Learning from others
While the older games kind of 'happened' then evolved over time, Mythic has been able to ?well let's not beat about the bush ?copy all the good bits from other games and ditch the stuff that used to really piss people off. For example, in most RPGs you have to quest. This means you are given a task, and then trot off slaying monsters and generally risking life and limb for a reward. And the reward was generally so crap that you wished you hadn't bothered. So the game just turns into a hack 'n' slash fest with scant attention paid to the quests by either the players or the developers. Not so DAoC. While some of the quests are time-consuming, the reward is far better than if you'd just spent the time playing 'spank the wood elf'. So a big thumbs up there.
Another major gripe is 'twinking'. This is where a high-level player will kit out an 'alt' (another lower-level character he also plays) with an assortment of high-level gear he has but doesn't use himself, and then run about generally being a pimp. In a co-op environment this just leads to occasional bouts of jealously, but in a player-versus-player environment this gives the alt a massive advantage, and is seen by most as cheating. Mythic has got round this problem by creating level bands for pieces of equipment. In a nutshell, different pieces of armour are optimised for players of a certain level. If you have some armour that is designed for a level ten player and you are level 20, it won't be much use to you. On the other hand, if you have some armour that is designed for a level 30 and you're 20, you'll break it fast. So fast, that the benefits will be very short-lived. OK, we admit this isn't perfect and someone could just keep buying more, but it's an expensive hobby. Again, some good thinking.
But where DAOC Platinum really comes into its own is in the player-versus-player concept. Or more to the point, team versus team. The game has three different realms. These are Hibernia (Ireland), Albion (Britain) and Midguard (Norway). While you learn the ropes of the game and build your character, you are fairly safe from hostile humans. But once you get to level 30, you can cross into the other realms and do battle with like-minded individuals. At the time of going to press, Mythic is reworking the pros and cons of the player-versus-player element. Whether it will involve characters getting some real benefits (apart from the fun aspect) is still open to debate. But we like what we see so far.
We could drone on about the sound effects, atmospheric lighting, the interaction with NPCs, the large number of armour, weapons, player classes and the very short patch times, but if you've played any RPG you'll know exactly what we mean (and the screen shots explain the rest). Even the price is reasonable compared to other commercial RPGs. In fact, the only fly in the ointment of an otherwise great game is the fact that the map areas are still quite small when compared to the likes of EverQuest. There are still a small number of bugs as well. EverQuest had two years of evolution to get where it is today, and by the time DAOC Platinum gets there, we'll probably all be playing Star Wars Galaxies. But it's still a worthy addition to the MMORPGs out there.