Camelot Unchained’s Mark Jacobs on guilds, groups, and the social systems that make an MMORPG go ’round

Over the weekend, the studio behind crowdfunded RvR MMORPG Camelot Unchained released a hefty chunk of its ongoing beta one document, revealing extensive insight into the way the game’s social systems will be laid out. Parts of those social systems will look familiar to MMO players, such as groups (Warbands), guilds (Orders), and raids (Battlegroups). But there are more layers to contend with, including perma-groups or mini-guilds (Permanent Warbands), as well as project-oriented raids (Campaigns), all designed in the service of an ambitious RvR-centered MMO that makes space for soloers and small guilds by not over- or under-privileging the largest teams in the genre. That’s the goal, anyway!

CU boss and MMORPG veteran developer Mark Jacobs, whom many of you know personally thanks to his ubiquity in our comments section, gamely answered about a thousand of my questions over the weekend, which we’ve compiled into an absurdly long interview about how to properly smush together all these groups into a social system sandwich that makes everybody happy. There’s even a Star Trek quote and a bonus question about Warhammer Online’s development and CU’s budget at the end!

I strongly urge you to check out the original doc first, as the interview assumes knowledge of the basic terminology and structure of the game. Fair warning: While Camelot Unchained’s document is almost 6000 words, this interview itself is close to 4000. You put Jacobs in a virtual room with me and my questions go on forever, and damn if he doesn’t answer them exhaustively. It’s a whopper, but it’s worth reading for a glimpse into what could be the future of MMO community planning.

Massively OP: When I read the first version of this document, I suspected large guilds that enjoy their role as MMO content gatekeepers would freak out that they weren’t being pandered to, that there wasn’t much to differentiate small orders from permanent warbands. Now that I’ve seen the fleshed-out doc, I suspect the opposite. Orders are getting a lot of stuff — shops, property, banks, guild halls, clothing marks, and a deep progression system — and I’m deeply worried that a small order is just not going to be able to compete. Tell me I’m wrong! Tell me your progression system is based on time and not size/grind/power? And even then, how will newbie guilds compete?

Mark Jacobs: Funny how things change, right? In looking at our system, the progression we have planned for Orders is quite different, in a lot of ways, from other similar systems, even ones that I have worked on myself. For example, none of the progression rewards give an Order an advantage in combat. That’s a pretty big change from other systems that have been used over the years. Secondly, our Order progression rewards function in a similar way to our overall Realm Rewards, in that progression can be earned in multiple ways.

One of the things we are doing with these rewards is to allow Orders to earn them, over time, simply by being an active Order in the game. Now, what does active mean? In our Realm Rewards system, it means that they show up and try to play the game, whether as crafters or combatants. They don’t have to be successful at it (though it doesn’t hurt) to earn most of the same rewards that larger, more successful Orders can earn. Now, the larger and/or more active Orders can earn the rewards faster, but the key to making the entire system work is that our game is not intended to be grindy, in any way. You can have a slow progression system without making it grindy by forcing people to craft thousands of arrows, or beat up on a rock until their wrists fall off, etc.

As always, it boils down to whether we can make this rather unique approach to leveling up a character in a computer-based RPG work for our Backers and players. If we can do that, then the same system will also work for our Orders. As I’ve said on our Forums and in other places, we’re trying to create a system that will not appeal to everybody, but one that is interesting and exciting to a wide range of players.

If “MJ believes [multiguilding] is one of the things that has hurt the viability and attractiveness of guilds in modern MMORPGs,” why wouldn’t the same be true in a game where you can join infinite warbands and link them together infinitely, receiving many of the same social (if not economic) benefits? What I’m imagining is that people will still join a powerful, old order with all the right perks — capped out at whatever that number winds up being — for the perks and then join their real friends in a warband. That can’t be what you want, right?

First, we might be a little BSC at times, but the idea that you can join an infinite number of Warbands, and then join an infinite number of Warbands together, is not in the plans. In the document we used the word “multiple” and while the number is still TBD, the number of Warbands you can join/link will not be large. Secondly, as always, all of this is subject to change if it doesn’t work out in Beta. Thirdly, we have to accept that this is 2017; the tools that people have to connect are more powerful than they were, say, back in 2001. So, even if we didn’t give players the ability to work together outside our systems, they could do it anyway. Finally, we see Warbands and Orders fitting together quite nicely for the following reasons:

  • There are a lot of people who don’t want to deal with the issues of guilds/Orders. This has been talked about for many years, and I think most of MOP’s readers can probably sympathize with that problem.
  • There are a lot of people who just want to play with a small group of friends and family. They don’t want the overhead of a guild, and might want some recognition for their ability to be a successful group.
  • Linking Warbands together through a Battlegroup (which I think is what you are referring to), is a temporary thing. It can’t be made permanent.

Battlegroups will have some perks, but as you point out, they don’t have almost any of the perks that Orders get, and these perks are UI/group combat related. Plus, I’ve also said on our Forums that anything we give the Battlegroups that could impart an advantage in combat would also be given to smaller groups/individuals where appropriate.
And a lot more…

The situation you mention has been part of MMORPGs ever since the concept of guilds in these games came into being, so it’s nothing new to our system. OTOH, by creating the concept of named/permanent Warbands, we hope to find a way that you can play with your friends and your Order, and still get recognition both inside and outside your Order. Will some people do what you describe? Yep, but as per above, that is not a new problem in MMORPGs, and I hope that we have a system that will cause that to happen less, while at the same time boosting overall Order participation.

I have serious issues with big guilds – over the last 20 years, I’ve seen over and over how they can wreck MMORPGs by sheer force of numbers and power, tilting the balance of entire servers, bogarting content, and driving people from games. But I can think of some (Gaiscioch specifically) that I think add more to game communities than they take away. But they have hundreds of members. How will those types of guilds fit into this particular social structure, where Orders have a (relatively low?) cap?

First, we haven’t set the limit on Order size yet. It will be more than a few dozen, less than unlimited. Where that will shake out will be determined through Beta after a lot of thought, reflection, surveys and possibly Tequila! As to folks like Gaiscioch, yeah, they are good people. I met with some of them when I was in the Pacific Northwest on one trip. Secondly, I think that the Orders in our game have one major incentive that they don’t have in other games, the fact that there isn’t a lot of CSE-made content to bogart (damn Bree, you going all old school slang on me so “cop a squat and then let’s grab some za!”) like there is in other games. And I do agree with you that guilds can be a negative force in some games. That’s one reason we are against mega-guilds and doing things to encourage people to create/join Orders of all sizes, including small ones. Being an RvR-focused game doesn’t mean that all the Orders are going to go all Kumbaya with each other, but I do think that there will be plenty of reasons, opportunities and tools to work together in a very unique and powerful way.

Is there a reason a realm couldn’t just link everybody into one massive battlegroup – say maybe using a mod that would auto-join anybody logging in to that battlegroup – and be done with the complicated grouping web? It seems like this would circumvent the cost and confusion of creating a campaign. On that note, how in the world is the unit frame UI going to look if you have your entire realm joined together in a battlegroup? (Click/grid healers are crying right now.)

LOL, yeah, the issues that will arise with healers is an entirely different kettle of Luchorpáns! :) We’ve talked a bit about “Healer Vision,” but that topic’s for a different day.
As far as using a mod, sure, that is something players could and probably will do, since we are giving players more access to our API than any other major MMORPG has ever done. Who knows, if players do that, maybe that would cause us to rethink our approach, but I know that the system that JB pushed for/designed is definitely worth a try, especially because it hasn’t been done before in an MMORPG.

There are also some other things to keep in mind: A Battlegroup does not have the same perks/advantages of Campaign. Battlegroups really are just a way for people to work together better than they would without the tools. There aren’t things like missions, rewards, etc. associated with Battlegroups. Also, keep in mind that we don’t have a Unit frame-based UI.

Is there a reason temporary warbands are necessary at all? Couldn’t they be just as easily binned as battlegroups, since battlegroups can have an unlimited number of people? It seems like an unnecessary layer for an RvR MMO, I guess is what I’m getting at. In a PvE game, some content is scaled for single groups and some for multiple groups, but not here. Is there some mechanical reason to need temporary groups of eight to be differentiated from temporary groups of more than eight? What am I missing here?

As to temporary or permanent Warbands, the fact is that the foundation of group gameplay in CU is built around the Warband, with group-based abilities, skills, and effects being applied among your small group. With cross-group support and healing being much more limited, it really puts the focus on working together as a Warband. When engaging in large-scale combat in CU, your Warband is your lifeline. With hundreds of players around you, your focus is keeping your Warband working strongly together as a unit, and on taking out not just an individual enemy player, but on disabling and taking an enemy Warband out of the fight.

Having said that, while we certainly could have just gone with Battlegroups and possibly a distinction within the Battlegroup, we believe that the separate concept of Warbands also fits from a thematic, roleplaying, and historical perspective, as well as a gameplay perspective as per above. After all, Warbands have sort of been a thing for a long time before MMORPGs, right? :) Also, this gives us a much easier path to making adjustments/tweaks to the Warband and Battlegroup system/mechanics as they are separate systems that are meant to work together.

Do you think people will be confused by temporary vs. permanent warbands? I’m wondering if MMO players will feel a weird sort of compulsion to opt out of joining temporary ones rather than feel obligated to stay more permanently, which could actually shut down ephemeral social connections rather than encourage them.

If this were 1999, maybe I would be more concerned about whether the audience will understand how this system works, but it is 2017. Players will do what they think best for themselves and their chosen groupmates, whether it is to form a permanent Warband or just a PUG that is as ephemeral as the promises of most politicians.

How will realm membership fit into the organizational hierarchy — will there be special chat and leadership (etc.) for realms too, like somebody elected Empress of the Tuatha? Or is all of that 1) automatic when you roll a toon and 2) not something governable by players?

As of now, we don’t have any plans for an overarching system of governance where players can become Kings of their Realms. It’s not that is a bad idea, it just isn’t one that we want to spend any time working on. The Kings of the Realms are important figures within the Camelot Unchained lore, and having players become them would not fit well with our systems, lore, or game that we are making.

You are embracing soloers. Fantastic! What kinds of options will they get in line with the heraldry, property, perks, shiny stars, and tags that the large groups will have, to help them feel less like second-class citizens? What about realm-wide calendars and such for people who just want to be part of the faction instead of part of somebody’s fraternity?

There will be perks for solo players, of course, including the ability to own land. With our Realm Herald and other social systems/features, I don’t think our solo players will ever feel like second-class citizens. No, they won’t have all the same perks as Orders, but since the perks for Orders don’t come with a personal advantage in combat like stat bonuses, we don’t believe it will be a big deal, Also solo players will be able to take part in Campaigns, those created by both players and by the Realm. Through these they can earn some of those shiny stars and contribute to the social group play in CU without having to ever actually party up with another player.

One of your reasons for not going with multiguilding was that you made it a Kickstarter promise. Have you guys bumped into anything you promised that you have had to go back on, simply because it turned out impossible, unfeasible, or just a bad idea?

Nope, I’m a stubborn son of a *****, and I also don’t believe in “bait and switch” campaigns. Everything we laid out in our Kickstarter was something we discussed internally concerning our ability to deliver on it. Yep, we’re late, but we haven’t subtracted a single feature from our stated goals, not one. Nor have we added any pre-launch Stretch Goals that have contributed to our delay. Now, having said that, if we decide that a feature was a bad idea, we’ll change/delete it from the plans, but that hasn’t happened yet.

You say group formation won’t cost anything in beta one, implying that it might later. You mean for groups that traditional carry a gold-sink/fee, like guilds, right? Not warbands? I can’t imagine you’d be charging people to group!

Correct, temporary Warbands will always be free, but permanent Warbands might have a small cost–greater than zero, but less than creating an Order. OTOH, maybe you’re onto something! We could cash shop it too! Or better yet, make it a lock-box that you have to buy at a cash shop and that has an undisclosed .0001 chance of allowing you to group! Oh, this is such a huuuge idea!!!! :) (Just in case there’s any doubt, he’s kidding. Jacobs is on the record as despising lockboxes rather a lot.)

Commissioning guild heraldry sounds like a worthy cash-shop addition that isn’t going to trip any pay-to-win snares — it reminds me of when Path of Exile would charge $1000 for a custom-skinned weapon, and they had so many people buying it that they couldn’t keep up. Is that the same sort of scale you might be looking at?

I have no idea on what we would charge, but yes, I’m interested in doing this precisely because it doesn’t, in any way, become P2W. I don’t know if we will do this, but it’s an interesting idea, and would be a nice perk for some folks. I could also see using it as a prize/reward under certain circumstances.

Is there anything to stop a guild from just “granting all the stars” to everyone instead of meting out accolades the way you intend?

If an Order wants to all sit around in a circle after bumping up their internal levels and titles and tell each other what kind of special snowflakes they are, that’s up to them. It won’t have any effect on the game, so if that’s their idea of fun, God bless, and may the Schwartz be with them. :)

You aren’t working toward tying the in-game social systems into social networking, and thank you for that – I don’t want tweetspam about my new outfit or achievements for linking my account to Facebook either. But on the other hand, being able to log into guildchat from a browser and get important guild event broadcasts on my phone would be nice. Is that something you will develop, or are you opening up your API so thoroughly that player modders will be able to pick up the torch?

Both. We have already opened up our API in a way that most other MMORPGs haven’t done. In terms of getting broadcasts and the like on your phone, yep, we want to do that as well. And when we fully implement Discord, we’ll do even more, going forward.

In-game voice chat seems to fail in a lot of MMORPGs, even when it’s become a staple for FPS titles. Do you think you guys can compete with third-party apps on that front? How will you deal with harassment and toxicity in voice chat, where it’s harder to track and report?

Yeah, the stuff that people say to each other whether in text or otherwise (flashback to Dark Age of Camelot’s opening weekend, and morons are talking about how they are going to “kill Jews” or are Osama bin Laden, etc.) is horrific. In terms of incorporating in-game voice, that’s why we announced the partnership with Discord a while back. Discord is currently one of the most popular third-party voice apps around, and we’ll have that built right in. Just as a player can choose to use the desktop app, web app, or mobile app for Discord, they’ll be getting another easy-to-use option in-game. Will we deal with harassment and toxicity? Yep, we sure will. I hate that crap with a passion.

How are you planning to stop people from using alt accounts to communicate with the enemy and/or spy on opposing realms? (I’m sure you’ve answered this before, probably even from me, but this doc is adamant about not being able to chat to or mail a realm enemy, so it seems relevant again.)

Of course, just like some other games I helped create, players cannot create characters from different Realms on the same server. There’s nothing we can do about people buying multiple accounts to do this. We couldn’t and wouldn’t implement a system where it’s one account per credit card, because that would be unfair to families, folks who give/get gifts, etc. OTOH, if we got proof that somebody was cheating in that way, we would ban the account, no refund. This has been a problem in our kind of MMORPG forever, and I suspect some folks will do that in our game as well.

This is random, but I’m curious: Did you guys consider the Asheron’s Call monarchy system when debating how to build out the social infrastructure of the game? Do you think it could work again in an RvR game?

I think it could work in some games, and I do think we could build out a social system at a “King’s Court” level, but for now, it’s not something we are planning or even thinking about doing for Camelot Unchained.

Also random: You mention in passing that your “total budget is less than a one-year spend” on Warhammer Online. That is terrifying to me, given that I remember how unfinished Warhammer was at launch (sorry). Is that really an oblique slam on EA, that you’re doing so much more than EA could on so much less? Can you remind everyone (briefly!) how you’re pulling it off to a jaded readership that’s watched so many games and budgets come and go?

So, let me restate what I’ve been saying since my NDA/NCA with EA ended in 2010, including on places such as MOP. EA was not the only reason WAR launched earlier than it should have launched. They were “a” reason, but not the only reason. Credit for the other part goes to certain individuals at Mythic, who lied about the state of the game and had their own agenda. I told EA that I believed WAR was not ready for launch, but I also told them that nobody on my team would say that they agreed with me. One said they “would support me” but wouldn’t say that they believed that the game wasn’t ready. If I had had the support of anybody, I might have been able to force a delay in the launch, but again, there were other agendas at work, as was shown by what happened when EA and I parted ways. OTOH, I have also credited (on MOP as well), John Riccitello for stating publicly that games such as WAR didn’t get the support they should have. It’s why I’ve stayed in touch with JR and not with other people: He has the courage to admit mistakes, unlike some other folks I know.

Now, in terms of saying I can do more with less, well, that’s true, but that was true with Dark Age of Camelot as well as WAR (whose budget was a fraction, truly a fraction, of a game like SWTOR), but it wasn’t/isn’t all thanks to me. The team that made Dark Age of Camelot was a great, hardworking, and talented team, just like the one we have now. The difference is that this team has had to write almost all of the codebase (not some bits, we’re using Nvidia’s PhysX for example) from scratch, whereas Mythic had 4+ years of code to draw on when making Dark Age of Camelot.

As for how we’re doing it: a lot of hard work, mostly smart decisions (nobody is perfect), and by focusing on making the game first and foremost. We’re not making expensive and time-consuming videos, taking time to go to shows, or focusing on doing things to bring in additional money. Yeah, it hurts my wallet more than I would like, but I said we would make a great game, and we’re going to do just that, come Hel or high water. :)

In terms of jaded folks (and as a gamer, I’m certainly one of those), we’re late, we know it, apologize for it, continue to offer refunds, and slowly, ever so slowly at times, have built world-class tech that is allowing us to build what we hope will be the next great RvR game. What we are trying to do is best encapsulated by the scene from Star Trek: Wrath of Khan where a tired James T. Kirk is talking to his ex-girlfriend, Carol Marcus, about how he feels old. She says, “Let me show you something that will make you feel young as when the world was young.” The MMORPG world was still young in 2001 when the best RvR game of all time, Dark Age of Camelot, launched. We want to show our Backers and potential players all over the world something in the coming months that will make them feel that same way again. As I always say, time will tell.

We’d like to thank Mark Jacobs for answering our questions with depth and candor!

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53 Comments on "Camelot Unchained’s Mark Jacobs on guilds, groups, and the social systems that make an MMORPG go ’round"

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yoh_sl

If I could give some advice to MJ, it would be “don’t be afraid to pan handle”.
If down the line, the kickstarter money, your personal investment and the bits along the way just isn’t enough to get the job done, ask for more.

I’m sure there are plenty like myself who give from time to time or who have backed the game, will do so again if prompted. I’d rather spend more to have a finished game, then have what I did spend end up going to waste. Sunken cost fallacy be damned.

Other then that, as so far as cash shop and MTX are concerned, seriously take the time to look at how Path of Exile do theirs. Hands down the best R2P monitization system in the industry, no I am not exaggerating. GGG do a phenomenal job, and in all honestly between that and their clearly excellent game, I’ve spent more money on them, willing throwing it at them, then any other title ever. (I can tell you more about the details of their system if you want, being a long term player as I am)

You can’t plan too far in advance when it comes to monitization. It can literally make or break a game.

Reader
Mark Jacobs

You or anybody else can always give me/us advice, that’s been a truism for me since the 80s. My catchphrase has been been that we will hear what people say, we may not listen/follow that advice and feedback but it’s always welcomed.

As to PoE, yeah, those guys have done a great job. One of these days I’ll actually play the game. :)

tinnis_
Reader
tinnis_

The best way to stop *playing* games………become a game developer and you’ll never “play” again! :P

Reader
yoh_sl

Hopefully the former will never have to come to pass. (ie needing to panhandle)
And that the latter will. (that you end up with a monotization as good as POE, and like them make a ton of money from people happy to do so)

Reader
Oleg Chebeneev

Q: We all know that CU developers love to talk about their game. Watching devs sitting on cosy sofa, passionately talking is cool and all. But when do we see actual gameplay with promised improved graphics?

hamblepants
Reader
hamblepants

Also probably when they’re into beta 1 comfortably enough to lift the NDA.

Reader
Mark Jacobs

Hiya OC! We did show it LIVE at Dragon Con, connected to our AWS instances, not local servers. You should have been there. SC was there, SoTA and some other devs.

Reader
Buddy Barlow

Mark, we have 3 months left in the year and the beta 1 list still seems fairly long. Worries me with the past delays that were gonna get a Q1 or Q2 Beta 1 announcement.

Biting at the bit to get into B1 with my access but this seems like a long shot that it’s gonna be ready by December.

Great interview, hopefully we will be seeing some gameplay footage in the upcoming months.

Reader
Mark Jacobs

I know, it’s starting to get tighter than I/we would like too. The good news is that we keep making progress, lots and we’ll be showing a lot more of it when we finish this sprint/push on sieges.

Thanks for your support and patience, they are both appreciated!

Reader
Loyal Patron
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Kickstarter Donor
Paragon Lost

Great interview. :)

Reader
Mark Jacobs

Thanks! Thanks to Bree as well for asking great questions and reading our documents. That alone earns credit/thanks from me as always.

Reader
Maggie May

I’m not that young but I had to look up bogarting. But I am old enough to figure out the Kumbya thing … And kettle of Lucarpans? Priceless! (I guess I better go back and read the original article, might help.)

Reader
Mark Jacobs

Hehe, I hope you enjoyed the read.

Reader
Maggie May

Yes well,the Butttwings get me every time … Thanks to all of you for sharing the process, the amount of work involved in getting this thing from start to finish is absolutely mind-boggling to me!

Reader
drgreenhoe

Good interview. All good news and solid clarifications on some confusing issues.

Reader
Mark Jacobs

Thanks! Yeah, important issues and confusing to some, including us at times. :)

Reader
Eliandal

As a member of a “large” guild (Yes, OTG) I was somewhat concerned about the questions/answers about guild size (Come on now – don’t take the LAST thing us oldtimers are really good at away from us – complaining about you youngsters ;P) While we do not have a huge population of PVP players, it will still be significant. Guess we’ll just wait till Beta1, and then push for guild size to equal OTG+1 :D!

Otherwise, a most excellent read! Thank you Bree and MJ!!!

Reader
Mark Jacobs

You’re welcome! BTW, what do you consider a large guild?

Reader
Eliandal

Tough question :D! I would guess it depends more on the game, and what it supports . OTG is definitely “large” and many of our chapters are very large (max size for the games in question) I can’t see the future too well, but I know there’s interest in CU. As to how many will actually venture in, I don’t know, but it would be a shame if the limit was say, 30, and 50 of the people I’ve travelled to new games with off and on over the past 7 years wanted to play. I guess what it boils down too is… I’m glad it’s you who has to make this decision, because it’s definitely a tough one!!

Estranged
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Kickstarter Donor
Estranged

Always had a good time with you guys, still on my mumble.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

FT and i have had several run ins with OTG over the years and one of my members is a member purely to get regular raids.

i’d far rather land on a server with goons than with OTG because OTG has on numerous occasions across games at launch and in beta attempted to eat FT whole or once being told no we aren’t interested in joining have our tagged members PMed to join them.

we have also experienced on various game servers that they can be very dictatorial towards other guilds on how to play a given game to their liking and under their leadership.

my member who raids with them when he hangs out with me in mumble regales me with stories of them poaching or eating whole guilds alive or at least attempting to do so such as in wildstar where OTG didn’t have enough people to raid and wouldn’t pull PUGs in (which was the norm in wildstar raiding at tthe time with nightly pug spots being advertised from the active raiding guilds no strings attached and decent chances at loot) and were attempting to eat guilds that were able to raid, to which i had to question what benefit for those guilds it would be to join OTG.

Estranged
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Estranged

I can see that happening. We needed two 500 person guilds at launch.

Reader
Eliandal

. . . and I can’t ? That is nothing like any of the chapters I’ve been in, and in fact – when stuff like that DID happen (in BDO, at launch) the people in question were removed from the guild completely While I can’t speak to Wildstar, I have never seen us poach or try to eat other guilds, however, this topic and discussion is not for here, and issues like this should be brought up to the guild, since we actually do have some pretty strict rules of conduct in games.

Reader
Raimo Kangasniemi

The thing that caught my eye most and made me worry was servers. (Yes, one sentence or so.) Server population and balance is among the most important things for any game, but in an RvR game its paramount.

We have all been there – the initial rush to a game that leads to queues, with new servers put online to offer relief, then declining populations after the initial stage, people re-rolling on populated ones. Then server mergers with all the issues they bring.

(The last thing would be, I hazard to claim, hard to made to work for CU because of the losses to guilds and players in loss of material and territorial progress.)

Games can survive these issues, but I hazard to claim they can really prosper if the server issue is badly handled at launch. And its very hard to handle well.

So I would be interested of knowing something of the plans towards that there will be balanced, viable servers after the initial queues.

Reader
Mark Jacobs

Well, the issues that you mention are important ones and that’s why we have made some of the decisions we have made regarding everything from our horizontal progression system to grouping to non-mirrored classes.

Hugely complicated set of issues.

Reader
Mark Jacobs

Bree, thanks as always for the great questions/interviews.

P.S. I forgot to add a very important line where we’re talking about WAR:

I’ve also admitted that I too made mistakes with WAR and I do not, in any war, now or ever downplay those mistakes. Nobody’s perfect but I will say that my mistakes were always due to my desire to make WAR a great game and to keep faith with Games Workshop and EA at the same time, not easy, not easy at all.

Reader
George

Well, speaking about great games… Do you think there will ever be a sequel (or a spiritual successor) to WAR? Would you “dare” to take the IP up again to give us the game we [Warhammer and brained-pvp fan] dream of?

Because, you know, it was far from perfect, but still it was a game that gave me some of the most enjoyable game time of my life. And I know I’m not alone on this.

Ps: great job with CU, can’t wait to play it (and I mean it, hurry up :D).

Leontes
Reader
Leontes

Yeah, not alone there. I do not appreciate the setting (gives me headaches to imagine such a world), but nonetheless I loved the atmosphere in the game. Sounds like a contradiction? – it probably is. I wish it had been supported better.

Reader
Mark Jacobs

Would I work with GW again? Hell yeah, in a New York minute!

I loved the IP and I’m proud of the game, even with its flaws. I’m even even more proud of the effort that the team made on the game.

Reader
George

Yeah, and now you have the tech to build a game in a world where war never ends…

Going back to CU, do you have any plan on adding something like WAR scenarios? The mechanics were wonderful, but dunno if this sort of structured-pvp would fit well in CU.

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Koshelkin

Great interview! I wasn’t aware of the direct intregration of Discord and I think it’s pretty awesome. Discord is the way to go now, I hate going back to any of the old tools(Teamspeak, Mumble, ventrilo) since I started using it.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

we actually find discord’s reliability nad uptime too poor to rely on for voice, tho we do use it for text chat.

after a number of prime time downtime episodes (and dealing with it having all the bugs and shittiness we already dislike ts3 with none of the great things we put up with bugs mumble has for) we switched back to mumble for voice client.

granted we get free azure credits from one of our officer’s employer and have people with the know how to set up an azure instance and install mumble on it. so we may be in an unusual position there.

but would love ot be able to chat with guildies who are in gmae via a channel in our discord server. web and mobile integration with in game guild chat has been much desired for a very long time on our part :D

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Koshelkin

Tbh. I never had the problems you’re speaking of when using discord. Maybe that’s a thing more common at NA primetime?!

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

idk we noticed unreliability day and night, and frequently lags on the text side in the early morning hours (even eu day time/morning hours).

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Mark Jacobs

DK, that’s interesting data, I’ll keep that in mind, thanks!

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Schlag Sweetleaf
cu tl;dr ;p.jpg
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Mark Jacobs

Well done, as usual, very well done.

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Schmidt.Capela

How are you planning to stop people from using alt accounts to communicate with the enemy and/or spy on opposing realms?

With Discord being the built-in voice chat for the game and an open API for the text-based chat? Players won’t need alt accounts, they will have much easier and cheaper options for communicating with the enemy while logged on their main account. They just need to know a few players from an opposing faction — which can be found by, say, lurking on the game’s reddit, or looking for the homepages of enemy guilds.

Not that it should make much of a difference. External chat options in the 90s were already good enough to create channels the devs didn’t want to exist, and nowadays there are far more, and far better, options.

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Dug From The Earth

I find that im not in a guild in most of the mmorpgs I play. Not because im anti social, but more for these reasons:

1. Most games dont make it very easy or accessible to find a decent guild. Sure, there are plenty of guilds that will just blind invite you to their list of 600+ members. This type of guild really isnt the type Im looking for when it comes to wanting an online “Family” to play the game with.

Most of the time, finding a guild involves a long, arduous task of scouring the forums, filling out web applications, and doing interviews via voice chat. Its more about “Does the guild want you” than it is about “Do you want to be in the guild”. For hardcore, mythic/uber/elite raiding, that might be fine… but for someone just looking for a regular, friendly bunch of like minded players to group with and play the game, its a bit much.

Id love to see a game have things like applications for a guild built in. Let me stay in the game, when im wanting to join a guild in the game. More so, It should be easier to flag myself as “looking for guild”. So that people I group with are aware.

2. So once you are in a guild, outside of the whole “Ive got another chat window, and people to group without outside the LFG tool” aspect, there really isnt much else that these games manage to integrate it with. Some games give guilds levels, and minor traits that do things like give bonus xp, or reduced recall timers (all of which just encourages those giant 600+ guilds who are there just for these perks). For the most part however, most mmorpgs lack any REAL mechanics based around guilds

Guild Wars 2 tried a bit. There are actual guild events you can do. However, most of the time, these arent just your guild, they are a few from your guild, and a bunch of PuGs to fill the spots. For the most part though, being in a guild doesnt open up any new gameplay of any sort. Most games let you do everything out of a guild, so why bother joining a guild?

You can get a guild hall in some games, but its a pretty static thing, that doesnt really allow the guild members to really “build” and advance it. Shouldnt the guild be able to complete achievements, and then get things to decorate their hall with from these achievements? Wouldnt it be cool if their guild hall could be upgraded via things the guild accomplished together? More overall customization for the guild would be nice in general, more than just a tabberd you wear.

3. No sense of pride or accomplishment. Nothing you do while in a guild over the course of time, discourages you from dropping that guild on the spot to join another guild. Im not saying there should be penalties, Not in the least. What im saying is that after spending all the time in a guild, there should be things that you have earned and unlocked that you dont WANT to just leave haphazardly over. Things you (and others) are proud of having earned and unlocked.

Being part of a guild should be like investing in the mmorpg itself. Often, people wont want to just up and leave their current mmorpg to join a different game, because of the investment they have made to their current game, and the sense of accomplishment and such from what they have earned/unlocked/achieved in their current game. Guilds really dont really mechanically give this to the player. You dont actually gain or earn things in your guild, and therefore there is nothing keeping you from abandoning that guild, and the next, and the next, without a second thought.

And no, achievements dont really count. Its like if your boss at work gave you a sticker that said “Good Job – You did it!”, rather than a pay raise, or your own office in the corner with a window.

Overall, I think most mmorpgs dont put much effort into integrating the concept of “Guilds” into their game far beyond them just being a separate social network with private moderators. Its just a huge waste of potential.

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Serrenity

I can agree with that. Since my guild in WoW kind of … melted and fractured a few years back (alright, more than a few) I haven’t been able to find a home guild again. Even guilds that are just ‘social’ somehow manage to vomit up lots of drama about who said what when etc. Coupled with the fact that I’m actually kind of shy at rare points (who knew?), means that even if I do get into guilds, and try to talk, it largely feels forced and never really moves beyond that.

I dunno, it’s entirely possible / probably that I am, in fact, the problem in finding a good guild to hangout with. But at least I can sympathize with the feeling of ‘its hard to find a good guild’

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agemyth 😩

#GoodContent

Thank you Bree and Mark Jacobs.

I get really confused every time I read a CU article and the initials “MJ” are used and I think of that other MJ instead of Mark Jacobs. This shouldn’t be that hard to remember >.<

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Donnie T

MJ on release day “Can I(we) cook or can’t I(we)” :)

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Mark Jacobs

Hehe, it will be “we” as you know. I wouldn’t take credit for all the good stuff in Camelot Unchained any more than I would for Dark Age or WAR. :)

Solaris
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Solaris

Mark, your concept artists are some of the best in the business. In the least you get credit for surrounding yourself with great talent. :P

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