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Finding Zen in Fandom

Tim Eisen Posted:
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Looks like another slow news week in the Camelot Unchained Universe. That doesn’t mean City State Entertainment didn’t get a ton of work done, quite the contrary, it just means that it’s not the kind of work that I can spend 1000 words on. I think I ran out of descriptors last time with my house foundation shtick. This week was more of that, building on what already is. It’s great to see the game arriving at this point even if it’s not so great for opinion columns.

I did note a hammer swing animation. Ever since my beloved Warrior Priest in WAR Online I’ve been a big fan of large hammers as weapons in MMORPGs. I absolutely love the animations, the longer hammer the better, swinging back and forth smashing everything in its path. They just seem to have more gravity than other weapons. I will admit I’m a bit polearm mark as well. I once leveled a Warrior in WOW just because I liked the polearm animation. Yes, I pretended he was an Orc Blademaster. I may not love WOW anymore but I’ll always love the lore and especially the Blademaster.

Lighting effects in Camelot Unchained continue to improve in ways I never imagined. I’ve said it before but I expected a much more dated look. Not dated-bad but dated so it can have a thousand players battling it out without melting the internet. What we are seeing might not be mind blowing by regular game standards but once I consider the number of players on the battlefield with these aesthetics I’m impressed. Oh the forests, glorious thick forests! I can only hope a falling tree injures players in its path. The endless potential for road side ambush PVP is strong with these woods.

The most exciting news to come out of the update is from CSE’s sister from another mister CSE West. Yet another programmer has joined their ranks. West is now up to six programmers with seven candidates in the pipeline. It’s hard to imagine that just a few months ago we were terrified that Camelot Unchained might never come out. I always thought development would continue. I even thought the game could be made with a skeletal crew of programmers but my fear was it would take 10 years! Thanks to CSE West those fears have been eased.

Speaking of fears, I’m feeling a bit philosophical today. You guys feeling philosophical too? (Gets showered with boos). It’s during these philosophical musings that I turn to my secret source of guidance and inspiration, Tom Hanks movies. “There's a little boy and on his 14th birthday he gets a horse... and everybody in the village says, "how wonderful. The boy got a horse" And the Zen master says, "we'll see." Two years later, the boy falls off the horse, breaks his leg, and everyone in the village says, "How terrible." And the Zen master says, "We'll see." Then, a war breaks out and all the young men have to go off and fight... except the boy can't cause his legs all messed up and everybody in the village says, "How wonderful." Now the Zen master says, "We'll see."”

What that means is we are quick to form conclusions about something being good or bad but most things are simply are. Which side they fall on is based on our confirmation bias which pushes us to put development news into nice neat comfortable little boxes even if they don’t fit. Its crowd funded MMORPG’s in a nutshell!

What I’d guess most of us never knew when we got behind Camelot Unchained is that development isn’t simple. It’s not easy or consistent. There are great weeks, bad weeks, happy weeks, sad weeks and a lot of uneventful weeks. These games are huge and change over time and their development does as well. It’s not a simple journey from A to B and at times that makes us uncomfortable.

We like to classify development information to feel in control of it. That makes the uncertainty less unnerving. It gives us perceived power over it but the reality is, especially at this point in development, the news isn’t good or bad, it just is. Boy, do I feel sorry for the poor fool that has to make opinion pieces based on information that just is! (Realizes that’s him and frowns)

To have an opinion is to believe one’s self is correct but how do we know? The fact that I’m excruciatingly aware that I know nothing and understand even less of game development doesn’t help my cause. All I have is my perspective. That of a long time dedicated MMORPG fan. If I’m uncertain of my opinion what do I have left? Nothing I guess. /shrug

Interpretation of information is fascinating, isn’t it? (More boos) Hey, before I started following Camelot Unchained I didn’t think much of it. After watching how differently backer can interpret the same information it’s become a fascination of mine. It leads me to wonder, how many mechanics and ideas will be entirely different than I ever imagined? Will they be better? Worse maybe? Something entirely unimagined perhaps? It keeps development interesting if not maddening especially since the only certain answer I’ve been able to decide upon in the last few years is we’ll see


Tim Eisen

I roleplay a wordsmith that writes about the technological and social evolution within the game industry