Strategy & Tactics: Dark Ages
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When you play a role-playing game, do you really know your role? Diablo and Everquest may be major hits, but they're largely combat based. In those games, you run around,'kill things, travel vast distances...but ultimately, you never get the opportunity to completely immerse yourself into the fantasy and be somebody.
Them's Fightin' Words
That's not to say that there isn't combat in Dark Ages. As in most RPGs, you'll need to explore the environments and take on fierce creatures (there are over a thousand of them using A.I. behaviors) to increase your character's level and status. Spells and skills are acquired as you progress, and the creatures cough up treasure upon defeat. You won't be able to tackle the monsters alone, though; you'll need to quest with friends.
Forsooth, Get Off Thy High Horse
Unlike other online RPGs, Dark Ages treats dying as more than a mere inconvenience. If you die, your character receives a permanent scar. A friend can't resurrect you, and your magic items perish with you. Plus, money is hard to get--and harder to keep. Most merchants have a fixed supply of items--when the merchandise is gone, it's gone. This is high stakes role-playing. This is high stakes role-playing.
In truth, sometimes the dramatic tone gives way to pretentiousness. If you can manage not to wince when you read phrases like "journey not, lest you should perish under their jackaline grin," congratulations. Suffice it to say that the creators are serious about the world they've created, and they want you to believe in it with the same intensity as they do.
On a Role
With an emphasis on characters (unlike Diablo) and a single-server world (unlike EverQuest), Dark Ages is an advanced realm for advanced players. It's confusing for newbies, but vets with the right mindset will dive right in.
- Players can express emotions through animations that include frustration, surprise, sadness, Joy, and love.
- The graphics in Dark Ages are quite detailed, but largely static; there's not much animation.
- The Dark Ages world is huge, containing forests, towns, temples, and cities.
- Every character can be fully customized, from hair color to armor and weaponry.
- In Dark Ages, you can easily chat through word balloons over heads or in a separate window.
- Before you even choose your character, you must find a player to vouch for your commitment Phew!
- Religion is just one character aspect that Dark Ages offers hardcore players.