Camelot Unchained: A good first impression

Snowmageddon will not stop my blogging!

Camelot Unchained is making noise of late thanks to Mark Jacobs sharing some details. I’m not going to link to all of the info, but it’s out there and you should go check it out. Also, don’t forget that MJ’s old blog was called The MMO Genre is a Niche Market. That’s important only for the lulz, but those are very important.

I think the best info about CU is that the team is aiming for a niche. MJ tossed out 30k subs as a target, which is great, and not just because I’ve been saying for years that you can be totally viable with that kind of population. The earlier worries of low-pop servers are silly too. Current themeparks cap out at around 10k per server, so if CU does have 30k subs, that’s either three good pop servers, or one without any population problems (beyond of course having too many in one area, but more on that later).

Along with setting reasonable expectations, MJ has also said that the game will have stuff in it that most won’t like, but the niche will love. We’ll see how far they stick to that once the forum babies start crying, but again, it’s the right thing to say for now. Niche games work not because they are a half-decent version of something great, but because they are great versions of something that appeals to only a few.

I’m a bit curious why so much time has been spent talking about crafting in an RvR game, but hopefully its actually worthwhile. My fear is the crafting itself will be ‘cute’, and fail to really matter because in an MMO, crafting is not about HOW you make something, it’s about WHY.

My biggest concern however is progression. MMOs without it don’t work long-term, and an RvR game aiming at a niche can’t afford to be something that only last for a month or so. The ask for a ‘pure skill’ PvP MMO just doesn’t make sense. We have LoL for that, and LoL does it better than anyone out.

A solid PvP MMO has progression while also allowing for player skill to matter. It’s a tough formula to balance, but minimizing the progression aspect just shortens your retention.

So with all that said, CU is on my radar. I don’t think it’s something we will see for a while, and who knows how it will turn out, but at least the initial info is better than pitching us a personal story or full voice acting. Baby steps.

 

8 Responses to Camelot Unchained: A good first impression

  1. bhagpuss says:

    Very much in favor of the niche approach. 30k sounds like a reasonable target, although when you stop and think about it even that’s a pretty big niche. At $15 per that’s approaching half a million dollars a month which sounds like a sizeable business to me.

    Anyway, it’s not my niche and chances are I won’t ever play it even if it does happen, which I doubt. I just hope that if it is successful it inspires a slew of different niche games, not a host of niche clones. I’d like some variety, please.

    Completely agree about progression, too. After five months of GW2 WvW I’m beginning to formulate some quite clear ideas on what does and doesn’t work for me in this field. I’ve been surprised to find that the open-ended, do it for the fun of it approach that’s served me so well in PvE all these years really doesn’t work well in RvR. I should really have remembered that form DAOC – it never worked for me there, either.

  2. spinks says:

    My prediction: They’re going to ask for a really ambitious kickstarter goal and they won’t make it.

  3. Am I the only one here thinking “swords and sorcery Planetside” here?

    I will be interested to see the number they ask for on Kickstarter. If your target is 30K players, then your pool of potential donors is such that you cannot reasonably expect to get a big number.

    If they have to have a big number for this, then the Mark Jacobs hype machine… so successful in WAR… has to get on the move and get people salivating for this game. Lots of people.

    And then on day one you have 100k people knocking on the door asking to be let into the 30K player game. Now, you can plan for that sort of thing, but I haven’t really seen one of those plans come off very well.

    Of course, the mere idea of 30K subscribers has been declared “fail” already, because they apparently don’t teach the concept of “return on investment” in science.

  4. TheJexster says:

    Little to no item drops, a player economy, niche, pvp, oh mj u know just how to talk to an old school mmoer dont u.

  5. bonedead says:

    omgomgomgomgomgomgomgomgomgomgomgomg!

  6. Kuldebar says:

    >talking about crafting in an RvR game

    It’s important because this won’t be a loot driven game or a loot driven game economy. Crafting will actually be hugely worthwhile and not devalued by dungeon drops or other reward mechanics.

    >And then on day one you have 100k people knocking on the door asking to be let into the 30K player game

    Simple planning and horizontal server scaling can allow for increase in numbers, yes the engine has to be able to handle such scaling but I can’t see MJ and CSE not planning ahead for that based on their prior experience.

  7. […] I remember commenting on Syncaine’s blog when I first heard about the project that I predicted they would set their goal too high and not […]

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