Ping Arthur: Camelot Unchained

By Jim Rossignol on April 3rd, 2013 at 8:00 pm.


How’s about for a mouthful of summation: “Camelot Unchained takes one part classic legends, adds a twisty little apocalyptic passage, and mixes in a whole batch of creativity to birth not just another “me and my WoW-clone”, but a unique RvR-focused MMORPG.” Hmm! What? Yes. It’s a new game by the man behind Mythic, Marc Jacobs (Dark Of Camelot, Warhammer Online), who is asking for TWO MILLION DOLLARS to make a new PvP-focused MMO. He’s already raised in excess of $600k on the first day, so I fancy his chances.

To the below for more on this happening.

Convinced? Unconvinced? Either way it’s interesting to see that Jacobs is anticipating the “hey, rich man, why you need our money?” responses to his proposal with this: “Mark Jacobs is willing to do something quite unheard of on Kickstarter, which is to put $2M of his own money into this project, while at the same time not using any of the money raised from this Kickstarter to fund any part of his salary, perks, benefits, etc.”

So he’s basically looking to repeat the success of DAoC, only this time he has his own megabucks in the pot, and wants the internet to offer up the same. Intriguing! We’ll see if we can get an interview with man as soon as is appropriate.

What’s so great about arthuriana anyway?

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92 Comments »

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  1. wodin says:

    Yawn..MMO..yawn…RVR???…zzzz…..yawn..wake me up when something interesting comes along.

    Why do developers want to make MMO’s? I just don’t see the appeal in either developing one or playing one.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Thanks for your perspective! Really illuminating.

      Here’s another one: I can see exactly why people play MMOs, especially territory-based PvP ones, because the satisfaction of long-term persistent competition against other humans is enormously rewarding.

      • KlaxonOverdrive says:

        All hail the Monopinion! Death to to those with other modes of thought!

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          Lacero says:

          The word monopinion is brilliant.
          Thank you

        • magogjack says:

          You only have a right to an opinion if you can actually voice one, stating that you are bored by a game and that you don’t understand why anyone would want to make it is lazy and pointless. If the poster doesn’t actually state their reasoning its just empty complaining.

        • Xardas Kane says:

          Yeah, I’m just gonna go ahead and use that word actively for the rest of my life.

      • Drake Sigar says:

        MMOs are a jazzed up instant messaging service.

      • Captain Joyless says:

        Jim, while I think Mr. wodin is far too dismissive, cynical, and defeatist, I think your response (“I can see exactly why people play MMOs, especially territory-based PvP ones, because the satisfaction of long-term persistent competition against other humans is enormously rewarding.”) is a little overly credulous, no? Or is that the point? That all single-sentence statements like that are equally unsupported and thus equally (in)valid?

        I mean, realistically, haven’t we reached the point where you cannot push your game by simply calling it “a unique RvR-focused MMORPG”? Like, what’s unique about it? Certainly not the “RvR-focused” part – we’ve had more than enough RvR games, and that’s part of why your response is a little flaccid. RvR MMOs have been done to death and there was nothing “enormously rewarding” about them, judging from the fact that they fail just as quickly and often as regular MMOs.

        Nor is there anything so amazing about RvR that it can shore up a game’s faults in other areas – just look at Pirates of the Burning Sea and World War 2 Online. Complete failures. But they were RvR!!

        Maybe there is something truly new and exciting about this game, but so far I see “fantasy-themed RvR MMO” that has to explicitly claim to be “not a WoW-clone.” Although I wouldn’t have bothered to post it, I don’t think wodin’s reaction is unjustified in the slightest.

        PS – Copyediting – It’s “Dark Age of Camelot” not “Dark Of Camelot”

        • Danny says:

          Well, it’s not going to feature any PvE content. The whole game will be RvR together with some player housing and crafting. So, that.

          • spamenigma says:

            I’m interested in what they do with housing in this, they already said they prefer to call it building. Sounds like the secret lovechild of DAOC and Minecraft the way they are talking….

          • j3w3l says:

            That’s the key in the equation. Most mmo’s these days do not focus on the pvp in the slightest and it is more an afterthought, open n world pvp especially so. The big mmo’s have a wide range of content styles but I imagine it would be hard to give each and every part of the game an equal amount t of attention in order to balance and build them up.

            It is also the fact that most publishers and companies make a lot of allowances towards the PvE side of things since that is where the biggest chunk of the player population is but such an approach just makes pvp in games kind of lack luster. How can they focus on PvP appropriately when they’re trying to appease the the whole population.

            I for one am very excited and I know a lot of people in my guild, as well as in a far number of others because this is what we’ve been waiting for.. A game, development, updates and content that is specifically focused on our interests. “rvr focused” isn’t just a catch phrase to us it is a fix to the overarching problem we’ve had for a decade.

            It is actually rather interesting too to look at from a developers and publishers perspective. It is clear that there is something fundamentally wrong with the big budget approach of trying to be everything to everyone and having development costs in in he 100s of millions is just not sustainable. If camelot unchained is successful it proves that providing for a niche can actually work. We may just then get more mmo’s that are better focused towards a population, have far less cost associated with them and are more sustainable. I really want to see where this takes the genre.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      I don’t really get why anyone thinks 2 million for a subscription-based MMO is a good fit for Kickstarter. I don’t get why anyone is backing it either (beyond blind charity)… let alone 600k within a day (enough to fund Divinty: Original Sin).

      edit: nearest equiv is actually the Pathfinder MMO (subscription, asked for 1 million, just about got 1 million).

      • Danny says:

        Maybe because DaoC had quite a following of players who are still waiting for a similar experience? And please, don’t come up with GW2 as an alternative because their WvWvW implementation doesn’t even come close to DaoC’s RvR.

        • Hoaxfish says:

          It’s more the idea of paying up for an MMO’s early development (before anything concrete is confirmed), and then when it arrives… you still have to pay up for the subscription.

          The last couple of big subscription MMOs that arrived recently all turned into F2Ps soon after. Frankly, I’m not sure whether P2P or F2P would be more popular on Kickstarter since with F2Ps you never have an initial purchase (i.e. the thing usually found in backer tier rewards).

          • Danny says:

            They are specifically focusing on a small niche (MJ explicitely stated this in one of his first blogs about the game) of players which will be enough to keep the game going. I’m actually glad it will be subscription based, as I’m not too keen on real money products like xp boosts and god knows what. I’ll happily pay 10/15 USD per month if the game offers a similar experience as DaoC.

            DaoC’s player base wasn’t very big as well if you compared it to their main competitor back in the day (Everquest), but the game always had a very loyal installed base, which is why it’s still up and running.

          • Whosi says:

            Or you could actually look at their kickstarter page and see there are quite a few reward tiers that involve a sub fee of $1 for a year and that only because of some kickstarter rule. But I suppose it’s easier to piss and moan than to worry about facts.

    • The Laughing Owl says:

      How cute, it’s like one of those kids who get bored in science class and go home running to watch his favorite flashy and colorful kids cartoon.
      I bet you don’t even know what DAoC stands for, considering your lack of literacy, it’s safe to assume you’re a very young gamer, so if you’re not interested in a mature MMO which will be mostly be populated by mature people (like EVE) just leave and let the adults talk, kiddo.

      • frightlever says:

        How are you helping? The article invited people’s opinions. He offered an opinion which you and Jim both disagreed with yet neither one of you offered anything more valuable in return. Apart from Jim who at least wrote the original article. Where’s YOUR original article?

    • HefeValthanor says:

      Games like DAoC, Shadowbane, UO are the reason this game is getting support. I have hope but it is of course a wait and see game. Those old school games had meaning because the PvP was ruthless. Winning had meaning because the losers lost something and the winners gained. I hated getting killed in Shadowbane but that made killing others so much sweeter.

      If the core combat mechanics and RvR done right I’m sure I’ll play for a long time.

    • Kpatrpa says:

      MMOs provide something to come back to and specifically MMOs with an emphasis on players creating and changing the world allow for a ridiculous amount of endgame, metagaming and evolution of how the games play over the years, they change constantly yet are still persistent, you fight for something and you fight strong, you can enjoy playing with friends or against them, there are many reasons. Overall one of the main reasons is that gaming has become much more of a social thing, you see it everywhere from streams on twitch to tournaments to the constant use of voice servers even when playing single player games to enjoy speaking with friends. Multiplayer games simply dominate these days for many reasons, a computer is only but so challenging, most of us figured that out by age 8, really you’re mostly playing a story with most games these days, and the story is rarely as well written as whatever book is currently flavor of the month, so you’re better off playing with/against other humans as they provide a challenge (sometimes).

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      PoulWrist says:

      You never played the old ones I guess… the new ones suck, sure. Theyre not MMOs though, just singleplayer games with a bunch of others running about in them too.

  2. Low Life says:

    “Camelot Unchained is a subscription-based, RvR-focused MMORPG.”
    “The client will be DRM-free”

    Wait, what? What do they think DRM is?

    • Hoaxfish says:

      A radical new way to spell drums?

    • pupsikaso says:

      You kind of missed the point… the CLIENT is DRM-free. If you don’t know what that means, it means the program that you install on your computer and then run to play the game is DRM-Free. This program still needs to connect to their servers to function, for which you need a subscribed account.

      • Hoaxfish says:

        This is one of those points at which I can’t tell if someone is being deliberately obtuse.

        The requirement of a server-account to play is DRM, in much the same way that other DRM works.

        • pupsikaso says:

          No, you are simply not reading deep enough. The reason why the client is “DRM-Free” is that it can easily be shared between computers and distributed through P2P networks via torrent, unlike some others where installing it on one computer would eat up limited invisible licenses or some such nonsense. In other words, the client is free, unlike other MMOs where you pay $60 up-front for the client and then a subscription to play monthly.

          Even the Kickstarter page says, “The client will be DRM-free and distributed via Torrent.”

          From here on they could either keep the client completely free like some games do, or charge a small “account activation fee” like Eve does, for example, for $5.

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            darkChozo says:

            Genuine question; are there many account-based games that limit installs of their client? I’m assuming that this is account-based, given that it’s a subscription MMO, and I don’t think I’ve ever had an account-based game that also tried to restrict distribution of their client. Why would they? Always-online multiplayer games with accounts are basically perfect DRM (though excusable and reasonable given the game design).

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            PoulWrist says:

            Not that I’ve ever heard of, but I guess putting every single buzzword into your kickstarter is not a bad thing :p

        • Mordsung says:

          DRM is Digital Rights Management to stop people from pirating and playing the game.

          This game is RvR only. No PvE, no AI, unplayable without other human beings.

          So the requirement to connect to the servers isn’t DRM, it’s the only way the game has opponents to interact with.

          The game literally has nothing to do for single players.

    • AlienMind says:

      I concur. They obviously have no idea that the idea of a program being copied to another computer and the program being able to run without any rights protection whatsoever is NO DRM, whereas a programme needing a login and password is Manageing Digital Rights (DRM).

  3. Grey Poupon says:

    Considering how rarely MMORPGs are any good, those rewards seem very poor to me. $50 for 2 months of sub and an extra character slot? How about I just wait the 3 years or whatever it’ll take and buy it then. Or not buy it more likely. I don’t even like MMORPGs. Not even the good ones. Still, feels pretty damn expensive considering they’re asking you to pay for the development.

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      Flimgoblin says:

      I think part of the kickstarter idea is that you fund stuff you want to see happen because you want to see it happen, rather than as a preorder…

      • Grey Poupon says:

        In some cases I agree, but another MMORPG.. Publishers pump those out a dozen a year and re’re getting a really shitty deal compared to a publisher.

        Also, take Project Cars for example. A crowdsourced hardcore racing game where the “pledgers” get 70% of the profits of the game.

        • Mordsung says:

          Many of us want to see what these guys can do without a publisher behind them because many of us actually believe the publishers are the primary reason why most MMOs end up sucking.

          Hell, I think publishers are the reason most games suck.

  4. Pony Canyon says:

    Sounds good on paper, I like the no-PvE angle. Really curious to see if they can hit $2M though. Has any other Kickstarter game asked for that much?

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Going through the highest end-amounts, the highest initial goals seem to be around 1~1.5 million (of course some overshot the goal by a long way). Ouya is 9.5 mill, Project Eternity is 1.1 mill, Elite: Dangerous is 1.25 mill. The larger of the two Pathfinder MMO’s kickstarters asked for 1 million, while the tech demo only asked for 50k.

    • Low Life says:

      It wasn’t initially/exclusively on Kickstarter, but Star Citizen’s goal was two million.

  5. Alien426 says:

    Sometimes I don’t understand Kickstarter. There are projects that just show gameplay and fail. Maybe understandably so. Then there’s this one that only has a talking guy and it raises 640k in a few hours…

    I’m more excited about Illegal Aliens than just another MMO.

    • BTAxis says:

      I know what you mean. Think of all the worthy projects that money could have gone to. I don’t begrudge people their fancies, but seeing stuff like this happen is a little dispiriting.

      • Hallgrim says:

        I’m not sure I understand why. People backing this are likely fans of DAoC/Jacobs, and I doubt they funded this in lieu of ‘indie kickstarter #248′.

        I mean, I’d love to see Planet Explorers get $2 million, but I’m not going to be sad if Jacobs’ project gets it instead.

    • Pony Canyon says:

      Nostalgia drives up interest and gets people to the Kickstarter page. Name recognition, to prove that you can probably deliver, then gets people to pledge.

      When you’ve got both, you get the Torment effect. When you’ve got neither, well, you better have a really unique idea, something to already show, and some way to drive up hype.

    • Wurstwaffel says:

      It’s definitely weird. He shows virtually nothing and doesn’t even talk about the actual gameplay. How does the building work? Voxel based boxes? Modular architecture?
      What’s the combat like? Hotkeys? Actual aiming?

      But I suppose the people who pledged can make a somewhat reasonable assessment of how much they’ll enjoy the end-product based on the guys development history, and may even be okay with more of the same.

  6. Lord_Xia says:

    Haha, no way. MMOs are just not very interesting to me any more. Seems like a long shot to ask for 2Million for another generic MMO.

    • Reefpirate says:

      Wow, there’s a lot more MMO grumps in here than I ever thought possible. The reason MMOs continue to get churned out, many of highly questionable quality, is because throughout the history of the genre there have been some real gems. There have been games that have revealed the true potential of the genre, if only brief flickers.

      Games like Star Wars Galaxies, EVE Online, Ultima Online, etc. DAoC was one of those games and it has a very loyal and very nostalgic following to this day. This is why people care about it. It’s not ‘just another shitty MMO’.

      • Brun says:

        No, the reason they continue to be churned out is that there is a single gem that has continuously made an obscene amount of money over the past decade. That, and the Facebook/F2P/Microtransaction monetization strategy maps particularly well onto MMOs.

  7. Fiatil says:

    Fuck yesss Dark Age of Camelot 2. If any MMO can hope to have a great PvP system it’s this, take all of my money and please don’t sell your company to EA this time!

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    Lim-Dul says:

    While I’m not interested in this project since my MMO days are over, I like the pitch. Seems like a good and interesting concept and I’m impressed how open they are about the budget and how much money will ACTUALLY make it into the game.

    Sometimes people just scratch their heads when they see a mega-project get like $1-2 M, which, as everyone is aware of, is not enough to fund game development for a big title for an extended time.

  9. Enkinan says:

    I absolutely loved DAOC RvR, and am currently enjoying the WvWvW of GW2, but something about this smells like a money grab. Stating that it will be subscription doesn’t help with that.

  10. Captain Joyless says:

    If you contribute $10,000, you do not get a lifetime subscription. You do get a 36-month subscription.

    I am sorry but if I contribute $10,000 to an MMO’s development, I damn well better be able to play it for free from then on.

    • pupsikaso says:

      Yeah, no kidding, considering many MMOs used to offer life-time subscriptions for far less than that.

    • BTAxis says:

      In fairness you also get to renew your subscription for $1 a year after that.

    • Vernalagnia says:

      Kickstater’s regulations apparently say that you can’t offer lifetime subscriptions as a pledge perk. So the compromise is 3 years free + 1$ to reup/year after those three years.

      • Captain Joyless says:

        Huh, fair enough then! I missed that on first observation.

  11. zeekthegeek says:

    Subscription based MMO with no PVE. Good luck with that, I’m sure it will be a fantastic game with a huge vibrant community.

    Oh shit I lied.

    • spamenigma says:

      If you do some research on this, you’d see they are not aiming at f2p with masses of people with a small percentage contributing via microtransactions, they would prefer (as an example) 30k of regular sub paying people to support running the game and I actually find this appealing!

      F2P can be useful but not in all situations, even games that are pay once then play feel better but its an MMO or on-going supported game you get bombarded with microtransaction crap. I like they have the balls to stick with sub model, just hope they price it well, some have been too greedy in recent years.

      • iridescence says:

        Why would I pay to kickstart a free to play game? Considering that for an MMO, “free to play“ actually means “supported by microtransactions and don`t expect new content anytime soon“. Subscription fees are perfectly reasonable in a game that costs money to maintain and upgrade on an ongoing basis. You get exactly what you pay for in most free to play games.

  12. pupsikaso says:

    I don’t understand. Where is this hate towards any game with “MMO” in the title coming from?

    • misterT0AST says:

      From their overwhelming number, lack of innovation in about 10 years of stasis, their stupidly high failure rate, their tendency to destroy the studios involved in their making, their old business model, the fact that they do not reward skill, but rather the chunks of life you throw into their mouths.

      • iridescence says:

        But this MMO actually has innovative ideas so why hate on it¨? I don`t like FPS games but I don`t waste time posting my hate for the genre in every thread devoted to them. I just ignore them.

  13. Magnusm1 says:

    Honestly, the rewards are pretty bad. Sadly it’s probably a better idea to wait until release and see if the game is any good before buying.

    • Moraven says:

      They went more digital rewards to lower costs and more actual money goes to development. Plus its Kickstarter, the higher pledges are supposed to be because you want to put more into the project, not get more random ‘rewards’.

  14. Serpok says:

    What’s more interesting and curious here is not the game itself, but how did some small-name, pitching a sub-based fantasy mmo managed to get 3000+ backers and $600k pledged under two days?

    Is he self-backing himself there to get traction?

    • zeekthegeek says:

      He’s not really a small name within the circles who enjoy MMO PvP stuff. Also self-backing is a ban on KS.

    • Vernalagnia says:

      Yeah, he’s actually pretty well known in the MMO universe. He launched two AAA MMOs – one of which moved almost a million units in a single month (and drastically dropped off after that, but who’s counting?). The Dark Age of Camelot community in particular is spread much farther and wider than you would probably expect.

    • Danny says:

      The fact that you don’t know him doesn’t make him a ‘small name’ in the industry, of course. He’s no Richard Garriot or Brad McQuaid (if we’re staying in MMO land), but he’s responsible for one of the most successful PVP MMO’s and convinced EA to pay him millions for his studio.

  15. aliksy says:

    I rather dislike most MMOs. I dislike PvP in most MMOs (or anything with a simple time=power progression, really). This is the opposite of a kickstarter game I would back, I guess.

  16. Danny says:

    The Kickstarter I was waiting for. Finally a follow-up for the RvR epicness that is/was DaoC.

  17. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    I wonder how things went within Mythic when Warhammer online failed. Or during the cuckolded development. IIRC Jacobs was one of the founders of Mythic.. this may be a good thing for Camelot Unchained.. or not.

    • Danny says:

      Not many DaoC devs still work at Mythic nowadays. MJ was still there when EA took over, so he’s partially to blame for it’s failure, but one has to ask how much freedom EA gave him during the creation of that game.

      I think his exit at EA was a bit messy as well, although I don’t know the exact details.

      • Hallgrim says:

        He’s the one who chose to develop a warhammer IP under EA, instead of mythic finishing their next game after DAoC (Pax Imperator, iirc). I’ll probably back this project, but surely he deserves some of the blame.

        • Whosi says:

          I’m backing it too, but I place a lot of the blame at his feet for both the bad decisions that led to DAoC’s decline and the mess that was Warhammer.

          • Enkinan says:

            WoW is what effectively killed DAOC. I remember people leaving in droves. After WoW’s release server contraction/combination began in DAOC.

  18. Wedge says:

    Yep, I stopped reading after I saw “subscription based”. Thanks GW2 and PS2!

  19. cyrenic says:

    Warhammer Online’s development was way too much of a trainwreck for me to want to give Marc Jacobs any kickstarter money. I seriously doubt his ability to put out a finished game.

  20. shutter says:

    RvR focused MMORPG….so it’s Medieval Planetside?

  21. phobosad says:

    DAoC is one of my favorite games of all time, and despite all the problems with WAR, I still had a lot of fun playing it. I’m going to back this even if it is a very small chance it will replicate the fun I had in DAoC. GW2 WvW just didn’t do it for me.

    • -Spooky- says:

      Yeah. Fun .. Circle Raids without any defence. *yawn*

      • sdancer says:

        Yeah, those sucked. The vital part of those games is always what happens between senseless drudgery, and the design must aim to minimise it. Too bad that nobody has a clue how to do it.

  22. Lanfranc says:

    Wait, did he say “Godzilla Online”? Is that actually a thing?

  23. JWendin says:

    Here’s hoping Jacobs has learnt his lesson from Warhammer Online and actually listen to his potential players rather than talk them down trying to “slay trolls” who ended up being right about near enough all their voiced concerns.

    Also, interesting to see both Jacobs and Firor making similar-ish games at the same time. A chance for both to prove who was the mastermind behind the original/SI Daoc and who were responsible for the atrocities that came after.

  24. sdancer says:

    So basically “give us 2 Meelion Dollarrs” for a game that may be released end-2015,probably much later, and I’d give it a 50% chance that it won’t even see the light of day.

    For a “PvP-only” MuMOrpuger (read: content-free grief-fest) that banks on the name of just about the only MMO to date that was even close to getting open-workd PvP right, in a streak of luck that nobody so far managed to replicate, and that is aiming for a business model that appears to be going down fast (even though the SWOR folks seem to have theirs back on track).

    Yeah, no, thanks, I’ll pass. Best of luck to the team, and keep your CVs up to date.

  25. MeestaNob says:

    I don’t play MMO’s, what is R vs R?

    • sdancer says:

      RvR is Mythic/EA’s trademarked term for large-ish scale open PvP.

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    MerseyMal says:

    I’m definitely up for it. A shame there’s no PVE element as well as RVRTri-Realm PVP but I had a lot of fun in DAoC’s frontiers so I expect I’d enjoy this game.