Make My MMO: The biggest MMO crowdfunding news of 2018

    
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Welcome to a special edition of Make My MMO, Massively OP’s regular recap of what’s going on in crowdfunded MMOs, which we do specifically for those of you who are convinced Kickstarter is the absolute worst (although sometimes it is) and that no crowdfunded MMOs ever launch (they do). Plus, somebody’s got to keep an eye on what your money’s up to!

Tonight’s edition isn’t going to be our usual recap of the last couple of weeks, however; we’re going to look at the most important MMO crowdfunding news of the entire year. Lock up your wallets and let’s get to it.

Temtem and Fractured win big on Kickstarter

The two big Kickstarter MMOs of the year were Temtem, a Pokemon-inspired MMORPG, and Fractured. Temtem brought in over half a million dollars, while the sandbox Fractured netted $130,000 from backers and fans. It wasn’t quite the haul from previous years, but clearly MMOs still have a solid chance on the platform if their ask is reasonable and their pitch is good. Fractured, by the way, made it to pre-alpha this year but delayed its alpha; alpha did go live for Temtem backers already, however.

Shroud of the Avatar, Project Gorgon, and Legends of Aria launch

Wait, didn’t Shroud of the Avatar already launch? Yes. In fact, it’s sort of launched twice: The persistent world launched in 2016, never to be wiped, while the formal launch was in March of this year, though the game appears to have struggled over the year, losing its EU publisher as well as Richard Garriott as CEO (he stayed on as creative director) and going formally free-to-play this fall. Project Gorgon, on the other hand, hit early access on Steam in March to critical acclaim if not huge numbers; it’s recently opened up a demo. And as for Legends of Aria? It postponed its Steam early access but left beta for its local backers anyway and has struggled with technical difficulties and downtime over December.

Camelot Unchained, Crowfall, and Pantheon move forward

Mark Jacob’s Camelot Unchained project finally hit beta one this summer after years of delay – but not before CSE landed another $7.5M in investment to move things along. As for Crowfall, it once again delayed its soft launch – that’s two years in a row – but it looks more like a functioning game than ever and is moving toward its first live campaign testing. Pantheon, too, pushed onward towards alpha and picked up new developers (and Brasse too!), impressing our previewer.

Dual Universe creeps up on Star Citizen

Star Citizen never fails to dazzle: Not only did it prevail in court over Crytek this year, but it moved from alpha 3.0 to alpha 3.4.0, claimed nobody else was attempting what it was attempting, put up fresh new absurdly priced ships, counted up $200M in crowdfunding, and took on $46M in outside private investment, as well as projected Squadron 42’s beta for the end of 2020. Dual Universe, on the other hand, is the scrappy underdog in its shadow, but maybe not for much longer: It opened up new crowdfunding avenues and made it to alpha.

The City of Heroes spinoffs

The top three indie superhero MMOs are all still deep in production; City of Titans missed its expected Issue 0 launched at the end of this year, delaying into 2019, while Ship of Heroes pumped out videos, a combat alpha, and multiple login tests, and Valiance Online hung in there.

Ashes of Creation goes apocalyptic

Ashes of Creation claimed to be “now among the largest MMOs in production” this year – bold words, but they might even true. The game proceeded through its alpha zero this year and went on a hiring spree. By summer, it had partnered with My.com for European and Russian publishing – to the consternation of its fans – and by fall it was talking up Apocalypse, its now-standalone free-to-play battle royale mode, also to the consternation of its fans.

Chronicles of Elyria and Pathfinder Online persevered

Chronicles of Elyria began the year by counting $3.5M in crowdfunds, but then it dropped SpatialOS and suffered sizable layoffs. Though it made its way to pre-alpha, it probably got the most mileage out of its Searing Plague event, and its devs promise 2019 will be a big year. Pathfinder Online also popped up at the end of the year – not dead yet!

Albion comes to Steam

Sandbox Albion Online started off the year on a down note: with a round of layoffs. While it posted several large-scale updates and revamps this year, the Steam launch in May didn’t translate into many longterm players on top of the existing playerbase, and the devs backburnered the mobile edition.

A few others that jumped out at me as I took a look back through the year:

What would you argue was the biggest MMO crowdfunding story of the year?

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Easy Rider
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Easy Rider

I’m waiting for AOC siege mode to be announced. Hope we can see it on february.

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Dean Greenhoe

Best thing about crowd funding is the ability to fund the games you have an interest in. I consider it seed money for a games I would like to play. I believe, when you let the people decide with their wallets what they want to play, studio success increases greatly.

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Mr.McSleaz

Like when they Pitch an Old School MMORPG with NO Cash Shop, Allowing Backer’s ONLY to test the MMORPG But then release a F2P Battle Royale with a CASH SHOP for everyone to play?

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Armsbend

A dream was funded. What that dream is I have no idea…

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PanagiotisLial1

While I know its unlikely I hope Repopulation shapes eventually to a good game. It has all the makings of something good if worked to a full product

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Eliandal

I really don’t know if IF has what it takes to make a good game unfortunately! I wish the engine was still held by the original developers and they had continued forward with it.

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Sarrene Grant

Good evening,
I am not sure if you mean HeroEngine or The Repopulation in your statement. However, I can assure you that HeroEngine is under the same development of the original developers including the two core engineers that began it from its original conception. It is still being maintained and developed.

For The Repopulation; All I can say is we will do our best. Let us see what happens. :)

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Armsbend

I cannot speak for Eliandal – but my guess is he meant the game your company stole from the original developers after holding their work hostage using your game engine as a front for theft. How everyone in your company is not rotting in jail right now is the real mystery! But there is hope for a new year eh?

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Sarrene Grant

As a policy in practice we do and did not hold anyone’s game hostage. Nor was anything stolen.

When ABT emailed me asking if we wanted to buy The Repopulation, it was an interesting proposal that we discussed for a few months before signing.

Ultimately it was the passion of the players that convinced me the most to accept and enter into the purchase agreement.

However if you would like a bit more information you can visit these two posts by JC:
https://therepopulation.com/forums/repopulation/news-and-announcements/quick-faq-12567?p=120832#p120832

https://therepopulation.com/forums/repopulation/news-and-announcements/news-the-repopulation-ip-and-assets-sold-to-idea-fabrik-12566?p=121186#p121186

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Bruno Brito

It would be healthier for everyone if we could please stop revisiting the past and focus on the future. Both companies found ourselves in an awkward spot last year and there were other parties involved. If anyone wants to pin their frustrations on how things have went, pin it on us. It was our responsibility to deliver the game in a timely manner, and as a result we should receive any blame. We accept that and will take the criticism. I think it would be a mistake for anyone to view Idea Fabrik as “the bad guy” at this point. They’ve jumped into this with best intentions, and are going to do everything in their power to bring Repop to launch in the same vision that it has always had.

This community saw itself splintered when the issues happened 15 months ago. People formed into camps and a lot of that was based on incomplete information from everyone involved (including our companies, third parties, and players). For sure tempers flared at times between us and Idea Fabrik when this happened, partly due to those same reasons. It’s time for all of that to heal, and for everyone to get on the same page. And that isn’t going to happen if everyone keeps trying to bring up the past. I’ve always felt one of the best things that Repop had going for it was the community. So it’s disappointed me to see how that community has over time segmented over this all and got at each other’s throats. I think the recent news is a good opportunity to bring us all back together. And dwelling on the past is a road block to that. Let’s move forward.

I really want to know what the original developers think of “moving forward” after this.

Because it really seems like a slap on the wrist.

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Sarrene Grant

Thank you! We will do our best!