Crazier Kickstarter Reward Ideas

Thanks again for the feedback on Kickstarter! I’m definitely going to use some of the easier suggestions, such as getting your name in the credits, a unique appearance item, and maybe a special border around your character’s name. And I have some other fun low-cost ideas too.

Some of your suggestions were good but would have to be too expensive… for example, to add a custom quest (I mean something with meat, not just a trivial kill-10-rats quest) would have to cost at least $500, and probably more like $1000+ depending on complexity. So I won’t bother listing those sorts of rewards; don’t want to seem too crazy.

But one idea that was repeatedly mentioned was custom NPC dialog. And I can do something like that without too much cost. So let me pitch you some ideas for NPC customization, plus some other high-end reward possibilities.

So… do these sound exciting? Or game-ruining? These are $50+ rewards, so I’m not going to use all of these, and they won’t get heavily purchased anyway since they’re more costly… but if they sound really broken or unfair, let me know:

Name an NPC: Pitch me a name for an NPC (plus gender/race if you like). Subject to approval — if I can’t use it I’ll keep asking for new names until I get one I can use.

Get Mentioned By NPCs: You can reserve your character name, and NPCs will have idle chit-chat dialog that mentions you. You can specify whether you want them to be discussing your heroic deeds, your epic embarrassments, or just general good vibes. (If your character is going to be an elf, “epic embarrassments” are probably rated R, just a warning.)

Create an NPC: Provide the name and some basic stats about an NPC (race, gender, general appearance, personality traits), including a catchphrase and any salient dialog you feel helps make the character. (Subject to editing and approval.)

Unique Crafting Recipe: one of your characters gets the ability to craft an item that nobody else will ever be able to craft. These are top-level items with unusual appearances and/or stats. They’re likely to be niche items, but very useful for certain very specific builds. (You’d get a random recipe from a pool of 20.)

Add Your Favorite Food: Tell me what your favorite food is, and I’ll make sure it’s in the game. For instance, if you like apple pie, and your character is going to be Bob, I’ll make sure there’s a recipe for Bob’s Apple Pie in the game. Your character will know how to make this food, and you’ll get a few copies of the recipe to give to friends. (Other people can find the recipes in loot, but they’ll likely be very rare loot drops.)

Rare Portal Summoning: I haven’t really talked about travel systems, but one of them is teleportation. Everyone can teleport themselves to certain locations, but it’s much more rare to be able to create a portal that lets anybody go there. (You have to find a rare recipe to learn each possible location.) This award gives you the ability to summon portals to a handful of useful locations.

Random Rare Pet: The animal husbandry system lets you breed animals to discover different appearances and better attributes. This kickstarter reward would pre-fill your stable with a rare pet, giving you a head start on breeding a specific (randomly-chosen) rare creature appearance. Some people get rare tigers, but some people get rare snails, so it’s the luck of the draw. (I haven’t talked about animal husbandry yet, but I’m excited about it — you can even sell your custom-bred animals to other players. But breeding/selling requires a bunch of skills and levels, which aren’t included with this award… this is just a rare pet, for when you get there.)

Admin Command: Once per week, you can use the “/smite” command to instantly kill another player. Remember that this is a PvE game, so this won’t gain you any dramatic advantage. However, it will surprise the heck out of somebody who’s being obnoxious in chat! (On the other hand, unusual deaths give big “Death XP” bonuses, so other players may end up begging you to kill them so they can earn the XP for your unique death method.) The slain player will receive a message that they were “kickstarted to death.” For obvious reasons of game sanity, this would need to cost a bunch, and I’d only want to give out, say, 20 of these awards in any case.

[Okay that last one sounds too scary, right? I really doubt it would be a problem, but it sounds scary...]


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17 Responses to Crazier Kickstarter Reward Ideas

  1. Elbrasch says:

    The last one sounds great :)

  2. Conor says:

    “Create an NPC” seems much more interesting than just “Name an NPC.” I really like “Get mentioned by an NPC” too, but I think people will want to be a little more specific — for example “my character is Jane and she’s a good singer,” or “my character is Bart and he’s a terrible cook.”

    Unique item recipes sound potentially broken.

    On the other hand, Bob’s Apple Pie sounds like a lot of fun. Go even further, and make it so it doesn’t exist ANYWHERE in the world… but Bob starts out knowing the recipe, and anyone who knows the recipe can teach any number of other players. Some players would spread their knowledge far and wide… some would keep it for themselves… some might try to trade it for favors or develop a “secret recipe club”… could be a pretty interesting community feature. :)

    I’m indifferent towards Portals and Pet Breeding. They seem hard to explain to a newcomer.

    /smite sounds awesome. There’s your $1000 reward, imho. I know you don’t want to seem crazy or arrogant, but you ARE making a 3D MMO by yourself… :)

  3. Zik says:

    /smite sounds awesome. The death should be something spectacular, too – I’m envisioning something like the Death Star exploding, complete with shock waves that knock over other players in the area (and leave a scorch mark on the ground).

    Not too crazy about the unique crafting recipe. What if I envisioned my character as a spell caster but my random recipe was for brass knuckles? I’d feel it was a waste.

    Favorite food one sounds like a lot of fun. I especially like that the character’s name is in the title.

    Create an NPC also sounds like a lot of fun, and way better than just naming an NPC, so I don’t think you need both. Being mentioned by NPCs is a good idea too, and a kickstarter option that includes both create and mention would probably do well.

  4. Yeebo says:

    The cosmetic item and the rare pet both sound really good to me.

  5. Dave Rickey says:

    One I was thinking about almost a year ago when I was looking at Kickstarter (before Doublefine brought it to everyone’s attention) for an RTS single-player campaign was “Audition to voice a character”. Would attract people, let them really *be* part of the development of the game if they were selected, and bonus: Free voice acting.


  6. Espoire says:

    Honestly, the only one of these that I feel might breed resentment in the general player-base is the unique crafting recipes. You run the risk of that item feeling “mandatory” for its niche (or, worse, not being as niche as you hoped.) If you have a problem with power creep in future, you may also annoy the donors that got that reward, as it might make it irrelevant.

    /smite is funny as hell. Particularly so because of the death skill.

  7. Jason says:

    Getting mentioned by a NPC. This is a cool one, I know lots of players in games that RP would love. One thing I’d recommend, however, is to make sure the mention is in context. That is, saying “so and so the player” would break immersion, but saying “adventurer so-and-so” or “so-and-so the dragon-slayer” would be in-context and be very cool for game immersion.

    Unique Crafting recipe. Rather than giving a player a specific item that nobody else can craft, I’d suggest you instead name an item after them. “Bob’s Steel-Toed Boots” for example. Then let people purchase or acquire the recipe and make them. This way it feels less like favoritism and more like that player has gained reknown.

    The main thing you have to be very careful of is the sense of favoritism. Yes, these players are paying money up front to help fund development, but that doesn’t make them less valued than players who will pay you money later to play the game. Giving players objects or powers that others cannot receive simply because they paid money (pay-to-win) is hated by many gamers and may well turn players away from your game later if the objects they are given give them a) too much power or b) a sense of entitlement.

    Its a slippery road, one you have to work to avoid, once you start using the player-base to develop content or including them too much in your development process.

  8. Timulus says:

    I really like the idea of having an NPC talk about your character. Not only does it create an interesting bridge between the game world and your player-base, it gives a backer elevated status without any game-breaking features.

    How cool would it be if one of the rewards was your own personal Town Crier somewhere in the world? Instead of spouting out random patch-related tidbits like in AC1, the Town Crier would give updates on a backer’s most recent exploits (no matter how small).

  9. Rauxis says:

    love all of them…

  10. Kujo says:

    Clearly I must buy in at the /smite level 20 times just to keep that terrible power out of the wrong hands.

  11. mavis says:

    I really Conor’s idea the idea that you would start with a named food recipie – something you really like – and could choose to teach or not teach that recipie.

    Either it might be a special treat or your fame could spread before you….

    Immagine grouping with somebody and saying the words “X as in the pie”.

    I still think you’ll need some form of “pre-order and get X reward” type thing.

    One thing I noticed is that if you offer a lot of rewards it gets really really confusing – as people want to combine them up in odd ways – leading to more work and lot a confusion. Where as it seems to work better if the higher tiers are “this AND x, y, z” from the lower tiers.

  12. Strawfellow says:

    I see a glaring issue with the random rare pet. I don’t think that should be up to luck of the draw, it should be the choice of the player. If they don’t get the one that they want, they are going to feel cheated of their money. Gamers don’t have a very good opinion of gambling with the money they hand to developers, so making a guaranteed pet is, in my opinion, a far better option.

    The smite option is cool but I smell griefers. All the others I am totally in favor of. The unique crafting recipe could just be a unique appearance, rather than unique stats, so that it is not unbalanced yet still rare and the person who owns it could make a ton of in-game currency off of it.

  13. Jason says:

    “The unique crafting recipe could just be a unique appearance, rather than unique stats, so that it is not unbalanced yet still rare and the person who owns it could make a ton of in-game currency off of it.”

    That very concept is unbalanced and why giving specific players unique items that other players cannot acquire through any means is extremely unfair and could very well backfire and create bad feelings and worse in your game and community.

  14. Elbrasch says:

    Then make it accessable through a loooooooong and expensive questchain.

  15. Matt says:

    How about…

    $100ish reward – Intrepid explorer – whenever new skills and systems need testing, this set of people will be given access to new abilities to help you test them out? From the sound of things, there will be tons of skills, and you may indeed continue to flesh some out after initial release. This would be a neat way for the people who took an interest in development early on to actually help with development post-release.

    You could tier this to include bigger types of testing. There’s nothing the “explorer” type players love more than being the first to try out new systems.

  16. Tim Howgego says:

    Something fascinating about Obsidian Entertainment’s Project Eternity, which looks likely to raise just over $1 million in a matter of days: 75% of backers are essentially pre-ordering the game 2 years ahead of time – pledging $20 for a future digital download and a token freebie item. But in spite of that low ticket price, they are contributing a third of the cash to the pot – a significant proportion.

    I’d be interested to know how that compares to classic publisher pre-orders. My guess is that high profile franchises may raise as much as a third of their costs on pre-orders, but probably only a matter of weeks before release, not at the start of development when much of the money is needed.

    Regardless, don’t overlook the little people. (No, I don’t mean gnomes.)

  17. tad says:

    I’m a little concerned that the wolf-spit award will create too many instant werewolves at start but maybe I’m worried about nothing. The main thing I think is missing from the existing reward structure is that I think you should add a $5 reward – that allows players to start the game 1-3 days before it goes live to the world (and this carries up to all the other rewards as well of course).

    Also I’m surprised you didn’t add one crazy reward like $: 15,000 for adding a specifc race that you and the donor mutually agree upon (e.g. if someguy really really wanted gnomes or lizardmen or fox-badgers as a playable race).