Duckfeed Patreon 2019: Big New Things

January 1st, 2019 · 39 mins 44 secs

About this Episode

Hello, listeners and patrons alike. We come to you with some exciting news: We are changing the Patreon around! It feels like we just did this, but the last major change was back toward the beginning of 2017. We’re trying to constantly observe what’s happening with the network and learn what to do better. That means making changes like this from time to time.

We’re also aiming to never shake things up in a way that is too disruptive to you, the listener. We want to give more (or at least focus up and give better). So we put a lot of thought and consideration into making sure these changes either solve problems or help us achieve goals.

Here’s the summary of what we’re planning, and you can find the details below. In order to grow the network, give patrons more, and cover rising costs, we plan to:

  • Bring back Bonfireside Chat as a Patreon show.
  • Give Patrons a whole episode of Watch Out for Fireballs!
  • Move from theme months to covering big-name games more frequently.
  • Change WOFF! Listener Response episodes to WOFF! Dispatch, make it more interactive, and have broader topic discussions.
  • Make Adaptation Decay a monthly show.
  • We are getting rid of the content store, and making premium episodes available on Patreon in perpetuity.
  • We are phasing out the promise of physical goods, and sending out an “I’m Sorry!” package to people who never got theirs.
  • In general, we are simplifying the Patreon drastically, while offering more at each tier.

So without further preamble, let’s get into more detail.

We want to grow.
We want to grow in both listenership, patronage, and income. We are proud of the work that we do, and never want to stagnate in any of the aforementioned areas. Growth requires change.

We want to give patrons more.
The best way to keep listeners and members around is to always try to give more (or give better). This is also the best way to bring new people in. We are grateful to our patrons, past and present, and we want to make sure we’re giving them stuff they want.

We want to meet rising costs.
There are costs associated with doing this at the professional level. Traveling to live shows is expensive. Hosting, web services, applications, and equipment are expensive. Being self-employed is expensive (both Gary and I do this full time and need to cover things like health insurance). And since we’re covering more new games, we’re spending more on games! This is not a hobby for us, we’re committed to doing this full time as our main means of support, and this means keeping up with costs.

People want Bonfireside Chat.
And we want to give it to them. We also want to play to our strengths as a network whose bread and butter is games club content. We put Bonfireside Chat to bed when it felt like it was the right thing to do. We stuck with our guns for a long time. But with Sekiro on the horizon, and some damn-fine Soulslikes already here, it feels right to take the show out of cold storage.

So we are bringing back Bonfireside Chat as a Patreon show, with a slightly different format. Listen to Bonfireside Chat 2.0 Episode 0 on the feed to learn more. Our first game is the Soulslike shooter Immortal Unchained!

We want to value WOFF! appropriately.
Watch Out for Fireballs! is the network’s flagship show. It also takes a lot of time to produce. We play through the entire game (whether it’s 1 hour or 100), research the games, write outlines that total in the thousands of words, record for hours, and edit. In looking at how to make this tenable in the long run, we have decided to make one episode of WOFF! per month premium.

This does two things: It makes the Patreon more valuable for our members, and it incentivizes more membership.

But don’t panic! When an episode goes premium, we will include a good portion of it on the public feed (up through the Generalities). So you still get something each week, it’s just that the play-by-play goes to members.

NOTE 1: This won’t go into effect for January. We already announced those games, and we don’t want to revoke access to something anyone was excited for.

NOTE 2: We will still have multi-part episodes, but we will never put a whole episode (Part 2, 3, or 4) behind a paywall. Only single episodes will get this treatment.

WOFF! Theme Months are going away.
This was a very fun idea. But it was also hell to plan for, in addition to other WOFF-based pattern incentives. So we feel like it has run its course. We want to exercise more control over the games we pick for WOFF! so we can pace out the year and cover exciting stuff. Anyone who has paid for a WOFF Theme Month will still get their topics covered, but after that hopper is exhausted the theme months will go away.

We want the WOFF! Listener Response episodes to be more interesting.
Right now, not a lot of folks listen to the letters episodes on WOFF. Additionally, not a lot of people listen to the behind-the-scenes episodes of DuckTRAX, and we don’t get very many prompts/responses. SO! We’re getting rid of DuckTRAX and changing the listener response episodes to WOFF! Dispatch.

So the last episode of WOFF! for each month will contain responses about the games from that month, prompts and questions from the Patrons, and a segment that is a longer-form discussion about a particular topic. These will be fun experiments, and we hope you’re down for them.

We want to do more Adaptation Decay
Adaptation Decay is our premium show about how video games are adapted into other media, and it’s a fun show to do. Right now we have it on a very strange “8 times a year” rhythm. With DuckTRAX going away, we are taking Adaptation Decay monthly!

The content store is complicated, and having content time-gated on Patreon is confusing and dissatisfying.
So we’re not going to fuck with that anymore. If you back at $10 per month, you’ll get access to the firehose of content. Every premium WOFF, Bonfireside Chat Exquisite Suffering, Adaptation Decay, DuckTRAX, Try This… and whatever other one-off Duckfeed Presents stuff we make for you. We appreciate people who support us, and we want you to get your money’s worth, both in terms of the backlog and future value.

We really biffed the physical goods.
Under the old scheme, we offered physical goods packs and a DuckZine. We failed to deliver those, because we overestimated our ability to meet that logistical challenge. So the new scheme has no physical rewards.
To say sorry for our past neglect of this promise, we will be sending out one large package to everyone who was qualified for those rewards (you should have already received an email about this). We are sorry that we disappointed you on this front, and there’s really no excuse. We hope the I’m Sorry package helps.

We’re honoring our previous commitments.
People who paid for theme months will get those theme months covered. If you have a WOFF! game demand or Abject Suffering demand in the hopper, that’s still there.
The current Patreon scheme is complicated and we want to simplify it.
We have a lot of reward tiers and stretch goals. Some of the reward tiers require backing for several months, which is confusing. In general, we let the Patreon grow tangled and weird, and we want to prune it down so it’s easier for you to pick the right tier.

So, we’ve got less of everything, but what remains should be even more valuable. We are reducing the number of new shows on the horizon, because we are already stretched pretty thin. But there’s still stuff to aim for, and we hope this makes the Patreon much more valuable and friendly.

Support Watch Out for Fireballs!