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The Game Archaeologist and the Quest for Camelot: Your journeys


These days just about everyone thinks he has what it takes to be a Knight of the Round Table. It takes more than a shiny shield and a sharp sword, as the Game Archaeologist discovered. It also requires a $14.95 credit card charge.

Former and current knights poured out of the woodwork to offer up some of their very favorite memories of Dark Age of Camelot. It is, in a way, a better testimony to the game than an objective history and developers' opinions. For some, DAoC was their first MMO love, and more than a couple people said it was the single best MMO experience they've ever had. While many players have moved on, these memories burn bright, and it didn't take much prompting for DAoC vets to wing a quick word of praise our way.

Blink twice to clear out any eye irritants, and prepare yourself for a marvelous trip back in time to an era of hodgepodge PvP and fierce realm rivalries.

Ryan Keilhofer: "I was with my friend at level 8 and wanted to explore the frontier. The adrenaline was high; anyone could be around the corner, waiting to end our lives. All of a sudden a monster we were trying to avoid dies from an unseen enemy's arrow. Fearing for our lives, we flee; unbeknownst to us we run into a group of Albs, who are tracking Hibs in the area. They invite us along and shortly thereafter, our first battle is waging around us. It's hard to explain the feeling of realm pride to someone and the adrenaline rush of RVR rather than PVP."

Roac, Druid of Nimue: "In a world where the PvP and PvE arenas had an interactive relationship, it was worth helping any and all raw recruits. My buffing druid spent long hours in the first tier dungeon (Hibernia, Muire Tomb) giving the levelers a boost. Giving out superior low level equipment (dirt cheap for a mid-level crafter to produce, but out of reach for most new players) created realm solidarity and purpose for all. Get them into the war effort! Unequaled realm loyalty to any game since. ToA was a tragedy -- the crafters no longer made the best equipment available, and PvP was only for the best-equipped players. I miss it still."

Sean "Houseplant" Collins: "DAoC was the first non-EverQuest MMO that I tackled and it was a welcome change. The launch went well, the playerbase was extremely helpful and the in-game content was more than enough to whet my appetite. Playing in a universe based entirely around mythology added another element to the game that made it special. This wasn't some far-fetched fantasy world, but one crafted more from folklore and things that were a bit more close to the heart. It was a unique experience that I have not seen replicated, even to this day."

Chris "Chord" Milliken: "First memory: standing in front of AMF the first time ever. Second memory: Guinevere, dual-relic raid forcing the corpse summoner to Midgard. Third memory: a sad one -- Granarc's funeral in the Frontier."

Matt "Duffbeerguy" Hawes: "Funniest memory was running around with two other guys on a Saturday morning, killing Kzar (the de facto Albion RvR leader on Lancelot) and his bot in a tower while he was apparently AFK, and then emoting the crap out of his dead corpse LOL."

EA's Maxime Doucet:
"My group of Midgard buddies and myself, a female troll berserker armed with a two-handed hammer, were being sieged by a bunch of filthy Hibs. We were stuck up on the roof, them pushing up floor by floor; everything was lost. But I asked my skald friend to give me a speed boost, after which I leaped off the roof and onto the top rampart of the exterior wall, where I proceeded to kill four of the siegers, create a diversion and turn the battle around. Note: I've asked around today and nobody seems to remember the server. Our guild was Good Omen and the server I believe was Guinevere."

Cameron H.: "DAoC was an extravagant dream which inspired delightful nightmares of massive sieges hell bent on elusive relics and roaming wolf-packs with bloodlust in their eyes. Fierce competition and relentless grudges between realms also fueled the camaraderie between the soldiers whom fought and died (repeatedly) for them. Families grew within guilds from a unified goal to feed their hungry weapons the sweet taste of flesh and blood. Minstrels would later sing of the happy fallen whom were all too thrilled to die on blood-soaked ground. I still have these nightmares of such rapturous dreams within those fiery, war-torn lands."

"DAoC was my first MMO, I played a cleric on Iseult (that's Albion's healer). Yes I started off smite, but I ended up a healer. There are so many fond, and awesome memories,but one of my favorite has nothing to do with being a healer, fighting Mids/Hibs (scum that they are), adventures in DF, etc. It's about a life lesson I learned. I stopped on the Salisbury Plains, a pretty high-level toon stops me: 'Excuse me, I ran out of coins, and I need to get a horse.' I said, 'Sure buddy, here ya go.' He goes, 'Sir, because you were generous, I am giving you a gift.' He handed me 200 gold. I was floored, He then goes, 'Since you were generous, I know that you will pay it forward, and make sure those in need will be helped.' With that he left, and I never saw him again. To this day I always try to help those who really do my help, in MMO, or in life, in hopes that one day they might pay it forward as well."

Jo Ramsay: "I have so many good memories of this game. I remember streaming across the Midgard Frontier with a huge battlegroup on our way to stage a Sunday Morning relic raid. I remember the popular huge public raids, where anyone could turn up and join in. I remember sweeping through Darkness Falls victoriously with my guild. I remember that time we (flukily) took out the top Hib PvP group in RvR and people from all over the zone whispered congratulations. I remember being killed by that one notorious shadowblade who used to camp the road in Forest Sauvage."

Brian: "My favorite memory was my first time adventuring in the contested area of Midgard. I was in a group with two others doing quests when I got killed by a stealthed Hibby. This was my first PvP experience, and we spent a fun hour hunting this guy both killing him and getting killed."

Rebecca Brodeur: "I will never forget our 15-year-old guild member winning a poetry competition set up on Hibernia where we were alting. The whole audience got behind his luri-bomb lyrics and a GM came along to hand out rewards."

Slurms: "There was a magical thing that would happen almost nightly. Two factions would come out in force, fighting over keeps or just skirmishing out in the open, but then it would happen. The third faction shows up. You could be in the process of mopping up the competition, then a moment later your entire team is mesmerized by a group of Hibernians and one by one you're systematically taken down. It would anger some, but for most of us it was all the fire we needed in our bellies to get back out there for vengeance, night after night."

Justar: I distinctly remember the first time we successfully pulled off a bomb attack on Pellinor. It wasn't the first time it had happened, but it was the first time my guild had gotten it to work right. Albion was leading a massive amount of players for a relic raid of sorts. It was absolutely staggering how many had rallied for the cause. It was late at night, during the week. We had just finished running our 8-man around Emain and were heading back to the Alb portal keep to suicide on some guards. Suddenly, the amount of lag grew exponentially. It was obscene. We knew there was something big coming into view. Our GM called out for everyone to turn effects off, so we wouldn't lag out. That was a good thing. On the other side of the hill were roughly 60 Albs all stacked nicely on top of each other, moving through the valley. We hit from above and not a soul saw us coming. Out of the 60-plus there, we managed to drop about 40 before they figured out what was going on. The hate on the boards the next day was overwhelming. It was an epic ending to a great day."

Thanks to everyone who wrote in to share DAoC memories! Stay tuned as next week I, stunning adventurer that I am, jump into RvR with both feet.

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