Finding a large niche – Camelot Unchained announced
Are we ready for an MMORPG without PvE grind, and where experience is gained solely through PvP-related encounters? Perhaps it’s not an unthought of concept, but definitely one that differs from the biggest titles going. Nevertheless, Mark Jacobs – one of the minds behind Dark Age of Camelot (DAoC) more than a decade ago – feels that this is a good step to take, and has launched a $2million Kickstarter to fund the provisionally-titled Camelot Unchained.
Placing emphasis entirely on Realm-vs-Realm combat (a term coined by DAoC), the game is proposing three competing realms, the conflict between them being the sole source of player advancement – fighting people, capturing locations, or crafting equipment to help with the fighting and capturing.
As an incentive for player crafting, pieces made are intended to be better quality than standard gear, and not something can be superceded by good loot from monsters. (“The best way to accomplish this is to ensure that there are no drops of powerful items from NPCs”, the website suggests in one of the game’s principles. “Secondly, to make sure that the first point is followed, let’s just say that there are no NPC drops at all and damn few NPCs.”)
In turning away from the standard PvE based MMO gameplay, which the project’s Kickstarter page describes as moving MMOs into being “risk-averse” and “less challenging”, the game does step into less mainstream territory. Add to this that the game is proposed as subscription-based, at a time where free-to-play is becoming a necessity for many titles to survive. In the press release, Jacobs openly acknowledges the game is not following a standard for a wide audience, saying “Camelot Unchained isn’t a game with something for everyone. Instead, we’re aiming it at a niche audience of dedicated RvR-focused MMORPG players.”
And yet it would seem there is an ironically large niche – the project has, at the time of writing, achieved $658,000, including one contribution that is at least $10k alone.
It is also telling that the project is seeking $2million in total, but if this amount is reached then Jacobs will contribute an additional $2million – suggesting that the Kickstarter is being used as a test of player interest as much as covering funding needs.
With over a month to go, and further information promised (and likely needed to maintain the funding momentum), there is still just over two-thirds of the funding goal to manage, although given the initial burst of interest that does look extremely feasable. It will perhaps be ironic if a title looking for a niche audience ends up outfunding games that are presented as being more accessible to a wide audience.