Another day of being an MMORPG fan, another Kickstarter campaign for a game tugging at my little black heart. It’s become a familiar story. After years of big pub oppression, inde devs come in, kick the door down and demand progress with ideas more closely aligned with us fans than those theme park producing corporate giants! I feel them plucking at the strings and it appears, once again, I’m not alone. The MMORPG base is motivated like November in an election year. Ashe’s has built up pre-Kickstarter momentum. About this, I feel strongly both ways depending on which version of myself you ask. That isn’t a bad idea, I think I’ll do just that.
The young MMORPGer within me is excited! Another game to throw money at! What is income for other than beer, pizza, and games he asks himself? The only problem is which tier he can afford. By afford he means the most expensive one he can swing without missing rent. It’s not like he has other things to put money into and he could use another game to keep him company in his cold dark basement dwelling. He doesn’t dive deeper than the surface and the surface of Ashes of Creation looks fantastic.
We’ve seen tremendous trailers with exciting gameplay and pretty graphics. What more could a fan with expendable income want? It’s pretty, it has PVP and it’s an MMORPG. Check, check checkitty check! Alpha starts sooner than later… He’s heard of people that got into Alpha’s but he’s never been closer than open Beta. This is his big chance! Soon he can start playing what he assumes will be a near launch caliber product on day one of Alpha. Until then it’s back to WOW all day every day 365! WOOOOOO!
Ah, youth, how I miss thee. Then there is the me that has been through all this before, several times now. The first factor is income. Can he afford this? He can but can he justify putting money into yet another crowdfunded game with so many bills to pay and games already backed? Speaking of he wonders if their asking amount is enough to fund the entire game or just a minimally viable product? He doesn’t want to fall for that trick again…for the third time! How much experience do they have? How proven is the game engine? After several crowdfunded ventures he wants to know how they plan to make all of it work, without crashing, with thousands of players, many of whom will be PVPing.
He’s sure it won’t be out for a few years. Where will he be then? Will he even have time to play it? There is that lump they found…maybe he should see how that turns out first... Could be some big medical bills in his future. What time is it? Who cares what time is it, it feels like it’s late. Off to bed.
Where do those two devils resting on my shoulders leave me? Somewhere in the middle; both excited for what I’m seeing but feeling like I need more of the how before I head down another crowd funded rabbit hole. If I hadn’t already back several other games this decision would come much easier. Considering I’m already waiting on those chickens to hatch I find myself hesitant to move.
In many ways, Ashes is already showing a lot more than the early Kickstarted MMORPG’s I backed. Back in the old day’s developers could get away with nothing more than words on paper and launch dates they pulled out of a hat! It didn’t matter. The base was angry back then and that anger motivated them to back every game they could if for nothing more than sending a message to big publishers. Nowadays you need a plan and a trailer or two! I suppose that’s evolution but not in the way I’d hoped. Improve the product, not the marketing. Business seems to get that part wrong most of the time.
Unfortunately showing what your game looks like sells a lot better than explaining how it works and we fans can only blame ourselves and our 140-character attention span for that. To their credit, Intrepid Studios has done some of each. They appear to have a solid node concept and implementation plan but my engine isn’t quite revved up yet.
Their videos get clicks and the word of mouth is spreading like a live stream of a giraffe giving birth. They are doing a great job motivating the niche MMORPG base. Despite how this junker with a trunk full of past disappointment feels I sense that this one will fund fast and furiously. Maybe if more of the boring how to stuff comes out during the Kickstarter campaign I’ll buy some new tires and head to Kickstarter town with the rest of the Ashes fans.