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On 10/22/2020 at 11:29 AM, thelee said:

my pet theory is that the insistence on using fig crippled deadfire's word of mouth, which is the main mechanism that smaller-studio games have of marketing.

I think that is significant yes, Fig does not seem to have an effective marketing department (although they claim that's one of the important things they bring to the table).

I did like Fig's premise of allowing players to invest in the game, but if their own presence jeopardizes sales, that seems like they just shoot their own company philosophy in the foot (and it definitely backfired on the POE2 investors).

Is Fig still around?

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Yes, atm they are doing Wasteland3 for example. And most of their (admittedly small) games were quite lucrative for the investors. Deadfire however was absolutely not. There was another one that was disappointing but I forgot the name. 

 

Edited by Boeroer

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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5 hours ago, Boeroer said:

Yes, atm they are doing Wasteland3 for example. And most of their (admittedly small) games were quite lucrative for the investors. Deadfire however was absolutely not. There was another one that was disappointing but I forgot the name. 

 

Deadfire definitely raked in the cash (although that's technically pre-sales, and that money was used before release, which contributes to the "low sales" aspect). I think Fig was smart about gathering all the major Kickstarter moneymakers, but I don't know if it helped those same moneymakers with getting their products' message out and funding, which is ironic.

Also, I always felt like Fig was a dodge so these same developers had more freedom with what to do with their crowdsourced projects, which isn't a bad thing, but comes across as kind of shady... at the least, it's unfortunate that Fig didn't ring all the bells when it came to crowdsourcing.

On the good front, at least Obsidian doesn't need Fig anymore!

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Josh wrote some months ago that Deadfire broke even. That was long after release so I guess you can say that it got a long tail. Most RPGs do. 

I'm quite surprised that yesterday the concurrent player peak was 1.5 K. 

Edited by Boeroer

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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On 10/24/2020 at 2:06 AM, Elric Galad said:

This number does not look so bad. Did the game have a rather long tail ?

notably, around march or so of this year the steam game page had an updated message welcoming new and returning gamers.

 

though josh did say taht even if the game did break even, the fact that it limped over the finish line was pretty demoralizing to everyone who put in so much time and excitement into it, which is contributing to a bit of burnout and not (yet) doing a poe3.

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What I always liked best as an RPG is the way it used to be, e.g. World of Warcraft Classic has gameplay / animations / game speed / controls / skill bars / combat speed and content-wise games that are restrictive in terms of classes and convey this in a very motivating way. So you really fill a role and see this one character as who you are, but still find yourself in a group RPG.
The NPC companions, however, have their own souls, i.e. in combat, with their own character trait including history. But I don't just take it with me, but it develops from the game and the story, around its character.

This gives me better access to my companions, but I always see myself as my own character and they really are my companions.
You fight with your own well-developed AI and I manage myself what is necessary because the enemies are not too simple and the game runs in real time just like in World of Warcraft Classic.
I want skill bars there, I want those clean animations and more easily accessible controls and cameras, and, very importantly, the way the fights go.
That means spells with magic time, class mechanics that you play. It looks action-oriented in a certain way, but still flows smoothly.
Dragon Age Origins managed to do something similar, albeit not perfectly, and this game was really good in itself.

When you then have a good story that sends you to a distant place and you develop character development with a skill tree and at some point decide whether you would rather than e.g. Necromancer is more of the caster, or more of the pet summoner and there is no turning back, then you have a solid base.

I am e.g. more of a fan of the content and atmospheric design of a world such as Might and Magic 7, or also part 6 and 8. I like this flair a lot more than e.g. PoE.
I also like the flair of Greek mythology. This setting often has a very warm, inviting and powerful atmosphere.
I also like scenes like Diablo 1 or Diablo 2. I also liked Titan Quest. The world itself was very pleasantly warm.
I'm not that much of a fan of the cold Middle Ages and I find it not very exciting when the story revolves around human political corruption instead of more fanatic content.

I like it when enemies have a return value and you don't clap everything.

In addition, the roles, i.e. the classes, should also keep their focus. If everyone can heal themselves, the healers die first and I love the healers in my group. But I want to have to use them too. A tank should not be missing. Simply the typical RPG elements that make it strong and big.

If it then controls itself like WoW and you serve your role in the team and the animations are right, the world is relatively open, but protects yourself through the strength of your opponents, you have a lot of interesting material and points of friction.

What I find the other way around as weak and unmotivating, so much so that I no longer buy these games are:

-No fixed class roles. (This means that a lot of aspects of the world of content are already left out and what I want is missing and one of the main motivations is to play RPGs. Often it ends with me constantly starting over and never finding my "class" and then my energy fizzled out over time)
-Too cheesy and overloaded, colorful and exaggerated, like Asia games
-To much political stuff
-HP ping pong in fights instead of stretching them out a bit like in an MMORPG e.g. WoW Classic.
-Only in English .. is a nogo. I have to understand RPGs with lots of text. The lack of a translated speech output is also a decisive aspect for the purchase and the desire to play. I don't understand why that still doesn't get into the minds of the makers, that without speech output in the corresponding language, RPGs in particular suffer extremely and are far worse to play.
-Pure endgame games with item overload. Items can be fun in RPGs, but should only be accessories. The decisive factor is the path and the immersive immersion in the world with one's character.
-Ridiculous collecting madness with resources for crafting. I'm on the verge of a feeling of hatred when I'm constantly supposed to be crazy about picking flowers, knocking ore or peeling off furs, chopping wood or doing something else for crap ... This is employment theory, I call it unpaid work, but I enjoy it the -12 on the scale from down to minus 10 ...
-When there are no healers / tanks. And the sense of the RPG suffers from living the world with his group of different characters.
-If the fights are clumsy and clumsy, or the other way around, a colorful action spectacle in the chase mode ...

-When there is being on the back of mounts and I am constantly only being sent around on the map and there is no connection to the world at all.

-I don't want to be admired as a god-like hero either.
-I don't want to have half a building strategy and manage my city or equip ships down to the last detail. Rather another exciting quest around an old werewolf clan and a village that is suffering from it ...

There are certainly more, but I hope the direction is clear.

I've been wondering for many years, why no one takes the basis from old MMORPGs and then rebuilds them solo and transfers that to a cool world.
With the right setting, you already have very good cards.

I am also posting this here to show the developers other ways of thinking.
I've been playing computer games, mostly RPGs, for almost 30 years. I saw Amberstar and Amberboon on the Amiga. They were great games back then.
So I'm not that inexperienced.

Yeah good...

The text has been translated with google because my english will probably not improve much.
Therefore, I always advocate a complete. translated version of games, especially voice output;)

All the best .. and I still like PoE1 + 2. I'm playing it again and I'm always discovering something new. The quality of the game turned out really good.
I took a barbarian with a second class ranger, because he is supposed to be a wild fighter with a lion on his side in close combat, of course, and that with a two-handed axe ^^

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  • 4 weeks later...

I bought, played, and completed PoE2 for the first time this year and want to contribute my experience to the pile.  I'm going to try and keep this as short as possible.

I grew up on IE games.  I still distinctly remember just how much new content and quality of life Tales of the Sword Coast added to the original BG.  I remember playing and completing BG2 on launch, followed by the expansion when it launched, and couldn't help but feel like I might of missed an even better experience by not waiting until the full package was complete.  Fast forward a decade or so-- I was nostalgia baited by PoE1 and downloaded Steam for the first time just to experience the glorious return to a golden age of Western RPGs... and was initially met with disappointment.

Worldbuilding: great.  Story: suitable.  Characters: mostly great.  Mechanics: new yet familiar, great.  BUT, difficulty/gameplay: despite playing on the second hardest setting, auto attack left clicking was practically the most efficient way to body everything with few exceptions (ghost fiesta at Caed Nua, Vampyrs immediately come to mind).  That is, until I hit the Adra Dragon, where my party couldn't even land a hit without stacked buffs and then still practically got 1-shot by almost every attack, because it turned out my characters were VERY sub-optimal yet it didn't really matter until that point.  It also didn't help that the hunter blunderbuss bug got fixed right before I hit that content (thought it was intended, dumb in hindsight), and then I discovered that some of the talents on my Rogue MC were completely non-functional.  MC was effectively bricked since respec didn't exist yet.  I resigned to help the dragon even though it was OOC, only to get defiled by the last boss for all the same reasons.  In retrospect, I could have salvaged the playthrough by lowering the difficulty and abusing even more consumables, but instead I stopped out of frustration when I saw there was already DLC announced with balance patches on the way.  I felt like I just playtested a beta and decided I'd return at a later time with a clear head to a more polished game.

Except I had pretty much forgotten about PoE until I saw a TV commercial for Deadfire years later.  Oh sick, pirates?  Looks so much better, cool setting, awesome giant statue now ambulatory, can't wait to try it in two or three years when all the kinks are ironed out.

Fast forward to 2020.  Got the White March DLC, replayed PoE1 on same difficulty and had an infinitely better time with the changed battle system, difficulty adjustments, and added quality of life features.  9/10, would highly recommend.  I wish this was the experience I had on launch.

Later, played Deadfire after grabbing the complete DLC package on sale.  Not perfect, but great experience, and would also highly recommend.  Completed first playthrough on PotD and I believe experienced just about everything the way it was intended.  But imagine my lack of surprise upon reading the initial launch impressions of Deadfire: bugs, difficulty problems, more bugs, awkward ship battles, bugs, scuffed main story, where's the load screen kraken?  No doubt I would of had an equally lackluster experience playing launch day Deadfire as I did with launch day PoE.

I've read most of the two low sales threads on this forum and I hardly saw this issue brought up at all.  I didn't care that PoE wasn't BG, or that the main story was lacking in places, or that pirates and beaches are a far cry from classic D&D... actually the whole LARPing in Nassau vibe of Deadfire is so fresh and unique that I have a hard time believing that actually contributed to a significant dent in sales.  My lack of interest in buying Deadfire on launch was to avoid emotionally investing in an incomplete work-in-progress for 30+ hours.  I realize that the 'incomplete-on-launch' game is an issue that generally plagues the modern AAA scene, but this isn't the same situation as some company tweaking their fad multiplayer game that'll be casually booted up for 6-12 months.  PoE and Deadfire are games most players will only finish once, if at all, and both launched with glaring issues.  Yeah, they were patched up, but how long did that even take?  Certainly those first impression reactions gave potential buyers something to reconsider.

I'm not even sure this is a studio issue.  It might be a genre problem in an age where developer support can only improve games in the long run.  Imagine reading a 500 page novel, just to flip the next page from 380 to... 250?  And the book magically expanded to 650 pages with new chapters inexplicably added to the start, middle, and end.  What a design nightmare.

When Pillars of Skyrim drops on PC in the year 20XX, I'm waiting til 20XX +2 or 3 before I purchase and I highly doubt I'm alone in this demographic.

Thanks for coming to my TED talk.

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Yet again this fails to wholesomely explain Deadfire's low sales numbers because:

1. Once players experience issues with the release version they already bought the game.

2. If many players would have had massive issues with the release version it would be reflected in the user reviews (which were fine).

3. If players were disappointed by PoE and thus wouldn't want to buy Deadfire it would find its way into user reviews (which are fine)

4. If players, based on their experience with PoE, waited until purchase until all DLCs and patches are out, Deadfire sales should have surged after Patch 5.0 was out. Which didn't happen. 

---

Whileyour story is 100% understandable and I can relate - it fails to explain what happened on a big scale.  You can't just assume that your personal experience is like a blueprint for millions of other potential players: because that would have resulted in certain observable signs like mediocre user reviews, bad critics or whatever. Or it would have lead to increased sales once the product was truly finished. As of today Obsidian still has no def. clue what went wrong - it's a bit of a mystery even with tools like telemetry etc. It seems more like a lot of potential cRPG players just didn't care (or maybe didn't know?) about Deadfire for whatever reason. 

 

 

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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42 minutes ago, Boeroer said:

It seems more like a lot of potential cRPG players just didn't care (or maybe didn't know?) about Deadfire for whatever reason.

Even this point would be great to know, i.e. how many didn't care vs. how many didn't even know. But I suppose we'll never know.

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6 hours ago, Boeroer said:

Yet again this fails to wholesomely explain Deadfire's low sales numbers because:

I didn't mean to give the impression I was waltzing in here with the golden answer.  Just wanted to throw my 2 cents in after wading through 60+ pages of posts and not seeing the issue of a shaky launch discussed much.  I agree that it was overall a perfect storm scenario of multiple factors that's been discussed and analyzed to death.

8 hours ago, Boeroer said:

1. Once players experience issues with the release version they already bought the game.

2. If many players would have had massive issues with the release version it would be reflected in the user reviews (which were fine).

3. If players were disappointed by PoE and thus wouldn't want to buy Deadfire it would find its way into user reviews (which are fine)

4. If players, based on their experience with PoE, waited until purchase until all DLCs and patches are out, Deadfire sales should have surged after Patch 5.0 was out. Which didn't happen.

I'm out of my element here, do sales include refunded purchases?  Refund stats could show whether a bad Deadfire launch experience led to a bunch of returns for Deadfire itself.

I'm merely suggesting that bad experiences from PoE's launch could of had a bigger negative impact on Deadfire's initial sales then what's been previously discussed.  How many original PoE backers returned to support Deadfire?  Was there a significant number too disillusioned from their prior experience?  I suppose these are rhetorical questions.

I wouldn't give online reviews too much credence, particularly in the video game industry.  I don't want to waste anyone's time with a thorough mansplaination of glaring faults in online user reviews, and instead segway immediately into this: most players who were turned off to the franchise with a bad first installment experience are not going to mention it in their Deadfire review, because they never bought it in the first place.  I'd also argue most dissatisfied customers (with no interest in spending more money) in any market don't bother writing reviews, they just disconnect entirely from the brand.

4 is a good point.  I don't know the numbers myself but I trust you know what you're talking about.  I guess the crowd of consumers who wait for the 'complete package' is likely a niche demographic, and combine that with those who were willing to give the franchise a second shot after being burned... niche gets even smaller.

Thanks for taking the time to respond man, I've ghosted and gleaned a lot from your posts on this forum when I was looking for mechanics answers in both PoEs.  Appreciate it immensely.

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10 hours ago, Boeroer said:

1. Once players experience issues with the release version they already bought the game.

Not me, I waited 2 years to buy it because I already knew it wouldn't be finished. Also, people were calling this a flop way too early. I doubt most people had even finished PoE when the sequel was released. These games are meant to be played for years, so what's the rush?

9 hours ago, Boeroer said:

Or it would have lead to increased sales once the product was truly finished.

I think that's the tail.  If it broke even six months ago, it's a success now. I wish Obsidian would keep polishing it so that in 10 years it could be a classic.

Edited by Helz
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It barely broke even long after release and with a lot of crowdfunding money upfront. No matter how long the tail is (and those are always long with CRPGs), it will always be a huge emotional and financial disappointment for the people who worked on it. Just ask Josh Sawyer today.  

Your point was that sales were bad because players waited until the game was truly finished, wasn't it? Following that logic those who waited would have bought it by now, long after the last DLC and the last patch were released. 

But that didn't happen. Sales are still rel. bad and way below the expectations of the developer and publisher - although not as bad as they were at release but that was to be expected.

 

 

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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Well, people have unrealistic expectations. Breaking even in game development means you've paid off 50-100 highly skilled people working full time for 3 years to make art. That's a success.

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19 minutes ago, Helz said:

Well, people have unrealistic expectations. Breaking even in game development means you've paid off 50-100 highly skilled people working full time for 3 years to make art. That's a success.

It's not as simple as that. Success is relative, especially in a competitive field. In other words, the success of D:OS2 almost by definition makes Deadfire a relative failure, even if it didn't lose money. I'm not suggesting that everything that sells less than D:OS2 is a failure, but if you make a huge investment and sell an awful lot less, then we're talking about a failure or a veritable disappointment.

For me, Deadfire is a lot better than D:OS2 -- I gave up on D:OS2 in a matter of hours and won't try to get it into again. But this is a personal opinion only.

Edited by xzar_monty
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1 hour ago, Boeroer said:

Your point was that sales were bad because players waited until the game was truly finished, wasn't it? Following that logic those who waited would have bought it by now, long after the last DLC and the last patch were released. 

But that didn't happen. Sales are still rel. bad and way below the expectations of the developer and publisher - although not as bad as they were at release but that was to be expected.

 

 

A possible explanation is that those people probably fully intended to buy Deadfire once its finished, but by the time all the DLCs were released, they have forgotten for this game or lost their interest. New games get released all the time. Another factor (possibly working in tandem with the first), is that when people decide to postpone the purchase, then their purchases (if they happen eventually) will be spread over a large period of time, so there won't really be any noticeable sale spike.

But even if the above is true, it just confirms that if a game is not a success shortly after release, then it won't really be a success later either. The studio needs the money now, not after 3-5 years.

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1 hour ago, wih said:

A possible explanation is that those people probably fully intended to buy Deadfire once its finished, but by the time all the DLCs were released, they have forgotten for this game or lost their interest. New games get released all the time.

They do, but this is a niche genre, and new games in this genre are few and far between.

However, I do not know which percentage of cRPG players are 1) hard-core cRPG fans who tend to really concentrate on this genre, and which percentage are 2) just general players interested in computer games as such. Your point is obviously very pertinent to group #2. (I am firmly in group #1.)

Edited by xzar_monty
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38 minutes ago, xzar_monty said:

They do, but this is a niche genre, and new games in this genre are few and far between.

However, I do not know which percentage of cRPG players are 1) hard-core cRPG fans who tend to really concentrate on this genre, and which percentage are 2) just general players interested in computer games as such. Your point is obviously very pertinent to group #2. (I am firmly in group #1.)

Good point. I don't know the percentages either, but the group 1 has to be larger than the number of Deadfire sales. It seems very likely that Deadfire somehow failed to excite many of the hard-core cRPG fans. It also didn't gain traction with group 2. Sad.

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37 minutes ago, wih said:

I don't know the percentages either, but the group 1 has to be larger than the number of Deadfire sales. It seems very likely that Deadfire somehow failed to excite many of the hard-core cRPG fans. It also didn't gain traction with group 2. Sad.

I fully agree. Given that other cRPG titles have done significantly better than Deadfire, what you say about group 1 almost has to be true, and what you say about group 2 seems very likely to be true as well. Even if we don't know the relative sizes of these groups.

It really is sad, I agree with that as well. These are questions of taste, of course, but it almost seems like a fact to me that Deadfire is a better game than its fairly poor success would indicate.

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4 hours ago, Helz said:

Well, people have unrealistic expectations. Breaking even in game development means you've paid off 50-100 highly skilled people working full time for 3 years to make art. That's a success.

I mostly agree - but it didn't meet the developer's bar which they may have set too high. And it also is off the subject which was "why did it sell so badly" an not "what is considered to be bad sales numbers". :)

   

3 hours ago, wih said:

A possible explanation is that those people probably fully intended to buy Deadfire once its finished, but by the time all the DLCs were released, they have forgotten for this game or lost their interest.

I'm fairly sure there are more than a few players who went that route and that such stories contributed to the sales drop. But is it a major answer to the question why Deadfire sold a forth (or even fifth?) of the copies that PoE sold at release (or not too far from it - don't know the numbers now)? And why it sold incredibly less than D:OS II and even less (I believe) than Pathfinder:Kingmaker which should have experienced the same (but didn't)? I don't know...
I just don't believe that +750K players waited until all patches were done and then all forgot about the game. 

Imo something led to a collective disregard of Deadfire. This "something" might be a collection of things. Smaller things like disappointment in PoE, forgetting while waiting for all DLCs/patches, Bugsidian reputation etc.. Bigger thngs like the "Pirates" theme while that was rather stale after all the Pirates otC movies and maybe has no appeal to most CRPG players, bad marketing, saturated Infinity-Engine nostalgia, no multiplayer support and so on.

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Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've been away from this forum for about 7 months and hey ho this topic is still going strong!

I think I said ages ago, no kickstarter and no barely clothed women on the advertising material is probably the main problem.

  • Haha 1

nowt

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