Shocker Alert: I’m Not Supporting Camelot Unchained

I know, I’m taking another day off from the Twenty Days.  But this is a time sensitive topic.   In just under one day’s time, we will know if Camelot Unchained will success in its $2 million Kickstarter campaign.   In truth, its already a done deal.  Not raising the final $150,000 would be shocking given how much its pulled down even in the last two days.   I bring this up first so that it tempers the reaction I get here.   Your precious is safe, and there is nothing I can do to stop it from succeeding at this point.

 

But I will not be supporting it.  I have heard lots of impassioned pleas in blogs and on Twitter.    Wilhelm says we should do it to promote the genre (and to support a niche sub game).   Doc says it will support the industry.   Psychochild says we should do it to shake free funding for other MMO’s.   But I’m afraid I just don’t understand any of those arguments.

 

There are plenty of niche subscription based MMO’s around.   And plenty of F2P niche MMO’s around.  And most of them are PvP based.  Please don’t tell me that one more (by the same guy who has built two of them already) will somehow improve the genre any.   And if the genre is MMORPG – I think we have made plenty of progress in the PvP and RvR areas of gameplay.  We need to stretch the genre in other ways.

 

What about the industry itself?   Will this be good for it?   Will it promote positive change?  Sure I guess.   Did Ouya change the console market by getting nearly ten times is almost one million dollar goal?   Did Kingdom Death: Monster change the board game market when it dragged in nearly thirty times its goal, making north of two million dollars?  Maybe its too early to tell,  but aren’t we overselling the reach of a Kickstarter campaign here?   Will its success or failure really promote  the industry to a game-changing level?

 

What about funding for MMO’s?  Did the failure of TOR-tanic forever put a scare in potential investors?   You bet it did.  Will CU somehow erase that bad taste from their mouth?   Nope.  Will it sell them on smaller MMO’s?  Given the proliferation of (especially smaller) MMO’s – I can’t believe we are hurting all that much for funding for them.   And if we are…isn’t that what Kickstarter is there for?  To fill that void?

 

What about Mark Jacobs and his crew?   They are skilled, they are industry veterans!  Shouldn’t we toss them a bone?   Not if they are not creating the kind of game that I would want to play, no.   In fact, the only leverage I have is *not* supporting their game.   If I’m not a fan of niche sub-based PvP MMO’s, I can’t do anything to help the market innovate something new if I continue to let it do what its been doing for the last dozen years.

 

Clearly I’m in the minority here.  And I’m okay with that.   If this is where the industry is headed, there is nothing I can do to stop it.   I’ll keep supporting the games and ideas I like.    And if you are supporting it, good for you.   It looks like you are getting what you wanted – the CU Kickstarter gained another $30,000 just in the time it took me to write this post.

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12 thoughts on “Shocker Alert: I’m Not Supporting Camelot Unchained

  1. I’m not supporting CU either, if that helps any. Not my cuppa. I covered this a while back from a consumerist standpoint. We need to do our best to support games we want to play, but we are under no obligation to support games we don’t. That’s like saying we should support a local indie bookstore even if they never carry books we want to read.

    1. Exactly. I suppose I wouldn’t mind tossing in $5 if I thought the game would help contribute to the genre, but I don’t even think it does that. On the other hand, while I wasn’t sold on TSW before its launch, I willingly shelled out the money for the box, just as a thank you to FunCom for taking a risk and trying something different.

      Mark Jacobs is taking no risk here, he is covering a well worn path.

  2. Saying “not for me” is perfectly reasonable. Kickstarter is full of titles that meet that criteria for me.

    But then you felt you had to go beyond that and gainsay what people are saying about the CU, in what seems to be an argument against anybody supporting CU.

    Are you trying to say that those niche subscription or F2P MMOs which you list are completely acceptable substitutes for what Camelot Unchained is promising, so CSE shouldn’t bother?

    Are you making the claim that you have more insight into the funding of games in general, and MMOs in particular, that you can wave away arguments made by people who work in the industry?

    And do you really see this game as a threat to PvE, as though this were a zero sum proposition? If CU funds… and it has at this point… is this clearly going to hurt your (and my own) preference for PvE content in MMOs?

    Meanwhile, bringing up something like the Ouya, saying it hasn’t changed its market, and then using that to dismiss Kickstarter seems to contradict your worry about the impact of CU. But then copping the fact that it might be too soon to tell seems, to me, to turn that into no argument at all.

    Defend you impassioned anti-CU plea!

    Or don’t. Blogging can be PvE too.

  3. I don’t mind a little PvP. I just dont want to dedicate my whole game to it. (-:

    I did not dismiss backing the game out of hand or (like some people it seems) because I have some sort of hangover from WAR or score to settle with Mark Jacobs. I brought up the arguments because I was simply trying to give my thought process behind why those arguments ultimately did not move me to spend even $5 (as Psychochild in specific asked us to do).

    To answer your questions:

    1) CU doesn’t seem to be bringing anything innovative to the table. That’s not to dismiss CSE’s attempts to create a new game – but I don’t buy that they are “doing something new.”

    2) I don’t think CU making its goal will have a big impact on getting future MMO’s funded, but if other developers believe it will, we might ask: who am I to gainsay them? But I don’t need to be a developer or industry insider to see the number of MMO’s being greenlit or currently available. The selection is staggering, as I linked to. And if you have a niche MMO you want made and can’t get backing for it…again, isn’t that what Kickstarter is for?

    3) I don’t know that I see it as a killing blow for PvE, no. Do I think it hurts future PvE development? Yeah. Hasn’t the proliferation of annual FPS releases hurt the development of console games in other genres? What backer wants to spend money rolling the dice on innovation when there is an easy buck to be made in an established genre?

    And that’s my real issue here. Because that is exactly what CSE is doing, despite the marketing to the contrary.

    4) I said I wasn’t sure yet what the impact of Ouya was. I think its too early to tell. If impact is possible, see 3) above for my worries. If there is no impact, yeah, I probably shouldn’t be worried about CU.

    Assuming, of course, the analogy holds. (-;

  4. One element you’re forgetting: there’s often a lag between landing funding and announcing a game. You might notice that we’ve made a lot of noise about Storybricks tech, but we haven’t announce a specific game because we don’t have funding. So, any games you link to have found funding, probably landed a year or more ago. (And, any game announced that doesn’t have funding is just a

    As someone who has been talking to investors for a while, I know first-hand there’s a real dearth of support out there. Even during the time when money was more available, investors wanted a new WoW and wanted the returns from that (and completely misunderstanding the foundation that contributed to that success).

    Supporting CU, even $5 sends a message that those of us looking to work on our own games can use. The 14,873 people who were willing to pony up money for a game that won’t be released in 2 years sent a message that they were interested in a game beyond yet another WoW clone. It his data that will go directly into the pitch to investors.

    If you’ll allow me a metaphor: I volunteered for several years for a bike ride raising money for the National MS society. I don’t suffer from MS or have anyone close to me who does, I wanted to give part of my time to helping others. Not that chipping in $5 is as virtuous as volunteering time, but both acts send a message beyond the direct result.

    Maybe you don’t care about CU. That’s fine. But, let’s not pretend that MMOs, particularly smaller scale ones, are doing just fine and that they will continue to be made no matter what. Your actions have a tremendous effect.

    1. I guess my problem with your analogy is that we are not talking about a charity here. The money I might have to give to CU is competing not with the Red Cross or a Food Bank, but with the games that I am currently playing, and want to continue playing. Do I donate to CU or buy an item in TSW?

      I realize that CU not reaching its Kickstarter goal might have created difficulties for other developers in getting funding. But I stand by my earlier statement comparing it to other businesses. I pledged to the Storybricks Kickstarter because I am intrigued by the concept. CU does nothing for me, and is not a game I would purchase if it were available today. So why should I vote for it with my wallet?

      1. Yeah, as I said, chipping in $5 for CU isn’t as virtuous as volunteering for a charity. But, there’s a parallel: I volunteered my time because I want a cure for MS, not because I was suffering from MS. I encourage people to support CU because they want to see smaller games succeed, not necessarily because they want to see CU realized (although I have high confidence it will be).

        The big risk of innovation for the sake of innovation is that it’s a hard sell. As you saw with the Storybricks KS project, it’s hard to get a lot of people excited about a possibility they can’t quite grasp or see nearly completed. And, the big game successes on KS have (sadly, IMHO) all went directly for nostalgia. Without playing BS games, what Mark Jacobs did was the smartest way to meet a goal he knew he wanted to make.

      2. To rephrase one part, “I encourage people to support CU because they want to see more smaller games be developed and succeed, not necessarily because they want to see CU realized”

        Sorry, it’s late.

    2. When Jacobs pitched his game, he could point to EVE, to DaoC, to WAR, and to a lesser extent, to GW2. He didn’t offer up something new and innovative, he offered up a proven model that will generate income. He found someone who wanted another one of those games – someone who was “looking for WoW” from your example.

      In other words, to me, it looks to me like his success just encouraged the kind of investor behavior that you told me is prohibiting you from getting your game funded.

      To extend your metaphor – my cousin has Ataxia, very similar to MS. We do a walk every year to raise money for her. Does that benefit the National MS Society? Does it help encourage biking or walking? If when I am raising money for her and I tell people about what you do, will that somehow move them to support me?

      At best, it raises an awareness of volunteerism in general. But that is where the metaphor breaks down. Because in the real world, through the lens of this metaphor, I don’t want the National MS Society to succeed. I don’t want you to ride a bike for them. I want to do anything I can to encourage you to raise money for Ataxia instead. As you have said, funding is limited, so I want it coming to my project, not someone else’s.

      I’d rather save my $5. And if you want to raise money for Storybricks, or if Project Gorgon wants another shot, or if Dawntide ever goes that route, I will gladly give you all ten or twenty times that amount. And if I’ve missed something in my reasoning, I apologize. I can only tell you what it looks like from out here as a gamer, which is that CU’s success just made it more difficult for any of those projects to see the light of day.

      Dag nab it, I want *you* to succeed, not the next iteration in a long chain of PvP RvR sub games!

      ETA: I just read Rowan’s comment – apparently I missed the Storybricks KS, so…yeah, smack me for that. /-:

      1. What I replied to rowan applies to your response as well. $5 is hardly a sizable commitment to that specific game, but it does send a message. There’s an old saw, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” Not quite true in an absolute sense for MMOs, but the success of CU does help us break a bit of the investor monotony. And, I think Mark Jacobs will succeed and his success will probably help launch more smaller (and hopefully more innovative) MMOs.

        We’ll see. I know I’ll make what I can from CU’s success, though, even if I’m not getting paid from the money they got. 😉

    1. Thanks! 🙂 It’s been a tough road, and in this case I’m trying to figure out how to avoid more obstacles as we move forward. I’m glad CU is funded, because it gives me a bit more hope for the longer term future for Storybricks. 🙂

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