Producer's Letter: 2018 and Beyond

Posted by John Thornhill | 2017 Dec 20 11:58 -0500 GMT

Another exciting year in Dark Age of Camelot is almost in the books and another, even more exciting year is about to begin! Even more exciting, you say? Unquestionably - but I can’t just spoil things right away, you’ll have to read through the letter to find out why!

There are three major development goals that we intend to accomplish over the next year.

  1. Make Realm vs Realm the best experience possible. This means returning RvR’s focus to the combat and realm war.
  2. Improve the returning player experience. Streamline and update the many avenues to getting a character back up to speed.
  3. Grow the game’s population. More marketing, community engagement, a continued focus on user experience (UX) updates, and new incentives to play.

It’s not quite all about exciting announcements though, I’d also like to spend some time reviewing the past year and how it fits in with our future goals.

This past year has seen many changes: a massive PvE campaign, A Dragon’s Curse, that introduced engaging instance encounters and tons of new loot; we also added new daily quests and solo-oriented objectives in RvR, introduced the MTX Mithril currency, the new cosmetic patterning system, introduced the official item database download to our website, toned down item ablative-stacking, and made several class and RvR adjustments to continue to address your ongoing feedback.

Many of these features set the table for the year ahead. The Mithril currency gives us the needed flexibility to meet our stated development goals in many ways and will of course let us introduce the much-requested race, gender, and name respecs as well as account-to-account character transfers in the year ahead.

Additionally, much of the content released this past year, yes – even the Dragon’s Curse campaign, helps us meet our goals. The updates to RvR and classes speak for themselves to this point, but there’s much more on the way to ensure Dark Age of Camelot continues its status as the best PvP MMORPG of all time.

First, it all starts with making the best way to earn realm points be from killing players. The new daily quests and the new RP bonuses affecting kills only are a great first step towards this and we’ll continue to ensure kills from RvR, rather than RvE or non-kill quests, are the most effective way to earn realm points.

Second brings us to keeps and towers. These have always been intended to be challenging and very rewarding realm objectives which require strategy and realm-collaboration and coordination to capture and defend. We’ve been listening to feedback from players from all play-styles, and our plan is to improve this system. This doesn’t mean simply ramping up guard difficulty – we still think players are and should be the most important defenders of their realm’s keeps and towers. This does mean an increase in door and wall difficulty though; with specific keeps being more or less difficult than others.

With that, we’d also like to explore adding some additional keep-based objectives around a few to start and eventually every keep in each realms’ frontier if players enjoy the dynamic. These new objectives would be capturable and would activate benefits to attacking or defending when that is under siege. Measures will be taken to ensure that a simple, yet effective level of strategy be required to ensure that keep sieges are a much more dynamic and engaging RvR component.

We’d also like to extend many of these ideas to the battlegrounds (we may even use the BGs as a proving ground for these features before deploying them to the New Frontiers). Finally, we’d like to address some of the art-related layout issues with the keeps such as making the inner keeps roof heights' higher than the outer walls and towers; along with better protection the oil areas for defenders.

For classes, we know that there are still some loose ends to clean up and will continue to gauge your feedback and adjust accordingly.

The Dragon’s Curse campaign will help us towards our goal of improving the returning player experience. As we streamline the many returning player-related features like doppelganger shards, king’s champion armor, illustrious bounty point armor, supply quests, and others it gives us something to coalesce those features around.

The campaign also let us invest in a more engaging and robust instance-based PvE system. Rather than add PvE content that can be easily completed with a bot (or seven) in tow, we strongly feel that content requiring an active group is the most conducive to growing an engaged community over the long term. Guilds and groups are the beating heart of Dark Age of Camelot. They are where many of us met our first friends in-game, and the camaraderie forged on the battlefields and during many epic encounters have, for so many, grown into something much more important and permanent.

Aside from any tweaks to the Dragon's Curse campaign and how it pertains to the streamlining of the returning player experience, we have no plans for any more major PvE-related updates this year.

In addition to improving returning player experiences, we’ll be taking a look at new player experiences as well. A major feature involved with this is updating the quickbar UX. The two major quickbar issues we plan to address are that users can’t move already-placed abilities to different slots and that the only way to bind quickbar slots to key-presses is via an outdated and sometimes confusing /qbind command.

Another focus over the past year has been community engagement with the re-introduction of the bi-weekly Grab Bag and monthly Newsletter. The Grab Bag will remain as a gameplay-focused question-and-answer session and the Newsletter as an avenue for community spotlights, monthly recaps, and previews of what’s to come. Both of these have served us well as a means of providing important information to the community, but after reviewing their impact, we can do more!

Speaking of which, the aforementioned RvR ideas were brainstormed and discussed directly with several battlegroup leaders on a conference call with us this past fall and this direct communication is something we'll be continuing with other groups of players in the coming year.

Continuing in that vein, we’re pleased to announce a monthly developer live-stream to hear your feedback, answer questions, and generally interact directly with you all! This will be hosted on our official Twitch channel by yours truly (along with other devs and knights) and will be a casual way to address your concerns and talk about upcoming plans and changes while we enjoy playing DAoC alongside you all! Depending how things go, we may increase the frequency or adjust the dynamic of the events. The first one will be announced shortly after the new year!

To recap: improving RvR, tightening up the overall gameplay with bug fixes and streamlining the returning and new player experiences, and adding the various UX features will be our sole focus in ramping up through the first half of 2018. That means less focus on new additions and more focus on fixing and improving our existing systems. Ramping up to what you ask?


We’re thrilled to announce a new way for players to experience Dark Age of Camelot’s iconic realm vs realm warfare for free with Dark Age of Camelot: Endless Conquest!

The Endless Conquest will be a new account type that allows players to enjoy Dark Age of Camelot through level 50 (and beyond) for free, without a paid subscription, forever. Endless Conquest players will be able to level all the way to 50 on a limited selection of classes, participate fully in RvR, and earn Master Levels, Champion Levels, and Realm Rank – to a point.

The Endless Conquest is coming Fall 2018 and we couldn’t be more excited. While permanently free, there are limitations involved with the Endless Conquest accounts such as character slots, leveling rates, house ownership, item trade and storage, being limited to Ywain and Gaheris servers only, and more. Please visit our FAQ for the full details we have so far, and please continue to check as new information on this exciting new development will be added as we move into the new year.

And that finally leads us to the potential of an alternative ruleset server. As things stand now, there are two major obstacles preventing the launch of one in the near term (as in this next year). The first is that everyone seems to have a different view of what the perfect alternative server ruleset would include. We knew this going in, and feel confident we can deliver a ruleset that would be both highly engaging and appealing to a wide swath of former and new players alike.

That being said - as we have previously stated, we would never create an alternative ruleset server unless we were confident in the Ywain server’s population and health. This is the second and much more challenging obstacle. The Endless Conquest is going to be a huge step in overcoming it. Again - we are thrilled to finally announce and talk about our plans. 2018 is going to be an excellent year for Dark Age of Camelot!

There’s even more on the way – like the new website and official forums – that just can’t all fit into this already lengthy letter! Stay glued to Herald for more details on the Endless Conquest and other updates.

From everyone at Broadsword have a safe, warm, and happy holiday!


John Thornhill