The Video game Archaeologist: Darkish Ages, the unusual lovechild of Celtic lore and Lovecraftian legends



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Whilst the on-line globe was fascinated by “the Big Three” Western MMOs in 1999 — that would be EverQuest, Ultima On-line, and Asheron’s Call — this did not signify that they have been the only a few MMORPGs in existence. A lot of other projects had come to fruition close to this time, especially abroad in the Korean industry.

A single of these was Dark Ages, a Nexon-developed MMO set in a Celtic fantasy realm. Nowadays we’re heading to glimpse back again at this perhaps obscure title to see what other choices MMO players had back all over the convert of the century.

Adhering to its founding in 1994, the Nexon corporation went to perform on churning out common MMOs all through the relaxation of that ten years. While I lined its first job, Nexus: The Kingdom of the Winds, in a individual column, what I want to seem at now is its stick to-up games.

In early 1998, Nexon produced Legend of Darkness, an on the internet RPG that embraced a quarter-perspective angle. And even though this wasn’t as considerably of a huge strike as Nexus was, Legend of Darkness did feed into and encourage the studio’s 3rd MMO, Darkish Ages.

This time around, Nexon made the decision that it would integrate Celtic elements into this fantasy realm. Gamers would discover a earth total of historic strategies, crazed gods, climbing empires, and deep magics. When the MMO was brought above to the west, video game designer David Ethan Kennerly also included facets of Lovecraftian lore to make Dim Ages, well, much more dark.

Gamers started off out their journey in Darkish Ages as a peasant, graduating into a class (if they selected — you could be a lifelong peasant!) as they identified an associated guild in their starter city. These lessons were being rather regular, with Wizards, Rogues, and the like on tap, but players had to develop them sensibly with the appropriate stat details and talent acquisition.

Those who trapped with their course to amount 99 bought the alternative to turn out to be a Learn in that role, earning new skills and equipment. This even further remodeled their course into an superior function, with Wizards becoming Summoners and so on.

On top rated of that, adventurers could also pledge on their own of to one of the game’s religions and get the job done their way up in a temple by undertaking selected steps and enlisting far more folks into the faith.

In Dark Ages, gamers explored an isometric world where by they ground out encounter in searching locations, engaged in PvP, and went on lengthy quests. But possibly the most notable component of the recreation was its in-depth political procedure that permitted gamers to operate their possess towns, hold offices, and even improve the principles for sure sites.

A different neat aspect was a nobility method, which was, in truth of the matter, a literal level of popularity contest. Essentially, 7 contests that are held on a frequent basis. Players vote on others’ contributions to the game’s artistic scene, with classes for art, biography, record, literature, lore, memory, philosophy, and poetry. Contest winners are rewarded with development in different features of the activity, like functioning their way up into the nobility.

When other MMORPGs were birthed and killed in the subsequent a long time, Dark Ages continued to quietly truck along with its quaint outdated college charm. In 2020, Nexon sent a considerable update for the match which elevated the screen resolution and extra much more high-quality-of-everyday living functions. And while the populace is reportedly pretty little, the group proceeds to activate situations and endorse the match.

Consider it or not, MMOs did exist prior to 2004! Each individual two months, The Game Archaeologist looks again at basic on the web game titles and their history to understand a thing or two about in which the industry came from… and in which it may well be heading.


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