Dark Age of Camelot Journal One
Your Computer Must be This Tall to Ride
The frame rate issues were a huge point of contention with fans and Mythic. The easiest solution was of course to upgrade one's personal hardware. Admittedly low end hardware was part of the problem, afterall DAOC came out in 2001 the GeForce3 ti cards weren't as widespread as they are now. The GeForce 2 MX was by far the most popular video card at the time, and while popular and cheap was woefully overrated for running video games. So it is true that the user base had to grow into Dark Age of Camelot, but at the same time the Netimmerse Engine was not exactly idsoftware material. For starters, the client did not have a wide variety of graphical options to tweak for better performance. Netimmerse had resolution settings, limited to 32-bit color only and sound. Meanwhile if it simply allowed turning off the multitude of decorative plant textures performance could have increased tenfold. Again I have to mention that with Shourded Isle expansion, Mythic added several detail features players could tweak for better performance.
So like most gamers, I'm suffering along with low frame rates to play the latest game on the market. It often took me 5 minutes just to open the gates of Howth and get out of town, because my framerate was so bad. Eventually I'd get lucky enough someone comes along to open them for me, I spend my newbie levels just killing the water beetle larvae and badger cubs. At level 2 you can begin what many people have dubbed the "Epic Quest" for your character. Basically it is a linear storyline that you begin at level 2 and complete at level 50. You have to do each stage roughly every 5 levels after level 5,and the story unfolds as you go.
For new characters, the first 4 quests you get from 2-4 are great because they give a hefty amount of experience and some money. These quests are one of the more attractive features of Camelot. I always did them with every character, not just because they gave good experience and treasure, but because I felt they helped develop my characters in the world. The history of quests completed is also a nice touch. I've always said that what MMOGs need is more persistent features like records and logs. The Might and Magic series pioneered this area with their award and auto-note features. The strength of a Persistent Online world is that it saves the progress of the character, so it makes sense to play to that strength. Keep a running list of how many monsters the character has killed, how much cold he has accumulated, how many quests he has completed, and any other quantifiable statistic. These type of features reinforce the premise of persistence in the player's mind because he can see on paper how he has shaped the world.
As I said before I got carried away, the starter quests are good for coinage. As a new character and probably until level 25, you will be perpetually broke. The cost of items, the need to constantly change out those items, and the fact monsters drop little in the way of treasure all combine to leave one's character kicking the tomato can. It is something that actually makes the game challenging and makes getting magical loot valuable and rewarding. Unfortunately, as I previously stated at around level 25 or 30 the money situation becomes less like depression era economics. So the challenge wears off and the player is just left to concentrate on the slow leveling.
In my travels around the area close to Howth I met a friendly lurikeen ranger named Pax. We became good friends and teamed together often. One of our first adventures was into the low-level dungeon of Muire. At the time it was one of the few itemized dungeons in the entire world. Which meant, actual items dropped from slain monsters, whereas most monsters in other dungeons just dropped coins. The problem was, the more I grouped the more I realized rangers were a dime a dozen. Typically a group would have 5 rangers and a random class. This convinced me that ranger probably wasn't the class for me. Since I was only level 11, I decided to start over.
Second time out I went with a celtic champion named Paris. This time I started in a town called Connia. One of the downsides to Camelot is that the towns are really just clusters of buildings. They aren't the sprawling communities with paved roads like Ultima Online or the stylized cities of Everquest. Instead Camelot cities are essentially a handful of generic buildings . Connia like Howth was a frame rate nightmare for me. Still I soldiered on and killed my share of sand crabs and mudmen. Like most games, the second time through the newbie levels is much easier, and I was quickly up to level 9 by the end of the day.
Champion was very interesting class to play. It is considered a tank in Hibernia, but that is somewhat of a misleading term ,since, at the time Hibernia was not considered a melee realm. Later on through patches, the Hero would be upgraded to one of the best tanks in the game, but at this early stage, the Hero was probably the third best tank overall in the game. The champion was probably near the bottom of the scale even though they could wear scale armor their other defensive abilities like hit-points and evade were very low for a melee. What made the Champion a unique experience to play was that they relied on spells that were called 'instant casts', which meant the player could cast them while running or getting hit and the effect would take effect immediately.
The spells the Champion could cast was a direct damage spell, several stat debuffs and a snare. The Champion was the best class in Hibernia for 'pulling monsters' to a group.
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