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Island Forge Column: Three MMOs Kickstarted

By Cassandra Khaw on September 28, 2012

Okay, to be fair, there weren't too many to begin with, but the title seemed catchy. Hey, gang! Welcome back to another installment of my little Independency column here. Today, we're going to take a look at three MMO-centric Kickstarter projects that, against all odds, inspired enough confidence for people to throw money at them.

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Pathfinder Online

Contrary to what my previous column 'No Elves Allowed' would have suggested, I like fantasy. I'm just sick of fantasy tropes. Pathfinder Online is a deeply ambitious-sounding MMO that will be a hybrid sandbox/theme park-style sort of thing that will have players exploring, developing, adventuring and dominating a wilderness frontier in a world of sword and sorcery. Think The Lord of the Rings, Conan, The Wheel of Time and Game of Thrones.

Apparently, Pathfinder Online's 'robust' trading system will put players in command of the economy. There will also be player-created items, consumables, fortifications, settlements that have the chance of growing into full-fledged kingdoms, vast armies, NPC factions, and more.

See? What did I tell you? Exceedingly ambitious stuff. Still, there's no harm in cultivating a healthy desire for more than the norm. More importantly, it looks like we'll soon be able to see what the technology demo will look like in the next week or so.

Official Kickstarter site here

Island Forge

The result of a single developer's hard labor, Island Forge is apparently going to be an MMO that features classic (old-school) RPG elements and a dedicated focus to player-created content. The idea is simple: with the help of an Intuitive Island Builder, players will be able to layout terrain, scenery and towns, author interactive dialogue and publish their islands for public exploration.

In other words, it's kind of going to be like what we hope Neverwinter Nights will be except with a deeply retro-style and a lower price tag.

Official Kickstarter site here

Astronaut: Moon, Mars & Beyond

I'm surprised I didn't know this before but it looks like an official NASA MMO is apparently a thing. No, you didn't read that wrong. There is an actual, honest-to-god NASA MMO in the works.

Sadly, for those excited about the idea of playing on something the people behind the Curiosity Rover made, NASA isn't the one actually making the game. Nonetheless, NASA certainly appears to be endorsing it.

According to the developers:

"Our small group of 20 developers have won a contest* held for the best idea for an official massively multi-player online game depicting the future, and signed a "Space Act Agreement" with NASA, who chose our pitch over all others, the start of a project conceived of at NASA Learning Technologies.

"Can you believe it? Not only can we pick up the phone and call a NASA scientist to talk about our spaceship and exploration ideas, but we're being encouraged to be creative! It's a once-in-a-lifetime project for all of us: the kind of work you can only dream of as a game developer (and player).

"This round of $50,000 plus (we are crossing our fingers for more) will officially kick off the development and finish our first beta of the commercial game. How can we do this?  For starters, a matching government tax credit will match all donations up to $700,000 with an additional 500K (so yes DO SIGN-UP HERE) to the developers, and as we speak, NASA has awarded a contract to Challenger Center and WisdomTools to produce about 1 million dollars in related content (YES)."

Nifty, eh? It gets better. They're apparently building a 3D Avatar community centered around a fictional depiction of the year 2035, a community that will be very much like a 'Hogwarts' in space. Players will have access to a 'complete and technical Astronaut's Handbook', the chance to visit and live through future, fanciful NASA Missions in accurate, virtual depictions of the Space Academy, Mars, the asteroid belt and the solar system.

The full details can be found here

There are two more MMOs that got successfully funded on Kickstarter. However, we're not going to look at those just yet. That said, once you're done drooling over the idea of embarking on a proper space education, here's a thought to ponder for the next week:

Asides from the fact they're MMOs, what is it about these three projects that allowed them to acquire successful funding? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

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