Interview: Camelot Unchained lays out its innovative alchemy system

    
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One of the major slices of content being worked on in this current 90-day quadrant of Camelot Unchained development is its crafting system, specifically and initially the design of alchemy. During City State’s afternoon stream, the studio explained that the alchemy craft will essentially allow players to mix “an almost unlimited number of combinations” using ingredients with an ever-increasing number of effects. It’s a consumables craft that requires experimentation and tinkering and allows players to come up with their own favorite recipes.

Ahead of today’s stream, we got a sneak peek of the alchemy system, including a tour through the spreadsheet tool simulating the combination system, and we spoke to City State’s Mark Jacobs about the craft’s influences, innovations, and impacts. Read on for the details!

MassivelyOP: I can definitely see the Elder Scrolls influences here, but my first thought was, “Oh, Asheron’s Call!” For those not familiar, AC1 had a huge array of ingredients for spells, and players were meant to combine them and try to figure out the formulas on their own. Of course, that created a scenario where people figured out the good formulas almost immediately and then shared them online, which meant there wasn’t much point to having it. How exactly is CU avoiding that trap?

CSE’s Mark Jacobs: I’m not as familiar with AC1 as other MMORPGs, but AC1 was a recipe-based system, correct? In our system you can have recipes for items, but it is not the core of the system. There will definitely be some bad combinations as well as combinations that are both bad and good at the same time as that overall, they are worth using despite the negative effects that come along with the positive. I don’t see that as a trap at all, just part of the game. And please keep in mind that this system allows people to make potions that might have a really great Effect(s) but also have some side effects that are, for them, worth taking the potion for. Sort of like taking the bad with the good. As you mention below, SWG had that same type of system and it worked great in that game. Hopefully it will work as well in this game.

Do you think the variety and number or expense will be enough to deter sharing, or are people still going to zero in on the ideal combos?

As this system is 100% deterministic (at least for now), there isn’t one ideal combination per Effect, or at least I hope not.

For example, let’s say that you wanted to make a basic health potion. Because of the way these types of systems work, you could have a lot of different combinations of ingredients to create the potion. The key, though, is that no matter what combination you use, you only get a health potion, not an improved health potion unless you match a different Effect. So, if you used the finest ingredients in the world but they only matched the Health Potion 1 Effect, you would still get a Health Potion 1 whether you used the cheapest ingredients or the best ingredients. And what is ideal will depend on what the player wants at the time. You might want to create a consumable with Health Potion 1 and Speed Buff 1 vs. Health Potion 1 and HoT Potion 1. Or, if you don’t have access to some of the ingredients you typically use, you can substitute other ingredients. That’s why this type of system is more flexible than a standard recipe system.

Now, you can make a recipe system that works like this by allowing types of items, rather than exact items themselves, into recipes, and that makes it a lot more flexible. I’m doing that with the Cooking System, as a matter of fact.

(Note that this is just a concept pic for the general crafting UI, not the final look of the alchemy UI itself.)
Put another way, what does the in-game financial burden of this system look like – are you expecting only wealthy players/guilds will be doing true experimentation while everyone else just borrows formulas because of the expense of test-tubing one’s way through the system? Or do you expect the cost of experimentation to be relatively superfluous for the average player?

That’s a huge concern for me with any of our systems/mechanics, whether crafting or combat. However, as of now, I’m not focused on using gold sinks for this type of system, but we will use time sinks with your Vox. This mechanic has been part of all my discussions about crafting ever since the Kickstarter began. It’s one of the main reasons I went with a Vox (crafting station) versus separate places/stands because I wanted our crafters to be able to do more, if they choose, than stand in front of a Vox watching the paint chip off. Most experimentation will not destroy an item. And as you level up your Vox’s skill and your skills, discovering what an ingredient is made of will get easier and easier.

How will the actual combining screen appear for players? You mentioned that we won’t be playing a Match 3 game, but what will the matching “minigame” actually look like for the player, UI-wise in the game?

Still TBD of course, but it isn’t going to be about playing Match 3 or Match 10 for example.

One of the things that leaped out at me is that this is an elaborate alchemy system for an MMO, but you’re deliberately limiting the effectiveness of the crafted potions in PvP, which let’s be honest is what CU is mostly about. How exactly does prepping a bunch of long-duration potions before heading to the RvR areas really change things – won’t everyone still need to potion-load? Aren’t we just changing when the potion chugging is happening?

Couple things to keep in mind. First, I’m only limiting the effectiveness of the potions that can be used to aid a player during PvP. And all other potions, dyes, etc. will not be limited in that way and will be quite effective and useful. So, only one part of this system is limited and even then, only to help ensure that there is a more level playing field for battles, without imposing the potion-loading you mention. The elaborate nature of the overall system will be fun for Crafters but the mechanics for all parts of this system will be the same, which will make it very easy for Crafters to segue from one part of Alchemy to another.

Secondly, yes, we are changing when chugging happens, but that’s the key. By limiting its usefulness minute-to-minute in PvP, we keep the fight focused on the players’ ability to fight in RvR, not who has the most pots. Also, the thing with long-duration potions is that players will have time to stock up on them – which isn’t the case if you have short-duration and highly useful potions, of course, unless you have unlimited access to them and unlimited bank vaults of holding! If a player can get a HoT potion that works for days or a week, that means that the player only has to have a few potions to be covered for days of RvR in their vaults. And since that is the case, putting some potions into their vaults ahead of when they will need them is something smart players will do so that as their supplies run low, they will still have a lot of time to get replacements. Also, since insta-heals via pots is not a thing in RvR, there will be no need to go out into the wilderness with enough potions and lotions to stock a local CVS. 😊 And as I also talked about during the KS, players can’t have an unlimited number of buffs on them at any one time. That’s also a big deal in an RvR game like CU. As the buffs lean to HoTs, rather than major stat boosts or insta-heals, players won’t worry quite as much about going out into RvR if they weren’t able to pre-game. And as some of those same HoTs or buffs can be added by a healing-class, there will be multiple ways to get the same kind of buffs without even having potions.

As designed, this system is intended to favor core crafters but still be accessible to a degree for “popcorn” crafters. I’m curious whether you think it will actually be worth the trouble to the majority of players to try to be hybrid on this front, especially if the system isn’t going to heavily factor into PvP. Why not just buy stuff from the local specialized alchemist? Is there any reason other than convenience?

Exactly, but there are people like me out there who don’t mind doing a bit of crafting but who don’t want to be full-time crafters. This also is a good fallback for players who can’t get, for whatever reason, some of the more basic potions. It’s really not much extra work for us to do this, as you can see from the spreadsheet. A couple of values, some animations and we’re good to go. So, from our end, it’s an easy add. And if we want to save that time, we can let players use the communal Voxen that we’ve talked about in the past. Thus, even if it’s just a small number of people per Realm who want to do this and its cost to development is minor, it seemed to me to be a nice addition.

Can we talk about interaction penalties and side effects a bit? You mention that some combos will generate unwanted disadvantages – but do you anticipate some players using that on purpose? For example, Star Wars Galaxies’ spice came with huge bonuses and highly annoying “downers,” but they were still worth using, often even above other buffs that had no disads. Will players be willingly trading off one boost for another, or are they meant to avoid all penalties when they can?

Spot on, again. That’s exactly what I’m going for, so I think that the answer is yes.

And just how often are budding alchemists going to be blowing themselves up? :D

Hehehe, never enough to suit me! In truth, not very often. But I keep thinking back to the scene in Captain America, where Howard Stark is working with the Hydra weapon that was powered by the power of an Infinity Stone, and blows himself and his lab assistant across the room. 😊

(Note that this is just a concept pic for the general crafting UI, not the final look of the alchemy UI itself.)
What happens to experiments that go awry but not catastrophically? Can players junk them or salvage them in any way to get back ingredients?

Right now the plan is to make failed experiments useful and not a gold sink. So yes, a way to salvage will be available. In general, I’m not a fan of systems where you can lose everything again, and again, and again as a gold sink or way to gate success. I’d rather use a time sink and/or Vox sink to accomplish the same thing.

Will any other crafts in the game see similar mechanics, or is alchemy the only one that will work with this combo-discovery system?

Right now only Alchemy is using this system.

Can you give us a glimpse into how other crafts might differ? (It seems like this system would work a lot better for cooking than for, say, smithing.)

Sure! Cooking might use a hybrid recipe system that allows types of ingredients as well as specific ingredients for the recipes. Other systems have done this of course. Based on the small amount of time I played with my version of that type of system, I think it will work quite well.

The calculator/spreadsheet I got to preview ahead of this reveal – which I imagine similar to what the devs are actually using to tweak this system – is definitely complicated, on par with the kinds of spreadsheets I build for my SWG and City of Heroes toons. (This is not a spreadsheet players will need to see, but I suspect they will build one on their own. Players always do!) And I don’t feel like the spreadsheet itself is difficult to follow, but once you get hundreds of mats in the system, nobody’s going to remember which mats go with what. Even with just a handful of ingredients and containers and effects in this demo sheet, I can see this system spiraling out of player accessibility really quickly. So I guess I want to understand how the bulk of players are going to see this system – are they going to see the depth and freak out at the idea of spending time in a spreadsheet (or more likely the inevitable website calculator) just to figure it out? Is the in-game UI going to be structured to make all this much easier? Do the devs see people just mucking around with it, or do you think we’ll be playing “spreadsheets in Camelot”?

First, the calculator is what I used to design the system and which will be continually tweaked by design. Spreadsheets just make things so much easier for doing this type of stuff. On the other hand, for players, I don’t want them to have to spend as much time for Alchemy as they will for the crafting of other items such as weapons and armor. And even if you added hundreds of ingredients, somebody can and will write a spreadsheet/code where you put in your desired Effect and the spreadsheet would list all the combinations you could use. And even without that, players will post possible paths to follow just as they do with other games. Now, since many of the ingredients will be Realm-locked or only available in the other Realms, players won’t have to worry about managing huge amounts of data unless they start characters on other servers for the other Realms (okay, I’d be one of them). And even then, it isn’t about managing a lot of data per item, it really is mostly about the Properties used in the matching system. And our Crafters’ Voxen will handle that via a UI and the recipes you store in it, so you don’t have to remember every combination you’ve used. That would be cruel.

As always, thank you Bree and MOP for the questions. I hope you and all our possible Crafters out there liked what you heard and now look forward to playing around with the system!

Thanks as always for speaking with us! Readers who are interested in the alchemy system should definitely give the stream a re-watch, and if you’re more curious about studio-related goings-on, stay tuned for our second interview later this month on the state of the game/studio and its funding.

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Drunk3nShaman

Mmmmmm Crafting.

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Munchmeat2

When can we actually play this dang game? Will this game release some time in the next 10 years?

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Lethality

Sounds promising, Mark! If you can stick to the mantra of building a crafting system for players than enjoy crafting, rather than a crafting system for players that don’t enjoy crafting, then I think it will be awesome!

And if I can someday choose “copper” to make item A today, but decide to use “iron” tomorrow for the same item… because the *properties* of those metals are different, you have my wallet :)

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Mark Jacobs

Lethality,

Thanks. And yes, I’m sticking to a system that is made for crafters who enjoy crafting, now and forever with this game. Crafting for Crafters in CU is a Foundational Principle for me and you can see it in every aspect of the crafting system. Even the most basic principle of Popcorn Crafters vs. Crafters is built around that idea. I spent a lot of time on research, feedback on other games’ systems, etc. just as I usually do.

And yes, you already can do the iron/copper thing in the weapon/armor crafting system at least on paper. :)

And, as I said in the livestream, I’m actively seeking additional feedback/thoughts on the systems we’re talking about. So feel free to let me know what you think either here or if you join us, on our Forums. The discussion has just started, lots of good feedback already. And as I said on our livestream, I’m looking to get even more feedback from people who want to be involved and will sign an NDA and then I’ll give them the same sheet I’m using so they can play around with it via Google Sheets.

But no matter what Lethality, as I always say, thanks for the interest and kind words.

Mark

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Francis Baud

This system seems to favor discoverability a lot, and I think it’s pretty cool, and of course online communities will come up with many (at some point all?) of the potential recipes that exist but that just reinforces the implication of those communities and it seems like a positive thing.

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Mark Jacobs

Thanks FB. There are definitely some cool aspects to the system and it’s easily expandable which is another thing I like about it. Because it is designed as both a free-form and recipe system, there’s a lot of interesting possibilities with it that I’ll be discussing with interested folks on our Forums.

Next up for crafting is cooking. I’ve got a hybrid recipe system already laid out but in the next couple of weeks I’ll be thinking about/playing around with it some more.

Glad you like what you see, lots more good stuff coming including, I suspect, a good surprise or two.

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Harbinger_Kyleran

Is this one of those situations where interviewers are handed a list of questions not to ask, you know, like how long until players can get their hands on this to test?

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Mark Jacobs

Nope, Bree asked me her typically MOP questions (fair but hard at times) and I answered them. I never hand questions to interviewers unless they ask me to do that and I think I only did that once in my career but I could be wrong, it might be zero in terms of a whole interview. Though I’ve been asked at times if there is any area that someone missed/didn’t know about that I could add to. Bree definitely didn’t do that. :)

In terms of players getting their hands on things. It’s been tasked out to engineering and some initial work is being done. The design and engineering team just signed off on the Alchemy System last week. :) In the livestream HK I also said I was going to get some volunteers from our Backers and give them their own version of the spreadsheet we’re using so they can experiment with it, offer feedback, etc.

Anything else you would like to know about the Alchemy system HK while I’m hanging about?

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Mark Jacobs

Apologies for following up my own post but since you asked, thought you like to know that this was in the Producer’s daily report which I just read:

“Alchemy data importers are in review, next step is working on the scaffold for the vox job”

That means that the first bit of code that takes the data from the spreadsheets and brings it into the game has been written and now is in a peer code review. After that, we get things ready to make it work in our Vox.

Again, apologies for the breach of netiquette.

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Harbinger_Kyleran

Thanks for the follow-up, and I must say your comments on using spreadsheets brought back fond memories of my days as a Spell crafter in DAOC.

As a 10 year veteran of EVE spreadsheets in space is just what we do.

Cheers and I look forward to seeing how this new system turns out… whenever that is of course.

;)

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Mark Jacobs

HK,

:)

If all goes well it will show up in the game, in some shape, during this plan and if not, the next one. In the meantime design will start filling in the blanks preparing for implementation. Using spreadsheets for things like this, Overmind, etc. just make things so easy to iterate on once they are in code, that’s why I push for them whenever possible.

And, you’re welcome of course.

Mark

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dinarian_

“stay tuned for our second interview later this month on the state of the game/studio and its funding.”

Is there any questions in this upcoming second interview about why people are still waiting for refunds a year after MJ promised in his last MOP interview that we would have them in up to 90 days? Because uhm I am surprised to see an interview with MJ has been conducted that didn’t include a follow up on the previous things MJ told MOP (over a year ago) but that turned out to be so incredibly untrue….You know that pesky people will have their refunds in “up to 90 days” falsehood that MJ told to MOP and everyone else over a year ago. It seems like MOP should be interested in why what MJ told them last year in an interview still isn’t even remotely true.

Camelot Unchained’s Mark Jacobs apologizes for Colossus reveal, promises roadmap and siege video tomorrow

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Francis Baud

What you’ve linked isn’t an interview afaik, MOP simply copied an email from the CS and a letter to the backers.

As to why there are delays with the refunds:
– Covid-19: Mark doesn’t want to risk bumping into someone on week-days at the building where the office is located, so he processes refunds only during the week-end
– massive wave of refunds in early 2020 that overwhelmed the CS

Early last year he refunded a lot of people but after that, due to the pandemic, it slowed down.

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dinarian_

My apologies for calling it an interview, the article before the one I linked where MJ also promised to honor refund requests was the interview and I got them mixed up (link provided at the bottom). What I know so far about refunds is that I am on day 364 of waiting for a refund and I am still waiting. All of this time has been more than a sufficient amount for MJ to have fixed the refund system so that he could process them in another way that would not put him at risk, but he chooses to just tell people to continue to wait indefinitely with no update and no customer support. He ignores requests for information and continues to withhold the money he owes people despite the 90 day refund timeline clearly having been laid out in the terms and conditions of CSE’s webstore when customers bought their game tiers. And that massive wave of refunds was due to MJ’s business choices it wasn’t just some external thing that happened to MJ he is responsible for the choices that caused so many to loose faith in him.

Interview: Camelot Unchained’s Mark Jacobs just announced a new game called Colossus

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Francis Baud

Waiting for 364 days must be really annoying, I understand you. Fixing the refund system isn’t as simple as it may seem, because each solution brings risks: 1) going in the office during the week means more chances to catch Covid-19 by bumping into someone in the building, 2) transferring the GDPR-compliant computer with all its data from the office to MJ’s home implies it’s less secure, from the integrity of the computer (damages) to possible theft, 3) appointing another employee to process the refunds increase the chance of data breach (as they would have access to all the backers’ personal information). Overall the only solutions left I can think of would be that Mark spends more time in the office during the week-end, and also relying on the vaccine that should make Mark able to go in the office during the week days.

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dinarian_

It is weird that so many GDPR compliant companies are still able to process financial transactions including refunds, and yet CSE, which is ostensibly a tech leaning type of company, is struggling so hard with it that they have refunds taking over a year to process. What are you saying they are too incompetent with computers and tech to fix the system in less than a year? Because if they can’t even manage to set up a refund system that works how on earth are we supposed to believe they can make and run an engine and not 1 but 2 games?

And as of today I have been waiting 365 days for my refund, and I am still waiting.

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Francis Baud

Studios of comparable size/resources do not refund their backers’ money afaik. CSE is the only one to maintain, since over 7 years, a no-question-asked refund policy.

Now if you’re talking about AAA companies that may issue refunds in some very particular cases, it’s very different than the situation CSE is in (more limited resources, substantial backlog of refunds to process, etc.).

It’s not a question of competence imo, they’re processing and issuing refunds manually, to ensure the security of backer’s personal data, from their office, and it takes several minutes to complete each refund. So however we look at it, the process takes time, and that time adds up when we consider the large number of requests.

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dinarian_

Whether other studios of any size offer refunds is not at all relevant. CSE has a refund policy and so it is fair to hold them responsible for fulfilling that refund promise that they voluntarily made in writing to customers at the time of their purchase, and again last year, in February of 2020 when they reaffirmed that promise publicly in an interview with MOP in response to the massive backlash that the betrayal 2nd secret game announcement caused. MOP printed those claims that MJ made about promising to honor those refund requests all the way back in February of 2020 and now over a year later MOP is once again interviewing MJ so it seems entirely fair that they would and should follow up with MJ about those promises he made but has not kept.

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zach39088066

Mark has been active, commenting on every other post on this article except this post and the other post that was very recently created. Which could indicate that the company is deliberately avoiding this issue.

I hope this post and the replies will create a talking point for the upcoming interview, where we (the readers) hopefully get more information regarding the refund-situation (seeing as its anniversery has passed).

Helpful information for the community that kickstarted the project but chose to refund:
– Queue-system, what number(#) is your refund-request?
– How many refunds are being processed every weekend?

Seeing as the 90-days period has long passed, this would help give a new estimate and a project plan to be followed by the company to forfill.

I’m looking forward to the next interview!

– 381 days waiting for more information.

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dinarian_

Once upon a time in a MOP comment section MJ said that he would update backers when he finished with refunds from February of 2020. In a later comment section I asked MJ for an update regarding February 2020 refunds and he declined to give one. The last publicly reported refund was received 2/21/2021, it had been requested 2/2/2020. I have asked over and over again for answer like how many refunds were requested in 2020, and how many of 2020’s refunds have been paid? I have asked what date in regards to refunds they are up to in this queue, etc but the answer from MJ is always the same, he won’t tell us anything other than continue to wait indefinitely and by the way customer support also won’t respond if you email them asking for an ETA or an update. Apparently people were abusing the customer support person by doing outrageous things like sending emails with questions about why they still have not received a refund and according to MJ they are too busy to care about legitimate questions customers have….and besides exhibiting anything other than extreme deference and gratefulness that one day maybe if MJ ever feels like getting around to keeping his word he might maybe see fit to eventually refund you (even though it has been over a year already), but no guarantees it will be this year or even this decade. You should be honored to be on his maybe one day list how dare you ask questions or expect any actual results.

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Drunk3nShaman

This is a lot of wasted energy, we get it, you want your money back. We got it months ago.

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dinarian_

Obviously CSE still has not gotten the point that refunders would like their money back since we still do not have our money back.

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Heartfyre

Which could indicate that the company is deliberately avoiding this issue.

This has less to do with him or CSE avoiding the issue of refunds and more to do with the fact that there is nothing new to say on the subject, nor is there a way to have a constructive and objective debate at this point. Leaving aside that it has nothing to do with this topic either.

Mark has spoken about the refunds several times in the past. He has stated several times that all requests for refunds will be processed. He has also stated that as soon as he and his family have been vaccinated against Covid, he will go back to the office regularly.

What would be the point of discussing and arguing at this point? Please do not misunderstand me. I understand that some players – backers – are frustrated or even just annoyed. Mark will also understand that. Do you think he enjoys having this debate pop up under every news item and at every opportunity? CSE would also much rather talk about content and the game. Yes, even I, as a quasi uninvolved third party as far as the refunds are concerned, get fed up with the repetitive discussion about it. Again – I understand you.

The thing with the refunds is just not that simple. Mark could have ended them long ago, as they are more of a goodwill gesture than anything else. But he didn’t, because he is very principled and wants to stick to it. He has also made it clear that all refunds will be paid out. Of course, it is not ideal when people have to wait a year. But then please look at the times we live in. Last year was not ideal for anyone – quite the opposite.

Mark is the first to admit when mistakes were made or something didn’t go well. He has always done that in the past. Also on the subject of refunds. But I can understand if players are frustrated by this. However, you also have to consider that Mark is an experienced businessman, and as such he also knows that it doesn’t do much good to discuss things with emotionally upset people. Most of the time, they are no longer available for objective arguments. That is only human and again, I understand that. But you can’t blame anyone if they don’t get involved in this debate, where there is nothing new to contribute anyway, and nothing to “win” either.

The situation is actually quite clear and unchanged – Mark can only do refunds when he is in the office. Which he rarely is due to the current pandemic. But then he also has a thousand other things to do there. As soon as he can go back to the office more often, the refunds will pick up again. This is not a satisfactory situation – for anyone. Again, does anyone think Mark likes the situation? I doubt it. Of course, that doesn’t have to interest players who have made an investment. You’re just waiting for your money, which you obviously need badly. I understand that. But the situation is what it is. Arguing about it over and over again won’t change it or speed it up.

And as a small side note, it’s okay if the anger and rage of frustrated players is directed at Mark or CSE. Mark is a tough guy and an experienced developer, he can take it. But it’s not okay for his family or the family of others involved to be dragged into it. Everything has its boundaries. With all the problems, one should never forget that there are only humans on all sides.

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zach39088066

You raised good points! I took time to answer from my point of view, and I completly agree with that no one should never forget that we’re only humans.

– What would be the point of discussing and arguing at this point?
I need to get attention to a topic that still get hushed away. CSE-support is ignoring my e-mails, if you contact Brian (Customer Manager) he redirects to CSE-support – who again is ignoring. The only estimate I’ve received was 90 days, that was last year in february. I pledged 1000 USD, which in these times are a lot of money, not only for me but my family.

– Do you think he enjoys having this debate pop up under every news item and at every opportunity?
I can only guess that he does not. To get in front of this, which is bad, not only for the company but the game – a speed up of the process should take place and a new ETA should be presented.

– Again, does anyone think Mark likes the situation?
The double goes for the players waiting for the refunds. But here is the thing, the people who are waiting for the money are in more desperate need than the company doing the refunds.

I have friends who have pledged that are in a worse situation than me. Times are tough for both sides, but painting the picture that CSE is the biggest victim in this is far from true.

I’ve mentally prepared myself that my pledge will never be refunded and have stopped trying to reach out to CSE.

I hope CSE takes the recommendation to start with queue-numbers(#) and inform the players how many refunds are being processed each weekend. This will give an estimate of the process and we can start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, hopefully the majority will be pleased with this and CSE can continue focus on the game without distractions.

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Heartfyre

I have friends who have pledged that are in a worse situation than me. Times are tough for both sides, but painting the picture that CSE is the biggest victim in this is far from true.

I respect and understand that. I would also not go so far as to say that CSE or Mark are the victims here. However, I would not speak of victims at all. Ultimately, there are no winners here. It’s a very unpleasant situation for everyone involved, to say the least. I also understand very well that times are hard for everyone and some people could use the money. In normal times, some would probably not even have made a request for a refund. It’s just an unpleasant situation and I can understand all sides. I also understand the frustration of the players. But I also try to understand CSE’s perspective. There is, of course, a very clear gap. I hope that everything will turn out well and I am more than sure that Mark and CSE are also interested in an appropriate settlement. I have always seen Mark as a man of honour. Certainly, he cannot keep every promise, but that is also due to the fact that sometimes things cannot be planned. Who would have thought at the time that we would have a worldwide pandemic in 2020? I simply wish all those involved that things will work out. But above all, I wish you all good health and that there is slowly appearing some light at the end of the tunnel. It is about time!

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dinarian_

An appropriate settlement is for the refunders to be paid…now.

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Gevatter

I pledged 1000 USD, which in these times are a lot of money, not only for me but my family.

Only give as much as you can afford to lose — that’s the most basic rule on Kickstarter and crowdfunding in general.

Also: 1000 USD sounds like an I(nternal) T(ester) tier, and those are not refundable. If that’s the case, just accept it and move on.

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zach39088066

My economic situation changed over a timespan of 8 years. Pandemic had something to do with it.

My pledge tier, is not associated with the specific ‘Internal Testing’ tier that you are reffering to $180 USD. More so it is not stated that any pledge tier is non-refundable according to the store FAQ, that is said to include all the information and updates regarding refunds.

I’m glad you pointed it out so I could do my research! As it seems that the specific $180 USD Tier named ‘Internal Testing’ (which is removed from the kickstarter campaign) had mentions of being non-refundable in the pledge text.

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Gevatter

My pledge tier, is not associated with the specific ‘Internal Testing’ tier that you are reffering to $180 USD.

Every tier that includes ‘internal testing’ is AFAIK *not* refundable. Both Kickstarter pledges for 1000 USD include IT:

1.000 US$

NAME YOUR POISON – DIGITAL ONLY

With this non-repeated, limited tier the PLEDGE OWNER receives all the rewards from THE WHOLE SCHMEAR and THESE UPGRADES: an ADDITIONAL 40 FOUNDER’S POINTS (200 total) + DRAGONIUM FORUM BADGE + INTERNAL TESTING […]

and

1.000 US$

LIVING LARGE – DIGITAL ONLY

With this non-repeated, limited tier the PLEDGE OWNER receives all the rewards from THE WHOLE SCHMEAR and THESE UPGRADES: an ADDITIONAL 40 FOUNDER’S POINTS (200 total) + DRAGONIUM FORUM BADGE + INTERNAL TESTING ACCESS […]

Source: CU’s Kickstarter page.

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zach39088066

That would have to be specified in the text/description of the specific Tier.

Only ‘Internal Testing’-tier had text about being non-refundable.

Both ‘Name your poison’ and ‘Living Large’ had no mention of earning the rewards or being associated with the ‘Internal Testing’-tier.

We got ‘Internal Testing access’ included, this was not the specific reason for the Tier as it was with the ‘Internal Testing’-tier which was a Tier designed for players that wanted in the game as quick as possible. I pledged to a Tier that happened to have access included.

I’m feeling confident here, it needs to be stated clearly that it had connection to the ‘Internal Testing’-tier or that it was non-refundable because of access that was included in the package. It did not.

But again, it was good that you pointed it out so I could prepare for the 1 year later response that I wouldn’t be getting a refund!

Thank you, Gevatter. If you have any more balls you can throw at me on this, I would really appreciate it. I want to be prepared!

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dinarian_

Is there some additional text somewhere else about these tiers that lists them being not refundable? Because I don’t see anything in the text here that says anything at all about refunds in regards to these tiers. I don’t see the word refund or refundable or anything similar at all, but maybe I just need to reread it after a 2nd cup of coffee.

What I do know is that people who bought from CSE’s webstore had to agree to their terms and conditions which guaranteed us refunds in up to 90 days. Of course that guarantee was obviously just empty words considering my wait is now at over a year, and I am still waiting.

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dinarian_

But why should what MJ says be the final say on the issue especially considering that so much of what MJ says about the issue turns out to be so very untrue. MJ said we would get our refunds in up to 90 days. The he said way back at the beginning of refunds becoming late that by summer he would go bring the computer home if they were still working from home, then he said well maybe I will have to bring the refund computer home if we don’t get back into the office by fall, then he said in September that he was resuming refunds (5 months of MJ allegedly working on them later and he is still working on refunds from 2/2020). Then he said well if the team can’t get back into the office by the end of the year he might have to do something about the refund computer and now it is the new year and suddenly well we are waiting on his vaccine…what reason will be next that the goal post gets moved again? At the rate of 6 months of MJ’s work to process 1 month of back logged refund it will take 5 more years for him to finish with refunds from 2020. By then CSE will very likely be out of money and closed because seriously nobody else is going to be stupid enough to give MJ even a penny more.

The situation is really clear, I agree. CSE owes a lot of people a lot of money after CSE’s betrayal announcement last year and all of their many failures and secrets kept from backers in the years leading up to it…money that MJ promised to pay in order to save his companies reputation from the firestorm that ensued….money that a year later rightful customers with rightful refund claims are still not receiving.

And MJ lied to us and to MOP last year when he told them our refunds would be honored so I think it makes complete sense and is completely on topic to wonder like I did if MOP is going to do any follow up in regards to that. It is normal and expected for journalists to follow up over unresolved things or lies that were told in a past interview they did with that person is it not?

Plus there is another reason not to just let MJ take all the time in the world for refunds….other than the part where his contract with players states that it will take up to 90 days….and other than the fact that keeping other peoples money hurts the people who need their money. BUT in my opinion the elephant in the room is that every day CSE use up more and more of whatever little bit of money they have left. If (or more likely at this point when) CSE fails refunders can no longer get their money back. In my case I have been trying to leave because the way the betrayal game was handled and the long history of failure leading up to it makes it really clear to me that in my opinion MJ is simply not competent enough to pull off what he sold us, and between the need for extra financing twice and over a year delay for refunds, etc people are completely justified in wondering if CSE is going to simply go under before we can get our refunds. It is in my opinion completely reasonable to worry that CSE will go under before he pays out the people he owes from early last year.

Maybe in a some of those follow up questions MOP will ask MJ if he is willing to personally guarantee the refunds requested even if CSE goes out of business while we are still waiting?

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Bruno Brito

I’ll just say this once:

The expectation that disgruntled and ill-treated clients should be constructive towards bad policy is pure insanity.

I don’t like Dinarian’s spam and i think she’s riddling her own case with holes, considering she burns bridges every single topic, but she is ABSOLUTELY in the right here.

Mark made this bed, and he gets to sleep in it until he pays her back. He should just do it and be done with the whole thing.

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dinarian_

He also needs to pay all the other refunders that he owes as well just to be clear.

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draugris

Mark is just not answering Dinarian anymore. She is i would say the most annoying backer in the community. It does not matter who says or writes anything about CU, you can be sure Dinarian jumps in and whines about her refund, doesnt matter to her how off topic it may be. So he decided not long ago to ignore her, and that’s perfectly understandable imo.

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dinarian_

That is not actually true, many many refunders have reported that they cannot get replies or updates from MJ or from support about their refunds either. So it is far from the case that only Dinarian is not getting answers about her refund. That being said, I am on day 371 of waiting for a refund so shouldn’t I at this point you know deserve an update about when I will receive my refund?…or if not an update, I would settle for you know the refund that I requested early last year and that has still not bee paid.

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draugris

What is actually not true?

That MJ is ignoring you
That you capture every article you can get your hands on with your refund whine
or that you annoy everybody with that

Because as far as I can tell, all three is true as hell.

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dinarian_

The part where you said “Mark is just not answering Dinarian anymore.” Because I am far from the only person MJ is no longer answering, MJ has said so himself here on this site in past articles that he instructed customer support to not answer questions from refunders in regards to their extremely over due and still unpaid refunds. In my case I am on days 371 of waiting for a refund and I am still waiting.

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draugris

Marc said it here that he is not answering you anymore. So please stop that BS talking about other backers. This is about you and nobody else

Everybody and their mother knows that more people than queen dinarian is waiting for refunds, is it good, no of course not. Constant whining on forums has not changed that, will not change it. If you would invest half the time of your whining in examining the legal options that would do you a better job. Writing endless forum posts does not help, even you should have noticed that by now.

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dinarian_

Maybe you missed the comments section a while back when MJ said that he instructed CSE’s support person to not answer any emails regarding late refunds from people asking for an ETA or more information about their still unpaid refunds, but you are very wrong if you think that it is only me that MJ and CSE is completely ignoring. In addition to MJ’s own words, there are also still examples that can be found on CU’s official sub reddit that have not yet been deleted saying those people too have not been able to get responses from support nor from MJ. As to my ‘constant whining’ on the forums….I have not posted to CU’s forum in about a year…although maybe if you paid more attention to what people on the forums were saying about their over due refunds and the lack of communication that CSE has provided to them instead of just assuming it is me whining then you might know about the intentional lack of communication that CSE has adopted as their strategy for handling the refund fiascos that MJ’s incompetence has resulted in.

Of course you don’t have to take my word for it that MJ instructed support to stone wall, because I have the link where MJ said so himself that he instructed support to ignore all refunders asking for an update about their extremely over due refund and it isn’t just a Dinarian thing as you seem to want to suggest.

Massively OP’s 2020 Awards: MMO with the Stormiest Future

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draugris

And again you are completely missing the point, it makes absolutely zero sense to discuss with you because you seem to be unable to read. So no wonder nobody from CSE wants to talk to you. Go on with your life, you really seem to have issues.

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dinarian_

Since we are making sure the record is clear, the part where MJ said “refunds are being paid out and will continue to be paid out.” is difficult to reconcile with the dirty truth that my refund is on day 442 of waiting (and I am still waiting), and I am one of many still waiting after such an absurd amount of time.

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Truvidien

How big of a role does professions play in this? Can someone be a craftsman or is it just fight or die?

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aldorn

the plan has always been to have a dedicated crafting class for each real. From the twitch stream Mark stated that any class will be able to do some popcorn alchemy (same with crafting things like arrows) BUT the actual crafting class will be able to do a hell of a lot more with the system.

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Mark Jacobs

Truvidien,

Aldorn is spot on with his response. As a Crafter, you’ll also be able to do more than one thing/profession but you will have to choose if you want to specialize in one type of thing or be very good at a few of them. No matter what though, you can always, as a Crafter, dabble in lots of things at the same time.

And, as I said in the stream, Crafters can participate in RvR but won’t have to in order to advance as Crafters.

Mark

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Harbinger_Kyleran

That’s a great idea btw, forcing crafters to RVR when they don’t really want to risks driving away a sizeable group of what tends the be very loyal, long term customers.

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Mark Jacobs

Exactly. Crafters, if they like our system, will love the game because we are sticking to what we said about crafted gear, RvR, etc. during our KS. Crafters who just love to craft will find this one of the most pro-crafter, non-crafting-only (or mostly) MMOs out there. And if the game is successful, I want to add other systems as well.

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Francis Baud

“By limiting its usefulness minute-to-minute in PvP, we keep the fight focused on the players’ ability to fight in RvR, not who has the most pots.” In PvP I prefer that instant healings come solely from healers, rather than relying on HP pots that influence the outcome of a fight. Good decision imo.

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aldorn

yeah feels like a slight edge if you are prepared. I like it. Bit like warhammers pot system I guess, but maybe a little less powerful.

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Mark Jacobs

Francis,

Thanks, I think it will work out well. Healers are a very important part of RvR so the smart thing to do is have Alchemy as something that aids them, rather than hinder them, as they try to fulfill their role(s) on the battlefield.

Aldorn,

Yep, a slight edge indeed. If the system works out the way I hope, it’s flexibility will be appreciated by the players. And during the livestream, there were a lot of great questions/suggestions for how to create “interesting” potions for use in RvR that are more than just damage/healing based.

Mark

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ThePeon25

Man this was an interesting read thank you Bree Royce. I must say this is an interesting take on it and nice to see they don´t want it to be a gold sink but rather a time sink. Something that annoyed the hell out of me in FFXIV spending half a fortune to get 1 great result is rather annoying.

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aldorn

all the crafting in ff14 felt kind of pointless to me. maybe i was doing it wrong lol

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ThePeon25

Well yeah kind of the cooking is good I mean the food gives you buffs and then if you like to play the sims the furniture crafting is good but other than that yeah it´s a pointless gil sink.

ESO on the other hand you can craft your own gear that can be used in the end game veteran dungeons heck most builds I see want you to use crafted gear for end game.

I always questioned that about mmo´s why is the gear you craft always shittier than dungeon/quest gear it makes having crafting in the game rather pointless.

Why not make crafted gear equal to dungeon/quest gear then you can deiced do I want to craft my gear or run the same dungeons 20 times to get the gear I want.

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Mark Jacobs

TP, thanks! And yeah, the use of the Vox as the major time sink I think will work out very, very well for most Crafters. And like you, I’m not a fan of huge gold sinks while still being a fan of gold sinks that make sense. We did that extremely well in DAoC thanks to the work of Dave Rickey and others.

In terms of player-crafted gear vs. drops, crafted gear will always be the best gear you can get in CU except for gear that you start with (we don’t want people starting naked in CU) and in the case of a King opening up his supply house because there aren’t enough crafters in the game. Even then the gear would be on par with crafted gear since we’d use the same system to make it that the players use. :)

And one thing I’ve said about Bree and MOP in the past, and still holds true today, they do great interviews that’s why I like doing them.

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ThePeon25

Man see this is why I want to play this game the reason why I think for me this could become my mmo for years to come. Becuse it´s made by people that understand how to make a game fun. I love crafting in game reason why I spent 100s of ours in games like Ark,Terraria,Conan exiles, and so on becuse I like to craft and build I enjoy that allot but also I enjoy does games becuse of exploration cool bosses and armors and so on.

The more I read and hear about this game the more I wish I had the money to buy the I am the warrior tire to get in to beta becuse man I want to see how the gave evolves and try it things you have and just be a part of a mmo I think will become a great game.

Before any one comment no im not trying to kiss up I rely think this is a game I will enjoy becuse I been keeping up with the game becuse it´s a game I believe it.

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Mark Jacobs

TP,

Thanks for the kind words, appreciated.

As to getting a tier, I’d wait, at least, till we start streaming so you can really get a good feel for where we are at. And if you are unsure, you can wait longer or just buy the lowest price tier and you can always upgrade if you want.

As soon as we have a full game loop in, we’ll start livestreaming and at our current pace, it will be sooner than many people expect, especially if I can get another gameplay engineer or two.

As to crafting, yeah, it’s always been a focus of mine. WAR’s crafting system was not the system I envisioned (which was no fault of the guy who was working on it) but I promised that this time it would be different and thankfully, it is. The system is coming out really well so far and thanks to some of the great work the engineers are doing, I have absolute faith that we’re going to pull it off. And if I could add a mid-senior UI person, it would happen sooner.

In terms of cool bosses and exploration, you’ll love The Depths then. I’m looking forward to creating it more than anything I’ve created (as part of a team of course) in any MMORPG. If it can meet the vision I have for it, it will be so much fun and more than a little twisted.

Thanks for your interest and for your kind words, please let me know if you have any other questions while I’m hanging out here tonight.

Mark

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ThePeon25

Awesome thanks for rhe info well right now no questions comes tomind but then again it is 4.28 am here and i have to sleep. Comes with having kids. But yeah the stream will be something to lookfoward to.

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Mark Jacobs

TP,

You’re welcome, now get to sleep! :)

Catch you on the flip side.

Mark