We are live on massivelyop.com now -- thanks everyone for your support!
Since 2007, gamers have been relying on Massively.com to deliver independent news and editorials about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying game (MMORPG) genre. But in early 2015, in spite of the site's strong and diverse audience and traffic, our corporate overlords decided to sunset the profitable Joystiq network and other enthusiast blogs, jettison the veteran staff with little notice, and archive our 20,000+ articles.
The former Massively crew is not giving up so easily. We provided a unique lens through which to view MMORPGs, with diligent editorial oversight, honest opinions, and truly independent coverage, and we did so sustainably. We'd like to keep on doing what we were doing only better, not just because we love MMO blogging but because we know that our community and the greater MMO fandom is unique and worth serving.
Now we're turning to our readers and fans and the genre itself to ask whether or not this is something you love and want as badly as we do. If it is, we will deliver it to you from our new MMO site: Massively Overpowered on massivelyOP.com.
Here's what Massively Overpowered can offer you, the MMO player
Corporate independence. As a small site under a large, faceless corporation, we maintained editorial control, but we were powerless to step in and change how our website looked and operated and how ad sponsors were acquired. Some of the bugs we reported and features we requested in 2010 were still not addressed by the time the lights went out in February 2015, and our website's ad structure was poorly implemented by our parent company. As our own masters, we can ensure that we have exactly the site we want, exactly the sponsors we want, and exactly the content we want. We'll never have to shrug apologetically and tell our readers, "Sorry, guys; that dead widget or broken comment form or gallery system is out of our hands."
Transparency. Ethics has been the cornerstone of our website from day one. We have always been strict about mitigating studio influence and maintaining our editorial independence. Because our funding will no longer be filtered through a distant corporation, we'll be much closer to our revenue streams. While this will ensure that our core readers have more influence over what we write about, it will also necessitate even more transparency about potential conflicts, which we will deliver unflinchingly. Just as before, we will never let our ad funding dictate our opinions. We will shut down before we do that, end of story.
Quality. At one of my first events for Massively in 2010, I told some reps from rival sites about my main role on the site: copyediting. They were dumbfounded, and I was dumbfounded that they were dumbfounded because I had no idea that most sites didn't have an editorial process, that their writers just posted what they wanted. That is not how we operate. Even when our budget was stretched thin, we insisted on checking and double-checking our articles to minimize mistakes and improve the clarity and accuracy of our work. If it's got our name on it, we want it to be good. That will never, ever change.
Experience. We're not new at this. The proposed crew of Massively Overpowered has been making a large-scale, professional blog happen every day for the last five years (some of us longer!), and some of us have been playing the games we're embedded in and are reporting on for almost two decades. We know these games and their developers inside and out, and you know we won't pull our punches. We've already got established connections with studios and fanbases and social media. We already have an existing readership. We already have a network of tech fiends and legal advisors. We know how to get this stuff done.
Community. Not quite two years ago, the head of Joystiq came to me and said, Bree, Massively is growing faster than any website on the network. What are you doing and how can we copy it? The answer was a snap: community. Our comments frequently went viral. We had streams, social media, a weekly article dedicated to highlighting articles from around the MMOverse, and writers hired straight from our readerbase. Fan interaction actually matters for MMO blogs. This is not a genre where people hide in a room and have a single-player experience, even when they are soloing; MMORPGs are social beasts, and our blog will be too. We have never been or will be mouthpieces shouting down at you. We want to inspire vibrant debate in a haven from the toxicity and harassment prevalent in other corners of the internet.
Why do we need a Kickstarter?
If there's one thing we learned from the experience of shepherding Massively.com, it's that our site could have been making more money (and therefore had more writers and content) if it had been supported and monetized better by our parent company. We probably could have gone the Patreon-only route for Massively Overpowered, but it would have been a much smaller site with fewer writers, less breadth, and less sustainability. The MMO genre is unique and deserves better. Our ambition and dream is to not only survive as we were but grow to restore content we lost in 2014's network budget slashing -- and then some.
To make Massively Overpowered both profitable and sustainable and replace the corporate infrastructure we've left behind, we need to do it the right way, all the way. We'll be a company with legal and bookkeeping support. We'll have a professional web designer and tech engineer. We'll have scalable, high-traffic hosting that can handle the hit spikes you send our way. We'll have an ad sales person who is actually a person and not an algorithm. We'll have a website that doesn't burn your eyes and widgets that actually work. And we'll have writers who are actually paid what they deserve for their considerable efforts.
To ensure sustainability and redundancy, we need multiple revenue streams. Kickstarter is the first phase of our plan; it'll allow us to repay our writers and tech experts, who are already taking risks, swallowing paycuts, and donating time, equipment, expertise, and money to Massively Overpowered. This Kickstarter will give us the time to fully establish our company, reduce our personal risks, buffer us from setbacks, and hire on the experts we need to do this right. It will not fund us forever; it will merely help us replace and improve on the backend services our parent company provided as we transfer our audience and contacts. Past the Kickstarter, we'll be funded through a combination of ethical ad sales and Patreon support, the latter of which will allow our readers to help direct the types of content they'd like to see. Our community and audience deserve better than financial instability: This is the best way to make that happen.
We're trying not to go crazy with stretch goals; the point of our Kickstarter -- and therefore, its stretch goals -- is to fund us while we secure long-term sustainability and buffer us in the event of setbacks. Here's what we've got planned as special perks if the KS does even better than we hoped:
75K STRETCH GOAL: CONVENTION COVERAGE & MO COMIC
We'll have travel budget to send writers to several major cons in 2015, including PAX East, PAX Prime, BlizzCon, and E3 (assuming E3 will recognize us as press again by then). Those of you who followed us at our old site know we took cons seriously and delivered our coverage to you quickly. We'd like to ensure we can do it again. We'll also commit to a weekly, four-panel, hand-drawn MMO comic -- starring Mo and drawn and written by Larry Everett and Jef Reahard -- for the remainder of 2015.
85K STRETCH GOAL: VIDEO CONTENT
We'll wrangle a weekly video program for the site!
Thank you, MMORPG community
Without crowdfunding, the old Massively you knew and loved is dead. Our writers would be forced to go their separate ways and scale back to small, fragmented personal blogs. But by kickstarting the former Massively.com staff's new and independent site, you'll be helping us get back to being your morning coffee buddy and your commute companion. In striking out on our own, we have a rare opportunity to escape corporate influences and build a new MMORPG site with you, our readers and commenters, at the forefront. Your encouragment and faith has meant everything to us, and you proved over the last few weeks that our words made a difference and can do so again. We know this is a big task. But we've already got the talent -- now we just need the tools. Help us restore our blog community and rebuild as Massively Overpowered.
Get the word out! Let's go be Massively Overpowered!
With love from all of us,
- Bree Royce: Editorial and project manager
- Jef Reahard: Writer and video dude
- Justin Olivetti: Podcasting pioneer and writer
- Eliot Lefebvre: Writer and more writering
- MJ Guthrie: Social media darling and streamer
- Mike Foster: Writer and streamer
- Brendan Drain: Writer and tech advisor
- Larry Everett: Writer and graphic designer
- Tina Lauro: Writer and crowdfunding advisor
Risks and challenges
Massively Overpowered's staff has been covering Kickstarted MMOs for many years; both our audience and our team have healthy skepticism for crowdfunding. We want to reiterate that there are risks inherent in our project. There is a small but non-zero possibility that our ongoing revenue needs will not be met or that we will be forced to replace writers who depart midway through the project. This Kickstarter is intended to capitalize our startup and keep us from starving while we rebuild, not to become permanent income. But Massively.com was a labor of love for us when it didn't even belong to us. Massively Overpowered is our baby. We're in this for the long haul.
The best part of our Kickstarter is that we already know what we'll be creating, and you already know what you'll be getting. We just need the tools to make it happen.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)