Suggestions to improve DAoC gameplay without changing the game

Dark Age of Camelotis a great game that has many unique features, it is what makes the game what it is. However there are a number of complicated steps to perform tasks that may confuse or put off new and returning players.This post covers a number of my suggestions that relate to convenience by removing extra steps. I may edit this post from time to time to add some images which illustrate my suggestions.


Interface

Nameplates

What I call nameplates is essentially player and NPC names, currently they are only visible within a certain range. (See screenshot)

Draw Distance

Increase the nameplate draw distance from 725 units to around 1500 or 2000.

DAoC has always been about clicking on targets to receive information, but the 725 unit draw distance feels too small. I should be able to see a nameplate on the other side of a town I enter.

Crafting

The crafting window is a nightmare, a huge long list of expandable items, is confusing and not pretty. Instead of just a name and a level the materials should be displayed as well. The list should also  be presented and grouped together a lot differently.

Chatlog

It should be important as a movement away from the text-based MUD that the game was designed for, to a screen based information system.

My pipe dream is tooltips and scrolling combat text but this is unlikely.

Messages need to be combined


They take up too many lines, this is silly for a single kill.

Local Say

Another thing to be looked at should be dialog boxes in the game word for when npcs are talking. An example of this is in Warhammer Online it lessens the need for looking at the chat log and make the game feel more alive when you can see what npcs are saying as they smash on you.

Journal

Enhancements should be made to the standard journal UI and the data feeds for the custom UIs.

The journal width should be able to shrink with the text flowing onto multiple lines.

Items should already be expanded, and should not hide when a journal is updated.

Main Buttons

New buttons

The main buttons that consist of character information, inventory, specs etc should be updated to include:

(BobsUI adds their own button to this)

  • Menu
  • Social
  • Guild – a new frame should be displayed showing guild information in a similar manner to the social window
  • Battlegroup – A list of names with information such as leaders and treasurer

Non-attached windows

The subpages of the menu should be floated away from the menu, they don’t need to have the drop down for all of them, like the social window and menu, it is fine for them not to be attached.


Housing

Same Account

House Ownership

Houses should be limited to a single account, and all characters on the account, current and new should have ownership status automatically applied.

Server Restrictions

House Purchasing Server Restriction

Allow purchase of houses on different Ywain servers, it is an unnecessary restriction.

Market Purchasing Server Restriction

Allow purchasing of items off the market explorer from different Ywain servers, it is a barrier for new players. The items are not greyed out, and no text is displayed why they cannot buy from the merchant.

Lot Finding NPC

 Introduce a lot finding mechanism – For example a Lot Finding NPC.

I created an article a while ago which added an in-game NPC to tell you which villages had spaces.


NPC’s

Healers

Right-Click Does All

Currently you have to keep right-clicking on a Healer to get past any dialog, cure the Ressurection Illness and restore  lost Condition.

There is no reason why you should have to click this many times, and a single right click should do all the jobs you need.

Buffing

Buy Buffs Instantly

Currently you have to buy a buff token, then hand the token back to the NPC. This step is pointless.

Instead when you purchase the buff token, it should automatically apply the buffs, and remove the token.

Suggestion – Chat Dialog

Instead of using a confusing merchant window a chat dialog can be used. This dialog can perform all the same actions as the merchant but allows for an easier to use interface and to program filters.

Hello Etaew,

I can provide you with boons which will aid your fights in the realms. You can pay for these services with Gold or Bounty Points.

Last time you visited you chose to purchase [Full Buffs (Gold)].

[Full Buffs (Gold)] or [Full Bulls (BPs)]
[Base Buffs (Gold)] or [Base Buffs (BPs)]
[Spec Buffs (Gold)] or [Spec Buffs (BPs)]

I have applied your selected blessings to your character, remember if you fall in battle you will need to return to me to receive them again.

Emblems

The way to select emblems is pretty bad, you select one then it tells you that it is already in use.

Emblems that are already in use should not be listed by the client, or at least a warning should be present.

NPC Guild Names

Inform Players of NPC Purposes

A lot of NPCs can be clumped together without an indication what they do, or at least the name can be confusing until you interact with them.

In places like Shrouded Isles are NPCs which teleport, but do not stick to the channeler convention or have a guild name.

Other places there are multiple Channelers but don’t state which, one tends to be a server switching NPC and the other a main teleporter.


Abilities

Spell List

Add a slash command or UI Option to toggle displaying of all spell abilities

The spell lists get stupidly long, and it’s a real pain having to find newer spells. This is noticeable with list casters and buffers compared to where the top spells are shown with hybrids.

This would also allow the spell to be automatically updated on the quickbar.

I can see the circumstance where I may randomly use a lower spell, but for the majority of time, I would rather an easy to maintain spell list that auto updates on my quickbar.

Pets

Interact for Pet Configuration

Pets say something when they spawn, it tells you to talk to them by saying a certain phrase. It would be far less confusing to right-click on your own pet to bring up the configuration window instead of saying the phrase

Save Pet Configuration

I would like the pet tactics and configuration should be saved between summoning and play sessions, having to repeat steps just isn’t fun.

Pet Auto Attack

Yes, this is a World of Warcraft option, but I don’t like an extra click when I am in combat, in most cases I want the pet to attack the same time that I do.

A new configuration option should be added to instruct the pet to attack pets automatically when the player casts a spell (and obviously to disable it).

Items

Potions should be directly clickable from the quickbar

This removes the step of having to right click the item, click on the spell icon and put the icon on your quickbar.

Potions should be usable in attack state

It makes no sense to have to go out of attack state in order to use a potion, it just gives those more familiar with the game an advantage. Casting used to have this restriction but no longer does since Patch 1.19.


Ground Targeting

Let’s face it, ground targeting is pretty bad. F5 and movement keys just takes a long time.

Pressing a ground targeted ability places the ground target on your next mouse click and casts.

If when we press an ability which requires a ground target we allow the user to click on the ground (like boat movement), and then the spell is cast it would much easier. This concept is used in modern MMOs.


Switching Weapons

Auto switching to Ranged and Melee Weapons

As an Archer I during a fight I have to switch to my Ranged weapon, press some abilities and then switch to my Melee weapon.

These are two buttons that don’t need to be on my quickbar, yes there is a key for it, however it would be a lot more intuitive and user friendly to automatically switch weapons when you press the associated ability.

Yes, you will still probably have to respect some cooldown on switching, but when I press a ranged ability I should equip my bow automatically, and a melee style I should equip my first weapon.


Travel

Mounts

Allow summoning of mounts in capital cities

Mounts are relatively new in DAoC, speed spells still dominate, and the reliance on hasteners around capital cities is a pain. I would like to just pull out my horse and ride around.

I have been told that one of the main reasons this is not so, is because of the amount of dismount checks when you enter buildings, I say that there doesn’t need to be. Even with large horses from my testing it doesn’t present a problem. Players will always dismount when they find the horse impede their movement in a building.

Allow summoning mounts at any time

This allows for immediate summoning of mount after combat without having to spam the ability button waiting for the game to register we are out of combat (most noticeable in PvE)

The application of the speed boost could be applied as normal (as done with the speed enhancement spells or the usual out of combat run speed increase)

Channellers

New User Journey Channelers – More Options

These channelers currently can’t be used by level 50 players. Like the Battleground Channelers they should offer options to teleport to the Capital City, the primary Border Keep and your personal house.

Consistant Name and Guild Name

For consistency and to be easily identifiable all Channellers should have a Guild Name set and the name should start with Channeller Shrouded Isles is a good example of where this is not so.

Stables

Auto Dismount

Should automatically dismount the player when ticket is handed to the npc, most other games do this, and it regularly catches me out.

Auto Start Travel

After you buy a horse ticket, why should you have to hand it back to him? Just remove it from the inventory and start the travel.

Dismount Button

Instead of the sensitive space to dismount feature when using taxi horse routes, a new button could be displayed with a Dismount option on it, Lord of the Rings online has this option and it makes me feel a lot more secure when travelling.

Suggestion – Chat Dialog

Instead of using the Merchant window interface, there is no need to purchase a ticket and hand it to the NPC.

Instead a dialog window can be used, this allows a single click to select the destination, and it also allows a brief description of the destinations.

Hello Etaew,

I can assist you in moving around the realm whether by horse or dragonfly. Where would you like to travel?

[Prydwen Keep] the keep near Prydwen Bridge
[Castle Sauvage] the border keep in Camelot Hills
[West Downs] in Salisbury Plains

Click on a location name and I will summon your mount for you, you will be placed on the mount and you will be automatically taken to your destination.

Press Space to dismount at any time during your journey.

You have selected to travel to Prydwen Keep. Safe travels!


Respec

Respecs are pretty painful, especially for newer users and those at lower level.

  • A /respec buy command with extortionate prices.
  • Respec stones from housing (How do new players know this?)
  • Free line respecs at 20 and 40.

Players should be able to see the respecs they have available, where to get them from, and the prices should not be a barrier to quick spec changes.


Maps

Quest Hubs need detailed maps

With the quest indicators appearing on the map, and the mass of indicators around town hubs each town needs a zoomed in map.

Since we won’t ever have a proper player zoomable map, the technology is proven to exist in the tutorial areas when you enter an area a zoomed in version exists.


Zone Points

Visually Indicate Zone Transitions

I remember the days when in the Tomb of Mithra and you ran up a staircase midway through the dungeon and it teleported you out.

Zone transitions should be visible without walking into an invisible boundry.

This can be achieved in a number of ways, there are effects in the game which would fit well for a zone transition.

It is also a good idea for a zone to tell you where it is taking you, an example of this is the Asura Gates in Guild Wars 2.

I’ve noticed a few of the newer epic quests have these in the mini dungeons, but they need to be world-wide and a lot less subtle.


Commands

Reducing the reliance on commands is important for an intuitive and user friendly game, we’ve already seen good steps taken towards this and a number of commands have moved towards buttons.

Bind

Interactable Bindstone

Remove static world bindstones and replace with the bindstone that are interactable. Right-clicking on a bindstone would bind the user instead of typing /bind.

Pray

Interactable Gravestone

Allow right-click to pray at gravestone, this can be done at distance, this removes the need to type /pray.

Last Names

NPC opens text box

Right-clicking these NPCs should open up a dialog box. Typing a name and pressing submit should set it. This removes the need for /lastname command.

This box already exists for the re-name chat window option.

Guild MOTD

This is another option that can do with a removal of a command, a button should be added which pops up a text input window.

The button can be part of the guild ui (see Interface section in this article).

/lfguild

Not a common command, requires that you know it exists. This should be replaced with a button on the guild social window and a status report.

Guild Invite

Should not require the target to be in the same region.


Factions

Quests which alter reputation must tell you

You start off with the Stonecrush Clan being aggressive to you, but as you quest they become neutral. I haven’t seen any quests tell me that my reputation has improved.

There should be a way to view your standing progress.

I would like to see how close I am to friendly with a certain faction.


Launcher

Loading

Client Exit

Prevent the client exit on minor things such as hitting the realm timer or character still being logged out, it is very frustrating and the messages are displayed poorly.

If you try to load a character that is still being logged out, you should be taken back to the character select screen.

If you try to switch realm and hit the realm timer you should either be taken back to the character screen, or wait on the error screen until the timer counts down, and then connect.

A progression for this could be the enabling of the realm button in the character select screen, greyed out when you cannot select, with a tooltip that shows the timer.

Character List

Character Location

Add a way for players to easily locate the server with characters on it.

With 10 Ywain Servers and 3 Realms there are 30 possible places for your characters to be. It is easy to lose some if you are a new player. A way should be added so that players can see the servers they have characters on. For example:

Server Name Characters
Ywain 1 3

or

Server Name Albion Characters Midgard Characters Hibernia Characters
Ywain 1 3 0 1

Quest Titles

The titles of quests could be changed to more easily display important information.

Currently

Some good work has been done with the New User Journey quests and quests are now standardised with the following examples:

  • Epic Encounter: Quest name (Level x)
  • Battlegrounds: Name (Level x)
  • Quest Name (Level x)

Proposal – Hubs

I would like the standardisation to move further than this, listing the quest hub to match the format.

  • Mularn Epic: Sleipnir’s Legacy (Level 14)
  • Audliten: Helping Out (Level 20)
  • Audliten: What’s That Ruckus? (Level 21)
  • Audliten: Keeping Company (Level 21)

Proposal – Battlegrounds

There are also inconsistencies with the repeatable battleground quests, I would like the quests to be easier to spot in my journal currently all battleground quests have the format.

  • Quest Name (Level x)

I would like to see that changed from

  • Battlegrounds: Clear the Path (Level 20)
  • Battlegrounds: Cull the Tomte! (Level 20)
  • Battlegrounds: Purge the Badgers! (Level 20)

to

  • Thidranki: Clear the Path (Level 20)
  • Thidranki: Cull the Tomte! (Level 20)
  • Thidranki: Purge the Badgers! (Level 20)

Proposal – Levels

I would also consider the weight of the level in regards to the quest name, instead of being tagged at the end I think it’s one of the most important pieces of information and should be displayed at the start, allowing for an easier comparison and sorting by level instead of name, for example:

  • [14] Mularn Epic: Sleipnir’s Legacy
  • [20] Thidranki: Clear the Path
  • [20] Thidranki: Cull the Tomte!
  • [20] Thidranki: Purge the Badgers!
  • [20] Audliten: Helping Out
  • [21] Audliten: What’s That Ruckus?
  • [21] Audliten: Keeping Company

Misc

masterlevel group summon should have a popup box like group invite, invitation expires in 15/30s, not offered in combat and expires when in combat.

an archery quiver should automatically be displayed whenever you have a ranged weapon equipped and the active slot is the ranged slot, you shouldnt need a seperate item for it.

Daily reason to motivate log in, the first keep capture or 4 tower captures a day earn double realm points?

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