Ashes of Creation’s Steven Sharif on his business history, $30M funding goal, and PvP

As I put this piece together Thursday morning, Ashes of Creation’s Kickstarter has far exceeded its $750,000 goal, surging along toward stretch goals with a promise to launch what amounts to a full-scale MMORPG with sandboxy territory and PvP just a few short years from now. But since the launch of the Kickstarter a few days ago, would-be backers have dug into the history of the company and cast doubt on the validity of the campaign.

To set the record straight, we spoke again with Intrepid’s Creative Director and CEO Steven Sharif to get clarity on his business past, the nature of the game’s affiliate plans, the state of staffing, the scope of the budget, and even some details on the PvP system and business model. Read on.

Massively OP: Our commenters have been linking some of the Reddit concerns about Sharif’s background, and while some of it appears baseless, Sharif himself has admitted that he formerly participated in a non-gaming multi-level marketing business before moving on to real estate. While Sharif has characterized that company as legal, detractors are basically saying it was tantamount to a scam, drawing the conclusion that this Kickstarter can’t be trusted. Could you clarify the nature of the MLM and convince backers that Intrepid is on the level?

Ashes of Creation’s Steven Sharif: Yea, it saddens me to see a lie spread about me. When I was 18, I was recruited to join an MLM company called XanGo. XanGo sold nutritional products, a fruit juice and vitamins. I started a website store to sell these products to customers, and my website was very successful. XanGo is still around today as a company and after 14 years I think has done over 3 billion in sales and is open in 50+ countries. Yes they are an MLM, and I understand that people dislike MLM because some companies focus on recruitment of people instead of sales of a product. But companies like Avon, Marykay and XanGo really focused on selling a product, what you would find at a Whole Foods store, or Health Store.

So when I was 24, I began to get involved in investments and also in real estate, which is where I saw most of my success. I still am involved in those heavily today, but my primary focus now is in developing Ashes of Creation into an MMORPG that my true heart’s passion is focused on. Throughout my life I have always loved gaming, and it was my dream to create something that my fellow community of gamers could be proud of.

I also saw some Redditors claiming that the AoC staff has that SOE pedigree but is relatively inexperienced, casting shade on their qualifications based on old Linkedin resumes. I know you addressed that on Reddit — could you clarify their experience and your staff setup here? Do you have 12 principals or 12 total — and how will you be expanding the team into areas where you need help? How many people do you anticipate hiring and in which fields? How will you be able to ramp up staffing quickly enough to have an alpha and then launch on your proposed timeline? (I’m thinking of how difficult City State found staffing to be.)

Yeah sure, I was pretty surprised by that thread because we’ve got some really experienced guys here who have put a lot of blood and sweat into their careers, and to sell them short that way does them a disservice. LinkedIn is a terrible way to try to get the full picture of any individual, because it depends on the individual’s engagement of it. It feels so weird to have to defend a person’s LinkedIn, but it’s an opt-in service that is wholly dependent on a person’s need to use it along with their networking goals. A lot of these guys haven’t had to use it much, because the industry is actually pretty small and designers and artists often rely on their own networks to get the word out. When hiring this group, I relied on references, resumes, and actual published game credits to construct it. I couldn’t make this game with a rag-tag team of inexperienced know-nothings. At the end of the day though, even the resume doesn’t matter much, it’s what they actually do that matters.

“I couldn’t make this game with a rag-tag team of inexperienced know-nothings.”
We have 14 people total, across a wide range of disciplines. Our Technical Director, Jason Crawford was deeply involved in the backends of EverQuest II, Planetside 2, and EverQuest Next, and was a principal coder on KillSwitch over at SCEA (again working on network and server architecture). He’s got over ten years of experience working on MMO frameworks, and he’s one of a handful of people in this world that has his particular set of skills.

Our Lead Designer, Jeffrey Bard really is a bard of sorts, a full package guy, and has been involved in nearly every aspect of MMO production. Beyond design, he’s done customer support, QA, international operations and has been part of startups previously. He got into the MMO industry in 2003 at SOE and quickly rose through the ranks of leadership – that means he’s been knee deep in MMOs for over 14 years! Because of the breadth of his experience I don’t think there are too many people who have his perspective and understanding of all the pieces that make up an MMO. His contribution to this team has been priceless.

And Michael Bacon! This guy has been in games forever (since the ’90s) but regardless of his experience, his stuff looks amazing. He’s worked on the first two Saints Rows, some of the Duke Nukem games way back in the Playstation and Playstation 2 era, among so many others. He worked on nearly every EverQuest 2 expansion, which is a lot of them. He’s one of our rocks, extraordinarily experienced, and is one of the reasons why our game looks the way it does.

And that’s just three of our guys. I could go into it with the rest of the group, but suffice it to say, the team has been around the block, and I think what we’ve shown to our players continues to prove that out.

As far as staffing is concerned, we’re looking to double the size of the team by the end of the summer, and triple it by the end of the year. We want to grow organically and are focused on hiring people who fit our team and culture best. We haven’t run into any issues finding talent so far, and part of that is our location – San Diego, Orange County and LA all have huge pools of good people we can draw from.

Can you discuss the setup of your funding? How much capital has gone into the game so far, and where did it come from? How much is the whole game expected to cost, all told, and how does it compare to other recent Kickstarted MMOs? (Crowfall has raised $12M, for example.)

“A core viable build that includes all the features discussed about the game will take roughly $30 million to complete.”
The project is being funded by myself currently. This is going to be a bigger game, content-wise, than Crowfall, and our budget and funding reflects that. A core viable build that includes all the features discussed about the game will take roughly $30 million to complete. The Kickstarter and any other crowdfunding we might engage in is intended to add to that budget, for additional scope on certain systems we intend to reveal throughout development.

Is the characterization of the game as a bit of a vanity project built by a wealthy benefactor fair? Can you (Steven) discuss your own business expertise as it relates to building MMORPGs or games specifically? How many of the design decisions are being left to the pros with more development (rather than business) experience?

Vanity project? No. Passion project? Yes. First and foremost I am an MMORPG gamer. I have been since I first sat down at a computer. I had the fortunate circumstance in life, to become wealthy through hard work at a young age. A couple years ago, I got very fed up with what was happening to a genre that I love. So I decided to put my money where my heart is and do something about it. That is where Ashes of Creation comes in. All of the design decisions are made by myself. Before it becomes a decision, however, I ask my pros if it can be done, and done right with a reasonable cost. I learned early in my life, that there is nothing more valuable than advice from a pro, which is how I made my team. I found the pros on the projects I liked, and made sure that when I ask for advice, I trust the source.

Node contested.

Could you clarify how your referral system for the game will work? There’s a bit of a squabble over whether it should be considered a pyramid scheme. Even if it’s not (and for the record, we don’t think it is), are you convinced it is worth it for your image, when it seems to make so many people suspicious about how the game is being funded?

Suspicion is really unfair. And only being perpetuated by a small number of loud uninformed voices. Our referral system is basically an affiliate program, similar to many other online business, such as Amazon. Our referral system operates quite literally the opposite of a pyramid scheme. Pyramid schemes cost money to enter, sell no product and funnel money to the early participants. Our referral system costs no money to participate (You can use it and benefit without playing the game), it is focused around players who purchase a real product (our video game) and the more people use it, the less the early participants make.

“Our referral system is basically an affiliate program, similar to many other online business, such as Amazon. Our referral system operates quite literally the opposite of a pyramid scheme.”
Let me give an example. Bree is playing Ashes, and she wants Justin to come play with her. So she refers Justin to the game. Justin then tells his friends about it and brings 4 people to play the game. Bree has 1 referral Justin, who was spending $15 to play Ashes. Bree was being rewarded with 15% of what Justin was spending which = $2.25. Justin then found 4 friends to play, and is getting $9 from them. Justin then uses his $9 to reduce his subscription, and is now only paying $6 to play Ashes. Now Bree gets 15% of Justin’s $6 = $0.90.

The entire reason for this, is because of how the gaming industry currently markets games. They spend millions on marketing. Money that goes to big companies, and that is fine for the FPS, or Single Player RPG… But in an MMORPG community that is FOCUSED on the community, It just made more sense to me to offer that marketing money BACK to the community. To provide a way for players to play for free! Without needing the Pay 2 Win, Cash Grab monetization schemes that have been coming out of the genre lately. I am so disappointed to see people distorting it. Ugh.

You folks have said repeatedly that you’re not a gankbox and that your flagging system will sufficiently deter gank PvP. Can you explain exactly how? Most flagging systems aren’t really there to deter ganking but to outright prevent it, so I think maybe we have a terminology mismatch somehow? And if you’re trying to deter ganking, why not just make the whole system consensual to begin with? This is a huge sticking point with a lot of MMO players and potential backers, so I really hope you can address it.

More than anything, we want people to be able to address conflict in a direct way in the game. If there’s someone hogging resources or a monster or a dungeon, we want people to be able to solve that on their own. If it’s purely consensual, then players can hide behind the flag without consequence. If it’s purely open, then players can murder other players with reckless abandon. If instead, a player must consider the risk of corruption vs what they can potentially gain, then it gives those decisions more weight. Both the person being attacked and the person doing the attacking must weigh their individual risks in that situation, and we think it’s a more interesting game when there’s something like that at stake. I have played flagging systems like this before, a great example was Lineage 2. And it was rare to see red players. It had its flaws, but we’ve expanded on the flagging approach, and I feel confident that it will not result in a gankbox. But hey, we have testing to see how it goes! :)

In light of the fact that you’re a subscription game, why would you lock character customization options behind backer rewards? Will any of those be purchasable from the cash shop?

Staying away from P2W means that customization options will be one of our primary means of monetization. Yes, we do have a subscription, but we also need other streams of revenue to supplement that income, to continue to produce quality, polished content. This means that you will see things like premium haircuts, tattoos, costumes, skins and things of that nature in our cash shop. That being said, there’s not going to be a lack of options for players to customize their characters out of the box – I don’t think anyone is going to feel like there’s not enough, but for those who want some extras, our cash shop and backer rewards will get you there.

Will the citizenship system tether us to certain nodes/cities and make travel away from these areas prohibitive and penalizing?

Absolutely not. We want citizenship to be part of a character’s identity, but exploration away from cities is crucial for moving things forward. There’s nothing to penalize a character who travels to another city and participates in their markets or quests or events. We have lots of reasons for folks to consider their city their home base, but nothing that prevents them from ranging far and representing their city in distant lands.

There’s were Guild Wars 2 leaks [earlier this week] that suggest its next expansion is getting some epic class mastery names, things like Holosmith and Mirage and Renegade. Why go with such basic names [like Fighter and Cleric] in AoC, a game that is trying to revolutionize the genre?

We’re going with basic names for now so that people have a clear sense of what these classes are about and how we’re structuring things. Holosmith is a great name, but what does that class do? What is its role? It’s hard to tell without digging deeper. We already have some difficult systems to explain, so wherever we can make things easier for our players to understand, we’re taking it. These names will certainly change as we go forward, but for now, we’re keeping it functional so that we can clearly communicate what we’re doing at a glance.

We’d like to thank Sharif for his candid answers. If you want more on the game, scope out the ongoing Kickstarter and our past coverage of the game going all the way back to its accidental reveal last December.

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162 Comments on "Ashes of Creation’s Steven Sharif on his business history, $30M funding goal, and PvP"

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Dylan 537

To all the PVE players its really simple don’t play sandbox MMO’s and stop whining and complaining on forums about how there are no good MMO PVE only games cuz lets face the facts PVE MMo’s are basically a farming simulator that’s boring and short term because everyone eventually leaves to play the next farming simulator aka PVE only MMO. Realize the cycle.

Reader
Nick

Yeah like WoW or Guild Wars or FF14 or Warframe or Neverwinter or EverQuest. Those games didn’t last long at all. All shut down with no one playing them. Yep.

Reader
Chris Moss

I don’t care how good the game looks and sounds, if someone can freely kill me(and bullshit on the consequences detering them) I will not be playing. I can guess many other PVE’ers will stay away from this game too.

Go to any PVP game. I don’t care which, be it a PVP server on WOW or BDO’s open world pvp, if a player has the option to kill others, NO CONSEQUENCE WILL STOP THEM!!!!!!

Leontes
Reader
Leontes

Probably, but the end of my character’s weekend trip is not the end of the world. I’m pretty bad at PvP, and I generally try to avoid it. I like the tension, though, and as long as it’s no gankbox, I can live with the risks. I liked the early iterations of PvP-Servers in Rift and Aion, for example. Tortage in AoC ruined my day back then. Still kept playing and learned to love it.

Bottom line – just to set a contrast here: I suck at PvP, and seldom take part – but I’m still in for it. ;)

Reader
Suikoden

Great interview. Nice work Bree. Thank you for the best journalism in the genre.

Reader
Oleg Chebeneev

Good questions.

So after digging some info about this game I have another MMO prediction (and Im usually spot on in them). This game will be another EQ: Next and will never see a daylight. Mind you, I dont hate it, I like the concept and would love being proved wrong. But what we really have here? Director who never made not only an MMO, but never made a game in his life. Who now claims he wants to change the genre (yeah dude, bring it on). Then there is a small team that, no matter how he praises them, doesnt has a wealth of experience and where it has experience, its games like EQ2 and EQNext. Means not too impressive. He didnt even know his devs, just gathered them randomly on job sites. Then there is unknown budget that comes from director’s pockets, means if it grows too big, he could say any day “Screw this, Im not going broke over this”. Also I have a feeling they yet have no idea how to implement some game features like nodes system.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Ashfyn Ninegold

Nice recap, Oleg. I’d have to say, however, that comparing Ashes with EQNext is really apples and oranges. Or in this case, grapes and watermelons. EQNext was hugely promoted by Daybreak, a sophisticated publisher, and long-time game producer, John Smedley. It’s failure was attributed to developmental bloat (“it wasn’t fun”) rather than lack of funding. Theories abound.

Smedley went on to develop Hero’s Song, which despite all his experience, felt flat on its face, vanishing in a matter of weeks after an EA launch. Pretty much torching the axiom that you need experienced hands at the wheel to be successful.

I’ve read frequently “nobody knows the budget” as a reason to dismiss Ashes. Perhaps there are some developers out there that publish their budgets, but frankly, who does this? They might tell you afterwards how much they spent, but not while a game is in production. Moreover, even if a developer did publish numbers, there is absolutely no way to verify them. This is one of those ridiculous internet gotchas. “We didn’t see stars in his eyes! Where are the stars? Fail.”

I’m all for theorizing about motives and mayhem on the part of developers and engage freely in it myself. That’s one of the joys of MOP, reading everyone’s idea about everything when little of anything is known. So, here is the perfect place to say, time will tell.

Reader
Nick

I think it will get further than EQN. It already has more hype/player support than EQN did and just as much, if not more, game play footage available. I just don’t think it will do very well since any open world PvP means its a PvP game and PvE is secondary. BDO was quite clever to make their game ‘buy to play’ at release since the PvP problems don’t occur until 50+. Aion did the same thing but I believe it was closer to 30+.

Reader
Kayweg

Well, if your prediction should turn out to be correct, and this goes the way of EQN,
which title could possibly be more fitting than “Ashes of Creation” ?
It sure would mean a lot of money burned.;)
Of course, i wish them the the best of luck and success.

Reader
Nick

The PvP flagging is stopping my full support. The problem is that its inherently flawed from my perspective. Either they will not punish ganking enough and it won’t matter (BDO doesn’t, for example) and if it’s high enough for my satisfaction there really isn’t a point in having it at all.

From the L2 page : “However, a chaotic character with a PK count of five or less will not drop items upon death.” Nope. Not good enough.

“When a character’s Reputation is negative, they can still acquire XP, SP, and Reputation up to a score of 0 by hunting monsters. Reputation can also be gained up to a score of 0 through deaths that involve the loss of XP. (If no XP is lost upon death, no Reputation is gained from the death.)” So if they kill monsters and/or get killed losing exp they can be brought out of being chaotic? By losing? Nope. Bad. Wrong. Oh does it take a long time to do that, perhaps? Is it months or days?

You are not, will not EVER trick, coerce or ease ‘PvE players’ into enjoying or actively participating in PvP, even passively. If you want PvE players you need to provide a way to full stop PvP while playing PvE. 100%. This doesn’t stop both developers and players from thinking they still can ‘bait and switch’ PvE’ers. They often refuse to provide PvE servers even if they can be introduced in such a way to not impact PvP’ers. They think it will make the PvP servers less populated but as I mentioned before, PvE’ers aren’t going to be playing on those servers anyway.

A PvE focused player could play for weeks or even months without getting PK’d and stop playing in a millisecond if they get PK’d. Most PvE players have zero tolerance for non-consensual PvP.

Reader
Mush V. Peets

If you’re strictly a PvE’er, why do you even care for a game like this, as opposed to a game focused around PvE content like raids? The whole point of a player-driven sandbox like this is that players compete, and it’d be silly not to include the most direct form of competition in this formula. Having systems in place to make PvP not trivial or inconsequential is all that’s needed here. Of course, there will be plenty of dicks who destroy helpless players for the hell of it no matter how many systems are implemented to prevent it, but that’s part of the whole point, and par for the course. Players get to make their own decisions, good or bad.

Reader
Nick

Well for one, there can be no PvE if there is open PvP, its just content you are doing until you get inevitably PK’d and its usually not very good.

Secondly lots of games prevent helpless players from getting destroyed either with strict flagging, not allowing PvP in PvE areas or PvE servers.

Third, I have yet to see developers flat out crush the hopes of PvE’ers on the off chance they will get their money even if its for a short time. “Sure, you can can play the game only doing PvE content *snicker chortle*”

It’s amazing to me with all the other things games have borrowed, drawn inspiration from or outright ripped 1:1 from WoW that they can’t seem to bring themselves to make PvE and PvP servers. I still maintain they do this with the aim of making PvE’ers into ‘fodder’ for the PvP game or at least convert them. This has yet to work fully in any game though. As soon as a PvE players gets PK’d a handful of times they quit pretty quick.

I’d be willing to consider it if killing an unflagged player imposed an overall inconvenience several magnitudes high than being killed. Something like the victim respawns very close by with all equipment intact and the killer become fair game to everyone, flagged or not, for the day and respawn very far away. Generally being referred to as ‘Yes its possible but why would you?’

Reader
Thomas Zervogiannis

This is why in my head I tend to classify MMORPG’s in three categories:

1) MMORPG’s that only allow for consensual PVP (example, GW2). Zero tolerance PVE’ers can only play these. Arena/RvR modes can possibly keep some PVP’ers happy too if well made.
2) “Partially” PVP games, as in, they allow non-concensual PVP but the stakes are zero or small, you don’t lose gear/progress (example: BDO, worst case you lose your grind spot)
3) Full PVP games, non-consensual PVP is common and you lose gear (EVE, Albion). Zero tolerance PVP’ers can only be happy here. I would classify partial-loot PVP in this category, since it still tends to attract and drive away the same crowds as FFA loot games.

All three classes of games are equally valid. It looks like AoC is trying to decide whether to be a (2) or a (3)? If it is a (2) it can still attract PVE’ers the same way that BDO does. If it is a (3), it almost certainly won’t. Albion did something similar with the rep system, colored zones and the expeditions and it DID work technically (almost no PVP in yellow zones due to no reward vs the rep loss) but its PVP label will still drive away all PVE’ers. If you overdo it with deterrence systems in a class (3) game, you risk alienating the PVP crowd more than you have hopes of attracting PVE’ers. So, AoC really needs to specify what crowd it targets.

And to me it feels like this one of the most important classifications when trying to design your MMORPG and select your crowd (other equally important ones probably being themepark vs sandbox and fantasy vs scifi).

Reader
Nick

I left BDO once the reached the open PvP levels. Nothing like minding your own business and a group of farmers taking turns killing you while farming mobs to completely sidestep the ‘flagging penalties’

Reader
Chris Moss

Great post!
They create these games, which in theory looks great, but when you add full on pvp it destroys an MMO for me.

It does not matter how much they say they will deter ganking, it will not stop. Assholes will do it anyways.

Reader
Nick

The fact they cited Lineage 2 as a ‘good system’ not only pushed me further away in terms of their flagging system, but also in their overall knowledge of game design. L2’s flagging system is horrendous for PvE’ers. Yeah you don’t see many ‘red names’ around because ganking players while avoiding the red name status is stupid easy. Gank 10 players, farm some mobs to wash away the penalties, repeat.

Reader
Melissa McDonald

Amen.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Tazuras

Great interview! It seems like all the most relevant questions were asked specifically and directly and we’re answered in kind. Hopefully it will help everyone be a little better informed. The interview definitely makes me feel better about the project, especially after all the concerns that have been floating around.

Reader
Melissa McDonald

No consensual PvP? No dice. Good luck with your game. You can “flag” all you want, but you can’t keep me safe this way. So I won’t play your game.

Reader
Mush V. Peets

Why would you care in the first place? If you don’t want player competition (and, by extension, PvP) don’t come looking at a sandbox MMO.

Reader
Nick

Flagging is a ‘bait and switch’ system to me. If players got so punished that killing another unflagged player was extremely rare then open PvP or flagging doesn’t even need to exist. Just make it PvE. So obviously it won’t be harsh enough meaning most PvE players will quit, but not after already spending some money on it.

I’m specifically trying L2 again to look at the flagging system again in practice, but from their website http://www.lineage2.com/en/game/the-library/pvp-activities/reputation.php i’m still not going to like it.

Reader
Kevin McCaughey

Looks like an awful lot of thinking has gone into the systems in this game. You can tell from the live interviews – he is never stuck for words because he has this exactly and comprehensively designed in his head. My guess is he has been thinking about it a long time. And how many of us gamers would know exactly how to solve the issue in our games? I think gamers can make games better than executives. Give me a gamer over a glorified producer/designer any time.

Reader
Necromonger

Like i said….Steven first missions was getting a rock solid team then lay the foundation of the game with his own money to show what his team can do and now after showing proof of how the game will look like and having a pre alpha build working he kicked off a small kickstarter.

Note: he put 30 million dollar out of his own pocket into this game.

His own money – 30 million

1 million kickstarter

Can you doubt this guy ? i sure wont and i believe in his intentions to produce something the industry has been failing to do.

People have a right to question kickstarters as many of them are scams or outright not achieveble and end up as failures or way short on fundings to complete the game by mismanagements.

But when you have 1 guy putting 30 million of his own damn money into a project that can fail he is talking serious busniness and is on a mission to make something great.

Now lets discus Steven himself:

A gamer, correction an MMO Gamer since the age of 7.
A guild master of White Order
A guild master of a decade old mmo community.
A guild master who got tired of mmo’s like Archeage who are amazing in its core but rotten from the pay to win aspects and i think its here where Steven just got realy fed up with mmo’s and how they are run.

He had enough of that cancer bullshit and followed his dream to create his own studio and produce the mmo he always wanted to play.

How can we support it ? by pledging a few dollars into a small kickstarter that unlocks many great features like oceans and naval combat where Archeage blew so many gamers away.

I backed this guy up and even if it fails it will be him being on the shield with his head cutt off while i might have lost 50 dollars but at least i dint complained on forums how bad the mmo genre was getting and how i hate all current mmo’s and the mmo genre is a disgrace of how it once was in the early days when a player spend years playing a game not weeks before puking out the disgusting greed the armchairs are obsessed with money and killing the whole genre with pay to win and nikkel and dime you to your death or heavy paywals were you are just giving up all hope for the genre.

There is a spartan saying: Come back with your shield, or on it.
Now support this guy or crawl under your rock and keep complaining about P2W crap mmo’s while we are trying to get this mmo into a finished state.

You dont have to support it, this game will get done be it with all goals met our half the goals met and with goals being reached after the game is launched but this mmo is getting released one way or another :)

Reader
socontrariwise

Good interview, thanks. I had done quite some googling before deciding to back it (seen too much nonsense in the MMO field especially a few years ago when it was the gold rush phase). And it all turned out valid and ok. Bit painful to see all the drama movement here … if you would spend a bit more time digging into the background then you wouldn’t feel entitled to throw dirt at someone without reason. Half-way investigation and starting a witch-hunt instead of first making sure your accusations are solid – very sad state of the arts.

No clue if they will manage to make the game I want or a game others want, but I applaud the effort and direction, there is way too little MMO with a focus on economy and interaction beyond fighting each other. Just alone that the first stretch goal is PARLOR GAMES confirmed for me that the priorities of Intrepid and me align here.
So for me this seems solid enough in terms of team and business accumen to spend disposable income on. I’m glad that others think the same. And maybe this even kicks CU and Crowfall Kickstarter into the dust. Non-combat focused Western MMO with a smashing success Kickstarter would be great to revive the MMO genre beyond all the conflict-preaching. :)

Solaris
Reader
Solaris

“How will you be able to ramp up staffing quickly enough to have an alpha and then launch on your proposed timeline? (I’m thinking of how difficult City State found staffing to be.)”

City State had trouble attracting talent because they wanted their devs to relocate to Fairfax, VA. where the cost of living is high, harsh winters, etc. Had City State been headquartered in say, Seattle (where their new dev house is) they would have been able to recruit and ramp up much quicker. Fairfax VA. isn’t exactly a mecca for code monkeys.

Good interview. Very satisfied with Intrepid’s answers.

deekay_plus
Reader
deekay_plus

when i think of high cost of living and harsh winters i don’t think virginia or really anywhere in the southeeastern US outside of maybe miami and st louis and maybe philly LOL. and certainly not harsh winters.

seatle on the other hand definitely an expensive place to live relatively speaking. but definitely has alot of tech workers already present, especially games workers.

Solaris
Reader
Solaris

I’m from greater Washington DC area. I missed so much school due to closures in winter. So yeah, they have harsh winters. . All the VA suburbs of DC are extremely pricey. Also, the reasons I listed were the reasons Mark Jacobs listed and why he went to Seattle area to open a new dev studio. Seattle has a ton of development houses hence a dev pool to pull talent from. Fairfax VS. Not so much.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Ashfyn Ninegold

The guy is intelligent enough to be able to speak in complete, coherent sentences, which is not all that common anymore. So there’s that.

Considering the flame outs we’ve had recently from long-time MMO producers, being experienced as an MMO producer is not necessarily an asset. Being able to make sound business decisions is an asset. And I’m guessing his business success was not just a lucky RNG roll.

Other than fear of spam, which frankly we all experience constantly anyway, unless for some reason the Serbia Girls take a day off, I don’t see the affiliate program being all that much different from WoW’s refer a friend in absolute results. The person referring gets all the cool shit, including 30 days of sub ($12.00) and a free mount ($25.00) if the friend subscribes. So I’m not getting how putting a buck or two in somebody’s pocket instead of giving it to a marketing firm is a great evil.

I don’t like PvP and I may not like this game because of that, but I really don’t like the ugly insinuation and breathless rumor-mongering flying around on this one. So I’m now a backer.

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Lethality

Most of you are reading past the “he put in $30m of his own money” – and worried they’re trying to scam everyone out of 1 million?

kk

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MesaSage

If there’s that much money, then why Kickstarter at all? I mean if $1million is just a drop in the bucket, then what’s the point. And if the money is not an object, then why are there stretch goals for both $$ and the number of backers? With $30 million, compared to a couple hundred thousand, shouldn’t all that stuff already be in there? Why is there a need to incentivize and get more, more, more?

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KryptonianGL

If you have to ask, then you’ll never know!

Plain and simply put, it’s the true sign of a business mind/background…and it’s obvious that Steven is actually being smart about his investment! If you were funding a project/venture like this, would you not look for other ways to bring in more capital?

Even if you’re willing to invest your own money into something, not looking to incorporate other means of funding shows you as a fool!

And you know the saying: “A fool and his/her money are soon parted.”

There’s also another saying: “There’s no such thing as having too much money!” This is particularly true when funding a project or business venture.

I for one am relieved at Steven’s approach as it indeed shows he has a good head for business on his shoulders — unlike so many of the idiots running dev companies into the ground these days.

IMHO, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with him looking for other ways to bring in funding. I’d do exactly the same!

Matter of fact, I’d think the guy was an idiot (along with those he hired) if Intrepid wasn’t trying to raise additional money and were solely relying on Steven’s bankroll.

Although I prefer the variety of races/classes offered in Patheon to AoC, I am instead backing AoC partly because I prefer AoC’s game direction and believe it has a better shot at long-term success.

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Lethality

If you listen, he said it about a thousand times – because he loves MMORPG communities, and he wants everyone to be involved in the game during its development. This is a away for them to put some skin in the game and feel very much a part of it.

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MesaSage

Thanks, I needed a good chuckle today.

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Kevin McCaughey

I am perfectly happy with his answers. There was a bit of negative hysteria going on on reddit these last few days, most of it totally unfair. I have high hopes for Ashes of Creation and pulled the trigger already on Kickstarter. It’s the first Kickstarter I have backed in a long time.

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vinicitur

I haven’t pulled the trigger yet on backing this game but if I keep getting what I consider good news, I will probably soon.

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Dean Greenhoe

I get the feeling the actual game may be just as controversial and fun as the debates about the game ongoing nowadays! Looking forward to both in the future.

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Serrenity

and what exactly is the point of your statement, outside of a gross mischaracterization of the actual content of the article, where he describes, in-depth the exact implementation of his referralaffiliate program and draws pretty clear parallels as to why it’s not a pyramid scheme?

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TheDonDude

Don’t quote me on it but I think the idea is that it’s only one level deep. The example they gave in their answer didn’t quite get to it, but I believe the idea is:

1. Bree gets Justin on board and thus some cash comes her way.
2. Justin gets four other people on board and thus some cash comes his way and Bree’s way.
3. If the four folks that Justin gets on board get people on board for themselves, then Justin gets stuff, but Bree gets nothing new.

If that is wrong then I hope someone will correct me.

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silverlock

Your example is two levels deep, this program is just one level that’s it.

This isn’t a pyramid because you only get a kickback from the people you refer directly you get nothing from the people they refer.

I admit I winced when they announced it but the reasoning that they would rather give money back to their players then to an advertising company isn’t a bad one.

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Sally Bowls

As someone who does not like these sort of things, I would characterize the system as:

It has most of the negatives of pyramid schemes: “friends” cajoling you to play, spam, and wondering whether the streamer/commenter/”friend” is discussing the product fairly or to promote their kickback/commission.
The difference is that the salespeople (streamers, commenters, “friends”) get paid less in this system than in a pyramid. E.g. in a pyramid, your marks recruiting others increases your revenue. In this plan, your marks recruiting others decreases your revenue. I fail to see a moral distinction.

Re#2: In the example, Justin recruiting four new marks reduced Bree’s kickback from $2.25 to $0.90, penalizing her for Justin’s success, unlike a pyramid where it would reward her.

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Isarii

You missed the biggest difference – that you don’t invest in the system at all. The problem with a pyramid scheme is that you have to buy the products before you sell them. There’s nothing at all like that in Ashes of Creation. There’s no possible way it’s a scam because there’s nothing people invest to lose.

OTOH, annoying friends are still annoying.

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MeltWithYou

I agree, but if you have a friend thats annoyingly persistent to get you to play a game so it can benefit them self, I’d say that ‘friend’ isn’t a friend

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Sally Bowls

A tangent re PvP: I am still kinda stunned by what I found by jumping down a rabbit hole from a recent VB story.

Murder is illegal. It should be illegal in virtual reality, too.

http://theweek.com/articles/664260/murder-illegal-should-illegal-virtual-reality

The ganking vs carebear debate would be simpler if ganking were RL illegal. Long before we protect innocent children from gambling, shouldn’t we protect them from the pervasive culture of violence … yada yada …

OTOH, FFS.

Sorry, you can now return to the scheduled grift vs incompetent debate .

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

yes, me ganking your king with my queen in chess should be illegal.

><

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Lights and Music

1. The twitter log in is broke so I had to link a filthy reddit throwaway to comment (sad day!)

2. How has no one posted this John Oliver video? (FORMAT IS KILLING ME WHY)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6MwGeOm8iI

3. I’m not a big KS guy, so my opinion doesn’t really matter, but the following two statements make my butt pucker a little:

The project is being funded by myself currently. This is going to be a bigger game, content-wise, than Crowfall, and our budget and funding reflects that. A core viable build that includes all the features discussed about the game will take roughly $30 million to complete.

Staying away from P2W means that customization options will be one of our primary means of monetization. Yes, we do have a subscription, but we also need other streams of revenue to supplement that income, to continue to produce quality, polished content.

Little nervous that the sought after funding is $30M and the project is currently funded by one dude, and a little apprehensive at the idea of needing additional income streams beyond subscriptions…then why have subscriptions? If you WANT extra revenue, okay sure, but you NEED extra funds? Skepticism intensifies

miol
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miol

/like for John Oliver video about MLM!

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Arktouros

Not that I back any Kickstarter games, as tempting as they are sometimes, this one I’m especially wary of. If I’m not mistaken this guy or someone associated with this is “Sorcerer” from “The White Order” on Kyrios server in ArcheAge who was notorious for all sorts of completely shady rumors (stole a guild from other faction, etc) and shameless paying to win. What kind of impact that has on the development of the game has yet to be seen (such as if he thinks it’s okay to pay to win in ArcheAge is that how the game will be designed?).

Most of the jokes right now in my neck of the woods are about him designing a game and doing a kickstarter to pay for his ArcheAge habit lol… :D

Saebira
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Saebira

It’s been covered repeatedly and even in their title – no P2W. Clearly he doesn’t even play AA anymore, so how can you claim he supports P2W? He didn’t work for Trion, he was just a player.

I’ve heard the rumors or whatever they are too. I vaguely remember that guild, I was on Kyrios at launch. It’s very possible I saw or talked to him in game LOL pretty sure we had a few farm spots in the same zone as them. Been so long now

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Arktouros

None of us actually believe that he literally decided to make a game and in turn is going to use that to pay for ArcheAge. It’s more the point that he was so renown for unapologetically paid to win in that game for a lot of us in the early game on Kyrios that’s all we’ll ever really equate with him.

There were certainly 100% shady things about the guy, but how they came about to be is where the rumor is. Like someone stole a guild that had a keep and eventually that ended up in his hands and he refused to hand it back even after the keep had been redistributed to someone else for example. Kinda shitty when you get down to it.

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Jacobin GW

Its likely a case of a whale who was sinking so much money into these games that he decided to just try and build one. Will AoC be his own personal kingdom to rule the plebs? Time will tell but I won’t be financing his power fantasy.

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Sally Bowls

TheDonDude
Good article and questions. While the pyramid referrals and the open PvP (I guess?) means I won’t back this, I do appreciate the answers.

Same.
—–
After reading the article, I feel better about the game’s prospects; $30M was a credible number.

After reading the article, I am perhaps even more judgemental about the people who backed. The KS was asking for a couple of percent of the game budget. If the KS get literally zero money or achieves double its goal, is the difference between 98% or 102%. If we see 14 people tripled by the end of the year, then the $750K is about a month of dev costs. Backers can spend their money however they like, ofc. “I want to show my support by preordering (well predonating) 3-5 years in advance” and “if I’m going to p2w, do so early and big” both seem to me like reasonable montivations to ks. Based upon the numbers, I can’t see the logic in the “KSing for incremental features” motivations I have read.
—–
Oh well, It looks like this may need to join SC in my “just read the headlines for the next several years” group of games projects. It would be a dour world without people who don’t let reality constrain their beliefs, but I have a below average tolerance for it.

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mistressbrazen

“LinkedIn is a terrible way to try to get the full picture of any individual, because it depends on the individual’s engagement of it. It feels so weird to have to defend a person’s LinkedIn, but it’s an opt-in service that is wholly dependent on a person’s need to use it along with their networking goals.” Had to laugh there. I have a LinkedIn account I made about 8 months after the site started. Haven’t updated or logged in since then and how many years ago was that?!

The game does look interesting for those who like a fantasy setting with open world pvp. As I said before though, not for me.

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MeltWithYou

Bah – this is why I leave the crowdfunding/early access[ing] in the hands of people with disposable income and dexterous fingers. Crowdfunding is a questionable affair, there are golden examples of great projects that went on to be great products (ehhh hem, cough, cards against humanity) and there are others that were not. People have a distrust of crowdfunding, even with clear winners, everyone always remembers the losers. I remember the losers.

Wake me up at release. If it’s a good game and worth paying the sub then its a good game and worth paying the sub.

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Augusto Gregorio

They got me at Lineage 2.

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Nick

haha thats what pushed me away further. One first times trying to play someone was camping the newbie spawn area and killing everyone. I never even got to really ‘play’ the game. But hey the flagging apparently stopped that and it didn’t really happen.

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TheDonDude

Good article and questions. While the pyramid referrals and the open PvP (I guess?) means I won’t back this, I do appreciate the answers.

edit: In reading the comments below, maybe pyramid isn’t the right word since it only goes 1 level ‘deep’. Maybe Ziggurat?

edit 2: assuming I’m understanding it, which I’m not sure if I am.

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Isarii

It doesn’t have to have a shape, lol. There’s no relation to a pyramid scheme whatsoever. It meets none of the qualifications. It’s just an affiliate program.

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TheDonDude

I’m hoping the next game has a toroid payment model, just to see what happens.

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Isarii

I had to Google, but it was worth it, haha.

miol
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miol

If instead, a player must consider the risk of corruption vs what they can potentially gain, then it gives those decisions more weight. … I have played flagging systems like this before, a great example was Lineage 2. And it was rare to see red players. It had its flaws, but we’ve expanded on the flagging approach, and I feel confident that it will not result in a gankbox. But hey, we have testing to see how it goes! :)

Sorry, but that’s not how you attract “sheep”! :/

As one single player can potentially disrupt gameplay for thousands of others, I don’t see any attraction of any massive proportion for “sheeps” to join!

I guess, “wolfes” will have to depend on wealthy players possessing multiple accounts!

They should watch what Raph Koster has to say about that ASAP:
Raph Koster explains why griefing in virtual reality isn’t going away

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Augusto Gregorio

Back in the days when L2 was really hard to level up and get gear, going PK was really negative. You have chance to drop your gear when killed, and you lose xp.
When you where in the high lvl brackets, maybe 1% of xp was like 1 hour grind, and if you where a PK and got killed, you lose like 4 to 6%, so it was not easy to be a PK.

But when you where in a guild, and you declare war to another guild, then you can go a kill every enemy guild member in the open map, with a minimum of xp lose less than 1%.
The game encourage for GvG as they told in the Kickstarter Video.

From my experience and opinion, Lineage 2 pvp system was the best, some flaws but little.

miol
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miol

Who cares about momentarily XP gains, if you’re at the top of the XP charts for a while now and therefore of the food chain?

But that doesn’t matter either, since if it’s too punishable, the griefing just tilts instantly the other way around, as you can see that in Black Desert, where you can’t defend yourself from “undying” players, who don’t stop coming back!

Automatic flag systems are just too flawed from the get go! You need too many assumptions about player motivation for that to work for a larger heterogenic audience!

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

one of the thing that was nice with l2 is that the power curve until a certain expansion was reletively flat until a certain high level, and that high level with the power spike was an epic grind so few people could attain it, and then not very quickly.

i could do with out the added power spike that was added but prior to that it was nice because you could pvp viably depending on your class versus much higher level players just fine within a certain range.

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Tulerezzer

There is mention of a stacking debuff for every player PK’d, eventually making such killing sprees impossible.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

l2’s system really hard on people who randomly anonymous gank many players fwiw.

your one person ruining the game for thousands is a highly improbable scenario without the aid of cheats/hacks. and at the point no amount of design would change that anyway and it’s a matter for GMs to take care of.

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Nick

If this is the system you are talking about, no it isn’t. Not for PvE’ers. http://www.lineage2.com/en/game/the-library/pvp-activities/reputation.php

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

that;s the much newer system than the original which i am describing above.

the newer system is even harsher on random ganking afaik, but i doubt he referring to the system you linked which would be the least well known in teh west version of l2.

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life_isnt_just_dank_memes

the problem is that mmos have a 100% early phase hack issues. i have never played a game like this in it’s early days(1st year or so)that didn’t have issues with bots/hacks/cheaters/etc.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

pve games have them too tho to be fair.

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Schmidt.Capela

But hacking does much more to ruin the fun if it can be directly used against the player, as it happens in a PvP situation. Hacking in PvE is only a true bother for the small minority that goes for server firsts or something of the like.

It’s similar to the impact of griefing. Griefing is as prevalent in PvE games as it’s in (non-consensual) PvP games, but in PvE games you can just put the player on ignore and greatly reduce his ability to inconvenience you, which means griefing in PvE has much less an impact than in PvP.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

girefing/cheating in pve games/servers can go beyond what an ignore feature can deal with.

and cheating in pve games can go well beyond losing out on firsts and such.

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Nick

Not really. It can impact the economy rather hard if they really work on it, but thats about it. EQ2 has a ‘dont ask dont tell’ policy with botting and its destroyed the economy but hasn’t really even impacted world firsts or players minding their own business.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

when botting becomes normative and accepted in a game regardless of pvp or pve status, then it tends to impact gameplay less as it becomes the norm for the most part.

that has no bearing on pvp or pve when we consider the later life lineage 2 example where cheating became normal and acceptable for a time that everyone playing certain venues were botting and it was a given.

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Nick

What? Being normative or a ‘given’ doesn’t change the impact on gameplay. People are still botting when its not readily available to every single player. Of course its going to impact gameplay when at 1 period everyone was playing 1 character then at another period many people are botting. Every change in the landscape affects gameplay forever until its removed.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

yoru argument appeared to be that it didn’t affect eq2 as much because it’s mostly a pve game.

i gave a counter example where it was also normative and didn’t affect things as much.

ofc in both cases it affects gameplay from the intended vanilla design.

but in both cases it’s a GMing issue not a matter of design or pvp vs pve.

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Schmidt.Capela

Both true, but they don’t change the fact players in a PvE game can filter out much of the cheating and griefing through choosing to not interact with the griefer/cheater and using a simple /ignore command, whereas in PvP games the cheater/griefer can always force the interaction.

Like I said, I don’t think griefing and cheating is any less common in PvE than in PvP. It’s just far less effective in ruining the experience for other players.

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Nick

Exactly. A negative player who can kill players is going to cause more problems than a player who can’t. PvP cheaters can do everything a PvE one can do plus 1 more.

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Sashaa

A very much needed piece. Thanks MOP.
That’s why I read this website.

Now, only the non-consensual pvp prevents me from supporting this project.
Wait & See.

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Apollymi

My thanks to DeeKay further down the comments and the explanation on L2.

However, there’s still the chance some random wackadoo is gonna go on a killing spree and damn the consequences. Seems the main concern here is “hogging resources” and a total lack of any interest in fair play with minimal griefing.

Thanks,, but no thanks. This game will be on my scroll on past list.

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M∀RK

I’m already sick of seeing referral links all over the Web. For someone so concerned with growing a good community for the game, he sure is doing a terrible job. It’s basically like a community of gold spammers at this point with everyone tripping over themselves trying to get referral links out. Look forward to them spamming in other games before long.

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Kickstarter Donor
Nordavind

That’s he problem with referral links and rewards: spam. I hate it. When following a link there should be a “this was spammed” option where enough reports like that takes away their rewards.

Or each link could be unique (like, every single link) and being handed out in limited fashion over time.

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Schmidt.Capela

Or each link could be unique (like, every single link) and being handed out in limited fashion over time.

Good idea. Have the referral link be valid for only 24h or so; people that join through the link after that don’t give referral benefits. This should greatly reduce the effectiveness of spamming forums and comments.

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Sally Bowls

Alas, in my cynicism, I see this resulting in mail/tweet/twitch/youtube spam every 23.99 hours.

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Schmidt.Capela

It becomes counterproductive, as the more old links there are out there, the smaller a chance of anyone — including the spammer — getting referral bonuses.

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Stephen Donohue

Why spend the time or money on marketing or word of mouth, when you can get your existing community to do all the work for you by spamming links everywhere? It may not be a pyramid scheme, but it sure is pyramid shaped. (The referral system, not the game itself).

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Necromonger

Lets say you have a few friends and give out a referal link.

Now you get a discount on your subscription.

You had to pay for a subscription anyway so that money was already payed but now you get a discount anyway just by letting 1 friend use a referal.

Isnt this a win / win ?

The last guys in the referal doesnt get anything, yet he helped you getting a discount so hey even tough he dint get anything out of your referal link he still made you pay less.

There is no risk here, just a bonus wich is totaly diffrent then any sort of pyramid system where the last guy needed to put in 5k but coulnt accomplish the goals and has now lost all his money and dint get anything out of it.

We are talking about a subscription wich everyone has to play to play this game.
So no1 is getting hurt right ?

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Isarii

I mean, it’s not pyramid shaped though, because there’s not upwards transfer. If player A refers player B who refers player C, player A doesn’t receive anything from player C (not to mention potentially receiving less from player B as a result of reduced expenses on their part).

That’s just not true.

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Brother Maynard

Good questions, thanks, Bree.

Oh, and thanks Steven for being intrepid about it…

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Stephen Donohue

While I don’t think the referral program is a scam, in light of his apparent history with MLM, which are essentially just legal pyramid schemes, I’m a bit concerned. Something about the way he’s defending his position sets of warning bells. Hopefully I’m wrong, because otherwise the game sounds amazing, but my money will be staying away from this until it launches

Solaris
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Solaris

You’re gonna judge some dude who was involved in an MLM at 18 years old? Please. A guarantee a good % of people work in crap jobs, or any job for that matter, just to get experience when young. He was lucky in that he did well with it. I say good for him.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

not every MLM is scammy like amway or mellaluca. he even cites 3 legit MLMs when talking about it.

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Kickstarter Donor
Nordavind

That something is legit does not make it morally good. I abhor MLM no matter how it’s done or what the product is.

YMMV.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

avon and mary kay have been factors in enabling single women to lift themselves outof poverty for decades. and generally don’t get in with the practices of some of the shadier ones out there.

i can’t speak for this one specifically as i’ve never heard of it until now. and looking at the product list it’s nothign i can’t buy in the same place i get my prescription drugs.

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Stephen Donohue

You’ll forgive me if I don’t trust him citing the one he worked for as an example of the legitimate ones. I’ve currently got a family member who has been sucked into one of these MLMs that sells nutritional garbage, and she’s been convinced that the snake oil she’s peddling for them will cure diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and world hunger.

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Malcolm Swoboda

“I’ve currently got a family member who has been sucked into one of these MLMs that sells nutritional garbage, and she’s been convinced that the snake oil she’s peddling for them will cure diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and world hunger.”

Ugh yeah. Got tuned early on into how that affects people.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

that sounds like melaluca.

googling xango’s product list just sounds like typical health and wellness/hipster shit i can find plenty of non mlm stores selling in my small town.

miol
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miol

Referral spam mails, here we come! :S

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Schmidt.Capela

My usual response to anything that ends spamming me with referral links is to not only avoid the product myself, but to try and talk people that show any interest out of purchasing it. The only way to punish companies that incentive indiscriminate referrals is to stop purchasing their products.

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bird species

“Staying away from P2W means that customization options will be one of our primary means of monetization. Yes, we do have a subscription, but we also need other streams of revenue to supplement that income, to continue to produce quality, polished content. This means that you will see things like premium haircuts, tattoos, costumes, skins and things of that nature in our cash shop. ”

Excuse me what now?!

So you are asking a for a sub and then you have the audacity to claim ” we also need other streams of revenue” and locking away character creation behind a paywall fucking lmao.

I’d expect this from a free2p model.
And people are defending this? lmfao.

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Mush V. Peets

The alternative would likely be an even higher sub, which would drive away potential customers/players. Is that really what you want?

Saebira
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Saebira

They likely won’t be as big as WoW but who knows..

Also WoW has a cash shop + sub. FFXIV has a cash shop + sub. ESO has a cash shop + sub.

Pretty sure the Asian games do as well – BDO has cashop shop + sub. Tera might, but I haven’t played in ages.

I’m fine with a sub and cosmetic only cash shop, like FFXIV or WoW. What advantage does having a useless cosmetic pet or mount provide you exactly? You supported the devs and got a shiny *shrug*

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Brother Maynard

WoW is the biggest western sub-only MMO by far and still has a cash shop. And it makes Activision millions. Precisely by selling fluff, like pets and flashy mounts.

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Schmidt.Capela

One of the reasons I don’t play WoW anymore.

Box price + Subscription + Cash Store. Talk about being greedy.

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Eamil

So, they’re not doing a box price, which leaves “subscription + cash store.”

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Necromonger

Correct.

Cashshop is cosmetic only tough, no mandatory crafting items wich stops your progression with crafting etc etc.

No pay to win bullshit.

A referal system that if you refer a friend you get a discount on your sub or coins to spend in said cashshop for costumes or mounts of whatever fluffy bunny stuff it contains.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

can you name a subsctiption requiring mmo made after wow (and some before wow even) that doesn’t have a cash shop with custimization items in them?

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bird species

Yes, and because of few of them did this, we should exept it right? you used to have name changes and server transfers, those where to be payed extra.
Post-WoW you had a few cosmetcis like mount etc. ( btw we still shouldn’t have to agree with that ).

Now we are talking about deliberately removing a part of the content ( yes character creation is a form of content ) which has been payed/backed for already behind a paywall.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

a few of them? there’s not a single post wow mmo without a cash shop. wow itself has a cash shop with cosmetics and mounts for extra cash for ages now. eve has had a cash shop where the majority of cosmetics are found. ffxiv has a cash shop with cosmetics.

the full character creation is not behind a paywall, and he says outright there’s alot of options in it without additional cost. if anything this sounds like we’ll be able to barbershop our toons after creation with teh cash shop and “free” stuff later.

like it or not this is the industry standard and they aren’t doing anything here that literally everyother company in the business and with this model does.

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bird species

ugh people like you is why we are seeing all this crap.

Its normal because people are doing it. It’s a standard and all.
Its about the principle, you might have heard about those.
If you pay a fixed amount a month, it should cover all the costs. if it doesn’t increase the monthly fee. It ain’t that hard.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

unfortunately r/games circle jerk talking points don’t stand up as well outside of reddit as they do on r/games.

and rarely have sub based games work the way you describe. plenty of them charged additionally on top of the sub access fee requirement for any content added after launch back in the day. mmo’s that didn’t were the extreme exception.

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M∀RK

Yeah but this cash shop is better because you can refer your friends and get cash back for their spending. You’re not going to find a single backer of this who won’t defend the cash shop with their life.

Also the whole industry standard argument is dumb as hell when the industry itself has been shit for ages for exactly these reasons.

Liandreth
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Liandreth

I’m not defending the cash shop with my life. I don’t care. Cash shops don’t bother me. I’ll spend in it or I won’t. And the only person I’ll refer is my husband, just because then we can both benefit from it. I don’t really care if anyone else uses it, that’s up to them.

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Necromonger

Same here will just refer to my wife and maybe some buddy who might want to try the game.

Wont go mental with that stufff on every youtube channel or whatever i leave that for the big youtubers :)

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

like i said i’ll judge the cash shop when we can see the cash shop, just like with every other game we play.

and with luck between the two of us we’ll be in a position to get a good early glimpse at it so we can know more and spread the good word :P

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

if i think of it i’ll ask the guildie who backed the game already when i’m ready to do it. otherwise we don’t really do them in guild at all and i don’t put them on my social media or youtube/twitch.

i don’t mind certain degree of cash shops. i mean i spend on them regularly when i’m playing mmo’s so would be odd of me to hate on them. i’d rather cosmetics than what i consider pay2win tho, even tho i also don’t mind (what i consider to be pay2win and we all know i am very liberal in what i consider to be as such) it if it’s not over board.

i’m just saying here tho that they all do it to some extent or another no matter the model, and i can think of worse ways to monetize a game in this or other genres than character customization items.

pending pricing of said items.

this game specifically i’ll judge when we see the cash shop itself. but in terms of principle, thinking back to the early aughts and even 90s i remember worse things than dress up for cash.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

i’m not a backer of this game and intend not to spend any money on it until see it in a desirable to me state at beta, pending my guildies having interest in playing it at that time as well.

this genre has always had the option to buy extra things with irl cash even before game companies started to monetize it. it’s not a matter of if it will happen or not, but wether who is monetizing it.

the argument becomes more one of the moralization and hypocracy of forcing 3rd party RMTers out and claiming they ruin economies when teh game companies themselves sell gold.

cosmetics is fine. i can think of far worse ways to monetize games that way. past and present, regardless of genre.

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Isarii

I’ll chime in here too. I’ve been defending the referral program because those complaints are total nonsense, but I find some of the cash shop stuff very worrying already, which isn’t a good sign. When Steven talks, he sounds very committed to maintaining a good balance of in-game collectibles versus what’s in the shop (we hammer him on this regularly), which is good.

On the one hand, it’s scary to hear this stuff early on since it’s usually brought up at the last minute before launch. On the other hand, maybe we shouldn’t knock early transparency? I don’t know. This isn’t a deal breaker for me, but I’m not entirely pleased with it.

Solaris
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Solaris

Intrepid is already dealing with chemtrail, Hillary Pizza pedo investigator conspiracy theorists over something the founder did when he was 18 years old . Can you imagine if they sprung word of a cash shop just a month before launch? I don’t think Reddit could handle the witch burning parties.

If there’s gonna be a cash shop, good to have it out in the open now. Personally don’t mind cash shop as long as it’s not remotely anything like Archeage.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

i think it’s good to be upfront and realistic about intended monetization early on.

if and when this changes then i’ll be plenty critical of them. and if the cash shop once seen in all it’s glory sucks i will be then as well.

in the meantime nothing i’ve heard of it so far sounds like anything unusual or unsound versus the rest of the industry that people promote as being good examples. so until that changes i’m fine with it.

hurbster
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hurbster

I’d like to know how this is revolutionary.

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Necromonger

Did you even look at the features of this mmo ?

I realy suggest you give 10 minutes of your life to look what is already in the core of the game.

I love the way we are able to make a city grow on whatever location and need to set up markets and have workshops to refine crafting materials across city’s back and fort to produce higher tier items etc etc.

But there will be a risk as you need to transport those good from point A to B with a wagen and we can hire gaurds to defend it and we ourselves need to defend it as there might be guilds who want to steal those goods.

This will be a constand struggle with alot of players involved to defend and attack said wagons.
That alone makes me realy happy as this is just brilliant and realistic :)

If the funding makes it to 1.5 million we can expect the same stuff just with naval battles.
Like in Archeage going to Freedich island to trade in packs.
It made the trip and turn in point a pvp deadzone with alot of awesome battles on the oceans.

It might not be for everyone, but you can hire additional gaurds for a price so even if you get attacked they need to push trough tons of gaurds and you hammering down on them.

Thats pretty amazing contend that will happen alot and that makes it a fcton of fun.

hurbster
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hurbster

That’s impressive as we have only seen a few videos so far. Still, open world non-consensual PvP =instant no.

Solaris
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Solaris

What current MMO will grow a city around you as you develop the land?

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

I have played flagging systems like this before, a great example was Lineage 2. And it was rare to see red players. It had its flaws, but we’ve expanded on the flagging approach, and I feel confident that it will not result in a gankbox. But hey, we have testing to see how it goes! :)

i have to wonder if shariff has either read my blog or a fan of my comments on massively. because this quote is telling me what i want to hear in a way that i think alot of people aren’t going to understand due to lack of experience with lineage 2.

but basically for those who don’t know how flagging in l2 worked was, you had to hold down a button to attack an unflagged player, and if they didn’t respond in kind (which would flag them as well), the intial aggressor would go red when they killed the player. get 5 or more pks on a counter cumalitively and you’d have a very high chance to drop your very expensive and hard to replace gear (not everything tho) when dying while red. as wellas the exp penalties of dying, which there were ways to reduce that penalty.

you could wash off pk’s from your counter 1-3 at a time using an exp draining pet that could only be done so often. usually took a couple hours of high end grinding for me to do this when i needed to.

and it was fairly effective at reducing random anonymous gank sprees out of war and sieges. but was pretty handy to have when dispute arose over farming grounds and such. and such things often led to larger conflicts or diplomacy between guilds.

so if this is what they are deriving from it’s very very promising imo.

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Tulerezzer

I played L2 for about a year (long time ago) and I agree that L2’s flagging system worked pretty well. I’m not a big pvp’er but would be fine with a similar system in AoC. I kind of hope they add the pvp hit points system as well (CP?).

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Apollymi

Thank you for the explanation. I have zero experience with L2.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

in this and other venues i seem to be one of the few people who ever played it so my experience with it came in handy here.

this and a few other parts of this game is what makes me think sharif reads massively comments and/or my blog series on my wet dream mmo LOL

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life_isnt_just_dank_memes

I will say this for him, he seems to be at least asking his game makers if it can be done prior to telling his team how to make it. Chris Roberts should have learned that in 2012-2013.

I am all about this game. Really wish they were going with flagging period though. I have played a ton of MMOs and non-consensual pvp is so fricking yawn inducing. I’m so tired of it. Game makers have never gotten the actual in game risk/reward part of the game play correct. Ever.

IDK. I’ve been a Street Fighter player going on 20 years. I am all about consensual pvp around a cool community.

Steven: There’s a crowd that is dying for some flagged, consensual PvP in a new MMO.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

i spent an evening this week comparing and contrasting this to the star citizen kickstarter.

this is 100x more solid and less pie eyed than star citizen’s campaign was for a long time even after their ks.

and the footage that can be found of this game way more real looking than what sc showed for years let alone in their ks.

pepperzine
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pepperzine

Since they claim have already have the funding they need, it doesn’t make any sense to me even consider donating money. I’ll wait until there is a launched product. If it is what was proposed in the kickstarter – great, if isn’t – well then I won’t purchase it, and if it never actually launches – I won’t get burned.

Logical solution, and without any need to fear about this guy’s career background and how he got his money and what he intends to use the kickstarter money on.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

i just noted in myguild discord that if i’m going to be fair i have to bring up that they don’t need kickstarter and it’s just marketting presales (like a few others i’ve called out for this).

but they seem to be upfront about it being this unlike the other rockstar dev vets that have done it as such despite being able to fully fund theri games. and unlike alot of them that could afford to self fund their projects, this guy is all in on funding himseslf it looks like instead of just getting no risk free money from gamers.

so take that fwiw, but i’m with you pepper on holding back until beta/launch to put my own money in here.

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BalsBigBrother

Spock would approve :-)

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Reht

Thanks for this interview MOP. Not the game for me, i don’t want non-consensual pvp in a pve game, but i do understand their design philosophy, why they want to have it and where it’s going though. Best of luck to the studio and hope the backers get what they are looking for.

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Hravik

So long as nonconsentual PvP is included, no matter how deterred, I’m out. I just don’t feel the potential downfalls to the system are worthwhile.

I’ve ran into things in WoW where some random stranger started swearing at me in messages because I didn’t stop fighting several mobs at once with my paladin just to heal him. A random stranger who was soloing in the same area I was. He did this until I eventually had to block him, at which point he moved to another character and did it again until I reported him. Now imagine if someone that could get that angry over something that dumb had the ability to attack me.

Working it out among yourselves my elf butts.

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Tazuras

But would he attack you if there was a strong enough deterrent?

edangerous
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edangerous

Personally I think this interview shows exactly where Steven is coming from.

This is not a kickstarter for developing a game, it is a kickstarter for marketing a game, weakly justified by 2.5% of the MVP budget for “additional features”.

I hope the game is successful for those that choose to spend their money.

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silverlock

Good interview, it wont deter the tin foil hat crowd but it should help make sense of all the noise for others.

The only thing that disappoints me about this game so far is the use of characters levels. For me levels is another thing that means less sand more box.

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MesaSage

“Tin foil hat crowd”? Yes, because being skeptical of a Kickstarter is in the realm of conspiracy theorists. After all, no one’s ever gotten burned donating to a Kickstarter!

People should not be bullied by such blatantly ignorant dismissal.

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