Camelot Unchained: Bring Out Your Devs™ – Part 1 (Mark Jacobs)

Camelot Unchained:

Folks,

Wow, you folks really got our inaugural Bring Out Your Devs™ off on the right (or left) foot with all the great questions! Because of the sheer volume, I’m going to break this up into two parts. Part II will follow at a later date but probably before the end of the year. This will be a “two-update” week at a minimum with the next Becoming™ tale being also scheduled for this week.

Our next BOYD will feature Andrew Meggs. As usual for these sorts of things, we will be opening up a discussion thread on our forums where you can post your questions to Andrew.

Work proceeds nicely here and everyone is both excited about the end-of-the-year break and the opening of IT in late January. The long-awaited update of our website and the opening of the new Builder Tiers will also happen in January due to the amount of work both require to get them up and running properly.

Thanks again for all the great questions!

-Mark


Stephan Mueller asked: I would be interested to know how to deal with requests, suggestions of Backers when the percentage is very high because many have the same desires and suggestions for the implementation of the game, but opposite to the ideas of Mark because his concept of making the game looks different. How do you deal with such a weighting to Backer’s wishes vs. Mark / concepts / visions etc.?

The first thing to remember is that this game is not being designed by a committee of Founders/Builders/etc., nor of a committee composed of Founders + CSE. We’ve been very open about a lot of the game’s design, whether through my Foundational Principles, KS updates or other posts. These are things that we feel very strongly about and that were talked about in our KS. Even if a lot/most of our Founders wanted us to change some of them, we wouldn’t do it because they asked; we’d only do it if we were both sure that it made the game better and that these changes wouldn’t break a FP/promise to our backers. Also, keep in mind that I talk about all the key concepts and designs within the studio (for both feedback and a sanity check) before I talk about it with our players.


Ruveron asked: If you implement the ducks, they are just a private joke with the community now or have a role in game (food, farming, target training …)?

I think that one of the few things that the three Realms of this world may agree on is that ducks need to be protected and not used as a food source. :)


linumain asked: Will we be entitled to switch weapons without restriction?

Not a chance. You can switch weapons during combat but it will not be an instant switch with no loss of time/focus. The amount of time/focus may vary but there should be, at a minimum, a slight cost for doing so.


Hellraise asked: What is your personal feeling and experience when balancing a game? Do you get angry at not spotting an overpowered combo or an unloved class? Disappointed? Or just think that it is one of the truths of life “there will be balance patches”? Do you believe that with enough brain power you can get things right?

No game of this complexity will ever get everything right. Hasn’t happened and will likely never happen even when the day comes that computers design games themselves. I would say though that I am disappointed when I make a mistake of this or any other kind. I’m a lot harder on myself than I am on other people. :)


Hellraise also asked: About the Middle Eastern investors, what were the strings attached that made you reject their offer? Were they in purely from a ROI perspective or did they want to influence the development?

Initially they were interested in a straight investment deal. As the talks progressed, their focus seemed to shift more to a move of the studio to their country and/or me spending a lot more time there than here. The first part came with a stunning amount of personal gain for me but both carried too much risk for CU as well as potential losses among our team so I had to decline the first part. It’s a shame, I really liked them, their country, etc., and I think we could have done a lot of interesting things together but among the things I said to them was that I had 15K+ Founders who backed CU and I can’t do anything that could put this project at risk.


Dazed asked: What century will CU be set in?

That would be telling. :)


Sornin asked: What mechanisms will be in place to ensure a realm can recover and compete again after being driven back very, very deep into their own territory?

That is a pretty complicated answer but let’s start with an easier example. Let’s say that the Arthurians are heavily outnumbered by the other two Realms and have been driven all the way back to their main city. First, we will probably have the expected Realm bonuses for the outnumbered Realm. Next, the Veilstorms will probably be triggered to change things up a bit and third, other things will happen in the beleaguered Realm’s territory to give them more of a fighting chance. That’s all I can say for now.


Sornin also asked: Do you ever feel constrained by the legacy of Dark Age of Camelot during development? Do you ever feel concerned about breaking away from how it did things?

Hmm, how about every day when I see people saying things like “Just do it the way Dark Age of Camelot did it” or something like that. As we said during the Kickstarter, this is not Dark Age of Camelot 2, it is it’s own game. We intend to make a great RvR-focused game that uses, at its core, some of the same public domain legends/stories/tales that influenced us during the development of that great game but we will not be bound by that legacy.


Meddyck asked: Were you surprised and/or concerned by the fact the CU Kickstarter raised such a high percentage of its money from high dollar tiers and that there weren’t more people donating at the $ 50 or less tiers?

A little surprised but it was mostly a pleasant surprise. I did expect a higher turnout with a smaller average spend but I’m not at all unhappy at how things worked out. Given the relatively disappointing performance of most MMORPGs (in terms of sales/subs) over the last six+ years, raising 2M+ for an RvR-only MMORPG is a nice accomplishment. Over the next two years as Camelot Unchained evolves we will get a lot more backers in the $ 50 and below tiers.


Nazon_Katts asked: Do you believe multi-game MMO worlds, like EvE’s Dust and possibly Valkyrie, will be the future of the genre? Is this something you have considered for CU?

I pitched EA a couple of concepts around multi-platform games seven years ago and I do think that there is a place for those kind of games today and going forward. I don’t think they are “the” future for the genre but I do think that they could be “a” future. As to Camelot Unchained, I’d love to see us release bits of the game on other platforms but as of now we have no plans to do XBox One and/or PS4 ports of the game.


Jagp asked: How much rage do you expect from people when you’ll make hard decisions for the game in the future (for example: you leave out certain races from the game or even a whole mechanic altogether)?

Rage is something that is always associated with MMORPGs whether from the players or devs side. I remember the furor whether it was with the cutting out of some of the cities with WAR, or WoW’s last minute changes right before launch. We hope that by setting the expectations lower for this game (fewer races, classes at launch) we won’t have much to cut and thereby limit the power rage of players. :) We have been and will also continue to be incredibly pro-active in terms of talking to our Founders/Builders during the development process so there should be fewer negative, last-minute surprises than most other MMORPGs experience during development. That is one of the perks of not being part of a large and/or publicly traded company, we can talk about anything we want to without worrying about somebody higher up the food chain calling out for my (or other person’s) head for speaking out about things ahead of time either due to concerns from Investor Relations or just the usual chain-of-command stuff.


Sinikin asked: What has been your most memorable experience so far with the CU project?

This is an easy one, the moment we funded and when the KS closed. We were all pretty excited here and when Andrew took the mic and said all those really nice things about me during the LiveStream I was taken by surprise and unbelievably happy. It was a really emotional moment for me considering that Andrew is quite a genuine person so I know that he meant every word that he said.


travy asked: Will there be /face /stick, etc.? If not decided, which way are you leaning?

I suppose I need to talk about this at some point so I might as well say something now. My personal feeling is that we shouldn’t have them in the game but I really want to get feedback from our Founders/Builders about this. Again, this is just my personal feeling and like many things in Camelot Unchained, I’m not going to implement it just because I feel a certain way.


Camelot Unchained