Dark Age of Camelot: A Simpler Time of RvR MMOs
By Remko Molenaar (Proxzor), OnRPG Journalist
Dark Age of Camelot is a Pay-to-Play 3D MMORPG that revolves around the war of the realms following King Arthur’s rule. This medieval fantasy MMORPG is developed and published by Mythic Entertainment on October 10, 2001. The world revolves around dragons, magic and massive battlegrounds.
This game has been out for a while but OnRPG never gave it a really close look. I volunteered to step into the realms and see why so many consider this one of the greatest MMORPGs of all time. Not only is this game focused on defeating monsters found in dungeons, but the open world and RvR zones challenge the player to participate in huge PvP battlegrounds to earn further loot.
Once the player starts up the game and selects a server, they are offered the choice between three realms. These realms are Albion, Hibernia and Midgard. A detailed history of the age of King Arthur I is available on Dark Age of Camelot’s official page. It’s definitely worth checking out if you love intricate storylines and intend to really get immersed in this game.
Albion is through and through the land of Arthur. Forged from his iron will, paid for by the blood of Knights and commoner alike, Albion encompasses the ideals, the laws, and the heritage of its most famous King. The people of Albion are mostly homogenous, sturdy Britons, hulking Highlanders, graceful swift Saracens, and the tall intelligent Avalonians. The small, mysterious Inconnu along with the bestial Half-Ogres add a dash of the exotic to the Realm.
Hibernia is the closest to nature and magic of all the Realms. Their heritage has long honed its citizens to channel the forces of magic and unleash its destructive force on their enemies. Human Celts and the almost-giant Firbolg live in close harmony with forest, glen, and all nature’s creations. The Otherworldly beautiful Elves, small mischievous Lurikeen, and sleek magical Sylvan harness the power of primal magic. The malevolent Shar have an uneasy alliance with the other races of Hibernia, and bring an undercurrent of evil to the emerald hills.
Midgard is home to the snowy lands of glacier and fjord where the mighty Norse legions call home. These legions are hell bent to once and for all establish the rule of Midgard upon all the Realms. Midgard, land of lakes and wide slow rivers, is home to six of the most diverse races found in the three Realms. These races are the Norsemen (the humans who make themselves at home in these snowy wastes), short yet resilient and tenacious Dwarves, huge lumbering trolls, lithe dexterous Kobolds, shadowy, mysterious Frostalfs, and the primitive and proud Valkyn.
After you have chosen a Realm it is time to pick a race. There are currently 7 races per Realm available. The following races are currently in the Dark Age of Camelot:
Albion: Avalonian, Briton, Half-Ogre, Highlander, Inconnu, Saracen, and the Korazh(Minotaur).
Hibernia: Celt, Elf, Firbolg, Lurikeen, Shar, Sylvan, and the Graoch(Minotaur).
Midgard: Dwarf, Frostalf, Kobold, Norseman, Troll, Valkyn, and the Deifrang(Minotaur).
After you have chosen the race you can pick a class among the various available and designated to said race. Currently there are 47 classes to choose from which is quite a lot. All these classes are broken down into four common RPG archetypes: Warriors, spell casters, rogues and healing classes. There are also Hybrid classes which combine skills from any two of the archetypes. The current classes that are available in Dark Age of Camelot are the following:
Albion: Armsman, Cabalist, Cleric, Friar, Heretic, Infiltrator, Mauler, Mercenary, Minstrel, Necromancer, Paladin, Reaver, Scout, Sorcerer, Theurgist, and Wizard.
Hibernia: Animist, Bainshee, Bard, Blademaster, Champion, Druid, Eldritch, Enchanter, Hero, Mauler, Mentalist, Nightshade, Ranger, Warden, Valewalker, and Vampiir.
Midgard: Berserker, Bonedancer, Healer, Hunter, Mauler, Runemaster, Savage, Shadowblade, Shaman, Skald, Spiritmaster, Thane, Valkyrie, Warlock, and Warrior.
Dark Age of Camelot is not the usual MMORPG where you level up, achieve new skills and upgrade your armor. In Dark Age of Camelot you actually have to spend time to think through your build. After some experimentation its best to pick your favorite weapon and beeline down talent trees that fully unlock that weapon’s potential. I chose to play as a Blademaster and I got multiple choices for my skills, such as skills for blunt weapons or sharp weapons. Since dual wielded blades I decided to go for the sharp weapon tree to get the optimized use for them.
The interactivity of the environment in this game seems almost unheard of considering how old it is. You can actually converse with NPCs using the chat box and open doors to enter village houses! The graphics are dated but not nearly as badly as its competitors from the same era. Even the water has a mirroring effect and actually does look like water unlike many other MMORPGs.
I must give readers a warning before jumping into this game. If you are not a fan of player on player combat and prefer to spend your time grinding mobs or taking on challenging dungeons, I do not recommend this game. It is absolutely vital that you join your fellow realm members to do battle for the glory (and special buffs) of your nation.
To play this game and ignore this side of it would be as silly as to play League of Legends for only the computer AI battles. Thankfully the realm versus realm battles in this game are still remembered fondly to this day as one of the most polished and successfully implemented open world pvp systems ever implemented into an MMORPG. After experiencing it for myself, I can confirm the praise is well deserved.
To play this old yet good looking MMORPG the recommended system requirements are really low. As long as you have a Pentium 4 processor with 2.4GHz along with a 64MB video card that supports DirectX 9.0 or later you´re good to go. If you have no idea what kind of computer you have or you´re simply not really into system specs, any computer made after the year 2001 is most likely able to run the game just fine.
Even though this game is almost 10 years old I still had a lot of fun trying this game out. The lore behind the Dark Age of Camelot is quite known to everyone that has heard the bedtime stories about King Arthur and really makes this game unique. Despite its age, Mythic and EA still provide regular content updates to a player base that remains populated and active. There are special made servers for everyone to have as much fun as possible whether you like PvP or PvE. If you like old fashioned MMORPGs with more complexity than simple hack and slash games, I would recommend you to try out Dark Age of Camelot because this game has a lot to offer!