Dark Age of
Camelots new expansion, Shrouded Isles, is testament to the solid
success Mythic Entertainment has enjoyed in the past year. This add-on
is priced at around $30, but before you get riled up, trust me when I
say its worth every penny. Shrouded Isles is just what the doctor
ordered for those already immersed in the Dark Age of Camelot world.
Still, the new content Mythic is serving up will undoubtedly draw
thousands more to their unique servers. When one considers the structure
of Dark Age of Camelot, though, anything less would have been
is quite unique in its execution. First of all, players must choose to
reside in one of three completely different countries. First, there is
the realm of Albion, a land steeped in Arthurian legend. In fact,
citizens of Albion can strut their stuff down the streets of Camelot
itself. Also, players can choose to set up shop in the land of Hibernia,
a realm of magical creatures such as Elves. Finally there is the land of
Midgard. This country is described as being the harshest and most
unwelcoming of the three. Here players will encounter warlike races such
as Dwarves and Trolls. Each realm has its own unique storylines and
quests. The three lands also have their own races, barring humans, which
may be found on all three continents. The ability to have so many
different experiences within one game marks Dark Age of Camelot as one
very special title.
this is a great foundation for a successful online RPG, but you might
say that Mythic shot themselves in the foot. Any real expansion would
have to follow up on three different story arcs, three different
continents, and three different racial and class groupings. Thats
exactly what Mythic did. You see, anything less just wouldnt cut it. So
lets get to the guts of this expansion. What can we look forward to?
heating up on each of the three continents with some new story material
along with the new races tied to each plot. Albion, under attack by the
evil Morgana and her undead minions, receives the aide of Arawn, Lord of
the Underworld. Apparently hes a bit ticked off because Morgana keeps
stealing his deceased patrons away from their service to him. To combat
this hes offered his personal servants, the Inconnu. One thing youll
notice is how great each of the new races is rendered. The Inconnu,
which means mysterious, are small of stature and very unique in
appearance. Since they have spent their lives serving Arawn underground
their skin is pale white and their eyes are unnaturally large and
completely black. Even though theyre small, you can tell these guys are
capable of some serious damage. Along with their emergence come two new
classes they are especially good at, but are available to some of the
other races of Albion. First there is the Necromancer class, which any
high fantasy fan is familiar with, but Shrouded Isles puts a cool twist
on. Naturally one belonging to this class takes the guise of a mage,
somewhat weak and easily bested in melee combat. Once the Necromancer
summons a creature, though, he or she becomes a wraith, transparent and
invulnerable for the duration of the summoned creatures stay. The other
new class is the Reaver, a class more inclined to hand to hand combat.
While Reavers are not able to don the heaviest of armor, they are very
flexible in the weaponry of Albion. Their specialty, though, is the new
set of "flexible" weapons such as whips, flails, and morning stars.
magical realm of Hibernia introduces a new island called HyBrasil, home
of the Sylvans. These tree-like inhabitants are probably the neatest
looking of the new races. Unfortunately, theyre being overrun by the
evil Fomorians. These invaders have also set the wildlife against the
Sylvans, which is unfortunate because the Sylvans are so closely tied to
nature. New classes available to Hibernia are Animists and Valewalkers.
Animists are mages who use natural forces like plant-life to protect
themselves. Valewalkers are melee/mage hybrids that use a scythe in
combat to whittle down their foes.
seeing its share of conflict on a new island named Aegir. The island,
home of the legendary Troll Fathers is under attack by the Morvalt. The
Morvalt are humanoid in appearance, but have very savage, beast-like
features. A group within the Morvalt has broken away to aid the Trolls
in driving out this menace. This is the new playable race on Midgard,
but rather than go by Morvalt, this group has adopted the name Valkyn.
The two new classes available to players are the Bonedancer and Savage.
Bonedancers are spell casters able to reanimate the skeletons of
vanquished foes to support them in combat. Advanced Bonedancers will be
able to assign different roles to their "pets" like healer, archer, or
melee combatant. Savages reject conventional weapons in favor of
punching weapons, which can be blunt, piercing, or slashing. Advanced
Savages will be able to assail several opponents at once.
wasnt enough, Shrouded Isles also introduces two new crafting options:
spellcasting and alchemy. Crafters with these abilities will no doubt be
on everyones best friend list due to their ability to craft special
spells and potions in addition to enhancing weapons and armor. Shrouded
Isles also introduces a dueling option. Under dueling rules players may
fight each other without fear penalty upon death. Now youll be able to
duke it out with your best friend without having to worry about any
repercussions. Also available are several new slash commands and emotes.
all these great additions come some graphical enhancements. This is most
easily recognizable when you lay eyes on the new races. The other races
appearance pales in comparison to the job done on their new
counterparts. Other touches like reflective water have been thrown in.
While I applaud all of the great additions in the Shrouded Isles
expansion, the visuals are still somewhat disappointing. Ill be one of
the first to say that graphics arent everything, but with the bar being
raised by games like Asherons Call 2, the jagged surroundings and
characters of Dark Ages of Camelot prove less than appealing. The
animation also leaves much to be desired.
the scariest things about playing online RPGs is whether youll be able
to come to grips with each games interface. While Dark Age of Camelots
(and Shrouded Isles by extension) interface is not the most daunting
Ive ever seen, it definitely jacks up the learning curve for newcomers.
Rearranging the keyboard will be a must for most players as well due to
the odd arrangement of several important keys. This doesnt mean youll
be lost forever per se, just frustrated for a couple hours.
That being said I must reiterate my overall praise of Shrouded Isles.
Even those most experienced players will have plenty of new content to
refresh them with the multitude of new ground to cover and new races to
try. Those hoping to carve out a spot in the world of online RPGs have
definitely got their work cut out for them, but Mythic Entertainment has
left a good blueprint for success.