Note: See addendum at the bottom for campaign status.
I’ve been down on Kickstarter after my first blush of enthusiasm something like six years back. Apparently just because you and a few hundred to a few thousand random people give some stranger money it doesn’t mean that they’ll do what they said they would and it almost assuredly doesn’t mean they’ll do it when they said they would.
Still, I have gotten a couple of Kickstarter deliveries this year, and on the MMO front no less, the least reliable projects from an unreliable source, so I am feeling a little more charitable towards the crowd funding idea I suppose. Also, this involves MMO design and history, and I am all over that.
So I am going to put it out there and support The World of Warcraft Diary: A Journal of Computer Game Development Kicstarter campaign.
The quick summary is that this is an inside look at the development of World of Warcraft. From the Kickstarter page itself
The WoW Diary provides a candid and detailed look at the twists and turns inside computer game development. Its author was WoW’s first 3D level designer and he writes about the people behind the game and the philosophy behind their work.
The WoW Diary will be a hardbound journal with over 95,000 words and 130 images across 336 varnished, full-color pages of high-quality paper stock printed in the U.S.A.
So why am I suddenly keen to back another Kickstarter given the somewhat sordid history of my backing experiences?
- The topic is one I quite enjoy. One of my favorite sessions from last year’s BlizzCon involved old hands telling stories from the early days of various projects.
- Book projects are pretty reliable on Kickstarter.
- The book itself is already done. These are essentially pre-orders to get the publishing process in gear.
- It is just $40
All good right?
Well, the downside is that I suspect that this Kickstarter will fail.
The groundwork to get this Kickstarter campaign into the public eye hasn’t gone very well. I only heard about it due to a mention in a forum post on Icy Veins that I saw referenced on Twitter.
So Wilhelm’s rule of Kickstarter campaigns, that if you can’t line up your supports to get to 20% of your goal in the first 24 hours you aren’t going to make it, appears to apply here. The campaign is three days in and, while the rate of backers is picking up, it still isn’t that much.
Give that, Kicktraq has a rather glum trend line for the project.
And then there is the amount of money that is the ask; $400,000.
That isn’t the biggest dollar amount ever for a Kickstarter campaign, but for a literary project that is pretty damn big. Back when The Fountain War fiasco was unfolding as a slow motion train wreck, one of my main objections was that $150,000 was way too big of an ask.
Not only that, but Andrew Groen went on to write and publish Empires of EVE after getting $95,729 (on a $12,000 initial ask), a project that still needed to be researched and written. So the pitch for $400,000 to get an already finished book published has problems to my mind.
Finally, there is the pledge increments. Since the author has eschewed any special bonus give away things, there is exactly one pledge level, $40. You can give more. Some people have, as dividing the amount pledged by the number of backers will indicate. But the average is still just $46, so the campaign needs close to 10,000 backers to succeed.
Currently that number is below 200.
And there are 12 days left to go, because… I guess the author felt 15 days was all he would need.
Also, he can’t ship to Canada. So yeah.
This feels a lot like somebody’s theory of Kickstarter that they haven’t bothered to test against the data available.
Anyway, lots of problems and not a lot of hope of success unless the online game media picks up the story. Still, I am in for $40. We’ll see if it happens this way or not.
If you want to check it out, the Kickstarter page is here. It also has links to the author’s own site which includes further details.
Addendum: This was posted by the author as a comment on the campaign a little while ago:
Yeah, this campaign isn’t going to happen. LOL. I had some really bad advice. I’ll reboot it with 1/10th of a target and give it 30 days to clear. Thanks for your support. If you sign up to to my email list, I’ll send a notice to you when it begins again. (And I promise not to spam you with constant updates).
So it looks like this will be starting over again with a better plan.
Addendum 2: An update to the project has been posted. For some reason the author is going to let this campaign run out despite the fact that the campaign page will not go away if he cancels it. (You can, for example, still find the failed Project: Gorgon and Pantheon campaign pages on Kickstarter.) Anyway, look for this project to return in the next 1-4 months.