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PRODUCER’S LETTER – OCTOBER 2020

    • 136 posts
    October 14, 2020 1:53 PM PDT

    In this month's newsletter, Producer Ben Dean reflects on the road so far, discusses the move away from hardcoding and its impact. We also learn more about Pre-Alpha 5, including the next testing session date!

    https://www.pantheonmmo.com/news/producers-letter-october-2020/


    This post was edited by Roenick at October 14, 2020 1:54 PM PDT
    • 1 posts
    October 14, 2020 2:29 PM PDT

    It's kind of amazing to think about what has actually been accomplished so far. To basically take what you have and use that as an outline or template to rebuild the system completely to allow for better future expansion and development. I hope that I can speak for everyone and say that we are incredibly proud to be a part of this community, and are excited about the good things to come. I can't wait to be apart of this game and enjoy the incredibly hard work all of you at VR have put in so far (have to wait until Alpha personally)!

    • 1871 posts
    October 14, 2020 2:32 PM PDT

    That's spilling the beans !

     

    Good and honest informations, keep up the good work guys.

    • 1614 posts
    October 14, 2020 3:01 PM PDT

    Ah.  So that's the reason.
    I suppose having confirmation must be viewed as positive, but yowza.

    Especially in light of "We are, and always will be eternally grateful for the kindness and generosity of the community and our early investors in getting us this far, but we’re going to need more resources to get Pantheon done sooner than our modest team can realistically do by themselves in a reasonable timeframe." I would have personally kept this information confidential.

    • 113 posts
    October 14, 2020 3:27 PM PDT

    vjek said:

    Ah.  So that's the reason.
    I suppose having confirmation must be viewed as positive, but yowza.

    Especially in light of "We are, and always will be eternally grateful for the kindness and generosity of the community and our early investors in getting us this far, but we’re going to need more resources to get Pantheon done sooner than our modest team can realistically do by themselves in a reasonable timeframe." I would have personally kept this information confidential.

    I wouldn't have continued taking people's money knowing I would need an outside investor to complete this project in a reasonable amount of time.  That means if they don't get an outside investor AGAIN they're going to run out of money and either cancel this all together or start working for free because they don't have enough monthly subs at this point to pay their salaries.


    This post was edited by Frostyglitch at October 16, 2020 2:06 PM PDT
    • 1614 posts
    October 14, 2020 3:31 PM PDT

    They could have achieved that goal without the unfortunate details, in my opinion, Frostyglitch.

    • 248 posts
    October 14, 2020 3:33 PM PDT

    Thanks for the update. Very interesting read.

    • 1828 posts
    October 14, 2020 3:47 PM PDT

    I don't think VR is saying they need more money to be able to finish Pantheon.  I think they're saying that more money will allow them to finish it in a more reasonable timeframe.

    One of the themes that we constantly see in the community is "why are we nearly 7 years into this thing and still only in pre-alpha?"  I think that this producer's letter does a pretty good job of answering that question.  I also think it shows how close the game is to actually being ready for alpha.  Will that be another 3 months or will it be a year?  That all depends on funding.  More artists and more programmers help the team move faster.

    Personally, I appreciate the team being more transparent about this, even if it can feel a little off-putting.  Ever since CoE folded and even before that, there have been many voices out there on the internet saying that Pantheon was never going to happen.  There have been lots of people making all sorts of dark predictions and peddling conspiracy theories about what VR was actually doing or even simply saying that PA5 felt like a step backwards.  This Producer's letter goes a long way towards combatting that.  Yes, it's not all rainbows and unicorns, but at least in my reading it's real, and it's honest, and it's an acknowledgment that building a game to support tens of thousands (or more) of players is a bumpy road.

    I would much rather support a studio that is honest about the challenges they face and the realities of their timetable for development, than throw money at a group who only ever say that everything is fine and still don't show any appreciable progress on their product.  This letter makes me feel better about my pledge for Pantheon than any official communication has done in a while, specifically because it's acknowledging our concerns and offering a real and tangible explanation instead of meaningless platitudes.

    Everyone is of course entitled to their own interpretation but for what it's worth, I think this producer letter is a step in the right direction by VR.

    • 2 posts
    October 14, 2020 4:54 PM PDT
    It sounds like its the begining of pre alpha phase, not the last pre alpha. Everything tested up to this point was using the old client. I'd expect another year here and hopefully we will get an alpha by the end of 2021.

    At any rate, im glad they are making progress and at least being honest about where they are in terms of both the game, and funding.
    • 1143 posts
    October 14, 2020 4:57 PM PDT

    Great newsletter. The community is mature enough to know the truth and the transparency helps show you respect your audience's intelligence. We needed this.

    I'm glad to know that a lot of work done the past 2 years is to put Pantheon in a place to allow it to more easily grow.

    I have a feeling alpha will be here before we know.


    This post was edited by bigdogchris at October 14, 2020 4:59 PM PDT
    • 530 posts
    October 14, 2020 5:22 PM PDT

    Appreciate the honesty.  Finally.  Going dark with the reboot was never the way to handle this, Brad was very skeptical about that decision.  Outside of burning through pledge money, not much has changed though.  The future of this game was always going to depend on what publishers and big dollar investors thought about the Project Faerthale demo.  You guys have always been clear and honest about that.  Anyone with common sense has known that the only way an MMO can be built to the scale you guys are discussing is with many millions of investment and a much bigger team.  I'm glad you guys went for it and are putting your best foot forward, I wish you luck in landing a deal to fund this game.  I think Pantheon either folds completely or lands a big time investment deal in the next six months, maybe a little longer.  Go all out.  Chris Perkins talking about the game is your best asset.  

    • 7 posts
    October 14, 2020 6:03 PM PDT
    Sounds like the money is drying up. Unfortunate.
    • 361 posts
    October 14, 2020 6:33 PM PDT

    Thank you for the detailed newsletter. I knew that there was a lot of work still to be done but now I feel I have a much better understanding to manage my expectation. I have always felt my pledge was a donation and that it came with risks. If I had to do it all over again I would without hesitation.

    Here is hoping that others with deeper pockets will see what I see in Pantheon.

    • 200 posts
    October 14, 2020 6:36 PM PDT
    Well two things.

    First it provides confirmation for those of us who argued and believed that the project faerthale was being made as a showcase to get necessary funding to actually finish the project proven to be correct all along.

    Second, for those who are complaining about honesty, give me a break. Everyone bitched about them not being upfront for so long and now ***** because they're honest? Anyone who seriously thought they could do this thing without real funding has been deluding themselves. At least they finally displayed some honesty about the state of things.
    • 56 posts
    October 14, 2020 6:52 PM PDT

    Thank you for the transparency. I can't say I'm thrilled with the news, but as long as we don't have a repeat of Vanguard Saga of Heroes... I can understand why you are taking on a publisher.

    • 2996 posts
    October 14, 2020 7:23 PM PDT

    I find this producer's letter to be enormously refreshing in terms of the amount of information it gives and the level to which it is forthcoming. I wouldn't call prior communications dishonest but they went to great efforts to give a more positive impression than the actual facts warrented. This letter does not. 

    It basically confirms speculation here that the changes in timing and emphasis were caused by the team concluding that they weren't going to be able to launch at all as things were going, and the best hope, perhaps the only hope, was to bet everything on an extremely impressive pre-alpha or maybe alpha to generate investment. 

    Saying openly what many of us were reasonably sure of is refreshing and for me will build greater loyalty. 

    As for the acknowledgement that they are in talks with potential publishers as well as potential investors. This is neither a surprise nor a concern. Quite the opposite. Trying to self-publish would be a nightmare and would have extreme ...non-positive .... impacts on the actual development of the game itself. Moreover a known publisher would give instant credibility to a game widely beleived by many to be a low probability release.

    Even Daybreak would be a big plus if the team could keep them from destroying the game. I have never exactly been a fan of theirs but they actually have gotten better in many ways.  I remain a strong believer in the principle that a large improvement over current games should be the goal - not a perfect game satisfying all tenets of old-school orthodoxy.  If we get 5 out of 10 major goals done well I will mourn the 5 lost ones - but not nearly as much as I would mourn if we never got a game at all. 

    The perfect is the enemy of the good. Trite and hackneyed because it is so true.


    This post was edited by dorotea at October 14, 2020 7:37 PM PDT
    • 351 posts
    October 14, 2020 7:36 PM PDT

    kridak2 said:

    It was an interesting read that was a bit of a shock in some areas for sure. As a programmer it is shocking they still had hardcoding in the system...but keep at it VR...do it right please.

    Sounds more to me like PA4 had alot of hardcoded stuff in 2018 before they went dark for PF and reworked all the systems, that will now allow them to deliver content in a more expedient manner.


    This post was edited by arazons at October 14, 2020 7:44 PM PDT
    • 2996 posts
    October 14, 2020 7:40 PM PDT

    ((Sounds more to me like PA4 had alot of hardcoded stuff in 2018 before they went dark for PF and reworked all the systems, that will now allow them to deliver content in a more expedient manner.))

     

    Precisely how I read things.

    • 3268 posts
    October 14, 2020 7:40 PM PDT

    Thank you VR..this latest letter gives us all a better idea of what is happening behind the scenes.  Still here for Pantheon and STILL excited..will be there with bells on...just point me in the right direction!  

     

    Cana

    • 3268 posts
    October 14, 2020 7:42 PM PDT

    Kragen said:

    It's kind of amazing to think about what has actually been accomplished so far. To basically take what you have and use that as an outline or template to rebuild the system completely to allow for better future expansion and development. I hope that I can speak for everyone and say that we are incredibly proud to be a part of this community, and are excited about the good things to come. I can't wait to be apart of this game and enjoy the incredibly hard work all of you at VR have put in so far (have to wait until Alpha personally)!

    Exactly my feelings too Kragen. :)

    Cana

    • 3268 posts
    October 14, 2020 7:50 PM PDT

    vjek said:

    Ah.  So that's the reason.
    I suppose having confirmation must be viewed as positive, but yowza.

    Especially in light of "We are, and always will be eternally grateful for the kindness and generosity of the community and our early investors in getting us this far, but we’re going to need more resources to get Pantheon done sooner than our modest team can realistically do by themselves in a reasonable timeframe." I would have personally kept this information confidential.

    By resources and modest team...I take it as they will need to do a couple of hires...which of course requires funds.   They have been working on this a long time, they are an Indy company..and don't have the big publishers horning in and changing the Vision and the course of Pantheon.  This is OUR game ..we participate in helping where we can.   This is a hard working motivated team,  and the pledges have come in along with an angel investor or two over the years.  Once they get Pantheon where they want it,  they can exhibit it to potentially more people and have the help to get Pantheon where it needs to be.   The livestreams help get more people interested and on board.    This will happen. :)

     

    Cana

    • 1857 posts
    October 14, 2020 9:24 PM PDT
    They bit off more than they can chew.
    Stock assets would have been fine. The removal of many complicated systems would have been fine. Less detailed graphics would have been fine. Less continents, less classes, less detailed zones/vegetation/shadows etc. would have been fine.

    They got away from the niche target audience that they advertised originally and are trying to be the next big thing.
    The letter says what a lot of us have known for a long time.
    At this point clear timelines are required or it is just more talk.
    • 5 posts
    October 14, 2020 10:07 PM PDT

    philo said: At this point clear timelines are required or it is just more talk.

     

    I believe we'll get more or less precise timelines of alpha and beta at the end of PA5 if testing goes smoothly. 

    • 312 posts
    October 14, 2020 11:57 PM PDT

    I am immensely realieved by this letter.  I wish it had come in September, but that is water over the dam. It explains very well why what we saw in PA5 shakeout seemed like such a step backwards. Now VR has explained what seemed like it had to be.  Starting over.  PROTF will be the great AAA MMORPG it deserves to be.  I am beyond pumped for this game to become fully funded, developed, distributed.  

    I disagree with philo.  PROTF needs top notch graphics, full race/classes, all three continents, climates, atmospheres.  That is the game that will sell.  That is the game people will want to buy.  Timelines will come with a deal between VR and "X".  Good luck!

    • 424 posts
    October 15, 2020 2:19 AM PDT

    Thank you for the open and honest letter. Very appreciated. It is clear that there has been progress and it is ramping up. Keep it up.

    Its funny how, no matter what VR say, some people will look for the negative and jump on anything that remotely looks like a problem.

     ... but we’re going to need more resources to get Pantheon done sooner than our modest team can realistically do by themselves in a reasonable timeframe...

    Where in that quote does it say resources are drying up? They are saying, to get the game out within the time frame that some people are screaming for, they need more input, not that resources are drying up! Man, some people are perpetually doom and gloom and its always the same ones. We all should realise that this project will always need further resources until it is in a position to be sold to the public, or they get a big backing from somewhere.

    Secondly, this experience is needed so it can be shared with potential partners. Publishers and investors need to see what Pantheon is, how it plays, what it’s all about. Several parties are interested in the concept,...

    There! In that statement! It says several parties are interested! I have no problem with negative views, but sometimes it is just a winge-fest for self-import.

    Its open, honest and they just held their hands up at the lack of comms when it was needed. Give them credit! Its disappointing that we are going to be in PA5 a long while, but as long as progress is made and shown, then I for one am happy. Thank you VR. This was needed and I look forward to your "better communication".


    This post was edited by chenzeme at October 15, 2020 4:19 AM PDT