Dark Age of Camelot

a game by Mythic Entertainment
Platform: PC
User Rating: 8.0/10 - 1 vote
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Dark Age of Camelot
Dark Age of Camelot
Dark Age of Camelot
Dark Age of Camelot

Whether you subscribe to the 6th century Dark Age version of King Arthur or the French romanticised epics as told by Hollywood, the Arthurian legends are replete with tales of heroism, war and quests. All in all, an ideal setting for an online RPG.

Mythic Entertainment is taking a mixture of both forms of the legend and adding a few extra traditional fantasy elements to boot. Set after the death of Arthur, the Kingdom of Albion is trying to defend itself against the forces of two opposing realms, the Norse and the Hibernians. Players can quest for glory, found a trading empire or engage in player-to-player combat with opponents in the other realms and with AI monsters within their own realms.

Dark Age Of Camelot has possibly been the fastest moving game from concept-to-beta in recent memory -so fast that it is taking the fan base a little while to realise that this game is no longer simply 'vapourware' as are so many of its potential rivals. The first beta stage of DAOC is now over and beta2 is well underway. Hundreds of lucky testers are already enjoying the realm of Albion... and what a great realm it is. Graphically, DAOC is just superb. Even in beta the early models are good, and some of the release versions are the best we have seen in an online RPG. Basilisks roaming the Salisbury Plains look and move like the real thing (C'mon, you must have seen them?), while Undead Romans look like a cross between Romero's Living Dead and legionaries from Gladiator. Even the buildings look and feel just right (if you excuse any historical inaccuracies), and when running over the plains you will suddenly stop and say: "Blimey - it's Stonehenge!" No signposts required.

The completed spell effects in the beta are also excellent. The mageshielding spell has to be seen to be fully appreciated - just think of the shields in the film Dune and you'll have an idea. Character models and items are not yet completed - it is a beta after all - yet even these are extremely good and indicate the great potential for the final product. Camelot is looking good!

Days And Knights

Class and game balancing is the major thrust of the beta at this point, and early indications are more than promising. The typical class-based characters of RPGs are all present, but their implementation is often far from typical. Clerics, for example, are capable of more than simply healing and throwing about the odd buff (beneficial spells). Buffs can be applied once to group members and need never be re-applied, unless one of them dies. A special skill is required to do this, but this frees up the Cleric to have a far more active role in groups than is usual.

Similarly, Paladins are not the usual standby healers and so-so warriors. Paladin spells are heavily group-orientated and have been designed very cleverly to meld with those of the Cleric without imposing on one another.

With much still to be completed in the early races and classes, it is hard to predict the final outcome. Solo and group hunting are both feasible and enjoyable, though each has its benefits and drawbacks. You do not have to fight in a group, and judging by the current state of gameplay, Camelot is looking like a winner on that front.

Player Vs Player (PvP) and the opposing realms have not yet been introduced to the beta, so these elements remain an unknown quantity at this point. What can already be seen is that the world in which this will eventually all take place is a very large and smoothly designed affair. The player moves about within what could best be described as a bubble. This bubble allows the player to move seamlessly within the realms, each of which has a Homeland and a Borderland.

Currently, the Homelands of Albion take about an hour or so to run from end-to-end, and during the entire process you don't need to zone and you don't experience any boundary glitches at all - it's all very smooth indeed. The value that this adds to the feeling of being in a large land and to your immersion within the game cannot be overstated. When you first enter Camelot all you want to do is go and explore - it looks and feels that good. Even the chins of hardened betal testers will drop to the floor as the moon drops slowly over Stonehenge or dips silently below the horizon at Llyn Barfog.

Albion Rovers

The layout and naming of the lands of Albion is also well done. If you know modern Britain then you won't object to any of the placements, names or the feel of the areas. They may not be entirely accurate but they certainly do make sense and are well conceived. Similarly, the monsters are not your usual high-fantasy mish-mash. Mythic has obviously drawn from a good knowledge of ancient myth for all the realms, and some of the local legends are extremely well researched. Even monster names are more appropriate than those of many online role-playing games and utilise Celtic, Welsh and Norse legends. Mythic is not being shy with treating the gamer to a host of'new' names and creatures - beware, for example, the Cwn Anwnn of Lyn Barfog.

Dark Age Of Camelot has risen from the depths of obscurity and burst on to the forefront of upcoming MMORPGs and from what we have seen, deservedly so. If the current standard of work continues, DOAC is a sure-fire winner... and you can take that to the bank.

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System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

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