Another Random Camelot Moment

January 13th, 2011

It seems that every now and again I pop back into Dark Age of Camelot and play around a bit. I remember playing the game when it first launched, thinking it was so incredible and advanced. Now it looks ancient and dated. But despite the outdated graphics and archaic interface, it still boils down to being a fun game. A lot of the core design is still solid by today's standards. Most importantly, the classes are interesting and fun.

It makes me wonder about the viability of re-launching MMOs. Re-do the client, update the graphics, modernize the UI, polish up a few last rough edges, and re-launch it. DAoC v2. Fresh servers, a fresh start, and - quite possibly - a fresh experience.

This ties in with why MMO sequels have had such a rough time. When an MMO is successful, it probably has a very strong core design. When a sequel is launched, it seems like the developers throw away everything that made the original game good and try to find something new. They're re-inventing the wheel. Asheron's Call 2 bombed out because of this. EQ2 rubbed a lot of EQers the wrong way (though was sufficiently good in its own right to keep going). Warhammer Online, the "RvR sequel" to Dark Age of Camelot, abandoned too many crucial elements that gave DAoC its charm. Final Fantasy XIV seems to have entirely overlooked what made FFXI good and instead picked only the bad things.

Maybe, instead of making a true sequel or spinoff, some good MMOs deserve to be simply re-launched. Don't reinvent the wheel and all that. Unfortunately, it's my impression that the part of the game that would have to be re-done - the client and graphics - largely constitutes the bulk cost of producing an MMO to begin with. A re-launch would be a risky expense if it fails to bring in a whole new generation of players. Then again, classics like DAoC could tap into the new generation of MMO players that WoW brought to the table if it were re-launched in a suitable manner to appeal to them.

Posted by: Soulrift

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