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Dark Age of Camelot Interviews: The 10 Year Interview

By Garrett Fuller on January 04, 2012

MMORPG.com:

Dark Age of Camelot just past the 10 year mark, tell us about the game and why it has been popular for so long.

Stuart Zissu:

With 10 years behind us, there is a lot of memories, love, and content that all go into what makes DAoC so popular. Three Realm RvR is the key pillar that everyone points to as our biggest asset. Realm pride and the feeling that the war between Albion, Midgard, and Hibernia is constantly changing keeps people engaged year after year. In addition, the community (both new and old) make this game more of a living world than any piece of dev created content could hope to do.

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MMORPG.com:

What are your favorite parts of DAOC? Why do you think they appeal to players?

Stuart Zissu:

For me, my favorite parts are the Battlegrounds and the New User Journey. I love the Battlegrounds because it allows for quick, easy access to action with appropriate leveled opponents. With the addition of the Battleground Quests, all the BGs have players in them meaning that at every level, a player can find a fun fight. In the end, the BGs give people a chance to play for a few hours and feel like they are getting something done (and having fun to boot).

The New User Journey is another great feature. It allows people who haven't played the game in ages to get back into the swing of things in relatively short order and it also allows the veteran players a larger playerbase to interact with, be it guild recruiting, Battleground action, or even high level RvR.

MMORPG.com:

Can you talk about some of the recent additions to DAOC? Like the new Starting Experience and other additions?

Stuart Zissu:

As mentioned above, the New User Journey allows people who have been away from the game for a while (or have never played) a chance to be educated on the finer points of DAoC systems. Things like Crowd Control and all the different variations there are, Interrupting and Peeling , and even what all the different quest icons mean are all explained if the player is interested in learning. In addition, the new content brings forth some of the core lore of DAoC which has been built upon in the last decade. Once you are done with the NUJ, you will know how to play and why things are the way they are in the world.

As for other additions, we have been working non-stop on class balance, encounter balance, and RvR systems to help address feedback from our veteran playerbase. In the past year, just about every class has been adjusted, and a few encounters such as Summoner's Hall have been reworked or modified. RvR is a special focus for us since this is what most of our veterans participate in. We've added quests to all the Battlegrounds, smoothed out the Realm Ability curve and addressed many bugs and exploits along the way.

MMORPG.com:

DAOC has long been heralded as having the best PvP in any MMO, how does it feel to see that tradition upheld and also see other games build on Dark Age's style and philosophy?

Stuart Zissu:

It feels great to be known as the best PvP game there is. It means that even with all the other games that have come out since DAoC launched, we have kept our players (new and old) coming back for more. That's what RvR can do for a game. In addition, it's always great to hear that DAoC has been an inspiration for many developers out there and we are interested to see how other products handle the PvP aspect of their MMOs. Even after 10 years, there is still room for improvement and we have not stopped evaluating how we can make RvR even better.

MMORPG.com:

Why does the three realm break down in Dark Age of Camelot work so well? How come we have not seen it replicated as much in MMOs as it probably should have been?

Stuart Zissu:

There are many reasons why the three realm system works, but I think the biggest is the self-balancing. When one realm gets too far ahead, it's only a matter of time before the other two realms knock them down a notch. This allows for an ever changing and engaging RvR gamespace and reduces the feeling of hopelessness that can occur with a 2 sided conflict. With only 2 sides, if one gets too far ahead, it is tough for the underdogs to make a comeback.

As to why we haven't seen three realm RvR more, I think that is because of the difficulty that is inherent with it. It is a lot of hard work to balance a game for two sides, let alone three. Even after 10 years, we are still tweaking things here and there.

MMORPG.com:

The community still remains very active in DAOC, how is it working with them over all these years and managing the veteran players?

Stuart Zissu:

The players are key to a game like this: they keep the game going, they make RvR dynamic and exciting, they tell us what they like and what they don't like, and they are why we are still here. We have multiple ways to collect feedback from our players, and whether they believe it or not, we do see every single one that comes across our plates. Many of our changes to the game have come directly from players or as a result of what players were discussing on boards. We also watch and listen to what players are doing and saying in game to get an idea of how we can make things better. In the end, the players are our best resource.

MMORPG.com:

It seems like lately new MMOs coming out are looking to the Dark Age of Camelot style of end game. Can you give us any thoughts on this style of end game?

Stuart Zissu:

I've personally always preferred a PvP style endgame than a PvE one. I feel PvP is more dynamic and engaging. Knowing I am up against another player (one who is probably better than me) means that I need be on my toes, play my best, and learn from my mistakes. The best part is, with PvP, the learning never ends. Having the right group make-up changes with the enemies you are facing. Your enemies are also changing based on what you and your realm bring to the battle. Therefore the adjustments are ongoing and ever changing, and it's a blast watching the dance of RvR unfold.

MMORPG.com:

What does the future hold for Dark Age of Camelot?

Stuart Zissu:

We have some tricks up or sleeves for the rest of the year and beyond. To start we have hinted at the live event that will be coming shortly, keep your eyes peeled and prepare for some action. The live event will start slowly, but will continue throughout the year, so expect some big things. In addition, we are working on some other changes to the game that we think our players will love. Unfortunately we can't divulge too much at this point, but rest assured that we are taking what we have learned from our recent changes and applying them to other aspects of the game.

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