Just when you think the MMO industry is predictable, it jukes and jags all over the place, tossing out surprises left and right in an attempt to shake you off its tail (or to pull you in, we haven’t decided on that one yet). Marking one of the most unpredictable news weeks of 2017, Bree and Justin ride out westerns, space operas, and fantasies with aplomb.
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“I think in a couple of days we may be the number one Kickstarted MMORPG ever.”
Dream big, Intrepid Studios! As Ashes of Creation bears down on its crowdfunding home stretch with 10 days to go, the fantasy MMO just crossed the 12,000 backers line (granting exclusive dyes to all backers) and already has $2.23 million in its virtual pockets. Upcoming stretch goals include the Underrealm race ($2.5M), unique mount barding (13,500 backers), and an in-game stock exchange ($3M).
The developers aren’t keeping to themselves during this crazy time. Intrepid team members were on hand this past weekend for an hour-long livestream during which they answered community questions and showed off more Ashes of Creation gameplay. We’ve got that video after the jump (the gameplay starts at the 29-minute mark) as well as a new environmental video from the project!
This week in MMO crowdfunding, Star Citizen officially broke the $150,000,000 crowdfunding mark, propelled along by gamers sinking large sums of cash into the latest concept ship. As Relay points out, the original Kickstarter year for the game brought in only about $7M; since then, the game has raised between $28M and $36M every year since, with the biggest year to date being 2016. On paper, the game isn’t on pace to break that record in 2017 so far, but the fansite’s estimation that it might pass $200M this year if Squadron 42 launches as planned isn’t unreasonable. (Thanks, i-Spy, Zander, and fastcart!)
Wild West Online also announced that it won’t be seeking Kickstarter funds after all as it’s already received full funding from investors. That means it probably won’t be back in Make My MMO again since it’s not crowdfunding — but take a peek at our exclusive interview on the game from earlier this week all the same.
Meanwhile, Ashes of Creation’s Kickstarter pushed on toward $3M, ROKH’s early access launched as planned, and Crowfall concluded its teaser week with a massive reveal: Classes won’t be racially bound after all, and beta should hit before the end of the year.
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.
Don’t count cyberpunk sandbox MMO Exile Online out just yet. While the game’s Kickstarter didn’t meet its $45,000 goal last year, its developers continued work and are now rolling out GoFundMe campaign in its place.
“After our initial Kickstarter campaign did not receive the full funding, we realised we needed to do a lot more work,” the team wrote on Facebook. “This is our first in a series of planned phases of funding on Gofundme. We have decided to divide our goals up into milestones rather than seeking one huge lump sum. This way we can complete planned and announced milestones and prove to our pledges that their funding is being used wisely. The pledge levels will remain largely the same as before and we will increase the pledge levels at a later date to include the larger ones.”
Most recently, the devs have released a stream of updates on Facebook focusing on maps and says it’s “been making great progress on the mission system.”
Now that Ashes of Creation has surpassed $2 million in community fundraising, how far will the game go before its Kickstarter campaign draws to a conclusion? It might seem far-fetched that it will add on another million by the end, but the team is ready for this if it happens.
Optimistically, Intrepid Studios revealed its stretch goal for $3 million raised, saying that it would factor in a stock exchange if this milestone is reached:
[The stock exchange] is a very in-depth system that relates to how Nodes, Player Guilds and Social Organizations perform in the world. This will allow players to invest those communities through the form of a stock exchange that will measure certain metrics to determine success or failure around the world. If a guild fails in a raid, shareholders in that guild may see a drop in it’s value. Or if a node advances in activities and trade routes leading to it, the shareholders may see a spike in their dividends. Social organizations such as the Thieves Guild may see community quest points achieved throughout the world and different chapters being built in nodes across the realm, resulting in a higher valuation.
With all of the hullabaloo going on concerning Ashes of Creation and its Kickstarter campaign, a few bloggers are asking themselves whether or not this is an MMO worth backing, especially if they’ve been burned before by grand promises and poor execution.
“All of this adds up to an enticing package and ought to spark the embers of hope that maybe there will be something new under the sun when it comes to the fantasy MMORPG genre,” The Ancient Gaming Noob wrote. “So why am I not excited about this? Why isn’t this helping me shake off the MMO malaise?”
“I’m not on the hype train by a long shot. Not that I see anything particularly wrong with the game, it’s just way, way too early to even think about commenting on it,” Endgame Viable said.
“Am I going to pony up? Mmmm. Maybe,” mulls Inventory Full. “I’m still thinking about it, although, after reading the Kickstarter page, I’m actually less interested in the game than I was.”
Here at Massively OP, there’s nothing we like to hear more than word that new, bold, and big MMORPGs are in development. Over the past week, Wild West Online rode in on a dusty horse out of a desert of MMO development, delivering the reveal of this western sandbox followed by a surprise announcement just this morning that full funding had been achieved and a launch was scheduled for later this year.
To dig more into these announcements, we sat down with Stephan Bugaj, Chief Creative Officer of 612 Games, to ask a few follow-up questions about this exciting project, its budget, its scope, and if only PvP gankers need apply.
For Ashes of Creation, May 16th will go down as one of its best days. For starters, the title was featured on Kickstarter’s front page as the project of the day. This honor probably helped to push the game past not one but two significant milestones.
The same day, the sandbox MMO hit $2 million in crowdfunding, a feat that has only been done by two other MMORPGs (Star Citizen and Camelot Unchained). And to put a cap on it, a second stretch goal, 11,000 backers, was also achieved. Not too shabby for a Tuesday!
Thanks to these met stretch goals, social organizations will be included in Ashes of Creation’s feature set and all backers will receive the exclusive Tidesnapper underwater mount. There’s a little over two weeks left in the campaign, which is plenty of time to hit another stretch goal or two. Next up is a playable Underrealm beast race (unlocked at $2.5M), exclusive dye colors (12,000 backers), and unique mount barding (13,500 backers).
Remember all of those plans that Wild West Online had for a Kickstarter campaign this month and a Steam early access release? Well, plans change — and sometimes for the better.
The studio has issued a press statement saying that the “overwhelming response” to the game’s initial announcement was enough to prompt its investors to dump more money into the game, thereby negating any need for crowdfunding whatsoever. This means that Wild West Online will eschew Kickstarter and early access in order to focus on developing the game for a full launch in 2017.
“We’ve been fortunate enough to have our initial investors step up and provide additional funding to make the game we wanted, without having to raise money via crowdfunding. Westerns are lacking on PC so we can’t wait to release the game to the public,” said 612 Games CCO Stephan Bugaj.
We first heard about Mars-themed survival sandbox ROKH back in 2015 when it released its teaser to the world, and then in 2016 developer Darewise Entertainment launched a Kickstarter for the game seeking over $100,000, but that crowdfunding attempt was canceled when it achieved only about a fifth of its goal. Since then, the early access launch has been kicked around a few times — first to September 2016, then January 2017, and now to… today.
Yes, the game has officially launched its early access today, with the finished version planned for a year from now. The devs have posted a number of guides to help newbies get started, but know that you’ll be shelling out $24.99 for the product in its current state. Check out the launch trailer down below!
Is Kickstarter dead? With Ashes of Creation’s incredible success this spring and several other MMO projects still attempting at drawing in that sweet crowdfunding money, it’s hard to say “yes” to that question. Perhaps the better question is whether Kickstarter is entering in a new phase after seeing a large boom and contraction over the past few years.
Eurogamer has an interesting think piece about the use of Kickstarter in an age when some people have become disillusioned with the platform (and early access in general) and others have turned to actual investment platforms like Fig instead. While there were 456 fully funded Kickstarter video game campaigns in 2016, the collective total of $17.7M was less than half of that from the year prior.
Remember kids, only devs can prevent virtual forest fires! And it’s probably a good thing that they do because apparently there are some Ashes of Creation fans who actually want the ability to light acres of in-game property ablaze for… reasons.
The bizarre query to program in firebugs came out of a wild-and-woolly community Q&A session that Intrepid CEO Steven Sharif did yesterday. Sharif fielded all sorts of questions about the game including practical (nodes, progression) and goofy (metal band music, a troll class for trolling).
The session is a little difficult to follow, what with all of the Discord pings and rambling questions from the community, but there are some interesting nuggets of info in it concerning the weather system, wider possibilities for caravans, and the depth of the crafting system. Check it out for yourself below!
We’d never heard of Big Way Games’ Steam Hammer before last week’s debut on Steam’s early access platform: It’s a multiplayer sandbox survival game (64 players to a shard) built around making steampunks fight dieselpunks. Reviewers thus far have likened it to Wurm Online and Life is Feudal, and several have complained about the lack of female characters, but surely that’s just a matter of time and patches. The most recent patches, in fact, have made some big balance and QOL changes already, including doubling gathering speed and increasing both spawns and gathering materials.
The game raised over $50,000 from crowdfunders last year, though it was in development a year or two before that. Possibly the most shocking thing about it is that it’s actually delivering on schedule — its Kickstarter promised a May 2017 alpha, and here we are.
The game is not to be confused with SteamHammerVR, a virtual reality game also in access on Steam. The full launch is expected at the end of 2017; early access will set you back $26.99 as of press time. Want to see it in action? We got an early look over the weekend!