What Dark Age of Camelot Means To Me

I watched this video (please watch at least the first three people) of Mythic employees talking about why Dark Age of Camelot was special to them or what the game meant to them and I wanted to weigh in as well.  I want to echo a lot of what Jason Abbott and Craig Turner said about the game.  I was a Dark Age of Camelot player back on the first day of release.  It’s one of those games that, in the grand scheme of things today, only a select few ever got to truly enjoy.  I am both proud and excited that I am one of those people because it has and will forever have an impact on how I view MMORPGs.

DAOC was the first game to show me what real PvP against another dynamic and living player could be like when it involved more than just fighting that actual player.  I had done PvP in EverQuest but it was more about the individual fight itself.  In DAOC it was about more.  It was about defending your realm against a threat you knew was growing somewhere you couldn’t see.  It created a sense of “Realm Pride” in me and others when we had to fight to maintain control of our lands against the enemies.  Losing our Keeps and especially our Relics was something we could not let happen.  Don’t ask me to try and explain what specific mechanics lead to this feeling.  I don’t know.  I don’t know how Mythic was able to accomplish creating this Realm Pride and if you ask them they don’t even know — they’re probably desperate to know right now, actually.  I think it’s more of a perfect combination of many things that are unique to DAOC.  The game would have to be remade to replicate it.

I have many fond memories of PvP.  Similar to Jason Abbot’s experience, there were many times when I would be out in Yggdrasil Forest hunting something and suddenly I would catch a glimpse of a little creature in the corner of my eye cloaked in shadows sneaking tree to tree.  My heart would start thumping loudly in my chest.  Maybe it was just a mob or my imagination playing tricks on me, but to play it safe I would casually start strolling towards the border keep and safety of the guards.  Then it would happen.  An arrow would strike me and my character would scream out.  “Oh god!!” I would scream and start sprinting for my life towards the gates screaming like a girl.   Most times I would die.  Other times I would survive.  All the time we would form up with whoever was in the area and hunt the bastage down whether it meant spending ten minutes or an entire afternoon.  That enemy must die.

Dem Hibbies... Dey be wrong!

Another memory is of a keep defense.  I can’t remember if it was a relic keep or if it was just one of our strategically placed keeps that we knew would spell disaster if it were lost.  We knew the enemy was coming.  They had taken several other keeps that day and their numbers measured in the hundreds.  The shouts rang out across chat channels for the call to arms and defense.  Everyone able dropped what they were doing and mobilized.  The PvE zones went silent.  The safe lands of our home city were like a ghost town as we piled through the gates and made our way as one — a united realm — to make our stand.  Hundreds of us moved into position securing various land marks like mile gates that acted as choke points.   We lined our archers and casters up on the walls of the keep.  We had several flanking groups in position ready to strike at opportune moments.  Everyone was in position and a silence fell over the frontier.

We were waiting perhaps thirty minutes.  It wasn’t a matter of if they would attack but when.  Suddenly the screams rang out “THEY’RE HERE! TO THE WALLS! OH GOD THEY’RE HERE! THE MILEGATES HAVE FALLEN”  and the drums started beating… those weren’t drums… that was my heart and my legs beating and the adrenaline flowing.  A member of our realm we respected for their leadership asked for our quick attention.  We gave it.  He gave us a motivational speech that I have long since forgotten but I know we were all riled up.  The walls would hold.  The keep would stand and the glory of Midgard would forever be remembered this day.   Then they came…

Like a sea of red in the distance we saw the shining armor of the Albion army pouring over the hills, coming through the trees, literally surrounding us.  Our flanking groups had been flanked and they fell back into the keep.   Our archers and casters began their barrage.  One after another arrow and spell were fired.  Our archers began to fall and we were horrified to see that Albion stealth class infiltrators had climbed the walls and stuck their poisonous knives into them.  As quickly as they stealthed in they stealthed out and we now knew the enemy was not only breaking down our door but among us on the inside taking us out one by one.

Maybe two hours had passed and I was losing hope fast.   Then the weirdest thing happened.  The infiltrators stopped attacking us in the keep.  The Albion ranged assault stopped.  I peaked over the wall and to my horror I saw that another massive army had gathered on the hill in the distance.  Reinforcements for the Albs?   How many of these cockroaches could their be?!  No, not reinforcements for them.  For us?!  Could it be the night crew was getting on?  No… oh no..  Their face paint vivid and their unmistakable lopsided lumpy heads meant only one thing:  Hibernia!  Dem Hibbies thinking they were mighty rushed the Albion army. This was it!  Our chance to strike!   “FOR ODIN! CHARGE!”   “CHARGE!”  We jumped off our walls, poured out the keep door, and engaged in a three way glorious battle that resulted in several more hours of back and forth fighting over several keeps.

Playing DAOC for as long as I did, I have dozens of memories like this for each realm.  Dark Age of Camelot is where I adopted the name ‘Keen’ (from a Hibernia race called Lurikeens).  This is where I learned that PvE and PvP can coexist in harmony and how that harmony can be destroyed.  Dark Age of Camelot showed me the possibilities of a MMORPG, that they can mean so much more than what developers strive for today.

These memories are what Dark Age of Camelot means to me.

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  • DAoC was my very first MMO, unfortunately I was too young to truly appreciate it at the time. I must have been 14 at the time, living off a Nintendo 64.

    I was new to hot bars, let alone the downtime. I never looked at the finer details of the game, like crafting, or the phenomenal weather system.

    If I remember right I only ever got to level 17. I was from the realm that was pretty much all humans to play with friends who were all already max level.

    I have 2 real memories of the game.

    One was a friend bringing me to a graveyard to teach me how to manually aim my bow. I sucked hard but eventually I did stick a skelly or two.

    The next was getting a quest from a tower in the hills to hunt a specific wolf. As I left the tower a friend in the south part of the realm said ‘rain was on it’s way.’ I set out to find the wolf, and it took me a bit to track him down. But just as I spotted him, that rain arrived. I typed /hoodup and got my bow out.

    I never really got into MMOs by preferance until City of Heroes, but I do regret not having spent more time in DAoC, did more then the genre then WoW ever did and that’s comming from someone who played WoW and liked it for years.

  • Loved that game and like you, I experienced it from the beginning. I actually quit DAoC before Shrouded Isles was even released.

    My memories of DAoC revolve around the first 6-8 months of the games existance and I have never been able to recapture that same gaming experience, where PVP is concerned. It is one of the reasons I was so disappointed in WAR (and I have given it a GOOD year of my life – more than DAoC) because I wanted it to be good… I willed it to be good, but I never enjoyed it the same way I enjoyed DAoC.

    Good post.

  • wow, man. i felt shivers down my spine reading this post. i have not played DAOC but i had similar experiences in SWG, for all intents and purposes my first true MMO. that feeling is why i continue to come back and play for so many years now, trying to recapture that felling one more time. but it’s getting harder and harder every year. is it because i am getting older and the skin is getting harder or is it because modern day MMO’s in their quest for mass subscriptions just lost that magic? i don’t know, but it makes me feel nostalgic and depressed.

  • Reading posts like these makes me sad, real sad!
    Sad cos I never got to experience DaoC during its glory days!
    It sounds very much like what I am craving for and looking for in every game I start but quit just as fast.

    The feeling that both you and Jason Abbott are talking about, hearth pounding and adrenaline flowing (for real), THAT is what makes for good PvP. I used to get those pretty often while playing FPS games, but there’s only one MMO that has ever given me just that and it was AoC. After some random 1v1s while questing I couldn’t even hold my hand still cos of the adrenaline rushing through my veins. THAT is good PvP! (that said I dont play AoC anymore for very different reasons)

    It also got me thinking about why WAR failed, and I got one thought that I feel might be a strong argument for why WAR does not feel epic like DaoC did.
    Judging by how you wrote it, it sounds like you where doing a lot of other things in DaoC, probably PvE stuff but that doesn’t matter. The fact that you where spending a lot of time doing something else, and then all of a sudden there’s a call in chat channels for defenders cos a keep is under attack is prob a major reason why it felt epic. In WAR it simply happens too often for people to really give a damn if the enemy takes a keep, you can just go back and retake it in an hour or so. Keeps doesn’t really mean much in the end either.
    Ahh well enough grudge over WARs failure, I just wanted it to be awesome, I wanted it bad! 🙁

  • I also played DAOC from launch, but my memories of it are a lot different. Yes, there were occasions when it played out as you describe, and those could be enormously enjoyable and exciting.

    Unfortunately there were far, far more times when almost a whole evening’s play consisted of running round trying to find someone to fight. And then there were the seiges – hours of standing in one place hitting a wooden door. Or turning all the graphics down until the armies looked like stick-men and still being barely able to move.

    Not to mention the grinding to level – the most repetetive I have ever done, and some of the most boring. And those brain-numbing Darkness Falls raids…

    No, DAOC is one MMO I really don’t miss at all. I got as far as the low 40s with my first character, an Albion Mercenary, and into the 30s with several characters in Midgard, but after about 6 months I couldn’t stand any more and went back to EQ. I can still remember the relief!

    I did meet some really nice people in DAOC though. It had a great comunity even if the gameplay left a lot to be desired. It was the first MMO in which I became an active guild member and it set me on a guild-based footing in several MMOs for the next few years, so I do thank Mythic for that.

  • i played DAOC For over 2 years but left. Missed the castle play allot but had to move on. To bad that video you spoke up link broke makes me wonder about it 😐

  • It wasn’t game design, it was timing. DAoC came at a time when RvR was new to most of us and DAoC delivered it in the right package. I came from Faction warfare in Ultima Online, so DAoC RvR was a huge breath of fresh air.

    There are some game design elements that Mythic failed at with WAR compared to DAoC, but it isn’t worth the effort to type them all out. Mythic pretty much threw everything they learned from DAoC and tossed it out the window for WAR and then scrambled at the end to try and add part of it back in. What a mess.

  • @Elipsa: I messed up the link (added an addition http). Should work for you now.

    @Bhagpuss: Bummer that you didn’t make it to the end-game content in both pvp and pve. Some of it was really quite good. Ultimately we all like different things though. I for one loved the Darkness Falls raids. I couldn’t get enough of them. This same type of epic fighting could be seen in a slightly lesser scope back when Thidranki and Caledonia were full of action (pre ToA). I remember a similar battle with the archers on the walls and Shadowblades sneaking over and cutting our little lurikeen heads off.

    @heartlessgamer: Some of it was timing for sure. Some of it was design, although I can’t easily pin down what it was exactly. Like I said, I think it was the entire package (including time) that made it great.

  • I played DAOC for a while but I left it after a few months to return to EQ. I guess I just never appreciated it as much then as I think I would now if it were released. It was the first time I ever did proper PvP though (I played on a multi-national FFA PvP server when it opened) and it was a heck of a lot of fun. Guess that’s what DAOC means to me 🙂

  • Fuuny but now that I think of it…

    WoW had that before it had a PVP system.

    Before Honor, or BGs, WoW had faction pride.

    I was in a guild called Red Team back in the day. We were a guild about world pvp, about attacking cities and meeting the alliance wherever they showed their ugly mugs.

    We would attack Westfall, Darkshore all the classic places for no reason then to stick it to them. Eventually the defense force would arrive and we’d have a long fun battle. Classic Hillsbrad comes to mind.

    You didn’t raid a faction leader for an achievement that got you a bear. You did it because [IHaveAPottyMouth] THEM! Or in retaliation to them trying to take yours down.

    My favorite memory in WoW, despite it being 5 years old is from maybe 8 months in. A guild wanted to take down Tyrande, they were 3 raids large and still not sure they could do it. They contacted us and asked us to do one thing. Stay on the bottom floor and keep alliance players out. By classic way of a warlock and a few other sneaking in we found a hollow pillar to summon in everyone. We crowded almost 4 raids of people in and no one dared move out lest the allaince find out early of what we were planning.

    Eventually we moved in, a flood of Horde with a mission. My troll warrior was still in his low 50’s and yet there I was ready to do my part.

    Unfortunatly we still failed, Tyrande had some mad AoE skills at the time. But for a good 30min we held the bottom floor, and did our absolute best trying to hold back alliance trying to defend their queen.

    We earned NOTHING. If we won we would have earned NOTHING. And yet it stands as my greatest memory of a game that’s since changed tracks.

    You get pride for your side when pride is the point. When PVP is simply PVP and not ‘better rewards then pve in less time’ like some games today.

    Think of WAR if PVP gave nothing. You have to PVE to level, scenarios there but rewarding nothing, yet the keeps gave a bonus to your side. You gained NOTHING from taking this keep other then this bonus for the area. I don’t think we would have had anyone say ‘let them take it so we can get the capture rewards next’.

    Now at max level an age old argument comes up. ‘People who pve will have superior equipment.’ Well a few things could answer that. Either make gear not the focus, or make it that at max level you could earn the ‘raid’ quality equipment after WEEKS.

    WoW did that at first, sure soon new raid gear started to
    be better but had they also release equivalent pvp gear I would have seen no problem. At a higher price without lowering the price of the old gear. Or make the old gear a requirement. The raiders had to follow a progression, so make the PVPers too.

    My origional point though, is that PVP should NOT be about rewards. Because once it’s centered around it, it quickly overshadows pride and you see “let them take it, so we can later for rewards” or “alliance is kicking butt tonight, it’s not worth queing”

    /rant

  • Daoc, how i miss thee.

    Played in the beta and i canceled my account for the last time just this august. I think that was my 3rd account. I sold the first two both times thinking i wouldnt go back.

    It had everything.

    I wish mythic would at least understand the difference between never ending pvp and instanced pvp.

    Even the battlegrounds in Doac were neving ending fights. I must have spent hundred of hours in Thidranki. It was simple, yet great. Three-sided. 1 central keep. Perfect for shorter burst of pvp when the frontiers were at peace.

    The classic servers fixed most issues i had with the game. When Gareth/Ector/Lamorak were created, a bunch of us came back and it was a fresh start. I experienced Daoc fully for a second time.

    It was great.

    One thing i find funny, is all the newer pvp games are trying hard to put in PvP incentives and complexe reward system. Daoc only had realm ranks. Even then, you would cap RR in battleground and keep playing just for the fun. Not for some gear. I would make gear to go fight, not fight to get gear.

    Daoc win list :
    – 3 sided
    – Never ending pvp ( 0 instanced pvp )
    – No factions regarded as the good or evil one. All sides think they are the good ones 😛
    – PBAE bomb !

    I could go one for hours talking about daoc.

    ~Higgs

  • Sigh, this post made me miss DAoC, I remember having those exact experience, I was an albion armsman, one of the front liners who would go charging head first into the middie and hibbie spells, their skalds, champions, warriors flying back out at us in the plains of Emain Machera… It was good times.

    I think realm pride was built up in that game, by simply having the story line be ABOUT the rvr from the very beginning. Early on you fight the other two factions, and it goes into why they are your enemies, and your faction is NEVER just “evil”, but has an expansive world and general friendliness in the pve areas. But even that doesn’t explain it, other games have tried similar, but I have never had the kind of experience as when keeps started falling and someone put out the call to arms in all areas of Albion, causing all who could to rush to the defense of our relic keep.

    We may have been different factions Keen, but us Albs fought the good fight!

  • Man, good read. You captured how i felt about that game perfectly. When a game comes out and advertises that it has “PvP” it usually has the misfortune of me comparing it to DAOC’s RvR. I have a lot of good MMO memories, but the best came from DAOC. I’ll share one of those stories with you…

    My wife was a new gamer but a friend of ours convined us to try it out together about 3 months after launch. We made a lot of online friends, formed a guild and 20 or so levels later we were asking folks where to go at our level range…. one suggested the Giant Snow Crabs just outside these huge gates… but be careful… it’s an RvR zone….We gathered our buddies up , about 6-7 of us…and headed off to kills HUGE crabs. Everything is going fine, the crabs were a lil tricky for us but we managed….but then our healer dropped dead for no apparent reason…. seconds later, another guy died… at first I thought it was some kinda game glitch… that we had some kinda ghost crab walking around 1-2 shotting my buddies… then I saw it, some elf was standing just behind a snow bank… sniping us to death with his bow. It was at this moment, i learned my wife had a totally different side to her… we all began pursuit of the sniper and my wife became this enraged monster behind me yelling “NO YOU DONT YOU MOTHER F***KER” and many…many other various insults at her computer screen. I died in pursuit. But in the end we actually got the bastard, my wife getting the killing blow. That was mine and her’s first RvR experience.

  • I always remember back to DaoC because it was my first great MMO experience. I had played both UO and EQ before it but I was not very successful in either.

    The large frontiers that promoted teamwork along with the great us vs them attitude is probably my favorite part. I haven’t seen anything quite like it since, in WAR people could just keep rushing back from the bind stone without bothering to join up in any group.

    That is an cool story McJigg, I do recall the PvP being the best in WoW before the battlegrounds were implemented. Just in general I enjoyed the PvP server the most before honor was there too. My PvP server wasn’t quite that organized though, it was just an endless battle going on in Hillsbrad.

  • so why did people stop playing it? people seam to mention pre ToA like ToA was a really bad thing i assume it was an expansion that ruined it like um that star wars game 😛

  • I enjoyed world PvP (pre-bgs) in WoW, quite a bit, on the pvp server (Stormreaver) but it still wasn’t DAoC. DAoC was actually built around their frontier (world pvp areas) and that was the end game for most. WoW world pvp, while being fun, wasn’t intended to be the end game, it was just a nice diversion (zepplin ambushing was great!!!!!!).

  • Great post – my friends and I were just talking at lunch yesterday about how much we had enjoyed playing DAOC. I can’t agree that ToA was the NGE of the game though – I felt it was a great expansion which had a lot of unique features. I never minded doing both the PVE and PVP but a lot of people did – that was their option. But DAOC as a whole was a great game both before and after ToA.

  • ToA had alot of great things, but it introduced a whole lot of things that broke pvp, abilities that could go through walls, overpowered pets, unbalanced specials, and introduced a hugely long difficult raiding grind that required alot of time investment that some people just couldn’t put out. I was one of the pve raid leaders for Albion in terms of ToA content and I got burned out just trying to get everyone I could threw it, I was pretty popular back then for my speed runs and completing entire Master Levels (the names of the “tiers” of raiding) in 3 hours or less with decent sized groups.

  • Yeah from what I heard with ToA, Mythic made DAoC more like EQ and most of the people that enjoyed DAoC and stuck with it were trying to get away from EQ.

    Pre-ToA, DAoC was all about PvP —- Gear was something that never came into play since almost everyone sported the same gear at 50 (epic quest armor etc…).

  • Why is it that games like EQ and DOAC create such lasting memories, where friends can reminiscence for hours about things they did in a video game?

    What is it about the new, feature rich, instant gratifying MMO that doesn’t create these lasting memories?

  • That and over-incentivizing. Believe it’s proven several times over that the more external motivation you use, the more you kill internal motivation.

    Unfortunately, it’s not just one game. The more MMOs people play, the more they are likely to ask: what’s in it for me? how do I minmax or optimize for my rewards?

    To the point that if DAoC came around again these days, probably no one would show up in the same large numbers of yesterday’s MMOs.

  • DAoC was my first MMO as well. My fond memories are mostly from the PvE side of things, I did very little PvP. I have always toyed with the idea of going back and playing again just to see how different things have become. Too bad Mythic hasn’t tried to go f2p with the game like DDO did, that would be great.

  • DAoC was a strange MMO for me. I never had more fun that died so quickly for lack of content and “balance”. I think my friends and I lasts 4-5 months and every day was packed with some form of intense RvR. We were part of the first realm (Long live Mid!!) to take all three relics on Lancelot.

    My best memories as a shaman were charging through enemy lines to try to get inside a keep under attack so I could resurrect my teammates inside. Then running up to the ramparts to cast my AoEs on them over and over. Man it was so much fun to see the Hib and Alb death messages appear one after the other.

    Of course then they figured out how to do essentially the same and all forms of imbalances began rearing their ugly head and Mythic seemed to let us down and not move in any direction that would satisfy us (I can only speak of my fellow Mid guildies). Eventually my guild fragmented because people were sick of the lack of high-end content, keep battles were frustrating due to exploits, lag and repetitiveness with no real point.

    People went and switched sides or left the game entirely which eventually I did as well. What was surprising was how quickly this all happened while it felt like we had been playing forever. I will always miss that feeling I had in those RvR fights. No game has since been able to recapture it though on occassion Anarchy Online did come close.

    I miss my Midgard brothers and sisters in arms…

  • Actually, the easiest way to build faction pride is to give a strong feeling of “the enemy” to the opposite faction. Real-life leaders have known this quite well (you could probably name a couple), and I experienced this in WoW even playing BGs, which is where I first truly to hate the Alliance and thus began to feel faction pride.

  • I also played DAOC from launch and have a lot of great memories of that game. I remember my first trip to the frontiers for a quest at lvl 20ish and was scared shitless out there. Remember there were no maps with DAOC.. it was just your compass and remembering landmarks. I just decided to go exploring and got completely lost but it was just so much fun. Adrenaline pumping the whole time finding keeps and or other things out there and of course running into a pvp skirmish… ahh 1rst times are always the best… however i dont miss the grind of lvl 40 to 50… especially at launch when there was like 2 spots you could to at lvl 45 that was worth xp…

    anyhow i did this video way back in 2002..enjoy
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_r56-Bd8lzg

  • Ah those days, almost no game has managed to get your heart pumping or the adrenaline rush moments before two (or three) sides crash into each other. You could learn to feel (lagdar) the incoming enemy before they actually came into view.

    The game was not without flaws as stated in the comments, far from it. lag, exploits, knee-jerk nerfing of classes etc. But I still miss my rank 50 eldritch, warden and valewalker and all the /level alts used in thidranki.

    Maybe WAR was not meant to be DAOC 2.0 but Mythic really failed grasp the good points of RvR. You fight for your realm, kill the enemies and enjoy doing it. Not avoiding each other taking undefended keeps for rewards.

  • Great post, Keen. Made me almost teary-eyed thinking back to my 3+ years of playing DAOC, my first MMO love. It also dredged up my sadness and frustration with Mythic — WAR, for all the effort they put into promoting its PvP dynamics, and although I played it for over a year, never really lived up to the promise of its spiritual successor.

    The closest Mythic ever came to recapturing DAOC’s magic was in the Tier 1 battlegrounds. Sad to say, the game really deteriorated from there. It’s a sad state of affairs when no one wants to play the endgame because the first 11 levels are so enthralling.

    Sadly, I’m so jaded now with the current generation of PvP/RvR instant-gratification MMOs, I have a hard time believing that I’ll ever rediscover that feeling, that experience. That truly is cause for us to raise a glass to DAOC — nothing will ever quite compare.

  • Here’s my take on DAOC’s ingredients for realm pride:

    – Three realms, each with their own unique appearance, history, strengths, and weaknesses.
    – RvR was not directly tied to gear so people were less selfish
    – Renown ranks actually mattered (RRs were hard to come by and granted important abilities)
    – Keeps were tied to realm-wide rewards not individual rewards (access to Darkness Falls for your realm, relic bonuses for your realm, etc.)
    – You could not feasibly solo from 1-50 unless you wanted a very nasty grind so grouping was encouraged in PvE
    – RvR was also very difficult solo, requiring communication and coordination
    – Keep siege was complex with towers, doors, ladders, destructible walls, etc. so players were more apt to work together instead of simply clusterfrakking a single point of entry

    Now look at all those points and compare them to Warhammer Online. Do you see (m)any similarities? I don’t.

  • DAOC is the MMO that I really loved.. it was not my first mmo either. I played EQ and M59 before that, Pvp was not new to me at all. What did DAOC have that made it so good? I think one of the basic things was the lore and the story. Midgard felt like North, those high RR people would get rank called Einherjar (in North myth person who died gloriosuly in battle and was lifted by a Valkyrie to join Odin and wait for Ragnarok..). Mids were all about that 🙂 Then some people liked Arthur myth and Alb was for them. Each realm had a very distinct and recognizable feeling, it also drew from Real life myth which is a VERY powerful tool. All of us know about Arthur.. many know about Odin and Thor etc. Also 3 realm, such a basic basic thing from game theory but works so amazingly well!

    How could Mythic #fail so totally with WAR 🙁

    Scenarios?? why the fuck..

    Their biggest problem I think was going to big they would have done much better if they spent 10 mil on development not 100.. and do it more basic.

    To end here is my story 🙂

    I remember leading an invasion into the Alb land, my guild grp ninjaed the keep next to the Str relic. Over the next 10-12 hours hundreds of Albs and probably about 50-60 mids fought for it. From my perch in the keep I tried to keep the defense going. Albs brought probably 20 catapults to get us out. On multiple occasions they pushed all the way to the lord bu somehow we pushed them back. After literally collapsing from exhaustion (I was up for about 20 hours..) someone else took over the leader. They fought for another 6-7 hours! Then took the relic! When I got back on next day I went to our melee relic and took a screenie 🙂 job well done indeed.

    and another. I remember making a last stand at Odin’s spear with last few guys since Mid was getting pushed hard over last few weeks and we ahd low numbers. We I think had about 3 grps if that and a MASSIVE hib zerg came.. we stood and fought to the end! Relic was lost but we all knew that those few they were there could be relied upon from then on. Nothing like that could ever happen in WAR or WoW or Aion

  • Oh yes, DAOC was my first MMO as well. My roommate tried, but I never was able to get into Everquest, but when I saw my him play DAOC, i had to get it.

    One of my fondest memories were ‘stalking’ out with my roommate, 37/38 Clerics into the vast snowy expanses of the Midgard frontier lands. We were terrified! Killing some mobs, taking screenshots. Never ran into anyone though, but we probably would have crapped our pants.

    Later on in my career, running stealth groups in emain, sniping solos/stragglers/resters, causing havoc in alb camps while our main group overran them.

    Although, i have to say. Frontier battles were pretty dumb. Running point with my Healer, Insta-stunning whole groups of albs and hibs, then taking them out one-by one as they are mez/stunlocked.

    I think the biggest thing that DAOC did to create realm pride was how different the realms were. The feel, the theme of the homeworlds were unique and the classes were so different.

    But i think the players were different too. Now, you have the xbox generation of ubergamerz, who want instanced and instant everything. Imagine having anyone in WoW ask random people to spend hundreds of gold on Wood so that they can run out to some frontier keep and repair doors. It just wouldn’t happen today! Daoc did a lot of things wrong, and a lot of things right, but in the end i think the community is what made that game.

    Cons
    – Melee classes were RP cows
    – Archers got nerfed to oblivion and back
    – Aoe classes ruled the day
    – zerg zerg zerg zerg zerg
    – Trials of Atlantis. That’s when i had enough
    – CC was waaay too powerful. way.
    – Battlegrounds were a fun sideshow, but in the end i think they drained the end game of players. See scenarios in WAR.
    *** THE GRIND *** I don’t think could never go back to a grind game again. Still having nightmares about redcap aoe groups and the ghost thingies in emain i whatever they were?
    And don’t get me started on soloing a necro to 50 …
    – Darkness falls: i hated the seal farming, compare to honor/badge farming in today’s WoW.

    Pros
    – the 3-realm system. It was hard for one realm to dominate the others.
    – The danger and massiveness of the frontiers. You could get killed at lvl 50 by mobs out there.
    – Darkness falls: whereas i hated the farming, i loved the design, and how the realms fought to control it.
    – Melee classes now actually had “moves” like what you would find in later MMOs.
    – Community! Great people almost everywhere, people needed to be community oriented because they would be shunned from leveling/dungeon groups in the future. No transfers or name changes here, if you got ‘blacklisted’ you were done for.
    – Crafting mattered.
    – End game had an actual goal. not just e-peen purple item hoarding

  • Great posting Keen, but being an Alb, your story has a familiar ending, Mids and Hibs teaming up yet again to take us down. It always did take two of yall to bring down one of us, lol.

  • After having keenly (pun abit intended) grown up around the time of MMO’s I can now look back in retrospect and see that my 2 1/2 years of playing DAoC was a complete waste, little did I know that the game I liked (not loved) was all there was to it for PvP.

    Again I may come off as a WoW fanboi, but I look back on DAoC for what it was worth. A massive lag fest of griefing and camping and 4am relic raids. I do not miss the game one bit, hell the PvE leveling was so tedious and boring that I never managed to level all the way thru on my own. My first toon was a Champion and got him to 42, then one of my guildies from Asherons Call left to go back and he gave me his account that had a 37 Warden which I played fior a while but found boring as hell. Little did I know he had a 20ish Smite Cleric and a 20ish Friar on onther server and so I played them eventually leveling both of them up to 50.

    75% of the time all you did was roam in 8 man groups or camp milegates, thankfully ToA came along and drove everyone back to leveling artifacts and since I wanted no part in PvE again I quit, mercifully. When you were out in the frontiers taking keeps 90% of the time it was a snore fest of attacking undefended keeps so the thrill I thought I had was quickly evaporated upon the joy of actually finding a game where leveling was fun, PvP was in its infancy and would only get better, yes I am talking about WoW.

    For me Arena is the epitome of great PvP and its the reason why after 5 years I log in every day to do it, with the added cool and fun factor of having meaningful PvE raiding.

  • DAoC was very much mired in the old days of pve, it had it’s high points, but it’s definatly not as polished as pve is nowadays.

    However, in regards to pvp, I can’t believe you espoused ARENA as one of the funnest ways to pvp, broken, unhooked from the lore, no persistence, incredibly unbalanced, pvp fueled changes hurting the pve game… heck, arena participation has been on the HEAVY decline from the start, with record low numbers competing in the last two seasons. Theres a reason the majority of WoW’s playerbase hates arenas, and even amongst the people that DO arena, a large number of them I know HATE it. I’m going to have to consider your enjoyment the minority on that front.

  • I love reading stuff like this, especially from someone who was obviously immersed in the game at the time. I played DAoC in the beginning too though never got around to PVP (didn’t play long) though I did enjoy it quite a bit on subsequent revisits. My similar stories are from Ultima Online, and like you I think those are probably experiences that won’t ever truly be recreated. I think that has a lot to do with why so many of us are on these never ending, seemingly futile quest to find the next MMO that is able to capture us in a similar manner.

  • Speaking of Hibs and Mids ganging up on the Albs. One of my favorite moments of playing DAOC was finally getting revenge, albeit only in Thidranki. We had a large group of Albs massed right on the other side of one of the bridges. So i jumped on my cousin’s account and pulled up his skald. I must have ran 5 groups right into that force before anyone noticed. Easiest realm points my Infil ever got.

  • Being a low realm rank infiltrator, i wasn’t a beast on the bg’s, but im happy to say one of the few times i ever one shotted, if you count Perforate artery-stunning stab, as a one shot, was in Molvik. During a keep siege that we were defending i was stealthed looking for squishies and low health targets when i came upon a Kobold dancing. That dance looked kind of like the old soft shoe. I thought this is too perfect, i know ill die but wth, maybe ill get him to half health and our scout can finish him. I ran up to him, set up as best i could and bam, heard his funny moan of death, the two mauler’s sitting next to him didn’t move, I danced for a second, popped vanish and got out of there. Small victory i know, but still a victory.

  • What did Dark Age of Camp-a-lot mean to me?

    I remember riding horses. Lots of horses. It was a game about riding horses.

    I remember guild drama and alliance drama.

    I remember “PvP” consisting of a dozen Albs lined up in front of their border keep, facing a dozen Hibs just down the slope and out of range. Every now and then some enterprising fool would dart out ahead of the line and shoot at someone, then get mowed down by Rangers and Eldritches.

    I remember lots of massive slideshow zergs as several dozen players, most on /autofollow, followed the one guy who knew the way to the target and had a PC that didn’t play lag.

    I remember some of the worst PvE action I’ve ever had the displeasure to experience, standing in one location and pulling the same five monsters over and over until everyone got the level / phat lewt they were looking for (or the group wiped because of one player’s minor error or bad luck).

    I remember being in a full group and being wiped by a Warden and a Bard who were only a couple of levels higher than us. The entire group stood there mesmerized while the Warden slowly (oh-so-very-slowly) killed each of us in turn.

    Sure, in the year or so I played I did have some fun. I led an impromptu keep recapture raid. I helped organize one of the first keep sieges on my server (Guinevere).

    But mostly I just remember horses. And guild drama.

    Dark Age of Camp-a-lot and Mage of Conan are the only two MMOs that I never, ever miss.

  • Arena in WoW is as much pvp as Team Fortress 2, with TF2 being about 10 times more balanced, skill based and fun. They are just different things, open world pvp and “arena” scenario sport..

    Anyway great thing in DAOC that you could REALLY punish bad play. People who blew purges at wrong time, did not look 360 degrees etc.. in most other mmos, as long as you got numbers and decent gear you can /faceroll to victory by spamming damage skills. In DAOC you just get mezzed and meleed down by a warden lol :p I miss that, driving an 8 man as my Supp RM then nearsighting a Sorc as he is trying to bolt range mezz us. ohh the qq of it 🙂

  • Two other things i can’t forget. Necromancers fighting each other for the best spots in Gwyddeneau to power level alts by killing the white lights. And who can forget all the Cleric Bots sitting in the keeps. As much as i loved DAOC you needed a bot to be really competitive. Still think the extra accounts is what keeps the game alive today.

  • @smthin

    I played before they added the Realm Points system (or the low-level battlegrounds; or the towers). In fact, I quit just about the time that Darkness Falls was added. So, in my day, there were very few ways for an Alb to break out of a mez ;^)

  • Having come from EQ, my favorite things about DoAC were:
    1) more soloable creatures at/near level. You might have had to worry about BaF, but you could solo hunt. Groups did better over all because you had more leway in the pulling.

    2) “Tap for quest mobs.” For quest mobs that were on limited spawn timers, you only had to hit the mob once to get the credit for the kill. Much less bickering and arguing or such mobs.

    3) PvP helped the whole realm, not the individual. There was a purpose beyond personal pride to go fight.

    I do think that 2 factions is not enough for healthy PvP. Three or four is a good start but I find that player created factions work the best. EVE and Darkfall are good examples of that idea. However, if you are going to have fixed factions have more than two, and don’t make a “good-evil” split.

    Separating PvE from PvP map wise was a good idea. However, I still found that for the most part you had to level to max before heading out. Personally, I think level differences should be thrown out in PvP areas. This just leaves gear and character abilities. But all level based calculations (to-hit/damage) should be removed.

  • DAOC failed when it seperated PvE from PvP because that turned PvP into a mini game and not a natural part of the server. The second failure was when it made CC so grossly overpowered. The balance was so terrible for the first 4-6 months that I unfortunately left the game before it ever got fixed and was fun.

    Sadly the best PvP I’ve experienced to this day was the early days of Tallon Zek in EQ. For a game that just slapped PvP on at the end and never balanced it they sure had the right idea about it. Make the players fight over the PvE and then they always have incentive to fight instead of just camping honor points or realm points.

  • I also played Mid (started a month or two after release) and have many memories of Ygg and Uppland. I’m not sure what made people develop such great sense of realm pride, but there were other things that I liked just as much as the realm pride. Such as the Capital cities actually feeling significant, especially if you started as say a Troll in Galplen (which has since been renamed to like Galphen or some crap), there was no instant teleport to the city BS, you had to save up 5s, buy a horse ticket, and then ride it out.

    I’m not sure what it was exactly but I know it just seemed so damn good at the time and looking back now I’m able to see it as a map with mob spawns on it and a dungeon here or there instead of what I saw it as then, another world.

  • I also have great memories of Daoc, which I played since beta, specially the great crafting which never since has been equaled (crafted equipment custom made to your own design – a template so called), however I must also point out the evil grind (having an alt was like a nightmare) and the frustrating crowd control. I also remember the radar and other exploits that ruined it for a lot of people.

    Besides, it got old. WoW came and it had a better performance on basically most any rig around, and better graphics. And at release it offered much of what Daoc offered (there was some sense of realm pride at launch, specially with people who had background on warcraft II and III) with a lot more polish.

  • DAoC was a fantastic game. It still is really. The Mythic servers are still quite busy. Now GoA have lost their DAoC license and are handing the EU back over to Mythic, a lot of the old EU players are resubbing, and these are some of the best players you can imagine.

    Sadly the game has lost some of its magic though. It is too easy now, and with other games offering more graphical bang for your buck, not many players stay long term anymore.

    I will always have fond memories of DAOC. It was a truly ground breaking game. I was proud to be a small part of it.