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Ashes Crushed KickStarter. What Next?

Tim Eisen Posted:
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This week Tim Eisen takes a tongue-in-cheek look at how Ashes of Creation crushed it’s Kickstarter campaign in a single day! He looks at what their Kickstarter performance means and offers some post campaign advice.

You can tell a lot about a studio by the Kickstarter (KS) campaign they run, how organized it is and how they market before during and after said campaign. I expected Ashes of Creation’s Kickstarter to do well but frankly, it crushed it! I mean it really crushed it in 24 hours no less! Ask any politician, if you can motivate a niche you can get the snowball rolling and Intrepid Studios motivated the niche. Everywhere my mouse clicked in the MMORPG universe (not that I’d ever leave the fantastic website upon which you are reading this column, but let’s pretend I did) I saw fans hyping Ashes of Creation. I knew it would fund but I expected it to cross that line near the end of the campaign not on the first day!

The ask was certainly a factor. I expected the amount to be somewhere between a million or two. Instead they came out at $750,000. That amount seemed low but I’d wager it was a carefully calculated number. It’s better to ask for less and hope for more than ask for too much, miss your goal and tarnish your momentum with a failed campaign. You only get one first ask. It’s important to meta game every percent to maximize your chances. Intrepid came prepared and has been rewarded nearly a million times by over 5,000 backers as of this writing.

MMORPG KS’s also have an advantage over other games, at least for now. The same niche that started funding old school PVP MMO’s several years ago is still waiting for a game! Half of us and 100% of people writing this column can’t even remember all the sandbox MMOs they backed anymore! Several years after the first wave of KS MMOs Ashes of Creation crushed it by coming at us with the same pitch used to fund the games before it because we are still hungry! Heck we are still starving! “A harsh living world…tell me more… full of consequential PVP…go on…and choices that matter!” Take my money, please! If anything, the ever-teasing crowd funded developmental purgatory of the others seems to fuel our desire.

That says as much about us as it does the developers working with us. Some of them have gotten closer but none of them are far enough along to fill the void and so we wait, and we keep funding new games in hopes that someday one of them will actually launch and satiate us. Like everything that is and has ever been in this genre it’s a tale that is equal parts hope and despair.

I’ll leave this column with some heartfelt requests and hard truths from a tired old crowd funded MMORPG mark fan. The first one seems to be a challenge for crowd funded games; try not to let the volume of store discount updates surpass the amount of game progress updates. Try to keep pay walls to a minimum or at the least manufacture information and content worth being behind a pay wall. Please don’t invent digital currency to aid in removing ours from our wallets.

Your game will change as it develops, accept that and tell your backers to do the same then accept that most of them never will. Don’t set a deadline. (checks the KS again) I see you set a deadline... When you miss your first deadline please own it. I don’t mean admit you missed it, I mean really own it. Explain your process, how you set your deadline, why you missed it and what changes you plan to implement to avoid missing it again.

Don’t worry, MMORPG backers are mostly numb to this by now. After a history of disappointment most of us just assume all deadlines are fictional. Besides, you can always go with a soft launch and claim MMORPG’s are never really finished anyway. We will forgive you because we always do, especially if you cover your announcement in a shiny new epic pony skin! Don’t offer an exclusive store discount on that skin, just give it to all backers. Speaking of, don’t create ways to segregate your backers, it’s a real community killer.

I can’t articulate how important this one is, don’t under any circumstances ever underestimate MMORPG fans. Good, bad or ugly fans in this genre will always surprise you. Developers know exactly what they are getting into when they ask a derelict niche like us for our money in exchange for ideas in paper. Please don’t blame your actions on them. Last but most importantly the item that many have promised but few have been able to bear the burden of, try to maintain transparency. I say try to because even trying to is almost always setting yourself up to fail, it’s that hard. Your backers respected your dream enough to pay for it, please return that respect by being honest with them.

For the few that didn’t read the intro and jump to the comments section to call me a shill, thank you for making it this far. I haven’t backed this game but I’m watching it, which is why I wrote about it. Because in a niche this small the news is slow and right now Ashes of Creation and its impressive opening day are the biggest story I can get my little hands on. What do you guys think? Is this one to watch, to back or to write off?


Tim Eisen

I roleplay a wordsmith that writes about the technological and social evolution within the game industry