Hopefully by now you have been able to see our video on The Depths, an RvR dungeon that takes the concept Mythic Entertainment and I pioneered with Darkness Falls to an entirely new level. Unlike so many of the standard dungeons found in most MMORPGs, The Depths is an entirely unique and twisted creation. Part dungeon, part living being, TD will present challenges to the Camelot Unchained player that to date, haven’t been attempted by any MMORPG that I am aware of. Everything from playing NPCs, bosses and building and capturing Points of Power, will help TD be a source of terror and delight to the RvR player and crafter. To hear the full interview and see all the wonderful concept art we’ve done to date, please check out this video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61RRfy2lYVM&feature=player_embedded=
Meet A Backer!Edit
Here is the first in what I hope will be a series of interviews with backers of Camelot Unchained. Our first interviewee is noted author Mark Sumner. Here’s an interview that we recently conducted with Mr. Mark Sumner!
I stood on a stage in London as a nominee for the World Fantasy Award. Right next to me was George R. R. Martin. George was up for Game of Thrones. I was there for my western fantasy, Devil's Tower.
Although Mark Sumner did not win the 1997 World Fantasy Award for best novel - that honor went to Rachel Pollack for Godmother Night - he is the distinguished author of more than 30 novels. Included in this total are his News From the Edge mysteries, which became the basis for a TV series, The Chronicle. When we learned recently that he has backed our Camelot Unchained Kickstarter, we were interested to know more about him, especially his MMOG background.
Please tell us about your career as an author. What have the main highlights been? What have you written most recently?
Fantasy, scifi, thrillers, mysteries... I've written a bit of everything. In one month back in the early '90s, I sold my first story to Asimov's, took first place in Writers of the Future, and sold my first novel. That was a decent month. My writing has often dabbled around the edges of gaming. I wrote (very depressing) fiction that was packed in boxes of the (very depressing) AD&D Dark Sun universe for TSR. If you're still carrying the emotional scars of reading one of those stories, I apologize. Once Wizards of the Coast came on the scene, I wrote The Prodigal Sorcerer novel as part of their original Magic: the Gathering series. I also acted as a game reviewer for different magazines over the better part of a decade.
My series of scifi mysteries, News from the Edge, became the Sci Fi Channel program The Chronicle, which ran for a single season and allowed me a brief chance to play in TV land. Sure, I didn't get rich, but I worked out in a gym next to 18 year-old Jessica Alba while she was prepping for the first episode of Dark Angel. Money isn't everything,
Probably the best day of my career was when I stood on a stage in London as a nominee for the World Fantasy Award. Right next to me was George R. R. Martin. George was up for Game of Thrones. I was there for my western fantasy, Devil's Tower. We both lost. A year later, my book was out of print and I was ghosting YA teen romance novels while George was on his way to being "America's Tolkien." It's hard to be bitter about it, though. George is just such a nice guy.
Then I took about a decade off from writing. A period also known as "trying to pay off the debts accumulated while making a living as a writer."
Most recently I wrote the non-fiction book The Evolution of Everything. I'm not sure I'll do another. Non-fiction is hard. They want footnotes.
When and how did you become an MMOG player? Was there something specific about the category or a particular game that hooked you?
The first game that actually sucked up my life online was the space conquest game, Stellar Emperor, played on the pre-Internet GEnie network. For those not familiar, think of it as EVE Online, only with text instead of graphics, an even meaner social dynamic, and a $5 an hour cost that made playing roughly equal to my mortgage. Monthly fees don't sound so bad now, huh?
I can tell you the exact moment when I realized that MMOs were going to be a Big Fat Deal. I had just started playing Ultima Online and had worked my character up from piss-ant to pipsqueak. Maybe level 8. As I'm wandering the safe streets of town, a level 1 player comes running up - wearing the tattered underwear of doom - to tell me that he had been waylaid and killed just out of town, but that the guy who did for him was only level 5. So would I, strapping warrior that I was, come help him get his stuff back? I agreed. Naturally, as soon as I stepped out of town, his level 40 wizard buddy popped out of nowhere, killed me in one shot, then took all my goods. They both did a ceremonial dance on my corpse. Oh how they laughed.
My first thought was that I had never felt so powerless, frustrated, and aching for revenge. My second thought was that this thing was going to be absolutely huge.
How did you come to try DAoC? How long did you end up playing, and what made it feel special for you?
DAoC was my first real home after leaving Ultima Online. I had tasted of the opaque waters of EverQuest, and wandered the polygonal reality of Asheron's Call, but neither of those worlds felt as well rooted, socially or economically, as UO. Then one day, I rolled up a Midguard hunter in DAoC, just to try it out. I didn't play another game, or even another character, for nearly five years.
No other game had the ability to make me feel like what I was doing in the world actually mattered; mattered not just to me, but to my guild and my whole world. Whether it was massive castle sieges, or holding a position with a doughty few against an onslaught of invaders, DAoC gave me moments when I felt truly heroic. It also gave me opportunities to sneak right into the Albion home turf and rain arrows of righteous death onto unsuspecting British sorts. Ah, good times.
DAoC rewarded exploration, encouraged taking chances, but also delivered enough of a slap for foolhardy action that it actually made you think before acting. There were moments when my heart pounded so hard I worried more about my blood pressure than my XP.
Please give me more of that. And if Polaris guild is still around, Griffus says hi.
How did you learn about Camelot Unchained, what made it appealing, and why did you decide to back our KS?
I learned about CU from reading the spiffy blog of the Ancient Gaming Noob. I love that site, even though I'm both more ancient and much less skillful at most MOOs than he is. I'm like the extremely ancient noob - much of my gaming happened in a different geological age.
As for why I backed you... Are you kidding? Even more solid RvR action dressed up in shiny new graphics? Yes, please. I trust you guys to deliver.
Do you have any parting words for your fellow CU backers, and also for those who are thinking about it?
Too many MMOs, and too many players, have made the false assumption that easy = fun, and that any challenge in a game is just standing in the way of enjoyment. Don't believe it.
Why do people tire so quickly of modern MMOs when they're chock full of risk-free reward? Because unearned rewards have no emotional attachment. No sense of accomplishment. There are a lot of pretty MMOs out there that are as emotionally filling as rice cakes.
You want a game that doesn't bore you as soon as the shine wears off the light saber? Make it one where the human element and the in-game consequences make you sweat for every gain. Insist on some risk to spice up rewards, or even the prettiest dish will seem bland.
Oh yeah, and buy my next book. Whenever I get around to writing it. Thank you!
To all our current backers who are reading this newsletter, we at CSE thank you for your support. You have been awesome to date and I look forward to the day that we are not talking about pledges, backing, etc. but rather how together we can make Camelot Unchained the game that many of us have been waiting so long for, an RvR-focused MMORPG that is willing to take chances, break rules in order to dare to be great. With your continued help and support, we will get there.