Overview of Beta 1 Features, Systems, and more!
I wanted to show you folks as much of the “official” document as I could without editing. This is what I said to the team after we finished our work on the document. And I do mean our work. CSE is a highly collaborative studio. We talk, exchange ideas, disagree, argue, and—almost all the time—it is done professionally and respectfully. After all, nobody is perfect, right?
Thank You to CSE!
I just want to say thank you to all the people at CSE who read the document. I also want to thank those folks who spent a lot of time on what I wrote before the document went to the whole team, suggesting, commenting, questioning, filling in gaps, etc. Finally, to those who spent a lot of time in the comment section of this document: Once it went to the whole team, you folks did a really great job as well, and I appreciate it. Like our game, this document is what it is thanks to all of us working together.
I’ve kept the older doc up in the previous location so we can always reference it, as well as the comments we all made there.
This document is now the official guide for us for Beta 1. In the coming weeks, I’ll do two more things:
- Create a redacted version of this document for our Backers to read. Once that document is complete, we will reveal it serially to our Backers on our website.
- Work on a “storified” version of this document from the perspective of our Backers.
Thanks again, everybody, you did great!
Thank You to our Backers!
It’s been a longer road to Beta 1 than we expected it would be last year. For that, you have our most sincere and humble apologies. I have always, dating back to old Mythic, believed that CEOs of companies need to take ownership in situations such as these. I’m doing so once again, and saying "mea culpa." However, that’s not enough, at least not in my/our opinion. Mere words are just that—words. They may be heartfelt, true, and meaningful, but in this case, they are just not enough. We have to do more, and we will.
To begin with, speaking on behalf of everyone at CSE, we thank you for your patience and support, truly. It means so much to us that you still support us, send us little gifts, and don’t make our lives miserable. You truly don’t know how much it means to the team and to myself when we see the extra effort some of you have gone to in order to support us with words and occasional deeds. It really is a game-changer for the studio, at times.
On my end, I’ve already committed more money to the studio than I originally planned. I’ve opened the office in Seattle and expanded the team there. We have never asked you folks for additional money to pay for that expense, which is considerable. Fortunately, the results from it have been equally considerable! By the time you read this, we will have moved achingly close to the first of the SNS trials, will be back up to 2.1K ARCs/Bots, the new ability, animation, and VFX systems will be performing as expected, and the programmers’ focus will have turned more heavily than ever to gameplay and not tech.
It’s been a long road, way longer than we expected, but we have kept faith with our Backers and now are almost in the next stage of testing. As always, we thank you for your support, understanding, and most of all, your patience.
Social Systems and Grouping
Grouping and social systems are an important part of any MMORPG, old-school or not. For Beta 1, we are going to focus on some key parts of these systems, while laying the groundwork for a much more advanced system to be implemented through the rest of Beta. We want to emphasize that we are doing some things quite differently from many of our predecessors, yet are staying true to our old-school ethos.
2. Guiding Principles
The concept of Guiding Principles for a system is something that MJ has used for, well, longer than he would like to think about. It has served him well in the past, so when he laid out the initial vision for this part of the game, here’s what was most important to him.
No multi-guilding per character – We said this during the Kickstarter, and we have to stick to it. In MJ’s opinion, and this is echoed by a ton of writers/posters, multi-guilds have contributed to the decline of meaningful guilds in MMORPGs.
Restore Guild Pride – No matter the size of the Order, we need to help restore a feeling of being part of something special when you are in a successful order. This is not just a matter of giving out prizes and progression ranks, but also means that we need to look out for/prevent the problems that hurt guild pride, such as people looting guild bank accounts.
Big or small, we welcome you all – We can’t base this game around the concept of mega-guilds (as some other games have done), or even just guilds, if we want to continually attract and retain new players. We need to recognize that our players may want to play solo, or with a small group of friends, or in Orders. We need to understand this, support it, and try to tailor the perks for each group in such a way that people can enjoy this game no matter what they want their grouping or solo play-style to be.
We need to tailor our content to all Orders of all sizes – Now, this sounds easy, but it isn’t. For example, we can’t reserve all the cool stuff for the bigger or more successful Orders. We can’t just give perks/benefits to the larger Orders, or make the perks so hard for the smaller Orders to get that they become frustrated. Size should matter, but so should dedication/longevity.
A pure RvR game needs to do some things differently than a PvE-based game, and we need to accept and own that.
We need to create a sense of belonging/home/family within the Order– Give the Order the tools it needs to help build a social network between people. If we can do that, players will be thrilled with our Order system, even if it is a little less flashy than some other systems.
3. Group Types
Camelot Unchained will launch with five group types. These group types will be described in further detail below, but for the purpose of reference and familiarity with naming as you read this document, they are listed here:
Solo Player – If you are unsure what the concept of a solo player is doing in a group-focused doc, well, just remember what MJ has said even before the beginning of the Kickstarter: We want to be able to support the solo play-style along with the group play-style.
Warband – Think of these as parties with benefits. The features built around parties are geared toward those players who want to group with their friends, but don’t want to go to the trouble of forming an Order (guild).
Battlegroup – Grouping of Warbands that join together on a temporary basis to help in RvR.
Order – The premier group within Camelot Unchained. We all know the importance of guilds to MMORPG gaming over the decades, and while there has been a decline in their overall numbers, we want to try to reverse that trend in our game. Guilds were an important part of the success of Dark Age of Camelot, and with WAR, MJ and Mythic tried to take guilds to the next level through the “Living Guild” concept. While this game is not WAR (FYI, our total budget is less than a one-year spend on that game), we think we have some innovative ideas and support functions that will excite those who want to see Orders play an important part in Camelot Unchained.
Campaign – A temporary alliance of groups that exists to achieve goals through missions with multiple group and/or crowd-sourced participation from players throughout the Realm. ☺
4. What to expect for Beta 1
For Beta 1, we are going to focus on some key parts of the grouping and social system: Warbands, Battlegroups, and Orders, which are our version of parties, raid groups, and guilds. There will be a Minimum Viable Product set for each of these groups when Beta 1 opens, just as we said there would be. As we move through Beta, we’ll begin locking down certain features for the LIVE game, but that lockdown won’t happen until the end of Beta 3. In the meantime, enjoy the ride as we look to create a grouping system that will be one of the most useful and deepest systems of its kind. We’ll do that without resorting to adding a lot of features or tons of cosmetics, but will instead build something that meets the needs of our players. We’ll do that via systems that make it easier to coordinate attacks in RvR, while still facilitating everything from solo play to the kind of coordinated mass attacks (not keep-trading zergs) that will make Camelot Unchained the next great RvR MMORPG.
5. Personal Features
So much to cover here, so let’s just focus on some of the features of our social systems that apply to all players.
5.1 Friends / Enemies / Connections / Blocked Lists
We’re all friends here, right? Not only will Camelot Unchained have a friends list, we’re also adding a list for connections, enemies, and blocked.
The friends list in game is mostly self-explanatory, and you will have a lot of power to tailor your list with the permissions system that is discussed below.
The enemy list works similarly to a friends list, with the exception that it works for members of an opposing Realm. But that’s not all! You can add enemy groups to your enemy list, as well. You are not able to communicate with an enemy through any in-game means, so you will not be able to PM an enemy, or send them mail through this list. However, you will be able to see how many times you’ve killed that player or they’ve killed you. You’ll know if you’re mutual enemies. You’ll be able to initiate bounties more easily on an enemy by selecting them from this list.
Like the friends list, players will have a lot of control regarding this feature.
The connections list will give you suggestions of players from your Realm who have either grouped with you in the past or have interacted with you, whether it be via trades, fighting alongside you in a battle, or more. This list can be browsed to find that awesome player you grouped with the other day. You can add them to your friends list if you forgot to do that, and/or invite them to your Warband or Battlegroup! This ties nicely into our Daily Reward system, and will feed into additional systems as well.
The blocked list will allow you to block a player on your Realm, with several configurable options. You can block their text chat, block voice chat, block social posts, or block all communication.
5.2 Personal Bulletin Board
Your personal bulletin board is the place where you can post your own personal bulletins, messages, text, images, and videos, as well as read and comment on a consolidated view of bulletins posted by others. Your bulletin board will allow you to view bulletins posted by any of the groups you are in that have this feature, as well as your friends.
5.3 Personal Record
A player’s personal record contains a history of activities the player has taken part in while playing. This log will be searchable and filterable, to facilitate ease-of-use in navigating the information given. The record will include, but is not limited to, players fought, kills, items crafted, materials refined, resources harvested, and more.
This personal record can be made public or viewable to a configurable set of permissions categories. More on the permissions system below, in the Shared Group Features section. By default, however, this information is set to private viewing by the player themselves only.
5.4 Personal Mail
Every player will have a personal in-game mail account, to which other players on the Realm can send messages. Mail formatting will work similar to bulletin posts in that they may contain text, embedded images, and video. However, they must be linked from approved sources or screenshots directly from the client screenshot function. Mail will not have any attachments, you will not be able to send currency, items, or chocolate-chip cookies through the mail. If you want to trade, you’ll have to set up a contract or meet the other player in-game.
To be completely clear again on this, no communication can be made cross-Realm through any systems provided by CSE, and this includes personal mail. You can only send mail to members of your Realm on the same shard.
6. Shared Group Features
All of our Beta 1 grouping systems share some social features. They are listed here to avoid repeating the same information for each of the Beta 1 group types in the sections below.
6.1 Permissions & Permissions Management
Shared by: All Groups
We’ve often talked about providing a mass of information about the game and its players to the public through our API servers. Camelot Unchained will be providing an unprecedented level of data accessible to web services, from which players and third-party application developers will be able to provide external inventory management tools, detailed metrics, and more. So much so, you will be able to equip items onto your character from your inventory while not even logged in to the game. This functionality is available through our public API today.
With this level of data availability, the privacy of all players and groups is of the utmost important to us. To this end, a robust permissions system will be built at the core of the Camelot Unchained’s social system tech.
Shared by: All Groups
In order to facilitate and simplify permission management for sub-groups of players within a group, ranks can be created that are assigned a permission set. Each group type can create a large number of custom ranks (the amount will vary by group type). Each rank can be named, and in some cases an icon or other visual identifier may be assigned as a designator for members of that rank. These ranks can be created or customized by any member that has a rank with the appropriate permission.
Shared by: All Groups
What kind of MMO would this be without a chat system? Features discussed here about chat, both text and voice, will be limited to how they relate to groups. Like most of the social features we are building for Camelot Unchained, we want to give players as much control and flexibility as we can.
Each group will have, by default, its own private text and voice chat channel, and will have the ability to create more. By default, these channels are restricted to allow all members within that group access; this can, however, be changed by any member in a rank with appropriate permissions. Ranks can be assigned permissions specific to chat to enable moderation features, disable who can/cannot speak, and more. The chat channels may also be configured to enable or disable certains features as desired by the group, such as disallowing the embedding of images or videos in chat.
While a player can be in multiple text chat channels, a player can only join a single voice chat channel at any time. We will strive to make joining voice chat in the game as simple as possible. Each text chat channel will allow for an associated voice chat channel by default, and a player can click a single button to join the associated voice chat. Each of the group interfaces will also have a one-click button to join the default voice chat channel for that group!
Shared by: Solo Players, Warbands (Permanent), Orders, Campaigns
For awarding player progression rewards daily, as well as for our own internal metrics system, we will track all significant actions made by a player and group throughout the day. Much of this data will feed into all of our different grouping systems, including solo players as a group of one. This data also can and will be used to enable group progression; more on that later.
With all this data being tracked, recorded, and logged down into our databases, wouldn’t it be great to be able to see this data yourself? Or to make some cool websites, or a herald of sorts, to look at all this sexy data? Of course it would. So, a large portion of this data will also be made available for consumption through our API servers. It is important to know, however, that not all data is equal, and while some bits may be made available immediately, other more gameplay-sensitive data may be delayed, so as to not adversely affect ongoing gameplay. Additionally, data may also be redacted, fully or partially, as per player and group permission settings.
Shared by: Warbands (Permanent), Orders
What better way to rep your group than by showing off awesome heraldry on your equipment? Heraldry can be designed in the Social UI by a member with the appropriate permissions. This heraldry can be displayed on your character through special cloaks, tabards, and shields! Want to decorate your castle as well? Place your heraldry on various types of banners and flags throughout your plot.
Heraldry item decals can be mixed and matched with any of the groups that you are a member of, to display on the appropriate items. For example, you can wear a cloak and Tabard with your Order heraldry along with a shield adorned with Warband heraldry.
Different groups will also have different levels of heraldry available to them depending on the type of group, with Orders (Guilds) having the most varied customization options, including special work commissioned from CSE.
6.6 Accolades & Achievements
Shared by: Warbands (Permanent), Orders, Campaigns
Who doesn’t love getting gold stars? Groups and members of groups can both be awarded various accolades and achievements. These may come from several different sources, though this document will only discuss those related to grouping.
Accolades will come in the form of Banner streamers and/or heraldry modifiers. These will be shown on the player’s profile in-game as well as on the game’s stat-tracking website, if the player has made their profile public.
The leadership of a group can create accolades and award them to members as they see fit. Say your members have really been putting in a great effort: You can reward them by giving them a gold star on their heraldry!
Accolades and Achievements can also be earned through completion of tasks in a Campaign. More on Campaigns will be discussed later in the document.
6.7 Social User Interface Features
Shared by: Warbands (Permanent), Orders, Campaigns
Communication is vital to any size of group that wishes to work together toward any type of goal. Instant communication through text or voice chat is not enough to coordinate with a group of players who may not all be online at the same time. Several UI features will be built specifically to facilitate this additional communication.
Groups will have an in-game interface from which you can view the standard information, such as members, ranks, permissions management, and other administration tools. In addition, each group will have a bulletin board, on which those with the appropriate permissions can post messages viewable by the group. Posts can have permissions set to restrict viewing. As the UI for the game is built out of the web, you can post images and videos on your bulletin board, which will embed and can be played in-game! Members of the group can make comments and have a discussion about your post as well. Yes, basically like some of those big social media sites everyone knows about.
Groups will have access to private email lists in order to compose emails to all members of the group or to special ranks.
Groups will have access to an in-game calendar, on which they can plan events. Events can be placed on the calendar with links to a specific post discussing the events. Events viewing permissions can be set by rank, so that only certain ranks may view that specific event posting.
The social interface for a group will also contain a very robust member roster. The roster will allow searching, sorting, and filtering users using many different keys, such as name, race, class, time in group, online time, contributions, and more.
MJ Notes: Talking about social systems/features for Camelot Unchained is a bit of a minefield. We want to focus on the features that the vast majority of our players will find advantageous to their gaming experience, and not features that might seem like they belong in an entirely different type of game. For Beta 1, we believe that this focus must be on a limited number of systems (three, in this case), which will be added to and iterated on throughout the entire Beta process. We also hope, as we usually do, to bring some new and/or additive features to well-known and very old-school systems, such as Guilds/Orders.
Size does matter in social systems, and Warbands are our smallest group size. They are more than “parties,” as parties in MMORPGs have merely been an ephemeral grouping of players, that are, like tissues, eminently disposable. In our game, while Warbands can still be ephemeral, you can instead make a Warband permanent by naming it. You can think of them as a semi-permanent task force, free company, etc. that has a little more in common with guilds than with the usual MMORPG party construct, but that doesn't have the vast majority of the perks that guilds/Orders possess, including things like plot ownership.
The addition of named/permanent Warbands is a big addition to the genre for a number of reasons, including the ability for players to have an easy way to group with various friends/Realm-mates without having to constantly create a new party/Warband. And for those keeping score, well, this also allows people to create Warbands that become famous in their own right, without a forced attachment to a larger structure like an Order. It is important to recognize that the way people play MMORPGs in 2017 and beyond is different than the way they played in 1999, 2001, 2004, etc. While we are making an “old-school” game, we have always said that we plan on adding/using features in the game that make for a better RvR experience, and that do not “dumb down” the genre or are too hand-holding. Allowing small groups of people to more easily play with their friends and family--and also achieve recognition for doing so--fulfills all those requirements.
For Beta 1, Warband features should include the following, in addition to the features covered above.
Players can create both temporary and permanent versions of Warbands. Permanent Warbands must be named.
Permanent Warbands will have a maximum roster size that will be large enough so people can come and go, but too small to truly compete with Orders. Plus, as we said above, the perks for Warbands are quite limited when compared to Orders.
Warbands will support up to 8 players for the start of Beta 1. As we have been saying in our updates, we will experiment with different maximum sizes of Warbands until we get it—like Goldilocks’ porridge—just right.
Active Warband member health and status is shown on screen in-game, and updates in real time. We will be using this and other UI features for the Beta process to ensure, as we have said, that players will have the relevant information that they need to help us test/debug the game. There is no guarantee that a feature like this will be a permanent addition to the game, especially as we will be working on “Healer Vision” after the start of Beta 1.
A player can be a member of multiple Warbands, but can only be active in one Warband at a time. Active status is for the purpose of gameplay mechanics: The player shows up in the group on the Warband UI widget, members of that Warband can see their health and status in real-time, and skill/group effects can affect this member. As an “inactive” member of a Warband, the member can still see and participate in chat for the Warband, and can join any Warband they are a member of at any time to become active, if there are any available slots.
MJ Notes: The addition of permanence to Warbands is an important one for our players. If we’re right that it hasn’t been used before (please tell us if you know of an MMORPG that has used such a feature), it’s something we expect will be picked up by other studios/games. Given the type of game we are making, we need to have a Warband system that supports and enhances the experience our players will have in the game at launch.
Battlegroups are our version of the typical MMORPG “Raid Group” for Camelot Unchained. A Battlegroup is a group consisting of an unlimited number of Warbands. Unlike Warbands, however, a Battlegroup may not be made permanent: it exists only as a temporary association of Warbands for organizational purposes.
The role a Battlegroup fulfills in Camelot Unchained is to allow larger groups of players who may or may not be affiliated with each other through another group type to have a temporary shared chat, voice, and permissions management tools.
Battlegroups can create and manage temporary Warbands in order to accommodate adding players who have not already joined as an active member of a Warband.
Beta 1, Battlegroup features include:
Players can create a Battlegroup.
An unlimited number of Warbands can be invited into a Battlegroup.
A Battlegroup UI will be implemented to show—at a minimum—Battlegroup name, member Warband names, and Warband member names (that’s not at all confusing to say, right?).
Chat, as described under the Shared Features section.
Simplified Ranking system.
MJ Notes: “Raids”, as they are more commonly known within MMO gaming, are not part of Camelot Unchained, because our game is all about raiding the enemy’s lands. As such, we need a way for people to communicate effectively with groups larger than a Warband. The integration and connectivity between players and our grouping systems will help set our social systems apart from those in most MMORPGs, especially the older MMORPGs that we generally look back on fondly. As we have always said, while we want to create an old-school game, we also want to look to more modern games for features that will add value and enjoyment for our players.
9. Orders (a.k.a. Guilds)
Orders in Camelot Unchained are similar to guilds in other MMORPGs. An Order is a group of a limited number of players, which can, among other things, create and manage its own permanent Warbands. For Beta 1, Orders are really on the Most Minimum Viable Product (MMVP) path, because they will be less important than the other grouping systems at that time. OTOH, we know we have to lay the groundwork for what will come after we move into and through Beta 1. Guilds were a very important part of the success of older MMORPGs, and while we don’t expect guilds to have the same level of importance as they did back in the day, that doesn’t mean we don’t want to create a great system to support them. Our intent with the Order system, when we go into detail on it, is that those folks who love guilds will look at us and say "That'll do, pig. That'll do."
That said, for Beta 1, we have an MMVP for Order but should include the following.
For Beta 1, Order features should include the following.
Players can create an Order.
An Order will have a limited number of members, which is TBD at a later date, along with some other surprises.
Order name displayed on character nameplates.
A player can only join a single Order.
Chat, as described under the Shared Features section.
Ranks – Ranks have both a symbolic and a visible meaning to players, as they come with physical items that display their ranks.
Okay, now that doesn’t sound all that exciting, right? Nope, but keep in mind that Orders are going to be the most minimum of minimum viable products for Beta 1. However, because we love you Backers so much, and because we don’t want people showing up at our office, torches burning, screaming “Bring us the heads of JB and MJ!” we’re going to lay out just a wee bit more on what you can expect from Orders as we move through Beta.
Among the perks that come with being part of an Order, there will be:
Plots – Orders that have reached a certain level can claim their own plot. These plots are the largest, and can come with the most cosmetic perks, of any group.
Banks – Guild banks have been a fun but problematic item, at times, in other MMORPGs. We have to create a better system for them.
Shops – Orders can set up their own shops for their own members, and for outside folks to access.
Order heraldry – Covered above.
Progression system – We don’t want to go into detail about this now, but the progression system of Orders will be similar to that of individual players. Reread the Guiding Principles for a hint on how this can work.
Caravan routes – Orders can arrange for caravans to deliver supplies to them from individuals and/or caravan masters, depending on size.
Clothing – Orders should be able to design their own clothing and register it with the Realm Keeper of the Orders. In order to register a clothing mark, the Order must reach a certain level within the game, and the mark has to be unique from other marks.
Order Hall - More details on this during Beta 1.
Calendars – Duh, right?
Private emails – Nuff’ said.
But wait, there’s more, a lot more! However, we’re keeping our big mouths shut for now on this, because, well, the neighbors have big ears and aren’t afraid of talking about how they invented something months or years after we talk about it. OTOH, I think what we have talked about above is enough to show our dedication to making sure that Orders/Guilds have an important place within Camelot Unchained, now and forever. But trust us: We have some stuff that will once again surprise people and cement our planned Order system as one of the most interesting systems in MMORPGs, even if we don’t have all the cosmetics and other stuff that were in other games with much deeper pockets.
MJ Notes: As per above, Orders are going to get a lot of love from us as we move through Beta. Even though we don’t have the resources to try to create a system that would surpass some of the great guild systems of other games, we are going to create a system that is tailor-made for our RvR-focused game. We will be discussing our plans for that as we move through Beta 1, and again, consider this truly an MMVP, and really, a bonus for Beta 1.
10. Campaigns (not for the start of Beta 1)
While not a feature for the start of Beta 1, we are including Campaigns in this document in order to give a more complete picture of grouping systems for Camelot Unchained.
Campaigns are a completely new system designed for Camelot Unchained. A Campaign is a temporary grouping of players working together to achieve one or more goals. They are a flexible group, whose members can be any of the other permanent group types. This includes solo players, Warbands, and Orders. Campaigns exist to achieve goals through missions, with multiple group and/or crowd-sourced participation from players throughout the Realm.
A Campaign can be created in order to attempt large-scale wars, sieges, or the construction of massive castles. They may also be used for something as simple as a group of friends working together to craft items as a team, while keeping track of their own goals and perhaps some fun competition between each other. They are designed to encourage cooperation within the Realm, and allow for both game- and user-generated additional content, while also providing secure built-in features to organizations. They will allow for Campaign creators who wish to organize large events that involve large amounts of resources, weaponry, castles, and siege equipment to lend the use of these resources. This way, they won’t have to risk putting their assets in other players’ hands with no guarantee of return through a “trust trade”.
Campaigns are created by players through talking to an NPC in the capital city to register the Campaign. They come with a cost, a start date, a duration, and a listing privacy flag--public or private--that must all be set upon creation.
A public campaign will be viewable to all players in the Realm, and the Campaign will accept all members into the Campaign from the Realm. A private Campaign will be unlisted, and invites must be sent out to individuals and/or accepted by the Campaign leadership.
10.2 Assets, Property, and Permissions
While a Campaign cannot ever own any assets itself, it can be given temporary control over them for the duration of its existence. This will include plots, structures within them, and also large items like siege equipment.
Permissions for access and use of any loaned property can be configured by Ranks within the Campaign.
When a Campaign concludes, all assets and property that were used by the Campaign are retained by the original owners. This excludes disposable items such as swords, armor, arrows, etc. These disposable types of items, if given to other players during the Campaign and not returned, will remain with those players. Which is why we have the concept of a Campaign store and currency, which will be discussed later, as a way to distribute these types of items safely.
Like the other group types, a Campaign can create custom ranks with defined permission sets to assign to its members. Ranks can be assigned to a group as a whole, or to individual members.
10.4 Missions & Contracts!
Campaign commanders can create missions for users, and give out rewards for completion of and/or participation in these missions. A Campaign may contain one or more missions at the same time, and missions that have a completion objective may unlock a follow-up mission upon completion, creating a chain of missions. There will be many different types of missions that can be configured and offered by a Campaign, but for this document, we aren’t going to talk about them yet.
10.5 Currency, Progression, & Shops
More on these unique features of a unique system during Beta 1.
10.6 Rewards, Accolades & Trophies
With all this talk of missions, what do you get for completing them!? Campaign commanders will be given the option to give out all kinds of rewards for completing missions, and for participation in the Campaign as a whole. More information about this will be revealed during the course of Beta.
11. Social F.A.Q.
To answer a bunch of inevitable questions:
“Can an Order create a permanent Warband and invite a non-Order member into it?” Yes.
“Can this Warband have a permanent member who is not also a member of the owner Order?” Yes.
“Can a player own multiple Warbands?” Yes.
“Will it cost anything to create a group?” Not for Beta 1.
“Do you have to talk to an NPC to create any group?” Not for Beta 1.
“Are we planning on tying this into Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks?” That is not our focus at the present time.
“Can I be in multiple Orders?” No. MJ believes that is one of the things that has hurt the viability and attractiveness of guilds in modern MMORPGs.
“If I have an Order called The Arthurian Knights of Camelot, can I stop people from using the word Knights in their Order names?” No. If you have reserved that Order name, other people can’t use that full name in their Warbands or Orders, but this doesn’t apply to the name’s component parts. This way, your Order’s full name is protected, but people can still use the words in other names. Otherwise, there would be the equivalent of a land rush for words.
“If I reserve an Order name, can I prevent people from using our name with soundalikes, you know, like The Syndicate and The Sindicate?” Yes. That will involve Customer Service, but yes, we will enforce things like that. OTOH, your reserved name isn’t protected from abbreviations, leet speak, etc.
“Will players be able to quickly switch between Warbands to gain a tactical advantage during a battle?” No, that would be too easy and way too hand-holding for us.
As per above, this is not the final version of this document, and is not guaranteed to be all-inclusive of all the features you will see in Camelot Unchained at launch. Throughout the beta testing phases, changes will be made. While we might not have the resources of most other MMORPGs, we can still create really good and robust systems without a lot of effort, compared to other things that we will be creating for the game. And, if nothing else, the use of the slash commands will allow us to get these commands in earlier and give a lot of players a sense of “deja who?”. ☺
P.S. Don't forget to thank the man with the coolest name in gaming, Mr. James Brown (JB of course), for his effort not only in writing this document (I just edited/added a few flourishes), but also in leading the design effort on these systems. More are still coming!