Repopulation: or how Kickstarter ruined a potential great game

So i've been keeping an eye on Repopulation for awhile now.

http://massively.joystiq.com/2012/03...

They're an upcoming sandbox mmo that promises world building and crafting at the levels equal to what SWG had. It's also using the new Hero engine. Needless to say i've been excited about this one, but they were doing the kickstarter rounds and was waiting to see what became of that before i jumped on the fanboi train.

Got an email from them last night and saw that they were doing a follow-up on the kickstarter bit and i checked to see what they were offering and was shocked.

For one they have packages that go as high as 3k$

More importantly at different tiers they're offering early access to the game. For anyone who has played in sandbox games can tell you. Having early access to the sandbox is such a HUGE advantage it's almost impossible to catch up especially when you're dealing with limited resources that have to be found, and fought over. So they're making it where the guilds that have folks with the money to blow will be the only ones successful and dictating how the game goes for everyone else. I'm sure it's possible to eventually compete against these early starters, but you'd be starting at such a disadvantage. I'm just shocked that they're allowing this to happen.
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Information on the game (from their forums):

FAQ: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...
Ask the Devs #1 5/9: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...
Ask the Devs #2 5/16: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...
Ask the Devs #3 5/25: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...
Ask the Devs #4 6/7: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...

If you have a question: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...
What things would you like to see…: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...
Things we dislike from other games: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...

Subscription or RMT: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...
Generating Revenue for the game: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...

Skills and Caps
Ucapped Skill Concerns: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...
Poll on Skill Point Caps: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...
What will you be?: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...
Skill Caps: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...
Healing and Buffs: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...

PVP vs PVE
Cities only in PVP Areas?: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...
Overpowered Nation Possibility?: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...
Fairness in combat action vs mmorpg style: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...
Slight Armor Choice Concern: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...
Cost of Death: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...
Radar, to be seen or not to be: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...
What about those who hate combat?: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...
New Combat Section (first draft): http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...
How would you balance Armor Types?: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...
Would you enjoy a more aggressive MMO?: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...

Crafting
Will all crafting ingredients be the same: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...
About Crafting: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...
Repair System: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...
How in depth is the economy going to be?: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...
Crafting and high end loots: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...
New Crafting Section, First Draft: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...
Harvesters: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...

Housing
Questions about public housing: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...
Item Lockdowns in housing and thievery: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...

Nations and cities:
Nation/Alliances/Factions: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...
Surpopulation: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...
What would YOU do with large amounts of open space?: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...
Transportation network: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...
New Nation Section (first draft): http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...
Nations/Allies/Factions: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...

Roleplay and NPCs
Important buildings to add vibe to cities: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...
Public RP locations: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...
First and Last Names: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...
Any chance of an unofficial lore aka fanfic subforum?: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...

Lore:
Overview: Story Background: http://www.therepopulation.com/index...
I wish I knew more: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...
Melani’s Journal: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...
Leesa’s Story: http://www.therepopulation.com/index...
Danald’s Story: http://www.therepopulation.com/index...

Technical
Reasoning behind using Hero Engine: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...
Negative hearsay about TRP: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...

Works for EVE.

LobsterMobster wrote:

Works for EVE.

Having select groups with a head start like that can have long term effects.

Ya eventually in a sandbox after enough time has past it's more about orgnization and time played than anything else, but until that point (1 month,1 year, more?) the influences are pretty drastic.

I have to say, that game does look very interesting. When is it supposed to launch?

It looks like you can get as much as a 10 day head start for the highest tiers? I guess that means some people will be at max level before others even begin?

I've not seen much about character development yet. If they're going skill based they're probably wont be at max level, but they could have specific skills maxed out by then for sure which of course is pretty crazy when going 1v1 against folks just starting out.

There's teh potential or possiblity that even after all this they fall flat. They're using the Hero 2.0 system, and using SWTOR as a measuring stick they have their work cut out for them when it comes to performance. It looks amazing and the tools offered seem top notch, but performance is an issue.

Perhaps they will tier content such that early access will only grant you certain areas to exploit whose advantages can be easily overcome by sheer numbers come launch.

Like say you have 6 newbie cross-race areas but only 4 of them are available to early access. So 2 newb areas will be available to start fresh in come launch.

They could also limit the amount of 5k tiers available. So for random numbers sake, say 20 people have early access. That is an advantage but a 100 person guild will catch up and dominate 20 individuals or even a 20 person guild very quickly.

I'm not saying I like the early access. I am just saying that there are ways to keep it appealing without providing and insurmountable advantage. Which, lets be honest, if they do nothing about it, they are really shooting themselves in the foot from the get go.

Considering there aren't any levels, and there is no skill cap, a 10 day headstart is not going to be game-breaking. And there are only about 50 accounts total that will have the 10 day headstart (since it was only offered with the kickstarter, and not since). There have also been discussions on how to ensure fairness in availability of in world housing and city plots - the devs realize that this is important to players.

There is a ton of info about skills and character development on the forums and website (although I'd go with the forums if you're info hunting, more stuff there). And just a clarification, not sure where you saw the 5k number, but if you look at the Early Adopter page (http://www.therepopulation.com/index...) it only goes up to 3k and it starts at $25 bucks.

If you guys have questions and/or concerns, I highly suggest you drop by the Repop boards. The devs are active and answer players questions directly and frequently, a ton of information is already available, and the devs have (and will) take player suggestions and implement them.

Sounds to me like this silly headstart thing in a sandbox mmo is simply more trouble (pr trouble included) than it should be worth for a moderate one-time cash-generation attempt.

Kayletta wrote:

Considering there aren't any levels, and there is no skill cap, a 10 day headstart is not going to be game-breaking. And there are only about 50 accounts total that will have the 10 day headstart (since it was only offered with the kickstarter, and not since). There have also been discussions on how to ensure fairness in availability of in world housing and city plots - the devs realize that this is important to players.

There is a ton of info about skills and character development on the forums and website (although I'd go with the forums if you're info hunting, more stuff there). And just a clarification, not sure where you saw the 5k number, but if you look at the Early Adopter page (http://www.therepopulation.com/index...) it only goes up to 3k and it starts at $25 bucks.

If you guys have questions and/or concerns, I highly suggest you drop by the Repop boards. The devs are active and answer players questions directly and frequently, a ton of information is already available, and the devs have (and will) take player suggestions and implement them.

One... i welcome ya to the boards here or at least posting if you've been a lurker for awhile. I've been on the forums enough to know that you're their forum admin or at least one of the more prolific posters there

3k-5k (tbh i first checked the site on my phone and it could've been 3k from the start so my apologies) is still crazy money in my opinion, but that's the nature of kickstarters and i wont go into my opinions on companies and kickstarters. There's always exceptions and i do hope this game makes it all the way to launch successfully!

Lets take a look at the 50$ mark

$50 Level

The $50 Level offers the following perks:

Gold Membership
Silver Membership
Preferred Beta Access
$40 in Store Credits
2 day headstart
Name Reservation
Forum Backer Rank
2 Repop Tokens

Which brings me to two... Have you played other sandbox games? You realize in 2 days that serious folks can have one combat skill at such a level to be able to completely out damage or out absorb damage someone starting 2 days later? I've seen it happen repeatedly. It's not fun. The only way i see to combat against this is to make the skill gains so slow it wont matter, but that's just boosts this up to the 5-6 day head start levels and not that fun either.

You're able to find and most likely be able to reach 2nd tier of crafting (if not more)which is a huge economic advantage within the game markets. Not to mention that advantage for city building is noticeable as well. Folks in alpha/beta will have advantage over everyone coming in cold too as far as that goes, but you cant do much about that.

It's not unreasonable to see or have full guilds doing the 50$ mark. That many people having that much of a jump on the average joe just isnt fair in my books. If the devs have plans to equal the playing field (in SWG they staggered city building. Had only so many spots available to be taken at a time) i'd love to hear them and will definitely be watching how this develops (and maybe get in alpha/beta?).

This is the closest thing that i've seen that comes close to SWG outside of the EMU game. SWG is the game that i played the most of out of any thing i've played yet. I'm hoping it's successful, but i am worried.

ranalin wrote:

One... i welcome ya to the boards here or at least posting if you've been a lurker for awhile. I've been on the forums enough to know that you're their forum admin or at least one of the more prolific posters there

3k-5k (tbh i first checked the site on my phone and it could've been 3k from the start so my apologies) is still crazy money in my opinion, but that's the nature of kickstarters and i wont go into my opinions on companies and kickstarters. There's always exceptions and i do hope this game makes it all the way to launch successfully!

Lets take a look at the 50$ mark

$50 Level

The $50 Level offers the following perks:

Gold Membership
Silver Membership
Preferred Beta Access
$40 in Store Credits
2 day headstart
Name Reservation
Forum Backer Rank
2 Repop Tokens

Which brings me to two... Have you played other sandbox games? You realize in 2 days that serious folks can have one combat skill at such a level to be able to completely out damage or out absorb damage someone starting 2 days later? I've seen it happen repeatedly. It's not fun. The only way i see to combat against this is to make the skill gains so slow it wont matter, but that's just boosts this up to the 5-6 day head start levels and not that fun either.

You're able to find and most likely be able to reach 2nd tier of crafting (if not more)which is a huge economic advantage within the game markets. Not to mention that advantage for city building is noticeable as well. Folks in alpha/beta will have advantage over everyone coming in cold too as far as that goes, but you cant do much about that.

It's not unreasonable to see or have full guilds doing the 50$ mark. That many people having that much of a jump on the average joe just isnt fair in my books. If the devs have plans to equal the playing field (in SWG they staggered city building. Had only so many spots available to be taken at a time) i'd love to hear them and will definitely be watching how this develops (and maybe get in alpha/beta?).

This is the closest thing that i've seen that comes close to SWG outside of the EMU game. SWG is the game that i played the most of out of any thing i've played yet. I'm hoping it's successful, but i am worried.

I've had an account here for a long time, just never did anything with it, but thanks for the welcome And yes, I'm game staff, although I didn't drop in over here to tout that. Mostly, I posted in the hope of encouraging interest. There's so much information available on the Repop boards if you go dig a bit. Some of the stuff the devs have already mentioned covers some of your concerns.

Skill gains start fast and get slower as you progress. Everyone can get a couple tiers worked up pretty fast if they're willing to put in the time. But then it will slow down. On top of that, you skill increases will only get you so far. A 6 month vet isn't going to one or 2 shot a new player, and therefore a 10 day headstart means even less in terms of imbalance. There are 14400 minutes in 10 days; at 1 skill point every 3 minutes (assuming all in 1 skill) you still haven't grandmastered that single skill. Every skill point in a certain time frame reduces your chance of another skill point; a skill point in that skill further reduces your chance of another skill point. So while at first, if you are constantly using rifles, you may be able to get a point a minute (you won't but it's statistically possible at least), but as you get to 3,000+ points you'll be lucky to get 1 point every 3 minutes. As you pass 5,000 points you'll make good headway with a point every 5+ minutes (and that's minutes of straight use, not play time).

An estimate by the devs and a subsequent one by me put the time to grandmaster all skills between 6 and 18 months of 24/7/365 gameplay. Which realistically translates into 5+ years for 90% of gamers, and that's assuming not a single thing gets added (which won't be the case).

Reaching the second tier of crafting will mean virtually nothing when you're the only person with a single skill at that point. I mean this in the nicest way possible, but you have no idea how interdependent the crafting skills with be on one another. We're currently working on that and right now to make a fitting you will need parts/components/materials from 4-5 tradeskills. Also, unlike themepark MMOs, harvesting skills don't work 1:1 with trade skills. You will need fish for chemistry and pharmeceuticals, as well as cooking, possibly cosmetic styling, horticulture, etc. Mining is by far not confined to armor/weapon crafting, nor is logging confined to benefit only carpentry/installations. Chem, Vet meds, cosmetic styling, cooking, and others will all need things from logging. This info isn't really out there yet because we aren't finished, but crafting isn't Wow-style where you take X harvesting skill and X crafting skill and have 90% of what you need. Crafters will not be self-sufficient in 10 days, or a month, and very possibly not even in a year.

We have an ongoing team discussion about staggering availability and the like. Being a team conversation I can't really divulge much except that we really do understand that people are worried and are working on ways to make this fair for everyone involved (headstarters, release starters, and even people who won't pick up this game for 3 months after release). As soon as things are decided it will be released to help quell concerns, but we're looking at lots of options. If you have ideas, please, go post them! The devs take players ideas.

Also, sorry for the wall of text ^_^

Kayletta wrote:

We have an ongoing team discussion about staggering availability and the like. Being a team conversation I can't really divulge much except that we really do understand that people are worried and are working on ways to make this fair for everyone involved (headstarters, release starters, and even people who won't pick up this game for 3 months after release). As soon as things are decided it will be released to help quell concerns, but we're looking at lots of options. If you have ideas, please, go post them! The devs take players ideas.

Also, sorry for the wall of text ^_^

No worries, that's awesome to get that feedback!

I've played quite a few skill based games and know that a 6 month vet cant one shot someone, but the odds of the starter winning in the end is slim. While it may take forever to get to grandmaster someone who's +100 skills in rifles has a distinct advantage over someone who has just 1. There's the issues of player skill and all that so it's not a complete wash, but that's still an advantage. This is an issue you find when starting the game late, but that should be expected. To have it there at day 1 and the difference being amount of money spent is my issue.

That's the worry, but as long as it's being looked at and talked about that's good. I'll definitely be spending more time on your forums and keeping an eye on things. I'm even going to do the early adoption when you guys allow something other than paypal. Maybe even alpha/beta if i get lucky.

ranalin wrote:

That's the worry, but as long as it's being looked at and talked about that's good. I'll definitely be spending more time on your forums and keeping an eye on things. I'm even going to do the early adoption when you guys allow something other than paypal. Maybe even alpha/beta if i get lucky.

We should be opening up credit cards as a payment method soon - per the devs - I hunted one down to ask Please do drop by the forums. Express your concerns, possible solutions, etc. I'm sure the community would like a new discussion and I don't think we've had that one in depth on the boards as of yet.

Kayletta wrote:
ranalin wrote:

That's the worry, but as long as it's being looked at and talked about that's good. I'll definitely be spending more time on your forums and keeping an eye on things. I'm even going to do the early adoption when you guys allow something other than paypal. Maybe even alpha/beta if i get lucky.

We should be opening up credit cards as a payment method soon - per the devs - I hunted one down to ask Please do drop by the forums. Express your concerns, possible solutions, etc. I'm sure the community would like a new discussion and I don't think we've had that one in depth on the boards as of yet.

Thank you for all the info, Kayletta. I actually hadn't heard anything about this game until stumbling upon this thread. The game does look very interesting and I am excited to see how it progress. Odds are, I will be giving the game a try when it comes out.

There's a new podcast with Josh: http://www.therepopulation.com/distr... (this is the link to the topic on Repop's boards)

Topic covered:
Cities
Housing
Underwater
Vehicles
Genetic Engineering/Pets
Post Launch plans
and more...

Kayletta wrote:

There's a new podcast with Josh: http://www.therepopulation.com/distr... (this is the link to the topic on Repop's boards)

Topic covered:
Cities
Housing
Underwater
Vehicles
Genetic Engineering/Pets
Post Launch plans
and more...

Will definitely listen to this tomorrow. Thanks for the link.

game info added to the OP

Something recent Josh (co-owner and co-lead developer) said that addresses the persistent world housing availability issue:

Game world housing (PvE) - These will be limited amounts of plots available for housing units in the game non instanced game world. These will be in a variety of places from in/around zones/cities to some non instanced sections that have more of these plots. These will have a variety of worth based on proximity to content/zones/PvP/PvE/Nations/etc. These will most likely be rotated in/out early on so they aren't all taken in the first week, but the expectation will be eventually they run out as they are limited.

(emphasis added)

Hopefully this helps alleviate some of the concern that housing will be snatched up by the early in people.

Post the quote from taken from: http://www.therepopulation.com/forum...

Kayletta wrote:

Hopefully this helps alleviate some of the concern that housing will be snatched up by the early in people. :)

Unless you consider that the purchases are to be done with in-game currency. Which the early-in people will have a lead on generating and earning, unless I am mistaken.

I really do think that the head start bonuses will have more of a negative impact on player goodwill than the extra boost of money that they will generate, but hopefully for the sake of you and the dev team I am mistaken.

New patch notes released today. Some highlights include:

Due to art asset budgets, the game is being converted to 8 bit graphics; a cash shop item will allow you access to the full 256 color wheel instead of the standard 16 colors.
Greatly increased the number of different crafting sub-components necessary per crafted item. On average, each item should now require several hundred different components to craft.
Real-time crafting has been introduced - all items now require at least 3 days of real time to produce. To ensure this system is not abused, characters cannot perform any other actions while crafting.
Added anti-decay skill which removes the need to repair weapons or armor, this will most likely be a cash shop item.
Added a stackable speed-debuff skill that will slow opponents down. When enough stacks have been applied, the negative speed debuff will cause time to go backwards.
Humanoid mobs have been given personalities ranging from Friendly to Crotchety to Bi-Polar; these personalities will determine their individual behavior. Bi-polar mobs, for instance, will occasionally find a corner and cry in the middle of a fight.
An in-game voice server will be implemented to allow players to communicate with nearby players, or players within their group or nation. In order to save on bandwidth, all voice transmissions will be processed through The Repopulation’s clientside SMRTSPEAK system, which sends only the first syllable of each word to the other player. The receiving player’s SMRTSPEAK system then predicts what the initial player intended to say and fills in the blanks.

lol awesome!

FYI in case folks were interested

We recently mentioned that April is going to be spent on a huge content push to get the world ready for a larger Alpha testing session with more testers and we hope to make an announcement with some concrete details on that toward the end of April. We should have a few new slots open up for this and will go into detail how that will work once the announcement is made. This will be an important step into receiving feedback for Beta and making sure we are ready to move into that stage of development. We still hope to hit the Spring timeframe (end of Spring), but if things are not ready it might slide a month or two later. PAX Prime is at the end of August and would be our next major deadline date so we want to make sure things are ready to go by then. We want to thank everyone for being patient and we want to deliver a solid experience even in Alpha and in Beta as it is important we hit the ground running if we want to continue to build momentum toward release.

new info on pvp is out...

thought folks would find this interesting...

PVP Combat Options - Action or RPG Mode

During combat players have the choice of fighting in Action Mode or RPG Mode. Action mode is a simulated FPS style combat setup where the mouse controls the camera and character’s rotation making it easier to move and aim at something. The system is also designed to handle some basic ability logic and stacking, so you can use your mouse/keyboard to perform stacks of abilities. It can also keep track of multitarget selections to intelligently perform AOE abilities. Abilities can be assigned to mouse and keyboard commands and performed when they are available making ability usage slightly easier and faster. The traditional hotbar 1-0 can optionally be used as well, or completely hidden, based on user preference. Action Mode is available in both 1st person and 3rd person camera views.

RPG Mode is the more traditional “tab targeting” mode that is available in most MMORPGs, and uses traditional camera controls and ability bars. Both systems function almost identically on the server, leaving you to choose the mode that works best for your play style rather than which one gives you an advantage over the other.

Oh and my testing curse applies to these guys too.

This just showed up on Greenlight.

Looks like they're back on Kickstarter again

Not the first project I've seen make multiple passes through Kickstarter. Not sure how I feel about it.

3 hour cast of the game.

http://www.twitch.tv/deadpoolyplays/...

looks like i'll be able to start on the weekend access starting next week.

The remaining 1 weekend of access to Alpha 3 ($100 backers) are currently scheduled as the follow. Round 2 Backers - 5/30. Kickstarter 2014, Round3, Prize Winners - 6/6.

This is now out on Steam early access for $34. Anyone with any experience on it lately? I might grab it after Christmas.

looks like it's still just alpha with beta rollout sometime next year, but I too am curious how it is panning out

I got another invite to the most recent test round, but haven't been able to jump in due to work and holidays.

I'm hoping to get in soon because the last round showed it still had a lot of work to be done.