Friday, April 12, 2013

Interview: Mark Jacobs Shares the Vision Behind Camelot Unchained

Folks over at Dualshockers had a nice interview with Mark recently.

If there’s one MMORPG that holds a very special place in my heart, that’s Dark Age of Camelot. As co-founder of Mythic Entertainment, Mark Jacobs was one of the main brains behind that epic game. And, now, he’s back with a vengeance at the helm of City State Entertainment, spearheading his new project Camelot Unchained on Kickstarter.

Judging by how fast the game reached its first million dollars in crowd funding with an exceptional average pledge per backer floating around 160 bucks (the highest for games on Kickstarter), and by the extremely active comment thread on the official Kickstarter page, it seems I’m definitely not the only one “holding out for a hero” to bring the spirit of Camelot back.

While Mark Jacobs himself said several times that Camelot Unchained isn’t just a spiritual successor to DAoC, it’s hard not to see many of the elements we knew and loved, alongside quite a lot of new ones that seem to be sorely missing in today’s MMORPG market.

I finally managed to have a chat with Mark about his vision for the game and what you can read below is the result of that conversation.

Editor’s Note: If you’re unfamiliar with the term “RvR” that is used often in the interview below, it’s the acronym of Realm vs. Realm — a definition initially coined for Dark Age of Camelot that indicates non-instanced and persistent factional warfare between player-driven factions in a MMORPG environment.

Giuseppe: Let’s start on the right track with a meaty topic: what are, in your opinion, the most relevant challenges of creating a niche-focused game like Camelot Unchained, and what are the main opportunities?

Mark: Great questions. Let’s break this down into the three pillars of gameplay – RvR, crafting and housing. For RvR, it is to make a game without PvE leveling, yet fun on a nightly basis. Without that, why would players go out into the new lands and fight night after night?

In terms of crafting, it is how to have a totally player-driven economy without relying on MMO tropes such as token drops, NPC drops, and the wide receiver who drops the winning touchdown pass in a key game. ;D

As for housing, it is how to integrate player housing (a subset of the whole building system) to be fun, but not so tedious that when the bad guys come and burn stuff down, you’ll feel you don’t want to play the game anymore.

Now, in terms of opportunities, with RvR, it is the opportunity to create RvR races, classes, spells, etc. without worrying about how they will play in PvE. This is a very freeing opportunity for me as a designer, and I hope for our artists and programmers as well.

For crafting, it means that our crafters have the chance to truly craft an economy all on their own, without worrying about drops, tokens, etc. For housing, it will be one of the few times – not the first of course -­ that that this kind of building system is implemented (it’s more than just housing) in a MMORPG.

Continue reading here: Dualshockers Mark Jacob Interview


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