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Camelot Unchained Revealed

Follow my journey in Camelot Unchained.

Author: gylnne

Foundational Principle #6 – Rock, paper, scissors? ‘Natch!

Posted by gylnne Friday March 28 2014 at 8:13PM
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Up next is Foundational Principle #6.


"One of the things that set Dark Age of Camelot apart from its competitors was the number of races and classes that the game had at launch as well as the ongoing expansion that led to the massive number of race and class combination that it possesses now.

Originally, the reasoning behind that choice was that I knew that we could not compete with the budgets and backing of the three big MMORPGs of the era, UO, EQ and AC and that our best chance of success relied our having a number of differentiating features/gameplay that would set us apart from them.

Part of my plan was to use the number of classes and races as two of the major differentiators at launch (“Look Ma, more races!”) along with the RvR system (inspired by Kesmai’s Air Warrior). Moreover, I believed that by creating races and classes that were different from realm to realm, we would also increase re-playability of our game (okay, so sometimes I do have to think like a business guy as well as a design guy) and therefore increase its “staying power” over time. We will follow a similar, but not identical approach with this game but for different reasons.

Two of the unique things about a Kickstarter-funded game are that we will have a large core player base (our backers) waiting for us when the game launches in addition to the public as well. Additionally, we will also have well in excess a year of hardcore testing with our backers at every major stage of the game.

That freedom allows us to set off on a course that is slightly askew to we did back in 1999 when Mythic Entertainment set off to create Dark Age of Camelot. Now before you hit the “kill MJ switch”, hear me out, please.

One of the reasons I chose to use the mirrored mechanic for WAR (yep, blame me if you hated it) was to make balancing of the game easier (I think I used the phrase “Because balancing DAoC’s classes was a f******* nightmare” with the team). Another reason back then was that I believed that because of WoW’s success, that if we went down the RPS path, the large number of players we needed to hit our projected subs would be less tolerant and forgiving and wouldn’t stick around for very long.

Fortunately for this game, we don’t need to worry about big numbers and since I’m aiming this game right at core RvR-fans, I can choose the mechanic based on how much fun it is to have different races/classes for each realm. Thus, each realm can now be populated by race/class combinations that the players have to deal with in battle knowing that certain combinations will be more of a nightmare matchup while others will not be; in other words, the purity of RPS mechanic.

This lends an element of unpredictability and it gives us so much more freedom to explore different classes/abilities without worrying about having everything equally balanced 100% all the time. We can experiment, take some chances and yes, every so often I will once again be a target of tar and feathers because we tried something that didn’t work out so well but that’s okay and frankly, how it should be because the core RvR-players would not want us to pursue the safer path."

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Helbound Animation Test and Camelot Unchained Friday Update!

Posted by gylnne Friday March 28 2014 at 5:32PM
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Mark just released the Helbound Animation test here:

And his Friday update for March 28, 2014 over here:

Foundational Principle #5--I Still Hate Gold Sellers

Posted by gylnne Saturday March 22 2014 at 7:16PM
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Mark continues his Foundational Principles for Camelot Unchained with #5.

"If you have followed MMORPGs since 2001, you probably know how I feel about gold sellers. I took a hard line against them back in the Dark Age of Camelot days (and ended up in a lawsuit with one of them in response) and I see no reason not to continue that hard line today. While it certainly would be nice to have those extra subs the gold sellers/farmers bring to the table, I will not compromise the integrity of the game or the enjoyment for the vast majority of the players by making it easy for them in CU even if it “leaves some money on the table.”

It is why I have always fought them, refused to take their money (in exchange for turning a blind eye or supporting them) and I will continue in that regard going forward. While I support the right of a developer/publisher to build their game, their way and to make whatever decision they want to make regarding gold sellers, that doesn’t mean that I have to agree with it nor follow down the same path. Twelve years ago, I drew a line in the sand and did so again with Warhammer Online, and when CU launches, I will do so again for the exact same reasons.

As to why I hate gold sellers so much (same with power leveling services), I will not go into a full rant/diatribe other than to say that, IMO, gold sellers adversely change the experience of the game for non-gold farmers/selling players. Whether it is by camping spawns (which won’t be an issue in this game), spamming chat, driving up in-game currency prices for sought after items, etc. they have, in my opinion, a deleterious effect on a greater number of people than they benefit even if you believe in the ever-popular time versus money argument.

Look, I get it, not every player has/had the time to commit to MMOs that other people have and these same people are happy to spend money to get access to items and/or levels they would if they had the time to spare.  However, many (not all) of the companies/guilds that farm gold (as many a gold seller has been quick to point out to me that they don’t actually farm, they simply buy and sell gold) engage in behaviors that most players do not benefit by and that is something I cannot support."

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Foundational Principle #4--Choice Matters!

Posted by gylnne Thursday March 20 2014 at 2:18PM
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Mark continues Camelot Unchained Foundational principles with Foundational Principle #4 Choice Matters!

"RPGs have traditionally offered players a plethora of choices for building out their characters.  From the earliest P&PGs to MMORPGs, players have been able to select everything from the most basic choices (race, sex, etc.) to complicated backgrounds for their character.

Unfortunately, over the years many MMORPGs have scaled back player options as developers/publishers chose to chase non-core gamers.  While there are more avatar customization options, are having things like “boob sliders” really more important to RPGers than being able to create characters who have meaningful statistical differences and abilities tied to the players’ selection of race, gender, etc.?

Well, at least to me they are not and from the moment that a player creates his character in CU, the choices that the player makes will have significant impact on that character’s development.  However, that is not enough; we also want players to know that as they play through the game, their ongoing choices of weapons, crafting, play-style, etc. will also have a real bearing on not only their skills/abilities but also on their bodies.

I cannot say that “Every choice you make matters!” because well, that would simply not be true.  What I can say is that if a player swings an axe 1000 times, it will affect their character’s strength.  Conversely, if they are struck with 1000 axe-blows, it will also take its toll (do not worry; we are not talking about perma-death).

Further, while we want CU to be a class-based RPG, we also want to give the player a lot of freedom to choose skills, armor, etc. for their character without worrying about a never-ending list of absolute restrictions regarding who can wear what armor, use what weapon, etc.

Now, what happens to the magic-user who wears too much metal (or the wrong kind), or spends too much time wielding that sword or “crossing the streams” is another matter entirely but the choice is yours.  While there are some restrictions, they will be few in number, as we want players to be able to have fun with the system.

This is one of the reasons why I am not calling CU a “Sandbox MMORPG” (IMO, a true sandbox MMORPG has almost no restrictions whatsoever) but rather an MMORPG with some strong sandbox elements.

Continue reading here:

Camelot Unchained Twitch TV is Live! Frost Giants

Posted by gylnne Thursday March 20 2014 at 12:54PM
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CSE Twitch tv is live right now as they are letting you watch them create Giants for the game.

Come on over and take a look!

Camelot Unchained Kickstarter Update #96

Posted by gylnne Wednesday March 19 2014 at 2:17PM
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Mark recently released Kickstarter update 96.



Sorry for missing last Friday's update but it was a very busy day in the studio. Everything goes well here, lots of candidate interviews and the game is moving along nicely. Today’s update focuses on a number of things. The first is the March Producer letter from Tyler. A link to the full letter can be found here.

Sorry it was a more than a little delayed this month but that wasn't Tyler's fault. Between various illnesses, a new baby and lots of other things all happening since March began, we didn't get it posted before now.

Next up, I would like to officially introduce our new game designer, Ben Pielstick. For a young dude, Ben has amassed a lot of experience in working on/with RvR and PvP systems including doing a stint me at another company that you are all very familiar. Instead of me yakking it up about him, I’ll let Ben introduce himself:

Continue reading here:

For those of you who are new to Camelot Unchained I am posting Mark Jacobs Foundational Principles again.



our players are not children and this is not an intersection crossing. Over the years many MMORPG designers, me included, have employed various devices and mechanics in order to increase our games’ subscription base.  We removed points of frustration (I termed them “quit points” at Mythic), sped up the leveling curve (the argument being that games should not be harder to level than WoW), highlighted evolutionary or revolutionary new features to differentiate our games from our competition (extremely guilty as charged your honor!) and others too numerous to describe here.

  While this has brought about some very good innovations, it also resulted in the vast majority of MMORPGs becoming easier to player, simpler to master and more “hand-holding” that their earlier brethren. These mechanics include speeding up of travel time (Players: “I don’t want to have to walk 20 minutes to get into the action because it feels like we are moving through mud”), lack of meaningful and/or punishing death penalties (Players: “OMG, I died because your random number generator is broken!  It’s not my fault!”), fast leveling systems (Players: “I don’t want to max my character 12 months from now; I only play once a week”), auction houses (Players: “Don’t force me to interact with other players to sell/buy stuff.

 I have to do that in RL, I don’t want to do that in a game.”), easy to follow quest directions with full signage included (Players: “I don’t want to explore the world to find this NPC.  I don’t have that much time to waste!”), etc.  Players of course, relayed those “Player” statements to us back in my Dark Age of Camelot days on forums and through feedback/chat/Q&As/etc.

 Now, none of these techniques is morally or ethically bad (since what is challenging for one gamer can be total frustration for another) nor are many players’ desires for an easier and faster playing game; and as a designer/developer/player, I absolutely agreed with some of them.  However, with the implementation of some of these techniques, much of what made earlier MMORPGs and RPGs unique and challenging was lost.

Continue reading here:

Camelot Unchained the Tuatha De Danann Realm-Silverhands Race History

Posted by gylnne Friday March 14 2014 at 10:49PM
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Silverhands are but one of the totally unique races in Camelot Unchained.


“Your early trials have gone well young one,” said the grizzled instructor to the male Silverhand, “Your training has been the best that I’ve seen in many decades. Be proud of yourself.” At this hard-won praise the trainee smiled broadly, for such a compliment was rarely given. “But not too proud,” cautioned the instructor, “For an excess of pride is what led whom we honor to a terrible, yet profound, destiny. Recite for me the tale as you have been taught.” With that, the old instructor lowered himself to the ground, his back now resting comfortably against the base of an ancient oak. The trainee, looking more nervous than he had during his trials, began to sing.

Once of a time there was a young warrior named Nuada who thought himself invincible on the field of battle. His sire had gifted him a rather unique magical sword. Nuada practiced from the barest inkling of dawn’s light until it was so dark that moonlight reflected off his blade. He relished any opportunity to test his prowess. He sought out and challenged the greatest warriors in the known lands. The blood and occasional destruction that accompanied such trials were but a minor nuisance to him. For decades, Nuada defended his people against all enemies, no matter their origin. He made no exception for those within our realm. Even after he was crowned King, Nuada always took the lead in battle, never relinquishing his place at the head of his army. Sadly his victories fed his ego, and as our lands swelled so too did his pride.

Late one summer’s day word came to Nuada that an old enemy had returned to once again threaten the Tuatha Dé Danann. He had defeated this enemy once and it angered him that they should return to waste his time; for he would surely defeat them again. He scoffed at their threats, shirking the advice of the leaders of the High Courts who had urged caution. The Courts warned Nuada that the enemy must have found a new ally or weapon for they wouldn’t otherwise be so brazen. Stories had reached their ears of a place called “The Depths” and the strange and powerful creatures therein. The leaders believed that their enemies had visited that place and returned strangely empowered. Nuada was unimpressed by such rumors; he vowed to cleanse that place once his foes relinquished their lives to his blade. He had ever kept his lands clear of abominations; he thought to himself, these so-called “Depths” would be no exception.

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