Dark Age of Camelot is a game about three realms created from a hodgepodge of myths taken from Celtic, British and Norse cultures. Each realm had four races, but the number of classes varied between them; Albion began with 12, Hibernia with 11 and Midgard had the least selection with 9. While most of these classes had obvious roots that reached to Dungeons and Dragons, there was a great deal of variety and flavor. This was especially true for Midgard where each class was a more primal version of what had been seen in other games.
The single greatest impact DAoC had on the genre was the idea of separating the player base into factions. Now almost every new MMO release follows a similar model, which has had both positive and negative results.
What was great about Dark Age of Camelot?
- The world was challenging enough that soloing was a poor option when compared to grouping with others. Group play in both player versus environment and player versus player was a strong point in DAoC
- The world was just big enough for the target population. Unlike Everquest, there was enough to do to support four thousand players per server on launch.
- Open Dungeons. Like Everquest, dungeons were not instanced and you could have multiple groups competing or cooperating through the content. This reached its peak with Darkness Falls multi-realm dungeon that added competition over the dungeon and then limited PvP inside the dungeon.
- Crafting created better weapons and armor than anything else you could attain in the game. This made the player economy strong and the playing field pretty even in the end game. (I believe this change in a later expansion that was not well received.)
- The skill point system allowed for a good variety of choices within each class.
- The pvp battles were on a much larger scale than had been previously seen in MMOs. Entire zones were designed to give players the sandbox to battle it out on an epic scale.
- Siege equipment was available for both the defending and attacking players in siege combat. It added another element beyond the character abilities in pvp.
What was terrible about Dark Age of Camelot?
- Faction/Realm Imbalance. Midgard had was more population on almost every server after launch. This became worse as Midgard began to win and the losers jumped ship.
- Class imbalance is almost a meme in Mark Jacobs designed games. There is almost always one class that is far and away more powerful than everything else in the field.
- Lack of content over the life of the game. Dark Age relied way to heavily on the player base to provide variation of play to the game. Content updates were far and few between.
- Pathing. Something that plagued many early MMOs, pathing was so hilariously bad for both mobs and player pets.
- The user interface was counterintuitive and clumsy. It never really improved as the game was updated.
- Much like EQ the experience grind in DAoC was pretty bad. There were a few levels that were difficult to get passed because of a lack of appropriate level mobs.
- Quests were pretty bland, mostly kill and fetch quests with no real meat to them.
What do you remember?
DAoC was a strange game for me, it is the only major release that my guild did not enter into. I still have fond memories of running with a couple of friends and being able to pull off pretty epic victories against a larger number of players on more than one occasion. We did go Midgard of course! Dwarves Rule!
What do you remember from your time in DAoc? or Who?