Stealth Unchained – Our Next Stretch Goal and So much more + pictures!
Well, it’s Stretch Goal time! Another Stretch Goal bit the dust, and, like a phoenix (a sneaky phoenix), a new one rises in its place. Thanks to all of our Backers, who have made this, and other, Stretch Goals, possible. At 3.5M, your donations to our game make all of us at CSE so grateful to have a Community like yours. You’ve seen us through the good and the bad times, and thanks to you, Camelot Unchained continues on its path to launch.
Before going into detail on the Stealth Unchained SG, I also want to cover a couple of other topics, beginning with Backer Benefits. In previous updates, I mentioned that we were going to give our Backers other benefits besides what we have covered in our Pledge Tiers and/or other Stretch Goals. Now that some time has passed since we announced the delay in Beta, it’s time to expand upon this a bit more.
Backer Benefits will fall into two distinct categories: Backer Rewards and Subscriber Rewards. The first category consists of virtual items that are given to Backers based on achieving Stretch Goals, as well as the length of time that a Backer has supported this project. These virtual items are, of course, purely cosmetic, and geared to both in-game as well as in-C.U.B.E. rewards. These items will not be for sale, ever!
Like Backer Rewards, Subscriber Rewards will be based on the length of time that a Backer has been a subscriber to our game. As you might expect, they are also not obtainable with real-life currency. These rewards will include things such as CSE Points, special physical items, etc. that will only be made available to our subscribers, as another thank-you for your continued support of the game. Frankly, one of my goals with this game is to have one of the best, if not the best, reward systems for our Backers. It’s tough when you are competing with some of the most successful games in the industry, but we’re not going to let that stop us from trying. As both a crowd-funded game and a subscriber-based game, we should always remember to thank all of our customers for making this possible.
Besides the news on Backer Benefits, I also want to mention that Andrew provided another info dump/demo of his new terrain editor/system to those who’ll be using it. Big, giant smiles from Tyler and Ben, as Andrew explained how things are currently working, and where we will go with it in the short-term. We are looking forward to giving a full presentation to our Backers in the near future, as well as showing lots of new terrain for our Backers to see and play around in. The first part of the game to see the results of the new terrain code will be C.U.B.E., making that special place the initial test-bed for the new system. So, not only will you C.U.B.Ers be creating lots of structures, you’ll be helping us work on getting the system ready for the rest of the game. And this includes the addition of water, grass, new trees, and more tech from Nvidia (BTW, thanks for the new video cards!). Not bad for a part of the puzzle that made some folks wonder aloud why we would use it, eh?
And now, without further distraction (Squirrel?!), it’s time to move on to the central part of today’s update: stealth, and our tri-part idea for it. For those of you who have seen the StTA on this topic in the forums, most of this information is not new. However, lots of little bits and pieces are being shown here for the first time, along with some more great art from our talented artists.
Stealth in MMORPGs has always been a controversial subject. While we know that this Stretch Goal will stir up lots of feelings, we think it’ll be more than worth it. I initially intended to deliver this as a live stream, but given the length and breadth of the material covered, I decided to present it in this manner instead. I will follow up this presentation with a live stream Q&A next week in our usual, non-scripted, chaotic, and fun manner. I mean, after all, if you can’t follow up reading an SG like this by having an exchange with the person who is responsible for this SG, why be considered Backers, right? For those that can’t make the live stream, I’ll be on the Forums as usual, to talk to you folks about this SG, Stealth Unchained.
To begin with, having stealth in my MMORPGs has always been a focus (sometimes “Yes, let’s do it” and other times “Oh god, my head hurts just thinking of it!”) of mine. Dark Age of Camelot is regarded by many as having the best stealth system in any MMORPG, and I think that Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning also had an interesting stealth system. However, before, during, and after the Kickstarter, I was clear that we wouldn’t have a stealth system in our game unless I believed it was a great system, one which added a lot to the game, and that the stealth mechanics had to meet a number of criteria.
The most important criteria for having stealth were that it was fun, not OP, wouldn’t promote/encourage stealther gank groups, no stunlocking, no easy on/easy off stealth, no unlimited stealth + strong opener + vanish, as well as other goals that I have talked about on the forums since day one. In other words, stealth can’t be seen as an “I Win” button, or “Easy Mode” for players. As you might imagine, the “how” of achieving these goals was the hardest part. And beyond that, I wanted, no, needed, to make stealth work within the entire framework of RvR in Camelot Unchained, and not just for individual/small group encounters. Stealthers in our game must be seen as a vital part of the “big picture,” if they are worth the effort that we must put into them, just as we would for any other class.
Additionally, part of the problem is that even the word “stealth” conjures up so many different scenarios and visions for people. It is a word loaded with more baggage than the Kardashian household on a family vacation. And that was the core problem: how to make a stealth class in 2015 for some of the most experienced MMORPGers on the planet, in an RvR-focused game? So, before going into the solution, let me once again be very clear with our goals for stealth in Camelot Unchained.
Goal #1 – Design a fun, interesting stealth mechanic, and classes that are not seen as “Easy Mode” by non-stealthers
Goal #2 – Do not design a class that is centered around a strong opener, stun, and vanish with long/unlimited stealth, nor a class that can hide, one-shot, vanish again
Goal #3 – Design a class that has the ability to be very active and sought-after, either in RvR groups or as roamers
Goal #4 – Design a class that some non-traditional stealthers want to play
Goal #5 – Design a class that requires skill to play well, and not just unlimited patience
Goal #6 – Design a system where a gank group of stealthers is not possible
Goal #7 – Design a system that doesn’t affect the launch date of the game
The solution to the problem started with the notion that we were going to have to make things more complicated…and then make them simpler, as well (Yay! Developer double-talk FTW, right?). Actually, when you read about the solution, I hope you will agree that what I just said is exactly what we are proposing to do with the addition of stealth to our game.
The first step was for me to accept that all stealthers are not looking for the same thing out of a stealth system, especially in an RvR-focused game like the one we are creating here. Once I did that, I then had to determine, as best as possible, not only what kinds of things interest many/most of our stealthers, but also what best fits our game.
Fortunately, most of these points of interest are pretty obvious, and roles such as scouts, archers who can move unseen through a forest, killers who love to add to the general slaughter, etc., all immediately came to mind. But now, how to fit them into our proposed Path System, and still meet the goals I laid out above? Well, that was easy too. It didn’t and doesn’t have to fit the Path System like a glove! After all, we’ve said from the beginning that we aren’t going to have mirrored classes, and we also said that we weren’t afraid to try something different and BSC. Here, that means that we should be willing to say that not all classes have the same number of Paths, or maybe some have just one Path, and that’s what we think the right attitude will be.
By departing from the Path concept for some of these classes, we can focus on more tightly defined stealth-based classes, with less fear of any of them being OP. This also allows us to add an additional class to the game, for a smaller development cost than would otherwise be the case. This also allows us to focus on a more limited set of skills and abilities for each class, but then create abilities that are strongly defined, to allow the class(es) to fulfill the main reason (role) for their existence.
The importance of these points will be clearer once you read through this document, so let’s quickly move on to our initial vision for these classes. The vision behind the system is (interestingly enough, just like our RvR game) based on a three–part solution. Instead of having one class and trying to make it a “one size fits all” class, I decided to try to parcel stealth out to three different classes, in three very different ways. By creating three classes that all use different versions of stealth, as well as different playstyles, we are able to create three very interesting classes, instead of one that tries to do too much and doesn’t make anyone happy. The other thing to keep in mind is that since our game is a Rock-Paper-Scissors game, splitting up the stealth class in this manner allows us to better define, design, and implement the RPS elements that will make everything fit nicely together.
Part I – Archers
The first part of the system and the first stealth-using archetype/class, which is already confirmed, gives us our archers. These were unlocked during the initial Kickstarter, along with a camouflage system. I am talking about them here partly because not everybody is aware of what was said in the past, but more importantly, because they too are an integral part of the RvR mix. The camouflage system will be available to all classes, as some of our concept art has already shown, but the more powerful and magical aspects of it will only be available to archers. And this is a very important distinction. Here’s a concept piece of what a TDD archer might look like in our game –
Just as in the real world, you can wear camouflage clothing, but it comes with a lot of drawbacks. OTOH, in our world, archers will be able to call on their own abilities to unlock the hidden power of camouflage armor. As you can see in our quick .GIF, this could be a very powerful mechanic, but only given the right circumstances. This class is geared to the players that are drawn to fulfilling the role of a more traditional ranger-style class, rather than the more magical archers, which we have seen in many MMORPGs.
And let’s be clear about this: the basic camo skill is not intended to be a backdoor method to giving stealth to everybody. It can be useful in certain situations, but camo in this game will not work like something straight out of Predator, or anything like that. Think about how camo works in the real world, and you’ll get a better idea about how it might work in our game. Camo armor is meant to work only in certain areas and situations. For example, a TDD wearing the garb of the Fall Court will stick out like a Frost Giant if they are standing on a green plain, and that would make them easier to hit from a distance! The other thing to keep in mind is that camo armor/covering will also come with its own special downsides, besides just not blending into everything. Well, until we announce the Gecko race, at least! The use of camo armor, without the magical enhancement of archers, is just another set of clothing that can be helpful in the right situation, but is nothing like true stealth, invisibility, etc. Here is one concept piece –
Let’s say it again in different words: when they activate their abilities, will archers’ camo act as the “Mantle of Arthur” or some similar cloak of invisibility? No, of course not. Camouflage is not invisibility…rinse, wash and repeat. Does camo use the Veil? No, not at all. Will you be harder to see as you move through parts of the forest or similar areas? Yes, absolutely. Will you be able to find a nice, comfortable spot and hunker down, waiting for a target? Yes. Will you be able to do that and ‘one-shot’ someone? No, not unless you are picking off one of the little sick ones! Will you also be able to shoot at a target and then use your camouflage to instantly vanish again? Nope, not a chance. Camouflage + archery could give you a good opener, but you will then be more easily visible for everyone to see. And remember, this is not going to be a game where you can one-shot your opponent. We have been very clear about this from the beginning, and it hasn’t changed, not one bit. Here’s an example of what camouflage armor could look like –
Here’s another couple of pieces that show some Arthurian armor before and after the addition of more camouflage elements –
So, let’s sum up what archers in Camelot Unchained will be able to do: move through the forest unseen by most, use camouflage and not the Veil in order to remain hidden, fulfill the hopes and dreams of players who want to play true “rangers” (okay, maybe not all their hopes and dreams, but we are trying). These folks and the camouflage system are, as per above, already confirmed for the game’s launch. BTW, who hunts the huntsmen?
Part 2 – Scouts
The second class that I’m going to talk about here are the true scouts. Wait a second MJ, I thought you said that the archers can move around in the forest unseen? Aren’t they scouts? Well, yes, they can definitely act as scouts in certain situations, but without a true invisibility/Veil mechanic, how can they scout all over the world, right? And here’s where we come to one of the very clever bits of this concept: How we can make a truly viable scouting class that can rely on scouting in order to progress.
To do this, we start with the idea that for a scout to be truly viable, they need to have a very powerful stealth mechanic. A scout with a very limited duration stealth, whether through the Veil or otherwise, isn’t very useful. OTOH, a combatant with that kind of stealth would be a real PITA to balance, as other classes built around the same mechanics have been.
So, how to make this work? Well, that was kind of easy when you think about the role scouts are supposed to fulfill. They scout. They don’t assassinate, they don’t kill, they scout. Once you remove the concept of killing other players from this class, and instead focus on their ability to scout, you can reward them for doing so, and things come together quite nicely. Thus, we should simply create a class whose progression is partly based on the revolutionary concept of scouting.
That being said, how to do that without also making a character who could be useful/played as an assassin? That’s where Soul Walking comes in. Similar to the concept of astral projection, this class uses an ability to separate its soul from its body to float through the Realms. This could use a system similar to our spirit pets, but instead of controlling a spirit pet, you actually become the spirit that is walking through the world. As a matter of fact, two different Paths that you could take with this class might be something like “I Dream of Scoutie!” or “Astral me, Baby! (Path names are totally confirmed, totally!).
In truth, the separate Paths make a lot of sense, and allow players to choose whether they want to spend more time in spirit or corporeal form. While in spirit form, the player would have greater freedom of movement, but when they needed to recharge their abilities and rest, they would have to be carried around via a lantern or other device, or simply return to wherever their body is resting. OTOH, in corporeal form, the player would have more autonomy, but would lose some of the easy movement of the spirit. Of course, this choice would be up to the player. Do you spend more time in spirit form than you should, because it is important to your group/Realm that you do so? Do you play cautiously, or do you take the engines to 110%? The choice is yours.
Then again, by having corporeal form, you will also have certain advantages before you switch over to stealth mode. And that’s the important thing to remember: Either way, you will be able to switch into stealth and do your scouting thing. Oh, and please keep in mind that this part of the stealth system really is a work-in-progress. Like so many things in the game, it can certainly change, but we think it is an idea worth pursuing at this point.
Now, besides being scouts, what else could this class do? Well, they are the best class at infiltrating enemy defenses during a siege, or while preparing to begin one. For example, like in the movie Ghost, they can learn to use telekinesis to move things around, break things, and create havoc. They cannot actively engage a corporeal player in a 1:1 duel, but they can certainly do things to cause harm to that player. In a perfect world, they would be able to be part Hawkeye from The Last of the Mohicans, part Patrick Swayze from Ghost, and part gremlins from, well, Gremlins.
Of course, their projections can be captured/killed by enemies, and they cannot go corporeal unless they reunite with their body. Range from their body/device increases over time and practice, of course, like any other skill.
As you can imagine, this class would be extremely useful in RvR in a number of ways. Scouts would not be able to project their souls through organic objects (such as trees, living beings, etc.), but might be able to go through man-made objects, such as walls. And of course there will be counters to them, whether through class-based skills, objects/traps, or special crafter-made modifications to walls and blocks. Scouts can be hunted by other classes of course, no matter what their forms. You’ve no doubt heard the phrase “hell-hounds”? Well, spirit hounds could be a thing in our game.
Part 3 – Veilwalkers and Veilstalkers
Well, now that we’ve covered two of the three proposed classes/classlets, let’s move on to the third. This final part of the tri-part system involves the use of the Veilwalkers and Veilstalkers as we proposed during our Kickstarter. While we are still working out the details (that’s why this is a Stretch Goal!), the use of the Veil for our players is less a different dimension as we talked about during the Kickstarter, and more a slightly different version of the current world. Here is a concept piece for the properly armored Veilstalkers and Veilwalkers –
The classes of ‘Walkers and ‘Stalkers are still oriented towards killing other players, but are not as focused on things such as scouting or coordinating attacks on other Realm’s areas. These classes would be closer to the concept of light-to-medium damage fighters, and bear little resemblance to one-shot-kill assassin types. While that may disappoint some, those types of classes do not belong in a game like Camelot Unchained. This game is not about getting quick kills on other players. It just doesn’t work with our design goals of a meaningful death penalty, travel times, etc. The game’s battles, whether 1:1 or 200:200, need to matter. If one-shotting is a thing, we failed on the design side.
The Veil mechanic that they would use is designed so that VW/VS would be able to stay within the Veil for long periods of time, but the longer they do, the more damage they take when they emerge (damage, not the stun/delay debuff we originally talked about during the Kickstarter and beyond). While this will allow these classes to stay in the Veil for long periods of time, they still have to manage that carefully, and they will not emerge at full health. However, as a result, we can allow them to emerge from the Veil with a strong opener, and not force them to stand there while they recover, as we were originally considering. While they are within the Veil, they also will not have to deal with one of our earlier concepts, the spirits of those killed within the Veil, because even though that mechanic had some benefits, it also would have required the VW/VS to fight PvE NPCs. However, the reason behind that mechanic, preventing unlimited time in the Veil, is still a valid one, and bears some influence on parts of the design.
Every time the subject of stealth is brought up on the Forums or in interviews, one of the things I focus on is my need to ensure that putting together a gank group of stealthers will not be an optimal playstyle in this game. To be clear, by gank groups I’m not referring to groups of stealthers who are really trying to participate in RvR, but rather groups who stalk solo players far away from the fray. And the reason remains consistent: stealthers who get unlimited (or even close to unlimited) stealth have one advantage over every other class. That is, the ability to pick their own fights (most of the time).
Now, with the VW/VS Veil damage mechanic in place, we certainly raise the ante a bit, but we need to go further if we want to discourage roaming bands of stealthers. We will put in place two other mechanics that will help in this regard: the first is that the more stealthers that are in the area, the more the Veil is disturbed by their presence. This will result in these players taking more damage while within the Veil. The second way is this: the more the Veil is disturbed, the more noise that is heard in the surrounding area. This noise, besides being cool thematically, will also help serve as a warning sign to other players that there is a VS/VW in the area.
In this manner, we make the game feel more immersive, reward players who actually listen to the awesome sound, score, and effects that dB and crew will create for us, and utilize a mechanic that doesn’t seem forced or just tacked on. Of course, a solo stealther won’t generate a lot of noise (this will be a skill), unless he is also foolish enough to wear the wrong kind of armor, bring the wrong kind of weapons, etc. into the Veil. As some of our concept pieces show, crafter-made Veil armor and weapons are a must for the well-dressed stealther, this and every other season!
As you can see from this piece, there’s not a lot of metal on these characters, as metal tends to really piss off the Veil. The more you wear while you are within it, the more likely it is to have a bad reaction to you, and you don’t want that to happen. Also, the clanking and clashing of metal tends to echo very loudly, both within and outside of the Veil.
By doing things this way, we support the solo stalker type with long-duration stealth, and also put limits on the ability of stealthers to run around in most places in a group. I firmly believe that stealth-based gank groups will be a far-less-than-optimal way for players to play the game. Not impossible, understand; but less optimal under most circumstances. It seems to me a fair compromise, and, as you are about to see, also allows them a way to be quite useful in RvR, even with this limitation.
One of the goals I discussed above not allowing a “vanish button” for our stealthers. As even the concept art from our Kickstarter showed, going into the Veil is a big deal. The stealther is using magic or a device to do so, and it is not something that can be done in the wink of an eye. This is an important part of our plan to steer our stealthers toward RvR, and also to keep them in a fight with other players once it is started. In return for that, we are also able to make stealthers tougher (in a number of ways) than they are in some other MMOs. Once again, a trade-off.
Moving around within the Veil comes with its own risks besides the VW/VS mechanic. For example, the player can be revealed by the abilities of other classes, and the sounds that they make in the Veil are echoed outside of the Veil. While the VW/VS players would get the long-duration stealth that they have long sought, it would come with mechanics and counters in place, so as not to be as all-powerful and easily abuse-able as in some other games. In addition, we would modify the Veil’s mechanic during RvR battles (more on this below), so that the VS/VW could move more easily in and out of the Veil while the battle was happening. This would encourage our VW/VS to get more involved in RvR battles, rather than just hunting players who are not engaging in RvR.
Their skills will revolve around disruption damage, and as such, they will be quite useful in groups, especially as they can wear heavier armor than is normally associated with this type of class. This class concept isn’t about removing any chance of these folks acting as lone wolves and assassins (they will be good at those roles), it is about giving them the opportunity to be more than that.
Also, keep in mind that at their core, Veil skills are no different than any other skills. They need to be leveled up through our progression system, just like your normal attacks. I am following through with what I’ve said about how stealth was going to work in our game: No strong opener + stun + vanish, or anything like that combination, for any members of our tri-part solution to creating a great stealth system.
These classes will be designed to hold their own in a fight against some other melee fighters, but they will excel, of course, at taking out more lightly-armored players. Mages and some healers will not like seeing them up close and personal, but designing them simply as mage-killers isn’t a winning path for us. The modification of the Veil mechanic during big fights will encourage stealthers to take part in these battles, whether in the standard VS/VW role or in another, and as a result, they will be more welcomed into groups, guilds, etc., because of their utility during these fights.
Here’s a big part of how stealth in RvR will work: The more magic that there is an area, the easier the VW/VS will be able to traverse the Veil. Just as too much magic can lead to Veilstorms, it wears away the border between our world and the Veil, making it easier for the VW/VS to enter and exit the Veil (which is how VW/VS take damage, remember).
This will, we hope, also lead to a “battle within a battle,” as the VW/VS fight within the Veil while another battle rages around them. This has the potential to be very, very cool for all concerned. Nobody, not even the most powerful stealther, will be able to roam the Veil with complete safety, and the VW/VS setup will mean that while within the Veil, the stealther will have to pay attention, and not just sit somewhere unseen, untouched, and unheard. OTOH, the VW/VS will not have to fight the PvE creatures we originally considered, will be able to hold their own against other classes, will have access to long-duration stealth, etc. We’ll leave this section with a beautiful concept piece of a Veilwalker –
Part 4 – Tying it Together
Understanding the progression system of our game is important for all of these classes. The VW/VS who spends their time running around RvR, striking at wounded foes or otherwise contributing to the battle, will be rewarded by their King, even if they don’t get the actual kill (and don’t worry non-stealthers, their help on “your” kill won’t take anything away from you). This applies to archers as well, of course.
We will encourage our stealthers to get into RvR battles, and not just be players hunting for a solo kill. While solo hunting/killing is, of course, part of the normal flow of game (including progression) rewards, rewarding stealthers, in the same manner as other players who participate in RvR, is a necessary and important part of building Realm Pride and having a fun RvR experience, even if they don’t land the killing blow.
In terms of our scouts, they will be rewarded not just for the amount of chaos they create, but also for scouting and finding enemies who are roaming within their own territories, sighting for other players, etc. Because our progression system is geared toward rewards based on how you fulfill your role/class on a 24-hour basis, it makes it much easier to create a class like scout. We don’t have to worry as much about people gaming the system, because even if you ignore our warnings against botting and you manage to create the most awesome scout-bot ever, your gain for that day will still be limited in the same manner that other bot-able behaviors will be limited, as we’ve discussed for our class system.
The concept of rewards for fulfilling your role in the game is going to be a very important one for us, going forward. One that will, among other things, allow us to go in some very interesting directions with classes, mechanics, etc. that are simply either not possible, or incredibly difficult, to do in other games. We’ve said, right from the beginning, that we are willing to take all sorts of chances if they could lead to a better, more enjoyable, less-tropish game, and this is definitely one of the chances worth taking!
It is also important to note that our crafters will have a role in helping balance stealthers, as well. Among the items that they will be able to create are devices that can detect a disturbance in the Veil; that can cover materials with enough organic materials to prevent scouts slipping through; and Veilcharges, like depth charges, that can do damage within the Veil.
Why is this a big Stretch Goal?
Well, there are three main reasons:
1) As per our KS videos, stealth, in any form, was never confirmed for Camelot Unchained. I was very clear about that during the Kickstarter and afterward. While this is not the biggest reason, I put it at number one because it is an important reason to understand. Archers and camouflage are confirmed already for this game, and are only covered here for reasons of clarity and my/our sanity, as we will need to answer questions about this, I expect.
2) The amount of effort to add this system to the game is beyond the original scope of the VW/VS concept. As we are a Rock, Paper, Scissors-style game, we need to have counters for classes and their mechanics, especially something as tricky as stealth. Stealth, whether as described in Parts 1, 2, or 3, needs a counter, or it can quickly become OP. These counters take time and effort from programming, design, art, and others, so they work properly within the framework of the game. Just like any Stretch Goal, these funds from the Stretch Goal cover the additional effort for something that was not promised to be in the game before, during, or after the Kickstarter. (It’s worth mentioning that the addition of a true “scout” class is potentially very exciting and interesting for our players, and is a class rarely found in MMORPGs.)
3) That our game is based on the concept of non-mirrored classes. So, the addition of two more classes (Scouts & VW/VS) means that we are adding 6 new classes to the game.
How about implementation?
In terms of implementation, only Part 1 is currently confirmed for launch.
If we think that Part 2 (Scouts) will delay the release of the game, it will be bumped post-launch, because it is outside of the original concept for stealth. However, I don’t want to make this entire SG an Extender Pack, because I think it is important to get these guys in early if we are going to add true stealth as in Part 3. I’m hoping that some of the tech we will need for spirits will help us get scouts in at launch as well.
We will try to get Part 3 (Veilwalkers/Veilstalkers) in before launch, as well. No promises on that one: we can promise that we will work on them for launch, but we will not delay launch for them. This is not to make you worry about Part 3. Frankly, the decision to move away from the heavier PvE-nature of the Veil made getting Veilwalkers and Veilstalkers into the game easier, and it was one of the things that factored into my thinking many months ago. That’s one of the reasons I kept telling people on the Forums/IT chat that we were closer to having a workable addition to stealth than ever before. Many of you didn’t believe me. You should have.
I think it is very important to try to get all three of these classes in, at or around launch time. They are not all mission-critical, other than archers, but I do believe they are worth the effort. In the case of the VW/VS, we have already talked about the tech required for Veilwalking, and that will not require us to leap over a major (or minor) technical hurdle. If that was the case, we would have made them an Extender Pack. One of the cool things we want to do visually is that when they are in the Veil, the armor/clothing of the VW/VS looks very different from how it will work in the main world such as here –
And this piece, which highlights some other differences in the armor –
How did we do, goal-wise?
Okay, all those words above aside, does this system meet the main goals that I laid out?
Goal #1 – Design a fun, interesting stealth mechanic and classes that are not seen as “Easy Mode” by non-stealthers
Based on the reactions on the Forums when we were talking about this, I do think we have concepted a number of interesting mechanics and classes. A true scouting class is, in and of itself, a pretty cool addition. Archers with a true camouflage system will also be a good addition to the game. At the same time, the VW/VS setup, as well as other counters, do not make being a stealther “Easy Mode”, as they can, and will be, the target of other hunter-killers.
Goal #2 – Do not design a class that is centered around a strong opener, stun, vanish with long/unlimited stealth
Even in the midst of a big battle, the ability to move into the Veil will not be as simple as hitting a button and going poof, you’re in the Veil.
Goal #3 – Design a class that has the ability to be very active and sought-after in RvR
The use of scouts, archers, and VW/VS will all add important aspects to the RvR gameplay in our game. Even in the midst of a large battle, having VW/VS hunting each other and looking for targets of opportunity could be important. Scouts that can help disable siege engines and help other players hit their targets, even when there is no line of sight, can be a nice addition to the game.
Goal #4 – Design a class that some non-traditional stealthers want to play
I think we did that, but only you folks can tell us for sure. As someone who plays stealthers too (not my main, usually), I would play all three of these classes, so…
Goal #5 – Design a class that requires skill to play well, and not just unlimited patience
I think this one is covered by a lot of the above checks and balances. Life as a stealther will be challenging, but rewarding as well. Most importantly, stealthers are going to have to pay attention, at all times, to the game that they are playing.
Goal #6 – Design a system where gank groups of stealthers are not possible
I hope that the use of sound, extra damage, and possibly other things, will really discourage the use of gank groups (as opposed to groups on the field of battle).
Goal #7 – Design a system that doesn’t affect the launch date of the game
One of the three classes discussed here is already a planned launch class. Another one of the classes is going to be an Extender class, and the third will only be put in if it doesn’t hurt the schedule. Fortunately, that class is also going to require less tech than an archetype such as archers, because of how we are envisioning them. And again, if putting this class in the game at launch would require any additional delay, we are not going to delay the game for the class’s implementation.
For those that are concerned that this proposed system, no matter how noble our intent, could become OP, or force solo players to not venture outside without a guard or friend, I urge you to keep one thing in mind: we haven’t waited this long to talk more about stealth without having very strong opinions/ideas about it. The addition of stealth, both in its manner and systems, must fit in with everything else that I have talked about for the last two years. Whether it is through devices, class counter-play, sound, or other mechanisms, stealth is not going to be “Easy Mode” for those who choose to go down the path.
As I’ve been saying for quite a while now, stealth has to be a great add to our game, or it won’t be added. If we make a stealth system that we have to pull out, I’ll offer to refund this SG out of MY OWN POCKET (not the company’s pocket), to anyone who donates during this time. Once again, I’ll put my money where my mouth and our team’s talent level is, and will be. Find another crowd-funded game where the head of the company is willing to do that and put it in writing. C’mon, I double-dog dare you. Yeah, I’m BSC this way. Yes, read that promise again too. I don’t make a lot of promises, but I’m making this one.
I hope you like this concept for a tri-part stealth system for Camelot Unchained, as I believe that this could give us a stealth system that satisfies the desire of the stealth community for fun, workable, and challenging stealth. And, almost no matter what, I’ll do a live stream next week to talk about this.
And just for fun, here is a C.U.B.E. creation from one of our Backers that is definitely worth a mention. So thank you, Gabert. Shall we play a game?
CU on the Forums!
P.S. If you haven’t already seen it, we have a new counter on our webpage, which shows the number of blocks put down by non-CSE folks. It’s a fun little addition to the page.http://camelotunchained.com/v2/c-u-b-e/
P.P.S. We are currently in the middle of an impromptu IT test. If it goes well, we’re going to hold another testing weekend for the game. And if that test goes well, Beta 1 folks, you’re up for the next full Alpha test!