Lottery winner takes to Kickstarter to fund pie-in-the-sky MMO

"I'm an ideas man," says millionaire Ellwood Bartlett.

Some Kickstarters do 'ave 'em: here's a crowd sourcing plea from a lottery-winning millionaire for $1.1 million dollars to make an MMO.

Said millionaire is Ellwood Bartlett, an "ideas man", lifelong gamer, former accountant and Wiccan high priest.

Bartlett won $27 million (after tax) in September 2007.

The MMO he wants to make has lofty goals but no apparent foundations. There's no development studio, no track record, no business plan.

All there are, are ideas.

bartlett

Ellwood Bartlett in 2007, the time of his lottery win.

""If you want elf ears, human hands and arms, orc trunk, dwarf legs and a human head you may do so."

Ellwood Bartlett

Ideas like servers being variant worlds rather than replicas. "One will be a mostly water and all avatars will have underwater breathing," wrote Bartlett. "Another will be a volcanic world and your avatar will have a high resistance to fire." And you can travel between them for "Universal Quests" and PVP.

Ideas like creating your own avatar race from a set of body parts. "If you want elf ears, human hands and arms, orc trunk, dwarf legs and a human head you may do so," promised Bartlett.

Ideas like linking PayPal and Amazon accounts to pay for in-game items.

Ideas like allowing mounts from level 1, and flying mounts anywhere. "You can't get a horse and expect it to fly," Bartlett explained, "but you can get a horse with wings and fly."

Ideas like one-on-one PVP that may work like a fighting game and use an "arcade stick". "We will have to see."

Ideas like buying land to build on, to make "small towns" - even guild towns - with taverns, armour shops, weapon shops and more.

Ideas like no level cap.

Ideas like space travel and space battles.

And more.

Why doesn't Bartlett fund the game himself? It's a question he anticipated in his FAQ.

"I wanted to see if what I was trying to do would be of interest to others. It seems I was right. I have gotten tons of positive feedback as well as negative, but that is the way of the world," he wrote.

As of the time of writing, Bartlett has 22 backers and $292 funding.

"I am an idea man, and what that means is I think of things and then hire people to make it a reality once I know it is something the people want. Can I build the game? No. Can I hire a great group of people who can build the game? Oh yes!"

"An example is the pizza shop I own. I found a spot where there was a need near a college and sell the items the college student's love and stay open the hours they wanted. It is running great. I am not there running the place. I had the idea, looked for the spot, set it up, and then hired people to do what is needed to make it happen and keep it going. This game is no different.

Bartlett said outside investors will fund the project beyond the Kickstarter funding of $1.1 million.

Bartlett expects to have a beta test for his MMO up and running by June 2014. The MMO will be powered by micro-transactions.

Bartlett has not backed any Kickstarter projects.

Meanwhile, in serious land, Brian Fargo's Wasteland 2 Kickstarter has raced past $620,288 funding from 11,148 backers in under 24 hours. Fargo hopes for $900,000 to prove to publishers that yes there is an appetite for the game. He'll stump up $100,000 of his own if he reaches that target. He's got 33 days left. I think he'll do it.

Tim Schafer put Kickstarter on the video game map by securing a staggering $3.3 million for an old-school adventure game made by his studio Double Fine. Again, this won't fund the entire project, but will prove to publishers there's a hell of a market for such a game.

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