Stropp's World

Games And Gamery

Speaking of Pantheon

Posted by Stropp on January 24, 2014

Speaking of Pantheon, as I did in my last post, I have been keeping track of how the Kickstarter campaign is going.

So far we’re about 11 days into the campaign, about a quarter of the way there, and there have been just short of $202,000 of pledges made by 1630 backers. A quarter of the minimum funding at the quarter way point.

As Wilhelm at TAGN observes (he has graphs, go have a look,) most Kickstarter campaigns appear to follow a reverse bell curve where they raise the most funds in the first and last few days of the campaign. It looks like, according to the graphs from Kicktraq (thanks for the link Wilhelm that is a handy site) that Pantheon is following a similar trajectory.

Star Citizen to compare, with a $500K goal raised $2,134,374 from 34,397 pledges, and has continued its crowd funding efforts apart from Kickstarter and has raised over $37 million. That’s over 4 times the original goal.

Shroud of the Avatar, Richard Garriotts triumphant return has a $1 million goal, where 22,322 backers pledged $1,919,275, almost twice what was hoped for.

Camelot Unchained raised $2,232,933 from 14,873 after asking for 2 million dollars, which is just a little above what they asked for.

If Pantheon continues raising funds at the same rate, it might get its $800,000 from about 6,400 backers, but won’t achieve even one stretch goal, and it looks like there’s a lot of content and systems in those stretch goals.

Here are some fancy graphs:

Pantheon Daily Backers

Pantheon Daily Backers

 

pantheon daily pledges

Pantheon – Daily Pledges

Pantheon Projected Result

Pantheon – Projected Result

 

It’s the last one that should be concerning the Pantheon development team. It shows that the projected result will be somewhere between $433K and $782K, which even in the best case is short of the goal by about $18,000.

Now obviously you can’t take this as gospel. There are a lot of factors that could come into play into the next 30 days. It’s entirely possible that there could be a frenzy of pledging in that time that not only reaches the goal but hits some stretch goals too.

In comparing the Pantheon Kickstarter with the others above, it shows that there is far less confidence in that game than in the efforts by Garriott, Roberts, and Jacobs. But why?

Well, there’s a couple of reasons I think.

I suspect that, despite the nostalgia associated with old school MMORPGs, that a lot of players old and new have moved on. Systems such as forced downtime, forced grouping, and slow travel might be appealing to the hard core Everquest vets, but are they appealing to the gaming masses.

We have to remember that 15 years ago, Everquest players were in the majority MMO-wise with 400K at one point, but all of these people have gotten older, got married, started families, and built careers. Waiting for hours for a boat (or a corpse run) aren’t on the agenda anymore even if they do remember those activities fondly.

That alone is going to reduce the pool of pledges.

The other reason is historical. Roberts, Garriott, and Jacobs have a lot of successful games in their resumes, and they are considered legends of game development. Brad McQuaid has but one success, and that’s his involvement in Everquest. And while Garriott and Jacobs have had recent ‘failures’ with Tabula Rasa and Warhammer Online respectively, they have a string of hits previously which build confidence.

Brad however failed epically with Vanguard. When the game was released it was in a horrible state. While the game eventually reached the stage where it was actually not to bad, it should never have been released that early. However, lots of games, including World of Warcraft have been released early to initial poor reviews.

What did happen was that Brad McQuaid completely dropped the management ball while running the show, being completely absent from the office for months; reportedly staying in his office with no contact with staff until he just quit showing up at all. This lead to the infamous parking lot incident where the entire Sigil team were asked to meet in the parking lot and then unceremoniously sacked.

I wonder if this is the main reason that the Kickstarter campaign isn’t doing all that well. This incident didn’t happen all that long ago, and I have to admit that when I first heard of the Pantheon campaign, it was pretty much the first thing I thought of.

Despite all that I kinda hope that Pantheon at least raises its $800K and that Brad gets another chance at his dream. If he has learned the lessons of the past then it could turn out okay.

Will I pledge? Hmmm. Not sure. As I said in my last post, I’m not sure that Pantheon is the game for me, so I’ll wait and see I think.

How about you? Pledging or not?

 


  1. Wilhelm Arcturus Said,

    I’ve held off any further updates on PRotF for now until the pattern settles down. Due to very little pre-campaign publicity, there was something of a lag in things getting rolling, so the charts won’t quite be the nice inverted bell curve.

    That said, the fact that they lost over $4,000 in pledges one day is not what I call a promising sign, and the trend is not getting any better. They need $20K a day and only $4K came in yesterday. That leaves a lot of ground to make up.

    I would like to see what he was really shooting to make. His tune hasn’t changed all that much, so my hope is that Vanguard taught him enough to be able to focus on what is important to his vision.

  2. Blue Kae Said,

    I won’t be pledging to this one for three reasons. First is McQuaid himself that parking lot story was the first thing that popped into my head when I saw he was running a Kickstarter, he really should have emphasized in the pitch who would be managing the project and that his role was entirely creative. I hope he’s learned from past mistakes but I’m not willing to bet money on it.

    Second, I avoid MMOs on Kickstarter in general. They are too costly and have too long of a development cycle for crowdfunding in my opinion. I’ll stick with single player niche games, so far I’m doing pretty well on backing games that actually follow through.

    Third, I played EQ back in the day and I don’t miss it. The forced grouping, the built in downtime, XP loss wiping out days worth of progress, and high level monsters wandering the newbie zones. I’m glad the genre has moved beyond all that.

  3. Stropp Said,

    @Wilhelm — Yeah, even without the lost pledges it doesn’t look to me like they’ll succeed here. And even if they raised the 800K, without the stretch goals the game will likely be very shallow.

    @Blue Kae — I noticed in the bios that McQuaid lists himself as chief creative officer, which is fine, and there are a lot of developers and artists, but only one PR person and no CEO or management level folks. With Brads track record it would be nice to see capable management in place, especially in a company that will be taking a few years to get the game to release.

    As for EQ, it’s been a while but I don’t mind popping back in every now and again. There is something about playing a game that doesn’t hand everything to you on a platter. At the same time, I’m also glad the genre has moved forward, but sometimes I’d like to see the challenge and non-linearity return.

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