Camelot Unchained – 3 Days and $400K To Go

Okay, maybe a little less than $400K, but the Camelot Unchained Kickstarter campaign is coming down to the wire.

Morning of April 29

Morning of April 29

It could happen.  In looking at the records of similar campaigns on the various sites that track them, projects can pick up as many pledges in the last two days as they did on the opening day.  Camelot Unchained had a $550K opening day.  You can see a pledges and backers by day chart here.  So it is well within the realm of possibility.

I wonder, in a general Kickstarter campaign way, how certain aspects of the way things have been done have helped or hurt them.  Mark Jacobs has been very forthright about the niche appeal of the game, and certainly the “No PvE content” aspect is sending some people away.  But that is to be expected.

Other things though, like tiers that allow limited backers, do not appear to have been used… well? correctly? efficiently?  To my mind, that is supposed to create a sense of artificial scarcity to get people to pledge right away.

The first four limited tiers ($25, $50, $55, $110) have a combined total of 25,000 “limited” slots, which is roughly 2.5 times the total number of backers up to this point.  If your limited tiers are still open and available with only three days left to go on the campaign, I have to think they are not working as designed.

The tier price points also seem to be a bit confusing.  In past campaigns, there has been a pattern of regular price points ($25, $50, $75, $100) which are often the limited tiers, and then a slightly more expensive unlimited tier above each that gives just a little bit less than the limited tier, to encourage people to pledge right away.

Instead, it is a bit of a muddle.  Why would you have competing $50 and $55 limited tiers, for example?  Why nothing at the magic price point of $100?  I know $110 is just a bit more, but in my experience, $$100 is often a mental threshold.

And then there is what you get for each tier, which I find to be unnecessarily complex.  The $50 and $55 price points mentioned above differ on so few points as to make me wonder why you would make them two separate tiers.

Ah well, brighter minds than my own no doubt have a narrative to explain the complexity.  And they certainly did well selling the higher level tiers.  Of the 75 pledge slots at $2,500 and above, only 6 are still available.

And it is too late to change any of that in any case.  The next three days will tell the tale.

21 thoughts on “Camelot Unchained – 3 Days and $400K To Go

  1. DocHoliday

    It took me a while to figure things out with their tiers, luckily I did find their pricing chart down at the bottom of the main page which made it much easier to figure out which tier had the rewards I wanted.

    Here’s hoping for a strong finish!


  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @DocHoliday – Yeah, the chart is helpful, though it is looking at the chart when you start wondering if all of those tiers were really necessary. At least they fixed the chart to match the individual tier graphics. There were some mis-matches early on.


  3. DocHoliday

    I’m sure that probably did turn some people off – but I think they’re really making up for it with all the information coming out over the weekend and planned for the next couple of days.

    I’m just bummed I missed out on that $180 package with the internal testing :(


  4. bhagpuss

    I was just studying the $50 and $55 tiers a few minutes ago, having gone to the Kickstarter after reading the impassioned plea at Healing The Masses. I had the same difficulty you did working out what the point of those two particular tiers was.

    I thought from the start that the tiers were over-complicated and poorly designed, which is odd since the rest of the campaign has been excellent. I really hope it succeeds, even though I doubt I’ll play it. I don’t want to contribute but if it gets to the last day and it looks close then I still might but I really don’t have so much disposable income that I can afford to give out $50 now for something I might get in two years time and probably wouldn’t want when I got it.


  5. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – Indeed, I cannot say that CU would be a game for me. But it is interesting enough that I would like to see it made, which is why I kicked in. If nothing else, maybe it will bring some new ideas out that will help the genre as a whole.


  6. DocHoliday

    I’m looking at this game both ways, as one I want to play but also I think an important project for the industry. There needs to be more variety and risks taken or else we’ll get a revolving door of games that close, and WoW.


  7. HarbingerZero

    Important for the industry? In what sense? We need more developers willing to front their own money? Players need to give even more money to games not yet developed if they want to see them on the shelves? To further solidify the trend of ignoring PvE to please PvP player bases based on the idea that there are somehow more profitable?

    There is nothing about this enterprise that I want to encourage.


  8. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @HZ – “To further solidify the trend of ignoring PvE to please PvP player bases based on the idea that there are somehow more profitable?”

    That is a trend of which I was not aware. Where do you see this manifesting itself?


  9. HarbingerZero

    I’m more surprised that you haven’t seen it. Especially since at times developers have been rather open about it. You and I have talked before about the multiple games that lock out or restrict various equipment or graphical looks to promote WYSIWYG PVP environments. But you might be referring to the profitability part. How about Fallen Earth acknowledging overhauling its entire equipment system to promote PvP balance and use in hopes of generating more income? Or, more to the point, how many PVP only MMO’s are there? How many PvE only MMO’s are there?


  10. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @HZ – Well, to start with, it depends on what you mean by MMO. Are World of Tanks and League of Legends in you definition? If so, I guess I could see more PvP incoming.

    But if we keep to games where there is a world that is more than a lobby, I am not seeing a lot of MMOs that are exclusively PvP. What have we had of late, PlanetSide 2? Even Darkfall Unholy Something has a PvE element to it.

    And on the flip side, how many MMOs are 90% PvE with PvP tacked on in the form of battle grounds and the like? I don’t think you get to exclude WoW, EQ2, LOTRO, and the derivatives thereof because of that. WoW is still a PvE game.

    And how much of this push towards PvP in some quarters… because I still don’t see it as big as you seem to… is because they have made PvE progression so easy and so quick that they are now looking for a way to hang on to players beyond the now statutory three months?

    I certainly have moaned in the past about the evils of trying to balance gear and skills between PvP and PvE, so you end up with gear that pretty much has two sets of stats depending on who you are hitting. So to my eyes, it is games trying to have it all that are more of a problem.

    Certainly there is nothing to make me think a niche game funding through Kickstarter is somehow a threat to the PvE play style.


  11. Mekhios

    I think they were a bit ambitious with the amount of money they are asking for. $2 million is on the high side for a niche PvP MMO. Also the dev does not have the same star power as say eg. someone like Roberts. Plus there is the Kickstarter fatigue effect.

    Even so $1.6 million is certainly impressive but if the dev was counting on stretch goals pulling in extra funding they may be sorely disappointed.


  12. ikinone

    I fear that if they cannot design donation tiers well, it does not bode well for the game itself.

    Overestimating the number of supporters is an acceptable mistake, but making the tiers simply so unattractive smells of deeper design problems.

    Being clear about the rewards offered in return for backing would be a nice start. Descriptions are vague like “special in-game title”. What the hell is the title? Please don’t say it’s the same as the inane kickstarter tier title.

    Spamming caps in the tier descriptions, really?

    The presentation of this project combined with the disaster that was WAR does not do much to instill me with confidence, despite some of the wonderful ideas Jacobs has presented.


  13. HarbingerZero

    I would not include MOBA’s like LoL or WoT in that, no. And I am certainly not going to count Darkfall as having any PvE content – Jacobs is honest enough to admit that the Crafting element in CU doesn’t count as a PvE element, so Darkfall doesn’t make the cut either. You’re trying to hedge the numbers on what we all know is a lost cause: there are more MMO’s without PvE elements than MMO’s without PvP elements.

    That’s a side argument though. I have answered your question; I’m still waiting for an answer to mine. (-: In what way does CU’s success benefit the genre (your words) or industry (Doc’s claim)? Why is it important for me to invest in?


  14. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @HZ – Somebody is trying something that isn’t just WoW clone done in free to play, or a crap Asian import. A niche subscription MMO. That alone seems to be a worthwhile variation if only to prove that the idea isn’t completely dead. An RvR (as opposed to strictly PvP) only MMO with no levels and no PvE yet a heavy emphasis on crafting, housing and other things that are generally ill-planned add ons might give somebody else the will to bring those into the core of their product rather than putting them at the periphery.

    As for your vast PvP conspiracy thesis, I still don’t see it. You have named exactly one MMO going that way (and which is doing it because their PvE failed to hold people, so it is a desperation move) and I am going to guess from the change up in your answer (went from only PvP to PvP elements) that you are counting in WoW, EQ2, LOTRO and the like, which strikes me as looking for an issue where there is none. It seems like you are the one who is hedging numbers if you are counting them.

    And if you’re going to get picky about who is answering questions, you certainly skipped a few of mine.

    Anyway, maybe you should expand on your theory in a blog post rather than in a comment thread.


  15. HarbingerZero

    To answer the unanswered questions: 1) WoW, EQ2, etc. may have begun life as PvE with PvP tacked on, but that is no longer true. The current patch notes for WoW are ample evidence of that. 2) Yes, I agree that the trend of rising PvP is because of PvE being made too easy and games wanting to have it all. Since you have noticed it as well, I’m not sure its worth arguing in a blog post. I said “trend” not “vast conspiracy.” (-:


  16. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @HZ – We sort of agree. There is a semantic difference. You say they are going to PvP in search of money, I say they are going there because they hosed their PvE game.

    But I am serious, you should totally do an “It is the Death of PvE” blog post.


  17. DocHoliday

    @HZ since you referenced my comment, figured I’d chime in. My thoughts were that here’s a game built by some pretty talented folks (whether you like them doesn’t matter, but there is talent) that’s trying new things (housing and stealth for example) that if they work, could start to trickle out to other games. This industry is a copy-cat industry (ok, most probably are) but the bigger games are less likely to take chances unless they see something work well somewhere else.


  18. Potshot

    As much as I’d like to see something, anything shake things up, this whole effort has put me off kick starter. To be fair, garriott’s latest chapter of shameless self aggrandizement did that first, but hey, that’s the way RGdeC rolls, yo.

    But this Jacobs thing… Camelot needs a new eyepiece for its understandascope. They may get there yet, but if I’m coming off of WAR, I think I’d want to start off with a KO of palooka joe before I asked for a title bout.

    Ikinone said it, this kickstarter was the first design decision and evidence of the kind of execution that we’ve already seen in WAR.

    I hope for the best but have learned to expect far less.


  19. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    I was a little bemused by last night’s update, which included more pledge tiers. Because that was clearly the problem here, not enough freakin’ pledge tiers. But then, I don’t know what else to do to get things moving… so when in doubt, do the same thing, only more so.

    I was also interested to see that the update was starting to shape the “still a victory even if we did not make it” tale. We’ll just need to figure out who stabbed us in the back and we’ll be all set.


  20. Mark Jacobs

    The reason for the additional high-end pledge tier (I’m adding some more today) was simply because the other ones sold out and people are asking for new ones. :) FYI, I didn’t put in the Crafter Tier that backers asked for because it just wouldn’t have fit in well the existing tiers so I’m adding the requested items to the Founder’s Exchange instead.

    In terms of your “still a victory” interpretation, I meant it in quite a different way. When this KS began there was a lot of skepticism about the concept (game, 2M ask) and of course, myself. We’re now 2 days away from funding or failure and I wanted to tell the backers just how great they have been from all aspects of this project. Just look at the comment section (almost 90K) for an indication of their passion and support. I’m sorry that you, and possible others, might interpret it differently. However, let me clear up any possible confusion by simply saying that if this KS fails to fund it is my fault, period.


  21. Pingback: Shocker Alert: I’m Not Supporting Camelot Unchained | Harbinger Zero

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