Binging Indie

Binging Indie
Guns of Icarus Found Its Success In a Strong Community

Joshua Vanderwall | 10 Oct 2015 10:00
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Even the hosting service - located in Washington DC - was affected, leaving the team largely unreachable for extended periods of time. The game servers were only up intermittently and the voice chat functions were adversely affected, rendering them almost unusable. The information on the game's store page was inaccurate, the unlocks for various cosmetic items hadn't yet been patched in, and with all of the problems brought on by the hurricane, it was impossible to quickly fix either of these issues. After hurricane Sandy had passed, the developers were in a bad place. They were simultaneously trying to improve the game as a whole and maintain communication with the players. While the developers were doing their best to rectify the situation, they started to receive negative feedback from the community. The players were unhappy with both the in-game bugs and the technical difficulties that resulted from the hurricane. The developers at Muse didn't try to make excuses, instead taking ownership of the game's faults and publicly holding themselves, not the hurricane, accountable for the failings at launch. Apologies were made and actions were taken to fix the things that were within their power to fix. With the help of Steam, the game's store page was updated with concise information and explanations as to why things were the way they were. The cosmetic unlocks for in-game progression were patched in and, as a result, the community as a whole began to provide more positive feedback.

Now things were starting to look promising. The game was being improved almost constantly, the players were happy, and the community was growing. Muse had succeeded in several ways. It had a finished game on the market, it had a constantly-expanding player base, and it had a vision for the future. In fewer than six months it had garnered enough support - almost entirely from a community it had built from the ground up - to launch another Kickstarter. This campaign was for Adventure Mode and it was far more ambitious than the original, both in terms of financial goals and in scope. It hoped to raise $100,000 to create an entire world for the players to explore and interact with. On March 22, 2013, Muse's next Kickstarter - a more ambitious funding goal for a more ambitious project - launched to unexpected community support. In less than a month, it hit the $100k goal, and ended up with nearly $200k from 4,500 backers. In the course of only a few months, having started with nothing but an idea, Muse built a community strong enough to push the vision further, even after a catastrophic launch. The second Kickstarter project saw four times the backer numbers, and six times the financial support of the original, making it impossible to deny the value of a strong community foundation and presence. The bulk of support for the follow-up campaign came from the backers of the original, and the community these backers - as well as the game developers themselves - had brought into the fold in the interim. The vision for Guns of Icarus Online that the community and the developers seem to share has brought the highly negative early reviews into more than 90% positive from nearly 10,000 user reviews on Steam.

If you log into Guns of Icarus Online as a new player, once you're through the tutorial and into the social lobbies, You'll likely be surprised at the community response to new and inexperienced players. Instead of hating you for not knowing how to play well, the other players seem to embrace you as a new comrade in arms. They will take the time to tell you if you are making a mistake and more importantly how to fix it. This is what sets Guns of Icarus Online apart from so many other games, the community. I have to give kudos to Muse games, it took a rather difficult path and made it work. Muse didn't just live up to what it said it wanted to do, it did all that and then some. Good enough for these guys simply isn't good enough. It has to be bigger, better, and more amazing. The community, it seems, has followed suit. They not only provided the developers with money but with insight, literally thousands of hours of play time, and feedback from that time. It just goes to show that the community around a game is just as important as the game itself.

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