Online three-way realm-war game Camelot Unchained finally has a beta date: 4th July. This is the crowdfunded MMO helmed by one of the people - Mark Jacobs - responsible for Dark Age of Camelot, and is very much a spiritual successor to it.
The beta, referred to as Beta 1, will be a closed beta, Jacobs told me. You will either need relevant backer privileges to play, or to buy the game first. However, this is not to be considered an early access release. "That would be abusing what Early Access on Steam is meant to be," he said.
Beta 1 will test a lot of the game's core mechanics - including building, crafting, character and world persistence, and unique classes and racial bonuses - across a variety of events. There will be the more closed arena Saturday Night Sieges as well as the more open-world Contested Islands. There will be small fights and big fights - big being what Camelot Unchained is really going for, with hundreds and possibly thousands of people fighting, and smoothly, at the same time.
How soon Beta 1 progresses into something open and resembling Early Access after that will naturally depend on the results.
If everything goes well, Camelot Unchained will launch late in 2019. It's been a long and bumpy ride but there's a lot to look forward to, not least the refreshingly simple proposition of a crowdfunded game not plastered in the sale of virtual goods like Camelot Unchained's peers - Crowfall and Shroud of the Avatar - are.