My introduction to the world of massively multiplayer online games is probably in the median of most MMO players.  I didn’t start “in the beginning” with text only MUD’s, nor am I a total new comer to the genre.  “Back in the day,” a co-worker of mine got a group of us talked into trying a somewhat new game on the market called Dark Age of Camelot.  

We all started as a group about six to eight months after DAoC’s start-up.  Mike, the guy who talked us all into joining, had been playing since release – probably was in the beta as well, but that’s beside the point.  We all got to experience the game as new, and avoided all the initial growing pains MMO’s tend to go through in their first few months.  Being my first MMO experience, I was quite blown away by the whole thing.  I was immediately hooked, by the immersive forest area where I started out my adventure, to when one of my co-workers showed up in game to help me out and show me the way to where the rest of the gang had congregated.

Riding a horse, following behind my co-worker, carefully watching for where he was going to jump off. (We had all gotten on the phone using some trick that I don’t even remember right now where you call someone, they call someone else, etc. down a chain and eventually you’re all on the line…)  Anyways, we got to a place called the Prydwin(?) Bridge and jumped off.  There I met the rest of the guys from work in their avatar form.  Mike was already a member of a long standing guild from his days in Asheron’s Call and got us into their new guild in Camelot.  It was all quite confusing, exhilarating, and over the top fun for me. I had always dreamed of making or playing a computer game where there were knights, mages, and all the other DnD artifacts – and this was IT! Woohoo! I was in heaven.

It was in my days in Camelot that I found I was an “alt-o-holic.”  I had to have one of everything; a mage, a cabalist, a paladin, a scout, a friar… And then I’d login to other servers to play what the opposing realms had to offer.  I did have a “main” character though, and that was my original Cabalist – the only one in the guild!  They weren’t a very popular class at all back then.  Since that time, I’ve always been partial to “pet classes” as well.

I also discovered that I preferred to either play solo or only with people from the guild whom I knew I could trust to play well and not screw things up, or if we did screw up it wasn’t a huge big deal.  Pick-up-groups just weren’t my thing at all.  PUGs usually ended up having no discipline, no respect, and everyone seemed to take a lot of dirt naps.

There were also certain opposing classes that I learned to despise;  Stealthers and Mezz’ers.   Mainly because stealth classes could almost always “one shot” kill me, and mezz’ers because they could stop me from running away from those who could one shot me, LOL.  Eventually, much later in my career I created a deadly scout and annoying sorcerer to exact my revenge <insert evil laugh here>.

I’m assuming that my love affair with Camelot is because it was “my first.”  I’ve played many, many other MMO’s and I almost always would end up back in Camelot. There’s a lot of very good game play in Camelot that just doesn’t exist in other MMO’s.  The PvP system is better than any other I’ve experienced.

Mythic made some pretty serious errors though, IMHO, with some of their expansions and “enhancements” to the game.  Everyone knows Atlantis was a big problem.  I actually really enjoyed the new theming and some of the quests.  But I absolutely hated the grinding of the new “Master Levels,” not to mention that you also had to level your gear – UGH!  And the “New Frontiers” totally destroyed RvR for me.  I had to return to the much more fun battlegrounds to get my PvP fix, where RvR had been much more fun than the bg’s prior to New Frontiers – Double Ugh!

In their last few expansions and patches, however, Mythic has taken several steps in the right direction. Reducing “downtime” between fights and adding many new quests and rewards making the basic levelling grind go by without nearly as much pain as in the “old days.”  And adding the “classic” servers where you don’t have to deal with all the Atlantean artifacts and levels was great.  I just wish they could have left the Atlantis geography/mobs in place and removed the master levels and artifacts…  I really did like exploring that area. Too bad the “classic” servers don’t have the “Old Frontiers,” then they’d be almost perfect.  Another great change they made was range-limiting buffs. That way if you wanted a “buff-bot,” you had to “stick” them to you and take them out of the fortress so they were now at risk of being killed.  No more hoards of zombie clerics, shamen, or what have you hanging out at the castle.

I no longer subscribe to DAoC, but it would probably be a safe bet that I will log back in once in awhile to see how things are going there.  It’s harbors a lot of pleasant memories and it will always be “my first.” 

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