Dark Age of Camelot Review
This impressive online role-playing game marks the dawning of a new era in a gaming genre that has steadily gained prominence since Ultima Online made national headlines in 1997.
You don't need 20/20 hindsight to see why the successful early-October launch of Dark Age of Camelot was such a significant event in PC gaming. It's safe to say that this impressive online role-playing game marks the dawning of a new era in a gaming genre that has steadily gained prominence since Ultima Online made national headlines in 1997. Developed by the experienced but heretofore little-known Mythic Entertainment, Dark Age of Camelot squarely takes aim at other popular online role-playing games--namely, Sony and Verant's definitive EverQuest, Microsoft and Turbine's Asheron's Call, and Funcom's recent sci-fi-themed Anarchy Online--and, by and large, it blows them away. Even if you've already invested hundreds of hours into one or more previous online role-playing games, you'll find that a brush with Dark Age of Camelot--let alone countless sleepless nights with it--will justify making the switch to Mythic's game. That's because, through and through, Dark Age of Camelot is solid, well designed, interesting, and rewarding. It's not for everyone--like most online RPGs, it demands much more of your time than the average game, and you won't enjoy it as much if you can't commit yourself to spending hours on end in its sprawling world. Regardless, Dark Age of Camelot has a great concept, is already teeming with tens of thousands of players, and promises to keep getting better.
Those thousands have no use for this review--they're enjoying the game already. This long review is best suited to those who've yet to decide whether Dark Age of Camelot is worth its retail price, the time commitment, and the monthly fee (approximately $10, payable by credit card or numerous other methods) for the service after the first free month. Based on extensive research and play time, this review is intended to empirically evaluate every significant aspect of Dark Age of Camelot, and, in doing so, to imply the broad scope of the game. Rest assured, you wouldn't have spare time for too many other games if you get into Dark Age of Camelot--but we'll suggest that such a sacrifice would be worthwhile. Furthermore, note that this review is based on Dark Age of Camelot as it exists to date--less than a month after its release. The nature of online games is one of constant change, which means that, over time, some of the following statements may no longer be applicable. In light of this, it's important to try to anticipate how a game like Dark Age of Camelot might change over time, using all available evidence to support the predictions.
Dark Age of Camelot takes place during a period of turmoil after the death of the legendary King Arthur. The people of Camelot are being called upon to defend their nation against its encroaching foes. Interestingly, the game presents this conflict from three different angles--not just Camelot's. That is, in addition to the realm of Albion, whose capital is Camelot itself, the game focuses equally on her two rivals: Hibernia, a magical land based on Celtic folklore, and Midgard, a harsh land based on Norse mythology. Dark Age of Camelot invites you to play as a character in any one of these three realms and eventually grow so powerful that you can invade the lands of your opponents.
To become powerful enough, you'll first need to gain a lot of experience by defeating countless evil creatures in your own realm. And regardless of whether you choose to be on the front lines against enemy players, Dark Age of Camelot's unique setting still creates a real sense of camaraderie between players in the same realm, who know that they have a common foe. Furthermore, the inclusion of features designed to help you find groups of other adventurers (or other adventurers to join your group) and organize large player guilds means that there's a very strong social framework in Dark Age of Camelot. It's easy to meet friendly people in the game, and playing with them generally makes the game much more enjoyable.
When it launched, Dark Age of Camelot offered 10 different game servers--sometimes known as shards--for players to choose from. These host several thousand players at peak hours, and Mythic has already added no less than half a dozen more servers in the few weeks since the game's release. Take note that if you wish to play the game with some of your friends, then you all have to play on the same server and within the same realm. As it is, in Dark Age of Camelot, the only thing you can do with players from other realms is to try to kill them. The game features an innovative, interesting player vs. player (PvP) system centered on the conflict between the realms. The dramatic notion of realm vs. realm combat between armies of players is completely realized in Dark Age of Camelot. If this notion sounds intimidating, it is. But it's important to emphasize that Dark Age of Camelot isn't strictly about PvP combat--not unless you want it to be. Though there's no penalty on players that get defeated, PvP combat is still best suited for seasoned players of higher experience levels, and it's relegated to discreet (but large) frontier areas on the outskirts of the realms. It's a very intense and carefully designed part of the game, but it's completely optional, and it isn't the focal point of Dark Age of Camelot. You could just as easily play and enjoy the game for hundreds of hours and never take up arms against another player.
- Player Reviews: 31
- Game Universe:
- Dark Age of Camelot: Darkness Rising (PC),
- Dark Age of Camelot: Catacombs (PC),
- Dark Age of Camelot Platinum Edition (PC),
- Dark Age of Camelot: Trials of Atlantis (PC),
- Dark Age of Camelot: Gold Edition (PC),
- Dark Age of Camelot: Shrouded Isles (PC),
- Dark Age of Camelot (PC),
- Dark Age of Camelot: Labyrinth of the Minotaur (PC)
- Number of Players: