Game: Dark Age of Camelot, Shrouded Isles (Expansion 1), Trials of Atlantis
Developer: Mythic Entertainment
Previous Credits: Aliens Online, Starship Troopers: Battlespace, Godzilla
Online, Silent Death Online, Rolemaster: Magestorm, Darkness Falls,
Splatterball, Dragon's Gate
Genre: Massive Multiplayer Online (Subscription based w/ 30 day free trial)
Players per server (world): 2500-3000
CPU: PII 450 MHz (DAoC, SI), PIII 1.4 GHz (ToA)
RAM: 128 MB (DAoC, SI), 384 MB (ToA)
Hard drive: 600 MB each
Video: 32 MB DirectX 8.1
CPU: AMD Athlon 2000+ XP
RAM: 512 MB DDR PC2100
Video: Asus GeForce FX 5200 128 MB
Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) games have really come into their own over
the last couple of years with the release of heavy-weights such as Final
Fantasy XI and Star Wars: Galaxies. With hardened veterans like Everquest
and Ultima Online still keeping a strong following and great support,
competition is tight in this burgeoning genre. Even so, Dark Age of Camelot
and its two expansions, including the new Trials of Atlantis, continue to
offer a rich world populated with many varied wonders and (more importantly)
Dark Age of Camelot (DAoC) is set in a mythical world of Arthurian legend.
Threatened by war on two fronts you start as a member of one of the three
Realms - Albion, Midgard, and Hibernia. Albions are Arthurian in nature,
Midgard takes its style from Norse legend, and Hibernia is drawn from Celtic
lore and legends.
From here you choose your race and class specific to each realm and start
adventuring. In the early game all you have to concern yourself with is
becoming familiar with the gameplay mechanics and keeping from being slain
by computer controlled opponents (NPC's). Once at a higher level you can
participate in Realm versus Realm combat. Each Realm has possession of a
number of relics essential for the Realm's survival. Stealing or retrieving
relics in a back and forth battle is where a lot of the excitement and
long-term charm comes from in this MMO.
People who have explored the worlds of San Doria in Final Fantasy XI or
Tatooine in Star Wars: Galaxies will not be blown away by this game. DAoC
doesn't have a large emphasis on bump-mapping, high-polygon models, or
advanced lighting effects but wins marks for animation and design. What
people will notice is that the game is very well polished. And with features
added to the engine with every expansion (including nice water effects in
ToA), DAoC isn't standing still. A nice feature of an older engine will be
its accessability to people with older systems (yes, they play games too). A
note here should be made about the draw-distance and people standing on top
of galloping horses...
Now the first thing I warn people when they ask me about MMO's is: they are
MMO's. MMO's are unlike any other game genre and must be treated as such.
Don't expect instant gratification. Don't expect heart-thumping action. Do
expect a huge learning curve and a sophisticated interface. But expect to
meet a lot of people and form a community. Also expect a depth of story and
gameplay unsurpassed in any other genre.
Where DAoC fits into the MMO spectrum is not as an innovator so much as a
polisher. DAoC takes a lot of its gameplay mechanics from the venerable
Everquest and expands on them, especially in one key area: Player versus
Player (PvP). By having all of the PvP as Realm versus Realm you reduce the
stress associated with PvP. As long as someone is deep within their own
Realm they have no fear of being trampled by a few malicious players with
nothing better to do than ruin someone else's fun. This allows a healthy
balance of PvP versus solo-ing and Player versus Enemy (PvE) gameplay.
Unfortunately for this reviewer, I only had 2 weeks to get a sample of a
very deep and involved game (with its two expansions) so I can only give an
initial impression. I would really need more like 2 years to give a well
rounded review of this game. Fortunately for you, the reader, I have had
quite a few conversations about DAoC with friends, and they all seem to be
quite devoted to series. Mythic Entertainment's track record for updates,
balances, design choices, and expansions is impeccable. My experience showed
me a daunting epic world filled with all manner of wonders. High quality
from the install to character creation to introduction to leveling, I
constantly found more to do in the game. I really wish I could have spent
more time in-game.
Everything I heard in the world of DAoC was top-notch, but one thing struck
me more than anything else - what was up with the Diablo music? It must have
just been the area I was exploring but I kept getting the feeling of
deja-vu. I kept feeling like I should be using a town portal to visit the
blacksmith to upgrade my weapons and heal... Other than that little quirk I
was very impressed.
If you are looking for a very rich, fantasy-themed MMO with a very large
community behind it and an enjoyable PvP system, this is definitely the game
for you. If you are looking for twitchy instant gratification, carry on...
There is nothing to see here...
For those of you who want to see what everyone is talking about in terms of
all these online games, this game offers an Everquest with better graphics,
less expansions, bigger world, and better PvP.
Dark Age of Camelot ,Shrouded Isles,Trials of AtlantisESRB:
Platform: PC Games