Crowdfunded and Early access MMORPG haven’t seen too much success, and it would be easy to throw the baby out with the bathwater, are they all scams/doomed to fail? Or is there some hope for crowdfunded MMORPG?
Chronicles of Elyria.
Chronicles of Elyria has recently ceased development while not providing more than a bizarre low poly parkour mini-game, where the near 8million USD went I cannot fathom.
From the beginning, the project was bizarre, with lands and titles being sold for a game that may not even reach a playable state and almost no tangible evidence of a product beyond a few very rough gameplay videos showing basic things such as walk cycles and sound effects.
I do not believe the developers were scammers. However I believe they were dreamers who lacked the experience to see a project through to even the earliest milestone, I wish them well as people but hope they give game development/project management a wide berth for their own sake and ours.
Despite being slightly behind schedule, Crowfall is going very well, with playable content, a functional gameplay loop, frequent updates, PvP activity, and PvE campaigns active during the more recent updates.
Closed Beta scheduled for 2020 and a large part of the delay Crowfall has suffered was due to responding to community wishes/addition of originally unplanned gameplay mechanics.
I am hopeful that 2020 will see Crowfall come into the spotlight, as its one of the most impressive crowdfunded MMO, and one which actually looks set to release sooner rather than later.
Ashes of Creation.
Ashes of Creation is a different story to Chronicles of Elyria. The team has the funding, skill and managerial ability to see Ashes of Creation through to full launch and beyond. However, their thought processes are poorly explained and difficult to follow, case in point the disastrous launch of the Ashes of Creation Apocyluse Battle Royale, which was advertised as a test of the combat systems, then a full free to play standalone game release, only to be closed and once again explained away as a test for combat.
The concept of testing each system separately is very sound, but lack of communication from developers leaves the community feeling hostile, and honestly, as a backer, I don’t blame them.
I fully expect Ashes of Creation to survive its alpha/beta periods and become a fully fleshed out title that will see some measure of success, I, however, am not certain it will be all that it was promised to be.
Atlas has suffered from as very hostile community element from day one, a mix of poor reading comprehension, trolls and lack of understanding of the Early Access program have led to a lot of negative feedback, most of which is unwarranted.
What is there right now is very fun and very playable, and while the best experiences are to be had on community servers, crossplay with Xbox One ensures the community is more active than its steam numbers alone.
The last few months have been rocky, while silence following roadmaps announcement was announced well in advance, the fact the new producer has himself announced to be working on a new game at a separate company, it would be a good time for the developers to let the community know what to expect in the next year.
People hate on Wildcard/Grapeshot yet ignore the massive amount of free updates Ark Survival Evolved received outside of its season passes, including dozens of new creatures, mechanics, entire new maps, total conversions, paid mod contents and more.
The disastrous fate of Dark and Light is not the fault of Wildcard, while the Ark Engine was used to create D&L by the parent company (snail Games USA), the teams behind Ark and Atlas were not, behind the release of the game or its gradual fall into obscurity.
I feel Atlas is worth saving and I hope Wildcard/Grapeshot feel the same, the fact Atlas developers worked on Genesis to help push it to release if anything is a good sign and allows for the possibility Ark developers will work on Atlas to speed up the roadmap.
From the restrictive NDA, passive-aggressive leadership, and constant delays, things arent looking good for Camelot Unchained, the announcement of a spin-off game, while Camelot Unchained is multiple years past its original release date is one of the most damning omens to date.
I do not believe Mark Jacobs is a scammer or lacks the talent to see this through to completion, he, however, is an idealist who lives in a word where he has all the answers to the ills facing the MMORPG genre, and while he may be right on a few points, no man has all the answers.
There is nothing wrong with trying to re-invent the wheel when you are forced to. Still, much of the delays Camelot Unchained has faced was due to creating its own custom engine, time and money would have been better spent focusing on the gameplay itself and modifying a game engine to its purpose.
History shows us that Indie MMORPG Developers that try to develop an engine and MMO at the same time often fail at one or both.
While something will come of Camelot Unchained, some time and in some form, I feel it already missed the boat, and by the time it does release, larger more impressive PvP games will already control the market,
The restrictive NDA does no favours to the project, like the guilty teenager who slams shut his laptop when his mom enters the room, it makes it look like there is some shameful secret to hide, allowing rumour to spread, and suppressing anyone who could defend the game from legally doing so.
Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen.
This is a sad one, with the passing of Brad McQuaid and the inability to garner enough funding to assure a launch and the commercial relaunch of Classic World of Warcraft, it’s uncertain if the project, which failed to meet its original funding goals even under the legendary Brad McQuaid, will be able to see itself through to completion.
Idealists yes, Scammers no.
Everyone and their mother loves to hate on Star Citizen for bizarre reasons, most of which baffle anyone with common sense or a primary school education.
Its Taking years!
- Yes, games started from scratch that are as ambitious as this normally do take a very long time. While the original smaller Star Citizen project release date is long past, the scope of the project as it currently stands would never have been possible in 2014.
It would take me $25,000+ to buy everything!
- I am sure it would, but who in their right mind would buy everything while playing solo? When some ships require whole guilds to operate, and the cost of the ship is spread between its members, under this system the entry cost per player is on par with other MMORPG/Expansions on the market.
Star Citizen is not without flaw, while there is an actual functional gameplay loop/playable builds available that receives frequent updates there comes a time when feature creep has to stop, in future after the base games release such features and additional star systems can be added on, but constantly delays as perfection is sought will do the game no favours in the long run.
It’s a gorgeous looking game, that could be a game-changer to the genre, misinformation on both sides needs to stop, as the constant barrage of lies on both sides does nothing for the genre as a whole.
Fact Check Time!
- No, it’s not a scam, Yes it will see release.
- Yes, there is a playable build right now.
- No, it’s not a full game at this state.
- Yes, it is delayed far too many times due to an ever-widening scope.
Its ironic Star Citizen garners the most hate despite having one of the most accessible and content-rich playable builds of any Early Access/Kickstarter MMO project.