Article based on tour of Mythic HQ on March
30th and a series of interviews conducted on April 1st, 2005 in Fairfax, Virginia.
Over the past few years, Mythic has consistently been the most generous MMORPG company. For your monthly fee, they often provide free content in the form of downloadable expansion packs. This has earned them a lot of good press and made the various retail expansion packs a lot easier to justify when they have provided so much other content that they could easily have sold free of charge. Now they are taking this a step further, albeit less glamorously. This year Dark Age is moving away from free expansion bundles towards highly focused patches. Not only will they continue to address balance and bugs in their periodic patches, but each one will also have a very tight content focus. On Tuesday, a brand new low-level experience, as well as improvements to realm vs. realm combat will accompany the usual round of fixes. Beyond that, guilds are at the top of the list and it will not step there. The Executive Producer for Dark Age of Camelot Jeff Hickman and Content Lead Destin Bales mentioned that they have many content goals planned out over the next long while; although they would not yet share plans for other improvements.
Tuesday’s PatchThis week’s patch will hit players this Tuesday. In addition to the bug fixes, the focus is on the newbie experience and improvements to the tower system in realm vs. realm. Mythic’s sharp increase in new subscribers over recent weeks has taught them a valuable lesson. New players were often lost in the newbie experience and they needed to address that fact. To facilitate this they have taken several steps:
I have been greatly impressed with what I saw and heard during my visit. Any concerns that Imperator Online will hurt the development of Dark Age of Camelot are gone for me. The company is ramping up, and by the end of the year should have over two-hundred people working on the two games. The transfer of some established names over to the new project has allowed others to step up and breathe new life into an older game. Their commitment to free content each patch may one day (I hope) become an industry standard.