This guide is to help you get started playing the game and help you through the first few levels. It is by no means definitive, and I suggest you also look at the official guides contained at http://support.darkageofcamelot.com/. Still, I hope it can make things a little easier at start up.
I. Before you play the game
OK, you've loaded up the game, signed up for your account, downloaded the new version, and now are finally logged into the startup screen. Now what? The first thing you need to do is choose a server. There is no difference in lag or speed or gameplay between the servers. The only server that is different is the Percival server, where the players are encouraged to role-play their character, which basically means to expect a lot of thees and thous and not a lot of out of character conversation or dude speak. Amongst the other servers, I suggest you choose the one that has the smallest population. More people will join after you, and the lower the population, the less competition for kills. Also, you should check the age of the servers. Older servers will have higher level characters, more established guilds, established tradesmen, and to the limited extent allowed in Camelot, characters twinked by their friends to have more money and equipment. Newer servers will have more low level players and less of a established community, which puts you more even with the other players. There are advantages to each one and you have to decide which you prefer.
Once you have chosen a server, you need to choose your Realm. This is a crucial choice because once you start a character in a particular realm, you cannot play a character in the other two realms on that server. I would suggest you go through the class and zone links and the spell lists on this site and read through them carefully to decide where you want to play. Each realm is unique, with its own set of classes, races, spells, skills, items, mobs, etc. Don't panic over the decision. Remember, you can always delete out the character and start over in a different realm if you decide you don't like the one you are in. In fact, I would suggest you start up characters in all three realms (on different servers of course), play them a few levels, and see which you prefer. There are significant differences in how they each play. Here is a basic description of each realm:
Albion is based upon Medieval England, and revolves around the world that we think of when we think of King Arthur. There are knights in full armor and magicians in robes, with a blend of different Magic users and Fighters that doesn't really weigh towards one side or the other. You will be able to play the full gamut of class types in Albion. Albion's races are all human in appearance, so if you want to play a monster type of character, this is probably not the realm for you. The realm has a distinctly English Countryside look, ranging from rolling hills and forests to snow covered mountains.
Hibernia is more of a mystic land than Albion, and the classes tend more towards magic use than fighting, though there are still fighting classes to play. Supposedly based upon Medieval Ireland, the look of Hibernia is more mystical, with spires, towers and a rather fanciful architecture. The terrain is very forested, with rolling hills and lakes. There is only a single human race in Hibernia, although Elves look fairly human-like. You can also play a giant firbolg or a tiny lurikeen.
Midgard is a Norse kingdom, and the classes tend more towards fighting than magic, although the magic users are still very powerful. There is only a single human class in Midgard. The others -- dwarves, trolls and hobolds -- are more monster-like in appearance. Midgard is a dark kingdom, with lots of lakes and mountains, and is generally cold and ice-covered.
II. Character Creation
Finally, now that you have picked your server and your realm, you need to create a character. You are allowed four characters per server, so you can always try out a few different combinations before settling in on your main race and class. The character selection screen contains the basic information you need while you are creating the character. Just move your mouse over the section you are interested in for a basic description.
A. Choose a race
Read through the race descriptions on this site to get a better idea of the qualities of each race. In general, if a race is able to play a certain class, it will be able to do it quite well. Certain races are however, better suited to certain classes. If you plan on playing a caster, a high intelligence race will allow you to cast more spells before running out of power, and fighter types might want to consider races that have higher strength and stamina. Click on the races and see how the base stats change to help make up your mind. Aside from the stats, one of the biggest reasons to pick a race is to fit the look and style of the character you want to play in the game. Your going to be spending a lot of time looking at that character, so make sure you will like what you see.
B. Choose a class
Again, read through the class, spell, style and ability descriptions to see which ones you prefer. Camelot divides the realms up into classes, and then divides the classes into guilds. When you start your character, you will not choose a specific guild. That does not happen until you reach level 5. You instead choose a general class. Make sure you read which guilds the class/race combination you are choosing can play to make sure you want to play one of them. You don't want to get to level 5 only to find out that you needed to be a different race or class to join the guild you wanted to join.
Your class will generally dictate your fighting style. In each realm, there are four basic types of classes: fighters, casters, rogues and healers. Some classes are also blends of two or more of these types. If you choose a hybrid class, you get a more broad based character, but one that is not quite as good at either style as a pure specialist.
1) Fighters: These classes are the tanks of a group. Fighters need to go face to face with an enemy in order to inflict damage. They do the most combat type of damage of any class and also can take the most damage without dying. Pure fighters get no spells and rely completely upon their weapons and armor to survive. There are also fighter hybrids that usually wear less armor or use a more limited selection or weapons, but in exchange get caster, healer or rogue abilities. Fighters are in general better off in groups than as soloists, but they can still solo if needed. If you want to be at the heart of the fight and prefer bashing heads to charming them, a fighter class is probably best for you.
2) Casters: Caster types vary significantly within the game, but the basics of a caster are the use of magic to win a battle rather than brute force. Casters generally can dish out considerable damage, but will die fast if they get attacked. Casters can basically be divided up into pure damage types, pet classes and charm classes. The pure damage classes are geared almost exclusively towards dishing out the most damage in the shortest time period. Pet classes do less damage, but get the ability to summon a pet of some sort to fight for them, basically giving them an extra fighter. Charm classes can charm monsters to keep them off their friends and also can usually charm monsters to convince them to fight on their side. Casters in a group usually stand towards the outside, allow the fighters to do the initial work and then use their spells to aid the fighters in the battle. If you like the idea of blasting your enemies to pieces or subtly swaying them to your side, a caster is for you. There are some fighter/caster hybrid classes for those who prefer a little of each. Read through the spell descriptions of each class to see what sounds interesting to you.
3) Rogues: Rogues specialize in stealth and use sneaky skills like back stabbing and poison to defeat their enemies rather than fighting them head on. While they can fight in a jam, they wear light armor and can't take as much damage as the fighting classes. Rogue classes get a variety of specialty skills such as sneaking, climbing, hiding and stealing that are not available to the other classes. In general rogue classes are some of the more difficult ones to play well, but can also be some of the more rewarding. There are also some rogue hybrid classes that get better fighting abilities or gain some spell abilities.
4) Healers: Healers are needed in every group because of their ability to keep the others alive. In general, the spells of the healing classes tend towards support for other classes via buffs and heals. Some healing classes also get a variety of damage spells, but not on the same lines as the casters. While not as good as fighters, healers can usually hold their own in combat. In a group, the role of the healer is to keep the others alive long enough to kill the foe. This makes healers probably the most group oriented class type of the four.
C. Choose your variables
You can personalize your character by choosing the sex, hair color, face and height of the character. Just play with it to see which ones you like.
D. Assign Points to Your Attributes
This is a very important step. You get 30 extra points to assign to your attributes. These have a big effect on your character's development and ability. Once you have chosen your class, certain stats will be highlighted in yellow. These are the most important stats for your character. These stats also will slightly increase as your character gains levels. The white stats are less important, but they also will stay static for your character's lifetime. That is something to keep in mind. Also, the assignment of points is not a direct 1 for 1 basis. If you were to put all of your points into one stat, the first 10 would take 10 of your reserve points, the next 5 would take 2 each and the next 3 would take 3 each. Thus, you can use your 30 points to raise a single stat a maximum of 18 points, or you can use them to raise three different stats 10 points each. I suggest you at least put the initial 10 points into any highlighted stat, and then consider spreading the others out a little more, perhaps using some double points for the highlighted stats you feel are the most important.
Here are the attributes (the descriptions are preliminary, as I am still trying to find out about some things):
1) Strength - Dictates battle skill and also dictates the total weight of the items you can carry.
2) Constitution - Dictates how many hit points you get.
3) Dexterity - Determines speed in combat
4) Quickness - Determines reflexes and reaction time.
5) Intelligence - Determines amount of Power a Caster has
6) Piety - Determines amount of Power a Healer has
7) Empathy - I believe this affects charm type spells.
8) Charisma - Affects how NPC's react to you.
Once you are done with this, click on the proceed button and save your character. You are now ready to play the game.
III. Starting off.
When you enter the game, you will appear right next to your trainer. Remember where he is, because you will want to keep coming back to him for the first 4 levels. There are other trainers out there, so if you run far away from the initial one, just ask around to find another one for your class. At level 5, you will need to go to the city to apprentice with a guild specialist. Turn to your trainer and click on him to see what he as to say to you. Most likely he has a quest for you to do. Go ahead and do it. It is worth some good experience points, gives you the chance to see your surroundings a little and starts off a quest series that eventually rewards you with some good stuff.
However, before you go anywhere, you need to set up your character and familiarize yourself with the screen.
In the Right Upper Corner of the Screen you will see the Stat boxes. These give you all the information you need for your character. You can open this when you need to consult with the information and then close it while you are navigating or in combat. The tabs, from left to right are:
1) Character Stats - Gives you your basic character information like attributes and class.
2) Character Equipment - Shows what equipment you are wearing and what you have in your inventory. To wear something, click on it in the inventory and drag it up to your character's picture and if you are able to wear it, it will be added to the proper slot. To learn more about an item, right click on it and the stats will appear in the widow at the bottom right of the screen. You should start out with a beginning weapon. Make sure to equip it. This is a very weak weapon, and you would be wise to try to upgrade it as quickly as you can. Equipment is color coded according to its level in the same way that monsters are coded (see below). As you go up in levels, you should try to always be wearing equipment that is at least blue when checked. Also, equipment decays over time and needs to be repaired. Whenever you get to a town with a smith, you should do a quick check of your equipment to see if anything needs to be repaired (or just learn the repair trade skill). The last thing you want is to have your chest piece drop off of you in the middle of combat, leaving you vulnerable to hits to that area. Also, combat in the game specifies which area you are hit, so it is important to get armor for every area. It doesn't help you to have a super stud chest piece if you are wearing wimpy leggings and are fighting a creature that keeps hitting you in the legs.
3) Specializations - These vary depending upon your class, level and specialization points. As you gain levels and train, make sure to check back here and see if anything has changed.
4) Combat Skills - These also vary depending upon your class, level and specialization points. Check this each time you level and train to see if you have gained a new skill.
5) Spells - Again, these vary depending upon your class, level and specialization points. When you level or train, be sure to check this table to see if you have gained any new spells.
6) Group Information - The information on those you are grouped with. Most useful here is the mini window and the looking for group search. A nice feature that has been put into the game is the looking for a group flag. You can use it two ways. You can flag yourself as looking for a group, and others looking for group mates will see you when they do a search. Or you can do a search for groups or individuals still looking for members and then do a /send to them to join up with them. This is a nice system for helping people get together. If you are a group leader, you can even spedify the type of class you are looking for. I suggest that whenever you get into a group, you go here and bring up the mini window.
In the Left Upper Corner, you will notice a set of 8 blank boxes. These are where you put your hot keys for easy access during battle. There are 8 sets of 8 boxes for you to use. It is very important that you set these up before you set out, since these can make a battle much faster and easier. To set a spell, skill or specialization here, you need to click and drag it from the character information screen. Go click on the various boxes in the character screen and look for ones that have a graphic next to them. Click on the graphic and drag it over to the hot key slot and you can now use it by clicking on it there. To delete it, use shift-click. I would suggest you immediately hot key any spells, specializations and combat skills you have, as well as the sprint ability.
In the lower left hand corner is the chat box. This is configurable if you wish. Just right click on it and you can change the types of chat that will appear in each of the available chat windows. One thing that takes some getting used to is the split nature of the chat box. The upper box is for actions that are taken in the game. Thus, when you attack something or pick something up, the message will appear in the upper box. The lower box is for chat, both from players and NPC's. If another player asks you a question, that will appear in the lower box. If you are not paying attention, it is possible that you can miss something being said in the lower box while watching the action going on in the upper box. It definitely takes some practice to get used to.
Once you have gotten everything set up, it's time to set out and conquer the world, or at least kill some low level critters.
Head out of town - pretty much any direction will do - and start targeting the creatures you see to see which ones are safe to attack and which ones you should keep away from. There are two things you will notice when targeting. First is the description in the action window. It will tell you how that creature feels about you. Anything short of aggressive means you can go up to it without worrying that it will attack you. If a creature is aggressive to you, be ready to get attacked if it sees you, and if it has friends nearby, they are going to attack too. Thus, before getting close to anything, target them from a distance and see how they are going to react to your presence.
The second thing you will get from your target is a level description of the creature. After you target the creature, check the box in the lower right hand corner that shows your stats. It now shows the name and hit points of the targeted creature right below your stats. The most important part of this is the color key for the creature's name. This lets you know the level of the creature and whether it is safe to attack. Also, next to the name, is a series of plusses or minuses, which tell you the exact difference in levels for those creatures close to your level. Thus, a red with two plusses is two levels higher than you or a blue with one plus is one level below you. Here are the colors:
1) Gray: If the name is gray, the creature is so far below you that you won't get any experience points for killing it. Gray creatures also won't try to attack you, even if they are aggressive to you. Don't even bother to attack these. Leave them for lower level players
2) Green. If the name is Green, it is several levels below you. You should be able to easily solo a single green Mob and could probably even take two at a time. The good thing about greens is that they don't do a lot of damage so there is little downtime between fights. In groups, greens are pretty much worthless kills.
3) Blue. Blues are just below your level. Check the number of minuses to get the exact level. A blue will give you a good fight, but you should normally be able to solo them. The game is designed with the idea that you will solo blues. There will be more downtime between fights than with greens, but you will also get more experience points. A group should have no trouble taking out a single blue, and if played right should even be able to handle a group of them.
4) Yellow. If a name is yellow, it is the same level as you are. It is possible to solo a yellow, but not a guaranteed victory, and you are sure to need to recover afterwards. Groups should be able to handle single yellows fairly easily, but might struggle against groups of them.
5) Orange. Orange names are the same as blue, only above your level instead of below. Check the number of plus marks to see how much above you they are. Soloing an orange is a tricky proposition, although not impossible for certain classes. Groups will probably want to concentrate on oranges when possible.
6) Red. Red names are several levels above you. You will most likely die if you try to solo a single red, but a good group should be able to take one.
7) Purple. If the name is in purple, just forget about attacking unless you are the lowest level in the group and the others are getting orange or red. Purple named Mobs are a much higher level that you are.
So go ahead and find a blue Mob and enter into combat with it. The first five levels are a good tie to experiment with different combat styles and spell combinations, because you don't lose anything when you die. Say to yourself F6 over and over again until it becomes second nature, because that's the button you need to hit to start attacking something and it is not at all intuitive. Nothing is worse than punching every key on your keyboard hoping you will get the right one while some tiny skeleton bashes you over the head with a club. Remember -- F6. If you are a caster, start out with a spell and then enter into combat. In the lower levels, casters do a lot of melee combat. Later, you will find yourself using your staff less and less. Don't forget to use your skills and abilities during the fight. Each class is a little different, so experiment. Keep the sprint button handy, and if you get in trouble hit sprint and head toward the nearest guard. Once the creature lays dead at your feet, it will usually drop a bag full of goodies, which at this level is usually some disgusting body part. Double click on it to pick it up and put it in your inventory. Once you have accumulated enough of them, take then to town and sell them to a vendor. They aren't worth much, but every copper counts. If you have been damaged in the fight or are low on power, sit down. You recover faster while sitting than standing.
After you kill certain creatures, you will get a message that your faction has dropped with a particular group or groups. Think carefully about whether you really want to make an enemy out of this group. Now, if the creature was already aggressive towards you, lowering your faction does not really hurt, unless you were hoping to some day kill its enemies and gain enough faction with it that you could walk through its territory safely. However, if a creature was neutral or friendly to you and you start killing its friends, eventually it will start to hate you and all similar creatures will begin to attack you when they see you. Sometimes this is unavoidable, but you need to consider the consequences of going around and attacking everything that moves.
You should level pretty fast for the first few levels. Make sure you go back to your trainer after you level, because he may have a new quest for you. However, think carefully before you actually train up any of your skill points. Once you use a point, you can never get it back. At level 5, you are going to get a whole new set of skills, and you may want to save your points to train up those skills rather than the more basic ones you get at the start. Again, this depends upon your class, so the best thing to do is to read about what skills and specializations you are going to get and decide how you want to apply. It is very important that you plan ahead when using your skill points.
V. Quests and Tasks
If you get tired of fighting, you can try to get some quests and tasks. To get a task, go up to a random NPC, target him or her and type "help". Most of the time, you won't get anything, but sometimes you will be asked to perform a simple task. This can range from delivering something to a friend in another village to killing a Mob and bringing back proof if the kill. These are a good way to get quick and easy experience and also force you to explore the surroundings a little more. You will level up faster if you combine tasks and hunting. If you plan on heading for another area, you might want to ask around and see if there is a task you can take with you. That way you get a reward after the long run.
To get a quest, right click on a NPC and if he has a quest, he will let you know. You can also look for the town crier and ask him if he knows anyone who is giving out quests. He will often direct you to someone with a quest of your level and ability. Quests are usually more involved than tasks and often result in items that you can't get through killing things. Quests are probably the best way to get magic items, so you want to do as many as you can. There is a journal button on your stat page that keeps track of which quests you have been given and lets you know which step you are on. Just refer to it to see what you need to do next.
VI. Choose a Guild and Head out into the World.
You probably want to stay fairly close to your original village for the first four levels. There should be plenty of things to fight there and all of the basics are available for you to level up pretty quickly. When you hit level 5, your trainer will tell you that he can no longer train you. It is time to head to the big city and seek your fortune. The trainer will tell you who to see for each path you choose to follow. This is where you have to choose a guild specialty. If you have not decided what you want to do by now, exit out of the game and read through the guild choices for your class. Once you choose one, you cannot go back. Go to the city, pick your guild trainer and tell him you wish to join the guild and you will gain a whole new slew of spells or specialties particular to your new guild. If you have been saving your points, train them up now. The level of spells and specializations you receive in your new skills depends upon the level of the skill, not your own level, so these points are very important.
You are now no longer a newbie. Have fun.