Mark Jacobs Interview Explains Alpha Plans and Wants a Pie in his Face

In an exclusive Mark Jacobs interview with GAMEBREAKER, Jacobs answers questions about his Camelot Unchained Kickstarter and about the game itself. City State Entertainment announced its plans to fund the new game with a Kickstarter, and has listed the reward tiers. Jacobs is hoping for feedback on the tiers before the Kickstarter goes live. This is a prelude to the video interview with Gary that will take place this Monday. Jacobs has visited GB before, so we know to expect great things. Stay tuned!

The Mark Jacobs interview starts now!

-The pledge tiers for the CU Kickstarter are just as you described them: generous. You have mentioned you are looking for feedback about the pledge tiers. What are other possible rewards you are looking at?

Thank you very much. It really was quite important for me personally to offer our backers very generous tiers given that we are asking them for $2M. In terms of other rewards, well, we have some of the more common RPG ones like owning an inn and naming a structure, but we also have a tier where you get to throw a fruit pie in my face and have it uploaded as one of our CSE videos.

-You said in your blog post “Clear As Mudd” that you have a dozen more tiers planned. Any hints at what your plans are for those?

Hints? We can do better than that for you guys. We have a $75 tier named “I love Tchotchkes!” that gives our backers lots of Founders Points to buy hats, cloaks, etc. We have a guild tier called “That’s one big guild!” priced at $1,700 that comes with, along other things, 30 digital copies, and “I own an island” at $5,000 where we will build a custom island for a player that is non-instanced and part of the game’s world.

I Own An Island at $5,000 where we will build a custom island for a player that is non-instanced and part of the game’s world.” – Mark Jacobs

-It seems that you looked at the most successful projects on Kickstarter as examples. Did you also look at some of the less successful or failed ones as well?

Absolutely. I’ve always preached the importance of learning from unsuccessful games as well as successful ones, and it’s no different here. I have spent a lot of time looking at all the game-based Kickstarters I could, and I tried to learn from both the successes and failures.

-If so, were there any that you thought might have succeeded if the project had offered a different tier structure or rewards?

Yes, as well as issues with lack of updates, transparency and constant feedback from the key members of the team.

-The dev diary outlining the pledge tiers just came out yesterday. Have you had useful feedback since then?

More than I could fully handle actually, with the vast majority, thankfully, being positive. The largest amount of negative feedback we received was on our “Alpha Access” tier because my definition of alpha is very different from what’s usual today. To me, alpha means helping us break barely working code, boring and repetitive testing, shell of a game, etc., where the players were expecting the more PR-oriented versions now common with MMOs. So, I’m restructuring the wording and some of the tiers to reflect this. Now, I’m not complaining – I can’t, really – since way back in 2000, I pushed the whole concept of tiered betas (Beta 1, Beta 2, etc.) and was mocked wildly for it. :)

-What about really unique reward ideas?

We have some really unique ideas such as allowing people to have their voices in our game, throwing a pie at me, etc., but we are always looking for more, especially before we launch. As long as it doesn’t change the balance of the game and/or add an advantage in RvR, I’m interested.

-What’s the best way to send you feedback and is there any particular feedback you are looking for most at this point?

I can be found lurking on the MMORPG site, Massively, our subreddit but I’ll be happy to jump into your forums as well if people want to give us some feedback there.

We have some really unique ideas such as allowing people to have their voices in our game, throwing a pie at me, etc., but we are always looking for more, especially before we launch” – Mark Jacobs

-Several designers have taken to inXile Entertainment’s Kicking It Forward project where successfully funded projects pledge to put 5% of their profit toward funding other Kickstarter projects. Is this something you’ve considered?

It’s already in our Kickstarter. I worked with Brian Fargo’s Interplay/Engage years ago and I’m absolutely planning to back his initiative. Frankly, I think it’s the least anyone can do who is successfully funded on Kickstarter. If we are, I hope CSE ends up backing more projects than anyone else does; that would be a wonderful legacy for Camelot Unchained.

-What are a few things us fans can get excited about for when CU goes live?

They won’t have to read any more Foundational Principles from me! J Besides that lovely perk, if you are a player who is interested in RvR or crafting and want a game that won’t hold your hand, isn’t a WoW-clone (or WoW-spawn), then I hope you’ll like Camelot Unchained. This game will be about the RvR, not PvE, raiding or other such current MMO staples. Besides that, well, I’m sure players will get to kill me quite often in the game as I plan to show up regularly, and without special powers, abilities, etc. Should be a lot of fun.

Don’t miss the exclusive GAMEBREAKER Mark Jacobs interview with Gary Gannon this Monday.