city state entertainment

The Mark Jacobs-fronted studio making Camelot Unchained.

Camelot Unchained’s latest beta build patches up the UI, fixes superpowered rocks

Camelot Unchained’s beta one is rolling on, and we’re assuming City State’s Mark Jacobs is napping on a beach somewhere enjoying his long-delayed vacay because CSE co-founder and technical director Andrew Meggs is helming the latest studio update and Q&A. Oh, and he’s accompanied by Ian the Intern, whom Meggs tries (unsuccessfully?) to embarrass at every turn.

This weekend, the RvR game’s build was put through its paces on the Wyrmling server, with UI bug fixes, shadow darkness tweaks, placeholders removed, and CPU bugsquashing – and that’s all apart from the madness going on on the Hatchery server where the real messes dwell. In short, the current test build is even better than what launched two weeks ago. My favorite bit is the fix to superpowered stones and their concomitant exploits. This is a real thing.

“Stones, like from Stonehealers, would affect other stones,” Meggs says, almost incredulously. “So you could put two invulnerability stones right down next to each other and they would make each other invulnerable. Or stones that were healing each other… it allowed creation of super-exploitable combinations by players working together to defeat the other realm. Which is good! But we want you to do it without exploits.”

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 180: Superstoked for heroic MMOs

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin do a belly flop right into a big pool of superhero MMOs, news, and fan projects. City of Heroes may be dead and gone many years now, but its legacy still lives on in surprising ways!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:


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Camelot Unchained’s beta is indeed launching today at noon

It’s happpppeeennning! City State Entertainment’s Mark Jacobs told us last night that the beta one for his RvR MMORPG Camelot Unchained’s will indeed begin today at noon.

MMO vets will recall that this particular beta was originally meant to launch several years ago, but the studio pushed it off; along the way, it secured more investment, opened a second studio, hired more programmers, and refactored large chunks of its ability system. The beta date was then set for the 4th of July, but it was delayed a few extra weeks because developers needed to clean up remaining bugs to eliminate a client crash rate that was, in their words, “too damn high.” The July 31st beta date was contingent on this weekend’s testing, which was apparently a success.

Do note that this is a real beta, not early access shenanigans, and there is still an NDA. Existing testers are probably going to find that not much changes for them.

“As usual, we thank you for your patience and support to date, and for the patience and support still to come,” Jacobs told backers. “Over the remainder of the development process we both seek and need your help to get us through Beta 1.” The studio is expected to stream this morning before noon.

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Camelot Unchained’s beta is now set to launch on July 31st

City State Entertainment’s Mark Jacobs has just announced on today’s studio Twitch stream that RvR MMORPG Camelot Unchained’s beta one will begin next week on July 31st. The launch is contingent on the success of this weekend’s test.

“We need to get enough people 500+ to show up at the same time to tell us whether the changes we have made worked,” Jacobs told us ahead of the stream. “We’ve run tests on it, and it looks good, but we need real human beings to join in, and the best time to do that is over the weekend. So it’s a bit of a Catch-22. But we’re looking good overall.”

MMO vets will recall that this beta was originally meant to launch several years ago, but the studio pushed it off, choosing instead to secure more investment, open a second studio, hire more programmers, and refactor large chunks of its ability system. The beta date was then set for the 4th of July, but it was delayed a few extra weeks because developers needed to clean up remaining bugs to eliminate a client crash rate that was, in their words, “too damn high.”

The stream begins at 4 p.m. EDT; you can catch it below.

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Camelot Unchained nears beta as its crash rate drops to ‘acceptable’ levels

“From what we’ve seen so far, we’re in really good shape.”

Mark Jacobs hasn’t given us a firm start date for Camelot Unchained’s Beta 1 yet, but from the sound of his recent livestream, it’s getting really close.

The crash rate for Camelot Unchained has dipped into the “acceptable” range for a beta test, with the average player being able to stay in game for up to four hours without a crash. The team expects that this rate will improve even further for Beta 1, especially as it is trying to “break the build” by stressing the server and testing its capabilities.

Get the full report after the break, with the livestream starting at the 7-minute mark and the talk from Mark Jacobs at 16:40.

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The Daily Grind: What exactly defines an ‘indie’ MMORPG studio?

Earlier this week, I happened to see a mainstream website refer to ArtCraft as an indie studio, and it jolted me. ArtCraft, as anybody reading MOP knows, is working on Crowfall, which at least in my estimation is a high-quality, graphics-intensive MMORPG from hardcore MMORPG veterans who’ve been in the business as long as anyone alive. The game has raised at least $12M or maybe $15M, at least counting up what we know about.

When I think of indie studios, I think of the tiny outfits working on games like Project Gorgon, Ever, Jane, and Ascent the Space Game. But of course Crowfall is also an indie, right? It’s not running a $500M budget; it’s not ensconced under a cozy AAA publisher umbrella. It crowdfunds.

Then again, aside from the budget/wealth, its profile looks like a bit like Epic Games’ – it even has an engine to vend now. So is it really just about money? Is Star Citizen, with its multiple studios and AAA budget, an indie because of crowdfunding? Camelot Unchained studio CSE has multiple studios – does that factor in?

I’m curious what you folks think. What exactly defines an indie MMO studio? What characteristics must an indie studio have or not have?

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 177: ArenaNet A-bomb

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin cleans up after Guild Wars 2’s PR disaster, chew over the survivability of Shroud of the Avatar, and commiserate about Camelot Unchained’s delay. It’s not all downer news — there’s some really great stuff happening in the MMO industry, and that makes an appearance on this extra-long episode!

Special note: If you want to skip the ArenaNet discussion for the rest of the news, go to the 50-minute mark (yeah, we talk about it a lot!). Also, please note that this was recorded before the Polygon article that came out Monday night, so it’s missing some the additional commentary on Mike O’Brien’s second formal statement.

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Camelot Unchained has briefly delayed its 4th of July beta launch because ‘the client crash rate is too damn high’

Camelot Unchained has postponed its planned 4th of July beta launch in what Mark Jacobs is characterizing as a “short” delay.

“It’s not going to be a year delay or a three-month delay,” he told viewers on stream, reassuring them that he’s expecting it to be a matter of merely days or weeks. [Update: After the stream, Jacobs told Massively OP that he expects a clearer picture of how long the delay will be by Thursday.]

Over the weekend, studio reps said it was down to a list of 40 bugs it’s still crunching on; the company is asking existing backers to come help test this week. “The client crash rate is TOO DAMN HIGH!” is the mantra on today’s stream.

Longtime MMORPG fans will know that this delay follows several years of pre-beta testing. Last winter, City State Entertainment announced it had received a big cash investment and put the July 4th date on Camelot Unchained’s beta one. At the time, the beta was already three years late, as the studio struggled to find programmers, completely refactored large chunks of its ability system, and ultimately opened up a second studio in Seattle in order to make its RvR MMO vision a reality.

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Camelot Unchained’s 4th of July beta launch prospects are still ‘too close to call’

We’ve updated the end of this article with some words from Mark Jacobs.

Last winter, City State Entertainment announced it’d received a big cash investment and put a date on Camelot Unchained’s beta one: July 4th, 2018. At the time, the beta was already three years late, as the studio struggled to find programmers, completely refactored large chunks of its ability system, and ultimately opened up a second studio in Seattle, and I think it’s fair to say that patience has thinned out along the way.

But as we’ve been reporting for the last few weeks, while the team was originally on schedule, GDPR compliance requirements created a huge setback for the beta as key employees worked on dealing with bureaucracy instead of fixing mission-critical bugs. Consequently, as CSE’s Mark Jacobs notes in yesterday’s stream, whether or not the beta actually launches Wednesday is still “too close to call.”

Jacobs tells fans that the studio is down to a list of 40 bugs it’s still crunching on – yes, they’re crunching this weekend – and they’ll be conducting large-scale testing all weekend, which will determine whether beta one is happening on time. (The next mini-test begins right as this post goes live, in fact.)

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‘The pressure is on’ for Camelot Unchained’s beta test

“The pressure is on, but in the best of ways. The energy in the studio is incredible, we are all excited about how close we are.”

With a week until Camelot Unchained hopefully begins its long-awaited beta test, it’s all hands on deck over at City State Entertainment. The studio reported that it still has 19 “mission critical bugs” that have to be fixed to get the beta out the door, and the dev team is crunching this weekend to make it happen.

The building tech is being shored up, set dressing is being placed on islands, and the crafting system is being put together. Camelot Unchained’s backend is pretty vital to the success of the beta, and the team is also making sure that the architecture is in place for the test.

Get the full report from the team after the break!

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Camelot Unchained doubles down on development in the beta home stretch

Saying that it needs to “double down” and push hard to get the beta build finished for next month’s launch, the Camelot Unchained team noticeably increased its output this week with 20 items on its to do list.

Among the many projects that the developers were tackling this past week include shaping the Arthurian Physician class, stress testing the builder system, sorting out the crafting system, load testing servers, upgrading the trade window UI, and building props to populate taverns and banks.

As for Camelot Unchained BetaWatch (ooh, that’s a catchy title we should steal), it’s still on track: “As you all know, we had set our original feature lock date as June 12, which was this Tuesday. The good news is, many of our core Beta features have landed, things like skill improvements, scenarios, and our ability to have a complete game loop. However, some work just isn’t where we want it to be, and so we are moving forward with a bit of continued feature work to deliver the experience we want for Beta 1 Day 1. We are still hopeful for the 4th of July!”

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Camelot Unchained ‘just barely’ on track for Beta 1

The Camelot Unchained team is racing against its self-imposed deadline to get the MMO’s first beta test out the door on July 4th — and by the sound of it, it’s going to be a close thing. “We are still on track, but just barely,” the team reported. “We had to spend a lot of time on our compliance with the GDPR policies as well as some other game studio stuff (all good!).”

This push means that a lot got done this past week, including the reinstatement of the forums, updates to the Beta 1 refining process, work on the beta’s progression testing, and installation of debugging tools.

Of course, if you’re a visual creature, you’d be far more interested in seeing one of the new boat concepts, possible town art assets, and a couple of character model renders of the male Viking Mjölnir and female Arthurian Black Knight.

“I’m particularly looking forward to the next several weeks, as we get players moving between islands and scenarios, testing out all our hard work,” the devs said.
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Camelot Unchained begins the one-month countdown to beta

Hope you’re not tired of hearing about the Great Coming of Camelot Unchained’s first beta test because we get the feeling that City State is going to be ramping up the chatter and hype as it counts down the final month before this momentous occasion.

The team said that it has been “busy, busy, busy” getting ready and adding features for the beta, as well as adjusting the game to comply with GDPR regulations.

The isssue of game balance (or lack thereof) was toted out for discussion. CSE explained why it hasn’t spent much time on game balance as of yet: “Many of the parts of the game that need to be balanced are still very much a work-in-progress […] Think of this like working on a physical project in the real world: Work can often get done a lot faster by making a bit of a mess while you’re working and cleaning it all up at the end, as opposed to keeping the workspace clean the entire time work is taking place.”

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