Mark Jacobs talks about Kickstarting his realm vs. realm project that still kind of sounds like DAoC.
Mythic Entertainment - cofounded by Mark Jacobs in 1996 - was among those companies leading the charge for online games in the genre's infancy. Dark Age of Camelot used the stories of King Arthur as a backdrop for massive realm versus realm combat in 2001. Now that the bubble of World of Warcraft-aping games has subsided, Jacobs wants to go back to his roots by Kickstarting a new game he jokingly gave a working title in reference to his old game - Camelot Unchained. He's asking for $2 million, while also putting up $2 million of his money, to bring MMOs back to the "old school" player vs. player sweet spot he loves so much.
"Camelot Unchained is a TriRealm, RvR-focused, MMORPG composed of a mixture of old-school MMORPG elements with some sandbox-like elements and no PvE-based leveling or loot drops," Jacobs told me in an email exchange. "It is based on the premise that MMORPGs can also be fun without gear grinding, PvE-raiding and hyper-fast leveling."
You may not be familiar with the term Realm Vs. Realm or RvR, perhaps because it is a registered trademark of Electronics Arts after they acquired Mythic Entertainment in 2006, and it's largely been unused since then. Jacobs skirts that issue by calling his concept for always-on PvP "TriRealm". No matter what you call it, RvR means locking the players in an endless structure of conflict based on location or racial divides. How will Camelot Unchained be different?
Camelot Unchained is the working title for a proposed RvR-focused MMORPG from the ex-head of Mythic Entertainment which published Dark Age of Camelot back in the early 2000s. The Kickstarter campaign asks for $2 million to create an MMO which focuses entirely on PVP combat and promises to be nothing like WoW.
"It's about giving the players the tools they need to make their own choices, then sitting back and watching them have fun," Jacobs said before pointing out a shortcoming in the DAoC system. "It means players who are fighting against each other night after night in an open world where they are not 'keep trading' for fun and profit, but rather trying to decide whether it's better to burn down the structures they capture or to try to build it up and defend them."
Due to Jacobs' former position, Camelot Unchained's goals and the working title, it's easy to point to this new MMO as a sequel or extension of Dark Age of Camelot. He assures me that's not the case. "Frankly, if I wanted to raise more money with our Kickstarter, it might have been better to say the game is a spiritual successor, to promise PvE, and to do the whole 'wink wink' thing at EA," Jacobs said. "Instead, I've done the exact opposite because I think that it's important for people not to regard this game as Dark Age of Camelot 2.0, but rather as one with its own unique world and backstory.
"This game isn't a spiritual successor to Dark Age of Camelot or a sequel/prequel. on the other hand, we are using some of the same public domain legends/tales that I choose to use for Dark Age of Camelot, but this time, with a rather massive twist."
The "twist" he refers to is event the team calls the Piercing of the Veil between the magical world and our own. Through this veil, a large amount of power leaked through and nearly killed the three peoples of humans under Arthur, the Vikings and the Tuatha Dé Danann, a mystical race. The story setup for Camelot Unchained is good enough for the RvR conflict, and will hopefully convince players they are in a different world than one they are used to.
"Blowing up the world that could have served as the backdrop for a spiritual successor to Dark Age of Camelot is a pretty good indicator that I have no intention of misleading anyone," Jacobs said.
Of course, the game mechanics will speak for itself. There will be a couple ways in which Camelot Unchained hopefully stand out from many MMOs - the first is the complete focus on RVR. "This game is purely about the RvR with no PvE leveling, no loot drops but with a developer that is intent on omitting a lot of the modern MMO conveniences as well as slaying MMO tropes whenever possible," Jacobs said. "There is no gear grinding in Camelot Unchained and our slower leveling curve, unique crafter/builder-only class and focus on the fun rather than on the rinse, wash and repeat pattern of many MMOs."
The crafting and building of player housing and defensive structures will be a big part of the game, and Jacobs promises in his Kickstarter pledge video that the economy will be almost entirely full of items player's create. As of this writing, the campaign for Camelot Unchained has reached half of its goal with nearly $1 million raised. Jacobs recognizes this game is a bit niche, but he's betting more people are excited to inhabit a new MMO that embodies some of the old school conflict the genre's predecessors pioneered. Given there are already close to 6,000 backers with many other competing MMOs on Kickstarter alone, he may not be wrong.