Dear Masters and Mistresses,
Welcome to our next Piercing the Veil folks! Here’s hoping you found much to rejoice about this Holiday Season. It’s over, so pull up a cozy chair, grab a plate of cookies, and dig in.
Sornin asked: What has been the most difficult challenge in designing Camelot Unchained thus far? What part of the design has been easier than expected?
The most difficult challenge is paring down our many ideas to what we can actually afford to create with our time and resources The easy part? Coming up with awesome ideas! This is something Mark excels at. The rest of our team have their fair share of fun ideas too. As you doubtless have noticed, the forums are positively overflowing with them as well.
Sornin also asked: Will there be ANY allowed respecs after character creation in situations where CSE does not drastically change something?
If we need to balance and make major, epic level (we were dumb) changes to a class, yes, we will offer respecs for that. We will likely also have a rather hard-to-earn respec available to players who are unhappy with their current build, yet we are not promising this as of now. We don’t want a steady stream of people respec-ing to the FotM build, so players should not expect to be able to respec frequently.
Mirelind asked: Will there be personal porting crystals? If so will they allow people to avoid combat, through escaping when out of combat?
Mark has stated that he wants to world to be large, and it will be, however it won’t seem large if people have unlimited fast-travel. So the short answer here is no.
Hythrium asked: When will the real name of the game be announced?
It is likely we will announce the final game name when we launch the new website. First though, we re-open PayPal funding this month with the Builders Tiers!
Nelapsi asked: Is there a chance to see a name generator (using names related to the race that we’ll choose) at the creation of our avatar?
Those are fun, but time and budget shall decide.
Oakblade asked: Will we have complete freedom in how we build in allowable areas?
This is a tough one. We want to allow players to be ultra creative with their building designs, without having the countryside littered with wood and stone genetalia. Some of you might love to create a giant phallus home in which to mount your battle trophies… For others, that oversized penis-like thing kinda breaks immersion. This issue will require a lot of thought and careful planning! Truth is, to allow the level of creativity we desire, over-sized replicas of organs may not be avoidable, we shall see.
Blaine Miller asked: Does the Alpha testing mean you get in, in January? Or is January IT?
January is Internal Testing (IT) only. Alpha testing is estimated to open to backers in August 2014.
Meddyck asked: I see Founders invoking FP #3 “no hand holding” against all sorts of ideas that I don’t think it applies to such as dual targeting, health bars for enemies, a progress bar or other indicators for an interrupt timer, and more. Can you further clarify what types of user interface features you would exclude because they are considered hand holding?
We’ve all seen classic hand holding; the large yellow question mark above a quest-giver’s head, followed by the sparkly trail leading you by the nose to the 10 glowing mushrooms you need to collect. Classic hand holding, right? That example is obvious, yet hand-holding can be somewhat subjective. A wallop over the head for you could be a whisper to the next guy. That’s where Mark comes in. He has a sharp mind for this and will be making the final calls. An example: A player must have some way of knowing when that spell she fired on her enemy is through making him suffer, so obvious visual effects are helpful here and would not be considered hand holding. In summary, there is some grey area and I don’t have details at present about the exact indicators etc. we will implement, but I believe we can safely rely on Mark’s judgment.
Hellraise asked: Will there be imposed banes on some races: hamadryads burn easily, dvergar sink in water?
Does a luchorpán lust for gold and have long grabby fingers? While we don’t want to overburden our players with Banes and Boons, each non-human race will certainly have at least one Bane on character creation.
Hellraise also asked: Are you happy with the level of involvement of the founders? (not talking about quality, but rather number of Founders active on the forums). When reading player suggestions for CU, do you often /facepalm?
We are thrilled with the level of involvement from Founder’s. It is right where we expected it to be given the number of Founders. We have yet to facepalm at Founder’s suggestions. Their banter causes the occasional /facepalm however. :p
York asked: What is the PG rating going to be, if known yet?
Unknown at present. While Mark would prefer a darker feel and a more serious rating for the game, we have to consider our fans in some European countries. As a result, we will be dark, yet not too terribly graphic.
PlasticMetal asked: As it’s currently envisioned, will armors and weapons have enough aesthetic differences that crafter’s and/or players will genuinely feel unique or would we all be wearing just a few different models painted slightly different?
At launch we are hopeful that there will be diversity enough that players will be able to have a unique look. Post-launch we will likely have time to increase armor diversity even further!
Sethman asked: What level of spectacle do you expect magic spells/effects to be? There’s been emphasis on putting the magic back into the magic system but also not be a seizure inducing screen blur.
We have an amazing visual effects artist on our team, Mike Crossmire. He was responsible for the spell effects in Dark Age of Camelot. I have peered over his shoulder often enough to excitedly assure you that our effects will be awesome! Read: the screen will not be so covered in effects that you can scarcely see your enemy, let alone your avatar. The effects will be convey their message and look great, but not over the top. Think Christmas tree decorated for an elegant department store display versus one all done up in Vegas. The department store tree is very pretty and you can see and appreciate each ornament, the Vegas tree is a blinky confusing jumble where no one ornament can gain attention for all the competition for your eyeballs.
Michael Bender asked: Will there be a stats portal, top 100 dmg dealer, top 100 realm point earner … etc.?
Ortu asked: With such a primary focus on performance, how dense or sparse can we expect environmental vegetation to be?
Simple, enough vegetation to feel natural, but not so much that it causes a heavy load on the server. What that looks like remains to be seen. We have Andrew Meggs building us a shiney, new, ultra optimized engine, so I think we shall have our cake (trees) and eat it too.
Ortu also asked: With the importance of choice in our spec and character development, along with a very limited ability to respec, does CSE have any plans to support an official and robust character builder online (or even in game) to assist in planning?
We haven’t committed to creating such an application at the present time but I know it is something Mark is a big fan of us doing if we have the time/resources. Personally I am also a fan of letting the community build such tools. There are those who truly enjoy doing so and would happily pass the time nerding out on a tool like this! The Eve Fitting Tool (EFT) comes to mind here.
Daliden asked: How is your recruiting drive going?
We are based out of northern Virginia (NOVA) and pay peanuts, so it’s going about how we expected. We are unrelenting, and hopeful though! We will get the team we need together, even if it takes us a little longer than we like to get them here. Rest assured, you’ll get our best effort whether we are 13 people or 25 people (though we would prefer 25).
Best Wishes & Happy New Year All!!!
Renée Machyousky, Community Manager, City State Entertainment