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Dark Age of Camelot: Darkness Rising Review

Erich Von Hase Posted:
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It has been out over a month!

Dark Age of Camelot's latest expansion - Darkness Rising!

Who cares, right?

If you are not currently playing in this expansion, I am fairly sure you are only reading this article for a quick look at the screenshots. But, before any of you scroll on past this text for a dismissing glance at the new images, there are a few things you should know about this expansion.

First of all, I will shoot straight with you. There is almost no content for lower level characters, and by lower I mean 35 and below. To be honest, there is not much for characters under 45. So if you are considering getting into Dark Age of Camelot for the first time, this expansion won't offer you much at all. Sorry kids.

However, if you have a high level character parked this expansion will certainly be worth dusting them off for a spin around the block. Yes, I said it. It is worth reactivating your account. Here is why.

The fantastic art team at Mythic has added a volume of graphics to match the rest of the freaking incredible Catacombs graphics upgrade. A lot of monsters and environments have gotten their overdue facelift, and they look phenomenal. I cannot say enough good things about the Catacombs graphics, and what was added in the Darkness Rising expansion is no exception. All together they are easily the best looking fantasy MMOG graphics set on the market.

But enough about the pretty, the real matter at hand is the content.

Darkness Rising has added player driven mounts, a Champion level system of quests and rewards, and my personal favorite - Subclassing.

The mounts are all horses, regardless of race and realm from what I have seen, but you get to ride them at a pleasant pace. They are faster than running which is good for any class that does not have a movement speed buff and not too shabby for those that do. You can get the basic horse at level 35. At higher levels, you can upgrade your horse so that you can add barding to it. A really cool feature is that you can cover your horse in your guild colors. Who would you not want to? All in all, I have to say that this is a much needed and overdue addition, but they did it as well as any other game that has player driven mounts, and it is arguably much better looking. The horses look great. Best of all, you can't fall off if you accidentally hit the spacebar.

Ah, the Champion levels. If you have done the Trials, you can expect a much more reasonable set of challenges. They are not as long or insane. In fact they are quite fun. I have not talked to anyone who has not enjoyed them. And when you are all done being a Champion of your Realm, what do you get? Yes, you guessed it, a big spiffy weapon! Before you run out and quest for one of these things, let me tell you it is not going to replace an artifact weapon by any means, but it is going to have some stout specs to it. The Champion quests are fun enough that the weapon at the end will be a nice bonus rather than a goal to grind for.

Finally, my favorite part - subclassing. Yes, Mythic has finally added subclassing to DAoC. However, it is not as cool as you might hope. In fact, it is really almost just a party favor. Here is how it works. As you gain Champion levels, you can spend points at the basic class trainers (like Fighter, Acolyte, Rogue, Naturalist, Stalker, Viking, etc.) for basic abilities. That is it. You will never get any class specific special abilities, but you will be able to get some neat stuff. At max level, you can look forward to a 150-200 point nuke that will not get resisted much, moderate healing and buffing, or some basic combat styles.

I was pretty disappointed that my Wizard was not able to go next door to the Friars' Hall and finally learn how to fight with his staff, but he has learned how to evade moderately well, and has a small self heal that can save his butt in a pinch. My Paladin has had a lot of fun showing off zapping low level mobs. It is not going to change the face of RvR much, but it is going to make your character a little more survivable, and give you a few new tactics to tinker with.

So there you have it. This expansion is worth at least a month's subscription if you have a high level character gathering dust. If you are already playing it, then you don't need me to tell you about it. Otherwise, just have a look at the pretty screenshot and wish the games you currently play had graphics that are half as good.



Erich Von Hase