This is probably the biggest reason for AoC’s success; customers in the MMO market are pretty shallow and graphics go a long way to selling people on a game.


  3. Bhagpuss

    Ok, here’s why I think it took off:

    1. Mood has changed. There’s a feeling abroad that there are no real AAA MMORPGs coming down the pipe. A while back people were kind of pleased about that – now they feel a lack.

    2. It looked professional. It didn’t look indie. Quality of presentation was on a par with AAA expectations.

    3. It didn’t look retro. The audience for harkbacks like Project: Gorgon or Pantheon is dedicated but small. The audience for MMOs that look like they were made in the 20-teens is a lot bigger.

    4. The pitch was both very familiar and attractively vague. The videos looked like any number of existing MMOs, which was reassuring, but there was a hint of the mysterious in the Nodes.

    5. That ever-appealing “dynamic world” pitch still drags them in. It’s total fakery but people want to believe.

    6. The pledge tiers were cleverly designed (the way the same tiers would sell out and then come back but $10 dearer was genius)

    7. It got buzz. You can’t buy that. Or make it. It happens and you ride it and they did that brilliantly. Giving all the stretch goal rewards to everyone who pledged anything was masterful

    .On that last point, I actually bought a second pledge on the strength. I didn’t want to end up in a situation where AoC turns out to be great, it becomes the next big, long-term MMO Mrs Bhagpuss and I both play, but because I pledged and she didn’t I get a whole raft of flashy stuff she can never have. So I pledged her in at the $25 basic level just to avoid that.

    I actually think AoC will be mediocre at best and there will be an overriding air of “is that all there is?” about it. But the process of getting to that disappointment will be exciting enough to justify the small entry fee.

    I still want to know what the actual Payment Model is though. Do those pledges include the actual game or do we have to buy that separately? I have yet to see anything that makes that clear. I won’t be impressed if I have to come up with another $50 just to get my “two additional free months” of play post-launch.


  4. Calthaer

    This thing sounds a lot like Horizons: Empires of Istaria when it was coming into being: super-ambitious. There is no way they’re going to be able to deliver on all of these features and launch with them functioning in a way that is high-quality. Like a stock market – hard to imagine that working well when people haven’t even figured out how to make the real stock market work super-well.


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