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Dark Age of Camelot: The Roundtable 2006
Dark Age of Camelot: The Roundtable 2006
by John McCarroll - 10/16/06
A Race Long Forgotten Labyrinth Gallery


A Race Long Forgotten
Editor's Note
As a note, all information presented here is still in beta. Nothing here is final and the expansion may end up with gamers playing as Ewoks while fighting AT-STs. Take everything presented here with a grain of salt, be kind to Sanya and the other Community Managers and don't swamp them with e- mails. This article is written with the assumption that you are at least somewhat familiar with Dark Age of Camelot; if you're just a casual reader, you may just want to read the goofy stories.
 
How is that pronounced, again?
Mythic EA's choice for a keynote speaker is very interesting in hindsight. While he was booked before Curt Schilling decided to form Green Monster Games, author R. A. Salvatore (or Bob, as he requested we call him), creator of Drizzt Do'Urden, is now a competitor. Of course, both Mythic and Bob were fantastic about taking it in stride, and Mr. Salvatore was much more interested in an MMO that gives players a place to make their own stories. He gave the example of his old Ravenloft pen and paper group, and while I would butcher it in text, if you ever have a chance to meet him at a GenCon or something similar, ask him to tell the "Wubba Wubba" story. Bob Salvatore believes that MMORPGs are there to garner emotion from the players, a way for them to connect to other people, and, most importantly, they need to be the place you want to be, not the place that you're already at. MMORPGs have changed the world in Mr. Salvatore's eyes; people have met and fallen in love, gotten to know family members who they would otherwise never know, and have had fun while they did it in this new medium.
 
The Labyrinth of the Minotaur
After Bob had his fill of talking, DAoC's producer, Walt Yarborough, began his presentation about where Dark Age of Camelot was now and where it would find itself in the future. The newest expansion is going to be more oriented around PvE content than RvR content, but the content gained through PvE can be obtained through RvR as well, for those who just want to kill their competing Mids, Hibs, and Albs. The expansion is introducing several new things: the Minotaur race and its matching Mauler class, Champion Levels 6 through 10, an item slot known as the Mythical Slot, a new Minotaur Relic system, and the Labyrinth dungeon itself.
 
The Minotaur
The Minotaur were creatures that used to inhabit areas of Midgard, Hibernia, and Albion, but were scattered long ago. The Minotaur capital was where present-day Agramon stands. The empire the Minotaur built existed both above ground and below, extending into a gargantuan Labyrinth. Within their cities and this Labyrinth, the Minotaur constructed Mino Relics and the temple that they reside in. Now, the scattered Minotaurs have formed themselves into three clans, each of which has tried to find solace and assistance with the Albions, Midgardians, and Hibernians. These Minotaurs will be generally melee oriented, with a high strength and constitution, but a low dexterity and quickness. In addition, Minotaurs will be heat and cold resistant, but much to the chagrin of gamers everywhere, there will be no female Minotaur toon. The Minotaur's classes are different based on realm, and while all three realms will be sharing the Mauler class, Albion Minotaurs will be able to roll Armsmen, Mercenaries, and Heretics. Midgard Minotaurs can play Warriors, Berserkers, and Shamans, while Hibernian Minotaurs can become Heroes, Blademasters, and Druids.
 
Mauling the Enemy
Mythic EA isn't allowing players who buy the expansion to play Maulers right off the bat; players in each clustered realm must unlock the Mauler class by questing to uncover a certain amount of Minotaur relics. Once this amount has been reached, the Minotaur emissary will reward that realm with the secrets of the Maulers. Mythic EA doesn't want to give servers with a smaller population or less hardcore players the shaft, so over time the number of relics needed to unlock the Mauler will decrease. The maulers themselves will be Leather Armor wearers that use the power of Magnetism, Gravity, and Aura powers to augment their melee attacks. With Evade I and II, Maulers will be able to specialize in Fist Wraps and Mauler Staves as weapons. They will have Combat Power Regeneration, and the new abilities of Push, Kick, Silence, Multi Attack, Disarm, Nearsight Immunity Aura, and a casting time increase debuff. The Mauler won't only be available to the Minotaurs, however, as Britons, Celts, and the Norse will also be able to become a Mauler.

Maulers will have three seperate spec lines: Magnetism, Power Strikes, and Aura Manipulation. Magnetism will focus on crowd control powers, such as roots and snares, and will focus on the casting time debuff. Power Strikes focuses on the melee aspect, with Endurance and Power Traps, fumbles and debuffs, and Silence, Disarm, and Multi-Strikes. The Aura Manipulation tree focuses on self buffs, nearsight immunity aura, and an aura heal over time.

 
Minotaur Relics
The powerful Minotaur Relics are gained through the completion of twenty-three total encounters. Sixteen exist in the Labyrinth, six in the frontiers, and one in the battlegrounds. Any player can pick up the Minotaur Relic, but players must have the expansion installed to take any of the relics from the dungeon. There is no champion level requirement to hold the relics. These relics are normal items in your inventory and can be traded and dropped, though only one Minotaur Relic can be held by a group at once. While carrying these relics, players will be able to be seen on the RvR map, so while you might be as buff as Arnie, you're much more vulnerable.

Not all of these Minotaur Relics are on the same power level, though; there are three tiers. Gate I relics provide effects for the wielder, Gate II relicss affect the entire group, and Gate III relics give aura effects. Each relic in play has a feed rate, and players must kill enemies to feed the relic. It doesn't have to be RvR kills, and Keep and Tower lords will qualify as valid kills to the relic. Gate I relics are the weakest, giving players powers like a bonus to healing, hit point bonus, an XP/RP/CHP bonus, or super stealth, available to stealthers only. When any four Gate I relics are in play, Gate II relics become available. Gate II relic powers are more powerful. While they share effects like the XP/RP/CHP bonus or hit point bonus, there are powers such as the group fault finder, which gives the group more power to kill Walls, Keeps, and Towers. Gate III's Aura Effects are things such as an AoE weapon skill debuff, siege protection, or an AoE endurance drain. These powers are incredibly powerful, but can only be activated after quite a few relics have already entered play.

 
Are You A Champion?
While Darkness Rising introduced the Champion Levels 1 to 5, which allowed players to put skills into sub-classes, Labyrinth of the Minotaur allows players to obtain Champion Levels six through ten. The new Champion levels allow players to gain power and health, obtain additional sub-class points to distribute, give them the Mythical Item slot mentioned above, and earn new titles, mount skins, and weapon tints. Players will also be able to access new Quartermaster Store items at each Champion Level, starting with a Supplies Summon Stone at CL6, followed by a Recharger Summon Stone at CL7, Healer Summon Stone at CL8, Smith Summon Stone at CL9, and Vault Keeper Summon Stone at CL10. These Champion Levels are obtained through new Chapter Quests, which flesh out the backstory behind the Minotaur and their Labyrinth, and also information about the new Mauler class. The Mythrian item slot is also available the same way, and there are three tiers, available at CL 6, 8, and 10, respectively. At Tier 1, the items' buff are minimal, with things like increased encumbrance. Tier 2 provides things like a stat cap increase, and Tier 3 bonuses like a DPS modifier, underwater breathing, or endurance or power regen.
 
Press Hijinks
One of the best parts about these events is meeting the other folks in the business. While people say that there are strong rivalries between the sites on the internet, I had a blast with folks like Dana Massey from MMORPG.com, Michael Lafferty from GameZone, and Woody from GU Comics. We hatched a plan to talk to Bob Salvatore about Green Monster Games, but we decided it would be rude to talk to him at the event we were brought to by Mythic EA. That's when the insanity began. We had earlier talked about how Quentin Tarantino could be drawn in pretty much any way, even with an ear on the top of his head, and he could still be recognizable. We decided that we would take Bob Salvatore, cover his head with Michael's messenger bag, Dana and Woody would throw him into my trunk (as being the local left me the only one with a car), and drive out to the mountains to talk to him about his new company. We would then sew an ear to his head, and rename him Quentin. Oh, and since his son was at the convention, and we had to put him out of the way, Woody would draw him a picture he could trade for water, and we'd toss him in the desert. Yep, we're a pretty weird bunch.
 
The Future
Near the end, I had a chance to chat with Walt about the future of DAoC and Mythic EA. As this was the first time I'd been able to sit down with any of the DAoC team members for more than a few moments since the purchase, Walt went on to tell us that the EA purchase isn't going to affect DAoC in any way - EA's purchase has been mainly to learn the MMORPG business from Mythic, and a very hands-off approach has been taken. What the EA purchase means for Mythic is that any EA IP is now available to them, so a future MMORPG based off of an EA franchise is not out of the picture. He also mentioned that a ressurection of Imperator isn't out of the question, though the more time that passes, the less the art assets and such are viable in a current game. He also mentioned how review sites mainly still have the review of the initial game, which, for DAoC, is the Camelot that launched in 2001. So while every feature of DAoC has been revamped, and no original part remains, it's still Dark Age of Camelot.

Walt's current concern, however, is the improvement of Camelot. He doesn't see Mythic's newest MMO, Warhammer Online, as a direct competitor, though if players are interested in a more integrated RvR experience, WAR does provide it. He doesn't think there's a need at present for a "Dark Age of Camelot 2", but that he hopes that work on DAoC can continue on for another five years.

We had an absolutely fantastic time this year with Mythic EA, and we can't wait to see what goes down next year here in Vegas. To check out our gallery for Labyrinth of the Minotaur, click the Labyrinth Gallery link at the top of the page!



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