crowdfunding

Massively OP Podcast Episode 123: Ashes of Creation’s Steven Sharif

On this week’s show, Justin sits down with Ashes of Creation’s Steven Sharif to talk about the game’s successful Kickstarter, handling a wild community, and the next steps for this up-and-coming sandbox MMORPG.

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Cloud Imperium rejects wild claim that Star Citizen is ‘owned by a bank’

The Star Citizen subreddit is aflame this weekend after bloggers on multiple sites and social media platforms, seemingly spurred on by a certain self-proclaimed Internet Warlord, have held up recently disclosed Cloud Imperium loan documents as “proof” that the company is close to failure and in danger of losing game assets allegedly put up as collateral.

Redditors have sought to counter that narrative, arguing that it’s part of a multi-year FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) campaign by Star Citizen detractors. They point out that securing a line of credit is not even remotely uncommon (and is in fact wise) for a large corporation with strongholds in multiple countries, given current interest rates. Others suggest that the “bank” is actually a wealth management company known for investment and that no bank of this caliber would loan a large sum of money if it had little expectation of remuneration, collateral or not.

We reached out to CIG’s PR firm for clarity; turns out the company lawyer just responded on the official forums with the official statement:

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Make My MMO: Star Citizen sells 14K concept ships in 24 hours (June 24, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, Star Citizen followers once again proved their game’s dominance by purchasing 14,000 of its new Nox concept ships in less than 24 hours, bringing the game’s UEE Fleet up to 1.3 million ships total. The cheap version is $35, if you’re wondering.

Meanwhile, Ashes of Creation began its summer crowdfunding drive, Mark Kern’s Em-8ER funded again on Indiegogo, Dogma Eternal Night has a new test site, Chronicles of Elyria players created a handy race map, ROKH deployed a new crafting UI, The Exiled posted a state-of-the-game missive, Exile Online is running a GoFundMe, AQ3D is taking the grind out of its leveling curve, and Elite Dangerous players are staging an event to put pressure on Frontier for bug fixes. Plus, over in Crowfall, devs talked up their cell size changes and planned out their influencer program.

Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’ve got our eye on.

(Thanks, fastcart, Francis, and Stuart G!)

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Em-8ER funds on Indiegogo and adds new stretch goals

If you were worried that Mark Kern’s Em-8ER (properly pronounced “eem-eight-er” for those willing to die upon snarky hills) wouldn’t fund on its latest Indiegogo push, good news! It’s already funded and looking toward stretch goals. Of course, one could argue that since the game has already had one successful Indiegogo campaign and is now having its second in a series of “serial crowdfunding” pushes, this is already a stretch goal, but let’s not split hairs. The point is that you can pay more money and get more stuff; that’s what the campaign is focusing on.

The newest stretch goals allow for model fights against a new beast, more emotes for players, and motion capture. “We will be modeling the ‘beast’ form of the Tsi-Hu aliens,” says the game’s newsletter. “This deadly creature is what Tsi-Hu can transform into for brutal melee combat. The next stretch goal is to animate it and have it fight the players! There are lots of great perks to unlock, including color changing CHROMA jumpjets, glowing Omniframe skins and even a full motorcycle. In response to player feedback, we also updated our $500 tier to include better rewards, like the Turret #2 Pet robot, and having NPCs salute and greet you by title.”

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Eminence: Xander’s Tale brings a hybrid CCG/MMO to the beta fields

It seems like some sort of specific and oft-mentioned geek dream game to combine collectible card battlers with MMOs, although actual examples are few and far between. Soon there’s about to be another, however, as Eminence: Xander’s Tale is bearing down the stretch toward release.

This hybrid game, which was funded via Kickstarter back in 2014, entered beta testing this past May. In Eminence, players can explore and interact in a stylized world while battling against opponents by using (of course) cards. You’ll want to be careful how you play because Eminence uses old-school Magic: The Gathering rules — if you lose a match, your foe gets to take one of your cards for keepsies.

Eminence is being developed for mobile, tablets, PC, and PlayStation 4, so chances are you have something (or many somethings) that will play it. We’ve got the beta trailer after the break that shows a bit of the card battling action, so give it a looksee and let us know what you think.

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Ashes of Creation’s post-Kickstarter pledge store is live

Wallets at the ready, peeps: As promised, Ashes of Creation is following up its massive Kickstarter run with a more local, homegrown crowdfunding effort on its own website, live now.

“We’ve been hearing from the community that many couldn’t participate due to the payment limitations of Kickstarter,” writes Intrepid Studios. “In response to this, we came up with a campaign that benefits both new backers and those from the Kickstarter! This campaign will have new backer goals achievable by previous Kickstarter backers and new backers as they are unlocked.”

Pledges begin at $25 and run up to over $5000, with a whole ladder of rewards for all backers depending on how many gamers jump in. There’s even a trailer to talk you into the deal.

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Shroud of the Avatar adds East Asian-themed town, kicks off Q&A

Fancy a bit of the Far East in your MMORPGs? Shroud of the Avatar is making that wish come true with its unclone of the town of Celestis, as explained in Portalarium’s latest newsletter.

“The terrain is heavily influenced by Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in China, while the cultural decor is influenced by feudal Japan,” writes Level Designer Chris “Seawolf” Wolf. “It will feature a new town center and harbor, several gardens including a rock garden, several koi fish ponds, and a Noh/Kabuki stage which can also double as a dance floor. There are also a few Easter-eggs throughout the scene which pay tribute to some of my favorite chambara (classic samurai films).”

Richard Garriott and crew are running an Ask Me Anything on the /r/SotA_Official subreddit beginning at 11 a.m. EDT today (just as this post goes live). The discussion is intended to focus on the SeedInvest equity crowdfunding campaign currently live for the company.

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Mark Kern will share Em-8ER’s design vision – for a price

Em-8ER, Mark Kern’s attempt at subverting game naming conventions (and also something about giant mechs), is launching its next limited fundraiser on Monday to finance the development of a few more features for the pre-pre-alpha version. The goals include the funding of the creation of a weapon system, more interactive frames, the first little slice of actual gameplay (on an ice field) and both male and female character pilots.

To give fans incentive to part with their money, Kern has posted a batch of perks that will be familiar to anyone who has seen a crowdfunding tier reward system. Some of these perks include a PDF of the game’s newly created vision book, 3-D printer toys, forum tags, mech skins, and name reservations.

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Shroud of the Avatar plans a pair of investor Q&A sessions, the first taking place tonight

One of the frustrating bits about the MMORPG studios that are turning to newly legal online equity crowdfunding platforms is that the very SEC rules meant to protect us also hinder us when it comes to digging up information and reporting on the proceedings. That is, gaming studios and other companies are forbidden from disclosing specific things (chiefly, deal terms) about their campaigns to the media while those campaigns are ongoing. You might notice studios won’t answer most emailed or forum questions either. The idea is that a campaign’s premise would be scattered for different audiences, which could open the game up to legal challenges later.

All of this is preamble to explaining why you might want to tune in to the Q&A sessions Portalarium will be holding with investors and potential investors into its newly announced Shroud of the Avatar SeedInvest campaign. The first is tonight at 5 p.m. EDT and takes the form of a public streamed webinar; the second is a public Reddit AMA next week on June 20th. Presumably, investors will be able to ask more direct questions about the studio’s finances during those established public fora.

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Em-8er creates 20-page ‘pitch’ book to sell the game concept

Mark Kern’s Em-8er project has reached another internal milestone, with the team achieving a few small (and decidedly quirky) goals such as creating an art demo with the THMPR mech and 3-D printing some tiny THMPR models as backer rewards. The team also put together a 20-page full-color design vision pitch book to sell prospective gamers and publishers on what Em-8er is all about (other than revolutionary titling, of course).

The small team continues to grow and will head into its next fundraising phase next week with a focus on creating male and female models. Kern said that interest in Em-8er continues to grow, with 8,300 people on the game’s mailing list.

“All these milestones (we anticipate 3 more or so), will combine to create the ultimate playable mockup of the game,” Kern wrote. “The mockup will include a sample THMPR encounter with attacking Tsi-Hu shapeshifting aliens, gliding and jetting Omniframes with basic abilities, and a frenzy of sample ranged and melee combat. This demo will be used to promote our eventual Kickstarter and future funding of the game.”

Source: Em-8er

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Make My MMO: Broke Protocol launches early access after failed Kickstarter (June 10, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, Minecraft-meets-GTAO MMO Broke Protocol’s Kickstarter ended unsuccessfully on Thursday, but the good news is that the game launched its early access program anyway. The better news is that early access is free. “The last few updates have seen the focus shift to enable more roleplaying opportunities,” writes the team. “Cylinder Studios has now pushed updates to Police, Paramedics, and in this latest update: Firefighters. Demolished vehicles now leave a burning inferno that has to be taken care of by the city’s loyal Fire Department.” Good times.

Meanwhile, Gloria Victis previewed its map expansion, Project Gorgon delayed part of the Serbule revamp, Albion Online launched its Hector update, ROKH rolled out a new build with salvaging and chat, and Elite Dangerous opened the 2.3.10 beta and prepped players for the PS4 debut later this month.

Finally, we spoke to Shroud of the Avatar’s Richard Garriott about his studio’s equity crowdfunding announcement.

Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’ve got our eye on.

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Dual Universe on playtesting, the planetary map, and summer cons

Kickstarted indie sci-fi sandbox Dual Universe has posted its monthly update this week with a meaty dev vlog from Novaquark’s JC Baillie.

Baillie says that his team is moving away from introducing new features and toward polishing what’s already live and functional in the pre-alpha. That includes working with a third-party company for playtesting. Paid testers – crazy huh! While the studio won’t be at E3 next week, it is promising early alpha previews at the major cons (namely, Gamescom and PAX West) later this summer.

The rest of the video focuses on the game content itself, including moon take-offs, the planetary map (it’s pretty slick!), atmospheric effects, and new art assets.

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Massively Overthinking: MMO monetization run amok

Over the last couple of weeks, the monetization of unreleased games has become a pervasive and uncomfortable theme for the MMO genre. Just in brief:

The frustrating bit is I could go on, and this is just for games that aren’t even formally launched yet. So for this week’s Massively Overthinking, I want to take the temperature of alarm regarding these types of business models for unlaunched games. Is this all par for the course, in line with what we expect from the new MMO market? Have they gone too far yet? If not, what’s too far? How do we feel about this type of pre-launch monetization run amok?

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