The Gambling & Gaming stretch goal has been unlocked. I love the concept of gambling and gaming in MMORPGs but not because I participate. I like them because they help create social hubs which create an entire meta game of entertainment within the MMORPG. My beloved Star Wars Galaxies is one of the, if not the best example of this. It was the social game that kept things interesting and players invested when the action was slow. Thanks to the TEF PVP system that action could spill out of the Cantina at any given moment!
The two concepts worked in tandem to create a “don’t want to miss anything” feeling that helped keep players logging in. Hopefully Elyria can create a similar social metagame. I believe the Elyria player base would love that concept and embrace it to its fullest. The role play is strong with theses ones. Good news, the animator for gambling and gaming has already been hired.
The next stretch goal is for pet or mount customization. I’m always a proponent of more customization in MMORPGs. I was always disgusted with WOW’s lack of character and beyond customization but I’m still not sure if a game needing millions more in additional funding should have stretch goals. I’d rather see that money lower the investor ask effectively making it a little less risky and a little more appealing. The very idea that you can promise additional content for a game that currently doesn’t have enough funding to be completed seems counterintuitive.
If Elyria doesn’t attract big investors this game cannot be made, it’s that serious. I’d imagine a priority needs to be lowering the gap to help ensure the game gets finished. At this point we can hit every additional stretch goal Soulbound can imagine but if they don’t get an investor it's all for nothing.
With that I’ll try to make sense of it. If the money gap amount is 2-3 million, then a few hundred thousand dollars probably isn’t going to make a huge difference. It's hard for a peasant like me to imagine but if I can afford to hand someone 3 million, a few hundred K probably isn’t worth my worry. What the stretch goals do in the interim is give the community a common goal to chase, keep backers invested and keep morale high.
Personally, I wouldn’t go this route and that is exactly why I’m in a dark room sitting at my station for more hours a day than is healthy. Because I’m risk averse and lack the kind of material to even try something like a crowd funded lunch box, let alone a MMORPG. (Wonders about his crowd funded lunch box idea then, once again, decides not to go for it.)
If you have followed any of my work you know I am a HUGE mark for water and boats in MMORPGs. I was extremely excited to see a river with a small sail boat! I’ve only experienced it in Darkfall and Skyrim but the fun I’ve had with river systems is unending. Naval PVP was an absolute blast in Darkfall and tossing junk in Skyrim’s river and watching it float into the unknown took me back to childhood in a way that was far more entertaining (and time consuming) than I imagined it could be.
I hope Elyria has flowing water, ship PVP and most importantly barges for hauling goods. “Barges most importantly you say?” Yes, because the transportation of goods in a medieval fairly lawless setting has historically proven to generate PVP. Hauling via water or caravan in Elyria would do the same and I hope Soulbound embraces it. Elyria sounds like it will be large enough to warrant such practices (it sounds huge). For the sake of emergent content, I hope to see it become a reality. I’ve never understood why MMORPG’s other than EVE have never embraced it. It makes the content that makes a conflict driven game go round!
Lastly as production gears up Soulbound plans to slow their game updates from every one, to every two weeks for the rest of the year. The day of the week is moving from Sunday to Wednesdays. I can’t say I mind that. I follow enough crowd funded MMORPGs to recognize a weekly update schedule can end up being pretty thin on content at times. On the other hand, going more than two weeks, the few times I’ve experienced it did feel like a long time. Two weeks might just be the sweet spot for both studios and backers. I welcome a less frequent but ideally more in depth and well-rounded updated in our future.