Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen - My Testimonial


    Hey everyone, Tim here from Marginal Boundaries. I'm a travel blogger for a living, but a couple of weeks back I started up on doing regular Vlogs and blogs related to Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen. The following is my first blog post, which you can find here in its entirety. 

    You might be going WTF at this particular blog post. Normally, everything I write about here at the blog has something to do with travel and lifestyle. Today is a little bit different, because I want to talk to you about a new Kickstarter project that's currently going on that I've personally backed, as well as some of the history behind the why I backed and why I'm promoting it at the website and asking my readers (and hopefully fellow gamers!) to back it along with me!


    Long-term readers who have been around for a while know that I have an ongoing series that I occasionally add to called My Secret Life As an Expat Gamer. The series covers some of the community-driven aspects of gaming as well as some of the life management skills you can obtain from playing massively multiplayer online role-playing games, otherwise known as MMORPGs.


    We’ve talked about stats (life skills), teamwork and team management (leading guilds and working together as a team to accomplish complex goals within the game environment), and in the past I’ve written for publications such as MMO Hub on the relationship aspects of gaming with friends and family.


    The reality is that video games have come to permeate every aspect of culture that we live in, especially for those of us who hail from a Western country that is technology driven. From my own perspective, I have been heavily invested in the genre since I was a teenager, and while I have not indulged in the last couple of years as much as I used to given the fact that I have been too busy building Marginal Boundaries up, I still dabble...and I've been waiting for the right game to come along to sink my teeth into.


    So with that in mind, when I found out that Brad McQuaid was creating a new MMORPG via Kickstarter, it was a no-brainer for me to put my money on the line and help make his new project a reality. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, you can check out the Kickstarter page for their project, called Pantheon – Rise of the Fallen.


    Pantheon Concept Art 2


    If you don’t happen to be a gamer, let’s just say that Brad McQuaid is something of a celebrity in the game development world, having been the original creator behind one of the first MMORPGs in the late 90s: EverQuest. While almost everyone has heard of World of Warcraft by this point, EverQuest was around long before WoW ever hit the scene, right there alongside Ultima Online as one of the first international video games that people could play alongside other people.


    I have a long history with MMORPGs. I spent about seven years in EverQuest, then moved on to EverQuest II where I spent another six years, as well as 18 months in the beta of Vanguard: Saga of Heroes and then six months in the live version before the game unfortunately tanked due to a variety of internal management issues. It still doesn’t change the fact that it was a brilliant game.


    I also kicked around in Lord of the Rings Online, Star Wars The Old Republic, Guild Wars one and two, and a variety of other projects in between. My “heyday” was spent during the early 2000’s when I was the guild leader for The Bloodguard Mercenaries in Evequest 2 and then Haven, a guild that went on to become number 2 (or three, depending on who you talked to) on our server of Florendyl in Vanguard and in the top 10 worldwide, as well as number 6 on our EverQuest 2 server of Antonia Bayle. I played the dwarven warrior and main tank/guild leader, Thanon Rockguard.


    I ran a team of 30 to 35 players for over six years. For those of you who don’t know what that entails, it basically meant spending 60 or more hours per week (8-10 hours every single day) involved in leading a team of players through an online virtual world, along with the website, the forums, our community relations with other guilds and beyond. It’s like running a company in real life; you are the manager of your team, you have officers who play the part of management, and then everyone else, all of whom are valuable members of the overall team.


    Pantheon Concept Art


    This was in my spare time apart from my construction company. Basically I would work, travel, and play video games, and continue to do so up until I left Bulgaria in the middle of 2010. Since then, I’ve dropped back from being a guild leader and have focused on simply being a peon and letting other people run the show.


    I’ve met a lot of long-term friends through video games, specifically through MMORPGs. People that I’ve been in contact with for over 10 years now playing alongside them. Sometimes leading, sometimes co-leading, and sometimes just following along for the ride. And while I haven’t been spending a lot of time playing in recent years due to the brand building efforts, I've been biding my time. I plan on going back in with EverQuest Next, and I've already backed several other games on Kickstarter: you can see my profile here.


    EverQuest and Vanguard both have two things in common that I really enjoyed and am really keen on seeing again: teamwork and group play. While a lot of the modern day MMORPGs are fun to play and offer a fast-paced environment, there is no challenge and there is little to no engagement with other players, so there are no relationships, no friendships, and more importantly there is no reason to ever interact with other people.


    McQuaid and his team are building a new game that focuses on group-based gameplay; that is, a game which requires teamwork and time investments to overcome the challenges within. These are the types of scenarios which lead to lifelong friendships being formed, as well as helping people to develop various life skills that range from management of personnel and time, to learning how to develop complex strategies and overcome challenges as part of a group, all of which lead to dynamics that are vitally important in the real world of business and entrepreneurship.


    In-game Pantheon Alpha Footage


    Especially when we’re talking about the co-working environment where many peers are coming together on equal ground to find ways to enhance their businesses and work together towards building a brighter future with common goals in mind.


    I still remember in my early days of gaming, my dad would tell me how silly it was to play video games, telling me that I was wasting my time. Both of my parents thought I was crazy putting in 60 to 80 hours a week in a “pointless” video game world that didn’t have any merit on the real world.


    I disagreed, and proved him wrong eventually. My very first writing gigs in 2008 were based on my experience as a gamer, working for Academagia for six months writing quest content, and then going on to work freelance for Gamer God and MMO Life (neither of whom are still around), as well as writing game guides for Killer Guides for EverQuest II and Lord of the Rings Online (although my EQ2 guide has since passed to another writer who updated it to something new; I still get royalties on my LOTRO guides to this day). Those were literally my first freelance gigs, and it was such a proud moment for me when I was able to take those paychecks and show my dad that my years of video gaming had turned into a professional career.


    I also did a lot of in-game writing and community management. In EQ2 on the Antonia Bayle server I wrote the storylines and scripts for the Rod of Power series of live community events, with our guild members playing the parts of NPCs, while other players within the game could follow through our storylines as if they were in-game quests. Then in Vanguard I wrote the Unseen Eye series, with our first event going on to have more than 300 players show up in a single chunk to participate, crashing it several times as our event took place...and then I wrote the follow-up events as well.


    My first dabblings into what would eventually turn into my full-time career: writing for a living.


    I’ve obviously diverged since then and moved into primarily travel writing, but I still hold true to my roots and I still have a very deep passion for video games, specifically MMORPGS, and I've backed a few on Kickstarter because I still partake, even if it's not the 10 hours a day it used to be. Now, one of those titles I'm looking forward to is Pantheon – The Rise of The Fallen.


    Which brings me to this blog post. I really want to see this game make it. I want to play it. More importantly, I want to play alongside friends and family as well as past guild members. I’m even considering coming out of retirement and actually leading a guild again, something I haven’t done since around 2007.


    I’ll already be playing EverQuest Next once it goes live later this year or early in 2015, although I’m not sure if I will be a peon or lead a guild through that particular title. A game like Pantheon, on the other hand, that focuses on the things that I crave the most (group content, team-based gameplay, a focus on challenge and puzzles and overcoming those challenges with critical thinking and team-based outcomes), is something I can get behind 100%.


    I realize not many of you who read this blog are probably into video games, but that’s okay. Some of you will be, and those of you who are, I highly urge you to donate to this Kickstarter campaign and let's make it rock :) I've personally put 250 on the line as a Paragon pledger, and I've dedicated the past couple of weeks to running the testimonial videos that some of you now know (as of this writing here at the Pantheon site). 


    Even if you have never played before, I would urge you to donate, if only so that you can eventually join our team and enhance your life skills through teamwork and critical thinking to overcome challenges. It might sound kind of silly to those of you who have never played video games before, just as it did to my own father, but believe me when I say that video games have some very tangible real-world benefits as a result of playing.


    Don’t believe me? I fully credit video games and my guild management days during EverQuest, EverQuest II and Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, as well as my time spent main-tanking for several other guilds during my post-guild-leading days, as the reason why I have been able to succeed with Marginal Boundaries. The skills I learned through working together with other people have directly led to where my brand is today: with 10,000 followers and over a million views per month after two years of hard work.


    Plus, let's just face it: these games are wicked cool and damn good fun :)


    Give it a look. More importantly, donate some cash. Let’s make this game a reality! (check out the first video in my series here)


    Pantheon Kickstarter

  • Mistmaker
    Mistmaker I share a lot of your feelings and experiences! Great write-up
    February 18, 2014 - 1 likes this
  • khaldin
    khaldin Awesome Post. I would love to join up when this game goes live and be part of a great guild full of other passionate gamers.
    February 19, 2014 - 1 likes this
  • Forlaen
    Forlaen I'm a huge TW fan. He's been gracious and inspiring since he first joined on the KS page and I look forward to daring the dangers of Pantheon with him and pretty much everyone this community has attracted so far. I <3 you guys!
    February 20, 2014 - 2 like this
  • TWAnderson
    TWAnderson Awesome, thanks Forlaen!
    February 20, 2014