Once you are ready to begin your defense of the land against the many foul and benighted creatures that lurk about, you may venture away from your starting area and begin your combat training. Note that many of these instructions will tell you to hit a certain key - you may have rebound those keys under Options, so you may need to check what the appropriate key is.
Choosing a Target
As a new character, you are relatively weak and unskilled compared to most of the creatures and ruffians that roam the world. Fortunately, most of the low level monsters are not aggressive, though they will attack if you attack first. These should be your first targets. Click on the target with your mouse, or hit F8 to select the nearest target. Hitting F8 repeatedly will cycle through all targets within targeting range, starting with the nearest and working outward. When you select a target, your target panel will display the target's name, level and health. Also note that F8 targets not only creatures, but enemy players.
The game is designed with an ideal target in mind, depending on the class you choose. For one-on-one combat at low levels, the ideal target for a melee class is a creature that is one level below you. When you select such a creature, its name should highlight. A creature that you see displayed in your target window with yellow letters, for example, is at or near your level, and can be a tough fight. You can defeat the creature, but much depends on your skills, equipment and, to some degree, your luck. You're generally safe fighting greens and blues. If a creature "cons" as gray, it will give you no experience or loot, and is too low level for you to be fighting. Creatures who con orange, red or purple are generally too tough for you to kill them alone. Again, this depends on your skills, equipment, and luck. Some characters can solo oranges, or even reds, but in most cases you will lose in a mano-a-mano fight with one.
Gray - No experience or loot, not worth fighting Green - A small amount of experience, should be an easy fight Blue - Ideal target, decent experience Yellow - Tough target, but very good experience Orange - Very difficult to kill solo, great experience Red - Generally impossible to solo, very good experience for small to medium groups Purple - Don't even try soloing a purple, but very good experience for small to large groups Groups of players can easily defeat stronger creatures by working together. Use personal experimentation and experience to determine how you choose your targets in groups.Melee
Melee, as it's known, is a term used to describe close-ranged hand weapon combat. Now that you've selected your target, you are ready to engage in combat. To do this, approach your target and hit F6. This will put you into combat mode, using the weapon you have chosen as your ready-weapon (defaulting to the weapon in your right belt slot). In the System Window you will be told whether or not you hit, how much damage you did, whether or not the creature hits you, where it hits you, how much damage it does, how much experience you receive when it dies, and many other details important to the flow of combat. If the monster drops an item or coins upon death, this information will also be displayed in the system window. When your current target dies, you will automatically be disengaged from combat mode. To disengage manually, hit F6 again, though the monster will continue attacking you if it is still alive.
When you attack a creature or player and receive a combat message, it will indicate the total amount of damage done, followed by any bonuses or penalties that were applied to reach that total. For example, many skeletal creatures are vulnerable to crushing weapons. You might see the combat message "You attack the small skeleton with your hammer and hit for 11 (+2) damage!" This means your weapon did 9 damage, but 2 was added because of the skeleton's weakness to crushing attacks.
Some classes can specialize in Dual Wielding, which allows them to fight with a weapon in each hand. This can increase the amount of damage they do in combat, but puts them at a defensive disadvantage, since they cannot use a shield while dual wielding.
Dual Wielding Classes
Dual wield works as follows: Your character can use any normal weapon in it's right hand. The "off" hand (i.e. left) can be equipped with a smaller weapon appropriate to the character's realm. Most weapons are considered too big for off-hand use and cannot be equipped in the left hand. Classes that can use two weapons are:
While dual wielding classes are similar, the specific skills do not exactly work the same. For example, the Dual Wield and Celtic Dual skills both have a chance to swing their offhand weapon based on your level and specialization in the skill line, while Left Axe will always swing both weapons, but has a damage penalty assigned to the main and offhand weapons, which is reduced by your specialization level in the skill line.
Those who prefer combat at a distance (non-melee) may choose to use a ranged weapon, provided they belong to one of the classes that can use ranged weapons. Ranged weapons include short bows, long bows, composite bows, crossbows, and a variety of throwing weapons. A great deal of information about ranged combat is available in the Archery Guide.
Every time you use your ranged weapon, you will lose 1 arrow, bolt, or throwing weapon. If you run out, you cannot use it again until you replenish your supplies. Certain powerful artifacts and Realm abilities will summon ammunition for you. There are also a number of arrow merchants available throughout the realm, usually near the class trainer of characters who can use bows.
Dark Age of Camelot's fighting system enables melee-oriented characters to utilize Combat Styles during combat. A Combat Style is an attack that may have a bonus to-hit or damage, or a special effect. To use a Combat Style, go to your Skill list and drag the style to you quick bar. Press that hotkey in order to activate the style.
All fighting classes get styles from specializing in the weapons available to that character. For example, training in Slash will give you access to styles useable with Slash weapons, and so on.
Each style has an "opening" that determines when it can be used. Some styles have an "anytime" opening, which means they can be used without restriction. Anytime styles tend to be less effective then others, since they're so easy to use. Other styles may require that you parry, evade, block, or attack from a certain position (side, rear, front), and a few from the Critical Strike line require that you attack while stealthed. For specific information about a style, how it is used, and it's relative power, endurance cost, and effects, you can right-click on the style icon and Delve it. The default Delve trigger is Shift-I.
If you attempt to use a Combat Style and succeed, you will see a message to that effect. If you fail, you will see a message to that effect as well. A successful message will look something like "Your perform your Pillager perfectly. (+60). You attack the Crater Cicada with your axe and hit for 163 damage!" This indicates your base weapon damage was 103, but use of the successful style added an additional 60.
Some styles have, as a prerequisite, another style. These are often called "style chains." For example, once you've attacked the Crater Cicada with the Pillager style, you can now use the Plunderer style, which has the Pillager as a prerequisite. Styles that chain off of another style will generally be superior, or offer an extra effect, since they're harder to accomplish.
You can queue combat style, so that if the requirement for the first isn't met, you will automatically attempt the second style. For example, the Ice Storm style in the Sword line requires that you evade. You might activate the style in the hopes that you evade your enemy's next attack, then queue the anytime style Polar Rift, incase it doesn't. If you do evade, you will perform the Ice Storm style; otherwise, you'll perform the Polar Rift style. Queued styles don't necessarily have to originate from the same style line, so if you have access to a Dual Wield evade style, and a Slashing anytime style, you could queue both, assuming that you are wielding two weapons, and your main hand weapon is a Slashing weapon.
Fatigue and Endurance
An important consideration in performing combat styles is that each time you perform a style, you will use endurance, becoming more and more fatigued. When your endurance bar is depleted (it's the green bar under your Health bar) you won't be able to perform styles again until you regenerate some of it. While you do not naturally regenerate endurance in combat, every class that can specialize in weapons receives the Tireless realm ability at level 15. This ability will give you a significant endurance regeneration, even in battle. However, you will still regenerate endurance much faster resting - standing still will allow you to regenerate some, but the best endurance regeneration will occur if you're sitting.
The most important aspect of endurance (aside from combat styles) is that you can only sprint while you have endurance, and sprinting will drain your endurance quickly. You must weigh the effectiveness of your combat styles against your ability to escape, if necessary.
As monsters (or enemy players) hit you, you will take damage. The amount of damage you take is indicated by the read bar (health bar) in your summary window. If you lose all of your health, you will die. Your character will regenerate health over time. Sitting will regenerate your health at a much faster rate. However, sitting makes you much more succeptible to attacks, so make sure you only sit in a safe area. You also can't look around while sitting, unless you pan your camera using the ~ key.
If your health becomes very low, your ability to move is severely reduced. If you plan to try an escape, do so before your health drops too low.
You will often fight in groups with other players, and you'll quickly discover that each character class (and each of the specialization lines from those character classes) has it's own strengths, weaknesses and special abilities.
Those in the front ranks, often refered to as "tanks," can take the direct attacks of the enemy, though a tank who has specialized in Shield and/or Parry skills, or have access to the Evade ability, will be able to "tank" better then those who do not.
Those in the back ranks, spell casters and healers in particular, are not generally as effective when under attack. Many monsters will switch targets as a character's actions anger it. For example, if a healing class heals a tank the monster was damaging, it may become angered at that and begin attacking the healer. Casters and healers will have a hard time doing their job while under attack, so it's a good idea to go after any monsters who are attacking them. Often, with a good strong attack (particularly an attack that has the Taunt effect), you can get the monster to switch back to the fighters and away from the casters.
More intelligent creatures will enlist the aid of nearby friends when fighting against a group. This is often refered to as "BAF" or "Bring a Friend." Some monsters may also "Call For Help" or CFH when the fight seems to be going against them.