Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Wayward Kickstarter - Unlimited Online Tabletop RPG (a lesson in failure)

Can an interesting-looking RPG fall flat? Most assuredly. Such is the case with the Unlimited Online Tabletop RPG Kickstarter.

Let's look at some of the stumbles:

  • The name itself - Unlimited Online Tabletop RPG. Most RPGs are "unlimited". Throwing "online" into the title makes one think of an MMORPG such as World of Warcraft or EverQuest. But the point is to sell physical books. It's a confusing project from the title alone.
  • Hubris - "D3 Gaming plans to make Unlimited Online a powerful flagship in the tabletop rpg market. Our goal is a modern take on traditional TTRPG that feels familiar, while innovating new skills, locales, and tools for developing unforgettable storytelling experiences with your friends." So, is this meant to be played in person, or via VTT? Does it make a difference? How is this game tweaked for online performance? It promises a lot, yet shows little.
  • AI Art - I can't say for certain the art is AI art, but it certainly has that feel.
  • Lack of focus - cyberpunk or fantasy? Not like Shadowrun, where it's mixed, but separately. Do one thing well over two things poorly.
  • Lack of updates - it appears that early on, the creator abandoned this project. Not a single update. It should have been canceled and reworked, instead of rotting on the vine.
  • From About the Creator - "Creating is one of my greatest joys. Now is the time for me to make my mark. I will create the worlds of Unlimited Online and have no regrets, for I will try with all I have. I will bring those whom I love and hold dear on the road with me. All good journies start with good company." I believe he stopped trying.
  • Nothing about the system itself. 'Nuff said.

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1 comment:

  1. It looks like these guys (there appear to be three of them) got overly ambitious and then gave up when the world didn't buy into their hype and enthusiasm. Normally, I would say that they should have started out with either the fantasy or modern setting, but it appears that switching back and forth is built into the DNA of the webcomic they based this on. The problem is that they seem to have underestimated their property's following. Don't ask me how. I mean, don't they have view counts for these kinds of things?

    But also, why are they trying to invent their own system? Monte Cook Games did this concept of switching between worlds on a more massive scale in The Strange, using the Cypher System. There is a current Cypher System open license, and there will presumably soon be a Cypher System SRD under the ORC License. I don't know how many mechanics specifically from The Strange will be included in that SRD, but it's still a useful blueprint for doing a parrallel worlds concept using the generic Cypher System. Even better, they could have made the base product a Cypher System hack that only publishes their unique creations while requiring the Cypher System rulebook or SRD for the rest. That way, the funding goal could have been smaller (though probably not enough to get it funded at the abysmal rate they were going), and the stand-alone game could have been a stretch goal.


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