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A Kickstarter campaign for Pathfinder Online, an online role-playing video game from Seattle-based Goblinworks Inc., surpassed its $1 million funding goal today, just five hours before the deadline. The crowdfunding campaign opened in November.
The Pathfinder Online development team is serious about soliciting and implementing player feedback, calling backers who pledge over $100 “crowdforgers,” meaning they’ll help shape the game’s development. In addition to early enrollment in the Pathfinder beta, crowdforgers will be able to suggest and vote on game features. Goblinworks will prioritize development of the popular ones. (More details on crowdforging in the Q&A below.)
“We are committing to an entirely new process for developing an MMO,” said Goblinworks CEO Ryan Dancey in the Pathfinder Online pitch video, which is embedded below. “This Kickstarter isn’t just about funding development, it’s about changing the way MMOs are made and delivering a completely empowering experience for our players.”
Based on the popular pen-and-paper role-playing game Pathfinder, the MMO (massively multiplayer online game) promises a rich fantasy world filled with monsters, magic, and adventure. It will feature a functional in-game economy, a deep item-crafting system, and territories that change as players interact with the environment and each other.
Last summer, the Goblinworks team raised over $300,000 on Kickstarter to finance the initial technology demo for Pathfinder Online. The game, which runs on the cross-platform Unity game engine, is slated to arrive on PC and Mac in beta form June 2014, with a final release estimated January 2016.
To learn more about Pathfinder Online and its successful Kickstarter campaign, we posed a few questions via email to Goblinworks CEO Ryan Dancey. You can find his answers below the video.
Eric Blattberg, Crowdsourcing.org Editor: How does it feel to pass that $1 million threshold?
Ryan Dancey, Goblinworks CEO: [Goblinworks CFO] Lisa Stevens and I have both been fortunate to have had some pretty incredible successes in life. But I can honestly say that given the stress leading up to this milestone and the challenge of making it happen on such a short timeline working under such a public microscope, I've never felt anything more gratifying than seeing that pledge counter click over to one million dollars.
How do you plan to implement player feedback and ideas throughout the beta?
We have several ideas. We'll be running polls like the ones we have up on the Pathfinder Online Forums on paizo.com. But we also envision systems that let the community help rank the importance of systems, and having a representative body of community members chosen through a democratic process to interact directly with the developers. We'll be building all that infrastructure in the next couple of years as a part of our Crowdforging approach to creating Pathfinder Online.
You mentioned in the video that there will not be a level cap or an end game. How do you plan to keep the game interesting and engaging for years to come? User-generated content?
The "secret sauce" in a successful sandbox MMO is that the players become their own content. The core of our game design is maximizing meaningful human interaction. Doing that ensures that everyone will have an unlimited amount of objectives to overcome, challenges to face, and a dynamic world where things are constantly changing as player-driven kingdoms rise and fall.
What did you learn about crowdfunding from running the campaign, and what would you change next time around, if anything?
We learned so much during this Kickstarter that it will take a while to digest it all. I think a key thing is that you have to be ready to just make stuff up on the fly if you have to. All the planning in the world won't help you if your campaign goes a little sideways and you need to find ways to restore momentum. A good plan, done quickly, is better than a perfect plan executed too late.