Reflections from the launch of Dark Age of Camelot

10 years ago today, the game Dark Age Of Camelot launched from the little-known developer Mythic Entertainment. It rocketed up the charts, and quickly became the first real competition to Everquest, standing as one of the preeminent MMOs until WoW launched 3 years later.

It’s the game from which much of the current PvP model in all games originated. It’s the game where “QQ” was first used. It’s a huge chunk of MMO history, and it’s still going today.

Scott Jennings, writer of the blog Broken Toys, was one of the developers on DAOC, and today he’s handed his blog over to one of his colleagues on the game, Matt Firor, who was the producer at the time of launch. Matt takes us through the highs and the lows of the launch day and soon afterward in this great article

“A group of us formed in Rob’s office, talking and generally basking in the glory of the moment. Each of those 20,000 (max peak players that night) was a paying customer, and each represented significant revenue to us (remember we were very small at the time). It appeared that we finally were going to make money on one of our products. We were giddy with excitement – everything was going awesomely.

Brian Axelson, the 21 year old whiz-kid programmer/designer who had been working for us since he was 16 – responsible for inventing, implementing, and designing Camelot’s combat system, including Combat Styles – was so happy he slammed his fist down on Rob’s desk and said, “Ain’t nothing going to bring this house down!”.

At that moment, all the servers crashed, simultaneously.

We all looked at one another in dread, and sprinted back to our offices, each checking on the part of the game we were responsible for. Everything checked out – nothing seemed wrong. But the servers were down and wouldn’t reboot.”

If you’re a bit of a geek, or you’ve ever been involved in the launch of anything on the Internet (which includes me on both counts), you’ll find this article fascinating, funny, and very familiar. The sudden “aargh, it’s all gone horribly wrong” panic of a server going down probably sounds very familiar to anyone who runs a reasonably high-traffic website. And whether you’re a geek or not, this is a rare insight into one of the big moments that shaped the MMO world we have today.

Read it, and enjoy one of the tales of how all this stuff started, a decade or more ago.

Did you play DAOC? Were you there at the launch? Or does this launch story sound familiar from elsewhere?

Quote taken directly from Matt’s article .

Find Broken Toys at http://www.brokentoys.org/ .


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