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Dark Age of Camelot is a 3Dmassively multiplayer online role-playing game, released in October, 2001 in North America and in Europe in January 2002. The game combines Arthurian lore, Norse mythology and Irish Celtic legends with high fantasy. It is set in the period after King Arthur's death and his kingdom has split into three parts which are in a constant state of war with each other. Dark Age of Camelot includes both player versus environment (PvE) and realm versus realm (RvR) combat. The game is in large part an adaptation of a previous Mythic Entertainment game called Darkness Falls: The Crusade (1999), a text based game.
It was announced on February 5, 2014, that development of the game would be transferred from Mythic Entertainment to Broadsword Online Games, a newly made studio, that will take over all future development of Mythic's two remaining MMO games, the other being Ultima Online. Mythic was subsequently shut down shortly thereafter on May 29, 2014. On May 24, 2019 Broadsword announced that a new "progression" server was in development which would be limited to content from the original release, Shrouded Isles expansion, and the housing zone additions. With regard to "Old Frontiers" returning to the game, the development team plans to poll the community for their preference.
The player character riding a horse through the realm of Hibernia. The early 2001-era graphic engine and HUD design can be seen in this shot.
Character control is, for the most part, by means of either the mouse or keyboard. The player can customize up to three 'Quickbars' of 10 slots each with spells, melee or ranged attacks (depending on equipped weapon), or macros, and can be either clicked on or selected with the number keys to activate. Players choose from three realms: Albion, Hibernia, and Midgard, each based on different mythologies. Each realm has different races. Although each realm's classes differ in specific abilities, DAoCs classes are broken down into the four common RPG archetypes: warrior 'tanks', spell casters, rogues that use stealth, and healing priests. Hybrid classes, which combine skills from any two of the archetypes, also exist in all 3 realms. DAoC's classes are balanced at the RvR level instead of in direct comparison to the other realms' equivalent classes. DAoC classes are very rigid with specific roles, play styles, and specialization point allocations.
Guilds offer social, economic and PvE/PvP advantages that contrast with or exceed soloing and 'pick-up groups'. Each guild comes with its own chat channel, in-game ranking system, territory claiming ability, guild banking system, guild housing, emblem, and reward system in the form of guild bounty points and merit points. Each guild leader (or leaders, as the game provides for multiple leaders) can define their own set of rules and goals. The guild leader(s) can customize the privileges, (such as inviting new members, speaking in alliance chat, and claiming captured Towers for the guild) of each Rank within the guild. Furthermore, alliances can be formed between player guilds, which offer up a conjoined chat channel for all guilds within one alliance to communicate.
Realm versus Realm is the main focus of Dark Age of Camelot. The story line revolves around what happens after the death of King Arthur and his united kingdom falling apart. Albion, Hibernia, and Midgard are in a three way war against each other and constantly war for control of powerful relics, keeps and towers, as well as control of the entrance to Darkness Falls.
Dark Age of Camelot has three realms, allowing a unique dynamic of RvRvR gameplay. Each of the three realms are inspired by actual historical folklore and mythology.
Albion is the Realm of knights and damsels, based on King Arthur mythology. Notable classes include the Wizard, the Paladin and the Infiltrator. Areas of interest in Albion include Avalon Marsh and Stonehenge, which is Located in the Salisbury Plains. Camelot is Albion's capital.
Hibernia is the land of forest and magic, based on Celtic folklore. Notable classes include the Enchanter, the Champion and the Ranger. Areas of interest include the Valley of Bri Leith, Lough Gur and Connacht. Tir Na Nog is Hibernia's capital.
Midgard is the land of the trolls and giants, based on Norse mythology. Notable classes include the Runemaster, the Berserker, and the Hunter. Areas of interest include Myrkwood forest, The Vanern Swamp and Muspelheim. Jordheim is Midgard's capital.
Each realm has a unique but parallel storyline, which is expanded with retail expansions. The European distributors occasionally add their own writings and quests about the realms and their inhabitants. In the original Realm zones, smaller cities in the realm need protection against monsters common to many other RPGs. Albion is menaced by undead raised by Morgana, Hibernia is torn apart by the Unseelie Court and Siabra, and Midgard by the treacherous Blodfelag.
Shrouded Isles - Each realm is called to assist a smaller allied realm against a large enemy. In Albion, the Drakoran have besieged the final strongholds of Lady Lile's Avalonians. Hibernia has come to the aid of Hybrasil, where the Sylvans face extinction at the hands of the Fomorians. Midgard's ancestral home at Aegir has seen the Last of the Troll Fathers hunted down by the Morvalt. This expansion is now free.
Trials of Atlantis - The ruins of Atlantis have been discovered, as well as a portal to another Plane where the ancient Atlanteans underwent their trials. How did Atlantis come to its end and what powers were left behind? The Trials remain in a form twisted by the passage of time and the departure of the denizens of Atlantis. Ancient artifacts wait to be discovered and have their power and secrets revealed by learned scholars. Familiar figures from Greek and Egyptian mythology make their appearance in a new land waiting to be discovered. This expansion is now free.
Catacombs - A nemesis has taken control of the power within the Darkspire, gaining control of most of the denizens of an underground realm's race. Arawn, previously referenced as an ally of the Avalonians and patron of the Inconnu, has had his realm overrun by revolting dead and enslaved Inconnu. The Shar are only able to hold their ground at the gates of their Otherworld citadel. The Kobolds have been forced to open the secrets of the undercity to outsiders in a desperate bid for survival. This expansion is now free.
Darkness Rising - The King of the realm has returned to fight back a growing rebellion. Further investigations will reveal a conspiracy with a dark power behind the rebellion. To become a Champion of the Realm the player must defeat the demonic evil behind the unrest and return peace to the land. This expansion is now free.
Labyrinth of the Minotaur - The ancient race of Minotaur has returned to the lands of Albion, Midgard, and Hibernia to reclaim powerful but corrupt relics hidden long ago by their ancestors. Lust for these relics once brought about the downfall of the powerful Minotaur kingdom and their evil influence now threatens the kingdoms of Man. This expansion is now free.
Early developmental concept art for the original playable races in the game. From left to right: Saracen, Avalonian, Highlander, Briton, Elf, Lurikeen, Celtic Human, Firbolg, Norseman, Dwarf, Troll, Kobold.
Toward the end of development, Mythic found itself in a difficult financial situation: Since it had never borrowed money, it lacked a credit rating sufficient to lease the Dell servers needed to run the game. After being denied the lease by Dell, Mythic had to purchase each server using its development funds. Securing a publisher was also a difficult task; every publisher that Mythic initially approached rejected the game except for one, Vivendi Games. In 2014, Jacobs still expressed gratitude to Vivendi for taking a chance on the studio.
During the game's prime, Mythic operated 120 dual-processor Pentium servers running Linux. Out of those, groups of six servers were devoted to running one world, or as the player saw it, one server. The servers were designed to handle 20,000 players simultaneously logged in at any given time, however, Mythic limited them to about 4,000 each in order to keep the world from feeling too cluttered. Mythic's cofounder Rob Denton stated, "If you have too many people, the worlds get too crowded. The last thing you want is to be bumping into thousands of people." Much of the game's code was also stored on the servers, with the user client more focused on graphics and texture loading based on a data stream limited to 10 kbit/s per player.
In December 2017, Broadsword Games announced Dark Age of Camelot: Endless Conquest, a non-subscription style game account allowing players to play the game for free, with some restrictions on how many characters the player can have, character classes, as well as some services within the game. Their timeline originally placed release in fall of 2018, but "unforeseen issues and technological constraints" with the v1.125 patch has forced them to delay the release until early 2019. However, they have also announced that prior accounts will be eligible for Endless Conquest as well as new accounts.
Mythic has produced seven expansions (which originally had to be bought separately, but are now free downloads) for DAoC. The expansions were not released on European servers (run by GOA), until typically months after the Mythic release.
Note: A patch is mentioned in this list due to its impact on one of the expansions. Also, all expansions are now included free as part of the main client download.
Shrouded Isles (SI) (November 12, 2002, then February 21, 2003 in Europe) - Added 6 new classes (Necromancer, Reaver; Savage, Bonedancer; Valewalker, Animist), 3 races (Inconnu, Valkyn, Sylvan) and a brand new land for each realm near the size of the old world (in addition to the old world), which also includes epic dungeons. This expansion pack is now a free download.
Foundations (Housing, June 18, 2003) - Free expansion which added player housing and consignment merchants (the ability for players to set up a shop and sell in-game items, whether crafted or loot from monsters). Players are able to purchase four different sizes of houses (cottage, house, villa and mansion) and decorate them as they please. Houses also provided players with an easy way to store and transfer items between characters on the same account and realm.
Trials of Atlantis (ToA, October 28, 2003, then February 27, 2004 in Europe) - Added 3 new races (Half-Ogre, Frostalf, Shar) and high level content and zones (which are the same for each realm), also includes new terrain graphics for all areas of the game (including trees). A notable general feature introduced with this expansion was the ability to actually dive and explore underwater as opposed to simply swimming across the surface. This expansion pack is now a free download, as of October 31, 2005. The expansion featured items known as artifacts, and extra abilities known as "Master Levels". Artifacts, obtained through hidden encounters, only become useful when the player finds the three scrolls hoarded by Atlantean monsters. Furthermore, artifacts must gain experience in order to reach their full potential.
New Frontiers (NF, June 22, 2004, then November 11, 2004 in Europe) - Remake of the game's realm vs. realm warfare (free, required expansion). This included making the entire frontiers one zone (instead of each realm's frontier being separated), redesigning keeps and adding towers, and adding numerous types of siege apparatus.
Catacombs (Cata, December 7, 2004, then April 1, 2005 in Europe) - Added 5 new classes (Heretic; Vampiir, Bainshee; Warlock, Valkyrie), instanced dungeons (where players entering certain areas get their own private dungeon to hunt in), and new zones and quests with an emphasis on faster and easier leveling. Also includes new player model graphics and new graphics for all the games' dungeons (except Darkness Falls). As of February 6, 2007, players may now download and venture into the depths of the Catacombs for free. This expansion can be downloaded via the website for no extra charge.
Darkness Rising (DR, October 11, 2005, then February 2006 in Europe) - Introduced Champion weapons (much like epic armor), player mounts (horses), Champion Levels and subclassing (small abilities from another class), new dungeons and instanced zones for the new Champion Quests and new graphics for the game world's models (such as barns, haystacks and forts, this includes the Darkness Falls dungeon and the capital cities) which are following the design ideas presented in Mythic's new graphics for the starting cities. Darkness Rising was also the first paid expansion to Dark Age of Camelot able to be downloaded. A trailer has been created by GOA to showcase this expansion. Mythic also introduced a new island, called Agramon, which acts as a central island that connected the frontiers of the three realms. Unlike the rest of the Frontiers zones, there are no keeps and any player from any realm can open the gates that border the island.
Labyrinth of the Minotaur (LotM, November 5, 2006, then February 14, 2007 in Europe) - Features include a new race (The Minotaur, however there were 3 types, one for each realm), a new hybrid class (The Mauler), a new RvR dungeon, Mythrians, and additional Champion Levels (6-10). Introducing the largest RVR dungeon in Camelot history (Labyrinth) with access by all three realms located on Agramon Island. Labyrinth introduced mythrians a new item slot, when equipped these myths will give small bonuses to your character. One of the most important benefits of the mythirians was that they allowed players to increase the stat caps of the item's respective attribute. Until this expansion, Mythic had never given each of the three realms the same class.
New New Frontiers (NNF, September 5, 2007) - While officially a patch and not an expansion, there were significant changes to the layout of keeps and towers as well as a revamp of the Siegecraft line (including the addition siege towers and tents) in patch 1.90. The playerbase is referring to this patch as the "New, New Frontiers."
Before the release of Dark Age of Camelot, Mythic Entertainment forecast "30,000 players on launch in the United States", according to GameSpy. In that country, the title entered NPD Intelect's weekly computer game sales rankings in first place for October 7-13, 2001. Its initial shipment sold out within one day. Its sales reached 51,000 units within four days of release.Dark Age of Camelot remained at #1 for the week ending October 20, but fell to third and fifth in the following two weeks, respectively. However, the game claimed first place on NPD's monthly chart for October 2001. After a ninth-place finish for the week ending November 10, it was absent from NPD's weekly top 10 and monthly top 20.
By the first week of November, Dark Age of Camelot had sold 115,894 units in the United States. Remarking on this performance, GameSpot's writer Desslock explained that the game had "sold extremely well during the first few weeks of its release, and looks to be a significantly larger success than the other massively multiplayer RPG released this year, Anarchy Online." He cited its performance as evidence that "there's probably never been a larger demand for RPGs".Dark Age of Camelots sales in the United States reached 300,000 copies, for revenues of $10.4 million, by August 2006. At the time, this led Edge to declare it the country's 63rd-best-selling computer game released since January 2000. The Dark Age of Camelot franchise, including its expansion packs, totaled sales of 780,000 units in the United States by 2006.
The game was also a hit in Europe, where it sold above 100,000 units by March 2003.