Just my 50 cents... on how DAoC changed & why the population has decreased ever since

I know that many of you don't care, and many know better than I do, and even more won't even read this post. That's fine :-) Anyway, if I should die tomorrow, I would regrett to not having left my last words on the internet.

I've been a Dark Age of Camelot in the "old ages" - right after Shrouded Isles came out, I was just a teenage boy, maybe 15, and was fascinated by the idea of an MMORPG. So I created an account, felt chosen to play Albion and started playing. Playing, leveling, dying, killing, looting, and all that stuf.
I have to admit: I wasn't the "power gamer" with 2 or more Buffbots. Didn't have anyone to pull me up to lvl 50. I was just that lvl 1 character, thrown into a new world with so many things to learn - and so I did. Oh god, how do I still remember sitting there, just a stone throw north of Cotswold, waiting for the Mana of my Wizard to refill again - enjoying the scenery, chatting with group mates. And, oh, how do I remember running away from a NPC that's about to kill me, screaming for help - and the awesome feeling when that lvl20 player passed by and saved my life with a strong hit. And how much do I remember asking just anyone where I can find what-so-ever - because the only map I had was in the game-box I purchased, printed on some shining paper.

I learned to love my little wizard with the all-green robes, and I learned to love Albion, my new second home (and still know by heart so many hills and trees and paths).

Dark Age of Camelot was like a good book - and at the same time, a challenge to master. Anyway, life changed, so did the status of my subscription, many, many years ago.

Now I came back to play - and to be honest: The game I found myself playing is not the game I used to play.
Back in the old days, I spent several days (student back then, with homework to do and a mum turning off my computer when she thought I played long enough) leveling my character. Well, the day before yesterday, I leveled my new Paladin to to lvl13. Within less than 2 hours. I do not know my character, do not know his skills and have no idea about the items it's wearing. Neither do I know any more about the village I spent time in - because that map on the top right side of my screen showed me exactly where an I am and where I should go nex.
It all went just like "BAM - new level. BAM - another one! and BAM - here's a new item! BAM - another one!"
When I felt proud and strong for every new level - because it was a real progress and a real mastered challenge - back in what feels like 1753, I only felt some quick, unimportant "ah, well, ok..." when reaching level 10.
Many, many years ago I died in Salisbury Plains, in the middle of some NPCs south of Stonehenge. What a desaster - so much XP lost and no chance to go back and pray at my tomb, because those NPCs were just too strong. And to be even worse: I forgot to bind nearby! Tears were in my eyes... Well, the day before yesterday, I died. And... that's it. I didn't lose any XP. However, the fear was great that I had to travel a lot again, because once again I forgot binding nearby - but, oh. Not a problem. I can release at the next village / whatsoever.
This text becomes too long, so I skip the "back then, yellow NPCs were a challenge - now I kill orange NPCs with just no effort" and some other things.

DAoC changed to be Mainstream - but the DAoC-Community isn't mainstream. It wasn't back then, when all those kids were playing Counter Strike & Warcraft 3 - and it is not today, when all those non-nerd-kids play videogames like they played football in the past.
DAoC was and is a game for MMORPG-Enthusiasts and those that would want to be ones, but don't find the time. But over the years, DAoC became less and less attractive for the Enthusiasts - things just became too easy, too mainstream, too many other adjectives.
I understand the idea... become more mainstream to attract the many, many, many millions of mainstream-players out there. But - fun fact - it didn't work, for a so very, very simple reason: Mainstream-Players demand awesome graphics and a quick and easy game experience. No matter what was done - that's not even (or even more) today anything that DAoC could offer.
And for that reason, Endless Conquest will most likely not bring the desired results.

DAoC forgot its identity. It's not mainstream and not a game for the mainstream community. It's an enthusiast game.
Why does every game publisher require to have 10.000.000 subscriptions - or else the whole game is a fail?
DAoC had a peak of 250.000 players (just grabbed from any website - though it should be more or less true with +-100.000). Why isn't that enough? 250.000 players paying 10 bugs a month - 2.500.000 bugs a month, 30.000.000 bugs a year.

I am sure DAoC could rise back to at least a quarter of the glory of the past if they would just go back it's actual identity - a game for enthusiasts. No need for any special features, Simply increasing the difficulty again, maybe allowing high-level characters to reduce their level to play with low-levels again (to make leveling new characters more fun and interesting), a good marketing strategy, ...

Sure, the graphics will still be 20 years old - but games like Minecraft (and many, many others) show that good graphics isn't all, at least not if the targeted audience are not the mainstream-kids.

All those other ideas I've read within the last weeks, months and years - like starting a completely new server, or working with seasonal servers - are all great, but won't solve the main issues.

@ Broadsword. You have a biiig community with many people willing to help the best MMORGP of all times - and many of them have awesome skills. I'm sure I'm not the only Marketing-Expert - and that there are also many people with other expertise that would be glad to help. All you have to do is ask - maybe you should do so :-)

Best regards & happy gaming,



  • What he said.
  • DAoC is an RvR game today with minimal PvE element, this has been shaped over the years with people feedback on forums for faster and faster xp, removal of any achievement from characters besides RR. Still today some think that even faster xp and rp would be the savior of the game.

    Sure, for some this fits, and surely lower RP and XP do not appeal for many, but the game has unarguably changed.

    While we can argue about if it's for the betterment of the game, or it only drove away many, but Broadsword is behind the wheels to decide what to do. Maybe it's too late to steer away from strict RvR achievement gameplay.
  • There are versions of DAoC available elsewhere that have shown players do NOT want classic DAoC as it once was. This argument comes up frequently but there are examples of failed servers using that model.

    DAoC isn't alive because of its PvE, but rather it survives because of its unique PvP system: RvR. Don't get me wrong, it's nice to have breaks from RvR sessions and do something noncompetitive for an hour or so that can benefit your character. However, there are games available with significantly better PvE content than DAoC. Even Mark Jacobs made it clear he didn't make DAoC to compete against other PvE MMOs hence why DAoC is focused around PvP (see podcast link below). Modern DAoC is definitely a different game than vanilla DAoC. Most things are better from a QoL perspective which is what players who have continued to play the game over the years have asked for to compensate for their diminishing play time availability. We are passed the golden age of MMOs.

    "The grab bag isn't for explaining every single class change decision or reasoning or that's all we would ever do." - John_Broadsword
    "The type of of dev communication of 30 mins a day updates mentioned here just isn't feasible." - Carol_Broadsword
    "Our Studio. Our Rules." - http://www.mythicentertainment.com/
  • edited November 2019 PM
    However WoW Classic broke records. I agree that there is many failed attempts, but usually meaningful leveling at least wasn't the cause of those failed attempts (except some unreasonably harsh ones). Some servers failed off buff ranges, some for too harsh PvE. I agree that endgame-wise DAoC survived off of it's RvR scaling endgame, that writes its own story, and can be engaging for a very long time.

    However you have to keep it in mind, that that few subs are here today are kind of going to voice that opinion, since everyone who wanted more then an RvR game already left. There been times with relative good balance of each playstyle during dragon era, where both sides can be kept happy, it's not impossible. Evolving and QoL improvements could be implemented in those settings too.

    Edit: Mind you, I play for RvR only though, PvE is the least enjoyed time DAoC ever gave for me at least in it's current version. DF is kinda fun for BPs, the rest i would burn with fire / meaningless to do.
    Post edited by Gavner on
  • Sorry legedia have to disagree with you and agree with gavner daoc is a game that has evolved with players that have stuck through it through thick and thin.
    It’s a tough game to get back into after being so many years away but it still has a great community and you only have to ask and people will help you.
    At the same time there are many tutorials gear and mls are easy to get and add to that you can play for free I mean what more do you want if you want pve daoc ain’t for u plenty more games out there can give a better fix.
    But you also need to help yourself getting a voice chat learning the basics of sticking assisting and not running out of endo will make your game experience far more enjoyable.
    This game is definetly not a mainstream game it was back when it started because that was the meta for mmorpg games like gavern has said the game has moved on and unfortunetly a lot of the players rejoining haven’t and are still stuck in 2001.
    And also agree with tyrantic the games main appeal is rvr no other game gives you that thrill.
    I recently gave the server that should be not named a try it’s like chalk and cheese present day daoc is like the bird on steroids much more competive and challenging.
    Just give it a chance as I’ve said many times before it just needs people then we can have some crazy fun.
  • For me there is a strong nostalgic pulse as DAoC was my first mmo and the only one where a sense of doing something over the world happened. So I am in line with what you say. But what diminished population is also simply obsolescence of the graphics etc. Many people who wanted a challenging game chose something else. Only the nostalgia makes you come back and enjoy PvE. RvR is something wholly different.
  • The nostalgia usually lasts about 10 minutes. AFter that you just tell yourself how **** leveling was in classic daoc.

    I transferred my arms from MLF to Ywain last week, that thing has 8+ days played and was level 33. Never again.
  • I came back on June 1st after seven years away and it took about a week and a half to get up to speed. And I'm hardheaded and like doing things the way I know how to, which meant I made it harder for myself than it had to be.
    I stayed for four months and am waiting for this transition period to be over before I come back. I don't want to get used to things that will get changed again for no reason, like how they destroyed the snipe hunter class by first removing our old RR5 and then removing MoS9 and now I hear Remedy will be next in line...I'm letting them get their game together before I come back.
  • @Legieda I loved reading your post. I was 10 years old when my older brother brought home the game and let me play on his account. I had no idea what I was doing, but loved every second of it. Leveling was incredibly hard. Somehow I managed to get a Cleric to lvl 37, but my fire wizard was also my favorite.

    Those days are long gone though. Like others have posted, you can find that little bit of nostalgia elsewhere, but it is short lived. But also as others have posted, this game has survived because of the PvP (RvR). It's pretty amazing (even despite the absolute ruin of patches that it's gone through the last 3 years).

    I know you want that same nostalgia that you had when you first started and so do we all, but we are also living lives almost 20 years later and real life tends to take priority. The feedback from the players over the years was to make PvE easier+faster so that we could all participate sooner in that award winning RvR
  • I admire the heart you wrote with. My son started @ 3 or 4 .. has his own story, we all do.
    Well said .. Broadsword to go public .. IPO ftw :)
  • People who like PvE content have gone to games that provide a much better experience at that. No other game out there however provides a PvP experience that DAoC does. So it makes a lot of sense to focus on that part of the game, and players who love that part instead of trying to run in a race you cannot win.

    People leaving games for good is a common thing, it happens everywhere and only the amount of people leaving is telling a story of how good that game is. That's what it is important for all MMOs to constantly try to get new people to play the game, as otherwise the community will be starving and the game dies for good. DAoC has one major issue with that, and that is the vastly outdated interface and user experience in general.

    It starts with the cumbersome interface, the fact that you have to type most commands into a chat box, and goes through things like character movement feeling like you are stuck in quicksand, difficulties to click on opponents, unintuitive character skill-ups, and ends at imbalanced classes, PvP one-shots, and other major issues.

    Now the team cannot just fix all of that in a week, and the question stands whether or not they even have the financial support to fix it at all. Fixing the interface could take a small team several month already during which nothing else can be done. And then you still need people who are experienced interface designers so it will actually be better in the end.
  • edited November 2019 PM
    I think some users are touching on why the game is in the state that it is in. The RvR endgame is what defines DAoC but is a curse in some ways, because of its competitiveness it is very hard to get to the top. Most people just become RP fodder and get bored of the game, hence why population has been declining since 2003. Games like WoW (a game for children) survive because they are easy, and anyone can win at PvE and become an 'accomplished player'. DAoC is truly a game for enthusiasists/non-mainstream, casuals will always be dropping off and therefore the population will always be on a downward trajectory.
    Post edited by Esel on
  • edited November 2019 PM
    I sorry, but your version of events is tragically flawed and antiquated. THERE IS NO GOING BACK. I started playing DAoC, 3 months after launch. I, like you, loved the community back then. My first guild is still the only guild I have ever played with. That being said, what you described and want to go back to, is a horrible version of what any new MMO should be.

    No one. And I mean NO ONE wants to grind PvE any more. Games such as Fortnite are extremely popular because there is no grind. You log in, and immediately get instant action. Broadsword made the right decision to make getting level 50 as easy as possible. Broadsword also is 100% correct in making PvP gear as easy to get as possible.

    What Broadsword did wrong was to NOT listen to the community. The changes that Broadsword made, 1) changing the strategy of the game by removing keeps, 2) massive class changes that were extremely unpopular, and 3) PvE content (Cursed and Otherworldly Campaign) that forced people to do PvE, are among the top three huge mistakes that caused many players to quit the game.

    I credit Broadsword with the current changes to F2P, which is a huge step in the right direction. The next project I would suggest Broadsword to work on is updating the graphics. Updating the graphics may be a project that is beyond the capability of Broadsword at this time, due to the lack of money needed to do it. But Broadsword doesn't have to do it all at once. It should be done incrementally.
    Post edited by TopDude on
  • Bugs should take priority over trying to update the engine. If you play a game for the graphics, then you won't be staying anyways. Updating the UI would be a better use of their time. I'd be colored impressed if they could fix pet pathing which has only plagued the game since release.
    "The grab bag isn't for explaining every single class change decision or reasoning or that's all we would ever do." - John_Broadsword
    "The type of of dev communication of 30 mins a day updates mentioned here just isn't feasible." - Carol_Broadsword
    "Our Studio. Our Rules." - http://www.mythicentertainment.com/
  • The Otherworldly Campaign was one of my major pain points back then. It took Blizzard almost 10 years to finally understand that PvP only works if all people have about the same gear. And the first thing Broadsword does to the PvP game DAoC? "Here have very powerful gear so that you can own noobs in Pvp!"

    Result: lots of people quit.
  • Before i read what anyone wrote here... there was a fanmade server based on the SI launch (or was it short before SI?)

    I managed to play a Bard till lvl40 in some weeks and it took you about 2 days to reach lvl10 if you couldnt find a group. I played for the retro PvE feeling... but it was way to hard and i gave up at like lvl45.

    What i miss is the PvE... you could argue that DAoC is a RvR game, but most people on the server where always in PvE (new people need to come up). If you dont have enoth people in PvE that can play with eachother (or at least lvl on their own) then the supply of fresh meat will end and with that the RvR, because there isnt enoth action.

    The problem that i see is... what do you do when you hit 50 if you cant get a RvR group, because you dont have the gear, and you cant get a PvE group.. because people that are coming back dont know what/where to farm. I logged in my Pala and AC was dead... nobody in LFG.... nothing. I dont even know what i should search for, because it seems that AC doesnt drop scales anymore.

    It is such changes that make it impossible for old players to come back, because you dont know what to do. You maybe log in 2 times... but then you're done.
  • Ramigo wrote: »

    It is such changes that make it impossible for old players to come back, because you dont know what to do. You maybe log in 2 times... but then you're done.

    You can ask, what you could do.
  • Menos wrote: »
    The Otherworldly Campaign was one of my major pain points back then. It took Blizzard almost 10 years to finally understand that PvP only works if all people have about the same gear. And the first thing Broadsword does to the PvP game DAoC? "Here have very powerful gear so that you can own noobs in Pvp!"

    Result: lots of people quit.

    OW is now absolutely no problem anymore
  • Kroko wrote: »
    Menos wrote: »
    The Otherworldly Campaign was one of my major pain points back then. It took Blizzard almost 10 years to finally understand that PvP only works if all people have about the same gear. And the first thing Broadsword does to the PvP game DAoC? "Here have very powerful gear so that you can own noobs in Pvp!"

    Result: lots of people quit.

    OW is now absolutely no problem anymore

    @Kroko you and probably half the people left who still have a sub to Live are missing the biggest point of all..
    It doesn't matter how easy you make OW/Curse/Freezing/etc... People don't realize that it changed the dynamic of classes too much. Since coming back as f2p I've noticed they've delved down a lot of procs and /uses, but the bottom line is most of this gear simply shouldn't exist...
  • I dont really know the game without it, because i have no memory, I made a loooooong break.
    But I have no problem with OW/Curse, I even like it (now that its easier).
    Game has to develop i think. Or would you just want to play with the gear from 2001?
  • OW was over three years ago now we aren’t missing the point we have just adapted our templates. The game and gear is literally the easiest it has ever been due to bountycrafing.

    What’s exactly is your point ? @Armagedden
  • edited November 2019 PM
    you cant delete posts here...narf
    Post edited by Kroko on
  • @Fateboi it has nothing to do with adapting and updating your templates. I don't think you will understand. Some quick examples, assassins outlasting heavy tanks in 1v1s due to gear creap+ heal procs on items that never existed. Or in 8man, when the only option casters or any other class had for a quick defense was one version of gem of the Harbinger, and you had to possibly sacrifice stats to get the /use. Not the case anymore. Furthermore on that, Harbinger gem and malice was the only Arrogance or similiar type spell until they put the same or similiar stuff onto a lot of curse gear. This I noticed resulting in caster and support classes having multiple outs when getting trained by melees, changing the dynamic of caster groups..

    Just a lot of subtle things I have noticed with gear that nobody asked for and that everyone has complained about since the patches...
  • Omg....things are changing! Heeeeeelp!
  • edited November 2019 PM
    Ok everything you’re talking about is three years in the past. A lot of us where on Pendragon and said majority of the patches should never have made it onto Live. We left feedback, they didn’t listen and we all know what happened as a result.
    Sins poison has been nerfed three times, called shots gone, heal procs nerfed, Archers rr5 nerfed, pets nerfed, stances nerfed.

    Post edited by Fateboi on
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