Camelot Unchained continues to unleash hundreds of trebuchets in siege testing

    
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The past few weeks in Camelot Unchained have been all about doing extremely violent things to an extremely pretty castle, and this past week was certainly no exception. Siege scenario testing on the 9 million-block castle continued to escalate, with 200 trebuchets joining in the hundreds of characters in what I’m now calling the Assault of Masochist Keep.

Screenshots taken from the event offer some technical details as well as some impressive battle vistas; at one point, the server player count hits 1,100 with a 29 FPS rate at a resolution of 1920×1080 — a testament to the efforts made by Camelot Unchained to ensure a wide variety of machines can run the game.

“Andrew likes to joke that you could play the game on a modem, but he’s right. While that might not seem important in a world where people can stream 4K movies, when you want to make an MMO that people across the world can play, having an engine like ours is a powerful advantage for us.”

The team is still looking to further refine the siege scenario and the weekly update elaborates on other development progress across the board, so be sure to look through the details.

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Josh Caskey

I’ve been following CU since KS and I have played in beta. I am just afraid the game is becoming very complicated. The great thing about DAoC (still play it) is that it’s simple. You don’t craft the spells, every realm has same spells and you log on to RvR and log off. Most people don’t have time to spend hours upon hours finding the best build – they just want to pick from a few popular specs and become good at them and go RvR.

I understand it’s not DAoC but the following for the game is a huge list of former DAoC players and like it or not they will compare this game to DAoC.

Honestly a new version of DAoC will do very well with the lack of competitive MMOs out there, that’s what I am hoping for anyway after 5+ years of waiting :) Looking forward to release.

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Mark Jacobs

In terms of “becoming very complicated”, it’s been that way since the beginning so I’m not sure why you would say that. It’s even in our Kickstarter that players will craft their own spells so the people who backed the game then knew what we were doing.

I’m not trying to be argumentative, but since you are in Beta, you’ve seen us simplify some aspects (like the total number of body parts and targeting) but have not added additional complications. I’m curious as to where you think we’ve added complication since our KS/Foundational Principles?

Thanks for your support of both Dark Age of Camelot and now Camelot Unchained! I’m really interested in hearing your feedback.

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Josh Caskey

Hey Mark thanks for replying so quickly. I think it’s awesome you’re directly answering questions! I also am not arguing I’m simply stating my concern for the game from my personal experience.

I haven’t honestly seen any simplification in the game when I was playing beta last year but there really wasn’t much to the game at the time.. I haven’t had any desire to log into the server in months though so I’m guessing you are referring to recent changes. Perhaps some of the issues were fixed since then like “targeting” because it was so hard to actually hit someone with a spell with things like siege spells and was really buggy. I think last time I was logged in was a Friday Night Fight – so maybe I don’t know wtf I’m talking about but I do try to follow your videos and posts.

I’m just comparing CU to DAoC. If you think about it DAoC started off a simple game and evolved into a more “custom” game with ToA and all that but I don’t think that really helped the game because most like the simplicity of DAoC before the MLs and Arti’s etc.. There was a need for a huge need for classic (simplicity) which is why they released Gareth and now you see WoW releasing classic as well as DAoC freeshards doing so well with their population. Simplicity works and has a history to back it up.

I’m afraid so many people will log into the game for the first time and have no clue how to play (like I did in beta the 10 times i logged in). It’s like trying to teach my old WoW friends to play DAoC, it’s just too complicated for them to even try to learn the game to have fun so they end up quitting the next day. In 2019 your audience has an attention span of 0 and if they don’t get it the first time they move on to the next game. Just look at APEX, PUBG LoL, WoW top games that you understand as soon as you log in the first time.

I understand you had custom spells from launch – I saw that. That was my only hesitation to backing this game. Yes you want to be different but don’t be so different it forces people away is my only concern. Your product already is a tri-realm open world PvP only game- that alone sets you apart. Hope that all makes sense lol.

Honestly looking forward to CU and inviting my friends once I’m able to. They all rely on me for progress of CU. We hope to one day be 8v8ing and small manning in CU!

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Mark Jacobs

Now worries man, I didn’t think you were being argumentative, I was referring to myself. :)

Funny story about Dark Age. In my initial vision for the game I wanted to use a similar magic system to what I used in Dragon’s Gate. Denton didn’t want to use it so it never made it into the game. Well, I thought it was worth trying here.

I agree with you that we don’t want to make the game so difficult to play at launch that it’s off-putting to a lot of people but keep in mind that some of Dark Age was also quite off-putting to people back then as well. It’s a fine line we have to walk between trying to make something that is just a clone (which we can’t legally make) and something that is too BSC. When we think we have to make changes to make the game better, we’re not afraid to do it, even if it means taking out something I/we wanted to do. In terms of the ability system, if it is just too complicated or not fun, I’ll make the call to gut it. The good news is that the way our system is built, that’s a relatively easy change versus trying to go the other way.

You should definitely give us a try when we announce the start of the Saturday Night Siege tests. What we’re doing with the tests before then (such as the one tomorrow night) is give our Backers a taste of what is coming while stress testing our systems. I’m hope a lot of people show up even if it breaks things, I want to do that now rather than later.

And in terms of replying to comments, it’s kinda my thing. As a Dark Age player, you know that I was always active in the community prior to, during, and even after the game launched. I tend to go and post here and some other places, around our stories and am happy to answer questions and even take some well-deserved snark for being late. Your comment about making the game more complicated surprised me though, so thanks for clearing it up. Makes much more sense now!

Hopefully you’ll join us for one of these tests. Watching the castle being hit by so many siege weapons and watching the damage spread and pieces/chunks fall off is so satisfying, especially after this long of a wait.

Thanks again for your support!

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yoh_sl

I think what Josh is trying to paw at here, is complexity vs depth, and the new player experience.
Generally speaking, complexity limits ones depth. As depth can only really be tapped into it if you A:Understand it, and B: Actually engage with it. Dwalf Fortress has an amazing amount of depth, but it also has such high complexity that many will never experience it’s depth as would stop playing due to said complexity. Thus putting a great burden on the new player experience.

Ideally you want to maximize depth while reducing complexity.
Path of Exile is a good example, as it has a great deal of depth and while on the surface it looks like it has a lot of complexity (look at that skill tree), it’s actually fairly simple. While you may have thousands of nodes on the tree, you only make one small decision at a time between 1-6 nodes each level. As well as keystone and notable nodes highlighting certain clusters, giving something specific to work towards. This combined with it’s classes to help narrow the focus to 6 classical archetypes, and the result is an fairly intuitive system that still leaves the door open for a huge amount of depth.

What some may be worried about with CU is that it has a lot of complexity, without much in the way to focus it in a way that makes it intuitive, and not ruin the new player experience as a result.
I’m not sure this is the case, but I can understand why people bristle at the prospect.

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Benno P

I guess I haven’t been keeping up with the game plan closely enough. I just now learned that there will be no pve in the game. Well that’s a kick in the teeth because I have very little interest in rvr. It was ok in daoc I did a few hours just to see what people were up to, I guess I assumed things were going to be the same in the new game.
I have no interest in a game without pve so I guess I’m out. I understand you can’t make a game that suits everyone though, so good luck.

P.S to MJ. crafting isn’t pve mate. There’s no way you can stretch the definition to fit that. I think what you mean is that there is plenty of CONTENT outside of rvr which may be true, but it isn’t pve.

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Mark Jacobs

To us, crafting is part of PvE since you don’t have to go into combat to get your mats, but it’s only part of the PvE content. We’ve just said right from the get-go that we won’t have PvE leveling of combatants (RvRers) . Since we have a separate crafter class and need them to play the game, it’s important for them to know that they don’t have actually participate in RvR to do so. And a lot of crafters that I’ve spoken to over the years before the KS wanted to play, but hate RvR so we’ve told them and others, that if they want a pure PvE experience, they can do so as a crafter, including going to The Depths and dealing with the NPCs there and in other places. We needed to call it something and PvE seemed to be the best fit since they definitely do not have to go into combat against others players if they don’t want to but can kill NPCs and use their bodies and/or stuff that they have been guarding/hiding. To me that sounds like PvE.

Sorry you were/are confused about that, we’ve said the exact same thing since we launched our Kickstarter (it’s even on the KS main page) so it isn’t like we weren’t open about it. :)

As per below, it’s now past 2AM here so I’m heading to bed.

Thanks for thinking about us, sorry you won’t be joining us and thanks for your support of Dark Age of Camelot.

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DL M

As a former DAoC player I am looking forward to this one. And honestly when you came out with the simplistic BG with one keep in the center it was probably the most fun I had in that game too, and I levelled a few toons all the way up in there. It was always a great time going in there and wondering if we had the keep, didn’t know if you’d be defending or attacking good times.

One request: tone down the crit sizes from stealth. Getting dragonfanged for 8M damage or one-shot from across the map is a bit much lol.

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Mark Jacobs

No worries on being one-shot. We said during the KS that players were not going to be able to one-shot a healthy player at least in the real game. Having a giant piece of rubble crush you is part of the game and well, I’m sure we’ll make a mistake so you can get one-shot during Beta and we’ll cheer the former and fix the later. :)

I’m glad you loved Dark Age of Camelot, I hope you enjoy Camelot Unchained as much! Thanks for your support!

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Buddy Barlow

Just another week and more fluff of Mj talking about how many bots and what’s the fps on screen.

Nothing to see here..next weeks episode he’ll talk about how they had 15,000 bots and 50+ fps with their engine….that’s it. No offense but we hear about these ARC bots and all that every day… we get it, the engine is superb.

How are we 5+ years in and the buildings look like something from minecraft still?Where is the actual progression system ?Where is that at? No hint or crumb of what the gameplay loop is. There’s not a ounce of PvE in this game which knocks off what most likely would be a huge amount of dev and money time..it’s a tri-realm RvR game and there’s just not much here to look at after a absurd amount of years.

Starting to think this ability system with the way it’s soaked up so much development time. I’m seriously hoping for the best and it seems like so far in 2019 you can see somewhat a very slim barebones of a actual game which is really good but man it’s really worrying that they’re YEARS in dev time time and there’s not even a hint of a gameplay loop of any sort and from the looks of it, that’s more then a year away before we see anything like that during testing.

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Mark Jacobs

Buddy,

Umm, how is an actual keep siege with actual players and actual siege weapons fluff? Players were in that test and yeah, FPS matters because one of our Kickstarter promises was that we were going to make a game that could have 500 people in a battle and maintain 30FPS+. Now, that may not be important to you, but to the folks who backed the game, seeing us delivering on that promise is kind of a big deal. And, as you know (since this isn’t your first post in our stories here), our weekly updates aren’t fluff, they are the top 10-20 items from the current week of development.

And as to Minecraft, we said that our C.U.B.E. building system would look like an improved version of that game (our blocks are smaller, no retro look, etc.) and we’re sticking to that. And in terms of PvE, that’s also what we said from the beginning and there’s plenty of PvE, just no PvE leveling by killing creatures/NPCs. Crafting is PvE, The Depths has plenty of PvE, etc.

So it looks like you are disappointed that we’re doing exactly what we said we were going to do? Your points on the time spent/delay are well taken but criticizing us for telling our Backers (and inviting them into the tests at the same time) about sieges, FPS, stability is a bit unfair since that’s these tests are the first ones that featured a new siege weapon (magic mortars), lots of siege weapons (120), and a full destructible building of that size (9M+) blocks.

As far as a gameplay loop, in Beta 1 (as we said) it’s all about using scenarios to test aspects of the game and the siege scenario, especially as it evolves, is kind of an important part of the game. This is the only the first pass at it but over the next few months we’ll be adding a lot more to the scenario that will reflect how a siege will happen in the real game so that encompasses multiple gameplay loops depending on one’s definition of the term. If you can log into the game, get a character, create your skills, go into a scenario, fight against other players (using real classes/abilities), attack a keep with a win/lose/draw outcome and be rewarded for that with meaningful skill progression and other stuff, that seems to be a lot of gameplay loops right? And right now you can do almost all of those things. The UIs are rough or use a dev UI but you can create abilities, you can attack a keep, etc. So, while we are not there yet, we’ll a heck of a lot closer than a year away. And we have new UIs in progress (crafting and abilities).

And above all other reasons, the most important reason we care about the FPS and stability under load is what happened with WAR’s Tier Four as well as what I’ve seen with other games. We are late but I’ll trade on-time for rock solid and highly performant, and if our engine can handle 3K ARCs/players, it will certainly handle the expected player load.

It sucks being late but if we delivered a title that couldn’t handle the gameplay we said we would deliver, people would be even madder at us. I’d rather they be mad at me/us now, that after the game launched. I know how that turns out, we’ve all seen that before in too many games.

People might not love Camelot Unchained but I’ll be damned if they’ll hate it because our game was a buggy mess at launch. We test now so we don’t crash later. :)

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lock_the_backdoor

Agreed. The whole thing just seems a technical vanity project at the moment. Hint here Marc is we’re tired of hearing about how many bots and blocks you can have on screen, by the time this “game” launches you won’t have to worry about “massive” battles.

You can post all the replies you like defending your vision but maybe you should just get on with making a game and not a technical demo.

At first it was impressive to hear these technical stories, now it’s tedious, if I took 5 years to get a project to not even nealy done state having burned through millions of dollars I’d be fired long ago.

The game looks dated and its still at least 18 months till launch, beta 1 was nothing more than a marketing gimmick with no real changes to the testing schedule which is poor for European beta 1 backers.

I still hope they can pull it out the bag but I doubt it at this point.

Wake me up in late 2020/early 2021 when this thing finally launches.

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Mark Jacobs

LTD, a few quick points before I head to bed:

1) We are making a game as the constant updates about the ability, crafting, and siege systems show, hardly the tech demo stuff like you imply.

2) As to the game’s look, fortunately we’ve been telling our Backers from the day of the Kickstarter that this game was not trying to be an Unreal/CryEngine game, as you simply cannot have massive battles with unique armor/weapons and high FPS while also having high poly models, structures, terrain, etc. It’s not a question of talent, just math. GPUs can only handle a certain number of polys so the polys had to cut from somewhere. And if you look at some of the recent screenshots of our Models 2.0, you might want to retract the statement about *that* part of the game looking dated, even with our lower rendering poly budget. :)

3) As to being fired long ago, good to know. By that same argument the guys at Blizzard who made WoW, James Cameron with Avatar, etc., should have been fired for the time they took getting to their release date. It doesn’t matter if this takes another year or even two, what matters is what the game is when it comes out. I’m not comparing CU to either of those projects in terms of success, but simply addressing the statement about the time things take. Like Cameron, we had to build the engine to handle this kind of game. If you can name one MMORPG that has been released in the West that can handle 1K players in a battle in a small space like we can in real-time and in a performant (30FPS without all the graphic settings turned down on a not state-of-the-art machine) way, I’ll concede this point but you can’t, because it doesn’t exist. It took us longer to get here that I would have liked but it is what it is.

Oh, and as to the testing schedule, it’s fairer to the Europeans than it is North Americans since our European players can join us for any/all late morning/afternoon tests during the week and our weekend tests are usually between noon and 3PM, also evenings for Europeans. NA folks can’t generally join us for any of our regular workweek tests. BTW, I’m going to stay late in the office a few nights over the next month so I can run tests for the NA folks who can’t make the normal and constant weekday tests. And since Beta 1 isn’t done yet and since we have spent $0 on marketing the game since we announced Beta 1, I’m not sure how you can call it a gimmick. If this was Beta 3, you’d be right but we even tell people before they can pledge that this is an old school Beta 1 where the game isn’t up most of the time and we only have short weekend tests. Not much of a gimmick if we’re actually trying to discourage people who think Beta 1 = almost finished/online a lot game before they pledge. If you don’t believe me, go through the pledge system and read the messages that you’ll get before you can go through with a purchase.

We’re late, we know it but we still haven’t turned off refunds, aren’t selling anything other than the pledge tiers, have no special sales, etc. so if it’s a marketing gimmick I’d probably really be fired if I were a CMO of a company and suggested that idea to my boss.

Speaking of late, it’s almost 2AM and time for me to hit the sack. Thanks for the feedback, I hope we’ll wake up before 2021! :)

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yoh_sl

Personally I wouldn’t really put too much stock in the moaning and whining of people who don’t seem to understand how game development works on any level. Good things just take time, and there are always unforeseen circumstances that you just have to deal with.

Crying how the game looks at this early point in development is kind of a silly thing to whine about. No duh the game doesn’t look very good, it’s not meant to yet. It’s still well in it’s UI and engine building phase. It’s like walking into a kitchen while their still cooking your meal, and asking why it doesn’t look like what it does on the menu.

I think a fairer thing to perhaps be worried about might be the art direction as so far as concept art is concerned. Personally I think the game has a very rich and expansive source material to work from, with many fantastical races and environments. It has a great deal of potential.
And yet thus far I find some of the art direction to be a little lacking. (as an artist myself) A lot of the armors for example come across as standard fantasy armor. Armor that wouldn’t look out of place in any fantasy game you care to look at. And that’s the problem. That (at least so far) that potential isn’t really being tapped into to it’s fullest.

There is very little here, at least so far, that one could only find from Viking fantasy, or Arthurian fantasy, or celtic fey fantasy specifically. It all kind of feels like it’s being built in a vacuum without really taking in it’s own inspirational foundations into much consideration. I just feel nothing when I look armor concept art. Perhaps I am just too jaded.

Perhaps I’m totally off base with my criticism, but at least it’s a reasonable criticism based on the state of the game. Rather then having completely unrealistic expectations.

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Mark Jacobs

Actually YS, your criticism is quite fair and on point. Part of the problem with us saying that we are not going to have, in general, race/class locked armor and weapons is that we lose the ability to have really cool looking race/class locked armor and weapons. While we are trying to make some, as well as unique armor like the that of the Fall Court of the TDD, we aren’t going down the same path as most MMORPGs.

In terms of our overall art direction, as our lighting system is being pushed/pulled/prodded a bit in the coming weeks, that will involve our overall art direction as well. As you know, how the game is lit affects the look of the armor/weapons/terrain. We are currently tweaking things so I do expect that the look of the game will change a bit. Once that happens, we will make changes to catch everything up. Also, we have been working on Characters 2.0 and now that has moved forward nicely, we can make more changes to existing armor as well as do more interesting new armor.

We want, and hope to do more to make the game feel more iconic for each Realm. I think we’ve done some good work with the TDD and some controversial work with the Vikings (some don’t like the bone-fashioned armor) but we need to do more and I expect we will.

Thanks for the feedback YS. Again, I feel it 100% fair and definitely on point.

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yoh_sl

Ah that’s a fair point on the lighting, that’s going to define a lot of how the game looks. The way I see it, is that each realm needs it’s own color and shape language to set them apart from each other. So that at a glance, you can tell who belongs to who from the silhouette alone.
Esp since as you said you’ve got a low poly count. Meaning if you want the game to stand out from the crowd it has to be on the back of ascetic rather then fidelity.
WoW is a good example here, since while being old it does have a low poly count, yet has a clear and expressive style all it’s own.

So I think it’s fair to say that CU isn’t quite there yet, but we’re still early days. Perhaps diving into armor at this stage might be putting the cart before the horse, when it doesn’t appear that each realm has had it’s own visual design figured out yet.
Looking at materials like bone for the vikings is a good starting point, but as you said they’ll need more then that. Perhaps consider a number of unique materials each realm can acquire, even if you have to invent new materials and how they process them.

For example what if the TDD had giant insects in their lands on which their shells are processed. Or Vikings having magical ice that never melts. Maybe the Arthurian have access to a mythical ore like mithril. In either case I feel that the realms to have a more focused art design that’s both clear and distinct from each other, but also from other games in the genre.

Because so far it’s heading towards just being a generic fantasy game in a sea of generic fantasy games, with no clear style in mind. Which would be a shame given how rich it’s source material is.

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Mark Jacobs

Just so you know, we are definitely planning to have some of the things you describe. :)

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yoh_sl

Looking forward to it.

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Dean Greenhoe

Looking good. My question is: What advantage does defending the keep offer? With the possibility of falling damage as well as collapsing debris, none of witch affects attackers, why defend a keep versus just attacking them?

While I can guess a few possible reasons, It seams like a death trap to me at the moment.

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Mark Jacobs

One of the ways we want to deal with that issue and of course, the ever-popular “keep trading” problem is by rewarding the players for defending a keep and then, discouraging them from losing a keep. Now, of course this also is tied to the typical PvP/RvR server issue of population imbalance, so it isn’t a simple problem to solve, but as we’ve said from the KS onward, we are going to try.

Is it a death trap? I don’t think so and as more about our siege system is actually put into the game, I’ll go into detail about it. As I’ve been saying for quite a while, I’m not talking about systems too early again. I’ll wait till they are further along from now on. I’ve learned that lesson. :)

Defending a keep should be fun. Frankly, it should be more fun if things are done right because you have the protection of a keep around you versus being out in the open. If we can nail that gameplay, we will have a successful game.

But yeah, a tough problem to solve.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

Trebuchets, oh aye! THOSE are easy!

What about Mangonels? or Onagers?

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Mark Jacobs

Oh CR, we are just getting started with the whole siege engine thing. And you’re 100% spot on, we wanted to start with easier things first, hence scorpions, trebuchets, and magic mortars. Lots more to come!

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

Oh well….uhm ok.

I was just kidding but cool.

Thanks for the response.

:)

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Mark Jacobs

I wasn’t. When I was doing my research on siege weapons, because of my *slight* interest in Roman history, onagers came to mind. And since CU is set in a post-apocalyptic world, I also looked at siege weapons from other parts of the world, like mangonels.

I like research. :)

And you’re welcome!

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Mark Jacobs

Chris,

Assault of Masochist Keep? Not bad, I’ll see you and raise you a:

Assault on Maraschino Keep. :)

Thanks for the coverage!

Mark

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maydrock .

Whelp, between work, FO76, and WoW Classic I would say my gaming calendar is pretty set for the next 2 years’ish. Around that time, I would really love to hear the buzz word “persistence” being floated around.

I supported, love MJ, think he’s a great guy doing great things, but I need something out of my game time that’s not going away at some planned point. I’m a consumer, not a tester, just the way it is. And to be honest, persistence is all I want to hear about, everything else just makes time drag by because I’m constantly reminded of it. It’s like my car; I just want to put the key in and go.

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Mark Jacobs

And, since you know me, you know my response. Nothing wrong at all with the way you want to do things, I know a lot of people feel that same way. That’s one reason we’re not pushing the whole donation thing at this point.

I do thank you for your interest and maybe I’ll see you in WoW Classic. I’m sure I’ll be spending time there once it launches. :)