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An Indictment of Kickstarter MMO’S and the Genre In General

I seriously have no faith in any of these Kickstarter MMOs. Name a single MMO that was kickstarted and went on to release a playable game. Project Gorgon, maybe?

Kickstarter has worked for a few RPGs, like Pillars of Eternity and Path of Exile and Pathfinder, but none are MMO's and at least two had actual professional game developers with experience behind them. I don't know anything about Path of Exile.

The other problem is that all these Kickstarter MMOs are retro-style mmo's made by people who are overcome with nostalgia and don't realize why that style of game doesn't exist anymore. Ye Olden Everquest/Asheron's Call/DAOC MMO's were niche when they came out, and didn't have much competition. The genre has evolved past that, and even if any of these throwbacks managed to release, they wouldn't have a huge playerbase.

The MMORPG genre has fractured, especially with "always online" games coming into existence. Players who really want hardcore balanced pvp play multiplayer games built with that in mind. Players who want casual pve experiences can play any number of well made rpg's that have multiplayer in them. Hardcore raiders… I guess can play WoW? There doesn't really seem to be much of a niche for them, but I think that is because younger generations of gamers don't really want to do the whole 40 man raid all night long thing. Why invest that much time when you can get the same level of enjoyment from more streamlined and accessible games?

These Kickstarter MMO's are looking backwards and trying to recapture a time that has passed, rather than looking forward and figuring out how to redefine the genre the way WoW changed it. The funny thing is that WoW didn't set the world on fire by completely changing the genre with all new innovative systems, not at first. No, they took what worked in other games, and made them more accessible. There was a time when EQ and Anarchy Online and Asheron's Call players scoffed at WoW for being casual, dumbed down and too easy. WoW threw open the gates of the genre and then doubled down on quality content (for a while at least).

So rather than try to go back, people need to look at what is on offer now and what is missing, what can make a new game stand out, but still be accessible. And then they need to double down on solid, quality gameplay. Not gimmicks, not noatalgia, not try to build a game that will let them feel like the hardcore elites they used to be back in the day.

What did people love about Everquest or Asheron's Call or Anarchy Online? What did those games do right? How did they fail to adapt? What do people love about WoW? What made WoW different from all the others that made it popular? How have they failed to adapt? What is missing in the genre now, and what are people starving for?


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