city state entertainment

The Mark Jacobs-fronted studio making Camelot Unchained.

Camelot Unchained works on crafting and building prototypes

Building blocks and baby steps: This is the approach that Camelot Unchained is taking in developing some of its key systems for the upcoming beta test. The idea is that players will be treated to a simpler version of systems such as crafting and building that will be developed and grown for the eventual launch.

And if the word “crafting” makes you wince, then take heart. There has been a lot of thought that has gone into making an interesting and involved experience. “We don’t want to make crafting a grindy, boring mess,” promise the developers.

City State Entertainment hasn’t neglected the eye candy that will keep players entertained during combat: “One of the most fun discussions has included lots of pantomiming to help us improve the look of our combat animations. We’ve created one new ability per class that is meant to be more powerful and a bit flashier in order to help us test our VFX systems. Each of these new abilities are getting unique animations, which has driven much discussion on improving all our animations, and particularly how we use those animations to visually define each of the classes.”

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Camelot Unchained has 126 days to get everything ready for Beta 1

One hundred and twenty-six days. That’s the current countdown timer reading as Camelot Unchained looks ahead to its July 4th beta launch, and it couldn’t have both the community and the studio more excited.

In the February wrap-up newsletter, City State Entertainment stirs up enthusiasm for the beta while also talking about the improvements made to the combat system, giving an overview of the state of the current build, and dishing out a couple of images of player-created castles. The team said that it has a lot of work in these remaining 126 days to get the combat balanced, stress test the servers, finish up the user interface, and more.

“Next, it will be our turn to make good on our promises and justify your faith in the game,” said the team. “We hope you hop into Beta 1 with us for an early taste of the RvR madness to come!”

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Massively Overthinking: Could bots save dying MMORPGs?

Last week, a reader named Chris, who is writing a paper on the MMO industry and revivifying sunsetted games, dropped an intriguing question into my inbox. It’s about bots – but not the sort of bots EVE Online is constantly fighting. The good kind.

“Do you think people would be interested in coming back to ‘closed’ MMO games if they were populated with AI bots instead of real players (to make them feel alive/populated)?” he asked me.

Let’s ponder that for today’s Overthinking. Certainly we’ve seen bots put to work in games like Camelot Unchained, which uses them to test massive numbers of players on the battlefield. Would you want to see them in live play? Would they help the feel of the world in ways that default NPCs simply would not? Is the AI even doable? Could AI bots take our place to make MMORPGs even better – or even to keep them viable and save them from destruction?

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MMO devs discuss the painful process of shutting down online games

Have you ever thought about what it is like for developers and community managers who handle online games that are being shut down? It’s certain just as painful (if not more) for them as it is for us, and it is not as easy as turning off a switch and walking away.

PC Gamer has a fascinating piece on the process of sunsetting titles from a studio’s standpoint, including looks at games such as Club Penguin and PlanetSide 1.

Former Club Penguin CM Bobbi Rieger shared the overload of details that the team had to sort out when the news broke: “My immediate reaction was, ‘Oh crap.’ Of course my thoughts went to the community and how we could make this as positive as possible. At the end of the day, it’s going to be hard. It’s gonna suck. I was just like, ‘OK, what’s the action plan?'”

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 157: Lunar Valentines

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin overdose on candy hearts as they look at Valentine’s Day in MMOs — as well as the Lunar New Year. From expansion alpha testing to a new MMO launch to unifying a game globally, it’s a pretty upbeat and positive week of podcast chatter.

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.

Listen to the show right now:

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Camelot Unchained’s beta will launch on the 4th of July; we interview Mark Jacobs

You can go ahead and order extra sparklers because you’re going to need ’em this July 4th. That’s the auspicious day that Camelot Unchained’s beta one will finally launch after three years of delay, City State Entertainment has now announced. The studio has further confirmed that the “feature lock” date for the crowdfunded RvR MMORPG will be June 12th – at that point, everything for the beta will be set, save bug-fixing. And yes, everything that has been promised for the beta will make it for that launch (that doesn’t mean everything going into launch will be in beta – expect more builds going forward over the expected year of this beta).

CSE’s Mark Jacobs spoke with us just a few weeks ago to announce that the company had taken on a large external investment to speed up development of the game; he’s done the same this time ’round to answer our questions about beta and what to expect between right now and the 4th of July when those beta gates open. Read on!

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Camelot Unchained will announce its beta starting date on Monday

Really, that headline is all you truly need to know. After years of development and several delays, City State Entertainment is finally ready to announce the long-awaited start date for Camelot Unchained’s beta on Monday, February 12th.

“As we’ve mentioned in previous updates, we want a date we are confident in that also delivers a great experience for our backers, who simply deserve as much for their enthusiasm and patience,” the team posted. “Earlier today, we came to an agreement on that date after several weeks of hard work, but Mark wanted us to take the weekend to think about it just so we can be as confident as possible with that date.”

In preparing for Beta 1, the team has been auditing the game to make sure that it’s ready to go. Testers have been doing their part to break the game client or stability. This partially took place in the form of 100v100v100 battles that involved both players and bots. According to the team, one player managed to single-handedly bring the game down by dropping armor and 400 siege scorpions all at once.

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The Daily Grind: How do you feel about the increased focus on PvP in upcoming MMOs?

Don’t look now, but PvP is coming — and it’s coming to almost every new MMO in development. It only recently hit me just how many upcoming games are being centered around PvP as a core mechanic. Camelot Unchained, Crowfall, Ashes of Creation, Wild West Online, Worlds Adrift, Dual Universe, Chronicles of Elyria, every survival sandbox you could name… all PvP, pretty much all of the time.

I don’t outright resent PvP from being in MMOs, but as a primarily PvE player, it concerns me to see a flood of this washing over titles that I would otherwise have no reservations about playing. Many of the worlds and mechanics of these games have appeal, but not at the expense of having some jerk ambush me and kill me in 1.5 seconds flat at any moment.

Heck, even Sea of Thieves’ piracy gameplay loop has triggered alarms in my head that captains will be looking to swarm the title with griefing tactics once they’re done playing the “proper” way.

Maybe I’m overreacting. How do you feel about the increased focus on PvP in upcoming MMOs? Why do you think we are seeing a rise of such games?

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The Daily Grind: What would you pay for an MMO subscription in 2018?

Here’s something you probably didn’t know about Camelot Unchained: Yes, it’ll have a sub, but it won’t be $15. Mark Jacobs re-confirmed that it’ll be less than the industry standard down in our comments a few weeks ago. It’s been rattling around in my head since then as subscriptions just keep popping up in the news. Star Citizen has an optional sub in alpha. Age of Conan just lowered its subscription rate. And the biggest subscription MMO in the world seems to have no problems moving a bajillion expansions, driving token prices to fluctuate. Did we hit rock bottom? Are we just watching the price reset in a new era?

I’m currently paying $13 a month for an old-school game because nobody else has content that even comes close. I wouldn’t hesitate to pay more for an MMO I couldn’t wait to play. In fact, I was prepared to pay more than $15 for CU. Would you? What would you pay for an MMO subscription in 2018? And what would you expect from an MMORPG charging a subscription?

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 154: A Prime experiment

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin hit up a week of huge MMO news, including Camelot Unchained’s investments, RIFT’s new subscription server, Devilian’s demise, and more!

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.

Listen to the show right now:

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Town State Leisure: Camelot Unchained responds to absurd scraper article as only CSE can

If by chance you’ve ever run a blog about literally anything, you surely know about scrapers – those jerks who use scripts to steal your stuff in full and put it on their site to make easy money. The really clever ones use scripts to also change some of the words around so that it’s not as easy to get caught. Most of these scripts aren’t very good and just use word swaps, so they sound like somebody who barely speaks English grabbed a thesaurus and waved it around in the air.

Enter Owne Tech, a scraper site you’ve probably never heard of. Yesterday, when Camelot Unchained’s huge news hit the internet, this site apparently scraped VentureBeat’s piece on it and… well, the garbled version is actually hilarious.

“The previous writer of Mythic Leisure’s The Darkish Age of Camelot is again with a brand new recreation, and he has raised $7.five million for the net fable recreation dubbed Camelot Unchained,” the piece declares. “Jacobs was once the lead clothier and founder at Mythic. […] He left EA in 2009, and began the brand new corporate, Town State Leisure, in 2011. Via 2013, he had found out what he sought after to do. His Town State Leisure raised $four.five million in a Kickstarter crowdfunding marketing campaign, and his staff went to paintings on Camelot Unchained.”

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Camelot Unchained lands $7.5M investment to hasten development: Our chat with Mark Jacobs on funding, VR, and beta one

If you know one thing about indie MMORPG Camelot Unchained, it’s that CEO Mark Jacobs appears to dwell perpetually in internet comment sections amiably sparring with gamers and attracting loyal advocates.

But if you know two things, you also know that the game is late. Really late. The RvR-centric, PvM-free, anti-lockbox, sub-only MMO was supposed to enter beta three years ago, according to its successful 2013 Kickstarter, but studio City State Entertainment suffered admitted setbacks along the way – both hiring difficulties in the company’s Fairfax, Virginia, location and technical hurdles. Much of that has since been rectified; in 2016, the company launched a second studio in Seattle while continuing to hire engineers and spending the better part of a year completely refactoring its character ability code and polishing up its home-grown engine. But here we are in 2018, still mumbling beta when? at Jacobs and his dogged crew.

Well, we’re finally getting an answer to that question and more, along with a significant blast of hope for the future of the game, as CSE has just received a massive cash infusion to speed up development. I spoke to Jacobs at length – he’s infamous for being effusive – about what’s going on with the game and the studio in 2018. Read on for the executive summary!

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Camelot Unchained is in the middle of a big hiring push ahead of beta one

Camelot Unchained has been teasing a slew of big announcements coming over the next few weeks, and finally one of them is here. No, it’s not beta one (though it’s coming!), but it is the news that City State is once again hiring. It’s already picked up a brand-new community manager and senior animator, both of whom begin this month, plus it’s still hiring for more positions in both offices.

“As time goes on, the announcements’ importance in terms of our Backers current concerns/worries/”BETA WHEN?” will grow, and more questions will be answered, news will be shared, and the question of the Beta 1 start date will be addressed,” CSE says. Maybe hold off on those “beta when” tattoos for now.

This week’s update also includes bits and bobs about progress on the UI, ability buttons, floating combat text, disconnection bugs, animations, and art. The whole Q&A with CSE’s Mark Jacobs is tucked down below.

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