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Dark Age of Camelot General Article: Expansion Preview, EA & Salvatore!

By Dana Massey on October 05, 2006

R.A. Salvatore keynote and Labyrinth of the Minotaur details highlight the Roundtable

Last week, EA Mythic held their annual Dark Age of Camelot Roundtable event in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event doubled as the official debut of Dark Age of Camelot: Labyrinth of the Minotaur, the first commercial product released since Electronic Arts acquired Mythic earlier this year.

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"The Cows Cometh", Labyrinth of the Minotaur Details

The big news out of Las Vegas was the first in-depth details of Labyrinth of the Minotaur. The new features include one new race and class for all three realms, champion levels 6 through 10, mythical slots, a Minotaur relic system and the epic Labyrinth dungeon.

The new race - accessible to Albion, Midgard and Hibernia - is the Minotaur. According to the lore, this ancient race once inhabited the three realms and their capital was at the site of present day Agramon. Their city was both above and below ground and there they created relics of their own. Over time, they dispersed, the area fell into disrepair and now the race is separated, rather conveniently, into three clans.

The Minotaur race carries high strength and constitution, but lacks dexterity and quickness. They are also resistant to heat and cold. There are three classes open to Minotaurs in each realm, plus the Mauler.

  • Albion: Armsman, Mercenary, Heretic and Mauler.
  • Midgard: Warrior, Berserker, Shaman and Mauler.
  • Hibernia: Hero, Blademaster, Druid and Mauler.
The Mauler class is also available to three realms, but unlike the Minotaur, it must be unlocked by the realm. Each realm's server cluster gains access by capturing an as yet undecided number of Minotaur relics. Once accomplished, the Emissary of the Minotaur rewards that realm with access to that class. Over time, the number will diminish, meaning everyone should eventually unlock the Mauler. Plus, on Mordred and Gaheris, the Maulers will be available from day one.

"The Mauler uses gravity, magnetism and aura powers to augment melee combat," said the slides as Yarbrough presented them to us. The class wears leather armor, has new weapon specializations called Fist Wraps and Mauler Staff, gets combat power regeneration and new abilities called: kick, push, silence, multi-attack, disarm, nearsight immunity aura and a casting time increase debuff. Minotaurs, Britons, Celts and Norse are allowed to create Mauler characters.

The magnetism mauler line is crowd control oriented. There is also a power strike line that is more offensive and carries a wealth of debuffs. The Aura Manipulation line is more of a defensive specialization track.

The Minotaur Relics should add a new ripple to Realm vs. Realm (PvP) combat. There are twenty-three relics, with twenty-one in the frontiers and one each in the Battlegrounds and Labyrinth dungeon. They are acquired through PvE encounters that are geared to anywhere from solo to two groups. There are 6 encounters in the Frontiers and fifteen in the Labyrinth.

Any player can pick these items up and they come in three types. Gate I Relics improve only the person carrying them, Gate II Relics help their entire group and Gate II Relics provide an aura effect. Yarbrough noted that there will be logical number limit on aura effects to prevent infinite stacking.

To retain the relic, players must simply kill things in RvR. If not, it reverts and people must go do an encounter to get one back. Players shouldn't have any problems finding hotspots though. Holding a Minotaur Relic makes the player visible to their enemies on the map.

For those who are capped out in Camelot, Champion Levels 6 to 10 should be exciting. These will provide players with a measured power increase, more health, additional sub-classing points, new mythical slot items, player titles, new horses and additional weapon tints. To go along with the levels come new quests that unearth the story of the Labyrinth and the Minotaurs. This also means players can advance through PvE quests rather than RvR if they so choose.

There are three tears of new mythical items. The first tier is available at Champion level 6, the second at level 8 and the third at level 10. This is a further way for characters to differentiate, advance and customize.

The new expansion is their first retail addition in a while. They're aiming for a November launch that marks the first time Electronics Arts will bring a Mythic product to market. Yarbrough hopes that their experience will provide them with new fans and increased visibility.

Yarbrough also told us about the details of a patch that he hopes will come out along with the new expansion pack. In it, their top goal is to bring the game's quest system into the modern era. He spoke of how good their system was when they launched, but how it simply doesn't hold up compared to the current generation of games. Look for them to change that.

Trying not to look too far a head, Yarbrough did admit they're in preproduction on their next expansion. Financially, the plan is set, but it remains to see what way they will go. As usual, he promises it will be based highly on user feedback, both in terms of what players tell them and date they gather from the game. Finally, he also told us that they would be working on a refined newbie experience and user interface improvements for a free patch sometime next year.

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