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What if... Dark Age of Camelot 2

Garrett Fuller Posted:
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In many polls on many sites the one game that always comes up for sequel is Dark Age of Camelot. Launched in the pre-WoW era of 2001 DAOC was one of the hottest MMOs before the mainstream hit. Even though Ultima Online really set the ground work for PvP combat, Dark Age of Camelot perfected it and gave it meaning. A game that now lists in the history of MMO players, you hear it referenced many times as a "we wish" or "more like Dark Age of Camelot." Yet somehow the industry lost touch with a game that had a solid player base, a strong PvP system, and some great ideas that never made it into the latter half of the decade. So the question remains; what if Dark Age of Camelot had a sequel?

Imagine the perfect storm, Mythic is now part of Bioware all under the umbrella of EA. In a meeting somewhere among the corporate office someone decides that DAOC should be given its due again. The game having launched in 2001 with its highest numbers in the pre-WoW era of 2002-2003, is now due for a sequel. EA approves, Bioware approves, and Mythic goes to work.

Forget Warhammer for a minute. The game had its good points and bad points. It had some revolutionary ideas and yet dropped the ball on areas that were critical to the player base who had known and loved Dark Age. Also, Warhammer did a lot of Warcrafting in its design. It had to, as every other game did that was launched in the post-WoW era. So here we are in 2010, almost ten years after the launch of Dark Age of Camelot and Mythic gets a fresh canvas to paint on. What do you think they will do?

Let's start by looking at the strong points from the original game. The three faction system is by far one of the best features in DAOC. Albion was clearly the main faction with Camelot as its capital. Hibernia took on the Celtic myths and Irish lore and created a sub faction with a more magical inclination. Then Midgard became the third faction with its Norse theme and huge looking trolls. The fact that no side was considered evil or good was an important element in the mind set of the game. You were not playing Undead vs. Elves. No, you were playing your realm. That realm was your first choice in the game before even creating a character. There was no two sided conflict. This was a power struggle between three factions for control. In this three faction system, RvR was born. In players minds, the choice of three sides gave them a bit more choice and that made all the difference.

In the sequel, do not break what was never broken. The three faction system should remain and nothing on that front should be changed. Not only did it give players a team to choose before creating a character, it gave them pride in their realm. It also gave them a zone design which allowed them a place to level without getting ganked. At the time this was a huge difference from the PvP of Ultima where you could be killed on your front doorstep. In DAOC 2 the factions remain as all three themes touched on human history with a fantasy element and created a fun world to fight in.

The changes should come in the races that each faction has. DAOC was great about putting in multiple races for each faction. Even if the Albions were all human, at least you had Saracans and Scots to mix it up. This is where a strong change can be made. Similar to how Diablo 3 is changing up with classes. Sure the old classic races should be there, the Midgard Stone Trolls would have to return. But perhaps here is where Mythic could inject some new ideas. Taking creatures of myths from the three factions and making them into playable races. The thing is, DAOC had a good share of races to choose from all with a different look and feel. The design would almost have to be streamlined down into what was popular and would appeal to players the most.

Aside from races, the classes would have to be recreated as well. DAOC did suffer from launching many classes within the game each with a very basic core set of skills. The large variety of classes was a good thing, but the endless class balance system they created after the launch was rough. Sure there was variety and each class could be played effectively, but it did not take long for players to figure out which classes were the best at RvR and those became the top. In the sequel, rolling the dice on a large number of classes would benefit the game. Class balance has come a long way and could be improved upon long before the game hits digital downloads for launch. It was the variety of play styles that gave DAOC its fun.

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Garrett Fuller

Garrett Fuller / Garrett Fuller has been playing MMOs since 1997 and writing about them since 2005. He joined MMORPG.com has a volunteer writer and now handles Industry Relations for the website. He has been gaming since 1979 when his cousin showed him a copy of Dungeons and Dragons. When not spending time with his family, Garrett also Larps and plays Airsoft in his spare time.