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The Once and Future Camelot: returning to familiar hearths in dark and desperate times.

Long ago, upon returning to America after years abroad, I settled down and lived for a few years in a place called Albion. Briefly, a veil was lifted and a whole world lay within the reach of my hands and my mind's eye opened to an epic everlasting dream.

Author: Kuldebar

Camelot Unchained: Jousting at the Vertical Paradigm MMO Model

Posted by Kuldebar Monday February 18 2013 at 4:44PM
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Rock, paper, scissors? ‘Natch!

Mark Jacobs addressed the Class System for Camelot Unchained in a recent official blog post:

The RPS approach does not need to have a ton of races and classes to work, what it needs is having those races and classes be truly unique, well-balanced and fun to play. As I’ve said elsewhere, I was really impressed by how guys like Notch and the folks at CCP built their games over time and I want to apply some of those lessons to CU. Start small, iterate and then build, baby, build.


The *rock, paper, scissors* approach is one clear indicator and the reference to Eve Online and to sand box design elements are also another big clue.

More and more gamers are coming to the same conclusions concerning the current state of the MMO genre. The time is now more than ever to clear out a small corner of the MMO market stall and sell a product that differs from everything else out there.


It's Time For Purely Horizontal MMORPG

It's refreshing that Mark Jacobs has already said that CU will be class and role based.

In a such a system you could implement a dynamic variance to allow for a player to tailor their character. This could be as simple as allowing for player to gain a skill set that was geared more for combat healing or one that centered around defensive buffing, etc.

Also, weapon choice could be another method where a player can specialize with his class by choosing to go with a two-handed hammer or a mace and shield. These choices could allow for different combat experiences and effects. MJ has already indicated that skills can be leveled, this would fit right into the idea of tailoring for player choice even though we have set class roles.

So the key is to have distinct classes and roles that operate in a window that can be tailored to individual players but still remain as identifiable as a class:


From The Casual Life by Wintyre Fraust Blog:

So, why not a purely horizontal MMORPG, or an HMMORPG?


Picture this: you log into the character creation module, and part of that is a weighted stat distribution system. You get to not only pick your race, looks, etc., but your stats, traits, skills, etc. You also get to pick your gear, which has strength and other stat requirements (to create a trade-off system for gear & stats). IOW, you get to custom design a fully maxed-out character.


When you leave the character creation module, you can either log into the world, or log into a training area to test out your build and practice with it. You can to into WvW, PvE, or PvE areas. By playing in those areas, you can gather up various kinds of rewards with which you can buy different traits, skills, weapons, gear, and other horizontal commodities. Let's say that when you log into any action area, your character is committed to 10 traits and 10 skills with weapon-swapping ability. Let's say that when you first log into character creation, you have 30 traits and 30 skills available, and an assortment of standard weapons and gear (that all have a max distribution of stats). You can pick from the starting variety to initially build your character from.

Is it just me, or does anyone else want something like what Wintyre Fraust is describing?

The trait and skill system would be based on the use of "non-comparables", much like the League of Legends system, but instead of each character being locked into a certain set of non-comparables, the player can custom-build his or her characters however they find suitable, mixing and matching stat distribution, skills, traits, weapons and gear. They can collect a stable of characters (or character templates) to use as they see fit in the game.

The beauty of this system is that developers would no longer have to figure out how to keep the non-end-game areas relevant, because in fact the whole game (outside of the optional training area) would be the end game. No more starter or mid-level areas to get your character "leveled up". You can just start in a single city (whatever your race) and head out any direction you want, go anywhere you want, because the entire game is designed for max-level characters - which you start the game with.

Another key aspect of this is that the developer could initially create a relatively small world because most of what now occupies MMOG worlds would be unnecessary; areas for leveling your character up. Like League of Legends, they could even start with relatively few initial traits, skills, weapons, gear, etc. It could be modest start-up to test the market, and then easily grow by adding to the existing game.

This system fits Project CU to a "T".

The MMO experience would broaden out and no longer be an endless vertical ladder, progress would be measured in widening one's capabilities and not in some bolted on exponential level curve.

This is what I am hearing when I read the CSE blog posts, and it is a distinctly wonderful thing for a player who has finally found out why most of the MMO products on the market today have come off as stale and repetitive experiences. GW2 lost my passion when a new gear tier was introduced just two months after release. I have always found ever growing gear tiers to be pure fakery and a gimmick to keep you on the treadmill longer. If you have to be led around by the nose in such a way that's usually an indicator that the game is based on some bankrupt ideas like power creep.

But, again, this is why Mark Jacobs & CSE are not making a game for every gamer, because every gamer isn't at the same point in their gaming life. Every gamer hasn't arrived at the same conclusions or started a dialog with themselves about why they become burnt out or lose interest in some of the most beautifully created virtual worlds they have ever experienced. Many gamers will always view character progress as a vertical progression and fail to see that something can't go up forever and still be a grounded and fresh experience. Bringing new players into vertically designed games becomes harder and harder because the disparity between old and new players is jarring and rather demoralizing.

Vertical design invalidates and sacrifices older content in order to sustain its upward momentum. Wide swathes of the game world content become underpopulated and no longer relevant. And with hardly an exception, the whole of the MMO genre is based on this vertical model.

Camelot Unchained might just be the small game that breaks the stranglehold of the vertical progression model in the MMORPG market place.
 

The day the MMO world went to Walmart and couldn't find what it was looking for...

Posted by Kuldebar Sunday February 17 2013 at 7:19PM
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Super Walmart or the 5 & 10 Cent Store

There's nothing wrong with going to Fred Meyers or Walmart,. You can find a lot of variety in those stores versus that small country store a mile down the road. The problem with the mass merchandise type places is always in the details; those specialized items you are looking for might be hard to find. Whether it's that certain original XBoX Conversion Kit or a specific computer part or a particular brand name of ice cream; if it doesn't have mass appeal, you may be screwed.

MMO's have always promised us change, just like every four years in America, we hear the same thing but this time it's different for several reasons. Those reasons are being well laid out on the official website's growing list of Foundational Principles.

So, enter Project Camelot Unchained: It doesn't want to be your Walmart of Gaming, it wants to be your specialty store.

A recent article by Syncaine, aptly titled, "Return to Sanity" illustrates the importance of such a move to the MMO genre at this time:            

More importantly, Camelot Unchained and others show that the future of the genre is, finally, not in chasing the mythical WoW unicorn, but in reproducing what actually worked; delivering a measured product aimed at the crowd that actually wants it. And if that crowd is only 30k strong, as Mark Jacob’s estimates will be the case for CU, so be it. 30k people paying you each month is more than doable from a business standpoint; you just can’t spend 300m to get there.

Mark Jacobs gets this concept. This isn't a WoW is evil and niche games are good argument; it's more subtle than that -they are different things and don't share all the same goals.

For too long people have treated the MMO genre like it's just purely a general store enterprise, when it really should be viewed as equally capable of simply being a hardware store, or electronics store, or clothing store or maybe, bookstore. Just because Walmart sells books doesn't mean it does it better than Barnes and Nobles or that old Mom & Pop Book Nook down off Main Street.

Sure, one of them is bigger and has more name recognition or cash flow, but does that mean the experience of shopping there is necessarily superior?

It's not a perfect analogy, but it's a relevant perspective on how MMO's have been viewed in the last 10 years.

Mass crowd appeal as the official measure of success

So when Tobold asks the rather heavily crap laden question:

 If today a game released and got 250,000 players, it would be considered a failure. There were "WoW is dying" posts in response to the news that WoW was down to 9.6 million players. But Dark Age of Camelot, which only ever got 250,000 players at its peak, and is now well below 50,000, is by some still considered to be the holy grail. And that was for a mixed PvE / PvP game, while Camelot Unchained will only have the PvP part. Does anybody really believe this is going to be a huge success? Especially since Mark Jacobs previous attempt to make a new DAoC-successor, Warhammer Online, was such a big success ...

One should consider if Tobold's definition of success is truly accurate. Because just maybe it's exactly that type of thinking that landed us into this rut of an idea that mandates that all MMO's be Walmart.

They don't.

Define, or be defined.

If you are in the business of creating or consuming  products, whether they be ideas or games or a new electronic gadget. attracting the right customers is the key. Playing to the mass crowd only works to a certain extent and then falls flat, often a victim of its own success. A blasé attitude develops toward something stripped of all its sharp edges, homogenized into a product for mass appeal, both succeeding and failing at the time.

The pedestrian path is a common trail to blaze to reach success, but sometimes the road less traveled has the best scenery and the greatest treasures. This goes for MMO's as well.

Camelot Unchained: a quiet counter-revolution to bring back old school gameplay

Posted by Kuldebar Saturday February 16 2013 at 9:53PM
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Further details have emerged about how and to what degree a player's character  will exist in the world of CSE's recently announced project Camelot Unchained.

The information was given in a recent official blog post titled Top Ten Questions: No realm ranks, abilities? What? here's a choice quote:

Okay, so what does this mean to you? First, it means that every time you do something to help your realm it the game will note it. If you are fighting other players, crafting items, building structures in the frontiers, etc., your ruler will note the actions that you are taking to help your realm.

Secondly, some of these actions may have an affect on your physical body and your stats. You may grow stronger, gain more attunement with certain magical forces, and become more proficient in one of your skills/abilities/runes/etc. or actually, the opposite at times.

Thirdly, while there is not going to be a traditional leveling curve (Ding Gratz! Level 8 calling; Please deposit coins to add more health, more strength and new abilities!) but rather there will be a system that rewards you based on the combination of the actions you participated in (and more that we will talk about later) that we will substitute for the traditional system. How we are going to take what I have talked above and put it into practice will, I am quite sure, get us some cards and letters but that is for another day.

What is also important to note is that we want players to get into RvR right from the beginning of their journey in CU. We want to create a system where a high level character is better than he was, better…faster…stronger… than a low level player but it should also not be a system (if we want to have a truly open world) where the high level player sneezes and the low level player is scattered to the four winds. You must be able to have actual RvR in an RvR-focused game and that means that the cavernous gulf of disparity between characters that can be found in other games must not be part of the system here. Again, being a more experienced player will come with tons of perks, benefits, abilities, etc. but it should not be instant death to see somebody a bit more powerful than you coming at you if we want this game to succeed.

Practice makes perfect but if you don't use it, you lose it

From what little know, CSE is leaning heavily toward a dynamic system of character progression and though few things are 100% decided upon theimplications are fairly clear barring a complete reversal of design choices.

If CSE chooses to make a character truly responsive and a reflection of factors in the game world then it should follow that both positive and negative would be accounted for in such a system, progression and regression.


Implementing a slow and reasonable skill decay system would be of great help in offsetting concerns that every player would eventually become "masters of the universe" as far as skills go.

If choices matter, then the choice of play styles should have bearing.

But this would mean not resting on your laurels for extended periods of time:

It's been a year of in game time since you last equipped and used this type of weapon?

Oh dear, your proficiency is nearly at the default level for your class!

So, you aren't RvR'ing  anymore but focusing on blacksmithing and mining?

What strength you have! But, it seems your stealth abilities are almost at novice levels. Is city life is blunting your edge?

Now, it's important to state, we are talking of a relatively narrow window of positive and negative effectiveness.

The key is to make decayed skills noticeable but not *totally* debilitating and well used skills will have desirous benefits.  Perhaps this would be 5% or 10%, plus or minus, in the level of effectiveness or proficiency.

This variance, spread and flux, would engage a player to be cognizant of their character and his place in time and space within the game's world.

Assuming their were stealth detection in the game, a stealther who hadn't used his stealth ability while evading enemy stealth detection checks might become somewhat "rusty" in his ability.

Minus 5% or so from base ability could spell disaster in a tactical setting if the enemy at hand was skilled in the detection of stealthed enemies. 

The key is that these changes be a slow positive or negative swing in proficiency. And, there would be no "spent 10 minutes in stealth in an enemy proximity" and bam! you are back on par; no it  the progression and regression would be slow and not necessarily turn on a dime.

Staying on top of your game would have real meaning.

If your stealther character crafts in the city square more than he sneaks into enemy controlled encampments, well no muss no fuss, you will become a great craftsman but there's a price to be paid if you ignore other skill use.

But don't panic, it's completely reversible in the fullness of time.

Where would be the sense of progression in such a game?

Well, a self actualized individual will feel that every successful outcome is a sign of success, but there is no reason that the world of CU can't grant titles and achievements for character accomplishments and combat engagements.

Just because "arpees" aren't tracked as a viewable metric doesn't mean there can't be more holistically valued ratings to track a character's progress. In fact the dynamic skill level system would help players to see if they are falling behind in an areas and react accordingly.

Broadening skill sets and staying proficient while achieving success as a crafter of rarities or victor in the ongoing realm conflicts seems to me a lot more tangible way to witness one's progress.

As someone who's taken lengthy breaks from MMOs it has always been nice to pick up where I left off, this system would be awful for me right?

The skill decay system would only be active when logged in and completely based on actual play time, not off-line time.

Here's what Mark Jacobs had to say in a recent reddit discussion:

UO had a skill decay system as did some other games I think. Problem was that it wasn't popular with some players. Nor that it matters as much for this game since I am willing to piss some people off but only when it's for the GotG and all that.

I could envision a system where you had skill decay but it needs to be constructed in such a manner that the decay scales very slowly, reaches a tipping point and then you go downhill fast but that also allows the character to be put in storage for vacations, breaks from the game. We don't want people to leave and never want to come back just because they needed a break. This is definitely one of those things I want to discuss with the backers.

Skill decay as a possible possibilty for Camelot Unchained

As noted in the quote from Mark Jacobs up above, skill decay could be part of the released game, but it remains to be seen if CSE wants to take a dynamic skill progression to that point.

Obviously, I see it as a natural outcome of embracing the dynamic model and I think it could be easily made into a valuable game mechanic that rewarded a player's efforts with a reasonable plus or minus to effectiveness in any given scenario.

Would this be like a character using a stave for a while, then switching to a spear and at that point the stave skill would begin to decrease?

Yes, but a very gradual decrease over time while in the game until you reach a "tipping point" in proficiency.

Use or non-use of a skill will lead to a variance of + 5%  to -5% of the default level for your class. (Using that percentage as example, it could be higher or lower based on DEV testing)

An entirely make-believe example:

Class: Ravenblade

Stealth Ability (the higher stealth skill, the higher chance to avoid detection)

Highest Cap for Frequent Use: 105% Effectiveness

Default Skill Level: 100

Lowest Cap for Extended Non-Use: 95% Effectiveness

Now consider an enemy player class who has Stealth Detection, and let's say his effectiveness level is 105% because he uses that ability frequently and let's say that your Stealth Ability is a "dismal" 97%...you might be spotted rather easily if you are in close proximity to that enemy player.

In addition to Class Specific Skills, Primary Character Stats would have similar dynamic level ranges.

Large amounts of blacksmithing would result in a Strength stat increase, or the Tailoring and Leatherworking might improve the Dexterity stat, etc.

Keep in mind that these stats would have a cap and the range of improvement would be in a relative range, say 5% to 10%. 

I see the negative to be just as important as the positive in a dynamic skill system because it recognizes actual skill use, thus completing the feedback loop between the player and the game world.

A couple of thoughts: Darkness Falls Unchained and Combat Targeting!

Posted by Kuldebar Thursday February 14 2013 at 6:23PM
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Darkness Falls in a non-PvE World

I think it's very important to have a Darkness Falls style dungeon in CU and that it be as close in spirit to the original as possible. Not so much the layout or map, but in the way each realm interfaces and accesses such a darkly menacing dungeon space.

The mechanics of acquiring access to Darkness Falls would remain very close to the original methods in DAoC. Also, ensuring that overlapping periods of ownership would add that much desired spice to the situation when the tides of war ebbed and flowed through the abyssal caverns.

The key is to keep an ongoing and perpetual tug of war between any two of the three realms at any given time.

Since PvE is not on the CU table of offerings, and MJ is not at hawker of  tokens or NPC loot supplied items, another reason must be offered to fuel the drive and desire for possesion of Darkness Falls for one's realm faction.

To me the obvious method is to place a resource monopoly within the dungeon caverns.

Specifically a resource that would grant the player the ability to enchant his or her armor and weapons.

The "catch" or, more approriately, the hook, would be that such enchants as well as the mined or gathered resource would have a half life, perhaps only of a couple of days before they expired. Thus, ensuring that a fresh application would be needed.

One could not hoard the resource because of its inherently volatile nature, so a constant need to possess the dungeon would be born out of that reality. The reapplication of the enchant would be fairly easy, with no specific crafting skill required only timely access to the resource would be a necessity.

Combat Targeting

Instead of cross-hair/reticle based or tab targeting, let's have both options availbale for players to choose.  I can adapt to either method, but my fear is that lag can impact reticle based targeting more than tab based, so in a game centered around MMO battles, I think it wise not to put all the targeting eggs in one basket for that reason alone. The other reason to allow for choice is that you make both camps happy.

 

 

Some Notes/Thoughts from Live Stream with Mark Jacobs on Camelot Unchained Project

Posted by Kuldebar Thursday February 14 2013 at 2:44PM
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On Player Classes

Specialized Class based system will be chosen by player from the very start of the game.

The idea is to encourage players to play roles and have an in-game identity and connection to their character and relationship with the game world and its other inhabitants.

Crafting System

The crafting system is a huge part of the game's economy. 

Crafters won't be churning out ten thousand generic items in order to level up their skill.Crafters can personalize their creations.

Specific Crafting Quests to gain rare recipes will be part of the process and may involve some exploration and adventure into remote areas of the world.

There will be no auction house in the game, player to player interaction and association is the prime objective. Reputation and crafting prowess will be a marketable commodity in a true community setting. Gone will be the days of crafting hundreds of mediocre items and plopping them down in the auction house.

Player Housing

Houses will require in-game money and time to acquire and will be safe in some areas and not as safe in other areas. The less safe areas will have some benefits to off set the risks although that risk won't bea total loss of everything you have worked for it will involve accessibility, etc as the war fronts change.

 

Combat

Killing another player will not allow for stealing that player's gear but will have some other type of reward, reconnaissance information for example.

Targeting system not decided at this time whether it will be tab-target or cross-hair type system.

Risk versus reward will be the determining factor for player in combat situations. Magic users will have constraints to offset their potential advantage in fights. The spamming of abilities will not be possible.

Mounted combat is something that would be added after the game is finalized but not currently a priority.

 

Guilds

Guilds will be a huge part of the game community. Systems that allow for guild to guild interaction and collaboration in the RvR conflicts.


RvR / TriRealm™

RvR is more than just keep taking. It fully be fully fleshed out non-instanced content Environmental considerations and events will impact  the ongoing conflict. Since tehre is no PvE, the focus will be in generating content around and for the sole purpose of realm conflict.

The fun aspects of RvR is the goal, not centered around "kill count". There will be no realm ranks but progression and it will be based on various RvR-centric activities.

Miscellaneous

Gear Dye system will happen!

Cash shop a possibilty but absolutely no pay to win items: cosmetic, additional slots, etc.

Kickstarter Goal: roughly 2 million needed then additional funding from elsewhere can be garnered.

Some things unaddressed

Gear Durability/Repair System?

An idea how big will the game world be?

Playable races in the game? (Humans, obviously but...)

Darkness Falls style dungeon?

On Game Design: Vertical versus Horizontal


I read a blog post on Player Versus Developer and I found it to be very reflective of what matters to me in a game, especially an MMO:

I like to call this the "pants optional" argument - no MMO I am aware of has a mandatory requirement that characters wear pants, but very few players opt to go pantless. The choice technically exists, but is largely uninteresting, as there is almost always no benefit to going without pants and the player would then be obligated to upgrade the rest of their gear to off-set the stats from the missing leggings

..If paying customers feel like they are obligated to do something that they do not believe is fun, it does not matter if the customer is theoretically incorrect.

The need/desire/wish for gamers to stop being little crack addicts and play games for  fun and challenge instead of gimmicky mechanics that give the player the illusion of being skilled.

This is how Vertical Progression or scaling destroys the game environment by imposing a slash and burn/scorched-earth type approach that gamers must adopt in order to stay viable in the game world. Huge swaths of the game's content become undesirable as developers must crank out more and more inflationary content over time.

Vertical progression as opposed to Horizontal;  the latter system acts as a preserver of the game's content while the former lights a match to it and leaves it a smoking ruin.

There's a reason why nearly every game in existence is based on a vertical progression: it's easier and fast. It's fast food for gamer consumers.

Horizontal systems make more sense and have lasting appeal and value.


As a principle, Horizontal Scaling has a solid basis in reality.

Holistic approaches will always be preferable to atomistical designs because the former strengthens the whole while the latter tends to detract from the whole.

A real world example of a similarly limited mindset can be found in the early days of refining oil, gasoline was considered waste and was often dumped directly into the nearest river. The immediate goal of "farming" the oil completely ran roughshod over any other consideration.

Progress should always give us the ability to examine better ways of doing things. MMO's are not exempt from this concept. By harnessing the resources of the creative process in an "environmentally" responsible manner, everyone can benefit.

The better way is a road less traveled.


New methodologies are always risky because people are prone to cling to old models. The new model is often referred to as Horizontal Scaling or Progression. Taugrim explains it very well here.

Vertical Progression plows under content and wastes the creative energy of developers because they must constantly add to the artificially defined "end game".

A recent example is GW2, it was to be the game that had no end-game. Its developers had bravely aspired to free the MMO genre and its players from the shackles of vertical scaling.



The mistake is thinking that the two models can coexist in the same game, they can not.


You can have some HP elements in a VP game but sugar-rush/inflationary nature of VP content will always come at the expense of HP viability in such environments. The parameters of the gamer's human nature are well established.

It's for this reason that games which contain PvP and PvE have always had a hugely difficult time at maintaining integrity, usually sheer trickery becomes necessary and the game becomes a segregated and segmented disharmonious mess.

If more games adopted the horizontal model, developers could concentrate on actual *new content* which is enjoyable to play versus content that is largely enjoyable for the reward of the power increase it offers upon completion.

The ever dangling carrot treadmill grows old fast where as extensively broadening the progression of a player character can make a gamer feel like they are an actual part of a game world.




Power Creep is evil.


Rewards are fine, but games can be rewarding without blindly following the legacy of the current cancerous game design models.

Meleagar posted a commentary on where we currently stand in the MMO-verse:

...is that many of us now have a much better understanding of what we want - and do not want - in a game, beyond the terms "casual" and "hardcore". It turns out that there are much more quantifiable and objective game design commodities that divide the potential customer base than simply "how much time you play".

  • 1. Stat-progression vs Stat-capped end game
  • 2. Gear-gated content vs non-gated content
  • 3. Grinding vs non-grinding
  • 4. Vertical progression vs horizontal content
 


Both extremes can coexist within the MMO genre, just not within the same game. The two can not be reconciled though I understand why developers would attempt to try. Simply put, the incendiary nature of VP will never allow the benefits of HP to blossom in a side by side execution.

I hold out for the day when I can play a game that takes the road less traveled.

Camelot Unchained may represent that possibility.

The Story So Far: What We Know

Posted by Kuldebar Monday February 11 2013 at 8:31PM
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Intro

It's very early on and we have only a few tantalizing tidbits of information about the setting of the new world that the CSE Team is proposing to create in their recently announced Camelot Unchianed Project.

I will try to keep conjecture to a minimum, but I may fail miserably.

The Setting and Stage

It appears the world setting will take place on our own Earth after the veil between worlds has been lifted.  

What we do not know is if the Earth setting is the modern day world or the Earth from some other historical period.

I must admit having delight imagining Knights, Fae Warriors and Vikings battling over a dragon scorched ruins of a post-apocalyptic present day Earth, but we just don't know yet.

 

There will be three factions available to players which will emerge as dominant and opposing forces:

  • The Kingdom of Camelot
  • The Tuatha Dé Danann
  • The Vikings 

There's a lot to love right there: three factions and the distinct lore value each mythical faction represents in the human imagination.

The archetypes are very compelling and the faction leaders, equally so:

  • King Arthur Pendragon of Camelot
  • Nuada Airgetlám of the Tuatha Dé Danann
  • Sigurd of the Vikings

The game will be RVR based and sand box in the sense that players will be the prime movers of the world events in the conflict between the factions.

"Everything in this game is geared to the TriRealm concept, whether it is the crafting system, housing, skill progression, etc. You will explore, fight, capture, level, etc. all within a competitive RvR world that was crafted with this FP in mind." -RvR isn’t the end game, it’s the only game!

So, despite all the "PVP", there will still be a firm anchoring in the world setting. 

Players will craft armors and weapons to support the war efforts and also have personal places to call home.

Careful weaving of the ongoing conflict and the pride of one's realm, hearth and home will be the driving force and motivation for the player. Tangible benefits and losses will make for worthwhile warfare. Players will need to be invested; the emotionally detached player or the unimaginative one will problem feel like a fish out of water.

Character Progression

Skill and character progression will be based on usage and focus of play style. Thus, the player will be the true actor in the game allowing for the player to be vested in their characters. Healers will want to be healers, and will be treasured for being so.

"Our progression systems will be based solely on the activities that you are participating in directly (“Die Die. Kill you all. Make you suffer!”) or (“Heal Heal. Heal you all. Make you whole!”) or simply by otherwise helping out in RvR, even if you aren’t very good at it.

Know that I’m a fan of “You are what you do” gameplay as well as a class-based system for this kind of game so…"  Foundational Principle #2

The Challenge of the Game

The game will entice you not to fail and encourage you to build cohesive community within your faction. 

"You should always hold the hands of your little children while crossing busy intersections but…our players are not children and this is not an intersection crossing.

Many developers/publishers were and are so afraid to let the players lose, make mistakes, suffer any inconvenience, etc., that we have created a feedback loop whereby many players expect spoon fed content that goes down real easy, shown how to do everything, directed so they can’t make serious mistakes, etc.

To sum up, Camelot Unchained will not hold your hand, it will allow you to make mistakes, it will encourage you to take risks, but most importantly, it will reward you for doing so and yes, if you make some bad decisions it will not always be easy to undo them, old school style."  - Foundational Principle #3

Additional considerations in the game design will attempt to marry old school elements into a modern game.

"...I may also put in some features that some people might not consider fun (like true day/night cycle, slower and different leveling systems, extremely limited fast travel, no PvE leveling/gear grind) because I believe that will make this a better game for our niche."  - Foundational Principle #1

So, that 's my summation of what little we presently know of Camelot Unchained. 

There's a large amount of bravery in CSE's honestly stated intent. If this project was coming from a major studio, I'd not believe it for one second. But, like politics, true grass root gaming can have wonderful qualities and righteous ambition without having to sell souls in the process.

Occasionally, something suspiciously magical happens.

Posted by Kuldebar Monday February 11 2013 at 6:32PM
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An introduction to intentions

It's a sad, yet wonderful thing, when hope comes winging back to roost on the dead branch of a tree in a desolute garden where once delight and joy abounded. 

My primary interest in playing games has long been for the purpose of escaping the mundane and living the life of the heroic figures in the tales I have read througout my life. So, pardon the romantic qualities and melancholic imagery; it's difficult for me to stay shallow in such a deep sea of my inner life, but it is also of a practical value in framing the impact of a recent announcement that there was a creative force in the process of tearing open the veil once again to a place I thought forever out of reach. After all, if the magic can return, then not all hope is lost.

So my gamer soul is captivated by the recent announcement of a kickstarter project called Camelot Unchained and I really like what I am seeing in the bare-faced honesty, focus and intent of the creative wizards behind the proposed expedition to open a veil to another world. 

The purpose of this blog will be to discuss and ponder, imagine and deliberate the shaping of a game that might just be able to give us back some magic in our lives. And, as with all magic: fun, excitement and challenge as well.

 

This you have to understand. There's only one way to hurt a man who's lost everything. Give him back something broken  -Stephen R Donaldson

It appears to me that Mark Jacobs is a man who knows what he is about and is brave enough to face the inherent challenges of crafting something wonderful from such fragile materials as hopeful aspirations in our world today.  

Let's admit it, we have all been burned by flying too close to something which appeared so bright and welcoming yet only served to burn up our hard earned money and singe our wings.

I think Mark Jacob and the CSE Team understands and have chosen a path that will avoid the common pitfalls endemic to the modern world of marketing pressure and corporate boardroom impostions on any bravely creative endeavor.  

The first clue of this is in the funding mechanism: Kickstarter.

“We believe there’s a small yet viable audience of fans who are very keen to play this type of MMORPG,” stated Mark Jacobs. “However, tightly focused niche games don’t necessarily hold great appeal for traditional publishers who are looking toward the mass market. We see Kickstarter as the best way to reach out directly to the people who will actually play our game for help in funding its creation.”

The other indicators to the Team's true intentions are in the statements contained in the still growing number of Foundational Principles published thus far on the official Camelot Unchained website:

Foundational Principle #1 – Be willing to take risks, even if fortune doesn’t always favor the bold

Foundational Principle #2 – RvR isn’t the end game, it’s the only game!

Foundational Principle #3 – You should always hold the hands of your little children while crossing busy intersections but…

One doesn't walk away from such clearly given statements, and it would be very apparent very early on if such stated principles were for the purpose of lip service. There's a keenly built-in honesty at work here, and to me, it is very heartening as a gamer on the eternal quest for the Holy Grail.

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. -Henry David Thoreau

So, I am inexorably hopeful deep within my gamer's soul of  what might become of such wonderful intentions and ambitions.

And I, for one, will do what I can to help it along.

 

 

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