McQuaid’s Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen fails to reach Kickstarter goal

23 Feb 2014  by   Paul Younger
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Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen

It’s not great news for Brad McQuaid and Visionary Realms’ Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen Kickstarter project as the Kickstarter only managed to raise $460,657 of the $800,000 goal. The Kickstarter launched on 14 January.

The funding failure is not the end of for Pantheon. Funding will now be raised through the Panthoen Rise of the Fallen website where interested parties can pledge funds directly and all funds raised through the Kickstarter page are not being charged.

The funding goals have now been moved over to the new site which the developers says offers a “deep social experience” which includes guilds and other typical community website features.

“The benefit of a live pledging system such as the one on the PantheonRotF.com site is that the funds received can immediately go into development, with no delay. Your pledges or subscriptions will be directly responsible for the progress on the game!”

McQuaid also chipped in with his thoughts on why the funding goal wasn’t met.

“In 20/20 hindsight we should have both used a smaller goal and also one of the other crowdfunding sites out there that lets you keep the money, even if it’s short of the original goal. A smaller goal would have been fine – we came up with $800k as it would have given us a good amount of time to find some office space, get the game itself further along, and then issue some much needed paychecks to the team. That said, $400k would still have been great. Isn’t 20/20 hindsight a wonderful thing?”

“People are leery about investing in three+ year projects and we should have broken the development process down into smaller chunks instead of simply talking about the full three-year development cycle.”

“We approached Kickstarter as if we were revealing an MMO to the press and public much closer to the game’s release date. We didn’t launch the Kickstarter with enough game info, with the intent of revealing a lot of details over time as well as using feedback from the community to help us come up with some of the features and mechanics as well. While this is the way you build excitement up with the public and press towards the end of an MMO’s development cycle (something we’ve all done with the MMOs we’ve worked on to completion in the past), it is not how you conduct a crowdfunding campaign. Potential funders want to know as much about the game as possible up front and right away.”

“We had done some research into Kickstarter campaigns, but clearly not enough. Our efforts and focus since September were on building Pantheon, not getting ready for a Kickstarter campaign. Experts we were and are at building MMOs, but Kickstarter campaigns? Not so much, at least not back in January, but you’ve taught us a lot.”

It sounds like McQuaid and his team fell into the typical Kickstarter trap off asking for too much money and  not explaining the concept well to prospective backers. We’ve seen quite a few Kickstarter’s fail because of these two factors.

I can’t say I’m surprised by the failure to reach the lofty goal. The MMO market is saturated and Panthoen Rise of the Fallen reads just like another fantasy MMO. I have sat through dozens of MMO press presentations over the past fifteen years, and when you you cut through the PR speak and probe deeper about the game mechanics, they usually all turn out to be much of the same with a slight twist. It’s still early days for Panthoen Rise of the Fallen now the funding counter has been reset so maybe McQuaid will surprise us all in the months ahead.

McQuaid had mentioned that he wanted the game to feel like the early MMOs with a few modern additions. However, the MMO genre experienced a boom thanks to World of Warcraft which managed to pull in dedicated players as well as the casual audience thanks to its intuitive gameplay style and features. It became the benchmark for a successful MMO which is why the model has been copied time and time again. Usually unsuccessfully.

What gamers wanted back in the good old days of Everquest and Vanguard is not necessarily what MMO gamers want now. McQuaid is aiming for a niche audience but he has to find it in numbers and convince them to part with cash. That’s not an easy task.

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