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Dynamic & immersive MMORPG where your character ages & dies in a fully destructible world with non-repeatable quests.
Dynamic & immersive MMORPG where your character ages & dies in a fully destructible world with non-repeatable quests.
Dynamic & immersive MMORPG where your character ages & dies in a fully destructible world with non-repeatable quests.
10,752 backers pledged $1,361,435 to help bring this project to life.

Stretch Goals Explained

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Hey Kickstarter!

After taking a full day to analyze the players' poll and compare the results against development costs, we've come up with what believe is the most logical, most rewarding set of stretch goals possible.

Before we reveal them though, I wanted to take a moment to explain the logic and rationale behind the ordering of the stretch goals. Why? Because I believe there will be some concern about the ordering and I wanted an opportunity to address those concerns before people see the list. So here goes...

Launch Value vs. Delayed Introduction
The first thing we did when looking at the poll was to take the items and analyze the actual launch value of the rewards. What I mean by launch-value is, how much value the item provides at launch vs. some time after launch - or if it even makes sense after launch. Those things which we felt were more valuable (or only valuable) at launch, were weighted higher.

Right off, we noticed that the following things provided no less value some time after launch than they do at the beginning:

  • Tunneling - could require technology
  • Mounted Combat - requires advanced skill
  • Natural Disasters - shouldn't happen right away anyways
  • Heirlooms - requires 1+ generation to be at all useful

Meanwhile, we felt these things were really only valuable if they are there from the very beginning. In some cases (*), they can only be released at the beginning:

  • Gaming / Gambling
  • Wards of the State*
  • Limited-Edition Pet Phoenix*
  • Backer Exclusive Mount/Breed/Gender*
  • Angelica's Tears*
  • Religious Shrines*

While Gaming / Gambling can be released post-launch, we felt it would be to the detriment of the game. Gathering in inns/taverns not only to eat/drink but to play games, be social, etc... is vital to creating the type of community within the game we want to create. For that reason, we felt it would be significantly less valuable introduced later, once social conventions are established in the world.

Development Costs
After weighting the items based on whether or not the reward tier needed/should be at launch, we took into account developer resources. In order to release the base version of the game requires 100% of our current resources. That is, the programmers, animators, artists, and designers are 100% booked up. So adding even one more task to their schedule could cause them to fall behind. Think of adding even a single drop of water to a glass that's 100% full. 

So that means that adding new stretch goals to the game requires the addition of new resources. At Soulbound Studios we generally break our resources up as follows:

  • P - Programmers
  • A - Animators
  • C - Character Artists
  • E - Environment Artists

We say that sitting down to schedule our tasks is to PACE ourselves. Of course, we have designers, UI/UX, and Sound Engineers as well, but then it becomes "Paused", "Spaced", or "Sauced" - none of which are appropriate acronyms for a planning meeting. 

In any event, since we know that new stretch goals require hiring new resources, it makes even the smallest stretch goal "appear" expensive. For example, adding on the "Seeds of Anglica's Tear" means hiring a new environment artist, who probably shouldn't be fired after the task is complete, so must be employed for the next 18 months. That means there's a cost of (after salary, insurance, hardware, morale events, etc.) about $150k to hire the environment artist.

So the stupid seeds and trees cost $150k!? Yep. But the good news is, after finishing the seeds/trees, they're free to move on to other tasks for the next 17 months. That means that any stretch goals beyond the first that require an environment artist, don't require additional costs for a new environment artist.

The reason I'm telling you this is because if you take Tunneling, which requires a new Programmer, Environment Artist, and some UI/UX, it comes with a cost of about $400k in new employees/assets. So if we set that as the first stretch goal (per the vote), it would mean that the first stretch goal wouldn't happen until $1.3M. That's a huge gap from $900k with no rewards/new features for backers.

So rather than put Tunneling first, we put other stuff first that requires a new programmer, environment artist, and UI/UX, thus allowing for more frequent stretch goals, while making Tunneling significantly less expensive (since the new employees have already been hired for previous stretch goals in the list). 

Priority vs. Stretch Goal Order
The next thing I wanted to touch on is order of stretch goals as a matter of priority. That is, it's natural to perceive things at the beginning of the stretch goal list as having higher priority than stuff that comes later. However, that's not true. Per the previous discussion, the ordering is based on ensuring a good spread of rewards, making sure that we're more likely to get in features that *have* to be in at the beginning, and making sure that the items people voted on appear as soon as they can, given the previous two points.

But, and this is important, if a later stretch goal is achieved, it can (and often does) take a higher priority than lower rewards in terms of which order we implement things. So don't assume that we're connecting the order of rewards with either the order we implement things, or the amount of time/energy we plan to spend on things.

Stretch Goals Beyond Kickstarter
The final thing I wanted to touch on is that the stretch goals will continue beyond the Kickstarter. We'll be putting PayPal up on our website so that people can continue to support us, upgrade their reward tiers, etc. This means that even if we don't hit the higher stretch goals within the next 19 days, it doesn't mean we won't hit them.

Also, there's some items left off of the stretch goal list. We still plan to add them to the list, but figured we might as well wait until this list is near completion.

Stretch Goals
With all that said, here are the stretch goals:

  • ($1,050,000) Reward: Seeds of Angelica's Tear
  • ($1,300,000) Feature: Wards 
  • ($1,350,000) Reward: Religious Statues 
  • ($1,500,000) Feature: Gambling / Gaming 
  • ($1,650,000) Reward: Backer Exclusive Pet/Mount Breed & Customization 
  • ($1,750,000) Feature: Tunneling 
  • ($1,800,000) Reward: Pheonix Pet 
  • ($2,000,000) Feature: Digging / Burying / Sensory Map 
  • ($2,100,000) Reward: Mac/Linux/VR Support 
  • ($2,250,000) Feature: Mounted Combat 

Expanded Stretch Goal Logic
As stated before, Seeds, Wards, Religious Statues, and Gambling are put as high as they are because we felt if they didn't get released as part of the launch-product, they probably wouldn't be added in at all.

Also, by having those in, it gives us a reason to hire a Programmer, Environment Artist, Animator, etc... making the later goals less expensive.

Religious Statues in particular are where they are because we believe people under-valued what they add to the world. Think 7 Wonders of the World. People will travel across Kingdoms to be near the shrines. And it makes the starting settlements stand out significantly from the other settlements.

Backer Exclusive Pet/Mount/Breed & Customization is higher than Phoenix because it applies to more people. The Phoenix pet only applies to people Beastmaster & higher.

Tunneling is where it is because it's the first place where we could put a non-required launch feature. We wanted that to be as early as possible, and wish it could be higher, but didn't feel it was worth sacrificing any of the features to see it at launch.

The rest of the features are where they are because beyond Tunneling/Phoenix we have to hire a new programmer again. Given that, the costs go up again. 

EU Beta / Alpha Server
One feature that's notably absent from the list are Alpha / Beta servers for EU. We're planning to add those back to the list, but on a different metric. We're planning to add EU Alpha / Beta test servers back based on the number of EU backers.

We spoke to a number of EU folks and they said they've always tested on NA servers in the past, and are more or less ok with that. The added benefits for having an EU server are obvious, but there's an added cost to us. Even a small world can cost thousands of dollars to run as a test environment, and if we're only going to have a couple hundred testers, then the amount of bugs we'll uncover relative to the cost is quite low.

So once we know more about expected server costs, we'll plan to open up an EU Alpha / Beta server if we can get a minimum number of European backers. That seems to be the best compromise.

Well all, that's officially the longest update to date. Thank you again for your continued support, and while we know we can't please everyone, we hope you at least understand and respect how the decisions were made. Thanks again!

Cheers!
-Jeromy Walsh

Comments

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    1. Missing avatar

      Peter Magnusson on

      I need $2,100,000 to happen! :D

    2. Draco18s on

      I'd be interested in seeing how the early stretch goals manage the divvy up of programmers and artists and how it combines with the later goals. You explained how you went about doing it, but I'm interested in seeing the actual breakdown.

    3. Jordan Ambridge on

      Pretty sad that you've pushed voip to the side with no explanation, especially when it was voted higher than a bunch of other features/rewards that somehow ended up on the stretch goals. I'll forgive you though if you deliver a polished game that I can play for years on end.

    4. Trisha on

      How will the phoenix pet's rebirth be balanced with other pets? Since other pets can perma-die, will they be easier to obtain in-game? And/or will there be other benefits to non-phoenix pets that may be advantageous enough to risk losing your beloved pet?

      Thanks!

    5. Missing avatar

      Nikolai Janikowski on

      @TJ i think they mean that having a natural disaster during the exposition period or too close to launch, would kind of defeat the purpose of the exposition, that is to build up the worlds infrastructure and economy, both thins a natural disaster would probably damage. so its not so much a realism thing, as a bad idea from a game design perspective.

    6. Missing avatar

      TJ on

      Thanks Jeromy for another great update.

      If you don't mind, I would like to put my two cents in for one note regarding the Natural disasters:

      "Natural Disasters - shouldn't happen right away anyways"

      Unless the story somehow changes this, I would think we as players would be entering into an existing environment that has been around far longer than we (the characters) have, and so it is completely feasible from that standpoint that a natural disaster occurs on day one. It would be unfortunate for any player caught in it, but it could still theoretically happen and I would imagine be rather interesting to deal with as a new player, and it might even be an interesting way into a particular community(NPC or not) if we come by a village that is ravaged by a mudslide or blizzard and we help restore things to the way they were.

      anyway just a thought. Natural disasters or no on day 1 I am still very much looking forward to spending many hours in this game.

    7. Missing avatar

      Isaiah Yarbrough on

      Business sense, sounds great :)
      Also, the best games I have ever played had users from all over the world on the same servers.

    8. Missing avatar

      Chidar on

      lol@Jessika S.
      So funny, I really don't think the Dev's are going to be concerned about e-peen bun fights when they decide on server locations & estimate usage rates. They might however give you a /ignore function so you don't have to listen.

    9. melibabe on

      @Soulbound Studios Happy to hear about the practical limits on Wards.Thanks for the note and for the links!

    10. Missing avatar

      Arminas Meskauskas on

      @Jessika S.
      If the developers had to lock servers, that would mean that they would have to open a lot more servers and that would mean that less people will be in the game that you might find through out the world (Remember this game is a player developed. Example, less contracts, less trades with other players and a lot less interactions, plus it would burden the studio even more for maintenance, what I mean by that is "Costs"). And not to sound rude, I had been playing quite a few MMO's in EU and NA servers, but never in my life, had I ever a discussion about which country is better. Never.

    11. Missing avatar

      deleted on

      This user's account has been deleted.

    12. Missing avatar

      Rick V. on

      @Damien - From what I've read, there won't be alpha/beta servers for Oceania. The team has plans for a game servers in OC when the game is released though!

    13. Jeremy Hehl on

      @Soulbound Studios thanks for letting me (us) know what's happening with the Revival Feather :-)

    14. Missing avatar

      Silence Will Fall on

      Great update. I'm pleased to read some good sense.

      Please, don't listen to Jessica S and don't lock the servers, that would be unfair and restrictive, thanks.

    15. DP on

      *all in the bag ( we need to be able to edit in these posts )

    16. DP on

      Now, if only the rest of the 35,000 get the base game, we'll have it all in the back on up to mounted combat... easily. Come on "on the fence" Elyrians!!!

    17. Rob Kloes on

      I'm very leery of stretch goals. 'We' backed the project based on the original plans for the game. All these extra things are nice, but not really necessary. I would much rather see the original plan executed as best as possible, and see that go live. Any extra funding can be used to polish the base game further, or used for new features and expansions after release. All these 'nice to haves' only delay the game and increase the risk it never makes it out of the door.

    18. Missing avatar

      Jon Ayers on

      @Soulbound Studios

      This update gave me much peace mind that your team is thoughtful, realistic, and communicative. I appreciate you taking the time to explain in detail to your backers why these decisions were made. I am fully content with the outcome of stretch goals. Keep up the amazing work! I'm really looking forward to playing CoE.

    19. Jessika S. on

      Alpha/Beta servers are fine to mix Regions up with. I don't mean to sound rude, But...

      At release please LOCK the Regions. US Players play on US Servers, EU Players play on EU servers, AUS Players play on AUS servers.

      That will stop many heated arguments in game.

      Sure....People will say "But I have friends overseas ect". Well....

      There are far more players in today's society from different countries that would rather argue about who's country is superior, than there are players with overseas Friends to play with.

      Sadly!

      Please Lock Server Regions.

      Thank you.

    20. Missing avatar

      Arminas Meskauskas on

      About the EU Beta and Alpha Servers, I'm not really bothered if the servers are only American, as long as we, the EU can connect to them, other than that, I am fine with that.

    21. TigsKC on

      While I would have enjoyed seeing some of the sexier Features earlier and at lower amounts, I certainly understand and respect how you came up with this list. Bect of luck!

    22. Missing avatar

      David Andrew Reeves on

      @ Stacey Lackey
      We could only dream mate. Only Eur based in Germany for starters, I do hope they they get more regional areas as the community grows!

    23. Stacey Lackey on

      Also, I'm particularly glad that you explained things because I had some regret after voting on the Poll.

      I'd realized afterwards that I wished I had voted for rewards (even though I don't need anymore rewards) because I would much rather you guys work on what you have so far and polish it before adding more to the plate, so to speak.

      I've seen quite a lot of others express this as well, but I, like the others, was blinded by the shininess of the features. :P

    24. Damien Moroz on

      Will there also be Oceanic or SEA servers available for alpha/beta launch?

    25. Stacey Lackey on

      @Soulbound Studios
      Thank you for giving us a detailed explanation, as usual, and helping us to better understand the reasoning behind your decisions.

      After reading about the thought processes that went into making these stretch goals, and the omission of the other goals, I really agree with, and appreciate, the results.

    26. Missing avatar

      Xelosu on

      @Thomas MARTIN
      This info is already available in the community tab.

    27. Oije on

      Thanks for the detailed explanation how your decision process is working. As an EU Backer I understand that your economic concerns. Maybe you can publish a diagram where we can see from where your backer are.

    28. Missing avatar

      David Andrew Reeves on

      Having a vote was one thing, having my selections be pushed back because of cost is natural, system you have put in place for stretch goals, well in a word Fair :D

      Once people get over their initial "oh no gank fest game" and start seeing what you're trying to achieve, we'll see the game community grow no doubt there.

      quick question though, Do you plan on some form of web interaction for the group within the community?

      As it stands, Star Citizen need more in this area. It's going to be awhile for us, and I'd like some way we can see the community get involved and start mustering together into groups (need a better word than Guild seriously). Just a thought ;)

    29. Missing avatar

      Adam Sherlock on

      I was referring to tunneling and I'm neither for nor against this list. I was much more interested in their methodology of coming up with it as I feel that's much more telling than the list itself.

      @CuteLittlePuppyDog You misquoted (Internets fault most likely) that was Voltaire who said that

      The quote I think fits for this post is:

      "Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible." Frank Zappa

    30. Shambler on

      Just do the best to the game attainment, just without stretch goals seems a huge task, good luck.

    31. Chandler Thomas on

      I gotta say, the amount of communication you guys have has certainly been my absolute favorite aspect of this project! I hope we can get the full amount filled! Thank you guys so much for all the information and taking time out to say not only /what/ you're doing but /why/.

    32. Missing avatar

      Ulfnaor on

      While I wish the list was a bit different, I appreciate the honesty and transparency.

      So far, you guys haven't disappointed. I'll trust your best judgement on this.

    33. Missing avatar

      Rick V. on

      @Bark - EU servers are going to happen. It's only the alpha/beta servers in the EU that are questionable at the moment.

    34. Missing avatar

      Rick V. on

      @Rance - The fact that the Soulbound team mentioned Mac/Linux at all indicates that they have a desire to provide functionality to those operating systems. I hope you can see it from the viewpoint of an indie gaming software company as well. They would really have to see a return on investment in order to prioritize that option higher. As it is, most Mac/Linus users have no problem playing Windows based games due to emulators or dual boot setups. So tell the growing Linux community to back this game so they have another great game option native to them.

    35. Missing avatar

      Bark on

      This does not give me any assurance about European servers coming out at all. Since the not enough european backers could very easily become not enough players. Since the tiers will be available through the website, I am in no hurry. I tend to withdraw my pledge.

    36. Missing avatar

      Nick Louie on

      Thanks for bringing us into the world of game development. I know it can be tough for some who didn't hear exactly what they wanted, but I appreciate the transparency and being able to see the careful consideration that is being put into these decisions.

    37. Missing avatar

      Carina Ruth on

      Just wanted to say that I appreciate the time and effort you put into explaining your rationale for decision-making. It must cost you a lot of brainpower to put it all in words, so kudos to you for that.

    38. Missing avatar

      Rance Justice on

      I understand some of the rationale for these goals, but there is one in particular I'm worried to see so far down on the list "Mac/Linux/VR Support". As a Linux preferring backer, this concerns me on a number of levels.

      First of all, I would urge you to split off "VR" from Mac/Linux. VR requires a completely different set of technologies, hardware etc... and by nature comes after supporting operating systems. By nature, all users with a VR headset are using an operating system and it will not likely widen the audience for the game, as CoE is not designed from the ground up to be a "VR Required" title, nor should it be. If anything, VR support seems like something that could be added later, but I suggest keeping a few elements in mind while you develop the rest, like combat and whatnot, so that head-bob or other VR unfriendly issues aren't built in to the point they can't be tweaked etc. So please, remove VR and make it a separate project as opposed to operating systems.

      Now, seeing Mac and Linux is added as a stretch goal is a bit of a concern, especially looking over the FAQ which specifically makes note of "PC", and speaks of Unreal Engine's support for PC operating systems like Windows, Mac and Linux alongside consoles. Please don't use "PC as shorthand for "Windows", as when those who prefer other OSes see someone mention "PC" and then list Mac and Linux, it isn't an unrealistic assumption to think that support of them is very likely.

      That said, I'm a bit disappointed that Mac and especially Linux support is not an officially planned feature and even as a high-target stretch goal it worries me. Quite simply, if developers do not make it a core principle of supporting multiple OSes, its far too easy to journey too far off the path when developing. The most common pitfall is getting stuck in proprietary APIs, tools, and technologies. While its great you're using Unreal Engine which supports Linux and Mac, unless you make it a critical goal, you may be faced with someone proposing building part of the game with a WIndows based technology that say, requires DirectX instead of OpenGL or Vulkan. Heck, it could affect the very developers you hire, who may solely be practiced in one kind of single-platform tool or another. So things keep getting pushed back, and then when/if you don't simply dismiss Mac/Linux support entirely, the cost of going back and porting over might be something you didn't account for, and wouldn't be at all had you developed with a multiplatform focus from the first place.

      Mac and (especially) Linux gamers are a growing populace who are willing to help in the project as they can, and vehemently support - fiscally and otherwise - those who cater to their platform of choice. Many of the successful crowdfunded MMOs, such as Star Citizen and Shroud of the Avatar, as well as countless smaller titles, have embraced Linux/Mac development in different ways, but knowing they are coming has been fortuitous, growing the game population of paying players. Please make a decision that from the very start, you will support these operating systems and make that a part of your scheduling and development plans. I think many of my fellow Linux gamers would understand if during the years of development our client was not always at parity, or plain came later than the Windows one, but please tell us that you will at least ensure that our O is part of the plan, and thus we don't have to worry about being "squeezed out" down the road as development is pulled in another direction. You mention that many other goals seem to have the greatest impact if placed early in the sequence, and for these reasons I believe that Linux (and Mac) support is possibly one of the most important elements that, if not developed for immediately, must be considered from the very beginning in all development, so that all platforms will thrive harmoniously.

      Thank you for any clarification.

    39. Soulbound Studios Creator on

      @Lee: Not at all. We didn't feel like we did a credible job explaining our vision for the religious idols.

      Elyria is divided up into multiple religions, each of which have their beliefs about how the world was created, what happened to the gods, and why Mann-kind exists. Much of the 10-year story revolves around these religions.

    40. Lee Sweeney on

      Religious Statues in particular are where they are because we believe people under-valued what they add to the world. Think 7 Wonders of the World. People will travel across Kingdoms to be near the shrines. And it makes the starting settlements stand out significantly from the other settlements.

      Really, we were just to dumb to see it is why it is there?

    41. Kickbacker
      Superbacker
      on

      @Souldbound,
      Might the expanded Makers' Marks be added in the next batch of stretch goals?

    42. Kyle Harpster on

      I don't like these goals. This whole thing makes me extremely concerned. It makes me question the whole project and the team making it.

    43. Soulbound Studios Creator on

      @Melibabe & @Amberic - The number of Wards available will be limited by a town's space in their orphanage. If towns don't invest in space & rooms in an orphanage, there will be fewer Wards allowed in the world. So it somewhat self-regulates itself.

    44. Soulbound Studios Creator on

      @Jeremy - We're looking into some balance issues for the feather. It may come in later, may not.

    45. Soulbound Studios Creator on

      @Kickbacker - We'll be able to do any of these if we hit the stretch goal amount within 6 months. That's about the max we could do.

    46. Lysette on

      Go go 1.35! I would *love* to see the whole full list funded, but this game will be so much better with Wards, and the states could really add to the world.

    47. Lee Johnson on

      I think we all should remember that a lot of the funds beyond 900k will be going toward making the base game higher quality. So it may seem like low payoff for some of these stretch goals, but you're getting a lot more than just that.

    48. Missing avatar

      Shadowfox on

      @Kickbacker Very nice that would be a good piece of info to have that way at certain intervals when pledging switches to their website, everyone would be able to rally with the funding at certain times. Great idea!

    49. Kickbacker
      Superbacker
      on

      Thank you for the breakdown and thorough explanation. I'm relieved that you are taking the conservative approach.

      One piece of information that would be helpful would be to know when you would need each stretch goal reached to ensure that the mechanic or reward is added and fully functional in the game by Exposition, or at least your best estimates.