Camelot Unchained adds new members to its staff and completes a variety of dev tasks in its Top Tenish

    
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Camelot Unchained adds new members to its staff and completes a variety of dev tasks in its Top Tenish

It takes a village to create an RvR sandbox title and its maligned spin-off. I may be taking a bit of artistic license with the axiom, but it reflects Camelot Unchained’s latest news, as the team at City State Entertainment has grown by precisely four. Specifically, one of the new hires will work on the Final Stand: Ragnarok game, while the other three will join the CU team proper, including Christopher Junior, a former game director and senior systems designer for RIFT and former PvP-focused senior game designer on EverQuest II.

As for the latest developments this week, the Top Tenish has a fairly sizable list of completed tasks, including various animations, rendering performance developments, art, and the killing of a “deep bug” that was causing client stalls. There is, of course, still plenty of other things on the roadmap still to do, including making long-running status effects persist after logoff, plot and zone import functionality for C.U.B.E., and some bug fixes among other things.

This week also sees yet another video with Mark Jacobs, though this one is sliced up in to three 30 minute-long chunks. The whole shebang is embedded below the cut.

source: official site, YouTube (1, 2, 3)

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Максим Степанов

Excuses, excuses, delays, excuses delays.

It is looking exactly like CSE is on the crash course into bancrupcy. And talks about some “refund computer” being shut down in the office without internet is just bullshit.

You had one great idea, to make DAOC2, you failed, just admit it and pay people money back, dont make them beg for a refund.

SCAMelot Unchained….

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dinarian_

We aren’t even allowed to talk about refunds not being honored in CSE’s Discord.

View post on imgur.com

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Felix Fekken

BEWARE OF THIS FRAUD MJ !!!

Constantly feeble excuses why he can’t keep his promise, I can no longer hear that this man can still hear himself and has fanboys is a mystery to me …
Since 27.02.2020 I’ve been waiting for my 90 days of refund, because in January he had already cheated the supporters with a new game instead of ending the old one first … I STILL WAITING LONGER THEN 90 DAY !!! As of today it is exactly 119 days !!!

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Michael Glover

I never got my refund. I think it’s been about 100 days now.

Oh well. I’m sure MJ needs the cash more than I do at this point.

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dinarian_

For the next new hire can we get a refund processing officer? Even though Mark assured everyone (including a writer for massively) after the massive backlash over their new betrayal game that he was keeping his word and issuing refunds via his convoluted 90 day process, here I am at day 103 to say that is not true. The refunds are not flowing. I have not gotten my refund, my husband hasn’t gotten his and the subreddit and forums are filling up with people who haven’t gotten theirs yet either. So for the next new hire can we please get someone who will fulfill the promised refunds?

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Childsbane

After obsessing over CU’s development in the early days, I’ve since taken a healthy step back. I now read the occasional newsletter and check back in every 6 months or so. Much of the angst/anger is because a game like CU is desperately needed in the MMO space and, because we hoped to be playing this game years ago we’re grabbing our pitchforks to (unsuccessfully) force along the development.

I don’t know anything about development, but I do know what happens when a game is pushed out of the oven too soon. WAR remains my favorite MMO of all time and I often wonder what might have been had it been given enough time to fully bake.

I still remain very enthusiastic for CU’s release. While I take months off from following, I very much appreciate MJ’s accessibility on the forums and in the updates. I’m an OG gamer and I have never, ever seen the head of a studio be so accessible. At one point during the latest stream I saw there were only a couple dozen folks watching on YouTube, but MJ happily answered our questions. I see MJ frequently responding to folks on the official forums, regardless of their temperament. That speaks volumes, in my opinion.

To wrap up this roller coaster rant, I very much want to get in and start playing CU, but I’m willing to wait for a complete game and I respect the hell out of MJ and the CSE team. Will not be refunding.

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Mark Jacobs

Thanks CB, I appreciate it, especially these days. I’m not perfect but I try to be as accessible as I can be while still doing my main functions at the studio. And as always, I do it in person and don’t throw a CM out to the wolves to deliver bad news while only coming out to take a bow. These times have made it a lot harder but we’re still getting it done as the updates and testing have shown.

Again, the support is much appreciated.

Night all!

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Rndomuser

This is not “trolling” of any kind, just an honest opinion of an honest person who was once foolish enough to believe in an unrealistic dream. Watching all those videos convinced me further that I made a right decision to request a refund. Hopefully I will get my money soon, like CSE has promised, so I could put those money to good use, such as donating to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital (I have given them money before) and forget about CSE forever. The attached screenshot is mine.

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Relmharver
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Relmharver

MJ, is it true that some refunds have gone beyond the promised 90 day mark?

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Rndomuser

It is true, if you are a backer you can read examples on official forums. I cannot post screenshots due to NDA but you can find them there, and it was happening before closures of their office. You can find more examples on Reddit, of course you cannot know whether the people on Reddit are telling the truth or lying.
I did not reach 90 days yet but reading all the posts on official forums I hope I will not have to go through same issue.

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Mark Jacobs

Yep. I’ve said that in the last couple of streams and on the Forums and support also tells folks that. It’s not a secret. I’m the only one who has access to certain data and I haven’t been in the office since mid-March. Not even our accountant has direct access to the account and even when I send out the monthly reports to the investors/accountants, nobody gets the PayPal data with the Backers’ email or other information. Sounds a bit paranoid but yeah, we did that and other things to protect our folks’ data.

As you may/may not remember, during the GDPR days we made some changes to go overboard on compliance, including putting some of the data on offline (it’s not even connected to Internet in any way) PC. So, unless I go in, I can’t get it. One of those things is email addresses as well. The data is encrypted and none of the games has access to that data as we use an Account ID (which is not created by the user) instead of email for even more GDPR compliance. Again, we talked about all of this when we went into GDPR.

So yeah, until I’m willing to go into the office to process refunds or take the data out of the office to my house, I can’t process refunds. And I have no intention of taking user data home from the office. Fortunately, I stayed in the office longer in March than I should have (I sent the team home weeks before) so I could process refunds until the last possible day.

And since my wife is the high risk category because of her breast cancer, as well as one other issue, we’re not taking any chances and I’m not low-risk myself but I’m more worried about her. Hopefully I’ll be able to go back into the office next month. Virgina, especially where we live/office is was a hotspot but is settling down so I’m hoping that the delay will only be a month.

Now, should we have had a backup plan? Sure, hindsight is 20/20 but it’s not like we’re the only ones who weren’t totally prepared to be locked down for 90 days and counting.

Relmharver
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Relmharver

Welp, that’s a tough situation. Best wishes.

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Mark Jacobs

It sucks RH. I hated to have to do that which is why I stayed in the office longer and went in that one time after Virginia non-essential business were asked to go WFH. But when the deaths started going up in our area, I said I wouldn’t take any more chances. Fortunately, I was paranoid enough that she and I were being smart right from the beginning. We were getting “look at the crazy people” looks when we started wearing scarves and then masks before most people in our area were doing so because I was worried about the data I was seeing. We’ve been really lucky so far and I want to keep it that way.

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dinarian_

You have had 3 months of lockdown to think up a back up plan or a secondary plan, but so far the plan seems to be to just not issue the promised refunds and hope the problems (and by problems I mean people who are justified in wanting their money back) will go away.

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Mark Jacobs

Dinarian, if I wanted to do that all I need to do is turn off refunds or just stop working on CU (which means no refunds according to the original KS as well as the Terms and Conditions). The fact that we didn’t do either should be all the indication you need to know that our intentions are good.

Yeah, I didn’t think we would still be in lockdown in June, guilty as charged. But I certainly wasn’t/aren’t the only one. As I said above, I stayed in the office longer than I should have so I could get a little ahead on refunds.

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dinarian_

The reason you don’t do that isn’t because you are generous, it is because it would be a PR nightmare that the company would never recover from. So stop acting like you are doing everyone a favor by not shutting down CU and shafting us even more. If you turned off refunds for the CU vaporware in its current state and after the January betrayal you would be laughed right out of the industry.

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Mark Jacobs

Dinarian,

1) I never said I was being generous. I said our intentions were good, two totally different things. You made a statement that our plan was that people would go away after a while. I stated that we could simply turn off refunds through multiple methods if that was what I wanted to do.

2) You then make statements which are equally untrue. Most KS-backed games turn(ed) off refunds and they are doing just fine.

But, as usual with you, just like on the Forums, you twist my words and waste my time. So, just like the Forums, I’ll simply ignore everything you have to say.

Mark

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dinarian_

You keep telling yourself that after betraying backers with a secret hidden second game and delaying CU this long that you and your company would do just fine if you stopped honoring refunds. You and me and every gamer knows that if you screwed the backers even more than you already have that your reputation in the industry would be in the toilet and gamers would revolt. But tell yourself whatever you need to sleep at night.

Edit to add
I haven’t been on the forums in MONTHS.

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Bruno Brito

“It’ll launch when it’s ready” only takes you so far.

And that far has past. What you’re burning now, is goodwill. I hope you guys succeed.

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Mark Jacobs

You’re spot on BB, I couldn’t agree with you more if I tried, unfortunately.

Relmharver
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Relmharver

Less talk, more progress, please. The next things I want to hear from Mark Jacobs are: 1) The NDA is being lifted. 2) The game is in a fully playable state and the test servers will now be up 24/7. 3) The game is coming out on this date.

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Mark Jacobs

Fair enough, but the Friday updates will continue to be a thing. If I don’t update Backers then they (and others) think that something is wrong so I’ll continue to do them. And in this case, the additional people (especially Chris) was worth an mid-month update to the CU Backers.

As to the NDA, we’ll lift it when the 24×3 servers are up and running well. We’re hoping to launch them at the end of the current 90-day plan.

Relmharver
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Relmharver

Is it possible that the constant, lengthy updates are doing more harm than good? That watching progress at the microscopic level just makes things seem to be dragging on for even longer? Mark, how many people actually sit through an hour and a half of video? Do you guys have data on that?

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Mark Jacobs

RH, you could absolutely be right. That’s why we went down from 1 per week to 1 major one per month and that bi-weekly updates for things that we think are important enough to talk about.

As to data, nope, nope, it’s not something I think is important in this case. If I could wave a magic wand, say some magic words and CU would be ready and great, I’d do so. What I can absolutely control though is the way we communicate. Yeah, it isn’t fancy but I want to make sure that each month our Backers have a good read on where we are and that I take some of my time to interact 1:1 with them. I try to answer all the questions asked during the Q&A, even some of the uncomfortable ones because that is what I can control. Our long-suffering Backers deserve a great game and at this point, as BB says above, we are burning goodwill. So, my taking the time to talk and interact is the least I can do. I’m not doing it to hype the game, sell more pledges, etc., just communicate with our Backers. And I do some on weekends as well because that way folks who couldn’t join us on Fridays because of time zone issues can talk to me as well.

I know that you and some other folks think I’m wasting your time with these things but I do send out emails with the info too. But, for our Backers who want to talk to me directly and/or ask questions , and not some marketing/PR/CM/etc. person, I make myself available.

Relmharver
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Relmharver

Well, better too much than too little, I guess. It’s just that, after so many years, the words start to ring hollow, at least to me. But if other backers have their confidence bolstered by these videos, I suppose it’s a good thing.

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Rndomuser

If I don’t update Backers then they (and others) think that something is wrong so I’ll continue to do them.

I am a backer, Mark. And what you are saying does not really make sense. I am not trying to “troll” or anything, I am just providing honest opinion. As a backer, I wanted to see the actual gameplay in videos, especially since I cannot play the beta due to health reasons. I also want to see artists at CSE showing their work, things like creating new 3D models or textures or improvements to grass you mentioned in e-mail. You do not show this, so for a backer like me, your videos are useless and give a strong impression that something is wrong since you cannot show anything. And that is not only my opinion, if you go to different communities you will see same impression from other people.

Also, if you cared about backers, Mark, you would at least care to answer their questions. I posted one of them in official forums about various communities you advertise on your main site. I did not get reply from you even though I addressed it directly to you. I know you did not miss this question because there is not a lot of new posts being made in official forums. You also did not answer backer’s questions about refunds in forum section dedicated to those (I also posted a question there and only replies I got were from random forum users), or about testing schedule and others in various threads in different sections of the forums, such as section for General Discussion.

Once again, I am not trolling or doing this for personal amusement, I am just extremely disappointed to see a game and its developer, who once wrote me a reply on Kickstarter promising that “we will not disappoint you” back in 2013, turn into such a hugely disorganized and mismanaged mess with a lot of dishonesty and untruthful statements coming from same person who wrote me that.

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Mark Jacobs

First, just because we partner(ed) with people doesn’t mean that we post there anymore. When was the last post you saw from me wherever it was that you posted if you didn’t post on our Forums. Your post here was a little unclear.

Second, and yeah, you are trolling, whether you want people to think so or not. Do you think it’s reasonable that you post a message and when you don’t get a personal response from the president of the company that you’re disappointed and then come here to express it?

The only “official forums” are our Forums. And I haven’t been on our Forums in weeks (though I spent some time there today) and since part of our ToS, since day 1, is that you can’t @CSE with questions simply because we’d be spending a lot of time answering questions, why would you expect an answer. If you’ve been a Backer since 2013 and have been on the Forums, you know the @CSE rule is true and again, has been since day 1.

Oh, and we have never done a lot of videos with the artists unless they want to be in them. We don’t force them to be on camera,ever. Hopefully your health issues will allow you to get back in the game when testing resumes before your refund is published.

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Rndomuser

Do you think it’s reasonable that you post a message and when you don’t get a personal response from the president of the company that you’re disappointed and then come here to express it?

I come here to express it for one simple FACT. The FACT that you do not communicate elsewhere when certain questions are asked. If you would have communicated properly on https://forums.camelotunchained.com/ I would not have posted anything here. This is just a fact, nothing more. You may call it “trolling” or anything you want to. And it’s not only about me, Mark, or replies being “personal”. A lot of other questions and messages by other people don’t get a reply. Even though it takes less to reply through forums than making one-hour-long Twitch streams.

why would you expect an answer.

You’re right, nobody should expect an answer for anything from a company they have financially or emotionally invested in or are planning to invest in. Especially a company where people who run it pretend to be too busy to “spend a lot of time” on official company forums yet not too busy to make one-hour-long Twitch streams. Streams where you, Mark, do answer people’s questions, but since some people cannot be present during Twitch stream – it makes it impossible to ask any question for many people. This is a somewhat sarcastic answer but a major part of the reason I want a refund – you again being dishonest in the way that you pretend you are too busy to visit official forums to make simple text answers (even a simple reply like “yes, I am still processing your refunds, just wait a little more” in a question about refund delay or “yes, we are aware of the issues with website and we will fix them as soon as we will be able to” in a post about issues with website or some other simple answer which assures a person that their question or concern was read) yet you are not busy enough to make long Twitch streams.

We don’t force them to be on camera,ever.

I am not asking for any artist to be forced to talk on camera about stuff they do. Nobody should be forced to do it. I am talking about actually showing stuff on camera by people who do not mind doing this. Like you, who can easily show and explain in simple words all the art stuff your artists do, all 3D modeling, all texture creations, even things like how the current animation system works, or how the grass improvements which are mentioned in e-mail look like in actual game. Even showing a couple of minutes of such things would be immensely better than just talking about them. You could also hire another person to do this if you do not want to do this yourself, someone whose job would be to collect the screen recording of development process by various artists and programmers (those artists do not need to say anything on camera), explain what is happening on those recordings and use them to make a video or for live stream. This would be infinitely times better than just talking on camera for over an hour. Showing things is a proof that you actually do these things, talking about them is not a proof that you actually do things you talk about and may give an impression to some people that there is no progress being done, especially people who cannot play the alpha or beta of the game themselves. And once again, this is not only my opinion, you can see same opinions by other people who watch your videos.

P.S: Like I said in my original reply, at this point I just want my money back. I don’t want to have anything to do with a company which calls the loyal backers (who had genuine interest and hopes for this game at the moment of backing – you can read all my Kickstarter messages to you if you still have access to CSE account on Kickstarter) “trolls” just for expressing their honest opinion in a polite way instead of answering those backers in an honest way, a company which can’t provide backers and potential customers with proper progress report using in-game assets in videos (because the company is too lazy to do it) and a company which is too incompetent to fix basic website issues such as wrong links on the front page (which were pointed out on official forums by different persons long time ago but which are, at the moment of this post, still not fixed), issues which can be fixed remotely without compromising the private information of backers. No, the “broken link” issue is not a major issue but it is yet another symptom of how the company treats themselves and the people who are financially or emotionally invested into it.
Just return my money, Mark (I don’t NEED these money, I just don’t think you deserve it and I will instantly give those money to people who I do believe need them) and I swear on anything I hold dear that I will never bother you again or express any opinion about you or your company in any online place.

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Mark Jacobs

FYI, I don’t pretend I’m too busy to answer questions, it’s in the ToS, it’s as simple as that. I drop by the Forums when I can but again, it’s in the ToS and always has been. I never promised I would answer every question asked or posted. If I/we tried to do that, we would be flooded with questions continually. Refunds are an important question for you, but other people also have questions that they think are important. So, if I start spending a lot of time there, it just snowballs and people get hurt if I don’t answer their questions. So, I/we laid out this policy and we’ve stuck to it.

And you’re not being honest about all the times I have spent talking to people. And, when it comes to refunds, support was supposed to tell people that refunds are temporarily on hold due to WFH. That’s support’s job.

And you call the team lazy, incompetent, etc. because we didn’t do the kind of video that you want. Did we ever promise to do that? No, we didn’t. And in terms of the broken links, which ones? The one that I know of was corrected. I don’t know of any others. I’m not saying that there aren’t any but I don’t know of them. And sure, now criticize me for not knowing that all the links on our website aren’t working.

You’re looking to troll, embarrass me/us, etc. and disregarding everything that we’ve done (including not turning off refunds even after 7 years) that is positive especially the progress on the game in the last few months.

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dinarian_

The current 90 day plan? Do you mean the one that began the beginning of February? 131 days ago?

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

FYI I believe he means the second 90-day plan that began in May.

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Doulos

Keep up the good work! <3

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Mark Jacobs

Thanks! Getting 4 new people, especially 3 experienced ones, is a big deal for a studio our size. And getting a very experienced MMORPG systems designer who loves PvP is a big deal.

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P Jones

Maybe it’s just the armchair developer in me, but it would seem that if you are adding MMORPG systems designers it means you are still pretty far out from a release state. Anyhow, I’m still in it for the long-haul since Kickstarter, but honestly all the updates seem to be on a treadmill where we move forward but the goal line always stays in the distance. I also get that you personally have millions invested in this vs my 50-75 or whatever so I am sure you are pushing to get it out ASAP. I’m just waiting for an actual date so I can start to get hyped again.

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Mark Jacobs

Yep, I’d love for this to come out sooner, rather than later, as would the investors but if you release way too soon, it can be hard to come back from. And while I didn’t control the release date for WAR, I can make sure that CU doesn’t launch until it can succeed. Look at what’s happened to Crucible in terms of their reviews/CCU. I suspect that they were in a tough spot at AGS and had to launch but I have no inside info on that.

As to hiring Chris, nah, I’m hoping that bringing on two designers will speed up CU since now each game has its own designers.

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P Jones

Oh, I didn’t say it wouldn’t speed it up. I hypothesized that it was still far out. And I’m gonna stick with that unless you care to drop a tidbit about any dates? Or years.

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Mark Jacobs

For the 24×3, we are hoping for July.

One thing to keep in mind is that we are pulling in some (hopefully all) of the Extender Classes. We haven’t made a big deal about it but the fact that we are doing so shows that we really, really want this game to come out as robust as it can be. Now, we could only do that because we’ve been so late but we’re trying to make the rest of the development cycle a little different than they expected.