Today we’re happy to feature an exclusive interview with developers at EA Mythic on Dark Age of Camelot. It has been a while since we last say down to chat with them and our own site manager Byrnel took the time to ask some insightful questions.

WarCry Q&A: Dark Age of Camelot
Answers by Missy Hatch, Community Relations
Questions by Janet Cunningham

imageWarCry: What impact have you seen from the clustering of the Classic and SI areas? Any complaints from Mids about Modernagrav or Albs about Orc camps? Any thoughts of unclustering some of the more popular PvE spots?

Missy Hatch: So far, the reaction to the new zone clustering has been positive. Before the patch came out the community was generally skeptical, but the majority of players find it a welcome change. These areas seem more alive now. It’s common to see other players while out on a hunt, which was our goal, since that’s what playing an MMO is all about.

WarCry: With clustering, one of the chief complaints we hear is the “of Server” tag associated with the characters. The adding of the -x to a name before sending or inviting is one issue. Another is the inability to see the last names of people from other servers. This is especially important to the role-playing community who spend a lot of time on their last names.

Missy Hatch: We agree that this was a change that takes a little getting used to-but it was a small sacrifice to make toward better gameplay overall. To us, it made sense to accept this minor extra mechanic in order to help facilitate more lively, populated game area. Having to add -x to a name or being unable to see a last name on roleplaying servers lost out over having three times more people to play with in some areas. Besides, when was the last time you walked up to someone in real life and instantly knew his last name? It’s the perfect chance to start a role-play conversation!

WarCry: Would it be possible to link the databases of the consignment merchants across a cluster? It would be great if we could window shop from one location and see items from all of the clustered servers, even if we still have to port in order to actually buy them.

Missy Hatch: This is an excellent idea, and one we’re planning on looking into further. There are potential issues with code and it could be awhile, but it’s something we’d like to do if we can.

imageWarCry: Personal horses are great! Any chance of flying mounts in the game’s future?

Missy Hatch: Flying mounts would be very cool, but unfortunately wouldn’t work artistically with the game’s landscape. Dark Age of Camelot was designed to be seen from the ground up, not from the sky. Adding flying mounts would require hundreds of hours of landscape and architecture redesign-hours we would rather spend on new features such like our new Camelot Campaign system.

WarCry: There have been some great class changes put in place lately – specifically the archery and animist changes come to mind. Is there a more general melee style review still slated for the future?

Missy Hatch: Absolutely! Our devs are dedicated to reviewing classes every patch, and looking for places where all classes need help. We don’t like to say what exactly is being looked at too far in advance, since things do tend to change, but we’re certainly not finished with class revamps yet. You’ll just have to keep an eye out for the notes on Pendragon, our test server.

WarCry: With the new archery changes, archers don’t have to buy arrows anymore. Any thoughts of something similar for Crossbow and Thrown Weapon users?

Missy Hatch: Yes, we do intend to extend this to Crossbow and Thrown Weapon users eventually.

imageWarCry: Mythic respecs don’t seem to stack – any chance of that changing, for the folks who don’t use them every patch?

Missy Hatch: Nope! Players should take advantage of them every patch to tweak your spec and experiment with different class options.

WarCry: Any chance of longer friend/ignore/rp filter lists?

Missy Hatch: Sure, it’s something we can look into. Thanks for the suggestion!

WarCry: There’s still a disconnect between various types of players (8man, small group, horde/zerg, etc.). Have there been many requests for tourney-style battlegrounds, or 8man instanced battleground arenas, or something similar? Are there any plans for something like that in the works?

Missy Hatch: There was a time when we considered instanced battleground areas, but we decided that it was in the best interest of the game to keep the focus on existing open RvR areas instead of pulling players out of those areas and into instances. Since then, we added more landmass with Agramon Island, a new high-level battleground called Cathal Valley, and the Labyrinth to provide more variety for different play styles. We continue to look at RvR every patch, and 1.89 will begin to introduce new, more streamlined keep designs and dynamic siege mechanics.

imageWarCry: Along that same line, many players (especially role-players) would love to be able to hold tournaments within their guild – or even against other guilds – something similar to the existing duels, but with up to full 8man groups.

Missy Hatch: It’s something we have talked about extensively, pretty much the same answer as above.

WarCry: Any plans for instanced PvE dungeons for larger parties – maybe 2 to 5 groups or so? For example, larger guilds who like to take a horde with them wherever they go might have difficulty with Darkspire. A larger instance – or even better, one that scales based on the number of groups – would be a great addition!

Missy Hatch: Right now, aside from the Camelot Campaigns, our focus is on RvR content. Currently our instances only support 8 people as far as coding goes. Though there aren’t any instances like the ones you describe, there is plenty of content in SI, ToA, Catacombs, and other previous expansions to appeal to larger raid groups.

WarCry: The Dragon’s Revenge campaign seems to be going well. How has the general feedback been?

Missy Hatch: So far the feedback for the new Camelot Campaign has been very positive! Dynamic new content every two weeks with a progressive storyline has been very exciting for our players and for our devs as well. Anyone who hasn’t started on the new story-driven quest lines should definitely check it out.

imageWarCry: How does Mythic/EA currently see the in-game economy going? In particular, how are brand new players faring – compared to the way we did back in the day? Starting out seems to be significantly easier than it did at release – is that going according to plan?

Missy Hatch: Currently we feel that the economy is strong, for players of all levels. For new players, low level armor and weapons are readily available via hunting, Aurulite, and questing. A good example is the full set of armor you can get from the Demon’s Breech area. Last year we added guild gifts as well, to help players just starting out. The high level economy is currently stable, and, as you put it, going according to plan.

WarCry: There are definitely quite a few players who’ve been around for 4+ years. We hear frequent comments crediting DAoC’s RvR content for that longevity… what else comes to mind as a contributing factor?

Missy Hatch: Badgers and snakes. No, seriously, what tops the list is our community. DAoC has one of the best, most passionate communities in the genre. Add that to a vast selection of PvE raid content, top notch RvR, and the constant attention and dedication of our development team, and you get a game that we’re proud to continue to support and create content for.

imageWarCry: Some of the player base is concerned about future improvements/updates/support for this game as we get closer to the opening of Warhammer. Any comments on how one will influence the other?

Missy Hatch: Warhammer has a completely separate team from Camelot. Each has its own designers, programmers, writers, testers, and complete dev teams. Camelot will continue to get the same level of attention and support it has gotten from the beginning. We’re proud of our flagship product, and as long as we have players enjoying the game, we’ll have a dedicated development team behind it.

WarCry: There are many die hard DAoC players who love the game and want to see it stick around for a long time. What can we as the playing community do to help if flourish?

Missy Hatch: Keep playing, keep posting, and keep sending in feedback! Our design decisions always take our players’ feedback into consideration. We look at what’s getting positive feedback and what isn’t, and make changes according to those trends. As long as our players are there doing what they do, we will be too.

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