Thursday, March 29, 2007

DAOC: The Dragons Strike Back

Looks like there have been some serious brainstorming sessions going over at Mythic. DAOC was one of the best MMORPGs for its time (the time between Everquest 1 and World of Warcraft), especially for PvP and player housing, but now it's dated, clunky and bleeding subscribers like oil from a '72 Dodge Dart.

So Mythic is trying to keep its players entertained and possibly lure back old players with a new six-month story arc involving the dragons leaving their lairs and torching the various villages of each realm, instead of waiting patiently for 50 nerds to come along and kill them at home.

Looking through the latest patch notes, sifting past all the archery changes, I see sure evidence that DAOC's subscriber numbers are lower than ever - they have clustered the classic and shrouded isles PvE areas. When clustering started, they kept these areas separate for each server, so that there would always be plenty to hunt for all players (and all players in the cluster could go to any server's PvE areas). Apparently it's not an issue anymore... I could only imagine them doing this if most entire clusters didn't have the population that the PvE areas were meant to support on a single server.

The archery changes themselves I find mildly interesting, but slightly distasteful. And I see the screaming masses finally got what they wanted in an animist nerf (no more stacking bladeturns, and no more than 5 fire-and-forget turrets, ever). So much for that class, and so much for Hibernia's ability to take on dragons or other high level mobs. I don't think Mythic realizes how much PvE content they created that pretty much requires an animist in the group, to summon dozens and dozens of turrets for the sole purpose of bringing the "to-hit" chance of high level mobs down to where players will actually be able to hit it.

I'm really hoping they are learning from their mistakes so that they don't make them again in Warhammer, but that's not encouraging to me. Still, I can't really say one way or the other until I actually get a peek at the game... and still no word on beta yet.

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