Dark Age of Camelot 10th Anniversary

Yesterday was Dark Age of Camelot’s 10th anniversary, with BioWare Mythic releasing a large image and a video talking about the upcoming changes.

In this article I cover a few reactions, and my thoughts on what is to come.


Update: 12/10/2011 – Added Thomas Bidaux’s reflection on DAoC EU Launch
To start things off, as re-blogged earlier DAoC creator Matt Firor and Sanya Weathers gave their thoughts on the anniversary.

I include my favourite bits below:

Matt Firor on DAoC Launch

Everything was done on a shoestring at that time, so to get internet access over to the CS “center” 50 yards away, Rob Denton, the Development Head of Mythic at the time, and an electrical engineer by training, set up a pair of IR “guns” to make a link between the two spaces. We put one “gun” in a window in the development office, and another in a basement window, pointing up, in the CS center. The link worked very well, and allowed us to share our one Internet line with both spaces. However, because the CS Center was below grade, we had one problem: if a vehicle over a certain height (about 5 feet) parked in a particular parking spot, the link would be broken. We lived in fear those couple of weeks that a delivery truck would park in that spot and cut off Internet access to the CS center. We arranged a quasi-official parking schedule to ensure that an employee car (a short one) be parked in that spot 24/7. The link, fortunately, was never broken.

There are many more stories to tell about the early days of the service – like how we had to expand servers quickly because of demand, but couldn’t get them delivered from Dell because we had no credit rating. All our purchases up until that point had been made on the spot with no leasing. We had no leasing history, so Dell wouldn’t ship us servers quickly. We were forced to drive to MicroCenter (in Fairfax) and buy a dozen or so desktops, quickly installed Linux, and then drove them (in a pickup truck) to our colocation facility, and stacked them up like firewood in a cage. Those two servers clusters (lovingly called the “gimp servers”) ran for at least a year with no problems, at which point they were swapped out with standard Dell rack-mounted models.

Check out the full post from Matt.

Sanya Weathers on DAoC Launch:

I’m pretty sure that as soon as Scott finished the CS tool, we got cracking on the Herald. That was fun. No one had anything like the Herald at the time, so it was exciting to just invent something. And as with pretty much everything else about DAOC, we did it because we didn’t know we couldn’t.

It was the most fantastic, most glorious experience. The seven of you were there with me. Thanks.

Read the full post from Sanya.

Thomas Bidaux on DAoC EU Launch:

To give you some notion on how crazy it was, when DAoC launched in the US, we were in the Beta. We had no one in the team that would speak German yet, and I was the German Community manager (on top of managing the whole project and setting up the teams) – and if you have heard me speak German, I was either saying “Genau” or “hubschrauber” as that’s basically the only 2 words I know – and we had the mother of one of our guy who was a German teacher help us by translating the announcements for the website. Hopefully, by launch we had 2 very good guys who had joined us.

The game was huge content-wise and we received the localised files from our providers TWO days before the launch.
So we had very little time to test it, but it worked. We were ready.

The day comes, players rush to buy the game and log-in.
And BAM.

French and German servers keep crashing.
In loop…

Soooo… We were in a panic – we didnt have any devs in-house to support us and so we called in Yvette. Yvette is my favourite person from Mythic over any other one. She was the one person in charge of supporting us and fixing anything that would go wrong (on top of doing loads of other things there).
I get hold of Yvette and let her know about the problem.

She gets access to server, check the error log and asks me:
– Thomas, did ANYONE changed the localisation files since 2 days ago?
– Well, yes. I did. There was a couple of very offensive typos that needed to fix. So I changed them. But I only changed a few characters in each file, I promised.
– Thomas [with a tone full of patience and understanding], you saved the file with the wrong format. The servers don’t like that. I am goign to fix this for you.
– …

In my book, you haven’t really run an MMO game until you have personally crashed the servers… Just avoid to do that with the one in production.

Read the full comment from Thomas

This brings us up to the current teams statement. Stuart Zissu created a video and posted briefly about some server bonuses coming up:

See the full post from Stuart.

And to top it off BioWare Mythic released the full artwork that they had been teasing about, the image shown above.

Get the full version from their website.

From the image I can see half shots of characters and a missing Alb dragon that was previewed, this makes me think that the image is incomplete and we can expect to see a larger version at a later point. It certainly has made it to my desktop wallpaper and is a fantastic image.

Some things covered that I didn’t pick up on before was the elements of the new user journey quests having moral choices, this is obviously a BioWare trademark they are wishing to add and is a welcome addition, I haven’t experienced this yet.

Also with the new live event they are talking about, Kai released some further information in a post on VN Boards, new NPC models were added for this, the first time some art has been added to the game for some time.

It might not seem much to you, but a new live event actually is a pretty exciting step because it comes with new models.

I think we pict a nice new threat. wink

So these new enemies are picts, thanks for that 🙂

I will be re-subbing for the first time since 2006? once 1.110 lands, hope to see you folks there.