The seemingly exponential popularity of crowdfunding that raged through 2013 doesn’t seem to be slowing down at all in the new year. Star Citizen‘s campaign is still racing far beyond its initial goal as it approaches the $37 million mark and DayZ’s early access sales on Steam have surpassed one million units.
As the future of video game development continues to move further in further in the direction of crowdfunding, gamers can expect to see plenty of other high profile creators turn to their fans for some start-up cash. MMO enthusiasts that visit the Kickstarter homepage today may recognize the name attached to one of the new projects…
Brad McQuaid, creator of EverQuest, is looking to reenter the realm of fantasy MMOs with the help of some loyal backers. The campaign for Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen needs to raise $800,000 to get the ‘group-focused, challenging’ game up on its feet.
“Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen will be a group-focused MMORPG based on challenging gameplay and open world high fantasy.” Combat will emphasize group coordination, strategy, and quick reactions, while the world will be huge and non-linear.”
With fantasy-themed MMOs like World of Warcraft and Guild Wars 2 holding down a significant share of the MMO market and The Elder Scrolls Online on the way (currently in beta), it may be tough for another similarly-themed RPG to nudge its way into the mix. Despite McQuaid’s enthusiastic mission statement to breath fresh life into the MMO genre by aiming to please a specific target audience (rather than the masses), the list of gameplay features sounds incredibly familiar to what is already available in the many MMOs currently available.
- An MMO developed by gamers who aren’t afraid to target an audience of like-minded gamers.
- A fantasy themed Massively Multiplayer Role Playing game (MMO) with a heavy focus on character development, an immersive world, and teamwork.
- An MMO for players wanting a challenging and rewarding experience.
- An open world in which you explore to obtain not only more powerful items but also new spells and abilities.
- Travel where and when you want to in a non-linear world.
- A huge world to explore, trade, and adventure in.
- A complex back-story that players may gradually discover as they grow in power and explore the world.
- A constantly expanding and evolving world.
- Group-focused social gameplay using a class based system to encourage teamwork.
- Customize your class by bonding with the spirits of fallen warriors.
- Reactive combat where you can determine what the NPC is doing and react to it. (move, counter, deflect, etc.) .
- Combat will be challenging and involved — your decisions will matter and directly affect the battle’s outcome.
- Travel the world and profit from selling exotic items collected from distant realms. Different cities and outposts may have local Bazaars.
- Limited and class based teleportation may get you close, but in order to reach many destinations you will have to traverse the planar scarred lands of Terminus through the use of your own two feet or on the back of your mighty steed.
- Earning experience is only part of what it takes to level up. Exploring the world you will gain knowledge and power allowing you to overcome more powerful enemies.
- The game will run on PC, Mac, and possibly other platforms in the future.
Although most of the items on that laundry list of features should be a given for any game in the current generation of MMOs, there are one or two interesting possibilities mentioned as well. The reactive combat system in particular could be a feature that will give Pantheon something to make it stand out from the pack.
Memorizing a rotation of attacks or abilities is a staple of nearly every MMO and a move away from that formula towards one that allows for more interaction could be an exciting change of pace for gamers. Hopefully, there will be more to the reactive combat system than there is to the dodge mechanic in Guild Wars 2.
With 38 days remaining, Pantheon has managed to pull in approximately $80,000 of its $800,000 goal so far. Like all Kickstarter campaigns, the creators won’t receive any of the money unless the project reaches its initial goal. The team has outlined an ambitious list of stretch goals ranging up to over six million dollars.
Interestingly, Pantheon requires a monthly subscription. The Kickstarter tiers offer varied packages with different subscription times included but with free-to-play models being the new hotness – even the EverQuest titles embraced it – it’s odd that Pantheon and its far-into-the-future release date is going to require it. Even The Elder Scrolls Online is taking a risk in launch with a required monthly fee so it’ll be interesting if the player base supports it long-term.
Do you think the market for fantasy MMOs is already too saturated or will you be stepping up to back Pantheon? Let us know in the comments.
Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen is aiming for a 2017 release on PCs and Macs.
Follow Denny on Twitter @The_DFC.