Massively Multiplayer Role Playing Games are by their own definition, massive. As such this has become one of the most challenging genres to fund through crowdfunding. For every Shroud of the Avatar that strikes it big, there are a hundred other projects that never see the light of day. So when Intrepid Games launched a $750,000 Kickstarter campaign for their new MMO, Ashes of Creation it was natural to feel skeptical about their chances.
However, with the campaign raising over $300K in its first hour it’s obvious that this project has captivated backers. A quick perusal of the pitch makes it easy to see why people would want to play this game, but it wouldn’t be the first project to promise players the world. Is this just another case of backers succumbing to hype or has Intrepid finally figured out the key to successful MMORPG crowdfunding?
Intrepid Studios was founded in 2015. They boast a staff of MMORPG industry veterans with over 40 years of experience between them. Team members have worked on everything from (my personal favorite) Star Wars Galaxies to PlanetSide 2.
Community Maketh The Game
This experience has left the devs with a deep appreciation for the player communities that fuel the success of MMOs. To this end Intrepid have promised their backers open and honest communications throughout the development process and, most surprisingly, a full refund if Ashes of Creation doesn’t launch.
Another area where Intrepid stands out is their assertion that they are funding development of the project’s core viable product on their own. The Kickstarter funds will help them to expand the scope of the project and offer the team more flexibility during development. Again, it’s also an ideal way to start the wheels turning on their community building efforts. Backers make extraordinarily vocal supporters with a vested interested in seeing “their” project succeed.
Player Driven Worlds
This support carries over into gameplay as each server grows organically through player interaction. The game map is made up of separate nodes where players adventure together. These nodes will evolve to fit the playstyle of those inhabiting them. Once a node has gathered enough experience it can become a village, a city, or in time, even a metropolis governed by its people.
Combined with a robust region-based economy this system means that each server will not only look different, but also provide a different experience for players. It’s pretty much the ultimate culmination of all the promises ever made by MMO’s. Player choices and actions having a meaningful impact on the world. The potential is incredible, but implementation is far from a sure thing.
Ashes of Creation won’t be the first project to make such grand promises. Despite the gorgeous graphics and a campaign that hits all the right notes, it’s difficult not to be leery.
Also worth noting, that the developers are looking toward a monthly subscription model. While backers can opt for the ‘Lifetime Membership’ reward tier, most (understandably) won’t take the $425 plunge.
If nothing else, the campaign proves that gamers are still chasing after that perfect MMO experience. It remains to be seen whether or not Ashes of Creation will be the game to deliver it.