Massively OP Podcast Episode 57: Camelot Unchained's Mark Jacobs

After taking in scads of questions from our readers about Camelot Unchained, we roped in Mark Jacobs to see how many of them he could answer in a tight hour! It's everything you wanted to know about this Arthurian RvR title -- and then some. Even if you're not into Camelot Unchained, we think you'll find this episode a fascinating look into the development process. (And if we don't answer your question, check back tomorrow: This one's a two-parter!)

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Show notes:

  • 00:00 - Intro, crunch, beta prep
  • 03:13 - Building an engine from scratch
  • 05:19 - What is Camelot Unchained?
  • 07:30 - Server structure
  • 15:31 - Free trials and open beta
  • 19:07 - Tutorials and newbie acclimation
  • 22:36 - PvP design goals
  • 28:47 - RvR vs. FFA
  • 37:53 - Economic PvP design goals
  • 42:18 - The state of trade
  • 43:46 - Balancing 30 classes
  • 49:54 - Crafting vs. combat development
  • 51:31 - What does CU bring to the genre that's new?
  • 54:21 - Addressing visual chaos
  • 56:54 - Outro

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97 Comments on "Massively OP Podcast Episode 57: Camelot Unchained's Mark Jacobs"

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TimothyTierless
Guest
TimothyTierless

I find the lack of Star Wars related questions disturbing.

disUserNameTake
Guest
disUserNameTake

Thanks Mark.  A few of mine made it in there I see.  :)

Mark Jacobs
Guest
Mark Jacobs

Cramit Thanks for your support of Dark Age of Camelot, it was a great game, made by a great team. As to Camelot Unchained, I hope that get that same feeling in the larger-scale battles that we are planning on being able to support for this game. Things are moving along nicely.

Thanks again for your support of Dark Age of Camelot and Camelot Unchained.

Mark Jacobs
Guest
Mark Jacobs

Laeesh Thanks! It was indeed fun.

Cramit
Guest
Cramit

breetoplay Cramit moirrey O I wasn't talking about the content of the question.  I agree, it's something very important to get a handle on.  Honestly, in this particular instance I think most of the questions asked or the ones chosen to be asked were all pretty great questions, definitely.

I was more highlighting the wording of the question.  Scrub certainly was only used in context of a segment of gamers but as we all learned yesterday, and probably drinking heavily from it, perception is everything and it certainly could be perceived in multiple ways.  Some food for thought.

breetoplay
Guest
breetoplay

Cramit moirrey I wasn't calling our community scrubs or using the word pejoratively at all. As I recall, the person proposing the question was basically coming at it from the viewpoint of being inexperienced at PvP. He/she was basically asking how elitist the game was going to be -- whether the gameplay would allow for people who want to romp around in a zerg and kill for the fun of it, or whether those people would be trampled and ostracized because players would be better off with a small group of elite PvPers of precisely the right class and skill than 40 casuals just there for a good time.
A perfectly fair question, frankly.
There's nothing wrong with being a scrub or an amateur or someone who's there for the fun rather than the challenge. DAOC was very good at allowing room for all types and skill levels. Gameplay that encourages PvP elitism don't do so well.

BryanCo
Guest
BryanCo

Mark Jacobs Esoteric Coyote  Caffeine?

Cramit
Guest
Cramit

Dark Age was so much fun, really miss it.  Although I enjoyed the grouping leveling ala EQ.  Hate how it turned into pling at certain camps with a high level mentalist or something.  Really killed 1/2 of the game.

RvR though was SO MUCH FUN.  Man, those first large battles at release, it was amazing watching a zerg of Mid's, Albs, or Hibs come running at you was so immersive and fun.  Hoping they can really re-create and build upon the DAoC RvR system to make it just amazing, so looking forward to it.

Cramit
Guest
Cramit

moirrey Cramit It's ok, I just find it amazing that they'll complain about a butt and then turn around and call their community scrubs, hilarious.

moirrey
Guest
moirrey

Cramit Scrubs Anti-Defamation League should be informed.

Cramit
Guest
Cramit

Love how bree calls plays "scrubs" and considers that ok.  /facepalm.

Cramit
Guest
Cramit

Always love when Mark is doing interviews.  Great info in here.

Syppi
Guest
Syppi

Nyres Yeah, sometimes we take a break from the regular format for special interviews like these. Next week we'll be back to normal!

Laeesh
Guest
Laeesh

Great podcast, can´t wait for part 2!

Veldan
Guest
Veldan

Sorenthaz then the shadow would be far bigger, a wow article still holds the highest comment record on this site afaik...

Veldan
Guest
Veldan

Mark Jacobs Yeah, the latest screenshots included in the email updates are starting to be drool-worthy

Nyres
Guest
Nyres

Nyres Ah nevermind started the podcast and heard that this week is all about this guess I just hope you guys remember to talk about the whole Anet thing next week then.

Nyres
Guest
Nyres

So is tommrow's podcast going to have news and listener questions? Because honestly I'm really disapointed to see this episode set is so far nothing but Camelot Uncained and not about a variety of MMO news stories and such.

Mark Jacobs
Guest
Mark Jacobs

Night all! Thanks Bree, Justin, and MOP, as always. And thank you to everybody that posted here as well.

<poof>

Mark Jacobs
Guest
Mark Jacobs

Vexia Mark Jacobs Couple more fighter types, support, mages, etc. :)

As far as talking to our Backers/players, it's important for me and always has been. Long-time Dark Age (or GEnie) players will have heard me say things like "I/we always need to hear what you are saying but we don't have to agree." That's what is important, we have to hear what you folks say, think about it and then decide. But if we don't at least hear you folks, bad things can happen.

Okay, it's 10:30 here and time for me to head home.

Vexia
Guest
Vexia

Mark Jacobs Vexia Aw, now I want to know what other kinds of class ideas you all are hiding from us! :P
And it's good to know you would take the players' input into account in that situation. It sort of perplexes me when dev studios think that players don't know what they want or have no idea what they're talking about when it comes to feedback. 
But then again, I get the feeling that the smaller and more focused community for CU would be more conducive to that sort of player-developer conversation than a huge AAA studio and game.

Mark Jacobs
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Mark Jacobs

paragonlostinspace Thanks, as always Paragon.

Mark Jacobs
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Mark Jacobs

Zubei LOL.

Mark Jacobs
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Mark Jacobs

Gankdolf Thanks! And in terms of questions, yeah, I kinda spend a lot of time talking to folks. Been doing that forever, and I actually enjoy it, especially on nights like this, deep in crunch, staring at multiple spreadsheets, pdfs, and other things open. :)

If you haven't bought a tier by the time I post this, are there any other questions I can answer for you?

paragonlostinspace
Guest
paragonlostinspace

I knew today was going to be a beautiful day todays so I listened to both podcasts last night and spend most of the day out riding. :) Both podcasts were an awesome listen. Mark's conversations with Justin and Bree really cemented my long standing opinion that Mark is awesome. :) Now to go out and clean off all the darn bugs from the motorcycle now that its cooled down. :) I just wanted to comment about how much I enjoyed both podcasts.

Zubei
Guest
Zubei

Bring on the Betar!

Gankdolf
Guest
Gankdolf

Wow the amount of time Mark Jacobs has spent in this thread is absolutely epic.  The solid amount of answers and legit answers at that is amazing.  I asked about structured pvp and AOE caps and he gave an extremely legit response.  I completely understand and accept that answer and have no disagreements.  

Hadn't actually bought a package yet but I'm going to head over to the CU homepage and swoop one up.  Cheers to developers who don't bullshit around and answer straight questions with straight answers and explanations.  

CU Beta here I come.

Mark Jacobs
Guest
Mark Jacobs

Vexia C'mon, Bree has spent quite a while on Massively/MOP and she knows that you folks never, ever have anything you want to know about Camelot Unchained or other games, right?

<ducks>

As to your question, if we can't make the class fun, we'll take it out and put something else in that is fun. The nice thing is that we have plenty of other ideas for classes and lots of people who will tell us if something truly sucks.

As far as working with folks who play a class, of course. We did have a system like that in another game I worked on. :)

Vexia
Guest
Vexia

Great stuff! I was feeling kind of stressed out today, but listening to this while gaming cheered me up. I can't wait for the second part.
Also, lol at Bree thinking we'd only ask like 5 or 6 questions. :)
Listening did raise another question for me, though. Regarding balance, you mentioned that understandably 30 classes are never going to be completely and perfectly tuned to one another, but you also mentioned the possibility that a few of the classes might not wind up being fun to play. So while crossing my fingers that all classes do turn out fun, what happens to those that do not, especially in a game where we're supposed to feel realm, race, and class pride? I mean, I can imagine something like terribly bad feedback for a class would be a pretty high-priority issue to address. 
Moreover, because of aforementioned class pride, there are probably going to be people who stick to their chosen class regardless of its playstyle. Would you be interested in working alongside those players to get the class where it needs to be?

Mark Jacobs
Guest
Mark Jacobs

Koshelkin Mark Jacobs Thanks! I'm happy that we have earned some from you. Wait till you see the difference between what will be our Beta 1 build to the pre-alpha engine build. Tyler, George and the art team are having lots of fun.

Koshelkin
Guest
Koshelkin

Mark Jacobs Koshelkin I try to keep it in check but I really can't help myself.

Mark Jacobs
Guest
Mark Jacobs

PaganRites Mark Jacobs Edany (AmberACurtis) Gankdolf Yep. I think there is a role for special "Games" but not as a daily, weekly or even monthly event. However, something akin to the Olympics could be interesting. 

Just got an idea for a story, thanks PR!

PaganRites
Guest
PaganRites

Quincha I think the idea is that you will be able to distinguish classes on the field regardless, because of the armor and weaponry they don/carry.

PaganRites
Guest
PaganRites

Mark Jacobs Edany (AmberACurtis) Gankdolf   When WoW introduced Arena PvP, it totally killed open world PvP.  For that reason, I really can't stand Arena PvP.  I suppose players could build their own Arenas and hold competitions.  But I'm happy CU is RvR based.  I find it much more meaningful and fun.

Mark Jacobs
Guest
Mark Jacobs

Estranged You're welcome and more is coming (Part II). So many good questions.

Mark Jacobs
Guest
Mark Jacobs

Koshelkin Well, let's keep the hype in check till we are at least finished the Beta 1 phase. :) 

OTOH, the new lighting/PBR system makes the world look so much better, especially now that Tyler and the art team can make decisions based on our real lighting system and not the placeholder one.

Koshelkin
Guest
Koshelkin

Awesome podcast. The hype is real.

Mark Jacobs
Guest
Mark Jacobs

agemyth Thanks, appreciate it.

Estranged
Guest
Estranged

Missed being able to listen live, but will tonight. Thank you.

Mark Jacobs
Guest
Mark Jacobs

Rozyn Esoteric Coyote Mark Jacobs No worries. Lady J is always telling me to eat more salad! :)

Truly though, thanks, I appreciate it. It's always nice to know that some people appreciate what I and CSE are doing, and not just the game-making part.

Rozyn
Guest
Rozyn

Esoteric Coyote Rozyn Mark Jacobs I'm just glad someone was able to read that word salad of a sentence lol. So cheesy though, so, so cheesy.

Mark Jacobs
Guest
Mark Jacobs

Esoteric Coyote Rozyn Mark Jacobs  Yeah, I really do. It's one of the things that does separate me from a lot of people. That was one thing EA really never understood about me and one thing that really, really still separates me from some people in our corner of the industry. It started back in my Gamer's World days (the system I designed/coded for my first two online games) and it hasn't changed and it never will. 

Thanks for the cheese though, it was tasty! :)

Esoteric Coyote
Guest
Esoteric Coyote

Rozyn Mark Jacobs Esoteric Coyote That's super cheese, but I'll allow it.

Mark Jacobs
Guest
Mark Jacobs

Edany (AmberACurtis) vang866 Mark Jacobs Gankdolf Yeah, as Edany correctly says, it really has been discussed a lot. In another game or maybe for some special events, but not as a structured and ongoing way to play the game.

Rozyn
Guest
Rozyn

Mark Jacobs Esoteric Coyote Hmm. Not to sound too cheesy but, I think it's disappointing customers, because you seem to really care about doing everything in your power to prevent that from happening.

Mark Jacobs
Guest
Mark Jacobs

Ironwu And that's one of the reasons we're going with a sub-based game. If we at CSE do our jobs properly, we'll have a nice, stable, group of gamers who bought this gaming knowing a few things:

1) Its chance of going FTP while I'm running CSE, is about the same chance as me winning a beauty pageant.

2) That's its focus is RvR, Crafting, Building, and more RVR.

3) That the chance of us supporting/cooperating/ignoring gold sellers is even less than (1).

Knowing that, I think we will attract the right types of gamers. We may not be legion, but if we all play our parts, what we (CSE + Backers) create might be legendary. I say that with humility, because you Backers (who will become players) have made this possible through the Kickstarter and by the worlds, pride and stories you'll be building and living in our game. That's what we hope will be legendary.

And Ironwu, you are most welcome!

Mark Jacobs
Guest
Mark Jacobs

Esoteric Coyote Thanks! If I'm superman, what is my kryptonite? Hmm... :)

Zulika_Mi_Nam
Guest
Zulika_Mi_Nam

breetoplay Zulika_Mi_Nam

Edany (AmberACurtis)
Guest
Edany (AmberACurtis)

Zunjin Mark Jacobs Malrowe I still can't help dancing to this song. :P

Edany (AmberACurtis)
Guest
Edany (AmberACurtis)

vang866 Mark Jacobs Edany (AmberACurtis) Gankdolf This has been discussed pretty heavily in other areas, and the general consensus is that IF MJ and CSE were to implement something like this - then it would serve no purpose other than to detract from the main point of the game, which is RvR. If you draw people away from the battlefield so they can privately stroke their egos in an arena - that gives no reward and doesn't count towards anything, then you're just detracting from the game in general. There will be plenty of opportunity for guilds and rivals to meet on the field and to show off their fighting prowess.

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