Kabam

Kabam was the developer of Realm of the Mad God between June 2012 and July 2016.

The company, headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, took ownership of the game following their acquisition of Wild Shadow Studios in June 2012.

Kabam’s general manager Mike Sellers initially held stewardship over Realm until his departure in June 2013. The new general manager was ArbiterZ.

In July 2016, Kabam sold the game to DECA Games, the current owner of the game.

Development Summary

Kabam’s ownership was marked primarily by a heavy increase in monetization, particularly from the introduction of functional pets and later from Mystery Boxes and Set Tier items. These monetization mechanics caused much disdain among the playerbase, although the introduction of functional pets was necessary as the game was on the verge of being shut down due to poor profitability. Kabam also introduced several new dungeons; most of these were medium-level, but some dungeons (particularly The Shatters) during the later Kabam period helped advance the endgame.

Early Kabam (Mike Sellers) Era

Kabam first took ownership in June 2012, during the height of a widespread item duplication exploit that devastated the player-run economy and made Amulets of Resurrection, a normally difficult-to-obtain item that could revive players once before breaking, highly commonplace. The first two dungeons Kabam released were Davy Jones’ Locker and the Mad Lab. In the autumn, they also released the Candyland Hunting Grounds, backpacks, the ninja class, and character skins.

Around Halloween, Kabam began taking more drastic measures to address the duplication exploits. Amulets of Resurrection were cursed, giving them a chance to turn the player into a zombie instead of reviving them. This chance increased over time until resurrection was no longer possible, essentially making the amulets useless; they were later renamed Cursed Amulet of Zombification. Kabam also released the medium-level Haunted Cemetery dungeon around this time.

An item spawning exploit arose around November 2012, causing a mass influx of unreleased items into the game. The exploit and unreleased items were soon removed.

In early 2013, Kabam experimented with a controversial and short-lived removal of stat increase potion drops from the Godlands to encourage players to run more dungeons. They also introduced medium-tiered equipment for sale for Realm Gold in the Nexus, along with introducing the Cloth Bazaar.

Kabam began developing the Lair of Draconis in early 2013 as a new endgame dungeon that would surpass the Tomb of the Ancients in difficulty. Keys to this dungeon were accidentally sold in production servers for a low fame cost, and many players ran the unfinished dungeon and acquired its unique drops. All existing keys were turned into Consolation of Draconis keys, and the drops were converted into Cheater Armors and the Useless Katana. Development of the Lair of Draconis was put on hold, although the Rock Dragon (the event boss that would drop the dungeon) was released.

In March 2013, another duplication exploit arose and was fixed. However, all items were temporary made soulbound during this time. This restriction was eventually lifted, but all untiered items continued to remain soulbound to this day. There were some weekends in which untiered items could become tradable during the Kabam era (most recently in fall 2013).

By 2013, the game was close to being shuttered due to low profitablity. Later in March 2013, Kabam introduced functional pets as a way to reverse the poor finances of the game. While this proved to be successful, it also had a highly detrimental effect on game balance that exists to this day, as high-level pets could fully restore HP and MP in a matter of seconds. Players also criticized the difficulty of obtaining a high-level pet without spending real money.

In April 2013, the low-level Forest Maze dungeon was released.

The Arena was released in June 2013. This feature was the last major release of the early Kabam era and proved to be highly unpopular among players due to the lack of group play and memory leak issues.

Later Kabam Era

Mike Sellers departed Kabam during summer 2013, along with other developers/artists who worked on the game, and ArbiterZ replaced him as the new General Manager. The later Kabam era was initially promising for advancing the endgame, but later turned into increased neglect of the game as Kabam focused on its more profitable mobile games. By the end of Kabam’s ownership, a year and a half had gone by without a major content update and the game increasingly looked like it would shuttered, until Kabam announced that they would be transferring ownership to DECA Games, the current owners.

The first release of the later Kabam era were the first three “epic dungeons”: the Deadwater Docks, Woodland Labyrinth, and Crawling Depths. With the exception of the Crawling Depths, these dungeons were criticized for their poor rewards relative to their difficulty and reliance on reused artwork, a persistent issue throughout the late Kabam era due to a lack of dedicated artists. However, these dungeons were the first high-level dungeons released for quite some time.

During fall 2013, the game was “hacked” by the user Swatsec, who illegitimately gained access to administrator accounts and used them to spawn dangerous boss enemies in the Nexus, resulting in the deaths of many players. These deaths were eventually rolled back (one of the only instances of any developer reviving player characters) and the Battle for the Nexus mini-dungeon was released to compensate.

Top-tiered items were made available for purchase in the Nexus during the later Kabam era, although UT items have not been sold for Realm Gold.

Kabam later released The Shatters, a highly anticipated endgame dungeon that would surpass the difficulty of the Tomb. The Shatters was introduced in the first iteration of Mystery Boxes, a new monetization feature that was criticized by players as promoting underage gambling. The Shatters entrance was later introduced as a drop from the Avatar of the Forgotten King event boss at fairly low rates. The Shatters introduced T6 Unbound Rings and three powerful UT accessories. While the Shatters was a fairly popular dungeon to run, it suffered from several issues, including very low drop rates of loot, easily exploitable bosses, and stacked shots from many enemies.

After the release of the Shatters, Kabam introduced the Lair of Shaitan, a high-level “boss dungeon” consisting only of a boss fight against Shaitan the Advisor. This dungeon was criticized for its very poor rewards (no loot most of the time), including an exceptionally rare drop of the previously unreleased Skull of Endless Torment, and accessibility only from keys purchased through Mystery Boxes.

In summer 2014, Kabam introduced the first annual Month of the Mad God (MotMG). The highlight of the first MotMG was the release of the Lair of Draconis which was now intended as a medium to high-level dungeon. Similar to the Shatters, the dungeon was pre-released to Mystery Box-obtainable keys before being added as a drop from the Rock Dragon. Consistent with other late Kabam-era dungeons, players criticized the exceptionally poor quality and quantity of loot from the dungeon. Notable, the Lair of Draconis also had the first implementation of pet-stasis Pet Stasis.

In August 2014, Kabam introduced the first interation of The Tinkerer and The Alchemist. The Alchemist was a fairly unpopular feature and was viewed by players as simply a slightly different implementation of Mystery Boxes with a free-to-play component. Kabam also began introducing Set Tier items, starting with the release of the reskin Oryx Awesome Set, although ST items afterwards had unique stats. ST items were criticized by players as a way to sell “untiered” items for Realm Gold, although the ST items from the late Kabam era were tradable.

In September 2014, the medium-level Puppet Master’s Theatre was released as a drop from Leviathans.

In October 2014, the first iteration of Wisdom-modified abilities (“Wismod”) were introduced with rebalances of the Priest, Paladin, and Mystic classes.

In November 2014, several months after release of the Lair of Shaitan, the dungeon was finally made accessible with the introduction of the Court of Oryx and Janus the Doorwarden.

In December 2014, the high-level Ice Cave dungeon was released as a drop from the Lord of the Lost Lands. Like other late Kabam-era dungeons, the Ice Cave also suffered from poor rewards. The Ice Cave would be the last dungeon released during the late Kabam era and the last major content expansion until October 2016.

The next year and a half were fairly uneventful, with the release of minor quality-of-life features and additional ST sets (6 sets total by the end of Kabam’s ownership). Many players were concerned of the increased neglect from the developers as Kabam began focusing on its more profitable mobile games, and it was thought that the game would soon be shut down. However, in summer 2016, Kabam announced that ownership would be transferred to DECA Games, the current owners of the game. DECA would return to regular content updates and revitalize the game on many fronts.