Dappervolk: A New Pet & Avatar Site Challenger Approaches

dappervolk kickstarter header

If you’re not into the pet and avatar browser game scene, you may have missed hearing about a site called Dappervolk. The brainchild of Quisling, a game developer and illustrator in her late 20s, Dappervolk has generated a lot of buzz for its unique illustration style, combination of mechanics from both pet and avatar games and the influence it takes from outside genres such as MMORPGs.

The result is one of the most hyped Kickstarters in the pet and avatar space since Flight Rising’s 2013 Kickstarter, which raised nearly $40,000. Dappervolk’s Kickstarter closed with more than $75,000 raised.

dappervolk 02
Via Dappervolk's Instagram, @dappervolk Photo: (c) Dappervolk

“I originally came up with Dappervolk during school with a friend, because we wanted to make a fashion-oriented avatar site with an antique aesthetic,” said Quisling. “I've been playing pet sites on and off for at least 10 years now, and I've been playing avatar sites for even longer… I've played many different ones throughout the years and found that I like sites with a cohesive appealing aesthetic and lots of things to do that also encourage user interaction.”

Quisling compares Dappervolk to avatar sites like Gaia Online and Tattered Weave, as well as pet sites like Neopets and Chicken Smoothie. “We’re hoping to draw in a large, active community and foster a kind, constructive atmosphere on the forums,” she said. The game’s Discord is currently more than 1000 members strong, and its top rule is a simple one: “Be good to each other. You don't have to love each and every person but we aim to have a kind and cheerful atmosphere both onsite and on this server.”

Dappervolk differentiates itself from the competition with its use of questing, NPC interaction and more. For example, all of Dappervolk’s items will be usable in some way, unlike traditional pet sites wheritems are purely collectible or for prestige. There’s also housing and guilds. “I wanted to create the vibe of certain RPGs and MMOs such as Harvest Moon, Animal Crossing, Pokemon, Dragon Nest, etc as well as interpret typically RPG-like mechanics into a pet site medium,” said Quisling.

One more way Quisling hopes to improve upon the pet and avatar experience is the way Dappervolk is built. “I wanted to bring in modern site design and capabilities for a smooth and functional experience playing Dappervolk. Since we’re a new site I figured we should use the most up-to-date frameworks and practices to keep Dappervolk’s layout running efficiently for as long as possible,” she said. “This is definitely something that plagues some older pet and avatar sites since they were created many years ago.”

dappervolk 03
Via Dappervolk's Instagram, @dappervolk Photo: (c) Dappervolk

The Dappervolk team isn’t Quisling alone. “Recently we’ve done a round of hiring and onto our 9 or so person team we’ve added two pixel artists, an animator, a composer, and two new writers,” Quisling explained. “We basically have everyone working in tandem with me in the middle giving them feedback along the way.”

Quisling and her team have many plans for content updates. They hope to regularly add “a new town with new NPCs, shops, items, pets, storylines every six 6 months or so,” as well as “One limited premium and one limited non-premium chance shop every month that lasts for the month and then is cycled out,” and “site-wide events with prizes/item shops that happen during holidays and special occasions.” There’s one new town planned for the official launch once Beta is complete, and after that the update schedule proceeds as planned.

“I have tons of concepts and ideas for new towns swirling around in my head so we have at least the next year or so’s worth of content semi- planned at the moment,” said Quisling. “Eventually I hope to have a large number of explorable towns that are unlocked in succession by following the main quest storyline.”

With the beta on its way in February, Quisling and her team are trying to plan for the unforeseen.

“Going into Beta, we’ll be stress testing the servers, this could create lag on the site and possibly outages,” Quisling said. “We’re using a portion of the Kickstarter funds on server fees so because of its success we’re going to be upgrading to the best possible dedicated servers for Beta and seeing how it goes from there. Each site’s load speeds are affected by its content, coding, and user activity so Beta will be our first real gauge for high traffic.”

She added, “On the user side of things, I foresee high player activity, which means we have to have a prepared team of mods. We’re currently assembling a reliable core team and are planning to expand further during Beta … We may also need to launch some new features during Beta so that will definitely be a test of how a site update will go once the site is fully live.”

dappervolk 01
Via Dappervolk's Instagram, @dappervolk Photo: (c) Dappervolk

Quisling’s ultimate hope is to create a site with appealing gameplay that has enduring appeal. “In a way, the Kickstarter’s success is a reflection of Dappervolk’s appeal and hopefully eventual success when launched! We’re just working to the best of our abilities to make sure Dappervolk lives up to the hype and has lasting gameplay,” said Quisling.

If you’re interested in joining the Dappervolk beta, no need to worry. Quisling promises, “You actually won't need a Beta Key to join in on the beta testing.” Registration will open for 1-2 hour periods throughout beta with exact dates and times to be announced either later this month or in early February. A Beta Key simply enables holders to sign up whenever they want during the beta.

For more information on Dappervolk, check out the following links:

Join the Discussion
Top Stories