Rooting For Brad

The Kickstarter for Brad McQuaid’s new game Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen is now live. There’s a great deal we don’t know about Pantheon. If the Kickstarter is managed intelligently many of those questions will get answered over the next few weeks, as more information is forced out into the traditional MMO news channels to keep the project’s visibility up. We’ll see what happens.

I backed it, modestly for now with an eye toward possibly increasing my support later on in the campaign. As far as I’m concerned the McQuaid name doesn’t have any special allure for being attached to EverQuest, a game I didn’t play until well after its heyday. But it does for Vanguard, which likely puts me in a small minority. I backed it not becuase I am convinced it will be awesome, but because McQuaid’s involvement suggests a certain amount of ambition. I think ambition is to be encouraged, especially many years of spineless copycat titles. A status quo that’s only now beginning to be challenged.

On a personal level, I’m rooting for Brad. He is now, after all, an underdog. Pantheon might succeed, if it has goals it can manage and a budget proportonal to its potential audience. I hope it does. It might fail, as many would say Vanguard did. But I’ll take an ambitious failure over a soulless hit any day. I hope, over the course of the kickstarter, to learn just how ambitious Pantheon is going to be, and to get an impression of how reasonable its design goals seem. And to learn more about the technical underpinnings of the game; Vanguard was built on the Unreal engine but modified it very heavily. Will Pantheon also be built on some kind of middleware foundation? Other indie projects with ambitious goals and modest budgets like Project: Gorgon, Pathfinder Online and Shroud of the Avatar seem, at least tenatively, to be getting good results buidling on Unity.

On the other hand, the title is terrible.

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4 responses to “Rooting For Brad

  1. I like the idea and the ambition. I just wish it were someone with a solid background of good management — and not someone who proved to be a catastrophe the last time they tried this very thing. And yes, this is spoken as someone who has played Vanguard a lot — it is a great, if poorly executed, game. It is only a pity (to get off-topic slightly) that SOE decided to trash the fantastic starting areas and limit our choices. I have not played it since, though I would be back in an instant if they put BACK the wonderful starting areas in their fullest.
    Again, I applaud Mr. McQuaid for his ambition — but his past behavior makes me hesitant.

  2. Like you I rate Vanguard extremely highly and unlike you I started out in Everquest, which I rate the highest of all MMOs. Given that Brad was one of the motivating forces for both those projects it seems logical, likely even, that I would find much to like in his third run at making an MMO.

    On the other hand, some of the things he’s emphasizing as core attractions for Pantheon are the very things I most disliked about both EQ and Vanguard, namely forced grouping and an emphasis on character development through increased power. He’s also added perhaps the single thing I most dislike about most post-WoW MMOs, something that was entirely absent from both EQ and VG – he’s telling you who and what your character has to be before you’ve even made it.

    That part, the “you are fallen hero” backstory is almost enough in itself to put me off. I want to be Joe Nobody, pootling around some backwater village, making my own armor out of skins and fighting off the local gnoll tribe. If I end up being something more than that all well and good but leave me to decide that.

    I haven’t backed the Kickstarter yet. Partly because I’m unconvinced it’s a game I’d enjoy but mostly because 2017 is just too far away. I don’t believe I’ve ever planned any aspect of my life on a three-years-hence scale and I certainly don’t intend to start with what MMOs I’m going to be playing. On the other hand, it’s only money…I might kick in and then just forget about it and if it happens it happens.

  3. I am still debating. The Kickstarter was a pretty poor pitch, overall, despite some definite buzz words and phrases that appeal directly to my heart as a long-time MMO fan.

    We’ll see.

  4. I thought the original EQ was astonishing. I know where Brad is coming from and agree with it. If you want to play an MMO like you’re the only player in the universe fine, but you won’t achieve the same level of reward as someone who works with their friends to achieve greater victories. That was the spirit of EQ and one that I agree with.

    Additionally, I think that untethering the MMO from a major production house allows for the design team to avoid the dumbing down syndrome which is prevalent in current MMO’s.

    However, I am a bit skeptical of the story background provided. But, I’m willing to be cautiously optimistic on this one despite it.