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[Breaking News] Dominus Closing Down

I’m really shocked by the news that just hit Twitter.  Confirmed on the official forums:

It is with a heavy heart that I have to say goodbye, or at least goodbye for now. We simply cannot deliver the game you deserve with the resources we have. We never quit trying, even when hope faded, because you – our community – kept us inspired.

There is a market for a game like this one. Thank you for proving it. I hope to see you again.

This forum is being switched to read-only, effective immediately. I have permission to keep the Facebook page open long enough for goodbyes, and I will hang out there (as a volunteer, not an employee) for a few days.

I am so sorry, y’all. I’ve been intentionally quiet, but I was hoping to get loud again. I will miss you all, and I know we’ll meet again.

I am extremely sad to read this news today.  On the heels of such an awesome experience with Guild Wars 2′s three faction PvP… losing an upcoming game that was going to create an even more sandbox and all-encompassing “RvR” experience than what we’ve had in years is extremely disappointing.

They had a broadcast just 10 days ago showing some screenshots and promising info about the game.  Dominus as a whole looked very promising.  A lot of people bonded together to create a close-knit community to support Pitch Black Games.  As Sanya said, there is a market for a game like Dominus.  This was a solid idea they had, and one I fully support.  The reason I’m posting this is because of how much I care about promoting gameplay like PBG was trying to develop.

I hope that Pitch Black Games will consider a Kickstarter or continue to search for funding in order to make Dominus a reality.

Maybe the only good news in all of this is that I have a Prime: Battle for Dominus t-shirt that I thought would be a collector’s item after they changed the name of the game to simply ‘Dominus’.  Now it will be framed and displayed on my wall as a relic.

Show your support for them.

Official Site
Facebook / Twitter / Twitch.Tv Channel (Watch videos!)

Dominus jetpacking to the top of my ‘gimme now’ list

If you guys aren’t checking out Dominus, a sci-fi 3-Faction PvP sandbox game currently in development, then you’re out of your freaking minds.  Dominus is one of my most anticipated games of 2012. I want to send these guys some more love, get the word out there, and once again throw my support behind a studio that is really moving mountains to accomplish something with their game that I love.

Pitch Black Games held another one of their live chats.  My schedule doesn’t allow me to watch their videos live (stupid classes), so I’m stuck playing catch-up the day after.  I just watched January 27th’s chat and my mind was blown.  They’ve updated their engine (Hero Engine, same engine SWTOR uses) and given the game a huge visual overall from the last preview I saw.  I think in the video, correct me if I’m wrong, one of the guys said there isn’t a part of the game that hasn’t received some update.  The game looks graphically amazing, and in my opinion better than SWTOR (again, same engine so I’m making comparisons.)

During the video they showed some day/night cycles in zones which looked great, but the scenery really shocked me.  The game is looking fleshed out and gorgeous.  Note: These are screen captures from a video, of a video, of a game.

Read on for more screenshots and thoughts! [Read more...]

Industry Recognition

Recognition around the Web:

City State Entertainment featured us on their website 1/20/2014

Folks,

Fans of WAR might remember the coverage that these two brothers gave to our game as well as a piece of my departure from EA. I’ve always been a fan of their site and their articles (even if I don’t agree with every one). They are great guys and when they expressed interest in Camelot Unchained, well, I’m more than happy to oblige. Keen sent me over a HUGE list of insightful questions and once my fingers stopped hurting from all the typing, out went the interview. Please check out their site, keenandgraev.com and this interview can be found here.

Like I said, they are great guys and their site is certainly worth checking out on a regular basis. They are definitely friends of Camelot Unchained and I’m happy to say, myself as well.

-Mark Jacobs

Pitch Black Games, Prime: Battle for Dominus developers, recognized our blog in a shout out during their third weekly video Q/A. 07/29/2011

Allods Online Community Spotlight – gPotato, 02/03/2010

“When they felt something about the game could be improved , they were objective and constructive.  Dedicated to experiencing all aspects of the game they have written about everything from class mechanics to PvP to end game content, Keen and Graev has seen it all. “

Mythic Entertainment included our blog in their community events by sending us, on multiple occasion, items used to solve puzzles and riddles.

Clues to the Dwarf Slayer Class 01/17/2009

Valentines Event 01/27/2009

Recent Events May Result in a Better MMO Future

The past month has been full of terrible things for the MMO industry: Pitch Black Games closed down and cancelled Dominus, EA laid off 40 percent of the SWTOR team, and 38 Studios closed down with what some are predicting as an industry damaging event.  Michael Pachter, an analyst who I actually enjoy watching, says that it may take years for MMO investors to come around again.  Scott Jennings surfaced to share his thoughts and said that these events are “killing the very concept of massively multiplayer gaming.”  I have been saying the very same thing for years.  Allow me to quote myself:

I’m still 100% predicting a MMO crash where all hope is lost until we look to the east on the fifth day and see Gandalf some developer bringing the industry back to its roots.

I stand by what I have said over the years.  I do believe that the industry will struggle.  I always thought it would be the players driven to their breaking point, but the McMMO publisher/investor woes and a highly publicized financial disaster definitely expedite things.

This is where I strongly believe, and predict based on what I know about these games and their development, that something good can come from these disasters.   When I stand on my soapbox and shout to anyone who will listen about MMO’s returning to the gameplay, returning to what worked, and MMO’s being about the core fundamentals that saw games lasting years instead of 3 months,  I am usually met with comments that resemble something like this: “Investors don’t want to put money into games like that.”    Well, it looks to me like investors may not want to put money into anything right now, and what better time to see the MMO fundamentals return than when smaller studios will have to focus on the niche gameplay mechanics instead of satisfying the masses to repay investors.

Older games were made on small budgets.  UO, EQ, DAOC, SWG, and many other older MMO’s from before this generation were created on smaller budgets, with smaller teams, yet lasted for years at a time and introduced what it meant to be a massively multiplayer game to the world.  I don’t subscribe to the doom and gloom that wants people to believe MMO’s are forever ruined due to these recent events.  I know there is always a strong foundation for developers to fall back on — and they will fall back on it well before they throw in the towel.  For length’s sake I won’t quote myself again, but I’ve written something on the subject of building upon what worked that is very relevant today.

Whether or not this actually happens, the MMO industry can’t keep going in this direction.  I choose a positive outlook because I believe it means we’ll see better games in the future; Games that focus on creating gameplay that actually resembles a massively multiplayer online role-playing game.

What’s Your One MMO Must-have?

I was inspired to write today by @DominusMMO‘s (follow them!) tweet asking people to name a deal breaker. Name one thing that has to be in a MMO for you to play.  Can you do it?

The more I really think about this question, the more I realize how difficult it is to answer, and how far I will bend my standards over time.  If you asked me that question ten years ago I might have had an answer.  On second thought, ten years ago I may not have realized what it was about the games that made them special.  I may have said something like, “character progression that requires true effort.”  There was a time when I might have said I would never play a MMO without three faction pvp or territory control.  I remember thinking I would never again play a game without an economy like SWG.

As much as I want to try and pin down an answer, I always come up with an excuse to marginalize my own response.  Last year I swore off -ever- trying an MMO with a cash shop again, and here I am preparing to try Guild Wars 2 because I want to experience some of the features that GW2 might offer that I have never experienced. It’s just this once.  This time will be different.  Maybe the next game doesn’t have to have that feature.  I think we all rationalize that way from time to time.

In this exact moment, perhaps I can best answer the question by saying that an MMO must have a persistent world without unrealistic restrictions on the number of players or their ability to interact with one another.  A non-persistent world is a deal breaker for me.  It ceases to be a MMO.  Oddly enough, call it something else (like an action RPG) and I’m fine.

Are levels a must-have? Do you absolutely require character progression?  PvP? PvE? Raiding? Itemization? What concessions will you make, what self-imposed regulations will you bend to try the next best thing?

Where do you draw the line — or do you?  Feel free to comment here or tweet @DominusMMO.  I would love to see the responses and maybe even strike up a discussion about some of them.