Dark Age of Camelot
Reviewed: 07/02/2005


(Note: this review is of the base game of Dark Age of Camelot and the expansions you can get free bundled with the game, Shrouded Isles and Trials of Atlantis. Seperate reviews of other expansions will be published as they come out.)

Mythic has an interesting product on its hands with Dark Age of Camelot. On the surface, DAoC seems like a pretty blatant clone of several mainstream RPGs (original EverQuest bears some similarity). But once players really begin to get deep into the game, differences become clear. Let’s start with talking about what makes it similar to others first, though. The previous comparisons are not unfounded; the game has many of those typical MMORPG elements. Players begin by picking a server type from the available: Realm vs. Realm, Player vs. Player, Normal, Role Playing, or Co-op. On all of these except for co-op, players from any nation other than yours are your defnite enemies and can be attacked, though some require mutal consent between players. The co-op server is also the only server on which text from foreigners will be readable to you; others have the three factions speaking different languages.

After sorting through just how the player wants to play the game, it’s time to choose a nation, then customize a character in the areas of race, class, gender, aesthetics, and modify a few battle stats. You’ll start by finding the designated NPC “trainer” for your specific class and speaking to him/her to learn new tenchniques and to develop your strength. Battles are another similarity to the normal MMORPG. You’ll be using your mouse and keyboard together, clicking on targets and hitting macros to bust out skills at the best times, and so on. Those who’ve played any other of these online games won’t have any trouble figuring out the workings of DAoC.

Screen Shot
Not a screen of me, but still darn cool

Realm vs. Realm battles are where things get more fun, for sure. There’s nothing like joining 40 of your countrymen and heading off into a massive battle against another nation’s army. There are well implemented too. Mythic did a great job capturing an authentic feeling with its medieval battle play. …Not that I’ve ever been in a medieval battle, I’m just saying… RvR combat is definitely something unique and exciting about Dark Age of Camelot. The backstory of the three competing realms makes it even better. You really feel like part of an important cause–something every game needs, but so many lack.

Dark Age of Camelot features good graphics and even better sound. It has always looked nice enough, but the system requirements to play seem a bit on the high end of things. I suppose a lot of PC gamers have high end comps anyway, but there have got to be some gamers left out of Camelot because of the system reqs. Anyway, if your machine can run it, DAoC will show you a cool world that is one of the most fun to explore in the MMORPG category. The music that plays while you’re doing so is very good, and so are the stunningly realistic sound effects. The game earns good technical scores.

Screen Shot

The bummer in Dark Age of Camelot comes in the low level of lasting appeal. The story does work wonderfully as a motivation for the player to keep going, but there’s a tough grind to get through. The little side items can only entertain you for so long. Shrouded Isles and Trials of Atlantis can now be purchased in the same box as the base game, which is the way things should be, because those two expansions, even together, aren’t spectacular. They are certainly fun, but not for as long as an expansion should be. They don’t add as much play value as an expansion should.

As far as DAoC and the first few expansions are concerned, Mythic has a respectable MMORPG going on, with near-unlimited potential. Future expansions and patches will certianly be what make or break the game. And since as of this writing, Catacombs has already come out and proven awesome, I get to sound all prophetic like I called that.

-Eric Emerson

Score Breakdown
Out of 10
See our Review Criteria
Gameplay Good
Story Great
Graphics Good
Sound/Music Legendary
Replay Value Below Average
The Verdict: 5