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My ideas are constantly changing as I learn. Sometimes they even change midway through writing a post.

Sunday, December 12

DAOC

I stumbled across some interesting examples of authority and morality a few years ago when I spent quite a bit of time playing DAOC (Dark Age of Camelot). I want to talk about those examples, but I think first it might be fun to devote a post to giving some background about the game and my characters.

DAOC is modelled after D&D, but with 3d animation and the computer to calculate hit points, armor factors, damage, etc. You choose a character, its attribute points, appearance, race, and type. Then you take the character out to kill beasts and monsters. Killing beasts gets you skill points and gets them to drop little trinkets that you can either use or sell. You can then use the money to buy armor, weapons, or even equipment to "make" your own armor and weapons. With enough skill points, you "level" and become a bit stronger, smarter, faster, skilled at fighting, and/or skilled at casting spells. Another important option in the game is to form groups with other characters. Groups can take on much stronger beasts and monsters and get you skill points much faster.

There are also areas of the game where you can fight against players of another realm. Each of the 3 realms has multiple keeps that can be raided and taken over. Each realm also has a special keep where it stores a few magical relics which give everyone in the realm some bonus abilities. To take such a keep involves hundreds of players all being coordinated to take over all the other keeps. There are extra non player guards at the special keep for every regular keep the realm holds, so it's good to take the other keeps over first.

My first character was an eldritch. I liked that my character could do massive damage from pretty far away. I didn't like that I had very little in the way of hit points and a slight mistake meant instant death.

I very much liked playing a druid. I liked being able to "help" other characters - by healing or casting spells to enhance their abilities. It could be easy or very tricky to play a druid, depending on what was going on. One had to balance keeping everyone alive with NOT drawing the attention of the beast or enemy or running out of power (needed to cast spells of all kinds, healing or otherwise). Still, sometimes (rarely), I found myself without a group or just wanting to be able to actually attack a beast. A druid could do a bit of damage on a monster and could take getting hit much better than a spellcaster, but it couldn't kill anything that would give significant skill points. It also had no combat style abilities. Sometimes I wanted to do something more active.

I tried a hero next. He was a huge Firebolg (ugly, huge,). I loved battling monsters hand over hand, figuring out which "combat style" to use at a particular moment, and being able to take hits without immediately dying. I loved playing a male character. People tend to assume the actual player is the same sex as their character, so I got to see a bit how it was to be treated like a guy. I got frustrated sometimes that I could do any magic at all and had to fumble around with a bow and arrow to do weak long range attacks.

Next I tried out a champion. I didn't know much about how to best roll out a character, so at first I wasn't very effective. It was fun, though. I could take hits almost as well as a hero, I could hit hard/well enough to keep the beast's attention on me (and away from the spellcasters and healers), and I could cast some limited spells. Better yet, they were instant spells that I could cast even while moving. No waiting 2 to 4 seconds to cast a spell, and no having my spell cast interrupted by an attacking monster. I did a bit of research and then rolled out my champion, MoonPi. I made her look a bit like a prettier me - red hair and blue eyes, but she's thinner and fitter than me. With some help, I eventually got her to level 50 (highest level one can get with a character).

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