The Camelot Unchained Refund Stonewalling Begins

Last week Mark Jacobs dropped the bombshell that his company, seven years into the Camelot Unchained project and more than four years after the promised delivery date, had taken it upon itself to work on a different game, Final Stand: Ragnarok.

He did say that backers of the Kickstarter campaign would get the new game, but since there isn’t anything like a ship date for either the new game or Camelot Unchained, that seems like a pretty easy promise to make.  Backers now have double the non-available games, which still totals up to zero games.

He was also quite clear that he and his company were under no legal obligation to give backers access to the new game nor even to finish Camelot Unchained.  This came in a context that makes me think he wants us to be grateful to him that he’s giving us anything at all.

So I decided I wanted a refund.  I took all the information I had related to my Kickstarter pledge and sent it to the address indicated on their store FAQ page.

(It is if you want it.)

What I got in response was a form letter from Mark.  I love it when you take the time to put together information and the company just ignores it and sends you something you didn’t ask for instead.

In this case it was a plea from Mark Jacobs for another chance.  He is going to give another interview later today.  He’ll have a schedule for us.  He is sure we’ll like what we see.  He is ignoring requests for a refund in hopes that we’ll be taken in yet again.

Basically, after having had to take everything on faith for almost seven years it is a plea to continue to take things on faith, because the track record so far say that any dates he announces today will end up being slipped later on.

I know that software development is art rather than science.  But I also resent being taken for a gullible sucker when somebody tells me things over and over and they consistently and repeatedly fail to come to pass.  And when somebody starts reminding me that they’re not legally obligated to live up to what they say big red flashing lights start going off.

The only useful bit of information in the whole email was what they would need to process a refund.

In order to process your refund, please send us all transaction ID(s), address and phone number. All refunds are processed by PayPal, can take 90 days to process, and can carry fees (per our refund policy )

That is actually considerably less information than I sent them in my first email message, save for the “transaction ID” request.

What transaction ID?  I assume it is the transaction ID for the credit card charge.  But the original email from Kickstarter does not have a transaction ID attached, just the usual last four digits of an otherwise obfuscated credit card number.  If I had used PayPal or Amazon payments, I might be able to find it via that route, except that back in 2013 Kickstarter didn’t use either of those.  You had to put up your own credit card.

My credit card statement for the charge, which I do still have, does not show a transaction ID.

I tried calling up the credit card company to see if they could get a transaction ID for the charge, however they only keep records back for six years, so a charge on May 2, 2013 isn’t available in their system any more.

The agent was mildly impressed I was trying to get a refund on such an old transaction and suggested that I could write the the archives department to ask if they could find something.  When I asked for their email address I was told they only transact via postal mail or fax.

I will write something out and send it off and maybe I will get something back some day, but I doubt it.

I strongly suspect that Mark Jacobs has the transaction ID requirement in there because it isn’t something to which people have easy access.  He can go on claiming that refunds are available while not having to worry about actually having to give refunds.

I will respond again with the information I do have, but I expect no refund will be forthcoming.

It looks like my only recourse is to give the project a frowny face over on Kickstarter.

That empty box is where you mark when what you backed has been delivered

That and to try not to such a gullible sucker again.


14 thoughts on “The Camelot Unchained Refund Stonewalling Begins

  1. zaphod6502

    I think it is highly likely there is no money available to honor refund requests. I’ll add this to my ever increasing list of high profile Kickstarter failures. Thankfully I did not back this project.


  2. anypo8

    From the Massively article: “[Update: MOP tipster Wilhelm has noted that some of the info might be difficult to come by, given that some credit card companies do not keep transaction IDs that old, but Jacobs says that people should send in what they do have and support will try to match you by email address.]”

    Maybe there’s hope for you after all. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Naithin

    I didn’t end up KS backing this project (largely because I missed it in the KS phase), but it is one I’ve checked in on intermittently over the years. Sad to see it go this way, and to an extent I feel your pain.

    Ashes of Creation has done a similar gamesplit with the $%^$ing Battle Royale spinoff they have. Similar to Jacobs, they claim a lot of capability / engine crossover, and hell, who knows, that might even be true.

    But it still occasionally fills me with an incandescent rage to see them spending efforts on an entirely different game instead of the one they’ve committed to. Legals be damned, ethically it was the basis of our transaction and regardless of what disclaimers there may be around KS, it goes against the spirit of the agreement we entered into.


    Good luck with your refund!!


  4. p0tsh0t

    Well I guess I shouldn’t be surprised after the previous list of unmitigated fiascos he’s had a hand in. Unsurprisingly, his mendacity far exceeds his capacity to actually even do one fucking thing he said except “yes, please” to taking the money of well intentioned backers.

    Please meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Was a time that tech could and did change the world. Over time, though, commercial or critical success was replaced by sheer unmitigated greed and getting funded was no longer the means but rather the end in itself. Exhibit A, another Kickstarter disaster. The only good news is that end stage capitalism is self limiting.


  5. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    anypo8 – Funny thing. In going through my old email, I found that Steam actually includes the transaction ID with all of their receipt email messages. So it isn’t like nobody sends those out, but I don’t know why they think CSE thinks somebody would have one from a seven year old transaction… unless, as I suggested, that is what they were counting on.


  6. bhagpuss

    I didn’t go for the CU Kickstarter but i am in on Ashes of Creation, which, as Naithin points out, has followed a similar trajectory. The interesting comparison there, I think, is the absolute and total lack of interest shown by the outside world to AoC’s Battle Royale spin-off. My feeling is that, since it’s been such an utter and complete failure, the developers’ focus will be re-directed to the actual game they contracted to build. In that sense, it has probably been a good thing.

    With CSE’s awkwardly-named Final Stand: Ragnarok I suspect things may follow a similar pattern. The new game will appear as an Early Access title, there will be a flurry of interest, which won’t last long. In a matter of weeks there won’t be enough people playing to justify the USP of massive battles (just like AoC’s BR couldn’t muster enough people to spin up a match). CSE will then be forced back to work on CU, possibly with some new and useful data from the failed game.

    Where the danger really lies is in FS:R becoming a runaway success, in which case the model would be Fortnite or H1Z1. If that happens, you can kiss goodbye to CU for a long time, if not forever.

    As for Kickstarter, I think it’s well-proven now that it works very well for physical products and performance works, provided the people organizing and producing them can maintain focus. I’m not sure it will ever be useful for long-term projects like MMOs, except as part of the initial PR process and as a calling card to external investors.

    Good luck with the refund. I’m not as cynical as you on this – I think you will get it eventually. It might not come before game does, though. In which case, if the game’s any good, you can just use the refund to buy it. Which is starting to look like the best plan for all of us, minus the detour of backing the thing and taking a refund, of course.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Mi Web

    Fuck mark Jacobs anyone who says people are going to react how they react.. deserves to have their head kicked in… And I am not one to advocate violence. What a son of a bitch. Good on all you supporters who took this on in good faith. Fuck that guy. Also thanks for the article.👍


  8. Scott

    Mark has been extremely responsive to comments over at massively

    It may take some time to get your refund but I’d be shocked if you didn’t evetually get it.


  9. Bonnie A Schmidt

    All you really have when you’re dead and gone is your reputation and your legacy…. Mark? I was a loyal DAOC player for 5 years in Hibernia..Tankyou was my name…I trusted you with my hard earned $60 for CU. I encouraged 4 real life friends to invest their $60 in YOU AND CU. Mark, you have betrayed us. Your reputation and legacy is now a sickening betrayal. Fuck you.


  10. Concerned

    Experiencing exact same issue. Produced emails, receipts, application of pledges to accounts, screens shots of my account, etc. The only thing I’ve been unable to duplicate is the “Transaction ID”. Seems they’ve built in a way to halt the refund, while still telling people they will.


  11. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Concerned – I was able to write to Kickstarter… you have to dig a bit to find the support email address… and they sent me the transaction ID. But it wasn’t available in any other place I looked.


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