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So, ToA has started another kickstarter campaign. You might be wondering what, exactly, does that mean for us and this game?
Let's look at what they have to say over at their page:
"We formed a new company, Forged Chaos LLC, put together an admittedly very rough prototype, and presented our first Kickstarter in late 2013. While we didn't meet our goal, all indicators showed that backers were interested in Trials of Ascension but wanted more confidence in our ability to deliver on the game’s features. Regrettably, our presentation did anything but instill that confidence. In retrospect, it was the wake up call we needed.
ToA fans rallied and asked if they could help us return to Kickstarter by seeding our efforts. We opened our website for donations and have received over $67,000 to date. The money was initially meant to build a technical demo we could present to you here on Kickstarter. However, it quickly grew into so much more."
From the looks of things, this is another attempt at trying to bring a game with great potential, on par with bigger and successful titles.
What's interesting to note however, is how this a 3rd try at building this game. Some of you might be asking yourselves well if the game was worth existing wouldn't it already have gotten through this process by now?
They apparently had legitimate investors in the past, who those might be is up in the air, personally I find odd, if understandable, that they are left unmentioned. Some people might poke at this point as being worthy of attention but at the end of the day it is moot. The reason being because it has no effect on the current status and is really just useless background knowledge. We get some insight into the developers apparent tenacity but that's it, so it's safe to ignore that.
Their second attempt however is very noteworthy, mainly because it provides an indication of how things might go currently for the kickstarter. For those of you not only questioning the legitimacy of the developer's efforts or those who question the likelihood of enough backers, we need only to compare the two funding campaigns.
Right off the bat we see differences in presentation, most notably the introduction video and actual "game" content.
In the first kickstarter campaign a major and legitimate criticism was the lack of substance for this game, we saw no technical material proving that this game could even happen with these "developers" at the helm.
Now, however, we're given lots of footage and images of an actual game. We're seeing that with these guys at the forefront leading the development of a potential title and producing works that fulfill their, and ultimately our, goals. Rather than just the idea, which we can all come up with and usually have, we have substance to back up the real possibility of a game based on the developers ideas.
So what about these ideas? I stated previously that this game has potential on par with successful titles but is that really the case? Of course at least part of this analysis will be biased towards my personal opinion towards a fun game but humor me and lets examine the game design.
Most notable is the "permadeath", or better put, life-counters mechanic. It's been the center of debate for the feasibility of ToA and for good reason, pretty much no other game does it. It is one of the more unique ideas here. Some would say it's too hardcore, many would agree, myself included. I've tried too many times just to get through the beginning of Witcher 2 on insane mode only to die by some fluke and have to start over in a fit of rage. So why have something like that in an MMO where I'll be spending ours of my time and money trying to have fun?
Well that's we have the crossover to the current mechanic, life-counters, 100 to be exact. All things considered, that's quite a bit. Thinking back to the Witcher 2, I definitely didn't die 100 times, maybe 30 max. Trying to think back to other titles I've played, interstellar marines for example or CoD for some of you others, I'll die quite a few times while playing but not 100 times. Those are FPS titles and not entirely comparable, I think you're seeing the picture I'm trying to paint. Ok, baring with me, there's still the end game of death involved, even with a bunch of life-counters. That is the beauty of the mechanic though, everything has value to it now, not necessarily material value but worthiness in achievement.
When I finally beat Witcher 2 I was ecstatic, and alil relieved. Completing that was a difficult task and required some level of skill and careful thought to achieve but in the end I was a "true" winner.
You get the idea though, risk vs reward, risk breeds reward and actions have value and consequences associated with them.
"Losing" isn't really a bad thing either. It's part of the fun in games. Let's take a look at the game Dwarf Fortress, that game is still being manned by its lead developer for years now and has been featured in multiple articles, and even museums, for the depth and grandeur of it's hard mechanics. The lead dev on average makes 60k a year all through donations from fans of the game. Essentially a single developer producing and maintaining a title.
For the other mechanics we can correlate other titles to see what kind of potential exists with ToA. Open world and sandbox mechanics with have small time games like Rust and Divinity: original sin to bigger titles like Minecraft and Skyrim. We know very well that players can drive the world of the game from games like EVE, Firefall, and Darkfall.
Let's break away and start wrapping up with how this can fail. Why did the last funding campaign fail? It wasn't the ideas for a game, we had plenty of backers supporting. It was lack of substance combined with lack of presentation. We weren't shown anything and that nothing was shown poorly.
Now though, we're seeing what this game could actually look like, and it looks good. Now we're being presented to professionally and not trying to be sold on hopes and dreams. We see that these are capable people showing a unique and vitalizing way to have lots of fun, a way of having fun that taps our creativity, strategy, and adventurism.
That doesn't mean this can't, or won't, fail though. There had to have been enough people connected to the internet with money to spend that could have funded Toa's first attempt but obviously they were never reached to.
That same challenge is still here. You could have the best game out there but if only a handful of people are involved with it then it's more of a personal project and will remain personal. For this mmo to come alive it requires all potential players to actually discover and learn about it and there lies the obstacle to a game like this.
The main hurdle for this kickstarter campaign is to achieve the huge goal of $600,000 in one month. That requires a lot of people and the ideas of this game aren't so easily translated to everyone. This means those who want to succeed to talk about it, a lot and not among themselves but to others who desire fun MMORPG experience. There are those who don't even realize what they want and a campaign like this requires actual effort to be put forth to "sell it".