Dark Age of Camelot: Darkness Rising E3 2005 First Look

Mythic's next expansion to its long-running online RPG will add new high-level quests, player-controlled mounts, and more.

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Though Dark Age of Camelot has been widely played for years now, developer Mythic Games is evidently still hard at work producing new content and gameplay enhancements for the successful massively multiplayer game. At the Electronic Entertainment Expo, we got a first look at the next DAOC retail expansion pack, titled Darkness Rising, which is being catered to experienced players of level 30 to 50. While we didn't actually get to see too much of it, we took in a lot of details that make it sound quite promising.

Dark Age of Camelot's work is split up into three different realms, and in the Darkness Rising expansion pack, each of these realms will gain what's called a champion's quest--an epic, multipart quest involving your realm, your king, and a rebellion that must be stopped. As part of the deal, one new instanced zone per realm will be added, challenging groups of up to eight players to complete their trials. The champion's quest will yield some significant rewards, including champion weapons unique to all the dozens of classes in the game (we got to see the paladin's weapon, a mighty two-handed sword engulfed in holy fire).

You'll also gain up to five "champion levels," which will give high-level characters a bit of an edge. The subclass system is what's going to be interesting about this. With each champion level, you'll be able to choose an extra ability that normally wouldn't be available to your class. For example, warriors might gain some healing magic or defensive buffs. They won't be as powerful in those skills as the classes they're cribbing from, but hey, it'll help. The choice will be up to players as to whether to focus their champion points on one area of concentration or spread the points across different skills.

Player mounts will also be added to the game. You won't need to upgrade to the expansion pack to get them, though Darkness Rising players will get access to faster, fancier mounts. These will be functionally similar to the mounts in World of Warcraft and other games, lending players a speed boost but no combat bonuses or anything like that. Mythic promises that there will be some new emote animations exclusive to mounted players, though. Mounts will also be customizable with guild logos on their bards and other visual tweaks.

One other update that should coincide with Darkness Rising is the overhaul of the popular DAOC dungeon, Darkness Falls. We got a brief glimpse at the updated visuals, which certainly looked good. The Darkness Rising expansion pack suggests that Mythic is still committed to the audience of its aging MMO game, despite having recently announced a partnership with Games Workshop to do a game based on the Warhammer license, in addition to working on its sci-fi-themed MMO gane Imperator.

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