MMORPG: So with the first class idea reveal for Camelot Unchained, what is the message you are trying to send to players?
Mark Jacobs: First, as you know from reading our updates, we plan on “revealing” more classes and races during the development of Camelot Unchained than will be in the game at launch. This will allow us to take a lot of chances with races/classes during early development, and we will gather feedback from our backers about what really worked and what weren't as solid ideas. Today’s update is in keeping with that plan and is more like a class concept reveal than a true class reveal.
Secondly, the specific message we are sending with this concept is that we are not afraid to go more to the dark side with our game, in ways that include the lore, class, and race concepts.
MMORPG:The Helbound (great name) has a dark history and ties to some really dark gods can you give us some background on the lore?
Mark Jacobs: Thanks! I love the name HelBound™ too, one of the better ones I’ve used as a class name over the years. As to some background info, I think that the two biggest tidbits in the back story are the use of the term “Greater Powers” and the continuation of the theme of using well-known lore and putting our own twist on it. Hel might be considered the “mother” of the HelBound but they pay a heavy price for her love.
The Greater Powers are humans who have absorbed so much power from the Veilstorms™ that they are as close to the concepts of gods as can be found in this world. This fits in nicely with both the power of the Veilstorms' and the fact that this is a new world and a new vision for some very familiar lore, as I talked about during our Kickstarter. The story also contains a reference to the symbiotic relationship between the Greater Powers and those who follow them.
MMORPG: You pay special attention to mention that Helbounds cover half their face, can you tell us about some of the weapons and armor that the class may be using?
Mark Jacobs: We want every aspect of this class to embrace the duality that is Hel herself, including their weaponry and armor. As you can see from our very early concept art, the weapons have two edges/tips, and the armor has been dyed/crafted with two separate parts. Now, this is not to say that the HelBound can only use these types of weapons and armor, but we do hope players will want to follow this thematic look. Of course, Hel will reward those of her followers who help her spread her faith throughout the Realms by allowing them to use some specialty player-crafted equipment.
Depending on which path the HelBound wishes to follow, the armor will vary from reinforced robes to much heavier gear. As to the weapons, we will have enough variety for the players whether they wish to play a relatively archetypal cleric with a mace-like weapon, or prefer a sword or more unique items like those shown in some of the early weapon concepts.
MMORPG: How does this class tie into the Viking faction? We know Hel is a Norse God, but definitely not tied to Vahalla. Will this class be more of an outcast?
Mark Jacobs: Hel’s role in traditional Viking lore is a bit problematic as it is not as clear cut as someone like Odin. In our version, she has as big a role in the Viking realm as do the other Greater Powers here and in the other realms. Neither she nor her followers will be seen as outcasts, especially since they embrace both life and death with equal vigor. However, there is no doubt that the HelBound want to convey a message of “Danger Will Robinson! Danger!” through their appearance.
MMORPG: You are dealing with three ancient cultures that had extremely strong ties to religion in your game. How much of a part does religion play in Camelot Unchained?
Mark Jacobs: Religion is a difficult issue to grapple with in most games, especially an MMORPG. If we put in too much, we risk alienating people who are more atheistic in their beliefs in the real world, and who may even be dead set against it in games. OTOH, religion did play a role in all three of our realms so we would like to find a way to incorporate a variation of it into our game.
I think the path we are attempting to walk down with the Greater Powers is a good one. They are not Gods (and certainly not God), but at best demi-gods who were once purely human. They can have followers/adherents, such as Hel does, but are not worshipped in quite the same way that gods/God might have been/were/are.
MMORPG: The Helbound has some choices with life and death as their paths, how does each one impact the class? Also, if I choose one path can I still use aspects of the other?
Mark Jacobs: We haven’t begun to lay out the actual mechanics for this class concept yet, so it’s pretty early to talk about how they will impact each other yet. OTOH, I do think this class will offer a number of different ways to play it, with certain advantages to total dedication to one path, but also allowing players to try to walk the fine line between life and death. It’s my hope that doing so will yield some additional advantages, but it will be the most difficult path to follow. Choices matter. :)
MMORPG: Runes and Blood magic play a major part in the Helbound’s make up. Explain how this system works with the magic in the game?
Mark Jacobs: That would be telling. :) I’m actually still working on the vision document for the magic system, and while the concept of runes and blood are in there, this isn’t set in stone. That’s one of the reasons we are putting out this concept class now; we want to get feedback from our players and internally within CSE while we still have plenty of time to change things.
MMORPG: You also mention that a Helbound can use a weapon or their bare hands in combat. Can you tell us more about this?
Mark Jacobs: I want to explore the concept of bringing old-school classes like the monk into Camelot Unchained. The HelBound would be perfect for such exploration but again, we are in the very early stage of development overall and especially for the classes.
MMORPG: What are your plans for future class reveals? Can you give us a hint on the schedule?
Mark Jacobs: Right now, we really don’t have a set schedule for class reveals. Initially, I wasn’t planning on even talking about any class concepts until later this year, but then the idea for these folks struck me so…