Ex-Mythic Head Explains Why Camelot Unchained Isn't the Spiritual Successor to DAoC

| 8 Apr 2013 17:00

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
categories: 3d, fantasy

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.

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I might put a couple of dollars in now.

Excellent article, excited about an mmo game again! The return of Tri Realm RVR combined with a bunch of new ideas/concepts, is a niche I am definitely interested in. I went ahead and backed it too.

Great interview and article! Looks like an interesting concept for focusing on the pvp aspect of mmorpgs.

I pledged $110. Comes with the game itself and lots of in-game perks. Can't wait to have a crafting class that is actually needed in a game and not just background noise. Old school sounds so good right now.
Plus if KS doesn't fund, I don't loose anything. Win/win

Finally the game everyone has been waiting for! I've pledged $50 and will probably go even higher.

To people who have never played DAOC in its prime, it was the greatest experience ever. This is coming from someone who has played almost every Major MMO release the last 20 years.

I urge anyone one to please pledge any amount you can! Whats there to loose? A few bucks? If there is a possibility of getting back DAOC before TOA, I think its worth the gamble!

Players actually designing and building strategic structures in a tri-realm RvR environment? Completely fascinating. Plus - no gear grinding endgame! - glory hallelujah. :)

We need more games out there that break away from cookie-cutter MMOs where the highest priority is to sell a billion boxes; they wind up dumbing things down until there is little need for people to work together. Where's the challenge in that?

Can't wait to see what comes of this!

Great opportunity to make my opinions count...
I pledged and really want to see this game born and grow up.

Looks great. PvP focused game, but still with plenty for the PvE-only types to do with harvesting, crafting and building in support of the RvR. It's win, win for all types of player.

Not only that, but it will be sustainable with a very small staff and budget since they won't have to constantly balance PVE with PVP and churn out large quantities of PvE and raid content as fast as players can consume it.

Thank you so much for this interview. I am really excited about this game and it's potential in an industry on "easy mode" with no challenge anymore.

Thank you so much for this interview. I am really excited about this game and it's potential in an industry on "easy mode" with no challenge anymore.

Awesome interview. I can't wait, I just pledged 110$ and may go even higher myself. This is a return to the golden age of MMO goodness.

Exciting stuff. Sandbox? RvR? Old school?

Sign me up!! Thanks for doing this interview.

Thank you so much for this interview. I am really excited about this game and it's potential in an industry on "easy mode" with no challenge anymore.

Cant wait to see how the crafting and structure building plays out.

Awesome interview. I can't wait, I just pledged 110$ and may go even higher myself. This is a return to the golden age of MMO goodness.

Thanks for the interview. I am pumped about a game going back a bit to the roots of MMORPGs with slower progression, more focus on community, etc. I pledged!

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