Dark Age of Camelot: A Look Forward
Managing Editor Jon Wood and News Editor Garrett Fuller recently traveled to Fairfax VA for an informative EA Mythic press event. Today, Garrett tells us what the future holds for the former Mythic Entertainment's flagship game, Dark Age of Camelot.
Dark Age of Camelot if a game that has come a long way. After five years it is considered one of the top old-school MMOs and is often ranked in with Ultima Online and Everquest. However, the Dark Age of Camelot we saw this week carries many upgrades and features which keep it in competition with the current MMOs we are all playing today. After five years on the map, Dark Age of Camelot still delivers and plans to deliver for many years to come.
Producer Walt Yarborough gave us a presentation on the changes that we can expect from Dark Age of Camelot in the near future. After going through and highlighting points on The Labyrinth of the Minotaur, he went right into the new content that players will be able to enjoy. Also, he did mention that GOA will be launching the expansion in Europe sometime in February. The expansion has been available in North America since November.
Moving into 2007, Dark Age of Camelot plans to concentrate on three new features to drive their game: Live Game Updates, Enhancing account services, and the biggest of the three Camelot Campaigns. Also, DAOC will make the Catacombs expansion free for players. With so much content already in the game, and players still fighting it out in RvR, the new features will focus on giving the players things to do without having new zones to adventure through.
In regards to live game updates, Camelot plans a large scale clean up of the way game play is working currently. Their hope is to optimize player performance and remove player frustrations. This began with the January 10th patch (1.87) and is expected to continue throughout the year. Without going into full specifics, Walt explained that DAOC will be cleaning up crafting, the UI, its class system, and will be adding some polish to the art and content. Also, players will be getting a twelve button hot bar on their UIs.
The next feature that the Camelot team spoke about was enhancing their player account services. With each account, players will be able to transfer characters across servers with greater ease. The team is also planning to add more inventory slots and vault slots for housing. One of the biggest changes players will get on their accounts is the ability to gender respec their character. Yes, you heard that right. If you have a level fifty male Berserker; you can now change her to a female. Hopefully wives and girlfriends will not exploit this feature when the guys are not looking.
The biggest addition to Dark Age of Camelot for 2007 is the rise of Camelot Campaigns. Campaigns work like this: Every six months players will begin a new campaign in their respective realms. The campaign is designed to bring players together again and have them re-explore the realm they knew as home. Every two weeks, content for the campaign will be added. This will continue over the next six months until the big finale takes place. Players can with quests and eventually join up in a raid for the end content. These in-game story arcs will offer players new content without having to travel into new zones. The events will take place in older zones that the players have already explored. Walt was quick to say that these story arcs will be layered so that you an always catch up before the big event at the end of six months. Considering DAOC has a five year history, the content will be for high-level players (metrics have shown that a good portion of Camelot’s player base fits into this category). Another note is that once implemented, the story arcs will remain in the game and forever change the face of the realms.
The first campaign players will get to see is “A Dragon’s Revenge.” The story goes that one of the dragons (we don’t know which ones…crafty Devs…) is out for revenge on the realms. The dragon and its allies will attack the areas that most players call home and cause havoc on the world. Players will have to fend them off and try to rebuild their homelands after the destruction. The story will feature scripted events and eventually build up to a huge battle for players.
When talking with Designer Mike Stone, he had said, “We want to cater to the community in everything we do.” This is the philosophy behind campaigns.
One of the last points that I feel is important to bring up is that in talking with the team the issue of Trials of Atlantis was addressed. The developers know that ToA was poorly received by the community when it was released and mentioned that the Gareth server was in direct response to that. They wanted players to enjoy the game without the ToA content. The main reason behind this was also clarified by Mike Stone, “Players don’t want to be forced; they want to choose what they do.” He basically went on to say that ToA forced players to compete in an arms race scenario when the game was already successful with its RvR content. People then felt like they had to go out and grind again. This process took away from the RvR which was so popular. Even though EA Mythic may not get everything right (then again who does), you have to respect a company that makes mistakes, admits it, and really tries to give something back to the players in return.
Overall, for a game that has a five year history Dark Age of Camelot is going strong. When we asked Mike about the lifecycle of the game he hoped it would be around for another twenty years. Thanks again to the DAOC team for meeting with us and giving players a sneak peak into what is on the horizon for 2007.