Photo Finish: Camelot Unchained Officially Funded

By Nathan Grayson on May 2nd, 2013 at 3:00 pm.

I was gonna use a more overtly 'epic' piece of concept art, but then I decided on this one because it's adorable.

Unlike a certain timelessly, soul-strokingly beautiful Mötley Crüe song, I’m quite sure that Kickstarter actually wants to stop my heart. All these near-hits and near-misses, each whizzing by like an 18-wheeler that decided, “Fuck you, I’m big, so I’m going to merge into your face.” Fortunately, Camelot Unchained landed on the joyful side of that particular coin, so it’s now officially official, pending, you know, its eventual completion in, like, five years. (Mark Jacobs and co are saying December 2015, but even that is a bit generous for an MMO.) For now, though, reach a gnarled hand past the break to pull words from the stone. Or the Internet, as it were.

With a hair under 20 hours left, City State’s impressively ambitious realm-vs-realm MMO crossed the $2 million mark. The rest, then, is gravy – that is, if gravy costed upward of $100,000.

As of writing, Camelot’s Kickstarter had already surged past $2.1 million as well, meaning that archers and one additional race per realm are absolutely, incontrovertibly in. Meanwhile, there’s still two remaining stretch goals and a few hours left in ye olde houre’glasse, so if you’re interested in donating, it’s now or never.

If you’re feeling doubtful of City State’s chances to actually deliver, you might also want to check out Jim’s interview with Mark Jacobs, which is full of refreshingly honest insight. For instance:

“People who really want RvR, however, and want an interesting housing system – build them, and then burn them down! – people who want something different, that is who we are pitching it. A game is different but still has a connect to that same lore. This is it.”

BUT ALSO.

“A lot of people want to play MMOs to be surrounded by people, but they don’t necessarily want to kill them or be killed by them. They want players without player interaction. But building a community is one of the ways out of that rut. It won’t be huge numbers – chasing WoW’s numbers is suicidally stupid. We know that. But there is a way out.”

That’s an intriguingly tough spot to be in. As Jacobs rightly points out, MMO players are a strange breed – and honestly, there are countless sub-breeds developers also have to take into account. It’s little wonder that the genre’s had so much trouble evolving. We’ve hit on a formula that kinda mostly works sometimes, and – even if that baby’s grown into a stinky, wrinkly old man – tossing it out with the bathwater still risks alienating certain breeds. The problem with one-size-fits-all, though, is that people eventually start outgrowing it. So I like Jacobs’ intentions, and I adore his honesty, but do I think he’s in a position to succeed? No idea. However, for the sake of a genre that badly needs more examples of innovation working, I certainly hope so.

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43 Comments »

  1. AshEnke says:

    “Average Pledge Per Backer: $153″

    That’s a really dedicated community they’ve got there.

    • pakoito says:

      For a subscription-based MMO.

    • Shuck says:

      Or this is an MMO that they want to play and they’re just realistic about the costs of a subscription MMO which, for the first year, are generally going to be something in excess of $200.

    • Moraven says:

      And all tiers come with some form of game time. Its much like people paying for longer subscriptions early for a pre order lifetime subscription.

  2. sdancer says:

    (Over) two Million dollars sinking into a content-free MMO banking on the rose-red tinted memories of times past.

    Ah the sheeple.

    Let’s see how it goes.

    • Shezo says:

      rose-red tinted — check
      sheeple — check.
      overall doucheness — check.

      You, sir, have won the medal, a very smelly one.

    • Prime says:

      I really really wish people would stop treating nostalgia like some incurable, widespread disease that blinds all to the true values of whatever they’re talking about. It is possible to remember the true properties of a game clearly and accurately, you know.

      “Rose-tinted”, my robotic keister. And ye gods but I hate the word “Sheeple”. Shezo was right to mock.

    • hitnrun says:

      Or, you know, the desire to play an MMO that reminds one more of *any other game* than of World of Warcraft.

      • Botoks says:

        Yeah, some people still remember. WAR was shit and this game has the same lead. Dark Age of Camelot might have been good, but Mark Jacobs latest endeavour ended in completely ravaging a project with great potential.

        Fuck Mark Jacobs.

    • Pony Canyon says:

      As a backer, yea, there’s definitely a lot of people looking back at DAOC with their rosey glasses on. It’s Nostalgia Central, but I guess the same could be said for several of the past big-name Kickstarters.

      That said, CU does still have some good sandbox ideas behind it (building and crafting especially), so it’s not all just nostalgia.

    • Mordsung says:

      I booted up DAOC not that long ago.

      It’s still a better open world PvP MMO than anything out today.

      Nostalgia is when the old times weren’t better, but you think they are.

      This is a case of the old actually being better than the new.

      The only game out there even offering something similar to DAOC is GW2, and it does it terribly.

  3. analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

    Bit of an MMO novice, LOTRO apart but that a PvE. So, here’s my question, in a RvR how do you get items from drops when there is no PvE elemnt? Confused!!!

    • Brun says:

      Typically you get some kind of currency for participating in RvR or PvP and you can use it to purchase items from vendors.

    • Lyrion says:

      You will probably get money or points from killing members of the enemy realms. And with those you can buy certain items. Or you could get your stuff crafted. There are still pve mobs to be able to skin them, but killing them don’t give any form of exp just crafting materials.

    • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

      Thank you! I’ll be giving this a wide berth. I played a bit of DAoC on a friends account and quite enjoyed the early PvE stuff in that(first time I played I crossed a stream because there was a ‘Wee Wolf’, I thought I’ll batter this! OH NO!!). This RvR seems like it’s just for the all day and into the early hours brigade. I like a casual releationship with my gaming these days……………

      • Brun says:

        It’s only a grind if it’s implemented as such. Remember this will be a subscription based MMO last I heard, so there won’t be an incentive for developers to make the grinds ridiculous in order to push you to real-money purchases.

        • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

          I was more worried about people with brown teeth and a girlfiend, like a man, my friend, in his mid 40′s(my age). He spends his life on Shaiya with his proper good items thinking ‘I’m proper minted’.

          Fuck that PvP, RvR shit, time sink for inherited wealth or……………………

          • Pony Canyon says:

            It does sound extreme, but if this does end up like DAOC around the SI era, you can play it pretty casually and do just fine. In RvR, people tend to cluster together into a couple big hordes of death and just go marauding. Proper leadership pretty much always won the day over leet items. Well, that and superior numbers. If you didn’t have numbers and you didn’t have leadership, you were pretty well boned.

    • Struckd says:

      There be very little in the terms of loot drops. How to get items? Each realm has its own dedicated crafter class. This crafter class falls apart from the other (now 5) classes in each realm. They are not on the front lines, or the side lines, they are there to build structures and siege weapons, make sure supply lines are up and running, gather materials…and make items.

      Each crafter can start up its own shop/store/trading post where in with in-game currency and other forms of trading, will use various materials gathered from huge mines (structures onto themselves), the depths (RvR dungeon) and other places to produce various items and sell to players. The other, now 5, classes have the ability to craft…but no where near as extensive as the crafter class itself

  4. Bhazor says:

    Ach, even zee dragon’s are graceful.

  5. gruia says:

    MMO fuck off. mmos should be distroyed as danger to our health. Unless they teach us something practical or gets us laid

  6. Delusibeta says:

    It’s a monthly subscription game. Even the ridiculous tiers has a finite amount of subscription. In my opinion, if I’m kickstarting an MMO, I want a lifetime sub before I throw money into the pot.

    • Struckd says:

      There are tiers that provide a “life-time” sub…”life-time” is quotation marks because its in Kickstarter’s policy to not provide the promise of a life-time sub as a tier reward…instead they get 36 months free subscription and after that, you have to pay 1 dollar to renew it.

  7. Shooop says:

    People sunk over 2 million dollars into a game that’s going to demand more money from them every month.

    I’m going to start a Kickstarter to find these people and prevent them from reproducing.

    • Premium User Badge

      HighlordKiwi says:

      They have to fun their servers somehow and if it’s a choice between subscriptions and micro-transactions I know what I’d rather.

      If you backed it just to get the game then $25 is pretty cheap (although obviously it may never exist).

    • hitnrun says:

      I guess you’re going to start by sterilizing 12-20 million people who bought a copy of WoW and then went on to buy a subscription, work your way backwards to Meridian 59, then go forward from 2005?

      Seriously though, the donation tiers had reasonably commensurate returns of paid months, further subscription discounts, and extra copies. (Not counting the “pay this incredible sum and do Jell-O shots off a developer’s navel” tiers.)

    • Premium User Badge

      Mr Coot says:

      If it’s any comfort, I was one of the ppl who pledged/donated via Paypal and I shan’t be reproducing. Not reproducing means you have a much larger amount of disposable income to spend as you see fit!

      We all have different priorities and means, and thus may place quite different values on the same amount of money.

      Jacobs has some very interesting ideas and strong convictions re: community (yes), gold selling (no), accessibility (no, if he has to alter content to get it) – if you haven’t already, I encourage you to watch some of his interviews on the main site or on their twitch/livestream. From what I gather, he will be content and viable with a sub base of about 30k. He doesn’t want to compromise on his vision for the game which is why he doesn’t want the FTP model and its necessary accommodations. He wants a particular audience, so it’s ok if the game, content and cost-wise is not everyone’s cup of tea.

      Rather than being disparaging, you could praps celebrate with the 15k or so ppl that pledged that they have found someone who is going to make the sort of game they want to play. ;)

    • Pony Canyon says:

      Well you don’t have to start a Kickstarter to find a CU supporter, I’ve been on RPS for a couple years now.

      And too late on the last part.

    • AngoraFish says:

      I swear I’ve spent over $2 million in Steam sales on games I’ll never play…

  8. clownst0pper says:

    I think what some people fail to realise is that subscriptions in some way are a really good thing. Guild Wars 2 might be Buy to Play but it many ways it has subtle elements to manipulate wealth gain, to ensure players purchase gems (to convert to gold) and that the majority never earn too much gold.

    1. The Trading Post being the same across all region servers stifles a players ability to control markets and thus gain wealth easily.
    2. Costs to make something as basic as high slot bags (that render 0 profit and cost a fortune) encourage the purchase of bag slots, to load up on cheaper bags.
    3. Everyone being able to craft all skills to maximum reduces any requirement for unique tradeskills – thus again removing an ability to profit.
    4. Resource nodes usable by everyone further stifles supply versus demand.
    5. Drop rates for Tier 6 materials (the best) are absolutely tiny. Literally 0.01% on some items. With these items required for high level weapons (or those with the fanciest skins) the only option is to buy on the Trading Post. Grinding isn’t a viable or efficient option.
    6. This then leaves the fact that while “downscaling” is a wonderful idea, it plays havoc with your ability to farm such materials as you’re never more powerful than anything, making the time spent the same in a level 20 zone as a level 80 zone.
    7. Fast Travel mounts not being in the game might be a throw back to the original Guild Wars, but it is a wealth drain. If mounts were in the game, the ability to farm would be astronomical.

    Some of these elements are painted as positive elements of Guild Wars 2 (and they are in many respects) but I’m also not convinced that they weren’t intentional additions to ensure wealth wasn’t easily generated. If wealth was easily generated (such as running the AH in WoW or Herb Farming) ArenaNet would inevitably earn nothing from their in game store.

    What I’m trying to say in all of this is the fact that I’d rather have game design that’s similar to WoW’s in many respects (selfish farming, market manipulation, fair drop rates) if that’s as a result of having a subscription fee.

    I say this as a game journalist who covers MMOG’s and who has sunk 2000 hours into Guild Wars 2.

    • hitnrun says:

      I don’t agree with all of that necessarily, and I don’t know if it will apply to Camelot Unchained’s plans for a almost-no-PVE economy (frankly I think they’re doing more than a little hand waving at this point and plan to flesh it out later) but I do agree about subscriptions broadly.

      I wouldn’t have backed this game if it wasn’t subscription-based. That was, as Mr DiCaprio said, the moment where they moved from having my curiosity to having my attention. A little counter-intuitive, sure, but I’ve played enough MMOs by this point to know what the subscription pays for.

    • Moraven says:

      Economy run by player crafting. Makes me want to play Horizons and harvest some flax.

  9. rawrty says:

    Are there going to be stealthers? And by that I mean real stealth classes like in DAoC?

    That was the best part and no MMO I’ve played since has replicated the pure joy of running with a good stealth group (alb) in DAoC.

    I would consider giving this a try if so.

    • Pony Canyon says:

      Their plan for stealthing is activating ‘stealth’ will kind of transition you between dimensions. When you re-appear in the world, you’ll be in a new position. The idea is pretty rough around the edges still, sounds kind of Nightcrawler-esque.

      • rawrty says:

        Hmm, so it sounds like they are still working it out. I guess my main concern is how long it lasts. In DaOC you could stealth and as long as you were not detected or entered combat you would remain in stealth. Once in combat you could not stealth and there was a timer after combat before you could restealth again (though there were realm abilities that let you get around this to a degree). This is where it was really different from other MMOs.

        You could do some cool things like figure out the route hibs would take when respawning given where the action was on the map and set up a stealth party ambush. Or stealth, climb the wall to an enemy keep, oneshot that cloth caster hurling AoE at the rest of your team, quickly hide and restealth in the keep until another opportunity to pick off someone else.

        I was hoping for something more like this rather than a timed stealth where you only get like 3-5 seconds to reposition yourself and start a combo chain like most other MMOs I have played.

        • Pony Canyon says:

          Oh yea. I remember you dicks ambushing me on my way back out to Emain!

          But yea, it’s definitely not fleshed out yet. To me, it does sound like it will be long duration transitions into the other world, as they hinted at fighting other players in the alternate dimension and needing to avoid certain things while you were there. They’re ultimately still playing the ‘we want to work it out with you, the backers!‘ card though.

          • rawrty says:

            Haha, yeah. It may well have been me if you ever played mid or hib on Lamorak :)

            Ah I see, so you could run into other ‘stealthers’ in the other dimension and fight there. Interesting…and yeah it does sound like they have a longer duration in mind. Hmm…well now I am at least motivated enough to check out their forums to learn more.

            Also brings to mind one counter to our stealth group that worked pretty well was having the main group use a stealth escort that would jump us after we jumped the main group. This is what usually happened after an hour or two of picking off people on their way back to the zerg. Either that or people would hang back after respawning and travel en masse.

    • Moraven says:

      Having stealthed scouts and stealthers infiltrating keeps via walls was great.

      • rawrty says:

        Yeah, so much fun. The game overall was great (until it got into the later stages), I played other classes too (had an enchanter for RvR and a Necro for PvE) but stealthers were the most fun for me. I played infi, couple friends played infis and scouts, and we had one minstrel. So we could speed 5 all over the map, stealth up when we reached a battle or choke point. General strat was our minstrel would mez their mezzers, infis jump the clothies, scouts take the melee until the infis could help. We stayed away from the zerg, but any groups of 5-6 would usually got rolled.

  10. Arglebargle says:

    Completely uninterested in this. I do hope it ends up great for those that do like this sort of thing. But no one in my household will be going there.