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Where’s Camelot Unchained?

I was inspired (which I need more of lately) to write today’s topic on the status of Camelot Unchained. My inspiration came from a comment by one of our regular readers who hijacked a post. The comment hijack inspired me to look up a WordPress plugin that would move comments to another post, so thank you doubly for that.

Here’s the comment:

I’m going to hijack this to talk about Camelot unchained, cause, it seems to need some discussing.

We all love mark’s “openess”, but wasn’t the Kickstarter like 3 years ago?

And I, for a few hours, had more than $1k pledged. For beta access and a really cool storm tower or something. Thankfully I came to my senses, and cancelled that. Cause 3 years on there is still no beta, right? And nobody even talks about storm towers. Or personal taverns. Or any of the other crap they were selling.

I think the comment is right that Camelot Unchained needs more discussion. CU is a very, very niche title right now. Like all niche titles, it has a cult following. In this case, those followers are mostly devout backers. They’ve created a very tight community and naturally most of that discussion happens within that community and not within the greater MMOsphere — which actually sucks for all commentary right now, so perhaps that’s okay.

Despite being a backer of somewhere near $200 (I think?), I haven’t followed CU more than skimming the weekly emails. I browse the website every so often to see what’s new. They’re making progress, albeit slow. The CSE team is behind their schedule set out in the Kickstarter, but we all know by now that MMO timelines are mostly meaningless and when they hit their timelines the games aren’t finished anyway.

A couple months ago Mark (CSE President) admits the tone of development was a little more ‘negative’ or ‘serious’ as they hit snags (I think I heard him say that in one of the recent video update streams).  I don’t think that it was ever negative or too serious to the point where I have doubted the game would release. People love to scream, “It’s vaporware at this point!” I don’t see any truth in that.

Beta (or as Mark likes to call it, Bater) is still delayed. It was, at one point, possibly coming as early as “early 2016.” Personally, I don’t care. I’d like a fun game like Camelot Unchained to get ‘it’ right. CU is probably the last chance I will ever give a PvP MMO. So in that respect, I really don’t care if it took another year or two to even reach beta. I wish games would stop promoting beta testing as if it was a promise or should mean anything to players. Let’s get rid of beta as a marketing gimmick, shall we?

As for promised features, I’ve lost track. Again, I’m following the ‘big picture’ ideas behind CU. I’m not following the systems or feature lists anymore. I have no idea how many of the things Mark discussed with me in the past are even true anymore. The game has been growing and changing over the years. Totally okay. Whether or not they ever deliver on the original promises of taverns or building or any of that sorta matters not to me anymore. I’m more interested in a game that meets the big picture and delivers a finished game with good animations and cohesive finished systems.

Mark’s openness and transparency under development has been a much better way of marketing the game. I like it too. I think that at times it’s too niche for the masses, which is fine. I think it would be inappropriate to romanticize the game updates (remember WAR’s overly-produced videos?) and try to get each of them covered on the news sites. Just doing a “sit on a couch with a palm tree covered in Christmas lights” works.

Patience for games to come out was a virtue I used to severely lack. Because of that, I’ had my heart broken by games, my dreams stomped on, and my trust violated so many times that I’m now completely beyond feeling any urgency to rush into them. Give me a completed game that’s fun, true to its big pictures goals, and I’ll be happy.

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Sanz - April 1, 2017

[Edited by Keen: I moved this from another topic to this one since it’s more on-topic.]

I’m going to hijack this to talk about Camelot unchained, cause, it seems to need some discussing.

We all love mark’s “openess”, but wasn’t the Kickstarter like 3 years ago?

And I, for a few hours, had more than $1k pledged. For beta access and a really cool storm tower or something. Thankfully I came to my senses, and cancelled that. Cause 3 years on there is still no beta, right? And nobody even talks about storm towers. Or personal taverns. Or any of the other crap they were selling.

    Balthazar - April 1, 2017

    I did not back the kickstarter, but I am a backer now for Camelot Unchained. So, I don’t recall anything about storm towers or personal taverns if that was discussed very early on. But, I don’t recall them doing any 180s on any features recently. However, I have not been following development super close (don’t really do that after WAR).
    It has been very slow, but I think they’ve communicated quite well regarding the reasons for the delays and they are in good shape financially. It appears that things are picking up now with their Seattle (if I recall) office now up and running. Seems like beta 1 is right around the corner, maybe 2-3 months out I’d guess.
    So, 3 years to develop an engine that can actually handle huge battles (1000+ on screen) without major lag seems fair to me (if they actually pull it off) since no one has ever accomplished anything close to that (not even Blizz with all of their resources). I wouldn’t judge too harshly, everyone seems to think its only Blizzard that is allowed to quadruple their initial development estimate. And in this case, unlike Blizzard, they’re not actually spending money like drunken sailors doing it. So, if it takes a little longer to get it right, I am fine with that.

Solarbear - April 2, 2017

TBH I think Camelot Unchained may be too ambitious a project for a small company to create. With all the systems being created and the engine being made from scratch, I am not surprised that things may have bogged down for these guys.

This is why I hate Kickstarters. Companies make all sorts of promises and have a vision for their game. They have good intentions, but what they may have bitten off more than they can chew. For example, are 1000 player battles even feasible with current internet technology? I don’t blame Mark, he has a strong vision for this game. However, perhaps the vision is somewhat unobtainable.

The other thing to note is that with video games the final 10% of development seems to take 90% of the time. So at one point it may have seemed like they were on schedule and things were going quickly. They may be getting into the phase where they are searching millions of lines of code looking for the problem of why X or Y isn’t working.

    Keen
    Keen - April 2, 2017

    I agree with you about the ambitiousness of the project. It always seems like they’re setting their sights too high. We don’t need 1000 player battles or 200 types of wood.

    I think the final 10% takes most of the time because that’s when most developers bring everything together and realize they don’t have a cohesive vision. It turns out there’s not really a game there, just a collection of systems and features that constitute very little fun.

      Misaligned - April 3, 2017

      “I think the final 10% takes most of the time because that’s when most developers bring everything together and realize they don’t have a cohesive vision. It turns out there’s not really a game there, just a collection of systems and features that constitute very little fun.”

      QFE this profound bit.

Sanz - April 2, 2017

I appreciate you starting this topic based on my comment.

While I have drifted from MMORPGS, I still like to see you write about them. And this one just has me saying…whew…that was close.

Cause while you guys may have only dropped $20-$40 on this Kickstarter, that’s not what they were selling to the whales. It was owning taverns, and towers, and castles. Designed with you, etc. I would be extremely ticked off if I waited for 3 years and nobody asked me about my design ideas for my jointly designed tower. Fortunately I pulled out before they could make me wait that long.

I’m also fascinated by that space game that has kickstarted over $100m and just keeps selling more vaporware ships to everybody.

Hatch - April 2, 2017

Good post
I started my MMO jourmey with DAoC when it launched, 2001? long time ago. Loved it. Played WAR, played a lot since then. Backed CU, i guess for $500, dont remember, but a chunk. I joined alpha once, read the forums 2 or 3 times. Dont even read the weekly emails. I expect this to launch & still be the game Mark set out in his vision. The detail will sort itself, which is what they’re doing now.

I’ve backed a couple titles now via KS. Both late, not delivered on the detail, but the type of games that I still enjoy. Unlikely to do again

Solarbear - April 3, 2017

People must have loved DAOC to have pledged the sums they have. If they ever get this game launched,I hope it captures that special experience the backers are hoping for.

    Keen
    Keen - April 3, 2017

    I think most backers never played DAOC. DAOC’s numbers probably peaked at 250,000. I think a good deal exited the market, lots still play old school DAOC, and the rest went WoW on us. I don’t know why people are pledging if they haven’t played DAOC. I’m not saying CSE or Mark have done anything undeserving, but so far we have a promise of a PvP game in an era where PvP games flop. The hype of Kickstarting MMOs definitely helped them, no doubt about it.

Pd - April 3, 2017

You pledged 1k and want them to rush to your tower or whatever? How about letting them get the game done first? You sound like a spoiled brat.

    Keen
    Keen - April 3, 2017

    In his defense he did clearly state he cancelled that 1k pledge.

Whorhay - April 3, 2017

I think the fact that they actually get weekly emails out about the project and always have something to talk about is a good sign that they’ve got their project in hand better than most.

    Keen
    Keen - April 4, 2017

    Agreed! In fact, I feel like they are often sending me too many emails. Is that weird to feel that way? I’m mostly annoyed by the announced emails for tests during times I can’t participate. 😉

JoyEnergiser - April 5, 2017

I agree with you on this part Keen

“Personally, I don’t care. I’d like a fun game like Camelot Unchained to get ‘it’ right. CU is probably the last chance I will ever give a PvP MMO”

This will probably be my last chance to play a good MMORPG pvp, I have tried so many over the last few years with archeage probably holding my attention for the longest(black desert I realized the absolute grind fest before I even hit max level) and a few others.

So take as long as you want.

SynCaine - April 7, 2017

Similar story for me with Crowfall right now. I’m in for like $200ish I think, and logged into the alpha just last week. From the 15min I spent with it, its still not a game, more of a tech demo. But its fine, eventually it will be something, and hopefully that something is good.

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