As previously mentioned, the Camelot Unchained kickstarter is up and running, but as of now I’ve not contributed due to a few concerns that I want to cover today.
First and foremost, the total removal of PvE raises some doubts. I get that City State wants to focus on PvP, and with a limited budget cutting PvE saves a lot of time/effort, but in all my MMO experience, some of (if not all) of the best PvP has been PvE-driven.
Evicting someone from a wormhole in EVE is in part PvE-driven (better sleeper farming).
A holding’s worth in Darkfall is in part based on the local mobs to farm, and the heaviest fighting is often over the most valuable properties.
In UO, PvP often happened in PvE locations (dungeons or good world spawns), and housing location was decided either by economic factors (player vendor traffic) or PvE factors (close to a good dungeon).
Hell, even in DAoC, how much RvR conflict was driven by access to Darkness Falls, a PvE dungeon? Some of the best PvP was clearing DF itself, and that happened because of PvE (safer farming).
What will be the conflict drivers in CU? Will they get people out and into situations on a daily basis? Will they matter long-term?
A related concern; do I want to play an MMO that is 100% PvP? Even though I prefer my MMO with a healthy dose of PvP, I still PvE heavily in them. PvE makes for nice ‘downtime’, and allows for me to still login and play without always putting myself into high-risk situations. It’s also content you can rely on, unlike PvP where sometimes the end-result of PvP is no fights happening.
Finally, I don’t know how much I trust Mark Jacob to deliver a solid MMO. Yes, he was responsible for DAoC, but he was also responsible for the ToA expansion to DAoC (an expansion that killed the game for me, and many others), along with WAR. And while MJ has tried to distance himself from WAR and its design decisions, it would be crazy to assume he holds zero responsibility.
ToA was just bad. It added a must-do forced-group PvE raiding grind to a well-established PvP game. I say must-do because the abilities and items you got from ToA were silly powerful, and made you near god-like in PvP if you fought others without ToA powers. How much of that basic concept (adding raiding to DAoC) was MJ? Was it his idea? If not, did he step in and realize it was a bad idea? If he did, was this another example of MJ being overruled, or just putting his trust in the wrong place?
We know a lot of the history behind WAR, but again how much did MJ influence the design here? The lack of a 3rd faction is obvious, but what about the decision to group the races to begin with? Why was WAR not a six-way fight? The lore/IP easily supports it, the PvE structure could have remained the same, and end-game population balance issues would have been very different.
Did MJ really think low and mid-tier RvR zones would hold up long-term? Sure, they sorta-worked while the initial population wave progressed through the game, but as soon as that was over, all of those areas below the cap became ghost towns and wasted effort.
A major issue in DAoC was rampant crowd-control. A major issue in WAR? Rampant CC. Other than blind faith, what’s to suggest that CU won’t have CC problems?
Remember the original structure for the end-game RvR? Funneling everyone into a single city siege? How much of that was MJ? How strongly did MJ believe in that design? And if he did see the design issues early on, why again did a product with his name on it ship designed like that? When such a moment happens with CU, and it will, what will MJ do?
CU is on my radar. In many ways it’s a game I want to get behind and support. It’s trying something different in some of the directions I want the genre to go in. And overall I like MJ from what I’ve heard/read about him. I do believe he got screwed by EA with WAR (because, let’s face it, everyone gets screwed by EA, be they devs or players). At the same time, the above are all concerns I have.