Thinking of Kickstarter? Check out Warballoon's brave breakdown of where the money goes first.

Update #19: What the hell did you do with our money?

Posted on April 15


In honor of tax day, we thought we would give some insight to our backers (as well as potential kickstarters) to how we spent the funds we were given at the end of September. Hopefully it sheds some light on why money disappears so quickly for game development.

Our kickstarter earned $36,967 after asking for $20,000 so that was incredible.

To begin with, we didn't get all of that. We lost about $2,000 to no-shows, just people that pledged and the funds did not transfer.

That got us down to $35k, and kickstarter and Amazon Payments take their portions, which got us down to right around $32,000.

Now, right off the top you had $10,000 for prize fulfillment. That includes printing the posters, the shirts and shipping everything (thanks Australia). If we had to do it again, we would have probably had the price point a bit higher for the t-shirts and posters, as those turned to be a very large expense. We also would have included the cost of a 3rd party fulfillment house - we just aren't equipped or skilled in that area, and it was (still is) something that we struggle with.

After that, we had $22,000 remaining. From there:

Music - $6,000
Attorneys, startup fees, CPA - $4000
Poster art - $2000
iPads - $1000
PAX East - $3000

TOTAL: $16,000

Leaving us with around $6000, which is income, so that was taxed (piece of advice to other kickstarters - spend that money before the end of the year).

So were right around $4000 remaining and even that cursory math isn't working as there are other things that weren't big tickets but sapped the coffers. There's odds and ends etc, so that goes rather quickly as you can imagine.

What would we do different? Keep the attorneys out of it. We got a little nervous after we recieved all the Kickstarter money and wanted to make sure our business was set up correctly. We registered our LLC's, got operating agreements etc, but in hindsight a nice piece of napkin paper probably would have done just as well. You plan for the worst (we all start hating each other and people start leaving) but if anything the team has gotten closer, so it seems like a lot of wasted money. If we could take it back we would. Maybe we will get another attorney and sue them.....wait.....

Rewards are something to watch out for as well. We just didn't fully appreciate the cost of printing 200 posters, shirts, and more than anything shipping. Shipping is a) expensive b) a pain in the ass when you have tubes and c) time consuming. None of those things are productive. We don't resent having sent that stuff off - we think the posters and shirts are awesome and we are super proud of them and it seems like everyone loved them, so thats great. But they were a lot of work.

So that gets us to the present. We have still taken a lot of debt on ourselves (over $50k), and hopefully this can help give insight to other kickstarters and would-be-developers on what to expect. We promise to keep this stuff open as possible and if you have questions, or feel like telling giving us a piece of your mind for the way we spent the money, hey, we're all ears.

Tell us your thoughts.

All that said though, its been great and the game would not be where it is if it wasn't for kickstarter. We're extremely confident were going to hit our summer release date and that never would have happened without you guys. We have made a game we're really, really proud of and you guys should be too. We have always felt an obligation to make your investment worth it, and hopefully we dont disappoint.

The Warballoon Team


I don't know anything about this game, but it's very brave of them to post the more or less exact breakdown of what happened to their cash.

Guild Wars 2 Beta: Either don't play a charr, or wait for the actual release

Incredibly beautiful world. Unfortunately, its beauty is matched by its lagginess and confusingness (lol is that even a word) and bugginess.

Especially for the charr personal story, things are so ridiculously easy up to the arena bit, the leadins of which are ridiculously easy... then the siege devourer appears. That + lagging at least 3-5 seconds on all my skills in there, not to mention moving, makes the fight impossible. Not sure what's happening there, I don't lag THAT badly anywhere else.

When I managed to finally beat it on a fluke, I couldn't figure out how on earth to get OUT of the arena, so in desperation I teleported out.

WHOOPS! Now I have to do the fight AGAIN, everything I did has been reset.


Also keep getting errors when trying to log into my existing charr, and when trying to create new characters. I have no idea whether that's because we're only allowed one character in beta, since the error messages certainly don't say *that*. So I'm left trying to log in over and over, and then seeing errors over and over.

And the LAG! Not even just on skills, MOVING seems so slow compared to GW. Not to mention the zoom. WTB MOAR ZOOM PLZ. Zoom feels like I'm stuck in a closeup. >.<

Contrast this to how amazingly smooth the intro is for a newbie in Prophecies, and how you can zoom way back to get some proper perspective.

I'm probably not touching GW2 again until the actual release. The beta can go hang.

Unhappy nugget is unhappy.

So I went and tried a human necromancer after it stopped bugging out... Uh... okay the Charr setting is gorgeous. The human one is just blah, on top of all the other problems.

The human area actually left me convinced that GW is more beautiful than GW2. The charr area at least really impressed me in terms of looks.

...I feel like someone who got engaged to this gorgeous all-round wonderful (by general repute) girly, even though there were some niggling misgivings, and who decided to BE OPTIMISTIC. And then this morning I had me a little grope and... AAAA THERE ARE TEETH WHERE TEETH SHOULD NOT BEEEEE.

._. Here's to hoping launch day doesn't make me feel the same way.

Weird: Rift is not even half as fun as Forsaken World.

Yes, a subs-based AAA fantasy MMO is not even half as fun (or IMO) even half as good as an asian F2P AAA fantasy MMO. (Not to say that I think there is anything wrong with F2P asian MMOs, just that the focus of their studios tends to be a little (ok a lot) different and the general perception of them seems to be bad.)

And this is despite these two being more or less polar opposites with where their studios and dev teams are coming from.

Rift just glows with love love love... in every aspect but its art direction, which is honestly, quite terrible.

Forsaken World just glows with love love love for profit... in every aspect, including its art direction, which is very strong.

Why do I think FW is better, and more fun?

FW has better combat mechanics.
The classes are better thought out, and combat flows more smoothly. Rift combat feels incredibly clunky and unwieldy for some reason. None of the souls I've played have really seemed to 'gel'. Be it from the press eleventy billion buttons builds that some mages have, to the press just two buttons builds that some ranged rogue builds are. FW classes, in contrast, have *flow*. Once you get into the groove, once you know what you are doing, they just *feel* right.

FW has better sound.
FW has great sound - with some classes showing it off better than others. If you have played a bard to a highish level in FW (60+), you'll KNOW the difference between how water/wind/light bards sound just by listening to them play (assuming proper play) - no need to even look at the screen. Contrast this with Rift, where everyone sounds the same. ._. Not just the players, even the mobs sound the same! As someone who usually turns off the music, but leaves the sound on, and who depends on the sound for cues on what to do next, the fact that everything in Rift sounds more or less the same is a big downer.

FW has better art direction.
FW is an attractive, vivid world. While there are some stylistic choices I may not personally like, (hrmm Stonemen), I cannot argue that they are beautiful in their own way. Whereas Rift is bland bland BLAND. And don't even get me started on mage gear. Good lord, I'm convinced Rift mages have the ugliest gear in the MMOverse, even when you discount rendering engines (of which Rift has a rather good one).

I would say those are the three main things that stand out for me. FW, while I played it, was an MMO where I looked forward to jumping into the game world. Rift is just kinda blaaaaah.

This makes me feel sad, because Trion so obviously loves its game and cares about its community. But that isn't enough to overcome the three points above. It's like eating a dish made with the finest ingredients and a great amount of love which has unfortunately, somehow turned out tasteless.

Needless to say, I won't be renewing Rift into month 3, though I wish Trion and the Rift community all the best.'s to hoping GW2 won't break my gameynugget heart.

WoW vs Rift: Cross-Server LFG/LFR isn't the only problem - Big Bear Butt Blogger » I Have Met the Asshat, and it is Dalra

Please note, there has been an update to be found at the bottom of this article on April 14th, 2012.

So, you know how I was amazed at how bad that LFR run in Dragon Soul was as a healer?

Yeah. Second round was even worse. I blame Red, I went in for more healer gear.

What we had tonight could have been a good run, except for one thing.

A single player held the fun of 24 other souls hostage… and that players name was Dalra.

Yes, that says Dalra of Icecrown US. 

Would you like to see a picture of Dalra, proud enhancement shaman, in action on the Spine of Deathwing?

Just in case that is difficult to make out, here, let me zoom out a bit.

There in the center you can see the raid group on the Hideous Amagamations in the center, up and down the line.

And there, up in the upper right hand corner, you can see Dalra, all on her own, killing a tentacle. As an Enhancement Shaman. All there, all alone, killing tentacles. Spawning adds. Lots and lots of adds.

You see that title she has? Destroyer’s End? Yep. Solid Enhancement Shaman DPS. Dual wielding, got 4 piece tier, yay.

Too bad she queued as a HEALER.

The whole Spine of Deathwing fight, Dalra did nothing except single-handedly destroy tentacles, spawning endless waves of Hideous Amalgamations and the bloods that follow.

And here is something I didn’t know. If all the tentacles are dead, a new tentacle spawns, so there is no chance of your ever accidentally killing every Hideous Amalgamation and being left with no way to nuclear blast the plates off to expose the tentacle.

I. Did. Not. Know. That.

But now I do, and I have Dalra to thank for that. So, thanks!

24 people in a raid trying their best to win and move on, and those 24 people are subject to the whims of one person, a person who has the achievement and the title of having completed it on normal, who knows what it is they are doing, and who chooses to try and screw everyone else intentionally.

For fun, I guess.

And there is nothing anyone can do about it. that is the point of this post. Once the boss is pulled, that’s it. The group has no control in any way over the outcome from that point on.

You’re done. Wipe it or push on, beat it despite them, and give them their ‘fair’ chance at loot.

Once that boss is pulled, that player is free to do whatever the hell they want for the rest of the fight.

I want to be clear on this.

The issue is not Dalra. Dalra is nothing.

Nothing unusual or special or even especially irritiating went on tonight. If Dalra logged off with warm fuzzies knowing they got a second Deathwing Axe and relic drops tonight (according to the Armory) by queueing as a healer for insta-queues, doing enhance DPS while the group was down a healer, and even intentionally screwing people by trying to wipe the run if what she wanted didn’t drop… well, most people didn’t even notice.

Apathy and expectations are so low at this point that nobody really cared. It was just faceless, nameless asshat number 45862. As the picture shows, the tone of comments weren’t outrage, just tired acceptance. “No joke, I’m tired of morons in LFR.” That’s not nerd rage, that’s apathy and acceptance that stupid is just stupid.

We went on with some other faceless clown in LFR, and finished the run. Most people, I imagine, don’t even realize that it was on purpose. They are probably so used to stupid people by now, that if anything, they just pegged Dalra as being another in a long chain of incredibly stupid players, and went on with their lives.

I know better, because after Monday night I went into Spine looking at all the tentacles to see if I could identify another asshat and get some screenshots for my own fun. AND I DID. I watched while healing my whack-a-mole frames, as Dalra didn’t even start on the normal group tentacle. Right from the start, they went to an untouched one, destroyed it very fast, went to the next, destroyed it, and so on until all four were dead. Then kept killing tentacles as they respawned. Then, when the first plate lifted, killed more tentacles. As fast as they could pop.

There was no mistake, no confusion. It was a dedicated attempt by Dalra to wipe a raid from the second it triggered Spine. And I caught it early, notified everyone, began asking for Dalra to stop right away. There was nothing anyone could do to stop her. Just watch, and do our best to heal and kill.

If anything, anyone in the guild Shining Star Crusaders should feel ashamed that Dalra is carrying your torch, representing you. I don’t know anything about Shining Star Crusaders, maybe it’s a guild on Icecrown famous for shenanigans and being trolling asshats. Maybe it’s just some dude in a basement that is so ineffectual in real life that they have to do stuff like this to feel some kind of connection with someone else. Some kind of desperate bid for attention, any kind of attention, to rise out of the meaningless morass that is their pathetic excuse for a life, something to try and prevent themselves from feeling so cold and alone in a world that hates them. And they’ve got a personal guild full of their alts. I don’t really care.

My take is as likely to be accurate as anyones, and mine at least is based on personal experience seeing one of their guild members at play when they didn’t know they were being watched somewhere that it might turn up in public later.

Update: Some folks in reading this thought it was an actual slam on the guild mentioned. I thought I had stressed in the post, fairly bluntly, that I was speculating wildly on the kind of guild that had Dalra as a member, while at the same time knowing nothing whatsoever about the truth of the guild. That I was speculating like this or ‘musing aloud’ to prove the point that Dalra was serving as my only window on the kind of guild SSC might be, because in LFR cross-server activities, I didn’t have any way of knowing anyone in that guild prior to seeing one memeber in LFR be an asshat, which is entirely UNLIKE the old style single-server runs where guilds could form lasting recognizable reputations. In point of fact, after this post went live and word about Dalra got out, SSC took immediate action, removed Dalra from their roster, and took further action to make it clear that kind of behavior was not representative of their guild in real life. Clearly, in real life the guild SSC is not actually a single kid in a basement. Some of the responses (on each side) also showed me pretty clearly that a lot of people fail at reading comprehension. At least, they do where imagined insults and direct attacks are concerned. End of update, I now return you to the original post.

Dalra is not important. This post isn’t really about Dalra.

I am simply USING Dalra as my little bitch to make a point about an extremely serious issue in live LFR.

Just over a month of Rift has convinced me that it *isn't* just random cross-server LFG that has made the WoW PUGging community so toxic. (Went back 1 month for Cataclysm, levelled AGAIN from 1-85, unsubbed and never want to go back blah de blah.)

I used to think that cross-server LFG which was 'after my time' (I first unsubbed for 2+ years at the end of TBC), was the main reason for the utterly horrible experience of the WoW community that confronted me on my short stint back for Cata. It was so bad I started trying psych experiments on my PUGs. =P Results, inconclusive due to sample size, but still kinda interesting, detailed here:

Other folks are welcome to try it!

But the thing is, Rift has almost exactly the same mechanic and people are so damn POLITE! At the very *least* they are civil 95% of the time. On good runs, they are kind, considerate, and sometimes even funny and charming.

Even though they've more or less duplicated WoW's LFG system.

This in turn convinces me that the horror that is the WoW community (PUGwise) is a lot more to do with a) evolution of that community, and b) existing culture influencing the behaviour of new folks.

Or rather, of turds seeing other turds act like turds and thereby feeling happy in knowing that their turdiness is the acceptable norm.

From what I can see, there's no reason Rift PUGging shouldn't be the cesspit that WoW's is - but it just isn't.

Same with the arena-based PvP and general PvP culture in Guild Wars. Yes there is a certain degree of elitism, some might even say a lot of it. But I will say that as a scrub PvPer, Guild Wars PvPers are in general incredibly civil. GW was the first place I ever saw the opposing team thank their opponents for the match. See them say 'GG (Good Game / Good Going)' and not have it be sarcastic.

More studios need to see that the culture of their community matters, and address it throughout the life-cycle of their games.

Cataclysm was *beautiful*. Sylvanas never looked so hot. Blizzard obviously put so much love into it. And despite that, I'll never touch WoW again with a 10-foot pole now. I left TBC thinking I could go back someday and maybe, maybe like it, if I had a fresh start. Cata made me realise that for me, in WoW, there's nothing to go back to.

Rift: Inventory Issues

You know you have a problem when you renew a subscription to a game you're not all that taken with, simply because you've stuffed your alts mailboxes with too much crap and need time to clear it all.

P.S. Rift is very generous with bag space, it's me that's the issue. *mourn*

It's not that I resent more people liking pie. It's just that I want there to be my particular favourite flavour of pie, too.

Immersion isn’t a mass market activity in that sense, because most people are comfortable being who they are and where they are. It’s us crazy dreamers who are unmoored, and who always seek out secondary worlds.

It’s just that games aren’t just for crazy dreamers anymore.

Please, always let there be people making pies for crazy dreamers. :(

P.S. In Koster's LegendMUD, I found the only virtual world I have EVER truly 'lived' in. The man knows what he's talking about, when it comes to immersion.

Moar thoughts:
There were a lot of responses to Raph's post, and a lot of them arguing that he defined immersion incorrectly.

What really struck a chord with me when I read his post though, was that my idea of immersion is being able to actually live in a world. Where, much like being immersed in a good book - everything goes away. Even 'you' go away. 'You' can be someone else so not yourself, that it's like a vacation from yourself. Movies don't give me that - in movies, no matter how entertained I am, I'm always an observer. Same with MMOs.

It's also not so much needing to feel that your choices can affect the fate of the world in any dramatic way - seriously, I don't feel that in real life, and I live there some of the time! But more the feeling that your choices in the world matter to YOU on a personal and emotional level, as well as an economic one (woot, moar stats always shiny).

Immersion for me, is where the people you deal with have their contextual and emotional reality tied into the world you are both/all inhabiting, where everyone makes sense in the context of said world. Has a context in said world. Has a... meaning in said world.

This is not something any MMO has ever given me. No MMO has given me the feeling that the other people I've dealt with are a living and breathing part of the world we inhabited, that they were grounded in it, rooted in it, had a history in it, could not be the same anywhere else, in any other world. To be quite honest, the social side of MMOs that isn't tied to game architecture seems very much like a glorified chatroom.

...that's what I think of, when I think of immersion.

...that's what I've been mourning ever since I left LegendMUD.

Giving Your Players a Voice: Lessons from EVE Online

On the front line in the battle between CCP and its customers over the fate of EVE is the Council of Stellar Management (CSM), a democratically-elected group of player representatives who have been granted stakeholder status in the company's development process. This body, at times, acts as a sounding board, an advocacy group, or in direct opposition to CCP's business

CCP has granted the CSM extraordinary power in terms of the access it has to the developers; several times a year the CSM is flown to the company headquarters in Iceland for days of arduous meetings. When a crisis within the game erupts, such as in 2010's "Summer of Rage" or the recent Monoclegate, in which players revolted when the company introduced virtual items, CCP calls in the CSM to attempt to mediate.

Initially written off by some as a PR stunt, the CSM has developed since its introduction in 2008 into a powerful advocate. Mostly the CSM functions as a sanity check for mid-level developers within CCP to bounce game design ideas off of; since EVE is such a complex universe, it's impossible for every game designer to have personal experience with every aspect of the game.

At other times, however, the CSM has been an outside source of pressure against CCP's management when it makes decisions which overrule the desires of their customers and the game designers, marshaling an impressive nexus of contacts in the gaming media and the player base to get that point across.

Because of that, the CSM project seems like a double-edged sword for CCP from a business perspective. At one level, the CSM has improved the quality of the game and the lives of the players -- and thus CCP's bottom line. On another level, it has shown that a player advocacy group will not be co-opted by the sponsoring developer, and can focus player dissatisfaction into concrete action that can impact the company's balance sheet. A little democracy is a dangerous thing.

Yet, on the whole, the CSM project has been on the side of CCP's bottom line since the beginning. The CSM was vehemently critical of the Tyrannis and Incarna expansions before their releases, both of which were duds -- duds which came to threaten the company's survival. The Crucible expansion, on the other hand, is a laundry list of CSM-sponsored changes to the core gameplay of EVE, and the disaffected customer base has responded by re-subscribing in droves. Democracy can be dangerous if you defy it, but profitable if obeyed.

Fascinating stuff - weighs the pros and cons of EVE's CSM. Especially interesting is how it highlights what a double-edged sword this level of customer involvement is in terms of the bottom-line, with examples of both good and scenarios.

I don't play EVE, but I definitely think they deserve kudos for pursuing a model no one else is even remotely close to trying - and succeeding with it against all expectations.