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The staff of gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

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Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

Can Pantheon See Life without KickStarter?

Posted by BillMurphy Monday February 17 2014 at 8:24PM
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How apt that Brad and his crew at Visionary Realms would subtitle Pantheon: "Rise of the Fallen." When the game was announced I callously assumed that it would be a no-brainer for funding given the success of Camelot Unchained and Shroud of the Avatar. Hell, if Greed Monger can be funded, than why not give Brad McQuaid some love and let he and his team make a throwback MMORPG for those players who want an updated EQ1?

But it seems that I didn't take into consideration two key points: 

  1. Brad's clout has fallen drastically since his days on the EQ team, due in no small part to the terrible tales of Vanguard's development and spotty history all around with Vigil Games.
  2. Maybe, just maybe... the niche audience who would generally fund something like Pantheon is a bit smaller than anticipated (and perhaps more stingy with their money).
Crowdfunding to me is still a very solid way to get the capital needed to make a product. It's a great way for the consumer to direct and partake actively in the development of their desired game. I just wonder if Pantheon's initial offering for $800,000 was way too light on content. You basically have the makings of a dungeon-crawler with corpse runs and promising combat... but not much else.
The Kickstarter closes in a little over a week, and unless it sees a huge influx of cash, I doubt it's going to succeed.  But I believe there is a market for the kind of game Brad wants to make. Even if they're a little hesitant to call on him to make it. Here's hoping Pantheon can continue to rise on its own with a self-directed crowdfunding plan. And we'll be following the trials as it strives to do so. 
Ginaz writes: There might be an audience for a game like this, but everything about this "game" was poorly run and executed from the beginning.   First, they weren't honest with what the money was going to used for.  It wasn't going to be used to make a game.  It wasn't even going to be used to make a tech demo to take to potential investors.  The money was earmarked as compensation to be paid out to Brad McQuaid and the others involved for whatever amount of time and money they spent so far involved in the project.  As for the Kickstarter, is was a piss poor one to say the least.  It doesn't seem they took a look at and studied the many successful video game KS.  Now McQuaid and crew are trying to raise funds on their own.  They're now going to rely on "angel investors" and sucking people into monthly paid subscriptions to their forums.  Mon Feb 17 2014 8:56PM Report
Hokie writes:

I think the #1 is playing the biggest role.


I personally wouldnt give him a penny. Not because I dislike the guy or dont think he has "vision".

But that maybe hes not the guy to run a company. Especially a company that is receiving money as a donation and not an investment.

He answers to no one if things go south.

Mon Feb 17 2014 8:58PM Report
FlyinDutchman87 writes:

The people have spoken....


If they wanted this game to be made... They would have funded it.


THey didn't so they don't

Mon Feb 17 2014 9:42PM Report
bcbully writes: It's hard to call it a game atm let along an mmorpg. It was a few of Brad's idea and some art work. Mon Feb 17 2014 10:34PM Report
syriinx writes:

you forgot

3.  Kickstarter fatigue


Also, by announcing that they are moving forward if Kickstarter fails all but guarantees it will fail now.  As poorly run as it may seem, at least they arent acting like Kickstarter is the only hope in order to get more donations.

Mon Feb 17 2014 10:40PM Report
Dakirn writes:

I wouldn't say 400k+ is a "failure" though the concept seems to be.


The biggest problem I had (besides giving Brad "another" chance) was that there was nothing shown.  It was all concepts, art and ideas.  The money wasn't really going to the demo.. it was kind of just to pay themselves for all of the "hard work" they've already "invested."


That doesn't leave a lot of those on the fence with confidence.


If they regrouped in a few months (or a year) with something to ACTUALLY show instead of concept art and ideas, perhaps they could have reached their goal (or more).  800k is a lot to ask for just on faith (unless you're a Church I guess).

Tue Feb 18 2014 12:30AM Report
Hytek writes: Like the above poster said, there was no real game on display, nothing to pitch and certainly nothing to stand out from the gazillion other MMORPG's on the market of an already fatigued genre.  Tue Feb 18 2014 12:50AM Report
DMKano writes:

As a huge EQ1 classic fan (and active P1999 player) - I am 100% certain that the audience for EQ1 classic type game is very small.

This is the biggest issue - the reason why no other studios are jumping on this is not that they can't make a Pantheon type game, there simply is no viable audience to justify the cost.

Imagine building a 3000 square foot, 4 bedroom house for your pet  hamster - yeah, it makes no sense.

I'd love to play Pantheon, but I am in the VAST minority - that is reality.


Tue Feb 18 2014 1:33AM Report
jesteralways writes: So where are all the "old school" "intelligent" "hardcore mmorpger"  are now? a game is in kickstarter with all the feature these gamers want and yet it can't get funded. another proof that "old school' mmorpg players are all talk and no show. worthless. Tue Feb 18 2014 3:56AM Report
AlBQuirky writes:

The reasons I am not backing it that "every" backer will feel the right to steer the game in their own, personal direction.  If they listen, the game will be a mess.


While it looks good on paper, so has many other MMOs released in the past decade.  What they deliver is usually very watered down and full of compromises, instead of being close to the original "vision."


I hope this game sees the light of day.  I hope it is a game I want to play.  I am not going to give them my money until I see a fully developed product, though, instead of an "idea."

Tue Feb 18 2014 5:24AM Report
Anthur writes:

Brad's history didn't help and the kickstarter wasn't well prepared and executed.


The bad news is not so much the 400k but that only 3k people supported this game. That is not enough by far for an MMO. So it looks like there is no market for an old school PvE MMO anymore. Disheartening to say the least.


Tue Feb 18 2014 6:40AM Report
syriinx writes:

"I'd love to play Pantheon, but I am in the VAST minority - that is reality."


Minority, yes.  But no smaller a minority than EvE targeted.  A small minority can still get you 300k+ subs, which would be one of the top 5 western MMOs ever.  And the only competition in the market is a 15 year old game and an unofficial server for that 15 year old game.

The key is making the game right.  If the game is good, it will do well.

Tue Feb 18 2014 6:42AM Report
Tekaelon writes:

I personally don't think so. Although Vanguard had great ideas and did somethings better than any other game, at release it was buggy and unfinished. If that is the case for a project that was 'managed' by Sony, what would happen here where there is nothing more than ideas on the table.  They are good ideas that might potentially result in an incredible game, but my precious few dollars aren't willing to take that chance.


That being said, I wish them all the luck in the world.

Tue Feb 18 2014 8:01AM Report
koboldfodder writes:

Uh....what part about "they didn't have anything to SHOW" is difficult to understand.


It's not about old school MMOs, it's about having an actual business model, plan and the ability to conduct it in a professional manner....something he has NEVER done in the past.


He may have excellent creative skills, but as a CEO....never in a million years. 

Tue Feb 18 2014 10:00AM Report
kjempff writes:

They are leaning just a tad too much to classic eq in every little detail. I mess around in p99 and as much as I like the fundamentals of the game, I also think that there are alot of stupid stuff that were improved upon in later expansions.. Its all the little details that make the game nicer, but doesn't mess with the fundamentals.

On a busy night p99 can hold 1500 players, progression servers quickly went down to a few k aswell. The player base for such a specific classic is small, and Pantheon really need to put more emphasis on beeing a new game, not just a remake of eq, to get a broader but still niche audience interested. Infact all these constant references to eq an vg by both the team and players has not helped.

Problem is every eq/vg player has their own definition of what is good, and no matter how Pantheon is going to be, it will surely make 2/3 turn from it. Fresh blood is what is needed, and there are people who would like such a game who never played eq or vg and have no clue that style as something they would like..yet. But You dont get a new crowd if You say "we make 60'ies music", You get them by making 60'ies music with a modern twist and call it modern music.

I am also weary of "listening to players" because players don't know what they want, and what they do think they want goes in all directions, so You just end up dissapointing alot.. Better to just present the ideas, stay true to them and hold on to the boat when the sea gets rough. Staying true to a vision is easier the less parties involved, the corruption starts when too many have a say, and that is a tale of just about any mmo or long term game name. I guess the less parties part was what they were trying to get with ks, but I beleive it will just increase the interest conflicts.

Tue Feb 18 2014 10:32AM Report
Wizardry writes:

I would support something by Brad IF two things.

1 it is not a browser game

2 it is finished

I will NEVER hand over money on a whim that some developer might make a quality game.However in saying that ,i would give it to Brad before ANY of these other kick starters if i was going to do it.


Tue Feb 18 2014 11:00AM Report
Wizardry writes:

I would support something by Brad IF two things.

1 it is not a browser game

2 it is finished

I will NEVER hand over money on a whim that some developer might make a quality game.However in saying that ,i would give it to Brad before ANY of these other kick starters if i was going to do it.


Tue Feb 18 2014 11:01AM Report
JerYnkFan writes: I did support the game, but I think Brad aimed too high with the initial goal.  If he had set it at 500K I think it would have worked. Also Bill, it was Sigil games not Vigil.  Slight typo. Tue Feb 18 2014 11:15AM Report
Itassha writes: I would play the game in a heartbeat, and I will be more than happy to buy it when it comes out.  I just don't have spare cash laying around to donate to a game that won't be out for 3+ years. Tue Feb 18 2014 11:20AM Report
GrumpyMel2 writes:

It had nothing to do with the game for me. I simply won't donate money to an individual who has shown he has no capacity to manage money or hold an executive decision and has provided no evidence that has changed. McQuaid may be a talented creative guy but he needs to realize his limitations in other areas.

If he wants people to donate money he can't just show up and say "Hey, I'm Brad McQuaid, give me money because I'm so awesome"

I fully believe there is an audience large enough to make the style of game he wants to make possible.....and I fully believe a significant portion of that audience has doubts about whether such a game would ever be completed with Brad at the helm.



Tue Feb 18 2014 11:42AM Report
Deadlyne writes:

#3 - No PvP

I've never funded a kickstarter and I'm definitely not gonna start with a game for bluebies.

Tue Feb 18 2014 1:30PM Report
WereLlama writes:

I did choose the 40$ alpha funding option.   They idea is worth the small investment.

That being said, if they want more mainstream folks  to invest, they might have to get the core team to invest 'first' by making a small tech demo as an immediate reward (not wait 3 years).

A level or two in Unity3d is not going to convince the masses.


Tue Feb 18 2014 2:59PM Report
Samhael writes:

It's #1 that made my decision rather than #2. Although TBH, if I managed to get past #1, I'm not sure I'd be able to get past #2. Some of the game tenets sounded like more of a pain in the ass than an actual challenge.

I want to spend my time battling monsters and figuring out difficult strategies. I *don't* want to spend my time riding across zones just to GET to the dungeons and such. I'm an adult and don't have the time I used to have when I was a kid. I'd prefer to spend it doing the stuff I enjoy.

Tue Feb 18 2014 4:20PM Report
Epicon writes:

Anyone who gives money to McQuaid. Probably thought being a shareholder in Enron, was the smartest thing you could with your money back in the day.

Even if someone I liked was running the project, I don't want to invest in a developer who is pretty much making Vanilla WoW part II.

I liked it yes, but I also played it 10 years ago almost.

Wed Feb 19 2014 4:32AM Report
Saffecre1994 writes: my roomate's half-sister makes $65 /hr on the internet . She has been fired from work for 10 months but last month her payment was $17439 just working on the internet for a few hours. you can check here,,,,,,,,,,,,


Wed Feb 19 2014 7:45AM Report
GeezerGamer writes: There's quite a difference between not having a market for a game and not being able to fund a game through KS. Pantheon looks like a game I'd want to play. But I won't crown fund it. Maybe the reason it failed to fund through KS has more to do with Brad than it does with the game itself. Wed Feb 19 2014 8:49AM Report
Telondariel writes: ^^  I think Brad was his own worst enemy and was the overriding reason why the project failed.  Way too sordid of a history.  Even people that weren't burnt and jaded got scared off by the sheer level and vehemence of mudslinging.  He is a high risk investment and he wasn't prepared. Wed Feb 19 2014 9:33AM Report
jesse33 writes:

Wed Feb 19 2014 7:58PM Report writes:
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