October Producer’s Letter
Greetings Pantheon fans,
This month we are looking at the 247 gameplay mode and diving deeper to see what it is and what it means for Pantheon and its fans.
We began talking about a 24/7 game mode in July’s Producer’s Letter. We are at a point now where we need to run Pantheon in a persistent, 24/7 environment to collect data and establish a continuous feedback cycle as part of our new Continuous Integration / Continuous Deployment model (CI/CD). Additionally, in such an environment, we can collect information on performance, player behavior, and identify areas that need attention. To gather real information over a long period of time, we also know players consume content much faster than we can keep up with. This is a basic truth for any game, but a particularly complex problem with an independently developed MMO game. Thus, the 247 game mode was conceived.
247 is a way to play Pantheon, with a significant twist. Players begin in Tazrin’s Gaze, grab tasks from one of eleven Watchers to build faction, and then enter a timed instance of Pantheon. Players can choose either a PvE or a PvP mission instance. Once in Terminus, they can either focus on the task given, or simply spend their time exploring, grouping, gathering for crafting, or otherwise playing Pantheon as they so choose. But they must keep an eye on the timer and make it to the extraction point without dying, or they risk losing their gear. If they do die, a fallen player’s corpse can be looted by others. This play mode creates a sense of urgency and real danger. See the video below for a more detailed look at the 247 experience.
247 has been in testing since September 30th and has received multiple patches every week based on the feedback and reports from our pre-alpha testing community. As we continue to gather feedback we have also given more serious thought to the question that many will ask upon reading this: do we intend to sell 247 as a stand-alone title? The answer to that is a solid “maybe.” While we are absolutely preparing for that option, we are still gathering information from our players and from the market before we make a final decision.
If 247 were to become a revenue source, it could help launch Pantheon sooner than currently projected. But, we are also keenly aware of its challenges. We are aware that some players feel that it would be a departure from the original game. We are also aware of the challenges of maintaining 247 while continuing development of Pantheon. A revenue model for 247 has not yet been established. Until we lock this in as something we are committed to, we have not finalized any of these details.
On the first point, development of Pantheon is not stopping in any way, shape or form. The content that is used in 247 is the Pantheon world and game. In fact, should 247 prove to be popular with players, it could become a model for Pantheon’s PvP mode, available to all Pantheon players at any time. The estimated additional work for 247 that is not usable for Pantheon as an MMO is estimated at around 5-10%. The projects are designed to work together in tandem, symbiotically.
As to the challenge of maintaining 247 alongside Pantheon: if 247 cannot bring in revenue that will allow us to add enough resources to maintain it and Pantheon as an MMO, then it will not be an avenue worth pursuing. However, if a larger audience can be reached, potential for funding increases. This is an important consideration.
Crowdfunding, in general, has its peaks and valleys and crowdfunding for Pantheon is currently slowing. It’s not time to panic, particularly since crowdfunding isn’t the only funding fueling Pantheon, but it’s an example of how development funded in this way tends to take much longer than other funding methods. If crowdfunding continues to slow, we cannot bring on new staff, and the velocity of the project reflects that. If funding increases and stays peaked, then velocity speeds up. We feel, as do a lot of our followers, that we need to find ways to speed the project up. 247 is a potential way to do that.
So how does this all affect current and future pledges?
247 access is an additional pledge perk. Currently it is the only testing available for Pantheon. 247 access is now added retroactively to the Scion of Black Rose pledge and above. Later this year, 247 access will be retroactively added to any pledge containing Alpha access. We are currently evaluating performance and feedback from our Pre-Alpha pledges before we lock in a date. Pantheon as an MMO will return to testing next year. So between now and its return, Pantheon web content will slow, although expect a minimum of a Producer’s Letter and Development Update once per month. We understand you will have many questions and concerns and we would like to invite you to join us in Discord from 5pm to 6:30pm PDT, October 26th, in the 247 Public Q&A Stage channel where Community Manager Jamie “Savanja” Henry will be joined by Creative Director Chris “Joppa” Perkins to answer your questions live.
In addition to those updates, we would like to share more of what is happening on the test server and give a better look at what we are working on. For this, we have a development tracker page and this will be updated with development goals and patch notes. As we organize more information, you can expect to see it go up here. In the future, we intend to create larger, epic goals that can be followed through development. If you have feedback or ideas on how we can improve this tracker, please let us know on the official forums.
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