Will Pantheon Rise or become one of the Fallen?

Brad McQuaid is back with a new MMO called Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen.  He’s built a good looking team with experience working on a lot of my personal favorites like EQ, SWG, EQ2, and Vanguard.  They are seeking funding on Kickstarter ($800,000) to get the game going.

A lot of people are critical of Brad.  Honestly, I have no idea to what extent he was or was not at fault for all of the early Vanguard problems.  What I do know is that he has been responsible for and part of most MMOs (like those above) that I hold in high esteem.  That has to count for something.

“We’re making a game for a target audience.”

That seems to be the theme behind Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen.  He could be pandering.  No, he is definitely pandering.  I want a game that is designed for me.  I know I’m apart of a small target audience of old school MMOers, and I think we need someone to step up and make a game for us.  Will it be Brad and his team?  I really don’t know yet.

I think there’s a lot of potential for them to capture the feeling of a group-centric game focused on rewarding true difficulty and not just tedium.  I just don’t yet know if Pantheon is the next game to launch that will capture my heart and imagination like EQ.  In the first Q&A video Brad already let slip that there will be parts of the game instanced in order to tell a linear story.  I can’t fathom how that meshes with what I want in a MMO trying to bring back the old EQ gameplay.

This part is for Brad.

In the video above you mention you are targeting players who want:

  • A challenge
  • Risk vs. Reward
  • To work for things and master things
  • Get a sense of accomplishment

If you nail those elements we can be friends.  If I speak my mind and go with my gut I worry that Pantheon isn’t going to be able to stand on its own.  EQ is acting like a crutch propping the game up and justifying anyone giving it a second thought.  People see “Brad McQuaid” and hear about Pantheon, but in their minds they picture Aradune with a flaming sword standing in the EC tunnel.  What may very well get you funded may ultimately destroy you.  If you are going to lean on referencing cherished games, I hope you are ready to make good on the implied promise that Pantheon will rekindle those feelings for us.

I’m certainly rooting for Pantheon in spirit.  I’m going to have to see some very, very intense justification for instancing for you to win me over, though.  Do this, and you shall have me as a backer.

P.S. Dude, really?  Your stretch goals are a little obnoxious. You state right in the Kickstarter video you want to bring back the cool classes but then put two of them $3,000,000+ out of reach.  And crafting is a stretch goal?  Clarify those for me.  Will that stuff be in if the goals aren’t reached?

  • The insanely high stretch goals completely turned me off to this KS project. I like backing projects that already have something to show me… something other then a few pieces of concept art and people talking at me about how awesome they want their game to be.

  • Threw money at him immediately. The said truth is there may never be another PVE community focused MMO again in our lifetimes if this fails.

  • OK, watched part of the video and I can already tell I’m not interested sadly. I don’t want the traditional raiding or boss mobs, I want my world to be what’s important.

    Oh well.

  • Be mindful this is the chief architect behind the launch of the abomination known as Vanguard. I’d put my money behind what Trost is up to. A world doesn’t mean anything without the real creative genius behind it.

    As for this lofty goal, ‘reactive combat’ is an instant turn off. I used to play MMO-RPG’s to relax, if I want twitch gameplay I’ll fire up battlefield.

  • I think Vanguard was a fine game. I understood the vision behind the game and it was fantastic… it just wasn’t finished.

  • That’s my entire point Keen, VG was released as a bug ridden lump of crap, and remained that way for years. All the vision in the world means jack if the technical launch is a disaster.

    That’s what I don’t trust him with, he’s a dreamer. Dreamers make great creative workers, but terrible leaders. Even some of the die-hard fanboys on re-rolled are questioning this, and they’re the first to blindly follow him around.

    I’d like to be proven wrong, but as with most things these days, I’m not going to blindly throw myself into the arms of former glory. It’s probably going to be 2017 before we see this pan out.

  • I think that’s fair. VG needed leadership and project management. Brad is taking the CCO role this time, but I don’t know if that means anything. Here’s hoping the vision meets the execution.

  • If this game hits the few million dollar mark then I think it will do well. One of the problems with vanguard is that Mcquaid did not have the skillset to handle a large team (this was a problem with many second generation MMOs). Given a smaller budget and team he might actually do pretty well.

  • Just about to go write something on this myself. I’m interested, of course, but there are so many ifs, buts and maybes. Most of all, 2017 is so far away. Right now there’s certainly a stirring in the zeitgeist in favor of this kind of old-school MMO but these trends are so fickle. MMO development is long and slow but both fashion and technology move quicksilver quick. By the time Pantheon appears we may all have surfeited on retro kickstarter MMOs and be havering after the next Big New Thing.

    I wish him and his team luck but I have no idea what I’ll be doing in 2017 or what I might want to be doing then so I doubt I’ll be giving him any money right now.

  • Vanguard’s problem was Sony. Even McQuaid admitted the game was a barely-functional beta when they forced it out the door. Sony gave them a release date and refused to budge even when it was obviously a year away from being ready for public beta, let alone ready for the shelves.

    I think McQuaid can be blamed for a lot of things, but shipping Vanguard as a bug-ridden abomination isn’t one of them.

  • At this point I’m far happier to support what will be a bare bones, unpolished game that has the right idea than yet another overpolished single player ‘MMO.’

    For all the hate Vanguard gets, I’d call it an infinitely better MMO than something like SWTOR.

  • I backed the Repopulation, Camelot Unchained and Tug. I don’t hear the Yoda in my mind saying “there is another” on this one.

  • I’m starting to think that the way Everquest turned out was more luck than intentional design. Things like kiting mobs, rooting/dotting, playing with gravity flux, multi-questing, etc., all would be considered exploits today and would be coded out by games, but they made you feel like you had freedom to try anything and that literally any odds could be overcome once you found the right strategy or trick. Also, the insane amount of crowd control you could use just made normal grinding for exp much more exciting. You could pull as many or as few mobs as you wanted in order to properly challenge whatever group you were in. EQ was great because of all the imperfections left in the game, not because it was designed perfectly. Sadly, I’ve lost all faith in Brad at this point and I’m just waiting for the next unknown dev to mistakenly make a great game again.

  • I am not impressed with what I saw in this Kickstarter video. The storyline and the world sounded extremely boring and reminded me of RIFT for some reason. I appreciate they are trying to do something new but maybe they are trying to hard…after he got done with the explanation of the world I felt bored. All I heard was blablabla…

    The grouping element…well, sure it can be a selling point but it is one stone throw away from turning out awful as well…that may be me being jaded but there was nothing in this that sounded interesting at all. I guess I should listen to the FAQ but so far I am not convinced…

  • @Maro: It may very well have been an accident, but the very fact that you can identify why those mechanics ended up being positive shows that developers today can do the same and use them in their games. I don’t consider those to be imperfections — I consider them personality. Today’s games have become homogenous blobs designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator. I hear you though… it may take ignorance for us to see something great again.

    @Argorius: The story seems a little contrived compared to something like EverQuest.