Catacombs is the latest expansion pack for the popular massive multiplayer game Dark Age of Camelot. This latest add-on allows players to explore new underground cities, adds some new races, updates the old character models and, in one of the developer’s most welcome moves, introduces content for solo players as well as groups of up to eight. These additions make for one of the best MMO expansion packs ever created, even if some of the balancing and other issues common with MMOs still need a bit of balancing.
For those who have been waiting in the Dark Age for new classes, Mythic has added five new classes, one in each realm. Midgard gets the new Warlock, who can queue up several spells for a powerful attack, and the Valkyrie, who wears chain mail armor and can cast Cone Effect spells that affect all enemies within the cone’s range. Players in Albion can now choose to be the Heretic, best described as an evil dark priest class. Meanwhile, in Hibernia, the new character classes are the Vampiir, a Rogue-style class that can also cast magic, and the Bainshee, which uses sound-based magic attacks.
As is to be expected in an MMO, the balancing of the new player classes is still yet to be determined, but there seems to be enough variety in these new classes to keep players happy for a long time to come.
Catacombs also features two types of hunting areas: the normal adventuring zones, where anyone and everyone can hunt feely, and the instanced zones, in which players and their party are the only ones in that particular area. The instance zones include one of two scenarios, Adventure Wing and Task Instances. Adventure Wings are designed for a specific level of character and will inform you that “this area has been balanced for five level 30 characters” and so on before you enter. Usually these areas are very large dungeons and require some time to complete them.
Task Instances, on the other hand, are designed with solo players in mind, and they’re a very fun and exciting way for those players to level-up without having to grind the same mobs over and over. Task Instances start with a conversation with an NPC, who directs you to the instance entrance. Once you enter, you have two hours to try and complete the NPC’s task. If you don’t complete the task, you can still continue to kill the mobs for their loot and XP, but you aren’t rewarded with the same hefty XP bonus. If you like to play alone or just don’t have the time to do the longer quests that require a party, these Task Instances are a dream come true.
Catacombs includes several graphical upgrades to all the character models and armor, and although they aren’t drastic, the characters seem to look a little sharper with slightly more detail. But in spite of the upgraded graphics, Catacombs is really starting to show its age when compared to the newer MMOs. One thing that’s lacking is character customization options; players are limited to just a few faces and hairstyle options for each model. Likewise, the look and feel of the new areas and instances are very well done, but the engine is still showing its age.
The audio in Catacombs is also well done, and the ambient sounds of the caves and underground forests are very creepy at times. The monsters and combat sounds are nothing outstanding, but they do their jobs fairly well.
In spite of its aging engine and average sound, Catacombs is probably one of, if not the best add-on packs ever been released for an MMO. With the new areas, new tasks, model upgrades and inclusion of tons of content for solo players, this is a must own for any Dark Age of Camelot player. What are you waiting on? Go get it!
- Gameplay: 8
- Fun in a party and even when playing solo.
- Graphics: 7.5
- In spite of the upgrades, it’s starting to show its age.
- Sound: 7
- Creepy at times, but there’s nothing particularly special or awful.
- Replay: 10
- Endless hours of MMO fun, whether you’re alone or with friends.
- Overall: 8.5
- A must-have for any Dark Age of Camelot player, and the best MMO add-on to date.
— Randie Kilgore