Friday, July 16, 2004

Dark Age of Camelot - Revisited!

Well - this is a long-promised post - I've been meaning to write up my thoughts on Camelot since I got back into in a few week ago but I never got around to it until now!

Where to start.... Well, how about a little back-history.

My history with Camelot
Well I started on Camelot in early 2002, on the European servers with some old friends. I had a good time for a month or two, but the time-zone difference really killed my interest in the end, as I was barely ever able to GROUP with my Euro friends - by the time I was logging on they were logging off! There was also the inevitable catch-up period - since they had started before me they were a few levels ahead of me - and I wasn't too quick at levelling in Camelot then - I've since learnt a few tricks!

Fast-forward to 6 months later - my interest in EQ was waning, so I decided on a whim, since I had an untouched Camelot US key (Bought to get the software so I could just get a key from my friends for the Euro servers), that I would give it a try. Since I had been on Albion previously, I decided to give Midgard a try, on one of the Roleplaying servers (Percival). This turned out to be a GREAT choice, as the community wasn't TOO old, though they were, on a whole, a lot more mature than the Euro servers (Everyone calls each other 'M8' on there - I'm a bit of a purist when on a Fantasy game and this was VERY off-putting!) - plus there was a much lower percentage of people with silly names. It added a LOT to the atmosphere of the game! I had a blast role-playing with people, and even formed a small guild, every so briefly, before deciding being a guild-leader was too much work! It all changed, however, when I grouped with a couple of people who I still know to this day. They invited me to join them in their guild on Guinevere, in Hibernia - which was also another Roleplaying server. Guinevere has been my home ever since, give or take a few forays back to Midgard and Albion.

It took me a while to get to 50 - in between of which I had a break or two from Camelot. I was VERY satisfied when I finally made it though!

But to get back to the present: I had been gone from Camelot for about 6 months - the RvR situation just really made me sick - too many Elite Gank Guilds running around, and running into a Zerg when you're in a single group isnt much fun either! I had always intended to come back when New Frontiers was released - so a few weeks ago, even though I'd been enjoying myself in PlanetSide, I re-upped to Camelot to give it a try!

End-Game RvR
Well - the experience in RvR certainly has taken on a different feel - the lay of the land is much more strategic, with choke points etc. It offers a lot of opportunity for tactics and strategy. However, generally the only people who get to do that are the leaders of the Zerg. Which is where the game has headed - if you're not in a Zerg, by and large, you're out of luck. The game has gone from 90% Gank Group vs Gank Group to about 10%, with the rest taken up by Zergs and Keep Taking. Holding keeps is much more worthy for your guild now - you get extra exp, extra money no matter WHERE you are hunting, and other bonuses too. Also - the more your REALM holds, the better the bonuses. But - I'm sorry to say - Keep taking is pretty dull for me at least - once you've taken a few towers and a keep with a decent-sized Zerg - bleh! Plus - this has made playing a melee character pretty tough in the game - if you're not a stealther/ranged caster you're out of luck. You spend a lot of time defending keeps and you get to twiddle your thumbs if you're a melee person. I've seen more than a few of my friends rolling up stealther/casters to play in RvR (Me included!) - though to their credit Mythic are trying to address this.

Also - more so than ever you need to have a 'Template' set out to be really effective in RvR. Its not good enough to just be level 50 and have your Epic Armor and a decent weapon. You NEED SpellCrafted armor, and a couple of Artifacts levelled to 10, as well as some decent other things. Higher level Master Levels are also highly encouraged for some of their more useful abilities. So much for Trials of Atlantis not affecting RvR! For me, currently, thats keeping me busy in PvE - I need to get enough money to BUY all that stuff!

Realm Abilities
The new realm abilities system - in my opinion at least - is very good! It seems to be a much more balanced system now - to get the very top-level abilities people have to commit a LOT more of their points to get them - but the good news is that lower level RR people like me can at least get a version of things like Purge for fairly cheap, instead of not being able to afford it at all! Overall - a great rewrite I think.

An interesting addition to the game was low-level battlegrounds, so even a brand new newbie at level 1 can get a glimpse into RvR - and they can even level up from 1 to 44 in the Battlegrounds as the XP awards for an RvR kill were increased by 8 times - making a good kill worth as much if not more than a similar PvE kill! As far as I have seen the low-level BGs are still slow in getting interest - though that seems to be changing. Time will tell on that score!

In conclusion, I think that New Frontiers was a good start for the basis of the future of the game - but it still needs tweaking. Its not enough to keep me in the game - but I also have my Guild on there which is doing a lot more events etc nowadays so I'm having a blast hanging out with them. Community and friends, in the end, is why I play Multiplayer games!