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the Lonely Alter

I don't play "games", I play MMORPGs! This is where I talk about them!

Author: Tierless

#104 Getting Combative with Camelot Unchained

Posted by Tierless Monday August 25 2014 at 10:22AM
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Please glance over this

And/or watch this

So you know what the H’ I am referencing.

Back when I was a Tiny Tier I used to play a game called WWF Smackdown. I forget which iteration it was, but one of them had a “create a move” where you got to fill 8 move slots with options from a move pool with the end result being one “move” with 8 steps. From how I read the Camelot Unchained combat information, it sounds a heck of a lot like that!

Now before you freak out, yes that is really bat s*** crazy! Yes it will be a pain to balance and yes the players will have more control over their combat moves than perhaps in any game in MMO history! All of which CSE is full well aware of. Don’t be too intimidated. If you wanted to keep it super simple you could just set up your move buttons similar to something like WOW, you would have a sort of stripped down generic version of what this system can do and it would probably hurt you in most PVP cases, but I’m just saying, this system allows for that much diversity. From WOW simple to speed chess complex!

Speed chess is sort of how I see this combat playing out. You approach an enemy and see he has light leg and head armor but heavy body armor. You ask yourself, do I hit button #3 which has a move chain that goes leg strike, leg strike, (this puts a slow on the enemy) head strike, head strike, head strike, OR is it a trick? Does he specialize in leg and head defensive moves and counters? Should I go with a different combo? Maybe his button #1 is all moves that defend his legs and head while countering to mine! ZOMG the strategic decisions! From what I interpret this system will allow more customization and creative freedom from within the class archetype than any MMO class system I have seen since games like UO and SWG!

The only draw back of this system I can see is speed. Getting the speed of combat right is integral. Too fast and this idea breaks down, too slow and it’s more like regular chess than super speed chess. Fortunately that is easily solved via testing.

“Wait wait wait....back up, did you say target the leg?”

Oh yeah...armor will be body part specific, and so are attacks! Each body part will basically have it’s own health pool! ABOUT DARN TIME! Legs, head, arms, body more? I don’t know but I LOVE this concept. I can not wait to set up TONS of moves! Old school MMOers like lots of buttons, good news, you can set up as many as you want with this system! So many combinations, so much potential. Your class will truly feel like YOUR class. You can set them up to play how you want using the moves from within the framework of your archtype. Class FRRRRRRRRREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEDOMMMMMMMMMMM at last!


#103 Camelot Unchained Delays Progress

Posted by Tierless Monday August 11 2014 at 10:15AM
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Before reading I recommend reading the BSC progress bullet points here or watching the video here

If I told most gamers I’d give them a Doritos taco today...but if they saved it until tomorrow I’d give them two more how many of us would eat the one rather than save it to get more? Ok, I know what you're thinking. Yes, I’ve saved fast food overnight and yes I’m aware that for some strange reason it starts to look like a person that sat in a bathtub for wayyyy too long so maybe I should have used cookies instead of tacos...

My point is most gamers would probably take a short term gain over a better long term gain because were impulsive, we like instant gratification, and hell, the breaking could happen tomorrow! I might never see my two Tacos but I got one hot delicious taco here and now and I’m gonna enjoy it! Live in the moment baby!

So what happens when you wait to give a reward to your players until the following day? Sounds pretty....BSC doesn’t it? I’ll be honest this concept did not phase me. I have played every game from Zelda to WOW without giving a damn about stats, numbers, XP, gear, etc. BUT I did it for 2 reasons, 1. it feels less like work and more like play and 2. because I can’t go middle ground, I’m either hardcore or casual and once I flip that switch I’m all in til playing the things feels more like work, OCD and work! I had the nintendo logo burned into my TV for a reason afterall!

I keep it casual for my own well being but I get why people like it. The high of the instant achievement. The brain craves it and the game provides it! Unfortunately developers know that and use it as an uncreative crutch to keep us hooked on their uninspiring gameplay. They COULD do something more interesting but they don’t because it’s harder and it’s riskier. It would take a studio with some serious stones to remove such an easy retainer...enter CSE.

By creating a system in which SOME of the feedback is delayed CSE is throwing down the pole and saying our gameplay is gonna be the pillar of this game! Not “story”, not graphics, not the IP, not the grind treadmill, our RVR gameplay! Keep in mind not all rewards are on a 24 hour delay. Some rewards will happen in real time. Given some players may have to adjust what a “reward” is to them. For me the best reward is RVR ownage, conquest, capture, control, and burning enemies houses down! I’d think most players would agree.

I LOVE that progression will be slow and get slower the more you level. I love that the curve will mean new players won’t be playing catch up from day one. That is incredibly important in an RVR game. I LOVE that players will be rewarded for things like protecting caravans! I LOVE no hard caps on skills, stats, and ability components! More than all that I really LOVE that the reward delay will result in CU playing in a way that is a better experience for most players by getting them to put realm before self!

Whew! That’s a lot of love, so lets get to what I don’t love. I don’t love the NPC king telling me good job. I just don’t need that. When I log off I’m pretty sure I’ll have a sense of how the night went for me. If I get rolled all night an NPC king patting me on the back might be more insult to injury. “You don’t know me BRO! You weren’t there! I sucked! I don’t deserve any praise...I...I...hold me, hold me so I can cry, can’t a warrior cry!” Ok, that got weird... I really like the report concept, I just hope it doesn’t have too much fluff with it and I think the powers that be (CSE) probably feel the same way because “no handholding”. A little chin up isn’t bad but don’t insult me, if I’m brutal or my realm is brutal we need to know it so we can handle it like PVP pros!

More advantages of this crazy concept; less grinders and exploiters. YAY! Less keep trading. YAY! More mystery. YAY! YAY! This system will adjust daily to keep people from trying to grind what gave them the best reward yesterday, genius! It will make every day in the game feel a bit more mysterious and exciting. It’s a fantastic idea and I really can’t gush enough about how much better I believe it will make logging into this game “feel”. Yeah, remember when games had mystery and a “feel”? I do, and I miss it, I miss it badly.

Camelot Unchained will be a living game with real changes which means each server will have it’s own very real very unique history. The daily report is a nice way to record some of that history. Will the reward delay be off putting to many players at first? I’m sure it will. In a few weeks will they remember? I don’t think so, they will be too busy, gasp, playing the game for the reasons we used to! Fun, victory, challenge, conquest, fortune, fame, control, power, domination, and money! The usual. No different than any other old school gamers. ;)

#102 Camelot Unchained's Map IS Crazy!

Posted by Tierless Monday August 4 2014 at 10:49AM
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I recommend watching the BSC map presentation here  before reading this to fully understand what I’m talking about. If thats too long here is a link to the map overview in bullets

From those bullets “The map of Camelot Unchained is arguably the single most important feature of the game”. I can’t agree more. Nothing else matters if the world doesn’t exist and no matter how good the gameplay is if it’s stuck within the confines of a terrible world the game would not succeed. If you read my last blog then you know the “BSC” map presentation pushed me to the very brink of my MMO sanity! My mind was racing, then raging, then questioning followed by mixed emotions and a laundry list of possibilities!

My number one concern for this idea is...can they program it? I know full well CSE is a seasoned studio. This isn’t their first rodeo. A studio by MMO vets with so many MMO vets on staff wouldn’t announce any of this without internally holding it the fire first, and I know less than nothing about programming, but all that said, how? I mean, it seems like such an incredible mechanic I’d think another studio would have tried it by now, then again maybe they did? Or maybe it’s just so BSC that everyone else has been too afraid to!

I always say I want a world to live in, well, this IS A LIVING WORLD! As an explorer I couldn’t be happier! We aren’t capturing a keep and flipping a flag, were burning a keep, dropping stabilizers and moving part of our enemies land across the map to our land! If we hold it long enough the land changes to match the aesthetics of our realm! WOW! Mind shattered! Don’t worry, it won’t be a bunch of tiny closed in WOW like zones, it’s a mix of different sized zones but when they unite they hope to make the map one seamless open mass (obviously varying terrain means some places will have mountains ete.).

The potential for varying strategic PVP is incredible. It keeps the game map fresh while also giving the RVRers the ultimate goal. Don’t just take their keep, don’t just burn their house, take the earth they call home, migrate it to your part of the world and make it look slike your own! That is Egyptian Pharaoh level history erasing right there folks. Think of the other benefits! Resources, defense, immersion, decreased travel time, bridge, canyon, and river choke points, I could go on!

But before I do I have some concerns. I see a lot of water in those examples and we know we will be riding on NPC boats. If those boat rides are entirely safe they become less fun for adrenaline junkies like me. Seeing how chaotic and deadly Camelot Unchained has been described I can’t imagine we will ever be truly “safe” anywhere outside the safe zone.

Finding the right speed for the land to move is integral. Too fast and it becomes capture the flag. Too slow and players will try to skip or ignore it. Thankfully this is easily worked out in beta.

This concern is a personal preference. I like hauling stuff in games. I especially like when hauling is done in a way to create a living world as well as an RVR option away from the typical fronts and keeps. With the map layout as seen in the images I’m not sure how it could work in that way. I’m sure it will exist, but I’m concerned it will either be too safe, or too much of a pain to become a thriving source of play.

Back to the stuff I’m excited about! Imagine your guild is uber leet, too leet for their own good! They cling to their land as all the land around it gets take away! Before long they are a lone island out in the sea! How cool is that! Now imagine your realm trying to get to them to bring them supplies, soldiers etc! Even crazier imagine a skilled guild battles deep into enemy territory and claims a chunk of land! Now they hold land across the map, surrounded by enemies! So much cool! Go to bed, wake up, your house is being migrated across the map! Go to bed, wake up, your oceanfront home is now sitting atop a massive canyon! Ok those last two examples would mean the map is moving way too fast but I’m just saying, the possible outcomes make this game feel more alive than any I can think of! And it’s all player created!

Back in the old days I used to ask for devs to make crops growable and trees really fall down when I cut them...CSE saw that request and raised me an entire moving, living, growing, changing game map! If this concept isn’t Bat S***, no it IS, there is no comparison, this is CRAZY the aged vintage kind that we’ve been missing since games like UO dared to be full loot full PVP. Since games like SWG dared to do open world housing. Since games like DAOC asked, what if we add a third faction to PVP?

Overall I give this 5 out of 5 Batarangs on the Crazy Scale. I am as excited as I am afraid, which in my opinion means this is a crazy good idea.