Pantheon of the Fallen or: Contrary to popular belief, McQuaid is a closet Necro!

Leaked title of the Brad "the Vision" McQuaid's kickstarter mmo.

For what it is worth, I still enjoy plain old EQ warts and all. IMHO it is a much more fun game now with their mercenary system. Don't get me wrong, it is a very basic system and pretty much there is no use for any mercenary other than the tank. (they do have nice purely cosmetic race options... I favor froglok mercs!) I have used the wizard, rogue and cleric sparingly on different classes but always went back to the warrior/tank because of the safety it affords from bad pulls or adds. The length of individual fights is much longer than your typical post WoW mmo so the utility of being able to handle adds or even fight 2 at a time is a godsend, not a luxury.

They just need to make the other mercs more useful and provide more options for the archetypes. EQ2's mercs I have yet to mess around with but they do allow you to have a merc of any class in the game. Apparently most of the classes are broken and I am dying to try them out in EQ2 but am not $20 worth of station cash eager.

Well I just wanted to say that I initially spent a lot of time lamenting "the Vision" in EQ and Vanguard. But I have grown to appreciate the positive aspects of it on reflection. So while I am not going to kickstart it, especially with no info other than a title, I am really intrigued if he can incorporate what currently and historically worked about EQ and mix in a lot of the flavor while trimming the fat of the classes of Vanguard, I am pretty much sold.

There is a not-as-narrow-as-you-might-think sweet spot between credible threat and punitive death; class interdependency, class utility and class self sufficiency; expansive landscape and intimate exploration.

I must really suck at figuring out how to use the merc tank. Even playing a cleric I still keep aggro on the mobs somehow (and no, I don't spam casting; just pull and try to let the tank take over).

I've found the healer merc more useful when I play, and just stick with my warrior. I've played the game very off-and-on for the last year or so.

As for this upcoming mmo, anything from McQuaid gets at least a curious glance from me.

I've found that the rogue merc works well when playing a cleric as the cleric can tank and self heal while most of the damage comes from the rogue. The wizard can kill things faster. It typically behaves in the fashion of waiting for the target to become below half hp and then incinerates it in seconds. The problem is that it takes your cleric a while and uses more mana to inch the hp of your target down to half. The rogue pretty much can kill the target by itself in the time it takes my cleric to do 1/3 damage to the target.

The cleric works well with my rogue and warrior alts. However, your mercs get level appropriate gear and stat buffs when they level so it isn't much past say level 7-8 when they will out damage you significantly. The rogue merc starts to out damage the warrior merc by a larger gap at level 15 or so. But both do far more damage (like double) than any of your characters unless they are twinked. I've also noticed that the cleric heals better than any of your healers, (same amount more mana efficient or bigger mana pool) and it does all the meditating for you ;P The same sort of goes for the wizard. A same level wizard player can nuke as well as a merc and really efficiently but you have the bonus of letting them do the meditating. (which they seem to be a bit better at too)

The key to the warrior is to take off auto assist and use call assist which works like a flakey "attack my target" pet command. Flakey is intentional because there is supposed to be some randomness with mercs obeying orders due to fear of your current threat. So just click the "back off" and "attack" equivalents like 5 times till they behave.

With a warrior merc, it can tank yellows and even low reds and level after like 11 kills. (instead of 25 high blues) I have leveled several characters to 35 in around 12 hours each in the 2 beginning serpent spine areas. My highest is a mage at 46. They work the best because you have the most pets and they self buff with mage summoned equipment of the appropriate level. (IMHO water is the best because it is a rogue that backstabs while your merc tanks)

It is unfortunate that f2p players cannot use journeyman mercs or higher. That is reserved for subs and weeks where they grant free gold/sub status. Apprentice 5 mercs are perfectly capable but journeymen are borderline easy mode. My j warrior could practically chain tank reds for my 46 magician. J clerics have more and better buffs they cast on you.

I have not bought the expansion that lets you do AA's for your mercs or give them equipment. I would have if they had allowed lower level (even level 40's or 45's) players participate in whatever they are calling their LDoN 2.0 feature. It seems you have to be 80 to do them and is such a waste like the majority of EQ's content =( They create all this stuff that only 20% of the people can do because of gear, level, no mercs, or full group mandate. It really sucks and there is no way I am going to join a guild let alone an EQ style guild (read second job) for a 14 year old game.

Kickstarter is up:

Targeted, niche MMO with:
interesting world lore that 75% of the way through devolves into RIFT's you are a reborn hero
group focused content
zones (because they are easier to develop than open world)
camping (open world dungeons with a sprinkle of instances when they want the dungeon to tell a story)
emphasis on inter-combat downtime to increase social bonds
racial factions (more than half of races perma kos to each other)
not only will you take the named mob's weapon but possibly his skill(s)
the return of the class specific run speed buff SoW (not mentioned in the interview but referenced on the website promo)
no corpse runs but some sort of other meaningful death penalty (vague non answer of xp loss on death)
preparing/memorizing spells (to plan for group strategy when entering dungeons or boss fights)
how big? its big but we can't give you an estimate because we can't
big on "exploration" (so that you can travel into a higher level area, get killed and come back after months of experience for the satisfaction of revenge)
tab targeting but they like the attack "tells" from other games and will have some sort of reactive abilities
a question about fast travel and flight points with a vague non-answer

I am not kidding about this feature list. Everything is there if you watch the McQuaid interview on the kickstarter site. I believe there is a need for an EQ remake that builds upon its core successful systems. It just seems to me that this game seems to be a remake that includes everything but those successful core EQ systems.

edit: one interesting stretch goal is I think for $6 million, they will add the option to have customizable player run private servers.

Yea i'm really not seeing anything that's standing out that, with a couple exceptions, has me excited about this.

The core tenants from the site:

An awareness that content is king - Good focus and drom what I've seen in EQ and Vanguard, I believe they can deliver on this.

A belief that game economies should be predicated on delaying and minimizing item value deflation - Good. Lessening the gear grind is not a bad thing and I enjoy gear effectiveness lasting longer in EQ.

A commitment to a style of play that focuses on immersive combat, and engaging group mechanics. - Good. Vanguard took longs strides towards this with the offensive and defensive target system.

An understanding that a truly challenging game is truly rewarding - Not necessarily good or bad. I have no problem with challenge unless it means a reversion back to fail-at-everything-dozens-of-times or no-manual-figure-everything-out-for-yourself style mmo.

An expectation that the path of least resistance should also be the most entertaining - I think this is a typo here. It should probably read most instead of least or least instead of most.

A mindset that Designed Downtime should be a part of the game to ensure players have time to form important social bonds. - So the only way to get people to talk to each other in your mmo is to have them sit and be completely vulnerable for 5 times longer than it takes to fight a single enemy. Though other mmos don't do much better with trading and looking for group being the only way to induce social activity.

A belief that an immersive world requires intelligent inhabitants - Just curious if this means that lions/cyclops will chase you for 20 minutes across west karana to the zone line or not... It is not an inherently bad idea but is frought with peril and an mmo trail of failure.

An understanding that faction should be an integral part of interacting with the world and its citizenry. - Vague but okay unless it means as was said above that you are pretty much KOS once you set you foot out the door of your starter city.

A commitment to creating a world where a focus on group play will attract those seeking a challenge - A fluff restatement of a few points already listed.

A belief that the greatest sense of accomplishment comes when it is shared - 100% true except when it requires days or a second job's worth of commitment to organize it.

I like most of what I'm reading there.

Very not-keen on the emphasis on downtime, and I'm hoping that when they talk about a focus on group play, they mean in the old-school sense of it being due to high difficulty as a soloist (a la classic EQ), so that during those times when you can't find a group, you can at least still do something meaningful for your character's progression.

I loved Everquest for its high challenge and emphasis on grouping. More than half my time in that game was spent partying up with people; sometimes with strangers, sometimes with friends I'd made in-game. But there were many times where groups were simply not available in my area of interest; fortunately I could still claw my way forward in the face of danger, but it was always safer and more fun with a group.

If McQuaid & co can get the balance similar with this new game, I'll be very interested in giving it a fair shake.

The general bits they are saying (the tenets) are positive but I have been flamed on Massively for connecting the dots between the few specifics and the general tenets.

I.E. that when you combine zones, open world dungeons, and the ability to obtain weapons and skills from named monsters, there is no other outcome other than camping. Also if you tie the stated importance of downtime, plus the need to memorize spells for pre-fight tactics, you are going to bring back a lot of less than positive attributes to your game: (begging for buffs, gold and powerleveling actually being required or guilds solely existing because of it; classes being unable to escape their status as a buffbot; and "challenge" in the vein of quadruple the frustrating deaths because you are forced to be vulnerable and much less effective for a greater amount of time)

I believe the market for people that want to play this type game is way smaller than what EQ enjoyed.

I expect you are quite right in that, GG, and on top of that it's a market that's already being served by Everquest Classic even today. I don't have a lot of confidence in the viability of Pantheon's success.

They are already at $100k (of $800k minimum)for what it is worth...

fangblackbone wrote:

They are already at $100k (of $800k minimum)for what it is worth...

I haven't seen a lot of people talking about this, but the one I have thinks he's not going to hit 800k. I think there's good potential here, but outside of Everquest, that's not a very impressive resume of games this team is carrying. Between that and McQuaid not being a huge name, I'm very inclined to agree.

Wait, someone is trying to out EQ EQ? Aren't they aware that there are two versions of Everquest running, and third on the way?

The "forced" downtime to encourage Socializing is so full of fail its not even funny. That just shows they are way out of touch with modern gaming and more importantly modern gamers. So while I'm sure there is a set of gamers over 35 that might love this game I don't think it will be enough to support any significant long term content unless the game is like $50 a month. Which I've always thought "might" work if the game was compelling enough to justify... but that takes significant up front development dollars and time..not something I think $800K will actually do.. so unless they have significant personal $$ involved this won't launch in any condition other than horribly broken.


Somebody told me to edit this...

They could always make it a MUD ;P

They have to have some sort of other funding as $800k wouldn't cover their salaries for 6 months. (which is kind of funny in itself considering Project Copernicus's 4 million a month burn rate as the other extreme)

The "forced" downtime to encourage Socializing is so full of fail its not even funny

Yeah. I can imagine the person with 30 minutes of game time signing on, fighting 1-2 monsters and then chatting and staring at a spell book for the other 25 minutes. If you aren't able to do much of anything, there is nothing to chat about.

Besides of all things you could do to "require" more socializing.. forcing downtime is the dumbest and least fun. Make encounters require teamwork and coordination.. not zerg or aoe fests that you can silently go through. That should require the socializing you need without ridiculous time sinks like meditating to regain mana.

Believe it or not, on Massively I was flamed for pointing that out as something in EQ that didn't work. I am sure there are people who will go for anything but I find this particularly funny because nearly every single mmo since then, a core concept was drastically reducing down time. DAoC cut downtime in half and made it so that you only used 33% of your mana per normal monster kill versus 75% in EQ. WoW pretty much cut it in half again and reduce resource costs to ~1/4 of your total per normal monster kill. Heck ever since the expansion where mercenaries were introduced, every class can chain kill when soloing.

The vocal minority is the bane of all developers but in MMO's it's particularly bad. Developers seem to (even Blizzard) fall for this trap over and over. I wouldn't be shocked if McQuaid and co. believe in their hearts that this is what MMORPG gamers really want.

Well as I am sure you are aware, he had the same attitude when he was interviewed before Vanguard was released. In that interview (it may have been with Jeff Butler...) there were discussions of modern mmo trends as "throwing the baby out with the bath water."

So it doesn't seem McQuaid has learned/changed as much as he says if at all. Which is a shame because he never talks about one thing he is very good at: class design.

McQuaid himself on the scope and reasonings behind Pantheon:

The main response I have to this is that EQ 1 was made by 23 people in 3 years for $8M. Now I realize that was in the late ’90s and it’s a different world. But we have some advantages now that did not exist with EQ 1 (and even Vanguard).

1. We are using the Unity engine which makes it orders of magnitude faster to develop. The game is already being developed, and we have a rough prototype up right now, with our new combat system already working. 10 years ago it would have been impossible for 3-4 guys to do that.

2. This is a game with a targeted audience. We are not trying to make a game that is all things for all people (WoW, SWTOR, etc.). We don’t need 10s of millions of dollars to do this.

3. Take a look at our stretch goals (which need some work — we’re going to have a revised and better set of stretch goals up by next week). You can see that big systems, like crafting, PvP, etc. are all stretch goals. We’d love for these systems to be in the game, but we can also make a great game without those systems.

4. Our team is very experienced (we have 10 or so on the team now, but another 10-15 ready to jump ship once we have funding). This isn’t their first BBQ. We’ve learned a lot about building MMOs and this allows us to work smarter, making fewer errors, and to be more efficient.

So, if we make the $800k, we will likely have to get additional funding elsewhere (this is addressed in the FAQ on the KS site). We may reach out to a publisher, or investors, or both. But having $800k will make this much easier, because we’ve shown that there is definitely a demand for a more ‘niche’ game. I’d prefer to fund the entire game via Kickstarter, but I’m also being realistic about it.

Arise! They have a new website and I'll be damned if they didn't scratch an itch with their races section. Check it out:
You could be really jaded and say that they split the dark elves between a couple of races, but I really like the new look of most of the races. In particular: dark myr (mermaid/dark elf), archai (elemental tattoo dark elf), halfling, dwarves, ogres and gnomes. The humans are not bad for human, the elves are kinda blah which is a shame, and the skar well.... yeah.