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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » The Banner Saga - Stoic's Repsonse on the Factions Feedback

Default The Banner Saga - Stoic's Repsonse on the Factions Feedback

March 5th, 2013, 16:48
Stoic's Alex Thomas is responding to the negative feedback they received on launching Factions in a blog on Gamasutra and in the process provides an inside look on how things went after the very successful Kicstarter campaign.
One of the things he mentions is that the multiplayer part was already in their Kickstarter campaign, so they are actually delivering what they've promised. The other thing is about the delay with respect to the original estimate, which was matching a $100K game. They received more than 7 times that and implementing all the stretch goals coming with that number simply takes time.
When we put together our campaign pitch we wanted people to be excited about getting playable content. The video states "we'll be rolling out a free multiplayer version of the game this summer on PC and Mac". The description on the campaign page included "Play online: Though the single-player campaign is our focus, The Banner Saga provides a deep multiplayer game; build a unique party of characters and battle friends and enemies in multiplayer combat." The game would be available on Steam. We plastered it on our website nearly a week before the Kickstarter campaign went live.
Some backers were incensed that production was taking longer than our original estimate, back when we hoped to make $100,000. Some were furious that the combat would be free, or that non-backers would get to play it. Some insisted that we had wasted their money by making multiplayer content, despite the assets, code and interface all being produced for the single player game. Many were fuming that the game must be "pay to win", despite the fact that you only get matched against opponents with equal teams, regardless of how you earned them. Within the game itself, the term "pay to lose" had started to appear, since paying money would only serve to get you matched against players with vastly more play time under their belts.
We also had a lot of backers supporting us, asking the detractors one particular question: "Where have you guys been this whole time?" What we soon learned is that many of our backers never read any of the updates. They had never read the original campaign. According to Kickstarter metrics that went up after our campaign ended, only 30% of backers even watched our campaign video, and they felt very betrayed about all of this, to which we personally felt a resounding "What?".
In addition Craig Stern has also written a piece on the matter and to the defense of Stoic on IndieRPGs.

More information.
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March 5th, 2013, 16:48
Yep. That Mike Stern piece was bordering on pathetic. I know that critics get paid to whine, but seriously… get real. Almost nothing ever goes as planned. You're going to quit Kickstarter because a schedule slid, or because a part of a game didn't exactly match your expectations?
Last edited by rjshae; March 5th, 2013 at 19:36.
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March 5th, 2013, 17:01
I think you meant to refer to Mike Rose, not Craig Stern. Stern was defending Banner Saga.
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March 5th, 2013, 17:21
I think what really pisses me off about the Mike Rose piece is that he basically calls the developers conmen for doing something they said they'd do in the damn Kickstarter video. I don't know how you can better signal your intentions as a Kickstarter developer, for crying out loud.

He really should apologize, but, instead, he's stuck his head in the ground and acted like he did nothing wrong. It's bullshit. Apologize to Stoic and move on.
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March 5th, 2013, 17:23
Originally Posted by Bedwyr View Post
I think you meant to refer to Mike Rose, not Craig Stern. Stern was defending Banner Saga.
Yes, sorry. Fixed.
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March 5th, 2013, 18:18
lol. Way to get back at your backers. But I guess that's what happens when you get your money up front w/o having to deliver.
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March 5th, 2013, 18:54
Originally Posted by Sacred_Path View Post
lol. Way to get back at your backers. But I guess that's what happens when you get your money up front w/o having to deliver.
Yeah, how dare they do what they said they'd do. It's despicable, I tell ya!
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March 5th, 2013, 18:56
When will this madness end?!?

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March 5th, 2013, 19:01
Originally Posted by killias2 View Post
Yeah, how dare they do what they said they'd do. It's despicable, I tell ya!
I haven't followed any updates and didn't pledge so I don't have any emotions either way. However,

they should have spent some of that money on someone who could have taught them how to communicate with customers. If you have one prominent critic, it's best to address him as such, rather than flail away at all your backers. I've seen big developers taking harsh/ below-the-belt criticism more humbly than they do. "Our backers should have listened more closely to our pitch and updates, y u no do it?! U R STOOPID GIVE US UR MONEEZ"
Maybe the fact that he doesn't seem to be the only one with this opinion should have told them that, at the very least, they didn't communicate their plans very well.
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March 5th, 2013, 19:09
I'll agree that they could communicate better, but I think that's quite a bit different than conning people out of their money with false promises. In fact, I don't think those two problems are on the same moral terrain at all.

In any case, the Kickstarter pitch video directly stated that there would be a separate multiplayer component and that it would hit before the single-player game. They could've done a better job making that more clear elsewhere, but this wasn't exactly hidden in the fine print.

The real test for Stoic will be the final SP experience. If it sucks, they will have earned much ire. If it's great, I think the criticisms will largely fade. In between.. well.. obviously, that's more complicated.
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March 5th, 2013, 19:22
Originally Posted by Sacred_Path View Post
I haven't followed any updates and didn't pledge so I don't have any emotions either way. However,

they should have spent some of that money on someone who could have taught them how to communicate with customers.
You mean like put it in the original pitch and detail it more in the updates they sent out to backers? Put it on their website?

What more would you have them do? Make personal phone calls to each backer?

They communicated just fine, people just didn't pay attention then got all riled up about nothing. Typical internet bs.

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March 5th, 2013, 19:27
Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
You mean like put it in the original pitch and detail it more in the updates they sent out to backers? Put it on their website?

What more would you have them do? Make personal phone calls to each backer?

They communicated just fine, people just didn't pay attention then got all riled up about nothing. Typical internet bs.

Maybe http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klbBVtveyL8 ?
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March 5th, 2013, 19:29
Originally Posted by killias2 View Post
I think what really pisses me off about the Mike Rose piece is that he basically calls the developers conmen for doing something they said they'd do in the damn Kickstarter video. I don't know how you can better signal your intentions as a Kickstarter developer, for crying out loud.

He really should apologize, but, instead, he's stuck his head in the ground and acted like he did nothing wrong. It's bullshit. Apologize to Stoic and move on.
Usually on a print column like this the standards are high enough that if someone like George Will or David Brooks makes a bald mistake, the column gets retracted with profuse apologies and embarrassment. It will be a measure of Mr. Rose's professionalism to see what he does now.
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March 5th, 2013, 23:59
Originally Posted by Bedwyr View Post
Usually on a print column like this the standards are high enough that if someone like George Will or David Brooks makes a bald mistake, the column gets retracted with profuse apologies and embarrassment. It will be a measure of Mr. Rose's professionalism to see what he does now.
Yeah, I think the fact that it was from Gamasutra that really bothered me. If it was from, say, BuzzFeed or Kotaku or something silly like that, it'd be one thing. But I feel like Gamasutra should be above shaming small developers based on absolutely incorrect information.
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March 6th, 2013, 00:41
I don't like it either but at least my life doesn't depend on games meeting deadlines. I wish multiplayer didn't exist and was sent down the the bottom of the nine hells, as I really really really hate when a game I want is affected in any way because of multiplayer (and devs can say whatever they want, but the fact is that multiplayer does take resources away from the single player game).
May multiplayer die a rotten death.
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March 6th, 2013, 14:59
For the life of me I can't understand why are there so many people, both in the media and on random Internet comments, that seem to really, REALLY want to prove that Kickstarter is bad. The slightest fuck-up (real or imagined) by some project is heralded as the death of Kickstarter.
Last edited by himmy; March 6th, 2013 at 16:47.
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March 6th, 2013, 15:38
Because these people are being paid by the big publishers, himmy
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March 6th, 2013, 19:04
Originally Posted by himmy View Post
For the life of me I can't understand why are there so many people, both in the media and on random Internet comments, that seem to really, REALLY want to prove that Kickstarter is bad. The slightest fuck-up (real or imagined) by some project is heralded as the death of Kickstarter.
Tom Wolf called the media the "genteel beast". It's less genteel these days, but their habits are the same: herd mentality, desire for a scoop, short-term obsession with a subject. The thing that makes Kickstarter so newsworthy is that it's so different. You are a donor, not an investor. But you are giving to nonprofits and for-profits alike and often for some version or copy of the product. This is also the general public acting like art patrons, something no one is sure the general public actually understands. And none of what KS has engaged in is really tested by US civil courts when it comes to failed projects and outright fraud. Which is a concern no matter how much KS tries to limit their liability.

So all that is a microscope focus on this unusual phenomenon and you'll naturally get lots of coverage that acts like a half-crazed man shaking another by the shoulders and shouting "Are they going to make it? WELL ARE THEY, DAMN YOU?? ARE THEY!!?! tuninnextweekforfurtherbreathlesscoverage."
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March 7th, 2013, 03:43
I recently made my first and only complaint about Factions, right here on the one and only Watch. So, it was part of the initial pitch? Then, I must have missed it. Was it only in the video? Because I sometimes don't watch those if the text convinces me to pledge. I certainly heard all about Factions in the updates, but those were after the fact. So, I suppose I can't complain anymore if it was in the initial pitch, but it still annoys me a little. Wolfing has summed up well my reasons why:

Originally Posted by wolfing View Post
I wish multiplayer didn't exist and was sent down the the bottom of the nine hells, as I really really really hate when a game I want is affected in any way because of multiplayer (and devs can say whatever they want, but the fact is that multiplayer does take resources away from the single player game).
May multiplayer die a rotten death.
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