There are many stories that at the time were frustrating but become more humorous through the lens of nostalgia. I think we as gamers all have thousands of such tales in us, and with this new feature my goal is to try and devote some time to committing these to paper. Nostalgia is a powerful force, but one that is fun to wallow in every now and then.
Ignorance is Bliss
I’ve told bits and pieces of my time in Dark Age of Camleot in the past, but today I thought I would delve further into what was ultimately the second MMO I played. I remember being in the beta process and thinking that the game seemed so much more advanced than Everquest that I had been used to. However I did not really play the game seriously until the launch of Gaheris the co-operative server. Most people think fondly upon Dark Age of Camelot of the realm versus realm combat, for me however it was all of the interesting PVE things that I did with my friends. At that time we had an extremely small and close knit guild called the Whispers of Legend. In fact the only real remnant of that guild is a posting on Zam’s for an item I submitted under our guild name. One of the best things about Gaheris was that we could literally play any class in the game together, and explore any realm freely.
Our motley group consisted of a Dwarf Warrior as the main tank, me on my Celt Champion as dps and off tank, a Lurikeen Enchanter providing dps and crowd control and a Celt Bard being dual boxed by our warrior providing all of the healing and song twisting. Much later on I picked up a second account and ran my very own bard, but much of the content that we experienced we did as a trio, with my friend Shadoes playing both the role of main tank and main healer. This game was also the very first appearance of me using the name Belghast, so even if I could never actually return to playing it… it will always hold a special place in my heart. There were so many times we ventured someplace we should not have been only to end up trying to fight our way back to our tombstones, more than anything to prove to ourselves that we could do it. It was a different time in online gaming, when more often than not we were playing with people we were able to lay our physical hands on in the real world. On average the three of us would get home from work, and log directly into Dark Age of Camelot for that nights adventure.
The Tower Guardian
The adventure that most stands out in my mind was our finding of the Tower Guardian. When the Shrouded Isles expansion hit we spent a good deal of our time wandering around its wilderness looking for interesting things. With that expansion a number of named encounters were introduced and spread through out the world. So it became our mission to try and find all of them… and farm them for every last bit of loot. In fact the item that I talked about submitting… I am pretty sure came from one of these such trips. One night while wandering the Dales of Devwy we stumbled upon this giant clockwork golem looking creature that towered over even the trees. I think at the time it conned purple to our group, but we decided to give it a shot anyways considering the area around it was difficult but easily huntable. While it took several attempts we managed to down it and got some really nice loot. So we proceeded to farm it, each time getting better at the process until we had it down to a science.
A few days later we happened to be in a local game shop, that had several folks that played Dark Age of Camelot far more seriously than we did. We were talking about our fun farming the golem, and the shop keeper had a somewhat stunned look on his face. I turns out that apparently this encounter was designed for a raid to take it down, and while it took upwards of thirty minutes for us to actually defeat it… we managed to do it with four characters, two of which were being played by the same person. While games have evolved to have hard requirements on what you need to bring to be successful, I have never forgot the lessons that we learned playing this game. That while you might not have the optimal grouping, you can sometimes persevere through sheer force of will. There have been many times I’ve tried to do things in an unorthodox way, but no game has rewarded it quite as much as Dark Age of Camelot did.
Sometimes We Failed
I won’t lie and say that things always worked out in our favor. In fact I have quite a number of screenshots like one above, with us dead in fairly horrible places. However we always seemed to manage to pick ourselves back up and keep trying long after others had given up. This trip down memory lane would not be complete without a photo of Shard our Dwarven Warrior main tank. The thing I find so odd about this game is that our experiences and our memories are so vastly different from most players that wax nostalgic about it. This was not a pvp game for me, but instead a game that let me explore freely every corner of three vastly different and exception realms. This was the game that really cemented in my mind how poor of a design decision that hard faction walls really were. Dark Age of Camelot went from being a lackluster experience, to one of the most memorable with the simple addition of the co-operative play server.
Do you have any memorable stories of games that you and your friends maybe played in a less than suggested style? I would be curious to hear some of your stories of times you entered something vastly unprepared but managed to pull out a victory nonetheless. One of my fondest memories from World of Warcraft for example was the time we took nothing but hunters into Upper Blackrock Spire and timed our aimed shots on the same target, just watching it explode before our eyes. It was like we were a walking firing squad, slowly mowing down our targets or burning it down while one of us kited the pack. Sometimes unconventional play can be extremely rewarding. For years I’ve found myself getting caught up in trying to do things the right way for the sake of speed and efficiency. Sometimes however you just have to break the rules and play games in a manner no one in their right mind ever planned. I freely admit that I still wish there wa such a thing as a melee hunter.