After that you'll have to wait for Alpha or Beta to get into the game prior to commercial launch.
We hope if you haven't been keeping up to date on development that you'll check out what we've been up to -- we are very excited about the progress the Pantheon team has been making and we really enjoying sharing it all with the community!
I know most of you who were here ended up on our own site, supporting us there, etc. That said, I do occasionally update here just in case there are a few stragglers out there -- yeah, I'm talking to you :) You're waiting to see whether it's time to follow Pantheon again... when is it going to hit alpha testing? Launch? Are they making good progress?
So if that's you, 3 quick updates:
1. Our next major internal milestone is Pre-Alpha 1 (PA1). That is where people who pledged enough for pre-alpha will be brought into the game to help us test it. This is not your typical early-access or just an opportunity to play the game earlier (although you will be able to do that to some degree). It's just that we're going to put you to work to and sucking you dry of comments and suggestions. When will it be ready? We have a solid internal date we are tracking to, but still a bit early for me to put that date into the public eye. In the meantime, we appreciate all of the patience and support.
2. Recent growth in both crowdfunding and traditional funding has allowed us to build the team up quite a bit -- full time animators, concept artists, character modelers, environment modelers, graphics programmers, etc. Aside from the obvious 'why this is good' why this is particularly good is it allows us to both march steadily towards PA1 as well as move the game forward big picture (for example, we're working early on on zones that won't be in PA at first, etc). And it also allows us to start putting more time, money, and effort into PR/Marketing, more specifically increasing Pantheon Awareness, which will include a new stream coming up very soon!! A great place to be, where we can follow all three important paths without being tempted to borrow from one to feed another.
3. Are you all on the newsletter mailing list? If you're still reading this update, I'm betting perhaps not, lol. Sign up for it or at least give it a quick read and see what you think:
4. As mentioned, we now have resources to start upgrading Pantheon graphics directly... while we love Unity and they update often and do a great job, the reality is that, especially over time, we'll be replacing things here and there to make the display as Pantheon-specific as we can -- there are certain technologies you don't use for an FPS but you do for an MMO, vice versa, etc. For example, while it still may be bit away, we're likely going to write our own skin shader. As you can see from the newsletter, right now we're working big time on lighting, water, tree and grass rendering, upgrading the UI, and undoubtedly more. Check out this latest screenshot taken with one of those sweet widescreen monitors I'd like to get a hold of one day :)
There are likely a bunch of newer screenshots on the main site if you haven't visited lately, but most of them will be replaced relatively soon with images using our new lighting tech like above.
The time has begun for us to not just attend trade shows, but start to actually have a booth (perhaps small at first) and then for us to start showing both the game and other related goodness. The first time this truly takes place is:
We also did some cool ads during the San Diego Comic Con this year:
People we are showing the game to are becoming more and more excited, whether it be the media, influencers, potential investors, or really anybody -- people in general are really changing -- for a while I think if something wasn't VR or AR or Mobile/FTP or failed to fit buzzword bingo in general, it wasn't taken as seriously. I've seen this happen -- it's cyclical. In any case, with the game so much farther along, the company growing in a healthy and productive manner, and people returning more to the 'let's make great games and let's do what makes sense for the game, its genre, and its platform... as opposed to just making a game because, allegedly, it's the right kind to make for the moment. Yech! No fun in that (and not much profit either).
Visited Gamecomm in Germany this year -- a show that makes E3 look like a kindergarten party. Met with a lot of great and interesting people. Got to hang out with at least one super-fan :)
Another stream is coming pretty soon, again focused on some of the visual upgrades we've been working on. Bothering the dev team with some stream specific needs would be met with ire as they are so focused on PA1. But that's good -- we're to the point where we can try out different formats, focuses, audiences, etc. So the next stream won't be an epic 3 hour romp through Terminus.
Here I am doing a quick talk actually about how many MMO players feel orphaned by the hyper-casual shift that's occurred in the last 5 years. I went through recent history, ideas and explanations, and of course where I think we should go next: choose a solid target audience, make the best game you can for them, listen to them and start listening early, regardless of genre or difficulty level, platform, etc. We happen to be working on an MMO that I think will be hugely greeted, but what about my other favorite genre, the traditional base building RTS (AoE, Starcraft, C&C, etc.) -- anybody know if someone's working on one? And I mean a real one, not again hyper-casualized by doing just brilliant things like, say, removing the need to build a base to produce things in an RTS. WUT?
Hanging out with the actual Twitch.TV guys! Found out there are a bunch of MMO fans over there, especially some EQ players! You might think twitch is more FPS or MOBA, but we had some great talks, and I think twitch and streaming is going to play a HUGE role in MMOs -- yes, even PvE focused MMOs (although we talked about PvP too and it's role, especially post-launch when we can put some real time into it! I look forward to plotting and scheming with them in the future. In the meantime they logged into Pantheon and played well over an hour -- it was very validating and encouraging as it was almost so loud in the room, overflowing in hoots and cheers, that we almost had to move some of the meetings to another part of the building! Great people, potential to help each other out immediately, short term, as well as big time long term.
That's pretty much it for a quick summary.
To those of you who still read these, thanks! We're going to ramp up the end if this year quite nicely and then have an amazing 2018.
Here's a link to our latest screenshots, streams, videos, etc.:
And as a reward, the following is an unauthorized and never before released screenshot (exclusive to this update). We had to cut it previously due to the violent subject matter, but perhaps we will have more latitude here :)
Hello there -- you're getting this email because, once, long ago, you supported the Pantheon Kickstarter. As you know, we failed to reach our financial goal -- quite frankly we began the campaign too early and with not enough to show. But let me tell you, so much has changed since then! If you've been keeping up with the game you're probably well aware of our progress. But if you haven't checked in on us lately, I really encourage you to click on the images in this update and re-acquaint yourself with one of the most exciting and unique MMOs currently in development.
Start up companies are hard and we, like many, had a bit of a rocky start. But through persistence, stubbornness, and all of the support so many of you gave us via encouraging emails, supportive posts, and more, we tenaciously kept the ball rolling, continued developing the game, and have grown the team to over 15 developers! While the initial funding goal wasn't met, over the last couple of years we've brought in much more than that first goal from both people pledging money on our site as well as seed funding. We now have a very playable and fun game -- in fact, if you haven't already, please click below and check out our latest screenshots in 4k resolution and further below to view the latest live stream of the game -- I think you'll be pleasantly surprised with how much we've been able to accomplish and showcase -- a wide variety of screenshots and almost 3 hours worth of live video!
Our next big goal is to bring in funding allowing us to build our environment artist and world building teams. The game itself is coming along quite nicely but we need additional help building the landscapes, dungeons, and incredible variety that will become Pantheon's epic world. While we've had a playable and fun core MMO for months and are now interweaving new features and new mechanics into the experience, content is always king in a compelling MMO. The more NPCs, quests, areas to explore, the better. And we'll keep building that content throughout alpha and beta, into launch, and then via expansions available after launch. What kind of content is also very important: NPC AI is turning out to be very compelling, varied, and advanced -- no more simply zerging your way through content or power leveling by doing the same thing over and over again. Our Event system, Progeny system, weather that actually changes gameplay, and our Perception system are quite unique. In Pantheon we take the E in PvE and make it more than simply and endlessly fighting NPCs -- you truly engage the world... and be careful -- the world will actively engage you! Want more information and details? Recently we updated our FAQ and it's quite comprehensive, with questions from our community answered by the team. Check it out:
But what about the real game? How far along are you guys -- is there more than pretty pictures? Absolutely! We recently did a twitch stream showcasing almost 3 hours of gameplay. Check out the different classes and environments -- I think you'll be impressed by what you see. We had two groups in-game from all over the real world connecting to our cloud servers, We show off several of the classes, all sorts of NPCs, and a variety of very different and distinct environments. The response has been overwhelmingly positive and while it's a long video to watch, I highly recommend checking it out -- more than 100,000 people already have!
In addition to our site's forums and monthly newsletters, you'll see us developers posting on various sites like MMORPG.com and others. We have our own AMA page, our Wiki is coming together, and we are very active on Facebook where we constantly interact with the community, pose questions, take polls, and most importantly listen to the gamers who are interested in, even dedicated to, how Pantheon turns out at launch and beyond. And as we head into pre-alpha testing later this year, followed by alpha and then beta, the community and what they like and are looking for will become more and more involved and have more and more influence on the game's development process. While many MMOs are played for weeks, maybe a month, Pantheon is being designed as a virtualhome, a sticky game with content crafted to entertain you for months and years! In fact, the first MMO I worked on came out in 1999 and is still online and active.
You are also invited and encouraged to dig deeper into our web site where you'll find the game design tenets we are loyally committed to, developer diaries, a ton of lore and backstory behind the game's world, and much more. Feel free to read our forums or subscribe so that you can interact directly with both the community and development team. We are making this game for you, the MMO player who enjoys working together as a team and relying on different classes to fulfill different roles. So many MMO fans have felt orphaned for years with the only MMOs available to play being those focused on both easy and single player oriented gameplay -- you may see other players running about but rarely a need to truly interact with them, building true and lasting friendships. Not so in Pantheon -- most of the time you'll not only want companions, other players whom you trust, but you'll need them. What's more, you'll experience a vast, open world that feels much more like a sandbox than a themepark. Most items are tradable and Pantheon will have a vibrant player-driven economy. Instances will rarely if ever be used and there will never be cash-shops allowing players with real-life money to purchase items and 'pay to win' -- in Pantheon it's your skill and dedication that will result in earning meaningful, rare and exotic items.
Of this we are very proud, encouraged, and definitely validated: MMORPG.com recently did a poll, asking people what MMO they were most looking forward to -- check out the results as they speak for themselves:
Anyway, enough said -- again, for those of you who may not have looked into the game for some time, please take a moment to do so -- I think you'll be impressed. Get on the forums, whether our own, or those at MMORPG.com and elsewhere, and give us your impressions, ask questions, and interact with the dev team. Another twitch stream is coming your way in just a few months. More screenshots and details about the game are consistently revealed. Thank you for your time and we look forward to you becoming part of the growing Pantheon community!
CCO, Visionary Realms, Inc.
Original Producer and Co-Designer, EverQuest.
Accredited Investors please Click Here and Contact us for some exciting opportunities:
Give it a read and let us know what you think! The progress we've been making blows me away -- the team and community are simply amazing -- if you haven't checked in on us for a while, now is the time! Click on the image to go directly to the newsletter!